Staff Reports
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 2, 1998

Music Meltdown


My Homies



Momma always said that if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. Sorry Mom, but I can't hold my tongue on this one. Scarface's latest effort, a double CD entitled My Homies, could be one of the worst products offered up by the rap industry in recent years.

I'm sure the idea looked good on paper - a compilation CD with some of the biggest names in the business getting together with Mr. Scarface for some tight, hard hitting jams. Instead of getting established stars, however, Scarface had to settle for whoever would show up. He probably had to put out a want ad. I can see it now: "Great opportunity, rap with Scarface, originality unnecessary, talent optional."

With his crew of 32 homies, Scarface puts together 136 minutes and 50 seconds of uninspired lyrics over uninspired beats. Even the likes of Tupac, Ice Cube, Too Short and Master P can't save this CD from sinking faster than Leonardo DiCaprio in freezing water. Too Short provides disgusting rhymes in the romantic "F*** Face," Ice Cube offers up nothing special in "The Geto," and "Homies & Thuggs" steals a freestyle verse from Tupac that was obviously never meant to be used in the song.

As bad as the first disc is, the second disc does nothing to save face (no pun intended). Proving that skills were not a criteria for artists on this album are A-G-2-A-Ke in "Cocaine" and Rag Tag in "Warriors."

Sorry Scarface, but it looks like you need some new homies.

-Joel Flom


The Mysteries of Life

Come Clean


If the King of Alternative is Evan Dando, then the Queen is Juliana Hatfield. And if the Queen is Juliana Hatfield, then anybody within a stone's throw of her musical career is royalty.

Like Freda Love.

Freda Love was the drummer for the Blake Babies, Juliana's first band. Now she's married to Jake Smith, formerly of Antenna, and together, on drums and guitar respectively, they bring us The Mysteries of Life.

On a nifty little press tape for the group, called The Mysteries of Life in Context, the band put selections from Come Clean alongside the likes of the Velvet Underground, Elliott Smith, Bob Dylan, Cornershop and the Sex Pistols. The idea was to put the band in among their influences so reviewers could get a good grasp on them.

And it works. The Mysteries of Life is a great pop band, nothing more, nothing less. The songs are insta-classics; after the second spin on the Discman you're tapping your feet, singing along, humming the song in the middle of class, drumming your fingers to the beat on the steering wheel. The songs are simple, yet so confidently executed that they're ready-made for your listening enjoyment. It's that classic sound, that highly successful, never outdated formula of rock/pop that draws you in, and who better to be out there doing it than members of the High Court of Dando and Hatfield. In other words, you will like this album, whether it's in a context which references classics of the past, or simply on its own.

-Annie Holub


Various Artists

The Wedding Singer

(Maverick/Warner Bros.)

What happens when the go-get-'em, neon flare of the 1980s collides with the lethargic, grunge apathy of the '90s? A virtual Rubik's Cube? No. A Hall and Oates chat room? Boy, I hope not. The return of Velcro? Thank God no!

Surprisingly, what you get is one of the best soundtracks in years.

"The Wedding Singer," the latest movie from funny man Adam Sandler, features some of the most classic songs from the decade past, including Billy Idol's "White Wedding," Culture Club's "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" and the Thompson Twins' "Hold Me Now," as well as some '80s cult classics like "China Girl" by David Bowie and "Blue Monday" by New Order.

The album also features "Somebody Kill Me" - a Sandler original -and even includes a tidbit of dialogue from the flick between Sandler and his movie sweetie Julia, played by Drew Barrymore.

And of course, everyone remembers the rappin' little old lady from the previews, right? Well, she's Ellen Dow - and her lyrical stylings of the hip hop classic "Rapper's Delight," by rap deities Sugarhill Gang, closes the album. However, the pinnacle of the soundtrack is reached in the first track - a rockin' cover of the first song to air as an MTV video, The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star," by The Presidents of the United States of America, a spectacular result of decades colliding.

From The Presidents themselves, to Ellen Dow and everything in between, The Wedding Singer soundtrack is a great and unique collection of music. Believe it or not, as good as the movie was, the soundtrack is even better.

-Eric Anderson



Generation EFX


It's been a while since Das EFX released something of any real substance. The first album was good, and introduced us to a new style of hip hop with lots of inventive lyrics. Straight Up Sewerside, the second release, showed signs of slipping, though, which were confirmed by the release that preceded Generation EFX, which was absolutely terrible. So what makes this one so good?

Although no true masterpieces like the classic EFX track "Check Yo' Self" can be found on the CD, both Skoob and Dray (who make up the duo) handle this release relatively well. The beats are hard and the sampling is good, although a little rough on the edges. That adds to, though, rather than takes away from, the whole Das EFX experience.

Guest appearances from EPMD, Redman, Teflon and others don't hurt, for one thing. The first single, "Rap Scholar," featuring Redman, is excellent, also featuring the true "wiggedy" vocals that these guys are famous for. Rap legends Eric Sermon and Parish Smith, a.k.a. EPMD, add their timeless style to the title track.

"Whut Goes Around," the gratuitous emotional song featuring Miss Jones, is one true exception to the quality of the album, as these raw bastards have no idea how to pull it off convincingly.

So, while it doesn't signify a return to the days of glory for Das EFX, Generation EFX does rival a lot of other stuff currently out there on the rap market, and almost makes up for some of what the group has subjected us to in the recent past.

-James Casey



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