No matter what the genre, late-night music advertising usually offers you the same product: A compilation of over-licensed tunes packaged with artwork emulating the wares of a Soviet street vendor. Whether it’s Monster Booty, Zamfir, or the infamous Freedom Rock, what you undoubtedly end up with is never as great as it sounded before you sent $19.95 to that address in Sioux City, IA or Fort Collins, CO. But Monster Booty is not worth your money. Not even with the free “I Break For Monster Booty” bumper sticker. So it’s important to really study one of these comps, and try to break down what’s really going on between the beats, and why everyone seems to have a few of these things hanging around.
Monsters of Rap is no exception to the late-night rule. It’s all here – Songs that have seen more licensing than the DMV; not to mention cover art that would find a happy home as the backdrop for your more discerning cable-access program. But there’s a catch. Alongside faves by Sir Mix-A-Lot and Tone Loc lie tracks from Gerardo, Positive K, and – oh my – Onyx. After Candyman is finished “Knockin’ Boots,” you get to hear Snow whine his way through “Informer.” Now, when you’re sitting around cool with your dibbie dibbie girl, do you really need the boho chest thumping of “Slam”? Well, no. But you have to admit that Kyper’s use of the riff from Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart” is pretty tight.
This dichotomy of beats exists because Monsters of Rap takes its archeological approach to the genre very seriously, choosing to include not only the obvious hits and overplayed gems of every other comp, but also tunes emblematic of lesser-known hip-hop revenue streams. For example, the much-derided “milktoast” trend of the mid-90s is chronicled here in full. So your $19.95 not only assures you and your party guests hours of rump-shaking courtesy of Wreckx-N-Effect, it also encourages you to explore the furious battle rhymes of 3rd Bass in their – ahem — seminal “Pop Goes The Weasel.” And it turns out Pete Nice is still pissed off at Vanilla Ice.
Everybody needs a few Monsters of Rocks horning in on the margins of their record collection, right next to Star Wars: Christmas in the Stars and that Blue Note V/A that you keep around for when there’s wine being served. The hormone-injected beats of a DJ E-Z Rock or the comic rap antics of The Fat Boys will undoubtedly come in handy the next time you and your friends drink too much, if only to entice someone who really shouldn’t to bust a few breakdance moves. And sure enough, thrown in among the ones even your Grandma can rap along to will be something rotten in Denmark, like Oran “Juice” Jones or Was (Not Was)’s “Dinosaur.” So just make sure you stay near the CD changer’s advance button.
Wiggle it, just a little bit, as it grooves.