Monday, August 08, 2005

Humor in Hip-Hop 1: Kwest Tha Madd Lad

This track is butter

Kwest Tha Madd Lad: "Lubrication (Safe Sex)"
Kwest Tha Madd Lad: "Lubrication (Unprotected)"
Kwest Tha Madd Lad: "Lubrication (Instrumental)"
from Lubrication 12" 1993

Biz Markie. Slick Rick. The Pharcyde. Redman. Ol Dirty. Devin the Dude. Humpty. Humor in hip-hop is one of the more neglected areas of lyrical craftsmanship in the 2000-era. Throughout the 80s and 90s, however, it was practically expected to hear rappers kick comedy routines like Slick Rick's "Indian Story," or EPMD's "Jane" saga...suffice to say, it was part of the standard repertoire of Skills. In 2005, true lyrical comedy seems few and far between, and the purpose of this series is to bring some of that ol humor back into the limelight.

First up: Kwest Tha Madd Lad's "Lubrication", with the Pete Rock sample anchoring the chorus. Kwest's debut on Def American was doomed to be his last; the cover depicts the rapper wearing only diapers and socks...the concept works for the logo (see above pic), but best not executed with live actors, much less with Kwest himself! And it's too bad because he proves himself to be a versatile MC, providing some classic laugh-out-loud moments, including "I Met My Baby at VIM" and "101 Things To Do While I'm With Your Girl". Dan Charnas laces three of the doper productions, and captures the trophy credit for the aforementioned cover concept.
I put my arm around her squeezed and shorty said, "Uh uh, please
You don't know me to touch, you might have some disease"
Ohhh, so now I look like I got somethin, stop frontin
on the skillz squally, you know I'm a little bumpkin
Do I look like I got gonoh-syphla-mydia phase III
Walkin round beggin people TO MAKE LOVE TO ME

The Safe Sex version's got some reworked lyrics compared to the Unprotected version, and the instrumental is simply...butter.

Question: What artists today are putting humorous verses to beats? Luda, Jay-Z ("Girls, Girls, Girls"), MURS ("Bad Man", "Trevor", etc), come to mind...who else should I be checking for? I'm talking about real funny shit...not G-Unit gangsta humor and little punchlines. What's The Pharcyde "Oh Shit" of 2005? "Looked at her shoes and her feets was real long..."

Extrablogicular Reading
"Lubrication" lyrics at
The Complete Discography at Werner VonWallenrod's Humble, Little Hip-Hop Site
Treat Williams *just* covered this like a week ago, with additional song downloads.
Fithy Choice asks, "Where Are They Now?"


At 8/12/2005 12:14 PM, Blogger Dan Charnas said...

Dan Charnas here --

nice post. Always nice to see Kwest get his props. However, although I had some of the initial ideas for Kwest's art, the real credit must go to Kyumin "Q" Lee, a/k/a "Chino for Small But Strong", for doing the incredible design, the logos, the illustrations, everything... He came up with the "diaper" logo, which, in my mind, really captured Kwest's straddling the juvenile with the adolescent..


At 8/12/2005 10:47 PM, Blogger The Rap Pundit said...

Thanks for checking in on this post and adding some background to the story.

For the readers that don't know, the esteemed Dan Charnas produced Kwest's criminally slept-on debut, executive-produced Chino XL's "Here to Save You All" lyrical masterpiece, AND made Chinonardo DiCaprio's follow-up "I Told You So" happen. In the words of Chino the 6:25 himself, "...Dan Charnas is not slow rollin..."

At 8/16/2005 12:26 PM, Blogger Paz said...

"101 Things" really used to be my joint back then.

You're right about current entertaining rappers being few and far between these days - Luda and Jay, maybe Redman being a few exceptions. Seems like the balance has tipped so far in favor of thug/trap/dope game lyrics, to the extent that rappers are too afraid of looking "not real" or "like a clown" if they come more creative with their rhyme styles...

At 10/18/2005 7:41 PM, Anonymous Computersnacks said...

It is sad that the humor in hip-hop is all but lost. If you want to check out some truly funny and dope hip-hop, I'd suggest you take a look at J-Zone's catalog.


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