Reviewed on this page:
Stone Cold Rhymin' - Brainstorm - What's The Flavor? - Return of the 1 Hit Wonder - Ain't Goin' Out Like That
Originally from Queens (in fact, Alroy and I went to school with
him), Young MC made his mark after he headed to California and
hooked up with the laid-back West Coast scene. He wrote the biggest
hip-hop single of the decade, Tone-Loc's "Wild Thing" and the
follow-up "Funky Cold Medina," establishing a reputation for witty
rhymes even before he'd started his solo career. His first record
yielded the party classic "Bust A Move" and earned him a Grammy.
His career collapsed after a disappointing followup, which was followed by personal tragedies; he's back with a record, which
drew some early attention, but I don't think it's had a big impact saleswise.
There's a good fan site that collects most of the information on Young MC available on the net. (DBW)
Stone Cold Rhymin' (1989)
A smooth, danceable mix of live instruments and samples, produced
by Matt Dike and Michael Ross. All the lyrics are by Young, and
besides the hit "Bust A Move," standouts include the cute
"Principal's Office," and two hilarious boasting numbers: "My Name
Is Young," built on a terrific piano line, and "I Let 'Em Know,"
based on the Ohio Players' "Skin
Tight." Young showcases his ultrafast vocal technique and
impeccable diction, and his exuberance is infectious, putting over
lightweight tunes like "Stone Cold Buggin'," which is just one long
rhyme. Easygoing fun, until you get to the painfully earnest album
closer, "Just Say No," produced by Quincy Jones Jr. (DBW)
This was a major disappointment. Young MC took the reins as
producer, but he doesn't have a lot of ideas, musically or
lyrically. The single, "That's The Way Love Goes," an attempt to
redo the jovial humor of "Bust A Move," falls flat, and there are
a couple of painfully long tracks, one of which is a PSA for clean
living ("Life In The Fast Lane"), and the other one is silly and
trivial ("Inside My Head"). Not to mention the aptly-named "Album
Filler." Paul Jackson Jr.
puts rhythm guitar on a couple of tracks. (DBW)
What's The Flavor? (1993)
This is a very good album, in a similar vein to Young's debut: a
bunch of really funny rhymes ("Foulin'," "Ease Back") and minimal,
swinging backing tracks ("Bob Your Head"). I suspect this didn't
sell only because the market had changed so much over the
intervening years: gangsta rap was in, song about high school and
LL-inspired love songs like "Love You
Slow" were out. He nods at hardcore rap on "We Can Do This" and
"Back In The Day" (not to mention the cover photo), but mostly he's
in an lighthearted, peaceful groove, showing off his wordplay and
delivery ("Just Like That"). Not an advance over his debut, but if
you liked Stone Cold Rhymin', you should give this a chance.
Greg Osby adds sax to "Bob Your Head."
Return of the 1 Hit Wonder (1997)
Great title, but this isn't really a rebound: the music (mostly produced
and arranged by Young) is very thin, with hollow synth bass lines and
almost the same drum programming on track after track. The lyrics are
hit and miss, with plenty of fine couplets ("On & Poppin'," "You Ain't
Gotta Lie (To Kick It)") but rarely reaching the consistency of the
first and third albums. There are two great tunes, though: "Madame
Buttafly," a love song with a succulent (real) bass line and clever
production; and "Mr. Right Now," a high-energy rocker with live backing
from Rubberneck (whoever they are). A half-baked project, which is a
shame: with the right backing Young could still play in the big leagues.
Ain't Goin' Out Like That (2000)
Another low-budget, self-produced album, with the only guests being backing vocalists Will Wheaton ("After Dark") and Elaine Stepter
("Bust A Move - The Y2K Mix," an aggravating synth-dance remake).
The rhymes are clever throughout, and he's definitely put more work into the backing tracks, with nice touches including
the heavy, live-sounding drum track and organ on "Oh!"; the piano hook underpinning "What It Look Like"; and
startlingly prominent squiggly synth on several tracks ("Y'all Don't Hear Me Doe"). If you like any of his other stuff, you should
give this a shot.
I have to say, though, I'm getting tired of the well-worn catchphrases (title track, "Where's The Party At?") and the endless references
to his one hit.
Engage The Enzyme (2002)