As a Los Angeles native, I remember when Tone Loc first debuted as one of the earliest and most successful West Coast rappers. This is when rap was still primarily an East Coast thing, so it was hard for West Coast rappers to be seen as legitimate. He had a couple of singles released on Delicious Vinyl Records, which got a lot of airplay on the local radio station KDAY, the first which I remember hearing was I GOT IT GOIN’ ON, which had a nice funky drum beat as Tone recited typical braggadocio lyrics.
“I make ice melt, and water freeze/I’m the baddest Black brother on the seven seas/Like a wizard in a blizzard I perform when it’s warm, in a hurricane Earthquake or thunderstorm”
And there was also ON FIRE, a slower more mellow track which showcases more of Loc’s creative lyrics. “Causin much damage like a nuclear war, You know what time it is, I’m always reachin for more/To turn the party out my rhymes are always suitable/Considered very healthy like a sauna, therapeutical.”
But it was with his third track WILD THING that Loc broke into the mainstream, becoming a household name…
With lyrics actually written by YOUNG M.C., it’s a rather simple song, rapping about different scenarios getting caught having sex, and accompanied by a rather simple video. Yet this little song with it’s rock beat became HUGE. And Delicious Vinyl quickly assembled a full album, released in January 1989. Produced by record label owners Matt Dike & Michael Ross and the producing team known as The Dust Brothers, the album originally featured 11 songs, including the previous three.
Most of the tracks on the album or mellow mid-tempo songs, with heavy funk samples, which are designed to fit Loc’s deep gravelly voice. LOC-ED AFTER DARK, NEXT EPISODE, and DON’T GET CLOSE, are all standard braggadocio songs, proclaiming his lyrical dominance. They’re relatively interchangeable as terms of quality goes.
CUTTIN’ RHYTHMS is ode to his D.J., the type of song many rappers did back then, and CHEEBA CHEEBA is an ode to his love of marijuana, and frankly he sounds high as he’s rapping this song. and THE HOMIES is a fun party song.
LOC’IN ON THE SHAW is an instrumental track. I’m not sure what’s this is even on the album for.
But, of course, other than Wild Thing, the highlight of the album is the follow up single (once again written by Young M.C.) FUNKY COLD MEDINA
Tone Loc had talent, he was a decent rapper. And this is a capable album although, outside of the known singles, it’s not particularly memorable. Loc’s distinctive voice helps the album stand out, more than the quality of the actual songs. Chacebook rating: THREE AND A HALF STARS
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