This is just one of those names and titles that would have caught the attention of any Hip Hop fan in ’89. Then pick up the record and you got 3 smooth, but rugged looking brothers on the cover with a Graf background and you are even more likely to make the purchase…
Unfortunately, doing so wasn’t easy. This regional Chicago record had limited distribution, making it a heavy collectors item these days…I’ve never even seen a copy. However, the new reigning reissue/throwback champ, Dope Folks, comes thru once again. This time it’s the Ruthless Rod & MC Dollar 12” with 3 of the original tracks, but replaces the love ballad with a previously unheard track, “Break Em Down”.
The 12” production is handled by Emile Augustine and uses a combination of familiar, but quality samples (ex: Lyn Collins, Queen, etc…), sparse drums, and some simple, but effective keyboard work. DJ Fellow-Rock’s scratching is reserved for the two uptempo joints and he makes great use of his time with quick, but precise, studder style cuts.
I ‘m not 100%, but if my ears and investigational skills are accurate it seems that Ruthless Rod & MC Dollar split the rhyming duties on the record.
Ruthless Rod contributes the two previously mentioned uptempo joints, “As I Get Funky” & “In The Groove”. “As I Get Funky” works well for your late 80s dance moves, but Ruthless Rod still holds it down on the mic. However, the best testament of his skill is on “In The Groove”. His delivery has a bit more grime to it, matching the guitars of “Dragon Attack” while he rhymes such jewels as, “Rhymes are much fresher/Knowledge of a professor/Strong vocabulary like a word processor.”
“Blowout Time”, dramatically and slowly, builds up with sinister sounds and reverb, then drops in a drum beat with a snare heavy enough to keep your VU meters in the red. MC Dollar immediately confirms just that with his opening line, “The rivalry doesn’t matter, powerful and technological sounds/Are being boosted to the maximum, now break it down/You see, I don’t even care what they say/Competition exist no more, Opposition runs away.” He then shows his smooth side on “Just 4 U”, which is pure rhythmic romance as he professes love so strong that he suggests, “People get tired of me talking about the way you love me right”.
The love cut is pulled off the reissue and replaced with the intriguingly titled, “Breaks Em Down”. I’m looking forward to cracking open my copy and checking that one out…
Coming soon: an interview with producer, Emile Augustine, and more info on Ruthless Rod & MC Dollar!
As I Get Funky: