Filed under: Album Reviews
Building on the groundwork laid down by Das EFX in the early ’90s, the Fu-Schnickens had a unique and distinctive style that seems to divide a hip hop audience: you either love it or hate it. With tons of pop culture references, verses built around onomatopeia and perhaps some of the fastest delivery ever recorded, the group certainly possessed flow but lacked thought-provoking content. Although the gimmicky nature of their style can grow tiresome over the course of an album, they should not be viewed as simply a novelty rap act, and there are cuts on their sophomore release that see them demonstrate their impressive mic skills over some dope beats with real flava.
K-Cut of Main Source fame and Diamond D both contribute to production on this album which, although uneven, does have some slammin’ tracks. ‘Sum Dum Monkey’ is little more than bassline, drums and horn loop at the chorus, but it has a real sense of energy and works well with the Fu-Schinickens rapid fire delivery. ‘Watch Ya Back Door’ is similarly stripped down and effective for the same reason, and the two Diamond D productions are both good, if not examples of his finest work. I also like ‘Who Stole The Pebbles’ which samples a bouncy little piano loop and heavy snare hit. ‘Nervous Breakdown’ is also the home of the group’s crossover hit ‘What’s Up Doc?’ which is a guilty pleasure for me; it’s pretty corny, but I still can’t help but nod my head to it.
Chip-Fu is without a doubt the most charismatic of the crew, taking the group’s unique style of delivery to its extreme. I remember playing this to a friend recently and she refused to believe that his verse was even physically possible, claiming that there must have been editing work done to piece the rhymes together. At times it does feel like this with Chip-Fu laughing, snorting, impersonating Bugs Bunny and chanting the Batman theme tune all within the space of a bar or two, and although it does feel a little repetitive for a whole album, you have got to admire his original and highly accomplished flow. The other two MCs also hold their own, but are ultimately overshadowed by Chip-Fu’s dexterity and ingenuity.
This is by no means a great album, but it is entertaining and enjoyable if you dip in and out of it occasionally. Given their upbeat and head-noddy vibe, these are the sort of songs that work well in a club environment and have an infectious quality that means you won’t be able to help your head boppin’ along to the beat. The Fu-Schnickens vague silliness is what should be enjoyed about them: they are an antidote to serious, hardcore hip hop that was dominant within the genre around ’94. Once you’ve heard Chip-Fu rip through 32 bars, make sure that you pick your jaw up from the floor and enjoy indulging yourself in some fun and original hip hop that has now been essentially forgotten.