Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Schoolly-D: Saturday Night [Jive, 1987]
Maybe two of the three new cuts on this fattened major-label reissue are weak, but liberals will certainly be heartened by "Housing the Joint"'s explicit denial of those "racism" rumors. Me, I don't give a shit one way or the other, because even though the subtlety would be lost on me if he held a .357 to my head or gang-banged my bitch in the back room, I'm certain that the secret fascination this professional B-boy holds for white critics isn't just his exotic brutality, which he certainly makes the most of--"motherfucker" is such a rhythmic word. It's his intimations of vulnerability--not L.L. Cool J's romantic shit, but something wryer and stupider. What other rapper would write a rhyme about the night his mother pulled a gun on him--or make it so clear that, just like in West Side Story, he's depraved on account of he's deprived. This doesn't speak too well of white critics, obviously, but it also doesn't take away his raps, his rips, or his muscleman groove. Docked a notch for gang-banging a bitch in the back room. B