Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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3rd Bass

  • The Cactus Album [Def Jam, 1989] A-
  • Derelicts of Dialect [Def Jam/Columbia, 1991] Dud

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Cactus Album [Def Jam, 1989]
The music will have to connect like the spoken-word samples before these two get as large as they want to be. But that's not to say it's close to lame, and even without the multileveled "Spinning Wheel" loop they throw around the Beastie Boys or the cool groove of "Monte Hall," they'd be sizable on lyrics and attitude alone. Their pussy song is "The Oval Office," a metaphor so elaborate it may be the first rap inspired by John Donne, and it's not their style to forget that they're white guys moving on a militantly Afrocentric subculture. They equate white racism with leprosy, but irrelevant slanders about monkeys in the Caucasus disgust them as well--"third stage knowledge" is their program. And in case you think they take themselves too seriously, a Satchmo-voiced interlude assures them, "You got soul/Comin' out your asshole," and notes, "You're gonna work with a lot of white people think they're black." Their sexual politics are less hip, unfortunately, though dense and oblique enough to get by. Inspirational dis: "We're Professor Griff--that means we're outta here." A-

Derelicts of Dialect [Def Jam/Columbia, 1991] Dud