Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • In Full Gear [Tommy Boy, 1988] B+
  • Blood, Sweat, and No Tears [Tommy Boy, 1991] Choice Cuts

Consumer Guide Reviews:

In Full Gear [Tommy Boy, 1988]
A dream of raised consciousness, "the world's only hip hop band" has teamed with Jesse Jackson on an "edu-taining" 12-inch about the frontline states, and when Wise dreams of "a woman with a realistic imagination, a woman who thinks for herself, whose thoughts are bold and free," I swear he's not euphemizing freaky sex techniques, and that he wouldn't be grossed out by them either. Problem is the mere competence that afflicts so many well-meaning bands: it's versatile of them to generate as well as sample beats, but "A.F.R.I.C.A." went nowhere musically, and Wise's smart talk is buried in a "Float On" remake even ickier than the original. Album two gets across not on ace cuts like the revolutionary credo "Freedom or Death" (Professor Griff please copy) or the sampling credo "Talking All That Jazz" (James Brown please copy), but on a camaraderie that reaches deeper than the usual homeboy bonding. How much further it can go remains to be seen. B+

Blood, Sweat, and No Tears [Tommy Boy, 1991]
"Walkin' in the Rain" Choice Cuts