April 1, 2009

MC Skat Kat - The Adventures of MC Skat Kat & The Stray Mob (1991)

When Emeril Lafontane was abandoned in a back alley inside a cardboard box that once housed a microwave oven, he was indistinguishable from any other cartoon cat you may have come across. He was dirty, ridden with fleas, and a Communist, but his smile beamed from six towns away. So it wasn't much of a surprise when he made his way to California to ignite his rap career.

Emeril first discovered hip hop the natural way: in a dumpster located directly behind a record store. Here, he was exposed to the likes of Whodini, Boogie Down Productions, the Fat Boys, and DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, none of which informed his later style. Once a friendly (if not entirely cautious) young lad taught Emeril how to write down his thoughts using a pen and paper, and not feces on a brick wall, he adopted the nickname MC Skat Kat, which was given to himself by himself.

MC Skat Kat started off small, but had big dreams. He attended open mic nights at local clubs with alarming regularity, alarming in that animals weren't usually condoned in this environment. He formed a posse, the Stray Mob, and sold his debut album, Kat-tharsis, out of the trunk of Ed Begley Jr.'s car, who he had met during his side work for an environmental nonprofit. However, he didn't manage to move many units, as most folks are conditioned to not pay attention when a cartoon cat is begging you for money.

However, one of these tapes managed to find their way into the office of Paula Abdul's business manager. The former Laker Girl, who had her own up-and-coming music career to attend to, liked what she heard, and invited MC Skat Kat to duet with her on "Opposites Attract", a song that was originally intended to explore how different types of people become romantically linked with one another, but just ended up being another song about magnets. Emeril also appeared in the memorable music video, and although he ended up being outshined in the dance department by his gracious host, he was still able to reap the rewards of stardom.

Sadly, just three short years later, MC Skat Kat was found in a hotel room on the Las Vegas Strip, dead from a heroin overdose. As an orphaned animated kitty, he was hardly able to afford black market drugs such as those, so his success was determined to be the cause. As a result, all celebrities, animated or otherwise, were immediately stripped of all of their illicit narcotics, and no famous people ever died from abusing drugs ever again.

Before his tragic passing, though, MC Skat Kat was able to record his major label debut, The Adventures of MC Skat Kat & The Stray Mob. He was never able to truly enjoy the success that a triple-platinum rap album promises, though that may simply be because nobody even knew about this album's existence.

Until now.

Serves as an effective intro to the overall concept of this album: you see, an animated feline can have skillz behind the mic, y'all! Skills with a "z", even! The music on here sounds like "opening credits" hip hop: I half expected some words advising the folks around me about the casting director of the movie which is my life to appear superimposed on the wall behind me. I was actually a bit sad when that didn't happen.

You just know that, had this project not been aimed at the Burger King Kids Club audience, the title would have been altered to "I Ain't No Pussy". Still, it is a bit early on for MC Skat Kat to suffer from a crisis of identity, forcing him to extrapolate on absurd gangsta cliches and sound like virtually every other rapper ever.

Yes, somebody was actually paid to write and perform this diatribe against ugly chicks. Even for animated characters, this shit is kind of abrasive. I suppose the twist ending is meant to justify all of the misogynist talk, but, um, yeah, that shit doesn't fly in 2009. Hell, it didn't even really get off of the ground in 1991.

The closest thing to a DJ Premier boom-bap production on this album, had Primo been replaced with a producer who only focused on beats per minute and horrible samples, and if the boom-bap were abandoned entirely. (MC Skat Kat is a West Coast emcee, so I guess that makes sense, except that it doesn't.) My question is this: the title of the album implies that MC SKat Kat's crew of weed carriers is a part of the project: where the fuck are they?

That title is most fucking ridiculous (and hilarious) name of a rap song that I have ever heard this week. The beat may have been more effective had it incorporated the sound of slot machines clanging about, but whatever. Oddly, this track is much more melancholy that you would expect, contrasting gambling at the casino (any casino, it really doesn't matter) with the "life of a player". Clever, right?

MC Skat Kat makes it a point to emphasize that what he does is called "rappin'" and not "rapping", as many have mistakenly believed. Clearly, there must be a distinction. Throw in a few derogatory terms aimed at the bitches (or even the female dogs, if that's your preference) and this would sound like some shit you would hear on the radio. Back in fucking 1991.

I fear that more money was spent on securing the rights to the sample used on here than was allocated to have several actual artists proofread the lyrics before they were laid onto the track. Apparently, this video was super-fucking-popular on MTV upon its release, but even if that fact is true, it still sounds like a lie. Paula Abdul appeared in the video for this, but then promptly danced her way out of our hero's life. I'd like to think that Emilio Estevez had a hand in that action.

As these so-called "stories" unfold (it just sounds like MC Skat Kat recounting his weekend), he manages to actually kill a guy. That would certainly make him a lot more hardcore that, say, Hammerman. He at least has more bodies on his conscience than Vanilla Ice and Soulja Boy.

This shit probably played at your sixth-grade dance and you just didn't know it. Or care. This isn't actually that bad today, but it helps if you choose to ignore the lyrics altogether.

We would have also accepted a cover of Flesh For Lulu's "I Go Crazy", from the Some Kind of Wonderful soundtrack. I cannot believe that film was made specifically to appease the fans of Pretty In Pink who were upset that Molly Ringwald's character didn't end up with Duckie. He was played by Jon fucking Cryer, people! Of course he didn't get the girl! But I digress. besides, Sixteen Candles is a far superior film, if only for John Cusack's air guitar. What do you mean, I didn't talk about the song?

On here, MC Skat Kat distances himself from the Paula Abdul Express, claiming that he only appeared in the video because he got motherfucking paid. Kind of like Royce da 5'9" and that Willa Ford track he (questionably) made a cameo on. Straight up, now tell me if anybody ever gave a fuck about the street credentials of a cartoon cat (one that isn't Garfield, anyway).

This takes waaaaaaaaaaay too long to get going. It's about damn time he put his baggage handlers on, but it's too little, too late. Also, none of them are appealing in any fashion, animated or real life.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The Adventures of MC Skat Kat & The Stray Mob certainly fills the void between pop rap and actual, respected hip hop. The sound is a bit dated now, but, lyrically, Emeril is a powerhouse that was able to successfully utilize all of the possible connotations of the word "cat", and twist them to his whim. Paula made a mistake when she left this guy behind; I mean, seriously, what the fuck is she doing these days?

BUY OR BURN? It may be hard to find a copy of this disc, since it's been out of print since three days after it was released, but it is well worth the hunt. A cursory search on Amazon.com finds at least two used copies available for sale: that may be a good place to start.

BEST TRACKS: "So Sweet So Young"; "New Kat Swing"; "Kat In The Casino"



  1. Lil' VenkiApril 01, 2009

    Dayum!!! It's about time someone paid tribute to the Kat that started it all!

    Seriously, this is fucking ridiculous.

  2. What happened to the c-box?

  3. Now you're reviewing shit like this just to piss me off right? I mean MC Skat Kat? really max? really!?
    Anyway, I think you shitted on this album waaaaaaay more than on Nas God Son and you still recommended a buy...I know you prefer Jay-z, but still! Don't hate on NaS Max...I heard that's bad karma

  4. I may be a Jay-Z stan, but did you even try clicking the link to purchase the MC Skat Kat album?

  5. Comedic brilliance, Max. Damn, I love this site.

  6. Nice one Max!!

    But get off my dick already.

  7. No, actually I haven't...I like to buy my albums from an actual person so I never click on the links...but why are you trying to make me click on the link...on april 1st? something's fishy here...it's a april fools/rick roll isn't it?

  8. Thanks for the April Fool's review. I don't know why, but I actually have this cassette somewhere. I'm too ashamed to look for it though.

  9. hey max, i sent u a album reveiw on commons Be, did u get it?

  10. You gotta be shittin' me, Max.

  11. Garfield should have made an album and done a duet with Guru. He could have seriously put him out of the business.

  12. I wonder, if he had died a day after that Paula Abdul song became a hit,I wonder if he would be on 2pac,Eazy-E's and Biggies level of overrated-ness. Anyway it was a good read.

  13. no more c box?? this site is gonna lose alot of readers without that hilarious c box

  14. Garfield is str8 puss, Bucky Katt is the big dog

  15. Hey max, come check out my new website!! and can u help me get some readers??

    Thanx in advance,