May 10, 2009

My Gut Reaction: MC Ren - Kizz My Black Azz (EP) (June 30, 1992)

If for nothing else, former N.W.A. rapper Lorenzo Patterson, best known as either MC Ren or McRen (depending on your part of the world) can at least say with confidence that he was the first member of the legendary crew to release a solo album after the group officially disbanded. Sure, Ice Cube had him trumped by a couple of years, and even Eazy-E had already released solo material at this point, but that was all done while the crew still existed. Okay, fine, so it isn't much of an achievement, I admit (especially since Dr. Dre's The Chronic pretty much obliterated any memory of McRen when it dropped in December of 1992, six months later), but the man actually released an album, and sold over one million copies without any real promotional effort, which has to mean something.

Kizz My Black Azz was an EP release celebrating, among other things, gangsta rap, misogyny, poor spelling, and freedom from a certain N.W.A. contract that barred him from making any real money. Curiously, even after the massive fallout between Dr. Dre (McRen's right hand man in the World's Most Dangerous Group after O'Shea bailed) and label boss-slash-group leader Eazy-E, Lorenzo elected to remain with the home team, Ruthless Records, for his solo career, so only Eazy's widow knows how much money McRen actually made from a platinum-selling debut EP. The project consists of songs that were allegedly taken from MC Ren's then-forthcoming full-length offering Life Sentence, a title which he later scrapped entirely.

I have to admit that I didn't even know this disc existed until I started writing about N.W.A. I was aware of Ren's solo career thanks to "Fuck What You Heard" (from Shock Of The Hour) and from The Villain In Black, Ren's third album, which a friend of mine repeated relentlessly in his truck while I sat in the passenger seat wondering how to get him to switch over to my preference at the time, The Coming by Busta Rhymes (both albums had dropped at relatively the same time). So finding Kizz My Black Azz was surprising. However, it only consists of six tracks, so at least it shouldn't take long to hear it in its entirety. Besides, I was all about finding songs about fucking promiscuous bitches without protection, murdering punk motherfuckers, smoking ridiculous amounts of weed, getting drunk as a skunk, and performing community service to atone for my sins, because that's an average Saturday night-turned-Sunday morning for Max.

Happy Mothers Day!

1. INTRO: CHECK IT OUT Y'ALL
At least six different types of useless.

2. BEHIND THE SCENES
Although the title would imply a song about Hollywood or filmmaking in general, McRen presents listeners with a sex-crazed tale that actually has a lot going for it musically (thanks to the Bobcat production work) than most tracks of this type. While Lorenzo's story sounds more like an incestuously-fueled letter to the Penthouse Forum (also indicative of this type of track: it may as well start off with McRen saying "I never thought this could happen to me!"), at least his delivery is entertaining.

3. FINAL FRONTEIR
I believe this was the only single ever released from Kizz My Black Azz, which makes his alleged sales figures that much more impressive. Just like on "Behind The Scenes", this track sounds like Ren is rhyming to two separate instrumentals spinning at the exact same time. The song itself sounds good, but MC Ren's lyrics ultimately ring as hollow as the Keebler Elves tree, as he is saying absolutely nothing.

4. RIGHT UP MY ALLEY
Had this song been released today (instead of seventeen years ago - fuck, I feel old!), you would swear that the beat was produced by Kanye West (due to its Phil Spector-esque wall of sound). Ren's story is pretty blah at best, but right now I'm just surprised that Lorenzo was able to surround himself with some pretty good instrumentals without the assistance of a certain Andre Young.

5. HOUNDDOGZ
Look past the weird "Atomic Dog" sample (I know I am) and you'll discover a really good song. The autobiographical McRen (well, to a point: he only goes as far back to his senior year in high school, after which he joined N.W.A.) weaves a captivating rug with some perfect bon mots: the man doesn't even bother rhyming in certain parts. The only way this could have been improved upon is if the man came up with a better title.

6. KIZZ MY BLACK AZZ
Ren's "angry" song (aren't they all pretty angry, though?) takes aim at a bizarre target during his second verse: rappers who use live bands. The fuck? Were they really that much of a threat to your livelihood, Lorenzo? (He also calls for an end to singing over breakbeats, though, and I believe that is a war that we can win.) I don't believe McRen ever held enough clout to warrant a song with this title, though. Somewhere, Jadakiss (from The Lox) is pissed off that he couldn't name his last album Kiss My Ass like he wanted.

THE LAST WORD: Kizz My Black Azz is a weird hybrid of confrontational raps set to some surprisingly good music. The beats always threaten to overtake poor Lorenzo, though, which may be why he was so whiny about rappers that use live bands in the title track. None of the N.W.A. spark shines through on here, but that's for the best, as McRen was trying to prove himself as something other than one of many cogs in the machine. Overall, Kizz My Black Azz is alright; I'm not going to listen to it every day of my life or anything, but a couple of the tracks may eventually find their way onto my "Loud Ignorant Shit" playlist that I bump whenever I'm driving home from the club buzzed, as a means to stay awake.

-Max

4 comments:

  1. AnonymousMay 10, 2009

    "this track sounds like Ren is rhyming to two separate instrumentals spinning at the exact same time."

    what?

    "MC Ren's lyrics ultimately ring as hollow as the Keebler Elves tree, as he is saying absolutely nothing."

    and if you go into an album titled "kizz my black azz" and you're expecting lyrics with meaning maybe there's something wrong with you

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  2. This IS a pretty good example of a furious MC!

    Ren prooves that he can rhyme, he can spit fire on any circumstances. This EP is hardcore, just rhyming to the fullest, without taking a breath. Lyrics and music are exactly how the have to be. A must have album from the world's most underrated MC.

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  3. i think this is a buy. Because its pretty good and it is very cheap on itunes

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  4. Ren is a "Angry Nigga"

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