March 12, 2010

My Gut Reaction: Scientifik - The Most Blunted (December 12, 2006: originally recorded in 1992)

Enough has been written on other blogs about the unresolved nature of the passing of Boston rapper Scientifik that I don't feel that I need to focus so much on it right now.  If you'd like to find out some more information, you can scour the Interweb, but I plan on focusing on the man's music once again.   I've chosen to listen to his second posthumous release, The Most Blunted, for the first time.

Recorded in 1992, The Most Blunted is oftentimes referred to as the demo tape for the late Dinitry Behrmann, although it could also be seen as the man's actual debut album.  Produced exclusively by Rhythm N---a Joe, also known as Joe Mansfield of The Vinyl Reanimators (and executive produced by his friend and fellow artist Ed O.G.), The Most Blunted is ten tracks of unadulterated hip hop, as Scientifik brings out lyrics that come across as a time capsule of the era.

The odds are pretty good that The Most Blunted was actually Scientifik's demo tape because of the difference in quality between this and his actual debut, the fantastic Criminal.  While his lyrical delivery is essentially the same, it's still hard to imagine that this is the same guy: the content of said lyrics is as narrow-minded as most rap music was back then (read: a lot of these songs are about women being treated as hos).  The beats are also more notable for the samples that were utilized than for their actual musical nature, as well: it seems that Joe beat many better-known producers to the punch, using the same snatches of songs that would later be utilized by the likes of DJ Premier and the Diggin' In The Crates crew.

In 2006, roughly six to eight months after (finally) releasing Criminal to the masses, Traffic Entertainment quietly dropped The Most Blunted to an unsuspecting audience.  I say "unsuspecting" but I really mean "uncaring", as a poor quality bootleg of the tracks found on here have been available since shortly after the man's untimely passing.  But with the Traffic release, hip hop heads could finally own cleaned-up versions of songs that Scientifik never intended for his fans to ever listen to, so there you go.

Let's see where this goes.

Already The Most Blunted sounds as if it was performed by someone different than the guy who recorded Criminal. Joe's beat isn't on par with the A-list talent that Scientifik would later surround himself with, but it still works, and the man himself sounds pretty assured on the mic, with his guest complementing him beautifully. And, as a bonus, there's no rap album intro. Score!

The beat is actually really fucking nice, but Scientifik takes on a more misogynistic persona than what is truly required for a diatribe against the woman who wronged you. He also utilizes the popular “if you're not a bitch, than I'm clearly not talking about you” argument, which doesn't really hold up in court.

Scientifik takes the tag line from a popular brand of paper towels and repurposes it as a description of how he picks up women. This track doubles as a public service announcement praising the merits of safe sex and not trusting women, as they are, apparently, evil. Curious, that. I liked the drums, but the song itself was lacking.

Scientifik seems to find women to be evil, and yet, he seems to bed a new one every night. This song was boring as shit.  Rappers certainly love to explain how easy it was to swoop in and snatch your girlfriend out from under you because you weren't getting the job done, don't they?  Scientifik takes an approach similar to fucking your wife while you're watching, enhancing each one of her multiple orgasms with high-quality Bose speakers. Meaning that he goes much further than he has to. Pass.

Joe's beat definitely doesn't sound like it will facilitate a murder, son. Neither do Scientifik's rhymes. But he sounds pretty good anyway, with hints of his later Criminal work seeding the clouds.

Scientifik spits over essentially the same beat as Nas did on Illmatic's “Memory Lane (Sittin' In The Park)”, albeit with different drums backing him up. Nasir clearly has the better song, but this is still pretty impressive nonetheless. Joe sure likes to use his Brand Nubian vocal samples, though.

Have you ever seen a Quentin Tarantino flick? Okay, stupid question, of course you have: if you haven't, then you're no friend of mine. Have you ever tried to watch all seven of Tarantino's films at the exact same time?  All of the dialogue, violence, and pop culture references would make your head explode five times over. Just like that ridiculous exercise, there is way too much going on with the beat on here. Scientifik sounds okay with the old rap standard, the weed song, but you get the feeling that even he believed he was above that material when he recorded this.

The beat reminds me of Ma$e's “What You Want”, but the subject matter is nowhere near similar: instead of a love rap for the ladies, this is more like “I'm Taking Your Girl” redux. And since I already sat through “I'm Taking Your Girl” once, I was nonplussed.

9. IT'S ON
Scientifik gets political on the only track I've heard thus far on The Most Blunted that acknowledges that there's a world outside of the man's head. And he's damn good, too. Not that his later work on Criminal was all that serious or anything, but this song proves that he was pretty versatile on the mic. Oh, and he disses Arsenio Hall, too. Yep, that's how old this recording is.

One of those songs where the title only exists to inform the chorus, regardless of context. Joe's beat was weak, and Scientifik relies on more troublesome comparisons than I prefer (a Glenn Close reference? Really?). This was a fairly ineffective way to close things out.

THE LAST WORD: The Most Blunted was never really intended for hip hop fans to consume anyway, so it's (slightly) unfair to compare this to Criminal. It's best served as a curiosity piece, a window into the mind of an artist who didn't receive enough of an opportunity to hone his craft. Joe's beats on The Most Blunted are decent enough, but the real attraction on here is Scientifik's rhymes, which sound about two proofreadings away from lyrical fire. This is dated as fuck, and not everyone will care for it, but if you consider yourself a fan of hip hop and its culture, you should give this a shot. It isn't a perfect listen, but it's worth your time, as it will leave you wondering what could have been. R.I.P. Scientifik.

BONUS VIDEOS (okay, they're not videos, just listen to the music):

Big Shug featuring Ed O.G. and Scientifik - "Official"

Ed O.G. featuring Scientifik and Big Shug - "What's The Deal"

Those three sure liked to work together, didn't they?


Scientifik – Criminal


  1. You surprised me with this one, Max. Good review. This album has a clearly dated sound, musically and lyrically, but I think it still holds up. I'm amazed that some no-name was able to find the memory lane sample before Preem. Bitch I don't need ya had a definite New York sound to it too. The next logical step, Max, would be to review Life of a Kid in the Ghetto...


    1. amazed a "no name" found the memory lane sample?? listen...records are open for anyone who finds them...not just superstar beat makers you clown

  2. Agreed 100%. It's unfortunate that he died, the man had a way with words. If only he could hone his craft like you said, the Scientifik of today, or at least one more release after Criminal, probably would have saw him as a lyrical monster. Oh well...R.I.P Scientifik.

  3. Primo used 2 samples from this album..
    Remember this one?

    Anyway..Good review Max!

  4. Good Review, but for "I Ain't The Damn One" don't you mean Joe likes to use his A Tribe Called Quest samples (The sample is Phife Dawg from "Butter")

    Anyways much respect on the Scientifik review.

    And if you feel inclined to Apache passed away this January, so maybe an Apache Ain't Shit review perhaps?

  5. the songs on this demo aren't even the originals. DJ Shame from Vinyl Reanimators said this about The Most Blunted:
    "The tracks that had samples that were already used (like the Nas "Memory Lane" joint) were not originally recorded like that. For whatever reason, Joe went back & changed some of the samples. I think the original samples were better... he shouldn't have changed them."
    Obviously you criticized beats that were remixed 14 years later. Found this here:

  6. I feel you as far as the "I aint the damn one" track, but you still gotta give Scientifik his props. He did release this album 2 years before Illmatic which featured Memory Lane on it. Perhaps Nas sampled his track, they were friends, and that's why Scientifik sampled Nas on "Criminal". Just surmising....

    The Most Blunted is a complicated beat, there should have been more consistency as far as keeping one beat to another, or balancing out the two samples. But after a couple of listens, there is some balance there - Plus reggae is kind of a crazy music anyway and combine that with some saxophane and you have a shit show, but in an entertaining way, like two women fist fighting.

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  8. Like ya reviews but let ya know Scientifik still lives through his son he's up and coming soon ya will here him verse by verse isjust stair fire