In 1993, Ruthless Records was reeling from the defection of in-house producer Dr. Dre. After he had accused label owners Eric "Eazy-E" Wright and Jerry Heller of stealing his share of the profits from all of the albums N.W.A. sold, in addition to his royalties from his work on other Ruthless projects from Above The Law and The D.O.C., he strongarmed himself out of his contract with the label (thanks to the muscle provided by Marion "Suge" Knight"). 1993 saw the release of The Chronic, Dre's solo debut under his new label, Death Row Records, and on his way to superstardom, he made a fresh enemy out of his former bandmate Eazy-E. Eric responded as well as one would expect: he focused on dis tracks that decimated Andre Young's character. But in 1993, Ruthless Records made a different kind of move: they...signed two Jewish rappers from the Los Angeles area? The hell?
Blood Of Abraham, made up of rappers Benjamin "Benyad" Mor and David "Mazik" Saevitz, found themselves signed to Ruthless Records as a part of the label's new initiative, intended to broaden the company's overall horizon. (This is also part of the reason why the label signed the Atban Klann.) They became known for the unapologetic manner in which they proudly displayed their Jewish heritage in their rhymes, which still included more than enough curse words to make everybody happy.
However, their debut, Future Profits, hit store shelves just a little bit over eighteen years ago (hey, it's now old enough to vote!) amid not a sea of controversy, but one of indifference: Wikipedia seems to indicate that Blood Of Abraham's debut album didn't sell very well because the general hip hop climate was against white rappers in 1993, but I believe the opposite is the case: I feel that our chosen genre was wholly accepting of white rappers, as long as they were good with theirs behind the mic. No, I believe that Benyad and Mazik fell through the cracks because of their output specifically.
But is that a fair assessment? We'll see.
1. FUTURE PROFITS (INTRO)
Yet another rap album intro for the hip hop canon. I suppose its jazzy sound and religious leanings will put you in the right state of mind, but that's only if you actually listen to it. Which I wouldn't recommend.
2. THIS GREAT LAND DEVOURS (FEAT. JUNIOR P.)
The first song on Future Profits sets the stage for the listener, as Benyad and Mazik deliver their message (saying that their rhymes are all, "Hey, we're Jewish, and we like to rap! Oy vey!" would be a brash oversimplification, but still) over a jumping, reggae-tinged instrumental (one that is punctuated by the efforts of guest star Junior P.). Our hosts don't sound bad by any means, but I fail to hear anything mind-blowing or groundbreaking, or at least anything that would have caused Eazy-E to jump at the chance to sign them. (Maybe the business decision was all Jerry Heller?)
3. SOUTHERN COMFORT
I wasn't expecting to make the following comparison, but this stunt month has both weakened me and has left me no choice: "Southern Comfort" is essentially Blood Of Abraham's version of the Insane Clown Posse's "Your Rebel Flag" from the year prior, in that both groups go out of their way to attack racist rednecks, although the guys in the clown makeup took the more extremist route, obviously. The hook on here is godawful, but the rest of this shit wasn't bad: Bret Mazur's beat was actually pretty fucking good. The guys ride all over it like a child rolling his new Christmas-gifted wheels around the neighborhood, which is somehow supposed to indicate a compliment.
4. STICK TO YOUR OWN KIND
Blood Of Abraham is all about the positive messages and equality, so it makes sense that they would attack segregation and those who oppose interracial relationships, even though, given how many different nationalities make up our respective genetic heritages these days, we're all basically products of interracial relationships, so can all of the hatemongers shut the fuck up already? Sadly, this song doesn't hold up very well today (and probably didn't help move any units in 1993, either): the instrumental is annoying as shit, as is the sample that makes up the grating chorus (I assume it's a vocal sample, as the credits don't list any guest vocals). Moving on...
5. THAT OL' DUPREE SHIT
In an alternate universe, Blood Of Abraham originated in New York and not California, and they caught the ears of the Native Tongues instead of one of gangsta rap's godfathers. In that particular timeline, "That Ol' Dupree Shit" would be their first single, and it would be a moderate success, boosting the duo's profile while hip hop heads waited for their debut album, which promised guest cameos from the likes of Q-Tip and the Jungle Brothers. Well, we're not living in that world, we're in this one, so what the folks who actually bought Future Profits received was a quick reprieve from the reggae-alternative schtick the boys wrestle with, as Bret Mazur gives our hosts a dope instrumental for them to run rampant over. This is the best track on Future Profits thus far, although to be fair, that isn't saying much.
6. I'M NOT THE MAN
I loved Bret Mazur's beat on here: it sounded very smooth, relaxing, and would make for a perfect score for a late night contemplative drive. I couldn't tell you much about the lyrics, though: aside from a random shout out for Hebrew National hot dogs, none of the lines on here were memorable in the least. It is what it is.
7. FATHER OF MANY NATIONS
Benyad and Mazik devote an entire track to the Biblical patriarch Abraham, who is considered to be the forefather of many tribes and a unifying factor in most of our backgrounds (if you believe in that sort of thing). It's an interesting concept: not exactly one I would get behind, but one that is something different, at least. So it's too bad that Blood Of Abraham fail to do much with it. Donny Nguyen and Bret Mazur collaborate for one epic failure of an instrumental, one that moseys on down the hallway checking its messages on its cell phone, walking incredibly slowly but still managing to swerve directly in front of you when you're attempting to pass, while our hosts unleash verses that are impeccable in their earnestness and their non-stickiness. And, of course, this is the longest song on Future Profits. Go figure.
8. DEVILS GET NO DAP (FEAT. RAFIKI CAI)
Starts off with some annoying-as-shit spoken word provided by the guest star, but quickly shifts gears into an actual entertaining track, one that doesn't have much of a West Coast feel but bangs nonetheless. (I actually get more of a Beatnuts vibe from Bret Mazur's beat, which is impossible, considering that the Beatnuts weren't even really much of anything back in 1993. Weird.) Benyad and Mazik rock the hard-hitting instrumental with confidence, so even though the hook is fucking awful and actually tears the song down several notches, this still wasn't a complete waste of your time.
9. 3-2-1 CONTACT
What the hell was this shit?
10. STABBED BY THE STEEPLE
And another song with an actual message (sort of) falls by the wayside, thanks to its ineffective sound.
11. ANOTHER NAIL IN THE COFFIN
Benyad and Mazik flow over this instrumental like water, which turns things around for Future Profits, after having suffered a two-track crisis of conscience that helped it sound fucking terrible. "Another Nail In The Coffin" is a quickie, in that our hosts spit their bars and get the fuck out of the way, so there isn't anything bad to really say about the track. I don't know if I would go out of my way to find Future Profits just to listen to it, though.
"Life" is the shortest actual song on Future Profits, and it contains one of its finest beats. Just like the previous track, Benyad and Mazik take to it like Mr. Burns and a shiny penny laying on the sidewalk, so there isn't really anything objectionable to hear on this song, either. But "Life" feels extraordinarily soulless, as neither of our hosts give the listener any memorable lyrics, making listening to it (and, by proxy, all of Future Profits) an incredibly disconnected experience. It's little wonder that Ruthless Records made no money off of these guys.
13. NIGGAZ AND JEWZ (SOME SAY KIKES) (FEAT. EAZY-E & WILL 1X)
I chose to let that song title fly uncensored because this track is allegedly an attempt to build a dialogue between the African and Jewish communities, both of whom have seen their own form of oppression and hatred, and from an editorial standpoint, it wouldn't have read very well if two of the words were blocked out. (This will be one of the only times I'll bend that rule, so enjoy it now.) This also ends up being one of the best songs on all of Future Profits, but only, and I mean only, because of Benyad and Mazik's label boss Eazy-E, who unleashes one of the finest and funniest performances of his career ("Run! / 'Cause I'm the motherfucker with the gun!"), and I say that even though he uses the track as an opportunity to briefly attack Death Row Records, which doesn't make much sense within the song's context. This song is also notable for featuring a dialogue sample from an actual speech given by a member of the Ku Klux Klan (who probably won't receive any royalties, so take that, motherfucker!), and also the first recorded vocals from Will 1X, better known as will.i.am of The Black Eyed Sellouts, although back in 1993 he was representing the Atban Klann. Our hosts find themselves lost in the shuffle, and as such, this track didn't go very far in bringing these two diverse groups together. But hey, we got an insane Eazy verse out of it, so it's not all bad news.
14. LOOSE INTERPRETATION OF THE END (OUTRO)
This shit finally ends, but not without a fight.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Blood Of Abraham's Future Profits is unique in that it deserves to be listened to, but in a historical context only. Benyad and Mazik serve as competent emcees, delivering their positive messages and threats to those who challenge them with enough ease to prove that they are obviously students of the genre. However, even though the album deserves to be listened to, that doesn't mean that it's any good. Confused yet? Allow me to explain: the main reason that anybody even gave a fuck about Blood Of Abraham back in 1993 (and by "anybody", I mean about ten people, as that's about how many copies of Future Profits that actually sold) is because of the Ruthless Records connection: it dropped the same year as Dr. Dre's The Chronic, so hip hop fans were curious to hear what any of the output from Eazy-E's record label sounded like. Blood Of Abraham capitalized on this serendipitous timing, recording fourteen tracks filled with messages of equality and massive hints of Jewish mysticism and such. But while the songs sound decent enough, they also sound generic enough to make the listener feel that they've heard it all before. Future Profits simply didn't stand out in the crowded hip hop field, and the project, and the career of Blood Of Abraham, suffered for it.
BUY OR BURN? I believe Future Profits is worth hearing at least once, but you don't necessarily have to spend your hard-earned cash on it. Try the songs listed below on for size, and make your decision from there. You won't be penalized either way.
BEST TRACKS: "Niggaz and Jewz (Some Say Kikes)" (Eazy-E verse only); "That Ol' Dupree Shit"