May 22, 2015

For The Max-Approved Mixtape: Funkmaster Flex - "Loud Hangover"



Artist: Funkmaster Flex featuring Akinyele and Sadat X
Title: "Loud Hangover"
Producer: Funkmaster Flex
Album: Funkmaster Flex Presents: The Mix Tape Volume 1(1995)

Today's song is something that grabbed my attention back in 1995 and has yet to relinquish control.  From the catchy, simple instrumental to the passionate, aggressive lyricism (from one of the participants especially), "Loud Hangover" is yet another one of those songs that has been stuck in my head for apparently twenty years.  To celebrate, today's post will present four different versions of the same song.  It's Memorial Day weekend: I'm sure a lot of you two aren't pressed for time.

"Loud Hangover", named after the label (probably) and whose chorus was inspired by "Love Hangover" by Diana Ross but is most certainly not about love, was created as one of only a toddler's handful of original tracks for radio deejay / MTV veejay Funkmaster Flex's first nationally-released album, Funkmaster Flex Presents: The Mix Tape Volume 1, distributed by the then-mighty Loud Records, home of the Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Xzibit, Tha Alkaholiks, Big Punisher, and, um, the Cella Dwellas.  For his first project, Flex took label head Steve Rifkind's money and chose to craft a thirty-seven track magnum opus featuring mostly previously-released material and newer freestyles from established acts, both in-house and elsewhere.  With the pocket change he had left over, Flex apparently chose to produce a song or two: "Loud Hangover" was one of them, and I have to say, even though he doesn't really "produce" many songs, the beat on here is pretty much golden in my book.

While the music bangs, though, the reason this song works is because of the vocals, coming from Brand Nubian's helium-pitched Sadat X and the highly-combustible Akinyele, who turns in one of the finest performances of his career.  Don't get me wrong, Sadat does just fine with his solo-career Wild Cowboy persona and awkward flow, but "Loud Hangover" belongs to the Ak, as do any possible lines you may quote from it.  This song fell in between his Large Professor-produced debut Vagina Diner and his 1996 EP Put It In Your Mouth, which rebranded him as an emcee that focused pretty much on fucking (because nobody saw that coming after the guy named his debut Vagina Diner?), so if the older hip hop heads amongst you two wish to hear Akinyele straight spit, get off at this exit, where he "stay[s] dropping jewels like the incarcerated version of Slick Rick".  Seriously, one listen to this song will leave you wondering where this particular Ak has been all your life.

The song itself is entertaining as all hell and deserves to be brought back into the spotlight.  Maybe Flex only had one or two good beats in him, but it's a good thing he managed to share this one with our chosen genre: it's ripe for a comeback on a mixtape today, if the newer rappers out even know who Funkmaster Flex is, aside from being a radio deejay that drops bomb noises all over everything.

The version that appears above is the album cut, which features all of the drops, scratching, cuts, and runbacks that one expects from an actual mixtape (and all of which a lot of people find more than a bit annoying).  I found the original, Flex-less version (he still produced it, allegedly, but you get the idea), and I have to say, while I appreciate getting a longer track with an unobstructed instrumental, the energy isn't quite there.  Flex's shouting and scratching gives Sadat X's performance an urgency he doesn't quite reach himself, and the track actually sounds a bit plain without the added annoyance factor.  Akinyele still sounds fantastic, though.  I'll let you two be the judge.



Loud Records dropped this shit as a single, most likely because they couldn't do that with any other track on the album without having to deal with the legal departments of the other various labels, so a video was commissioned.  The clip is based off of the clean album version, which means the drops, scratches, and runbacks are all present, but I noticed something different this time around.  While researching the song for today's post, I became fascinated at the fact that, while the clip is purportedly edited kind of like a mixtape, with the video played back and through again as needed, I realized that each take of Flex, Ak, and Sadat performing the opening lines from "Loud Hangover" was different, which means they must have lip-synced the track straight through, cuts and all, just like it were just a regular song.  Which makes sense: Flex does add his own special ingredient to the mix, and when this shit plays back in my own head, I tend to think of Sadat X's first verse with an entire section edited out due to the "mixing".



Finally, the last version is a remix that I had never actually heard until today.  A deejay named Allstar sunk his hooks into "Loud Hangover" and overhauled it entirely, getting crooner Yvette Michelle to perform the hook a la Diana Ross (but still with the emphasis on money, not love) and convincing both Sadat X and Akinyele to perform new verses.  Not quite as catchy as the original take, but it's an interesting diversion, and I didn't even realize it existed until now, so I'm willing to bet a lot of you two are in the same boat.



I think that's enough for today, right?  Now go enjoy your barbecues, readers in the United States.  Everyone else, um, have a nice normal two-day weekend?

Do you agree or disagree with this selection?  Discuss below.

-Max

6 comments:

  1. Thanks, I hadn't heard this one before. It's dope. I even like that remix. I'm loving these lesser-known tracks you're putting on the "mixtape."

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  2. AnonymousMay 23, 2015

    I think you gave Funk Flex too much credit for the beat, which was pretty meh to me. However, I completely agree with you on the fucking lyrics.

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  3. AnonymousMay 23, 2015

    The Allstar remix beat is infinitely better, though.

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  4. AnonymousMay 24, 2015

    Not really feeling the beat but the lyrics are sharp.

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  5. AnonymousMay 27, 2015

    Sub par at best.

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  6. Akinyele is a very good rapper that can't switch his flow to save his life, Sadat X is an average rapper but i'd rather listen to Brand Nubian over Croakyele.

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