May 19, 2015

For The Max-Approved Mixtape: Rampage - "Wild For Da Night"

Artist: Rampage featuring Busta Rhymes
Title: "Wild For Da Night"
Producer: Backspin The Vibe Chemist
Album: Scout's Honor... By Way Of Blood (1997)

Early Sunday morning I found myself driving home from a party, having taken in a lot of alcohol but feeling no effects whatsoever.  I'm not trying to brag here: I honestly was trying to get drunk, or at least get a good buzz going, but you know how you can be having a good time and enjoying yourself, but then something weird happens, and while it doesn't ruin the night, it sobers you up very quickly and then, no matter how much you drink, you just won't feel it?  Maybe that's just me, but that's pretty much what happened.  Anyway, while I was driving home, I happened upon a French Montana song on Shade 45 that I had never heard of called "Off The Rip", which I later found out is pretty brand new.  It features a cameo from Noreaga, riffing on his own "Bloody Money", which led me to believe that, at one point, the song was probably a glorified freestyle that took place over that Capone-N-Noreaga classic, and a guest verse from Chinx Drugz.  Now, I've never followed the guy's career path: I've only heard him on, like, two other songs, one of which probably featured Frenchy (since they ran together frequently) and something with Wale that I forget at the moment.  But aside from his fucking terrible rap name, I thought he was alright; I thought maybe he could become something a little bit bigger.  When I finally woke up later that morning, exhausted and dehydrated (just because I felt no pain from the liquor doesn't mean it wasn't still fucking with me), I read Twitter and immediately find out that Chinx was killed in a drive-by shooting that same morning.  At best, this was an extremely weird coincidence, but not one anyone ever likes to see happen.  It's a fucked-up story, and I feel for the man's family.  All the guy was trying to do was make something of himself.  R.I.P.

Alas, this story isn't actually about Chinx Drugz (I try not to speak ill of the deceased, but really, that's the best nickname he could come up with?), but about what "Off The Rip" reminded me of: the beat, um, rips off the instrumental for the best Rampage The Last Boy Scout song ever created, "Wild For Da Night", the first single from his debut album, the awkwardly-named Scout's Honor... By Way Of Blood (really, that's the best album title he could come up with?).  The dramatic piano loop, coupled with the simple drums, is just one of those beats that never truly leaves my head; it'll lie dormant for a while, but then pop up at random moments, and I just never get tired of it.  It's that good.

"Wild For Da Night" is possibly the one Rampage song that features an entirely different lyrical delivery method from the host, as he speaks in an authoritative, hushed tone that forces the listener to take him seriously, even as he says goofiness such as "shittin' Ex-Lax on hot tracks", a sentence that doesn't make much sense, unless he's trying to say that the laxative just passed straight through him without ever taking effect.  Every other track of his I'm familiar with features an excitable, shout-y flow, most likely inspired by his much more popular cousin, Busta Rhymes, who performs the hook on "Wild For Da Night" with a combination of combustible and whisper-y flows to great effect.  Since I haven't really given a shit about Rampage since (and really, who has?), it's entirely possible that this is now just his normal rapping voice, kind of like how The RZA switched things up shortly after the first Gravediggaz project, but I don't care to find out more right now.

"Wild For Da Night" sounds pretty much like a Busta Rhymes song from the mid-1990s, which was by design, since Rampage was offered a deal at the same label, Elektra, and his executive producers went out of their way to make Scout's Honor... By Way Of Blood sound like a Busta Rhymes album, going so far as to use the same producers and even including radio-friendly songs for the ladies, which ultimately didn't matter, because the album sucks.  But this one song would not exist if it weren't for that album, so maybe it's not a total loss.

"Wild For Da Night" has the perfect beat for shit-talking, and Rampage doesn't waste it: as I mentioned above, this is the best song he has created, and most likely the peak of his career.  So what if the rest of his shit is (probably) terrible?  So what if you still find yourself hoping that Busta Rhymes will spit an actual verse, even though this shit was recorded eighteen years ago and it would be physically impossible for it to somehow change now?  This shit still works today, and it's enjoyable as hell.  Accept it for what it is, and you'll be fine.

Because this was a single, an official video was released for the radio edit, although someone swapped it out with the album version for the clip I found.  My favorite aspect of the video is the presence of Q-Tip (of A Tribe Called Quest) as a part of Rampage's minor entourage, specifically the part where it appears that he and Busta engage in the Kid 'N Play dance in the background while Rampage is lip-syncing his words.

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


Rampage - Scout's Honor... By Way Of Blood (review) (which I just realized is a Drink Coaster, that shit is old)


  1. AnonymousMay 19, 2015

    i don't feel nearly as strongly about this beat or rampage's performance as you do, but it's not bad. i actually downloaded this album a long time ago, probably for the lord have mercy cameo, but never got around to listening to it. maybe someday. that buckwild remix of beware of the rampsack (was that the best name he could come up with?) from '94 was nice as hell, though.

  2. Shit, that cover is so creepy

  3. Hate to correct you, Max. But, history lesson: The producer of this song is actually an old LONS affiliate named Backspin The Vibe Chemist. He's the one behind LONS's good songs and also my absolute favorite Busta track, "Flipmode Squad Meets Def Squad". Along with the horseshit that is "Hot Fudge"..

    1. Correct all you want: I want to get the info right. The post has been updated to reflect that. Besides, it doesn't take away from the music itself; the beat still knocks.

    2. That, it does, my friend.

      I also believe Rampage did an amazing job on Flipmode Meets Def. Plus, I didn't mind him on the early Flipmode posse cuts, one of which was on Rampage's own album. THAT track was produced by DJ Scratch.

  4. I prefer Onyx - See you in Hell

    Sticky kills it, no surprise

    1. I have no complaints, but I prefer Rampage, oddly. When I read that title I originally thought of this song, though:

      Which is apparently a sequel to the original freestyle? Anyway, this one originally appeared as a freestyle entitled "Freestyle" on the Survival Of The Illest bonus disc that came with DMX's It's Dark And Hell Is Hot, I believe. Sticky kills this one, too.

    2. Ah yes, on pt 2 they rhyme over Tragedy Khadafi's 'Illuminati' beat.

  5. Don't drink and drive Max!

  6. SicariiDCMay 20, 2015

    One of my favorite songs. Love the beat, love the song, love the video. That staircase house party shit. Q Tip and Busta acting a fool. Shits just classic

  7. I like some of the new stuff too in hip hop, but I really miss the 1990s sound, and the videos were so crazy and colourful at the time (especially Busta's. But then again, they actually had way larger financial means to make them).
    Anyway, that beat is pretty flawless, dramatic and evocative. 'ts a shame the rest of Rampage's work never really matched that level though.

  8. AnonymousMay 25, 2015

    One thing I particularly enjoy is finding the sources of samples by the DJ Premiers & the Pete Rocks. Case in point, this beautiful grimy ass song.