I always assumed I didn't have much in common with Detroit's face-painted rock rappers Insane Clown Posse, but that's changed since being tipped off to disc 2 of their album The Mighty Death Pop — Smothered, Covered, and Chunked — Red Pop, released in August.
The controversial group covers several essential late '80s, early '90s hip-hop songs from NWA, House Of Pain, MC Breed, Public Enemy, The Geto Boyz, Eazy-E and AMG.
ICP manages to personalize the songs with slight variations on track production and select lyrics (ninja is traded for n-gga), but don't abandon the songs' original sentiment and tone.
Disc 2 opens with a remake of NWA's "Prelude" from N-ggaz4Life that disses commercial radio rap and preps listeners for what's to come. The Posse takes "Jump Around" to a darker place with references to violence and sodomy, possibly as a play on the originator's name House Of Pain.
Major props to the Detroit rappers for getting former Ruthless Records artist Cold 187um from Above The Law on "Love For Dem Gangsters." The original Eazy-E song "Love 4 Dem Gangsta'z" appeared on the soundtrack for Beverly Hills Cops III. Though it's not one of the gangsta rap pioneer's most well-known songs, it's a perfect reflective pick.
The jokesters get comical, boasting of their gigolo exploits on their version of AMG's "Bitch Betta Have My Money." Then, in a surprising, abrupt shift in consciousness, they move into an impressive rendition of P.E.'s "Night Of The Living Baseheads."
ICP also offers plenty food for thought when redoing The Geto Boyz' "Mind Playin' Tricks On Me" and Willie D.'s attack on corrupt churches "Guess My Religion." But the best cover is "Ain't No Future In Your Frontin'." The song opens with a R.I.P. shout-out to the late MC Breed, a fellow Michigan MC. Afterwards, ICP follows Breed's lyrical pacing atop of those whistling G-Funk synths and Parliament sample.
Many purists will find fault in these songs being covered at all, but, from a tastemakers point-of-view alone, ICP deserves props for the solid track list.