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Monday, 5 November 2012

Quad City DJs - Get Up and Dance (1996)

I have a bit of a guilty pleasure: I love 90s pop hip-hop. And if any group embody what I look for in 90s pop hip-hop, it’s the Quad City DJs. The Miami-based duo produced a load of bass-driven funky hip-hop records with one aim: to get you off your ass and dance like a tit.

There are some songs that just inject you with a massive dose of happiness. If ever I feel miserable or just need a boost, album-opener ‘C’mon N Ride It (The Train)’ works every time. At over seven minutes long, it’s the ultimate anti-depressant. If the government are so hell bent on cutting the budget for the NHS, I’m pretty sure that doctors could prescribe a dose of ‘C’mon N Ride It (The Train)’ twice a day for a week, and I guarantee the even the most clinically sad would raise a smile and start doing the ‘choo choo’ action with their hands in time with music, as if operating the whistle of an incredibly funky stream train. The sound features a bass groove to die for: whistles, hand-claps and a mantra of ‘woo woo’ that hasn’t been used as effectively in pop since the Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy for the Devil’. ‘Work Baby Work (The Prep)’ is hip-hop electro at its best, with its deep bass-line that makes you want to own one of those bouncing cars and drive up and down the strip on Miami beach. ‘Let’s Do It’ is cheesy in the wrong way, with its nasty keyboard chimes and 909 drum machine beats. ‘Quad City Funk’ takes it old skool with some great 808 beats and rubbery bass pops that sound reminiscent of tracks like Run DMC’s ‘Tricky’ . It sounds like a song that could easily feature on the classic PS1 rhythm game Bust-a-Groove. ‘Hey DJ’ is very J-Pop, sounding like the music you’d get on some badly dubbed anime series from the late-90s featuring kids who turn into giant robots, strange talking cats and overly-sexualised schoolgirls. By ‘Stomp-and-Grind’ the formula is starting to wear a bit thin, and I find myself craving variety, or another shot of ‘C’mon N Ride It (The Train)’ ‘Summer Jam’ is pure filth: pornographic slap-bass meets the piano loop from Sister Sledge’s ‘We Are Family’ with the “woo, yeah” from Young MC’s ‘Bust-a-Move’ added in for no good reason. I hate Sister Sledge at the best of times, and with that nasty slap-bass popping over the mix, it’s all too much for any sane man to deal with - this song is horrible on so many different levels. ‘Where the Party At’ brings back memories of Fatman Scoop, as the MC barks “where the party at?” over and over. I don’t have the heart to correct his grammar to his face, but he should really be asking “where is the party?” or “where can I find the party?” or even “would it be possible for you to let me know where I can find the party, please my good Sir?” – I’m not cut out for writing hip-hop. Album-closer ‘Ride the Bass’ is a remix of ‘Cmon N Ride It (The Train)’ – it’s one of those remixes that makes you want to go back to the original, and doesn’t add anything to the original.

There are some fun songs on this album, but the album peaks early and quickly drops off a cliff. I think this is one for the charity shop. I might have to download ‘C’mon N Ride It (The Train)’ just because it is one the happiest pieces of music ever written. In fact, I think I want this one played at my funeral – I’d like to see those mourners trying to cry their way through that one.

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