Black Sheep – A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

black-sheep-wolf-in-sheeps-clothing-1-back-n-the-day-buffetBlack Sheep released their debut album, “A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing” on October 22nd 1991.  The album peaked at #30 on the Billboard Charts and is considered by many as a Hip Hop classic. The album was produced mostly by Mista Lawnge.

The album has one of the funniest opening tracks to an album ever.  “U Mean I’m Not” has Dres rapping about how gangsta he is from time he wakes up to the time the school bus comes around.  He then wakes up to find out he was just dreaming.  A dream that disses all those “hardcore” acts that were invading Hip Hop a “dime a dozen”.

Using the same bass line that BDP used on “The Bridge is Over“, Dres flows nicely on a slow beat that makes every word he says be heard clearly on every syllable.  “Butt In The Meantime” is one of those tracks that will make you smile due to the fact that both beat and lyrics flow perfectly together!

It’s times like this that I’ve gotta crack a smile
If it’s about anything, then it’s gotta be style
What happens now?
A better man can hold the mic and do the proving
Dres of the Black Sheep Yo, let’s
Get the Sheep moving
I’d like to pay a tribute, to what?
To knocking boots
I’m single and I mingle if ya jingle I play roots
But there’s another, the other
The brother on the cover
Brought along, I brought along
I brought along, Lawnge
A duo not a triomove your bootie cause I say so
Be outlasting or not busting Black Sheep not your average Joe
Now I hold a microphone, but this is what I wanted
A pocket full of punani
Better me than those that front it
Dropping bombs, lovely, make ’em jet without their Jetta
Keep fronting if you’re wanting but I bet ya the Beretta
Punctuates and exclamates, the lingo I let go
Not that it’s my style cause I, let go my ego
Be it just us, just you or just me or just who
Never am I full, gotta to get residuals
Pronto, Tonto
Was engine number nine
I’m out to get the nickels, quarters, pennies and the dimes

Have U.N.E. Pull” is one of those tracks that not only has some dope bars, but the music behind it is original and sounds like something we’ve never heard before.  They use the samples “Porquois Pas” by Michel Colombier and “The Soil I Tilled for You” by Shades of Brown to create one of the jazziest yet funky tracks off this album.

Taking a extremely popular S.O.S Band sample, “Strobelite Honey” is that jam that everybody remembers because of clever yet easy hook “I gotta go, I gotta go, I gotta go“!  Why do they gotta go?  The track is reminder than in a dark light, everyone is beautiful!

I skipped the line, I paid my dime
I hung my coat, and now it’s time
To move to the forefront make my rounds
Say peace and give a pound have a drink, get down
I’m on the floor, besides the door
The sound is rich, and I ain’t poor
I’m looking for Susie or Wendy or Judy
But look at her (but look at her)
But look at her
(Who me?)
Yes, you sweetie, although it’s hard to see thee
I see your silhouette and what I see has got me needy
I need you for a second of your time
But then I reckon that a second is too short let me try
(You’re slamming!)
But anyway, I’d like to say
I’m Dres of the Black Sheep givin’ you play
Step out in the light, come show off yourself
Yo, I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else

Black Sheep go after the “wack rappers” in their track “To Whom It May Concern” where Mista Lawnge spits these dope yet very true bars,

I’m sick and tired of rappers not real
And suckers makin’ it with a pop feel
Labels signin acts for nuff bills
Tax write off, cause you have no skills
You go make a demo
Get a deal and start to sprout
Gold, platinum, and then start sellin out
You get a Benz and trash the Nova
Double platinum, and start crossin over
Then you get fall, I won’t give examples
HINT HINT, they use the same old samples
But not the Sheep
For we are sleek and unique
Top of the peak and others are weak
Follow the words I speak
The situation is bleak
But this is the fly shit that you seek
When the style is dope
Mista Lawnge’sa participator
If you wanna battle, later
Cause Black Sheep are certified greater than…
But, I said later man
‘I can dig it’

By the time you get to “Similak Child” you start getting the notion that this album is a certified classic!  The beats are dope and innovative and both Dres and Mista Lawnge drop some serious verses and of course some hilarious ones.  The balance is perfect and keeps the hardcore Hip Hop fan happy for hours on end.

The first time I heard these guys was on “Flavor of the Month” and I remember losing my mind over this track.  When was the last time you heard a dope flute sample? This track is “Tha Shiznit“!  (See what I did there?)  Lyrically, Dres kills it with bars that only Dres can produce.  His metaphors for flavors of women is infectious and makes you rethink how dope MC’s were back in the day (like the Buffet).

So you got the fever for the flavor of the other
Chocolate, sasspirilla, or is it you like another
Flavor in my socks, to the curly locks
Black Sheep rolling hard and knocking peons out the box
Never have I ever never ever felt much better
Did the whole nine, on the tenth I was no wetter
Ready and I’m eager, eager as a beaver
On the radio and good to go says your receiver
Not to be the boldest or the oldest nor the wackest
Neither am I needest or the newest or the blackest
Just a brown fellow who’s not afraid of Jello
To the people of the world I would like to say G’day
Had to wait a while but the while has been waited
Never gave up hope in myself nor debated
Didn’t shed a tear when I wasn’t picked
Cause I got a cone now, want a lick?

 

Lastly, everyone remembers this album for one reason.  “You can get with this or you can get with that” is what everybody was asking back in 91-92. “The Choice is Yours” made you go looking for this cd in the record store!  I liked it from the start, but after a while I got tired of the track.  Fast forward 20 years later, they are using this track to sell cars.  Hip hop hamsters?  At least it revived this dope group and made people look them up again and maybe sell some more albums.

This album is a certified classic no doubt.  I just wished that they would’ve had a longer career.  When you have a track like “Pass the 40” where they pass the mic to Chi Ali and even Chris Lighty and Dave Gossett drop verses, you know this album is one of a kind!  It holds up nicely throughout the years and will always be remembered as one of the dopest debut albums in Hip Hop history!

Congrats Mista Lawnge and Dres!!!

-Al E.

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