MC Shy-D – Gotta Be Tough Anniversary

MC Shy D released his first studio album “Gotta Be Tough” back in 1987.  The album was released on Luke Skyywalker Records and was produced by MC Shy-D himself.

Back in 1987, The 2 Live Crew had just released “2 Live Crew Is What We Are” a year before and when this came out, I was 16 and ready to bump that Miami Bass.  I had heard “Rap Will Never Die” with the Pink Panther beat and “Shy-D is Back” where he samples the Sanford & Sons beat, so when this dropped there was anticipation.  The guy had a young sounding voice and the Miami Bass scene was starting to explode.

There are 3 tracks that I still play off this album. The first is the title track “Gotta Be Tough” where Shy-D raps over a Earth Wind & FireBrazilian Rhyme” beat and the chorus will make you hum all day long!  He even stops to give the Kings of Rock Run DMC their homage when he raps,

When I’m on the microphone you know I’m the aggressor
I can even rock harder when I’m under pressure
MC’s talk crap, but I know they fear me
Cause I’m the devastator and they cant get near me
You can try to play gig, but you have no fear
But when I grab a Mic you better beware
You try to play fly; you think you’re a leader
And I know you didn’t know that I’m a MC defeater
You can even call me Peter; you can call me Shy D
My favourite group is Run-DMC
Cause they’re the King of Rock, there is none higher
They will always rock hard till the day they retire
To burn their kingdom, you must shoot fire
It’s Run-DMC that I admire
It’s like that, and you will hear it from me
I’m talking to all you sucker MC’s
I’m the S, the H, the Y, the D
You wanna battle me, you better bring three
Cause one is not enough, you can even bring two
Bring three, four, five, cause you gonna need a crew
Case everything I say, you know its rough
I’m Shy D and I gotta tough
Now check it out… Breakdown!

The second song that is classic as spaghetti and meatballs is “We Don’t Play” where Shy D raps over a nice bass track and a nice “It’s A Shame” sample by the Spinners while DJ Man scratches up the whistle from “Just Buggin“.

You wanna put me to the test here’s something to consider/When I’m scheduled to rock I always deliver/I’ve been gone for a while but it’s to attack/they call me Shy’D and I am back/I came to this place to rock the land/And you know I’m not alone I got DJ Man/It is time to rock and we are going to rock hard/you know we always to are best cause that’s our job/so don’t get us wrong cause I’m here to say/I’m MC Shy-D and we don’t play

Yes Yes Yall” will always be my favorite MC Shy-D track.  It samples “Ike’s Mood” gorgeous piano riff just like Biz Markie did and at the end of the track we get  Shy-D 9or someone else) whistling Otis Redding’sDock of the Bay“.  I just remember playing this song on my walkman and wondering where this piano sample came from. Of course I know now that it’s a Isaac Haye’s track, but every time I hear this track (like today), it takes me to a happy time in my life when I was 16, dressing in Le Tigre shirts, Levis 501’s and Filas and Adidas.  Those were the days!

Peace to MC Shy-D!  We salute you for being a pioneer and giving us some dope tracks to bump in the ride and at the party!

-Al E.


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