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"A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing" came in 1992 as the debut album from Black Sheep, a New York duo, of Dres and Mista Lawnge, who strangely met in North Carolina. Although still together, their work isn't really hear today, however the classic break of "Engine, engine number nine"; heard in Fatman Scoop's "Be Faithful" came from them, adn it keeps their lagacy going. They perform an alternative style of Hip Hop, just as others affiliated with the Native Tongues Posse, and originally made a statement by mocking the Gangsta Rap movement.
2. "U Mean I'm Not"
For this one you get them starting it all off by really displaying why they are so different from the rest of those out there as you get them mocking how things have turned towards having a prevalence of Gangsta rappers in the Hip Hop world and Dres plays out the type of life that you would expect from a person of this description; being angry at everything and shooting people randomly.
3. "Butt...in the Meantime"
For this one you have Dres coming with a laid-back flow to show that he is able to dominate the thing, even when it appears that he's not really trying it. It is something fresh, and the tune shows the confidence of them, even when they are attempting something quite different to people's expectations of what should be done in a East Coast Hip Hop album at the time.
4. "Have U.N.E. Pull"
Parliamnet-Funkadelic's "Sir Nose D'Voidofffunk" is one of my favourite old school Funk grooves, and here Black Sheep use it to make a killer Hip Hop joint, as you get with the whole album. As with pretty much every track on this record you have Dres flowing for it, and Mista Lawnge making the beats, and this seems to work for the whole thing. For this one they go for the predictable and do the nursery rhymes associated with their name, but at least they get it over with early on.
5. "Strobelite Honey"
This one has them do an exicting one, and I belive that this boost in energy is down to the fact that they take on some material from the S.O.S. band, and it really has you grooving along to the joint as they flow. It is a killer cut from the album, and has them change up their approach for a short while. You can't find a flaw in a tune like this as they keep things varied, and move you with each twist.
6. "Are You Mad?" (Lude)
7. "The Choice is Yours"
This is the original to the more popular cut from them. It is revisited at the end of the album, and this one is a lot less energetic to the one which you find later on. Although the lyrics are familiar, with this simpler version of it, you feel refreshed by the less familiar production.
8. "To Whom it May Concern"
Fuzzy Haskins of Funkadelic, MC Ricky D and Luther Vandross are just a few who where used in this one to motivate the producer in amking his beats fresh, and it leads to the thing being highly varied in where the influences have come from in terms of taking on lots of classic material from all of where Hip Hop producer tend to borrow from: Funk, Old School Hip Hop, and Soul (respectively).
9. "Similak Child"
This one begins in a very different way to what is genreally expected from a track from them, even when it is known how different to most Hip Hop acts, but the gentle way it started sets it up as a kind of boring one, and persoanlly I felt that that the way it went fom here kept it on the same level and the lyrics didn't really excite me either. To me, it was quite obviously the worst of the album due to the lack of energy.
10. "Try Counting Sheep"
This one has them manipulate their name once again, and using it effectively in a way where we wouldn't become annoyed about it (since their keep the refereneces to a minimum throughout the album. I thought that this one on improved on the tune before it slightly, and so it wasn't all that good comparitively, but this little dip in standard can be ignored.
11. "Flavor of the Month"
This is a hard Hip Hop jam from them, and it has them getting right into the swing of things with more obscure breaks being utilised, and then having them brought into the modern day with some relavent jazzy beats from Mista Lawnge as he comes with jingling percussion which livens things up. It is generally well done, and quite representatitive of the album as a whole.
12. "La Ménage"
Q-Tip, then of A Tribe Called Quest, joins the duo in Black Sheep, and I felt as though his presence in the thing was exactly what was required to take things to another level. I noticed that Dres managed to flow with some rhymes from old Run-D.M.C. material, and he was able to adapt this stuff to a completely different subject matter. Mista Lawnge even steps up to MC on this one too, and the short appearance is valued.
13. "L.A.S.M." (Lude)
14. "Gimme the Finga"
This is one of the many times on the album where you get Dres just killing it with his flow, and the way he does thing makes you take notice as he does things like no other, and really makes things work with his innovative style of delivery. What is said may not have much substance, however the way he does it ensures that you know that he has skills in this field, and lives up to the reputation of the Native Tongues.
15. "Hoes We Knows"
Bill O'Reilley would have something to say about this with how many times they use the word 'ho' in the album, and this one has them got at this to the fullest on this joint as you get Dres taking on the responisbility as the leader on it and Mcs about his relationships with girls, and how he feels that his past experiences have justified his decision to call all girls this.
16. "Go To Hail" (Lude)
17. "Black With N.V."
Dres goes at this one hard as you hear him taking on something a lot more conscious and the lyrics are much more meaningful than the often funny raps from him. Mista Lawnge chooses just the right samples to acoompany him, and it leads to some great results from them as they bring all together to show that thery are not only able to bring you in with something humerous, but alsso address real issues.
18. "Pass the 40"
The way that Dres flows on this one is incredible, and it makes this one one of the best on the album as he just kills it with his variation in tempo to experiment with what exictes his listeners. It would appear that he has already attained this knowledge as he gets into it confidently and dominates. A range of other MCs join Dres on this one, and it makes it more engaging than a lot of the rest.
19. "Blunted 10"
You get an experimental one in this case as you hear the apir coming together for a very diffenrent one as Mista Lawnge takes on the role of the vocal percussionist and beatboxes the thing as Dres comes with a pure Hip Hop flow. It is a banger of a tune, and acts as a short break in the material to show that they can do more than the traditional work.
20. "For Doz that Slept" (Lude)
21. "The Choice Is Yours" (Revisited)
This is a classic track from them, and where the whole "Engine, engine number nine" part came form. If is a fresh one, and in comparison to the original it is a baner of a cut as they take things a stage further with lots of additional samples, and just a generally exicte delivery. If you don't chck the whole album, at least give this one a try.
Ending the album off we have a tune which has them just letting out any addition energy they have on this epic album. They choose to come with more jazzy stuff with lots of horns and just a general feeling of freshness as they coming which the Native Tounges made their own at the time when they were most successful. The humerous lines come through on this one too, and it finalises things well.
This is a strong album from the duo that is Black Sheep and I'm sure that if you like the sounds of their lead single, "The Choice Is Yours" (Revisited), ten there will be many on the album that you will feel the same way towards. Even with such a long album, the quality on dips a little on a couple of occasions. As opposed to other alternative Hip Hop albums, I wouldn't say this is amongst the best, but it's up there.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Butt in the Meantime
2 Have U.N.E. Pull
3 Strobelite Honey
4 Are You Mad?
5 Choice Is Yours
6 To Whom It May Concern
7 Similak Child
8 Try Counting Sheep
9 Flavor of the Month
11 Gimme the Finga
12 Hoes We Knows
13 Go to Hail
14 Black With N.V. (No Vision)
15 Pass the 40
17 Choice Is Yours (Revisited) [*]
18 Yes [*]