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Hopping into the game under the wing of EPMD, Das EFX made their first real impression on the game when they dropped "Dead Serious". Their début album, it has the duo (consisting of Skoob and Krazy Drayzy) bringing almost cartoon-like fun back into the Hip Hop world. With one member from Brooklyn and the other out of New Jersey, the pair met at a Virginia college and built up a buzz using the 'sewage' rapping style they picked up when visiting the UK - where they found The Demon Boyz's Junglist rapping talent on British shores. Das EFX's interpretations of it is a rhyming approach which consists of lots of nonsensical bars to fit in with extensive word manipulation to and to use '-iggedy' at the end of as many words as possible.
Matching in with EPMD's tendency to use very memorable and recognisable samples, this has a lot of tasty treats within it. Lots of JBs, P-Funk and Sly Stone is generously spread through the album. They also turn to people like Otis Redding, Joe Tex and Stanley Turrentine for added, eclectic musical influence. Much of what's found here is strictly Boom-Bap, but they manipulate it to make for feel-good material that can relate all (even those beyond the 'sewers' in which they reside). "Jussummen" bumps in the same way that a Kool G Rap record of the time would, but the light-hearted use of "La Di Da Di" lifts it. This is an example of the sort of thing found throughout the album.
The richness of the Funk on their dedication to their hometown for "Brooklyn to T-Neck" seems to reflect EPMD's early years, and it's almost as if the elders are handing-over the next generation. Das EFX come in with the same fun and approachable way which was seen in "Strictly Business" and it's certain to draw in the masses. On countless occasions they invite the listeners in through a nursery rhyme or any song learnt at a child's age. From there they'll find an inventive way to twist in a manner impossible to anticipate. The simplicity, yet genius of this is what keeps listeners wanting more through the LP.
Although they may be known primarily for the 'iggedy's and such, there's a lot of Dancehall and Ragga thrown into the mix here. "Dead Serious" finds the pair making sure that people of made aware of their talents when it comes to drawing genres together and it comes across as extremely effective through the duration of the record. Without tiring at any stage, they fluidly rhyme out endless non-sequiturs and confuse listeners by appearing to have little hold of the topics which they present. The randomness of it makes it humorous and so ensures that people are to be invited into it.
"Klap Ya Handz" begins with Little Richard's call of "A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bam-boom!", but then from there they think it's nothing to bounce along further with more similar scats and then occasional words to hold it together. What they offer here is very much of-the-time. A lot was possible in Hip Hop during the 1987-1992 period. If they were to have begun their careers at this time it would just sound too far out-of-touch with a time which requires great, innovative lyrics to find a way in (ignoring Pop and Dance rappers). It seemed perfect that Zapp samples slapped their way through much of the album. It showed that they were just an extension of the sounds heard out on the West Coast, and so misleads listeners into expecting rawness when in fact they're just having fun with the music.
It seems that the ten-track duration is perfect and suits the approach of the artists. They come in hard with a very punchy style which is very much to-the-point (if you do actually find one within each song). Although some may feel that this is more down to the fact that it may be a bit of an effort to hear so much music with no apparent meaning, it's much easier to say that this is more just so that they can leave a nice, lasting impression before they begin to annoy people. The naive, care-free way in which they present themselves means that they detach what they do from the on-set of Gangsta Rap. As that sub-genre was taking over the Hip Hop industry at the time these act as a nice alternative to it.
This is a classic album from Das EFX and a great way to set off their careers. As all of the Hit Squad members' début's were received in a similar sort of way, it must be stated the sarcastically-entitled "Dead Serious" seems to do much more. It was refreshing at a time when things got a lot more intense and shows that there was a way to pull in listeners from all areas without selling-out and going mainstream with it. There are many highlights to it, each track is solid and there isn't any room to complain if you've got an open mind and don't think that Hip Hop should be restricted merely to those attempting to come up as representatives of the inner-city.
1. "Mic Checka" **Five Stars**
2. "Jussummen" **Five Stars**
3. "They Want EFX" **Five Stars**
4. "Looseys" **Five Stars**
5. "Dum Dums" **Five Stars**
6. "East Coast" **Five Stars**
7. "If Only" **Five Stars**
8. "Brooklyn To T-Neck" **Five Stars**
9. "Klap Ya Handz" **Five Stars**
10. "Straight Out of the Sewer" **Five Stars**
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Mic Checka
3 They Want Efx
5 Dum Dums
6 East Coast
7 If Only
8 Brooklyn To T Neck
9 Klap Ya Handz
10 Straight Out The Sewe