Saturday, August 26, 2006




Mention the letters "KMD" to most anyone and you're bound to be mistaken for either KMFDM (the German metalectroid group once linked to the Trench Coat Mafia) or KLF (as in "KLF is gonna rock you"--I'm holding back vomit as I speak). KMD, however, is ZevLove X (later MF Doom), Onyx the Birthstone Kid and DJ Subroc. And Mr. Hood is one of hip hop's very few dusty artifacts that articulately represents the evolution of the artform to a platform for voicing the frustrations and, at times, rediculousness of race relations of the early 90s. KMD's approach was much more subtle then the Public Enemys and XClans of the world--often lacing message with enough sugar to help that medicine go down. The result of this formula is Mr. Hood.

Mr. Hood centers around the metaphorical title character--an straight, uptight, white man getting a lesson in black culture as he travels through everyday life in the ghetto on an almost Bulworthian fantasy. The production of the record is a perfect snapshot of the beautifully crafted early nineties hip hop--breakbeats cut and spliced into a neverending loop partnered with carefully selected samples intricately constructed into the song. The production alone on Mr. Hood is primarily responsible for the unique charm of the record--echoing the sound of Prince Paul on 3 Feet High and Rising and Dante Ross on One for All.

Onyx and Zev do their damn thing coming as tasty as any of the era's emcees. The dueling verses never grow dull and, when complete, it only leaves you craving three times the portion. Their mastery of both verse and chorus serve as proof to not only Zev and Onyx's clout as emcees, but as a further evidence of the accelerated understanding and later perfection of what an emcee is from the earlier, more primitive years of hip hop.

A&R'd by Prime Minister Pete Nice and MC Serch of 3rd Bass, debuted on 3rd Bass' sensation "Gas Face." Pete and Serch would later lend to Mr. Hood as executive producers. Elektra would later give KMD the boot before they could release their less-humorous and more-militant Black Bastards--the cover art being the largest concern of the project. It would be one of many key hip hop artists that Elektra would liquidate in the nineties--along with Del, Leaders of the New School, Brand Nubian and Souls of Mischief.

Additionally, I must mention this albums holds significant personal value to me. Long-since deleted (but soon to be reissued through Traffic [you guys rock]), I spotted the spine of this CD in a clearance rack when I was working in the stores with my current outfit. KMD only rang a bell because of "Gas Face" and since it would only cost me about $.50, I chunked out the change and bought the damned thing. What would hit me as I popped it in my car would leave me in awe for months afterwards. It would quickly become one of the most prized piece of music in my entire collection--even in the scratched, worn, abused state I purchased it in. Still to this day, some seven years later, I marvel at how incredible Mr. Hood is. It's brilliance is not to be understated. Wait until it's reissued (in September, I think) and then do not hesitate to purchase this album--you'll thank me for it.

Album Highlights:
"Who Me?"
"Nitty Gritty"
"Hard Wit No Hoe"

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