Review

Without a major release in several years and with little mainstream success over the course of the 1990s, Schoolly D quietly released Funk 'n Pussy in late 2000 to an indifferent public. Though the Philadelphia rapper relied more on exploitation than talent to first make a name for himself in the late '80s, this album suggests that Schoolly may have found some substantial inspiration in the late '90s. First of all, he deserves accolades for producing this album by himself, an accomplishment that few rappers can claim and a feat that he performs in a rather stunning manner. Granted, Schoolly's murky and collage-like beats aren't going have the rap industry knocking on his door, but they do sound quite inventive with their messy chaos. Secondly, the chaotic production serves another worthwhile purpose by slightly eclipsing his rapping. With his vocals buried in the thick mix -- well below the samples, beats, and other assorted sounds -- it becomes less apparent that Schoolly is a mediocre rapper at best. When the vocals do manage to come across intelligibly, it's clear that the pioneering gangsta rapper still claims to be "hardcore to the motherf*ckin' bone," which should make his small cult audience happy. In the end, this album comes across as an admittedly interesting listen not so much because of its innovation or craft, but rather because of its uniqueness -- Schoolly's indifference about the norms of rap production proves him well. Yet beneath this novelty, he's still an old-school rapper, not an engaging quality by any means in an age chock-full of mind-blowing MCs. Funk 'n Pussy isn't fascinating enough to resurrect Schoolly's sunken career, but it's interesting enough to warrant a listen if you're a dedicated fan of his unique approach. ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi

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