Album Review

Peanut Butter Wolf – “Straight to Tape (the 4-track Years 1990-1992)” – [Stones Throw]

MSTiZA   1/26/2011   CD, Hip Hop

These recordings were made during a 3 year period when PB Wolf was living with his mom in the east foothills of San Jose. It was between 1990-1992 that PBW made these tracks with the vocals recorded straight into headphones ran through a mixer and into the 4-track. All tracks are produced by PBW but feature several emcees. There is a distinct rap style from this era. that one must be mindful of when indulging into this release. This is post Lyrical Prophecy and you hear Quiz One and Deshee on this release. Charizma makes a few appearances here and transcends the style he was to become known for, as these tracks are a bit rougher. Or maybe it’s just that this whole release is a bit rougher. In the east coast New Jack swing was the style of the moment that was making it’s way to the west. You can hear that on Quiz One’s & Charizma’s tracks. There is a bit of early gangster rap styles on N.O.T.U.’s tracks. Peace Maker has a ragga style that also came to the forefront in the early 90s rap scene. PB Wolf made beats from samples and loops and he details this in the liner notes. That said, PBW didn’t remix or taint these tracks for this release. There is a trajectory that PB Wolf and all west coast hip hop is affected by after these recordings. In 1993, Charizma was murdered while stopped at a light in East Palo Alto. Shortly after, PB Wolf started Stones Throw and put out “My World Premier” honoring Charizma. After Charizma’s passing, PB Wolf had no intention of working with any other emcees. Consider this an archive of an era that had little national attention and spawned the direction of what was to become of Peanut Butter Wolf.

P.S. The sleeve features a picture of a handful of emcees alongside PB Wolf circa 1995, none of whom are featured on the disc, but all of which I have ID’d for yalls.

LANG:4, 9, 12, 13

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