I cannot remember what possessed me to buy this cassette around the time it came out. I had not particularly been a fan of "O.P.P.," though I did like it - but I never bought the group's first record. I seriously think - and I have some weird memory of this - that I just thought the fact that Treach was holding a chainsaw on the cover of the album was so simultaneously badass/ridiculous/hilarious that I had to see what these dudes were up to. I've always been glad that I took the leap.
In 90's hip hop, there were some great songs that started off albums. You've got MC Ren's "11:55," House of Pain's "Salutations," Dr Dre's "The Chronic (Intro)," N.W.A's "Prelude"; I could go on. But I don't think any of them topped the title track from this LP.
And, of course, I can't find a full version of the song anywhere. That is fantastic. Anyway, trust me: it's awesome. And it's a tone-setter for what would easily be the group's best album. This time around, the radio single was "Hip Hop Hooray," and again, MTV played the shit out of it. And again, it's one of the weaker songs on the album. The other two spotty-ish tracks are "Written On Ya Kitten," Treach's pussy-wranglin' anthem, and the seven-minute shout-out number, "Sleepwalkin' II." Luckily, these are both at the end of the album, so they don't really get in the way. Other than those, this thing is a go-getter.
Tracks like "Daddy Was A Street Corner" and "Sleepin' On Jersey" are uptempo, frantic, and just incredibly awesome. The whole group apparently doubled their skills between their debut and this album, and it's clear they're not interested in dicking around. Kay Gee's beats are less repetitive, more complex, and are just generally more well-crafted. Vin Rock sounds fully comfortable on the mic, and his verses throughout (though I always wish there were more) are solid. But this is Treach's album. The guy is out of his head on this thing, and I'm not sure if he ever really got the recognition he deserved for his performance on this album. It's just nuts. "Ready for Dem," "Take It to Ya Face," "The Hood Comes First" - he slays 'em all. And when he teams up with Freddie Foxxx for "Hot Potato," it's fantastic.
So look past "Hip Hop Hooray" and see this thing for what it really is: one of the finest hip hop albums of the 90's. And the high point of the group.