THE CACTUS ALBUM: 3RD BASS Tuesday 24 January, 2012

Awesome hair-marketing and bringing DOOM to the world. What more could you want?

The first time I heard 3rd Bass was when Tim Westwood played Steppin’ To The A.M. on The Capital Rap Show. It grabbed me immediately. I’m afraid to say that what I heard was a remix and is not the version on this album. Worry not though, this album is pretty splendid anyway. You should also note that this would have been around 1988/89 and at that point Tim Westwood still spoke normally, had credibility and wasn’t a caricature of a caricature of himself.

Produced by Sam Sever, Prince Paul and The Bomb Squad this album is proper hip hop from the golden era of hip hop. The raps are tinged with a sense of humour and the skits are kept to a minimum. This is hip hop that you might be able to dance to. It’s from a time when hip hop was still about rocking a party and not just hoping to soundtrack some kind of needless violence.

I suppose I should mention that the two rappers here, MC Serch and Prime Minister Pete Nice are both white. It matter very little to me but I guess it is worth noting that after The Beastie Boys 3Rd Bass were probably the second white guys to make a success of hip hop.

3rd Bass should also be given massive credit for championing the cause of KMD. You may well not know who KMD are but they are hugely important. KMD is a hip hop group formed by two brothers. One of the brothers would later die in a traffic accident the other brother would eventually recover from that disaster to become MF DOOM. KMD feature on the funky and amusing ‘The Gas Face’ track on this album.

As I write this I realise that there is very little that sounds like 3rd Bass. They have a pretty unique sound for hip hop from that era. It still sounds great 23 years later too. The Blood Sweat & Tears sampling ‘Sons of 3rd Bass’ still makes me feel energised whenever I hear it.

Unfairly overlooked when most people compile their hip hop history files 3rd Bass’ ‘The Cactus Album’ still stands up as music that will make you do the same.


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