December 06, 2015

Black Sheep "Non Fiction" (Vibe, 1/95)

"If you're looking for another A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing, forget it. But the bad boys who were down with the mostly defunct Native Tongues and Flavor Unit crews are back after a three year hiatus. And with the new Non-Fiction, Black Sheep show another side of themselves. Right away, in the "Non-Fiction Intro," the Sheep - Dres and Mista Lawnge - inform you that Non-Fiction is "something else." Their second album is way less humorous and "honey"-conscious than the first. And Black Sheep's music has shifted: it's simpler, more eerie, and more jazzy. On tracks like "Who's Next?" and "Gotta Get Up," they hold off on Wolf's signature cowbells, while bass lines and horns get muffled and sped up. "Summa tha Time" has a nice Latin mellowness - the piano and flute strut behind vocals from the (Black Sheep-produced) girl group Emage. Not just another hip-hop / R&B jam, "Summa" is a real, head-nodding groove." Check out the single to "Without A Doubt," cont'd...

"The way Black Sheep rhyme, however, has not changed. In the aptly titled "Autobiographical," Dres flips the script on himself, recollecting his badass days and flowing in a non-hyper, Native Tongues-style, storytelling manner. It's a detailed, almost visual vignette about a boy who constantly lives close to trouble. And on "Let's Get Cozy," Mista Lawnge describes an explicit sexual prelude, reassuring fans that the "Sugard#ck Daddy" can still be as nasty as he wants to be. Tunes like "Peace to the N!ggas," "Me & My Brother," and "We Boys," though, suffer from sophomore slouchiness. The production on these cuts is lazy - hooks aim high and miss. But mercifully, on Non-Fiction Black Sheep seldom fall into playing the tired game of who's-hard-and-who's-not. Does hard necessarily equal hoodlum? For Black Sheep, it's just not that simple." - Vibe, January 1995.