February 11, 2022

Lord Finesse "The Return of the Funkyman" (Press Kit, 1991-1992)

"I don't need dancers," says Lord Finesse about his own remarkable abilities. "My vocabulary does it all." A word technician of the highest order, Lord Finesse has long been an underground favorite in and around his native New York. Now, with the release of his Giant Records debut, Return of the Funkyman, Lord Finesse is poised to impress millions hungry for a new and funkier approach to rap. The new album indeed signifies the return of Lord Finesse. His 1990 premier album, The Funky Technician, released on a small independent label, established him in the hard-to-pease Northeast as a witty and dazzling wordsmith. His current crew consists of DJ's Mike Smooth and Steve D and fellow MC's Andre the Giant and Percee P. Return of the Funkyman was produced by a variety of producers including former Low Profile member DJ Aladdin, Diamond D, Showbiz and Lord Finesse himself. The music is supremely funky, thanks to the ingenious cuts of Mike Smooth and Steve D. But the star of this show is the funkyman himself, Lord Finesse. Perhaps no other rapper today is as adept at clever punchlines as Lord Finesse. Tracks like "I Like My Girls With A Boom," "Show 'Em How We Do Things," "Praise The Lord" and the debut 12" "Isn't He Something" shine with Finesse's racy sense of humor and facility for clever rhyme. The title tracks retells the harrowing story of Finesse's experience on a shady record label and he offers warning to other fledgling rappers about the dangers of signing with crooks. "Hands In The Air, Mouth Shut" takes on rappers who don't really know what they're talking about, while "Fat For The '90s" pairs Finesse and Andre the Giant in a memorable word battle. Finesse also offers insightful commentary, especially on "Stop Sweating The Next Man," which urges people to have faith in themselves ("Gonna rise instead of sinking / I use my head for thinking"), the attitude that certainly helped Finesse get where he is today. Cont'd...

Born and raise in the Bronx, the heartland of Rap, Lord Finesse began rhyming at young age. "When they introduced me to metaphors and similes in school, that was it," he recalls. Listening to well-known New York rap radio DJs like Marley Marl convinced Finesse he could make it as a rapper. He played neighborhood block parties and jams, gaining local popularity. However, making the transition to professional rapper wasn't easy. Family and friends told him it would be difficult, but his grandmother lent him $150 to record his first demo. "She told me, 'Follow your dreams,'" he recalls. A period of struggle ensued, with Finesse knocking on every door in town. He never gave up and, when he finally released The Funky Technician, he gained a foothold in the rap world. Fans and critics responded to his use of compound words and inner rhymes. He also earned the respect of fellow rapper Ice-T, who helped introduce him to Giant Records. Now, with The Return of the Funkyman, Lord Finesse breaks new ground. "It's a personal album," he notes. "I just express everything I went through recently." Though the album does recount some dark periods in his life, these days Finesse is happy and working with other young up-and-coming artists. But for the present, Lord Finesse is content to know he's made one slammin' album for the ages. The funkyman is most definitely back! - Press Kit (September, 1991). At the time, Finesse was easily one of the fiercest, most talented MCs!