Another gold star to YouTube’s recommendation service, which pointed me to Rapper’s Delight by The Sugrahill gang, which lead me to The Message by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, from where I clicked on over to this remix of Ice Cube’s early 90s hip hop classic Check Yo Self, which samples The Message. Check Yo Self originally appeared on his album The Predator and the version on that album is a good, if fairly standard bit of hip hop for the time – all horn samples and rolling beat.
But this remix, with its liberal use of the music from Grandmaster Flash’s iconic track The Message, it becomes an entirely different track; it’s like Ice Cube’s rap was made for that amazing snyth line. Unfortunately, whilst the video, showing Cube being banged up in jail might make you think that Check Yo Self is also similar to The Message in theme, talking of the dangers of falling in with a bad crowd, it’s actually a standard “I’m well fu**ing hard me” rap, like so much of the music that came out of the West Coast in the 90s.
Ice Cube’s rapping is so good though that I barely even hear the lyrics, instead focussing on his amazing flow and the awesome beats. It is a shame though that the men who wrote the inspirational Express Yourself went on to much greater fame & fortune peddling a glorified pantomime of sexism, homophobia & violence (which I perpetuated just by buying the albums).