by Tim May
If you’re looking at that cover and hoping to see Fred Flintstone rip up the mic, then you may be disappointed with Rappin’ N’ Rhymin’. However, you do get Damon, the most ferocious MC since Chuck D. Jay-Z, Nas, and Q-Tip better watch out, because this kid’s gunning for their GOAT status.
You know you’ve got a classic on your hands when the first song has a hook like, “YOU LIKE RAP? THEN FOLLOW ME. YOU LIKE RAP? WELL THEN, COME WITH ME.” Damon is calling, motherfuckers. Time to follow.
The next track is a G-Funk classic. You could easily imagine Nate Dogg belting the hook and Snoop swaying along to the beat. It’s all about numbers, and like the opening lines of “Nuthin’ But a G Thang,” numerical subject matter once again provides plenty of opportunity for elaborate wordplay like, “Three is a number that you’re gonna like/When you count the wheels on a three wheel bike.” Three Stacks couldn’t dream that shit up.
Damon (and his partner Micki, who together form one of the greatest duos hip hop has ever seen) is fascinated with complicated rhyme structure. He’s definitely the first MC I’ve ever heard rhyme the words “street” and “beat.” There’s more internal rhyme genius in his brilliant “Rhyme Song” than in Eminem’s second verse on “Renegade.” One of his other solo tracks, “A Foot is a Wonderful Thing” celebrates his foot fetish in glorious detail.
That’s not to count Micki out, though. Her retelling of the Cinderella story rivals Nas’s storytelling abilities circa Illmatic (think “NY State of Mind”). Reimagining the European beauty as an inner-city black child and Prince Charming as a man fifteen years her senior was a brilliant stroke, serving as a searing indictment of age and race politics in modern America.
Damon and Micki aren’t the only stars of Rappin’ N’ Rhymin’, though. They’re backed up by the best dancers in the biz, like Al Bee and the Dynamite Hip Hop Three.
Sadly, Fred and Barney and Yogi and Boo-Boo never get the mic passed to them. In fact, their segments have almost nothing to do with rappin’ OR rhymin’, aside from Barney entering a poetry contest. I would have loved to see a “Burn Hollywood Burn” style posse cut featuring these Hanna Barbera legends, but sadly, it wasn’t meant to be.
That omission aside, Rappin’ N’ Rhymin’ is a stone cold classic of early ‘90s hip hop. Too bad this shit was never released on disc. I’d bump it in the car all the time. Damon hasn’t done anything since, but as he tells us at the end of the video, “Just in case you guys miss me, you can always hit that rewind button, if you know what I mean.” Yeah, we know exactly what you mean, Damon. Lay back, spark a blunt, and watch the entirety of Rappin’ N’ Rhymin’ below.