Turn that Noise Down - Ice-T

So many well-known albums turn 30 this year and Steve Taylor-Bryant and Susan Omand travel back to 1987 to revisit some of the sounds of their youth that made parents shout "Turn that noise down!" This week Steve rediscovers that Rhyme Pays for Ice-T...

I’d like to go on record right here at the start and state that albums like this shouldn’t be reviewed by overweight white British men in their early forties. Honestly, what the heck would I understand about Ice-T’s life, lifestyle, upbringing or rather fraught relationship with law enforcement? Nothing. So please take this into consideration as the job of remembering Rhyme Pays thirty years on has fallen to me.

I’m not sure if I’m supposed to like rap music, I’m pretty sure I’m definitely not the target audience and, as an older man, whilst I appreciate the poetry, I certainly don’t understand the genre. I liked it less as I’ve aged so maybe it’s definitely a young persons style of music but as a twelve year old? I loved it. Swearing, funky beats, a great fashion style, the chance to badly beatbox at school with your other white middle class twelve year old friends. What a time to be alive.

I remember 6 ‘N in the Mornin’ and (Intro) Rhyme Pays from when I was that young schoolboy and, whilst there is maybe better examples of Gangsta Rap in the world, listening again they took me back to those more innocent memories which was nice. Make It Funky, 409, and I Love Ladies, whilst a bit repetitive, show that Ice-T certainly had a lot of skill as an MC. Squeeze the Trigger with its dark electronic music was a great listen back then and certainly entertained again today but I think I have to go for Somebody Gotta Do It (Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy) as my favourite track on Rhyme Pays. It’s my introduction to rap music, a friend had a cassette with that track and some LL Cool J on it, so purely for that I think it always be one of my favourite rap tunes even if twelve year old me had no idea what Pimpin’ was.

Has Rhyme Pays held up over three decades? See my introduction. I can’t tell you that, but I smiled more listening to this album than many of the others I’ve had to write about this year.

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