Friday, January 2, 2009

Gas Face hits the Big Two-Oh

The great Sindoolah had a 3rd Base lyric as his Facebook status this afternoon, which led me to spin around the Ipod dial to The Cactus Album to rock a little Gas Face on the way home from the office.

I started wondering how old the song was, thinking it had to be close to 20 years old. Guess what? We just ushered in the Twentieth Anniversary of The Cactus Album.

That means, it was 20 years ago that most of the country was exposed to the first truly successful interracial hip-hop group. MC Serch and Pete Nice were both white, while DJ Richie Rich was black. Together, they created at least 3 memorable 90s hip-hop songs (Gas Face, Steppin' to the Am and Pop Goes the Weasel).

Some interesting tidbits "You may not know" (read in Carson voice) (Hattip for most to Wiki):

-Serch (Michael Berrin) originally tried to hook up with the Beasties.

-Instead, he wound up with an English major from Columbia University, Pete Nice (Peter J. Nash).

-Of course, 3rd routinely went after other rappers. MC Hammer being a favorite--from Gasface: "Whadda we think about Hammer? Hubablubbaba (obviously the sound of a particularly vicious gas face). On their 2nd album, Derelicts of Dialect, Vanilla Ice was the target of "Pop Goes the Weasel." Fun fact: Henry "Black Flag" Rollins played Ice in the video. Taking on Ice proved to be a good idea, it gave 3rd their only Top 40 hit.

-3rd Base signed with Def Jam and Cactus was released shortly after the Beastie's left Def Jam, walking out of their contract with Def Jam. The Beasties had the juice to pull this, due to the recent success of License to Ill. As such, they were thrown right into the middle of Def Jam's fued with the Beastie's and Cactus had a shot aimed right at the B-Boys. The lyrics of the song "Sons of 3rd Bass" state it pretty plainly: "Swarm to the lyrics cause Search is your father Screaming 'Hey Ladies,' why bother." The rest of the song continues to go after the Bs, perhaps specifically vicious towards Adam Horovitz.

For a while, it looked like 3rd would wind up on top of the Beasties, they seemed to be the media's favs, getting lots of appearances on MTV. But then "Check Your Head" dropped and...Well, we'll just let the Beastie's have their say:

I'm bad ass move your fat ass 'cause you're wack son, Dancin' around like you
think you're Janet Jackson. Thought you could walk on me to get some ground to
walk on. I'll pull the rug out under your ass as I talk on. I'll take you out like a
sniper on a roof, Like an MC at the Fever in the DJ booth, With your headphones
strapped you're rockin' rewind pause, Tryin' to figure out what you can do to go
for yours. But like the pencil to the paper I got more to come. One after another
you can all get some. So you better take your time and meditate on your

-3rd broke up in August of 1992. Serch is still in the entertainment field, having started his own record label and publishing company Searchlite. He hosted that White Rapper Show and produced the movie Zebrahead, which apparently he really wanted to star is but was beat out by thesbian heavyweight Michael Rappaport. Pete Nice retired from the biz and opened a baseball memorabilia store in Cooperstown, NY (good location) as well as a baseball-history themed bar in Boston (once again, good location).

Any way, the guys run did not last long. And its pretty obvious they picked a fight with the wrong other white group. But do any of the Beastie Boys have something this fly?

That is a fly alarm clock.

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