I get a check every month and it makes me independent
So motherfuck you and that hand that you’re lendin’
‘Cause I don’t need your funky-ass sympathy
Just the pussy and any money that you’re givin’ me
I am who I am, so you can take it or leave it
You play me for anything less, bitch, I can’t see it
(Rob Quest; “I Can’t See It”)
For today’s throwback review, I’d like to call attention to a highly slept-on Southern hip hop gem that celebrated its 23rd anniversary just a couple days ago. Those of you that are fans of fun-loving, foulmouthed and fully 420-friendly Houston, TX rapper and crooner Devin The Dude may not be familiar with his earlier work with his group the Odd Squad, consisting of Devin, Jugg Mugg and Rob Quest (also known as Blind Rob, who is actually blind!). The trio made their first appearance on “Bring It On”, an epic eight-minute posse cut featured on Rap-A-Lot Records label stars the Geto Boys’ gold-selling 1993 album Till Death Do Us Part that also included virtually the entire Rap-A-Lot roster at the time.
The following year, the Squad released their first and only studio album, Fadanuf Fa Erybody!!, a fun, funky, jazzy and hedonistic hip hop heater with lyrical content revolving mainly around weed and sex paired with dusty, sample-heavy grooves courtesy of Rob Quest, affiliate DJ Styles and uber-talented Rap-A-Lot regulars Mike Dean and N.O. Joe. The resulting product is generally a more lighthearted approach than one would expect from Rap-A-Lot, a Houston-based, street-oriented indie powerhouse mostly associated with hardcore gangsta rap; in fact, H-Town gangsta rap legend Scarface himself (who spent the majority of his career of more than 25 years on Rap-A-Lot, achieving great success both as a member of the Geto Boys and as a solo artist) has even once referred to Fadanuf as the best album ever released by the label. The project’s loose party atmosphere is further represented on the cover artwork, which is a light parody of Ernie Barnes’ famous painting The Sugar Shack; the latter is best known for its inclusion on the cover of late, great soul legend Marvin Gaye’s 1976 album I Want You, and was additionally parodied by retro-blaxploitation hip hop innovators Camp Lo on their classic 1997 debut album Uptown Saturday Night.
Standout tracks on Fadanuf include the customary marijuana anthem “Smokin’ Dat Weed”, the extra-filthy “Put Cha Lips”, the hard-as-nails Blind Rob solo cut “Jazz Rendition” (listen to the outro for a shout out to none other than legendary Gang Starr producer DJ Premier!), the additional weed song “Coughee”, the irresistible pussy dedications “Fa Sho'” and “Your Pussy’s Like Dope” (the former being a cautionary tale that would later be updated for Devin’s 2002 sophomore solo effort Just Tryin’ Ta Live) and the posse cut “Came Na Gedown” (which features Scarface and fellow Rap-A-Lot artists 2 Low and 3-2 and several more obscure Houston rappers; shit is nearly as long as “Bring It On”!). Additionally, Rob keeps a remarkable sense of humor about his disability on the lead single and solo track “I Can’t See It”, while he and Jugg Mugg shine on the hilarious and raunchy “Hoes Wit Babies”. In addition, the album is supported by several brief interludes, with the most memorable being the completely tasteless but laugh-out-loud funny “Shit Pit”.
In the years since this album came out, Devin’s solid and consistent solo catalog has included numerous collaborations with his fellow Odd Squad members; they have also notably been making music as part of a larger collective known as the Coughee Brothaz, who respectively released the group compilation albums Waitin’ Our Turn (2007) and Fresh Brew (2011). As for Fadanuf, this shit is simply one of the biggest and best parties on wax you’ll ever hear; one not to be missed by any true hip hop head.