Album

What Went Right With… Here Come The Lords by Lords Of The Underground?

A review of Here Come The Lords by Lords Of The Underground (LOTUG). Written by What Went Wrong Or Right With...? for whatwentrightwith.com

“Here Come The Lords” is the début album by golden era legends Lords Of The Underground, a three-piece group from New Jersey consisting of Mr. Funke, DoItAll Dupré and DJ Lord Jazz. This album is a mix of bold and confident lyricism mixed with speaker-thumping Boom Bap sounds, there’s Jazz-sampling underground beats and comedic lines in abundance. This album fitted perfectly into 1993, a year that brought East Coast Hip-Hop to the fore, and alongside groups like Black Moon, Onyx, The Wu-Tang Clan, Naughty By Nature, and Big Daddy Kane (among others) Lords Of The Underground (sometimes shortened to L.O.T.U.G.) were one of the most impressive rap groups from not only that year, but the entire golden era.

Incidentally, Wikipedia gives two possible release dates for L.O.TU.G.’s début album; either March 9th, 1993 (as it states on the artist page) or March 30th, 1993 (as it states on the album page). Amazon on the other hand gives the original release date as September 27th, 1993 with a re-release of October 9th, 1993. I’m certain that this LP came out before Black Moon’s début “Enta Da Stage” but that’s not much help since I didn’t buy either on the exact day they dropped. Regardless of when it was released however, “Here Come The Lords” was a fantastic listen back in the day and because of the resurgence of old-school sounds, it’s still is a great listen today.

The album open with the title track, a brilliant song with a head-nodding, bass-bumping beat, not to mention a horn sample. The rowdy chorus shouting “Here come the lords!” is catchy-as-hell and it makes you instantly turn your amp to the max and let the underground sounds wash over you with a sense of nostalgia…

From the opening track onward, the album doesn’t really falter, yes there’s some weaker songs (the chorus of “Lords Prayer” and “Madd Skillz” for instance) but even these tracks are listenable. For the majority of the album it’s back-to-back, old-school classic track after classic track.

Sound-wise, the album is very consistent, there’s a solitary relaxed, laid-back sample on “Flow On (New Symphony)” (thanks to the sample of “Float On” by 70s R&B group The Floaters) but for the majority of the LP there’s bass-heavy, fast-flowing, typical 90s East Coast sounds courtesy of in-house producer DJ Lord Jazz alongside the legend that is Marley Marl (of Juice Crew and House Of Hits fame). Like many other albums from that era, there’s lots of Jazz-sampling (the opening song for example), “Madd Skillz” also samples Stanley Turrentine’s “Smile, Stacy”, “From Da Bricks” brings in yet more funky horn samples, and then there’s “Funky Child” with it’s memorable trumpet (sampling “A Theme For L.A.’s Team” by Thomas Bell Orchestra) which people may now associate with French Montana’s “Shot Caller” (who in turn sampled it in 2012)…

Lyrically there’s lots to like on this LP; there’s the hilarious “Sleep For Dinner (Remix)” which like the title suggests has the group telling the listener how people on lower incomes sometimes have to go to sleep to relieve their hunger pangs. With DoItAll telling the story of jacking a pizza delivery man to obtain some free food, the song is hilariously constructed and is a great example of the evolution of the Blues genre as it ventured into comedic Hip-Hop. Here’s the opening line from Mr. Funke…

“You know my name, they call me Mr. Funke, but back when I was young you could’a called me Mr. Hungry. ‘Cause there were many days when we had nothing to eat, (What did you do?) What could I do? I went to sleep”

Whilst on the topic of lyrics, there’s also lots of promotion of underground Hip-Hop music, for instance in “Keep It Underground” DoItAll raps “You only get your props if you come from beneath” this is then followed by a list of rap groups which L.O.T.U.G. (and the majority of rap fans) thought were examples of authentic underground Hip-Hop …“Cypress Hill gets props, P.M. Dawn does not”. This anti-mainstream sentiment follows through the majority of the album with DoItAll saying in “Chief Rocka”; “To the hip, the hop, to the hibby to the hibbidy, Hip-Hop, oh no I don’t wanna go Pop” (referencing Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang whilst denouncing Pop music). If only this type of overt criticism of Hip-Pop was around today, we might not have the likes of Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert. Rappers are too quick to give figurative daps to garbage, overground rappers these days, but I digress.

This album isn’t littered with featured artists, there’s Jam-C on “From Da Bricks” and Kid Deleon & Sah-B on “Flow On” but other than that this is unadulterated L.O.T.U.G., which is a good thing if you’re a fan of the group. The stand out tracks for me are the fantastic “Here Come The Lords” produced by Lord Jazz, the brilliant “Chief Rocka” produced by Real Live’s K-Def, and the outstanding “Sleep For Dinner” produced by Marley Marl, these three songs are flawless in my opinion – from the production to the verses and choruses. There are also other highly enjoyable songs like “From Da Bricks”, “Funky Child”, “Keep It Underground”, “Grave Digga”, “Flow On (New Symphony)”, and “Psycho”. The album does dip for the last two tracks which had me contemplating whether this LP deserves a 9 or 10/10 rating (if this album ended with Track 12 or 13 it would be a 10/10 for sure) but I recall liking this LP back in ’93 so much that I didn’t notice this minor issue with the last few songs. What I also recall is that Mr. Funke was one of my favourite MCs back in the day, he had humour and a uniquely impressive flow, in fact I’m waiting for his upcoming solo LP titled “Deus ɛks Makina” to drop.

“Here Come The Lords” was a relative success reaching number 66 on the Billboard 200 charts, but as their name suggests the group remained underground for the entirety of their career. Like many other fantastic Hip-Hop groups from that period, Lords Of The Underground brought us a classic album but despite its obvious dopeness, it now gets overlooked, especially by the mainstream when they mention 90s Hip-Hop music. Another great but forgotten underground gem.

There Go The Lords.

Beats: 9/10

Rhymes: 9/10

Overall: 9/10

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