Yaggfu Front :: Action Packed Adventure :: PolyGram Records
** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series **
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

[Action Packed Adventure] You can spell the name with or without capitalization and punctuation, but it's a not-well-hidden secret that Yaggfu Front's first name is an acronym that forms the phrase "You Are Gonna Get Fucked Up (if you) Front." It would have been hard to do that in 1993 given these North Carolina rappers paved a path to dopeness with innovative self-produced singles like "Busted Loop." The title was no exaggeration - the sounds that open the song literally sounds like somebody fucked up and spilled their drink on the sampler during a studio session. After the machine was repaired, the only sound it could make was what the group describes as a "loop on the fritz, giving engineers the shits." Instead of throwing in the towel, they mixed it with bass and threw some fun rhymes on it instead!

"Bop to the tape deck, almost broke my damn neck
At the red light, got the whites in fright
Can't hear a damn thing cause my ear drums ring
And then I turn it down once five-oh's on the scene"

Spin 4th, DND (D'Ranged & Damaged, a/k/a Damage) and Jingle Bel's approach was immediately playful and refreshing compared to their contemporaries. To this day "Left Field" remains both a fat single off their debut album "Action Packed Adventure" AND a personal anthem. The outer spaced echoing sounds are ably laced with a smooth and subtle snare brush, some funky horns and a lightly lifting melody. Each verse features a member of the crew explaining how hard they failed at achieving their relationship goals in comical fashion. Jingle's girl is too clingy, Damage is so shy that his keeps hooking him up with her friends, and Spin plays himself completely through lack of confidence:

"I should be swimmin, in all the lovely women
But man I'm not, I wonder why
Is it because I'm too hard and too fly?
Hmm.. could be, nah forget it
There's just no woman out there to get widdit
Get to my car, remove my glock
It looks like tonight's another Blockbuster stop
Bust a couple of movies, sit back and wonder
Yo I think that chick woulda given me her number
Oh well! It's too late now"

Why would any emcee purposefully mock himself to this degree? For one because it's REAL. While it's hard to relate to a guy pushing a Bentley or a Ferrari in every song, all guys have epic failed at trying to get a girl at some point in their life. For another, nobody ever said it was wrong to laugh at your own shortcomings - in fact it's perfectly healthy! If your head is swoll to the point you think nothing you do is wrong, you're probably making awful records nobody wants to listen to, while surrounded by sycophantic yes-men who will never give you a reality check. Yaggfu Front excelled at being their own, which meant that when it really WAS time to talk shit on songs like "Slappin' Suckas Silly" they had earned it and deserved it:

Jingle Bel: "I'm +Fly+ like +Jimmy Snuka+ with ass like TJ Hooker
So book 'em, Dano, voice soprano, break the glass
on the mantle, cause my flow lasts for miles like the Nile
Make the people say AOWWWWW!"

Spin 4th: "I slam through the home like a photon phaser beam
While fools decay like children's teeth on Halloween
Straight from Kingston it's ridiculous rhymes live
So get up off the beach, cause I'm coming high tide
with the force of the fart of a flatulating Batman
Obese I release vocal fury (nice sack man!!)"

Damage: "It's the creature from the swamp, as I romp on rabblerousers
Troublemakers take a stand, as I command the sample houses
We don't pillage and raid, we take a plate and then rotate it
If it's rugged then we scoop it then truncate it then we loop it
then we drag it, the kids from Cakalak are comin with force"

Sadly the album version of the song doesn't include the verse from Diamond D, but it's out there if you look around a little. I fell in love with the Diamond D version when it came as the flipside of a twelve inch single I spun on college radio, but in truth I fell in love with pretty much everything about Yaggfu Front. Their style varies constantly throughout the hour long "Action Packed Adventure." They do hilariously over-the-top brag raps like "My Dick Is So Large!," mellow jazz melodies of the Native Tongues variety like "Where'd You Get Your Bo Bos?," and raucous speaker shaking plucky bass melodies like "Hold 'Em Back! (What's the Meaning?)" They even do a psychedelic Jekyll & Hyde style track on "Black Liquid" where Spin 4th turns himself into a figurative and literal lyrical monster.

The sheer amount of creativity on display is intense, which makes calling it an "Action Packed Adventure" no exaggeration whatsoever. With solid beats from start to finish, a sense of whimsy way too many hardrock emcees both then and now lack, and well crafted lyrics that take them beyond punchlines into pure flavor, this album is a cinematic roller coaster that leaves you breathless by the conclusion.

Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10

Originally posted: April 2nd, 2013
source: www.RapReviews.com