This is a special album for me as it was given to me shortly after its release by my great, late friend Rickard ”Slick Rick” Blomström (1985-2005), a real stand-up guy if I ever knew one. Rest in peace fam, we all miss you. The album in question is Mr. Len’s debut solo project, called “Pity the Fool: Experiments in Therapy behind the Mask While Handing out Dummy Smacks to Fool’s” which dropped around the beginning of 2001. As I had the 2xLP version and I haven’t had a turntable to play my vinyl on for a long time and have switched to buying CDs I hadn’t heard this album for several years until a few days ago.
As you might recognize Mr. Len was the DJ for the controversial underground rebels Company Flow although he didn’t really produce on their classic “Funcrusher Plus” LP. Therefore we were curious to know what an entire album produced by this guy might sound like when this popped up on the shelves in record stores. As I laid this on the turntable and let the needle drop I was both surprised and pleased at what I was hearing as it's both different and traditional during the hour it runs for and if you’re into experimental underground hip-hop there will definitely be something on here for you too. It packs everything from traditional boom bap bangers to industrial hip-hop alá Co Flow to hardcore anti-love anthems to rock influenced noissseeeeeeeee. Things could easily get messy with such an experiment but as a seasoned DJ, Len knows what to do and at what time to switch things up to keep the listeners interest and with the help of a heavy guest list Len manages to make this a very memorable album.
Guests include Juggaknots, Lord Sear, Breezely Brewin, Chubb Rock, Mr. Live, Kice Of Course, Prince Paul and more. Maybe most importantly this was one of the first encounters for many of us with the talented Ms Jean Grae who is the star of the album as she straight up rips shit on none less than four of the albums 13 songs; including the disturbing but intriguing nine minutes epic “Taco Day” which should be considered storytelling at its most intense. With the help of the Melon Bayside High Theater Club it really turns into something else. Other memorable tracks from this producer compilation includes the Juggaknots featured first single, “This Morning”, which with its sinister production and captivating verses from Breeze and Heroine stands as a classic today. My personal favorite might just be the boom-bap’tic “What The Fuck?!”; Mr. Live’s own guide to the many usages of the English word Fuck. Entertaining to say the least… but I’m sorry to say that this album is out-of-print and has been so for quite a while now and is even remotely hard to find on the net. The rip I present below is in 128 kbps only but it works perfectly fine to listen to although I’ve been promised a higher quality rip to arrive sooner than later. So make sure to check for edits in this post if you’re interested in that. Aight let’s enjoy this abstract experiment of hip-hop y’all, this one’s for you Slick!
01. "This Morning" (Ft. Juggaknots)
02. "Get Loose" (Ft. Mass Influence)
03. "The Hurt" (Ft. Jean Grae & MURS) [mixed by Prince Paul]
04. "Straight" (Ft. Q-Unique)
05. "Girl (Got to Give it to Me)" (Ft. Lord Sear) [mixed by Prince Paul]
06. "Taco Day" (Ft. Jean Grae)
07. "Force Fed" (Ft. Agents of Man & Amplifire)
08. "Bring It To Me" (Ft. MC D-Stroy)
09. "What The Fuck?! [Gritty Version]" (Ft. Mr. Live)
10. "Love Venom" (Ft. Breeze & Jean Grae)
11. "Dummy Smacks" (Ft. Chubb Rock)
12. "Family Matters" (Ft. Kice Of Course & Steady Roc)
13. "Hidden Track" (Ft. Jean Grae & ?)