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Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 2:09 pm    Post subject: HIP HOP GROUP THE GOATS CANNOT RE-PRESS THEIR ALBUM Reply with quote


Tricks Of The Shade

Record label: Ruffhouse/Columbia

Format: CD

Release date: 17 November 1992

considering the ultra-patriotic times we live in, a look back at this
album is

key. first off, its initial release was during George Bush, Sr.'s

also, its multicultural, sociopolitical perspective of America is
certainly one

that most stateside residents wouldn't take kindly to in a post-9/11
U.S.A. you

will NEVER see a re-release of this album, and i feel just as
strongly about it

as my man tonypuma obviously does, as evidenced within his brilliant
review. it

originally appeared in the ON THE VERGE newsletter about two years
ago, but i

had to dig it up and share it with you all.

About two weeks ago, I finally picked up a copy of the Zebrahead

Despite the fact that my dollar joint has little flecks of paint all
over the

wax, this is an important record. It's even more important if you
DON'T know

why. The observant ones will note that, yes, this was the first wide

appearance of Nas, back when he was still Nasty instead of jiggy. But
aside from

the appearance of "Halftime" two years before Illmatic, Zebrahead
also debuted

someone else to the world - the Philly collective known as The Goats.

But wait, I wasn't checking for movies back in '92. I didn't care
what Michael

Rappaport was up to, I was buying punk rock records and the
occasional hip-hop

joint. I don't know how I got my hands on it exactly, but I went home
from the

store with a sample cassingle (did i just say that?) for the Goats.
You know,

one of those cassettes they do up like 12"s - album, radio and

versions of "Typical American" and "Burn The Flag". Right now, I
doubt I'd even

chance such a thing, taking a shitty industry cassette home just to
see what the

hell it was. But back then, it whipped my ass with a vengeance.

The A-side was one of the most powerful and angry rap tracks I'd ever

with the three rappers dropping lines like "the hell with Stormin'
Norman, I

write rhymes Black, they be political and plus they be all of that,"

you're pounding sand for another man's sins...but when you come home
in a box,

green drawers, green pants, green socks..." The B-side took it over
the line,

with a hardcore anthem to flag-burning - "so he can exercise his
right to ignite

the flag." For real, some of these lines hit me upside the head, and
there's no

explaining what these guys were saying: "we don't hate the people,
but the

government's a drag," "the Goats are staging this political protest,
to make you

aware of the economical unrest," and of course, "Columbus killed more

than Hitler killed Jews, but yet on his birthday we get sales on
shoes." That's

right, it was 1992, George Bush was in office and shit was wound up
like Morton

Downey, Jr. By the time I got to the Radio Edit of "Burn The Flag" -
over three

minutes of nothing but beep - I was down with these guys.

Don't get the wrong idea - this stuff was slamming hardcore hip-hop.
It proved

that you didn't need to tax George Clinton's drawers to make a great

in '92. It had so much of an "edge" it was virtually an subgenre in
itself, but

it was a total rap album. As the story goes, Oatie Kato, Madd and
Swayzack met

while all pushing pushcarts in Philly and got together. They hooked
up with the

famed Joe "The Butcher" Nicolo (in Philly, who else?) and he put them

on his Ruffhouse label. The messed-up part was until you read the
liner notes

(ALL the lyrics), you didn't realize that most of these grooves were
made live

with live instruments and turntables. The album simply didn't sound
like a bunch

of musicians - more like the Bomb Squad smoking weed.

"Tricks Of The Shade" just might be the opera of the early '90s. It's
a theme

record, of two characters (Chicken Little and Hangerhead) making
their way

through Uncle Scam's Federally Funded Welfare & Freakshow to find
their mother

who was jailed for attempting an illegal abortion. They meet Manny

selling drugs, Leonard Peltier locked down as the last Native
American, Officers

Daryl Gates and Stacey Koons who 'tattoo' their heads, Rovie Wade The

Swallower who has no control over her own body, and multi-ethnic

galleries where whoever doesn't look like you is the target. It's a
journey and

each song breaks the flow of the story by taking it down another road
to tell

another story. The beats are lush and funky, but dark and full of
minor keys.

There are eerie resonating beats, samples that just stick out in
their pure

oddity and repetition, and an overall air of frustration in these
songs between

the headlines and rolling paper. Like I said, it's got more edge than

records, but it slams more often than not, between hard, fast lyrics
and harder


Of course, this record after-burned over most everyone's head and
then buzzed

the budget racks on its way to the cutout bin. When I tried to see
them on my

birthday at Wetlands, Madd and I discussed the situation on press
outside the

club. Basically, one of Playboy's rock critics flat out loved it, and
that was

all. Wetlands dissed my underage ass and I missed their set with
Chuck Treece,

but got Maad's phone number after a great talk. I didn't actually see
the Goats

until the second record dropped and Oatie had already left the fold.

Oatie, the Italian kid in the group, was nice lyrically (check out

for a nice assessment of Italians and Blacks), but according to Madd
he flipped

before the act was supposed to tour Europe with Fishbone and The Bad

Before their set at Maxwell's in Hoboken a few years later, Madd told
me that

Oatie basically jetted because the rest of the act was too involved
in smoking

dope. This might seem dumb now, but sadly Oatie was on the right
track. At the

end of their mind-blowing set that night, after watching them throw
down all the

killers from Tricks and their ill live drummer freestyling while
laying down a

mean 4/4 at the same time, Madd and Swayzack literally went to sleep
on the

stage after all the weed they puffed. It was only a few months later
that they

broke up and Columbia ended a last ditch promo effort on the weaker
album No

Goats, No Glory.

And now, what's left? The members have all gone different ways, and
the closest

thing to new material is Incognegro. But once in a while, you'll find

who knows about how dope the Goats were. Don't believe me? Vernon
Reid, someone

who KNOWS about misunderstood music, drops the Goats in his piece
"Hard Left:

Hip Hop's Forgotten Visionaries" in The Vibe History of Hip Hop. Need

Check the dollar bin.

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Joined: 16 Jun 2006
Posts: 3206
Location: Capacious Creek

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They were a phenomenal group.

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