Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Fat Beats & Bra Straps: Classics [Rhino, 1998]
"The rules of the game are simple and plain/ Turn on the microphone and recite your name," claims the great lost Sparky-D over some break-beats and an audacious two-note Louie Shelton loop. And beyond the two stone classics, Roxanne Shante's "Have a Nice Day" and the Real Roxanne's "Bang Zoom (Let's Go-Go)," that innocence encapsulates the casual charm and enduring artistic value of this early femme rap comp. It's innocent when Shante lays out the perils of the street on the rare "Runaway," when young Latifah skanks the Meters, when LeShaun d/b/a 2 Much serves up the lovingly lubricious "Wild Thang" for the ineluctably lustful L.L. Cool J, when the great lost Ice Cream Tee disses "male chauvinists" without thinking twice. Historically and musically, the Sequence and Salt-n-Pepa are missed. But this proves what a great girls school the old school could have been. A-