Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Playboy Music

I can't confirm reports that the title cut of Zevon's Sentimental Hygiene is a safe-sex anthem, because as far as I can tell, the lyric doesn't come near sex with a ten-foot metaphor. But with Neil Young's guitar screaming out the solo and Zevon's keyboard grinding out the hook, I don't much care--even the weakest songs here have lines that will come back to you in the night. But for a safe-sex anthem, try flat-out bad boy Kool Moe Dee. Formerly one of the Treacherous Three, the baddest rappers never to break out of New York City, Moe Dee is so bad, he doesn't even call himself bad--prefers something clearer, such as The Best. And rarely, if ever, has a one-man rap album moved like Kool Moe Dee (Jive). The electronic percussion generates a hard, jaunty, out-of-kilter swing, and Moe Dee doesn't let it just lie there--trick rhymes, variable lengths, filters, double tracks, sung refrains and the occasional extra instrument all work to shift the beat without ever undercutting its dominance. Moe Dee has the vocabulary to match these techniques; but on the street hit Go See the Doctor, he minces no words: "The poontang was dope," he admits, but now he's "drip-drip-drippin' and pus-pus-pussin'," so all future pros--check with an M.D. before they check with Moe Dee. No "Dumb Dick" he.

Playboy, Sept. 1987


Aug. 1987 Oct. 1987