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Yaggfu Front's album represents something to me that I both love and hate about hip hop. I love the fact that I know if I keep trying, I'll continue to find lost gems of underappreciated hip hop albums like this one. I hate also knowing that not too long from now these gems will be eternally forgotten in the sands of oblivion. There are far too many hip hop acts that released one amazing album in the early 90s and then disappeared forever. What Nas said about "rap's a ghost town" is true, I could spend hours naming artists like that. But anyway, Yaggfu Front's one and only album, 1993's "Action Packed Adventure," is pure hip hop dopeness. Their style is most similar to Fu-Schnickens, but really they're such an original group that they have to be heard to be appreciated. This album is awesome, and it works only in a way that could have happened in this era of hip hop music. The trio of Deranged & Damaged, Spin 4th, and Jingle Bel represented North Carolina years before anyone else did. The intro introduces the album as some kind of loose concept, but that quickly falls apart. Everything about the album is obscure. The lyrics are practically impossible to follow half the time, and I love trying to decipher the nonsense that the MCs spit. The crazy stories of car chases, female troubles, traveling, and whatever else are absolutely hilarious and enhanced by their great voices. The beats are incredible, anchored by totally obscure horn samples and instrumentals. The beats kind of sound distant and far off, almost like a movie soundtrack that the album sometimes tries to emulate. Even if you can't appreciate the wild lyricism, the beats will keep you engrossed. I admit it took me a few listens to really get into "Action Packed Adventure," but this album is just awesome.
The intro is absolutely hilarious, starting with a movie preview about amputee robot dogs. This is what Yaggfu's all about. The next song, "Where'd You Get Your Bo Bo's," is just dope-dope-dope. A stand-up bass and piano create the laidback, chilled out musical backdrop for the verses, which serve to ask "Where'd you get those skills!" I just love the whole thing, from the opening line ("Fee, fi, fo, fum/I spill the blood of the ignorant ones...") to the running commentary ("Mm-mm-mm...this is the best thing I seen since lunch and it's makin' me hungry!"). Like I said, pure hip hop dope. "Trooper 101" has wild saxes and drums, hilarious lyrics that will leave your head spinning. Between crazy trombone samples and another sweet bass and piano combo, "Mr. Hook" follows suit. "Busted Loop" again is awesome. The trio tries to function as always, even though, as the commentator futilely explains, "Yo, uh, yeah, this is dope, but, you know your sample's busted?" I have no idea what "Fruitless-Moot" is trying to say, but the music is maybe the best on the album, with a flute and ragtime-style piano solo that sounds like it's coming from underwater. "Black Liquid" is lyrically my favorite, telling a story reminiscent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with music and acting to match. "Slappin' Suckas Silly" is a little more accessible, still great, and the title track attempts to convey, well, an action packed adventure in grand fashion. "Left Field" is a lyrical gem, and "Hold 'Em Back" precedes "Uptown Downtown," which discusses their wide travels. "Frontline" makes a stab for a little relevance amidst the craziness, check out the muted sax on this track. "Sweet Caroline" is an awesome outro. The bonus track, "My D... Is So Large," is one of the funniest I've ever heard on record. As they explain before it starts, the group was mad that they were forced to put a parental advisory sticker on their cover, because it "wasn't their style." So to get the most out of their explicit status, they made this absolutely ridiculous song to be as vulgar as possible, and it's just so funny. Yaggfu executed it to excellence.
Chances are you will never have the incredible luck to come across "Action Packed Adventure" in a store like I did. So I highly suggest listeners take advantage of the low-priced used ones available here. Yaggfu Front isn't perfect or artistic or anything like that, but I could seriously just spend years listening to this CD. The end of one of the songs sums it up perfectly. After yet another zany tale of odd happenings, the music ends and a voice begins to say, "The point of this song was..." before being cut off by the end of the track, leaving the intention for you to interpret. Hip hop doesn't need a point, and with beats and fun like this it can still be beautiful.