It’s time to shine the Vinyl Spotlight! Every now and then on Paloozapalooza, I like to focus on a random LP from my collection. This week, we have:
Whodini – Escape (1984)
Whodini never seems to get the same amount of attention as some other early hip-hop groups, but they certainly made a huge impact. Grandmaster Dee’s production was raw and powerful while still taking a lot of risks—it reminds me a lot of Erik B, actually—and emcees Jalil Hutchins and John “Ecstasy” Fletcher told stories with their raps as opposed to just spitting out laundry lists of clever punchlines.
1984’s Escape is more than just Whodini’s best album. It’s one of the more underrated albums in early hip-hop history, and I’m happy to have a clean original copy on vinyl.
Opening track “Five Minutes of Funk” is a thick slice of loud, deep production with a bass part that just leaps out from the mix. It’s like they are straight showing off here. “How good are we? Here’s five straight minutes of pure fire!”
“Freaks Come Out at Night” is my favorite track on the record, and an all-time favorite. It has such a big sound to it, and goes in so many directions, it actually reminds me of Kanye circa My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
“Friends” is the other important song here, especially considering all the songs that went on to sample it
Nas rapped over it with Lauryn Hill in 1996, 2Pac rapped over a pretty clear sample on “Troublesome ‘96,” in 1998, and MF Doom built an old instrumental around it, eventually turning it into “Deep Fried Frenz.”
(And then there’s Lil Wayne’s “Get High Ruled the World” … Kanye’s “Real Friends” … you get the idea.)
The rest of Escape is just as strong. “Big Mouth” hits hard like early Run DMC, and “Escape (I Need a Break)” is a lot of fun.
The whole thing is great from start to finish. Listen to most of the album below …