Review: Jim Carroll, NME Oct 1992

Stereo Mc’s are the rap crew many choose to ignore. People talk about every variety of US rap from gangsta guns n poses to your dyed-in-the-mix flipped out, freaky new agers. They’ll pay their respects to hardcore British rappers like Blade or black radical Mk II because of the reality of their surroundings and how they go about expressing it. Even old school left over’s and dud pop rappers have received more attention than the stereo MC’s. ‘Connected’ should change all of that.

It’s a wholesome, addictive, funky affair with a cheeky swing showing out on all 12 tracks. A joyful collision of sounds and vibes, influences and attitude, uptown trains and downtown nights, this album knows the score and also, for good measure, what time it is. This stereo MC’s third album, will see them jostling with arrested development, Basehead and Hipoprisy for the rap rosette in all of those end of year round-ups.

But ‘Connected’ has far more to offer than just rap delights. Stereo MC’s have soul and funk and the knack required to mesh both into a mixture to move both mind and feet. They’ve a handle on dancefloor grooves which propels you into the world of potential Andy Weatherall mixes plus Brand New Heavies heaving brashness.

The title track is chock a block with jazzy, flutes, chugging organs and Rob B’s fine growling rap, and ground level is a laidback rap where Cath Coffey’s vocals act as a counterpoint to the shuffling background beat. Everything where the stereos present their take on The Message-The land of milk and honey/Doesn’t seem to be nowhere-before stepping on the gas and watching the funk levels go crazy.

‘Sketch’ has a snazzy “paint it thru” chorus seeping through a track which at times gorgeously ambient, at other times like something MC Buzz B has managed to get his hands on and, once in a while, a slice of Latin lushness. They even take the time out to acknowledge a taste of rare groove with “ All night long” meandering fluid drift taking hints from past glories and funky shapes at two in the morning. (“Playing with fire/you’ll end up on the funeral pyre”), but there are also some perfect melodies and a brilliant bassline keeping the track within limits.

‘Connected’ is a winner alright, paced and pitched for today, when everything from the past is an influence and a possible addition to the mix. Stereo MC’s have delivered the goods and are ready to welcome all groovers and party people to their house.