By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
COVERED WITH ANTS
THE SCENE: The desk ofOC Weekly Music Editor Rich Kane, who's busy opening his daily mound of mail. He grabs a large, padded envelope from Epitaph records off the top of the pile and dumps the contents into his hand.
KANE: Ewww, Guttermouth are they still around? God, they suck. But they are local, and their publicist has left, like, 800 messages on my voice mail. . . .Kane puts the CD in his boom box and listens to several seconds each of such songs as "Chug-a-Lug Night" and "Cram It Up Your Ass," noting how it sounds exactly like every other Guttermouth album ever made, and then quickly removes it.
KANE: Pee-yoo! Yeah, smells like a Guttermouth CD. Hey, Chris! C'mere for a sec!Writer Chris Ziegler enters the room, looking disheveled in that punk rock way.
ZIEGLER (Mumbling, as if coming down off decongestants): Wuzzup, Rich?
KANE: You like the punk rock, right? Well, son, I got something here for you to review! No groveling, now. . . .Kane hands the Guttermouth CD to Ziegler, whose face immediately scrunches up tightly as if constipated.
ZIEGLER: Ewww, Guttermouth are they still around? God, they suck. They sucked back in '95, too, but at least they sucked with a certain je ne sais quoi. You know, it hurts just to hold this in my hands.
KANE: So that's a no? Are you sure? But you fit so nicely into their demographics.
ZIEGLER: That's a no.
KANE: Well, keep it anyway; you can always sell it. You'd get $1, maybe even $2 for it.
ZIEGLER: No thanks, man, really. If I hold it any longer, I'll break out. I'm starting to itch right now.
KANE: Extra decongestant money!
ZIEGLER: Oh, yeah! Okay! Sweet!Ziegler leaves room holding Guttermouth CD at a safe distance from his nose, not unlike a dirty diaper. Kane returns to his mail pile.
KANE: Ewww, Pennywise are they still around? And look at this cheesy promo photo in which they're all flipping their middle fingers now that's original! God, they suck.
THE END (Rich Kane)
The Beatnuts are Psycho Les and Junkyard JuJu, two producers making some of NYC's finest music. But on their fourth album, they shoot their own feet by dropping played-out, let's-get-some-Moet-and-some-strippers-and-guns lyrics all over what might have been a masterpiece. The 'Nuts have been just a Mystikal collaboration away from being the next Rockwilda or Neptunes for a few years now, and after hearing the quality songs on Take It or Squeeze It, their management will likely be taking messages from a slew of superstar MCs real soon. The album starts right with the groovy "It's Da Nuts," the hooky chorus of which you'll be singing all day after just one listen (crowning this track with popping-fresh smoothness is the dusty, Shadowesque beat that rolls it home). "Prendelo" works around what sounds like synthesized steel drums, while "Yo Yo Yo" gets Busta Rhymes-hype showing off a crazy piano lick that could be Thelonious Monk filtered through an ice cream truck's loudspeaker. The Beatnuts produced every cut on this joint, which contrasts with the scattershot mixing on most albums as slick as this, but it also makes for a complete record instead of a few hits and 12 cuts of filler (which isn't to say there aren't one or two throwaways here). All in all, the party vibe compensates for the lack of poetry. Brand it a guilty pleasure, and just let your head nod. (Michael Coyle)