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(Original, 1999 Liner Notes):
Due to time constraints, the recording of this first twelve-inch was a hectic process. After missing a flight, J-Treds arrived in St. Louis exhausted and sore with a crick in his neck. There was no time to recuperate though. In a few short hours the Brooklyn native was to premiere Rated R to a hungry crowd at Washington University. Intellect Emcee was waiting, but since T-Smooth was tied up doing another show, the trio was not complete. In fact, the whole show seemed doomed. The sound monitors were fucked up, at times completely fading out so that Intellect and J-Treds could hear neither their own voices nor the beat, but they handled it like true movers of the crowd. At times, J-Treds dropped the useless microphone and defiantly projected his lines across the crowd. Some ol' pro shit. The result: banging heads, flying arms, grinning faces.

On the front side of this recording are the original, alternate (suitable for radio or in-store play) and instrumental takes of Schematics. Produced by Hype of Mad Flava, this track bounces to an ascending guitar lick that climaxes at a liquid curlique sound. Intellect Emcee leads with his roller coaster flow, stopping as deejay B-Money gets busy on the 1200's. The booming hump of the kick in the beat is complimented by T-Smooth's powerful, consonantal delivery, and the final verse is spit by casually confident J-Treds, after the scratched announcer declares, "Dis guy'll kill ya ta death in t'ree rounds!"

On the back side, we find the original, alternate, and instrumental takes of Rated R, produced by B-Money, who says that in hip hop, "Drums must always kick you in the ass." And they do, with a chain gang, hammer-to-the-railroad-track snare, filtered horns that slowly rise and fall down the measures, and a subtle vocal sample. This time, J-Treds kicks his lyrics from a more aggressive angle. Intellect follows with his vocal punches and jabs, and T-Smooth knocks 'em out energetically. Carried by T-Smooth, the chorus reminds us that the trio is Rated R. That means right at the top.

Keep an eye out for more raw hip hop from St. Louis and the I Think Crew.

Independently yours,
April Park


released September 15, 1999

Schematics - Hype Dawg, B. Money on the cut
Rated-R - B. Money, beat AND cut
Rated-R (Remix) DJ Crucial

Engineer: DJ Crucial

Vocals: J-Treds, Intellect Emcee, T-Smooth



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