By KC (Host of You Must Learn)
The music industry in the early- and mid-90s was wild, as this series has covered. Mistakes were plentiful, and even some of the successful moves came down to dumb luck that could not be replicated on a reliable scale. One of those practices was the age-old “Give my homie a deal.” Cutout bins and used music stores were littered with one-off projects of an artist whose only entry into the music industry was knowing a more established artist. It was the laziest form of label scouting. And the failed projects we know about are probably dwarfed by the ones that were scrapped midstream, wasting resources of time and money that could have gone elsewhere, or at least limited the bloating of record label budgets and make the whole industry more sustainable. Occasionally, however, you get a gem.
Kurious is a rapper from Harlem who was signed to the personal imprint of former 3rd Bass rapper Pete Nice. Coupled with a lot of production from The Beatnuts, his debut album A Constipated Monkey was introduced to the world in the beginning of 1994 after previewing his talent with the “Walk Like a Duck” single in 1992 and the “Uptown *hit” single in 1993, as well as appearing on the Pete Nice solo record. He also made the rounds on underground New York radio with “A Mansion and a Yacht” which featured Sadat X of Brand Nubian and Mike G of the Jungle Brothers. This was lore long before it was available commercially, first as a B-side to his third single, “I’m Kurious” and then finally appearing on reissues of the full album in later years.
As for the sound of the record, it’s very consistent, which is not a surprise when you look at the credits. Of the 12 tracks on the initial release, five are signature Beatnuts tracks, with a groovy stand-up bass line and some horn stabs. Dante Ross’ Stimulated Dummies crew handle five others, and it’s fair to say that they play in that same lane. Pete Nice and Daddy Rich handle “I’m Kurious” which has a very distinct R&B feel to it, relying heavily on The Blackbyrds’ “Mysterious Vibes” throughout. Lyrically, it’s the crude braggadocio that you expect from rappers of that era. Some interesting punchlines over the course of the record, but mostly forgettable bars. The vocal tone itself works as an accompanying instrument – it doesn’t matter what he’s saying, it’s just part of the whole.
Kurious wouldn’t drop the follow up album until 2009, supposedly due to contract issues with Sony. There isn’t a whole lot of information out there on the years in between records, but it’s likely that he’s another casualty of the crowded field of 1994. Nevertheless, this is definitely worth a revisit even now. It’s just fun. Sometimes, you just need fun.
Check this out and more on the latest ep of You Must Learn w/KC!