Old Skool Review: Kid ‘n Play
Among the litany of complaints I had with hip hop for the better part of the past decade or two was the stunning lack of genuine fun to be found anywhere. As soon as gangsta became the only way to go, the idea of rap simply being about having a good time went the way of the dodo. You know what? That was a damn shame, so today we’re going to discuss an act from the past that always seemed to be having a blast–Kid ‘n Play.
Christopher “Kid” Reid and Christopher “Play” Martin did not write lyrics that were meant to change the world. They weren’t political, though they did have an underlying sense of positivity that pervaded their tracks. They certainly weren’t violent, unless you considered cafeteria confrontations with Full Force some sub-sub-sub-genre of gangsta. They were, however, light hearted, upbeat and a good time generally was had by all in their presence, I imagine.
While they had a few strong singles, the duo really became more well known for everything other than music that they did. For starters, they were one of the first rap groups that incorporated dancing into their performances in a big way, even perfecting their own dance. Kid’s hi-top fade is a thing of legend to this day, assuming you run in the right circles or are a retired urban barber. Arguably most important of all, their run of “House Party” movies still is held in high regard by the likes of numerous syndicated local cable networks. I’d like to give a special tip of the hat to whoever cast those movies. You’ve got essentially an unknown Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell, as well as George Clinton and Robin Harris. Not to mention it introduced at least one white teenager from the ‘burbs to the wonders of Dolemite.
For my money, though, you know you’ve pretty much reached the pinnacle of success when you get your own cartoon.
After their halcyon days of yore, Reid bounced around low budget television for a bit, while Martin became a born-again Christian and played the music producer game. To remind you what we’re all missing, today’s track features Kid ‘n Play riffing with none other than Salt ‘n Pepa. Incidentally, both acts were managed and produced by Herby “Luv Bug” Azor. All of which leads me to believe that there’s a deeper story here concerning Azor’s insistence on adding “‘n” to all his band names. Nobel Prize for Investigative Reporting, here I come!