Stuck Mojo

Pigwalk

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Before it was diluted and co-opted to such a degree that it became the most disposable, commercially driven distortion of heavy metal since the '80s glam movement, the confluence of rap and metal eventually became known as "nu-metal" (and now termed rap-metal) initially showed incredible promise for revitalizing a style that, in America, at least, had been effectively obliterated by grunge at the start of the '90s. Anthrax's historic collaboration with Public Enemy in 1991 arguably fired the first shot, and Rage Against the Machine's watershed debut the following year proved to all and sundry that, no matter how unlikely, hip-hop's rhymes and rhythmic grooves could in fact be Frankenstein-ed with metal's un-danceable head-banging and cathartic intensity. Countless young bands seemed to think so, anyway, and those which were based in urban centers and had therefore already been exposed to thriving rap and hardcore scenes -- such as New York City's Biohazard and Atlanta, GA's Stuck Mojo -- were among the first to burst out of the gate. The latter formed in 1993 and, following a tentative debut, Snappin' Necks, a couple of years later, arguably hit their stride with 1996's definitive Pigwalk, which, in the span of 11 songs, boasted a streamlined -- but still explosive -- sonic collision of syncopated rhyming on opinionated subjects, backed by megatons of brute, metallic riffing and hyperactive drums. Not unlike Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha and Tom Morello, Stuck Mojo's guiding tandem of self-dubbed "lyrical expressionist" Bonz and guitarist Rich Ward had somehow found a way to reconcile the inner city guerilla with the suburban guitar shredder, resulting in powerful blasts like "Twisted," "Violated," and the title track, which remain rap-metal milestones to this day. Yes, hundreds of opportunistic acts (many based in L.A. -- they're always the ones from L.A., aren't they?) were already watering down this Molotov cocktail for keg-like, mass consumption, and Stuck Mojo themselves would soon be distracted somewhat by a bizarre pro wrestling fetish, but Pigwalk survives as an inspired, vital, and combustible document of their powers -- warts and all. [Century Media's 2006 reissue of Pigwalk adds the six-song Violated EP, plus two unreleased band covers of Iron Maiden's "Wrathchild" and Mötley Crüe's "Shout at the Devil."]

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