The Egyptian Lover


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It's ironic that many East Coast hip-hoppers of the 1980s had such a low opinion of the Egyptian Lover and other Los Angeles residents who specialized in the electro-hop style -- ironic because Egyptian and his colleagues were heavily influenced by Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock," which is considered one of 1982's definitive New York hip-hop singles. Of course, Egyptian was never the hardcore hip-hopper that Bambaataa is; his forte is a club-friendly mixture of rap, dance music, and synth funk. When Filthy came out in 1988, electro-hop was starting to decline in popularity in Southern California -- thanks to the success of Ice-T, N.W.A, and Eazy-E, Los Angeles rappers were becoming known for gangsta rap instead of electro-hop. But Egyptian carried on, avoiding hardcore rap and sticking to material that had a lot of dance and urban appeal. Parts of Filthy find him singing instead of rapping, including the addictive synth funk single "D.S.L.'s"; the Cameo-minded "Overdose"; and the eerie, Europop-influenced "Whisper in Your Ear." Meanwhile, Egyptian sticks to rapping on futuristic, "Planet Rock"-influenced electro-hop items such as "Baddest Beats Around" and "I Want Cha." Egyptian isn't a great singer any more than he is a great rapper -- his strong points are producing and writing -- but he still manages to be effective. The most surprising thing on the LP is a cover of Booker T. & the M.G.'s' early-'60s instrumental "Green Onions," which gets an almost Doors-like makeover -- not the sort of thing one expected from Egyptian, but then, he always did have eclectic tastes. A fairly diverse effort, Filthy falls short of essential but will appeal to Egyptian's die-hard fans.