Quite a few hardcore rappers incorporated hard rock and heavy metal in the 1980s, including Run DMC, Public Enemy, the DOC, Ice-T and LL Cool J. But hip-hop's hardcore tends to have a very purist outlook and frowns on any kind of crossing over -- so in the 1990s, most hardcore rappers steered clear of rock elements for fear of being accused of selling out. One exception was Chicago duo Juster, whose I Remember that Night EP of 1994 unites gritty, no-nonsense hip-hop lyrics with forceful rock guitars. Numerous alternative rockers were incorporating rap at the time, but while their foundation was rock, this four-song EP sounds like the work of hip-hoppers who just happen to like rock guitars. The lyrics to "I Remember that Night," "No Respect," "Perfect Age" and "Riding on the High" paint a vivid and troubling picture of the tough, gang-ridden neighborhoods on Chicago's South Side, but unlike the many faceless MCs who were jumping on the gangsta rap bandwagon at the time, Juster doesn't come across as mindlessly exploitative. Although Juster members Dillinger and Juvenile don't glorify gangs or inner-city violence, they don't hesitate to let you know how dangerous parts of Chicago can be. It's too bad that this EP didn't do much commercially because Juster had a lot of potential.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson