MC Serch

Return of the Product

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After putting out two albums as a part of 3rd Bass, MC Serch (born Michael Berrin) set off to work on his own material. Entitled Return of the Product and released in 1992, the record (his only solo release) sits in that transition space of hip-hop, between the golden age and the newer East Coast sound that was being shepherded in. Because of this, the beats on Return of the Product don't weather as well as some of the other albums that were more firmly grounded in their era (Public Enemy or De La Soul or even 3rd Bass), but Serch's rhymes more than make up for any musical shortcomings (of which there are very few, anyway). The big hit on the album is "Back to the Grill Again," and it's easy to see why. With a bouncy, bassy beat from T-Ray and guest verses from Red Hot Lover Tone, Chubb Rock, and Nas (here shortly after Serch discovered him and two years before his debut, Illmatic, would come out), the song is funny and smart, with a catchy hook and intricate flows from all the MCs ("Got crazy game, so no one can stop me/But hey yo, I'm white, I guess my game is hockey," Serch quips). The MC's delivery and his punch lines are what he's best at, and he's in fine form here: "I can come ghetto and don't have to be a bastard/Hold a conversation and don't have to have the last word/Shoot the gifts swift and not miss the street/Even -- umm -- and not come off the beat," he rhymes in the quick-paced "Don't Have to Be," while "Hard But True" sees him taking a more discerning look at societal conditions ("Too many times too many crimes get backed up/Case comes up, oops, switch all the facts up/Three kids rape a sister at St. John's/And become graduates, instead of cons.../Probably one of the fathers gave the school a gymnasium"). Serch was one of the few white rappers at this time, and the only one willing to address issues like this, which gives depth and credibility to his words and makes Return of the Product a pretty interesting release, and absolutely worth listening to.

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