Second Spin: General Kane, In Full Chill

Jun 3, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Artist: General Kane

Album: In Full Chill

From: Vintage Vinyl’s 99 cent bin.

Year: 1986

Label: Motown

What it sounds like: C+C Music Factory crossed with Morris Day and the Time as covered by MC Rove. Something you’d hear on the Saved By the Bell soundtrack.

Best Track: “Hairdooz” (In a cheesy rap cadence): “Everybody stop and stare and see just what we done to our hair…Red hair white hair even blue…totally awesome.” Only good because of the cover, when you can actually see what some of them did to their “totally awesome” hair. Though it’s not credited, I guarantee somebody played keytar on this track. I think Berry Gordy was senile when he greenlighted this album.

Worst Track: “Crack Killed Applejack” I don’t know why but for some reason it reminds me of an ‘80s hip-hop version of “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” only instead of fiddles they use cheesy keyboard samples. It’s a, um, ballad about the demise of Nathan “Applejack” Lewis, with the unforgettable chorus of “Death lives in the rock house.” Someone actually described this song on Wikipedia as “An uncompromising reflection of drug abuse on the inner-city streets.”

Who you can thank for the amazing cover art: Hair by “Polky,” cover “concept” by Steve Buckley and Mitch “General Kane” McDowell

Interesting Facts: Via Wikipedia: General Kane, the nom de rap of frontman Mitch McDowell, changed the spelling of their name from General Caine when they signed to Motown records in 1986. They were formally an eight-piece funk group that formed in 1978 and featured Trey Stone, the guitarist for Bootsy Collins, with albums released on Groove Town, Capitol, and Tabu records. They actually had a song titled “Where’s the Beef” after the Wendy’s slogan at the time. According to the Wikipedia article, “Crack Killed Applejack” was banned from radio airplay. Probably because it sucks. In this interview, McDowell says the song is about Celtics star Len Bias, who died of a cocaine overdose. McDowell was murdered in 1992.

-Keegan Hamilton