You can call them groundbreaking. You can call them instigators. But Nasty Rox Inc just clicked. And rocked. Oh, how they rocked.
Who Were They?
Well, people tended to think Nasty Rox Inc were Dave Dorrell’s band. And this was in 1988 so MARRS were a thing, in 1987 their ‘Pump Up The Volume‘ was one of the first club created tracks to smash the charts. But he was a sort of overlooker, a consultant if you like.
This was a proper band, not a project, but people could be mistaken for thinking that, they came and went, leaving a brightly coloured, tough but groovy album behind. If you look at Discogs’ entry for the band, you’ll see a reply from Nasty Rox Inc drummer Ian Roberts from 2011. Interesting reading…
That only album, C$sh, is a ball of attitude. A leery delivery that would spit in your face as soon as explain their music, pulled back by Classic Rock guitars and a swinging, dancey beat.
It was a new sound alright. And the first perhaps; yes, the Beastie Boys‘ ‘Licenced To Ill‘ brought Rock to Rap but they never did it with such flamboyance. This is like an event.
Samples, Scratching, Salsa
The first track is the second track too; which sounds convoluted but a big canvas is needed for what Nasty Rox Inc want to give us. Because:
Opener ‘9th Wonder‘ give us groovy dance beats, a salsa sample, scratching, quiet Jazz Fusion section, an unbridled rock guitar solo and a sibling track which took the guts of the song and did something else.
Ah yes, ‘10th Wonder‘. The salsa sample is still there, but the thick club bass, bongos and Go-Go section all add a little embellishment.
The Commercial Attempt
Just listen to that supercharged rush of a chorus in ‘Blow’, the tight beat and blarting horns of James Bond incidental music in ‘Nobby’s One’s and 80’s Pop middle of the extra track ‘What It Is‘. Nasty Rox Inc tried to please.
They never really knew what they wanted to do, nestle in the charts, cut you and take your pride or make you dance until the break of dawn – I love that.
We Got To Escape…
…from New York. That cry of ‘I….want…some moolah…yeah’…, the slow, sassy ride, the New Jack Swing feel, cabaret horns, the Sinatra ‘New York, New York‘ sample, this central track melds the Nasty Rox Inc sound into one wonderful whole.
Zang Tummm Tumb articles reports;
‘Unfortunately, “Escape” took so long to produce that it was tagged as passé when it came out in early ‘88.’
It’s just a classy sound with ‘Escape From New York 2‘ concentrating even more on the baggy beat and Hip Hop infiltration, theseconddisc.com remind us;
‘Their single “Escape from New York” was described by the NME as “the aural equivalent of ‘[The] Towering Inferno,” and they ended up as the support act for a British tour with funk legend James Brown.’
Not me, but many. Signed to trendy label ZTT, who had producer royalty Trevor Horn and media man Paul Morley in their ranks, the album was executive-produced by Horn and produced by hot Steve Lipson.
Come on, ‘Praise The Lord‘ even has that synth crash from ‘Owner Of A Lonely Heart‘; audacity and assurance.
It could be said that without Nasty Rox Inc there would have been no Rap Metal but I want people to give it a chance…
Perhaps Zang Tummm Tumb articles can put it better;
‘…(an) inimitable smorgasbord of rap, funk, metal, glam and pothead’.
It was beautifully skewed, chopped, and shaped, but always declaring its excellence. It rose like a beacon for the future and fell like a celebrity in ‘Dancing On Ice‘. Too full of itself – some people don’t like that…
Dig this out. It isn’t from 1988. It isn’t now. It created its own excellence. Nasty – yep. Rox – it does. Inc? Incredible.