GOATS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Tricks of the Shade (Ruffhouse/Columbia) 1992
No Goats, No Glory (Ruffhouse/Columbia) 1994
A good idea for one album, the Goats became an out-of-control lesson in rap excess on the tours and album that followed it. Two of the group's three rappers Madd and Swayzack met while working as street vendors in Philadelphia. After trading rhymes for a while, they began to make appearances at local hip-hop throwdowns, ran across white rapper OaTiekato and wound up in the offices of then-embryonic Ruffhouse Records, where producer Joe (The Butcher) Nicolo set out to capture their hard-hitting activist rap on tape.
Tricks of the Shade is a concept album, a series of liberal treatises on the welfare state stitched together with brief (and often not funny) skits involving an orphan child wandering through a carnival in search of his "Uncle Scam." Performing with a live band, the three rappers earned a reputation for haywire energy as memorable as the punkish rant "Typical American" and the anti-racism chant "Not Not Bad" were on record, the live renditions of these songs could become funkified, George Clinton-style marathons.
Following an extended season of touring, Oatee the Goats' most activist-minded member left the group. The others pressed on, but downplayed the political rhetoric in favor of gangsta-style agitation. The new approach yielded a less challenging, more run-of-the-mill sound No Goats, No Glory is an all-too-familiar peek into the lives of crazy cut-up rappers, and a faint echo of earlier Goats glory. The group disbanded in 1995.[Tom Moon]
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