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ROB BASE & D.J. E-Z ROCK (Buy CDs by this artist)
It Takes Two (Profile) 1988
ROB BASE
The Incredible Base (Profile) 1989

New York MC Rob Base (Ginyard) shook more than dancefloors with his first LP: rapping against contrasting refrains of non-sampled soul singing (most notably on the title cut — blithely named the best single of all time by Spin magazine — and "Joy and Pain"), he made an exciting style-busting innovation that helped spread serious hip-hop sounds into the "black music" mainstream. Other than those extraordinary achievements (and "Crush," a croony romantic ballad Base more or less sings), It Takes Two matches powerfully simple rhythm tracks to masterful PG-rated rhymes. Where some rappers revel in the violence of contemporary urban life, Base — a positive self-promoter devoted only to pumping up a good time — has the sense to acknowledge that "Times Are Gettin' Ill" and reject the temptation of drugs and guns.

With his partner temporarily out of the picture, Base followed his gold-selling debut with The Incredible Base, an entertaining stream of high-velocity/high- ideals egocentric rhymes and cushy soul singing. Taking two distinct stylistic directions, the album pushes straight rap — the killer "Turn It Out (Go Base)" and "If You Really Want to Party" hype up the mix with chanted backing vocals, while "The Incredible Base" throws in the kitchen sink to move the jam along — and loosely swinging grooves that borrow music from 20-year-old classics (like "War," "Come and Get Your Love" and "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing"). As Base himself immodestly notes, The Incredible Base is "Outstanding."

[Ira Robbins]