New York Latino hip-hoppers Psycho Les (Lester Fernandez) and JuJu (Jerry Tineo), joined in mid-career by Fashion (Berntony Smalls) — the Beatnuts — initially made their reputation as versatile producers, working the samplers and boards for a slew of artists, including Chi Ali, Monie Love, Jungle Brothers, Pete Nice and Kurious. Then they began making their own records. Under the trio’s deft hands, Afro-Cuban percussion breaks, fuzzy guitar runs, acoustic basslines, horn choruses and organ solos are re-cut and transformed into memorable, hook-dense tunes (“No Equal” from the eleven-track, six-song Intoxicated Demons; “Are You Ready,” “Hellraiser” and “Yeah You Get Props” from the full-length album).
Beatnuts records take their ambience from early-’70s Prestige or Westbound wax and their technique from late-’80s innovators A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, but the lyrics are something else entirely. When they’re not in battle mode, the Beatnuts just act ill. The chorus to Intoxicated Demons’ “Psycho Dwarf” goes, “I wanna fuck, drink beer and smoke some shit!” For those who can’t get enough, The Beatnuts offers an extended version of the song.