Fiend – The Best of Fiend: Mr. Whomp Whomp
Rap / Hip-hop
There’s this used record store not far from where I live. For the last 10 years, they’ve been my inexpensive source for hard-to-find releases, replacement CDs for ones I’ve lost and the occasional audio experimentation.
About 10 years ago, No Limit Records began an inexplicable (and, to this day, still unexplained) takeover of the rap music industry. On the back of Master P, No Limit practically churned out an album a week in 1998. And, I confess, to thinking P’s “Make ‘Em Say Uhh”—taken for what it is—is a stupidly fun track.
So, it shouldn’t be surprising that my ears would eventually find Fiend.
At the used record store, customers can listen to an album before buying. I found Fiend’s 1999 release Street Life and the first track was “Mr. Whomp Whomp”. It lifts the beat almost exactly from “Make ‘Em Say Uhh” and scores similar points on the “fun” and “stupid” scales. And, yes, I bought the album for $2.99.
Fiend’s only other studio album was 1998’s There’s One in Every Family, but in true No Limit form, he had guest appearances on the releases of almost all his label mates. He’s got surprisingly effective chemistry with Mia X on “Big Timer” (despite the ridiculous hook) and “Get In 2 It”.
Ah, but therein lies the rub.
If you’ve never heard Fiend before, he’s probably best described as an ersatz DMX. He comes with a gravelly, mile-a-minute flow, but never really changes his style, even as the beat or other rappers around him dictate a different approach.
His solo material will have your ears bleeding by the end, so it’s not surprising that of the 18 tracks here, there are guest appearances on over half of them. “Woof!” was a lame Snoop Dogg attempt to create a catchphrase and one of the worst tracks from Snoop’s worst album. “Tryin’ 2 Do Something” loops The Isley Brothers (yes, that song, as every rap release seemed to do in the late ’90s) and includes the unintentional hilarity of Master P in the first verse.
Most of the time, Fiend is buried under the guest spots, though. “No Limit Soldiers II” is the typical posse cut that every No Limit album had, but with eight other artists sharing the mic, it doesn’t do anything to highlight the supposed star of this show.
KLC and Beats by the Pound handle most of the production work and the beats here are all interchangeable and instantly forgettable. Sadly, the same can be said of Fiend. While he enjoyed some commercial success (his first album debuted at #8 on the Billboard charts, his second at #15), there’s not one song here that stays with the listener after the first spin.