Great EPs: Digital Underground: "This Is An EP Release"

You really ain’t know hip hop if you ain’t know the legendary Digital Underground. Likewise, if you’ve never danced your ass off to this song at a house party while singing “I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom,” then you should probably bounce and go listen to some Flo-Rida or something. These dudes are Oaktown legends, and are unfairly remembered more for the fact that they gave Tupac his start in the industry than the music that they made.

Digital Underground is a fantastic rap group, don’t get me wrong. However, I’ve got to admit that they have their faults, at least musically. As the mighty ego trip Monkey Academy once said, D.U. has “one great album, one decent EP, and far too much bullshit after that.” Whereas this may be perceived as a little harsh, there’s a modicum of truth to it. Sex Packets is indeed a classic hip hop album; it’s bawdy, rambunctious, and totally fun. Unfortunately, after releasing this seminal piece of music, something caused D.U. to fade away into the ether.

So what happened? Too ambitious, indulgent? The constant revolving-door cycle of artists coming in and out of the D.U. camp? The actual bloatation (is that even a word?) of the group into near-Funkadelic status, with dozens of musicians, graphic artists, dancers shuffled into the collective? Who knows. I suppose that’s a question for another day and another blog post. For now, we’ll be focusing on just one of the other high-quality releases by Digital Underground: 1991’s This Is An EP Release.

Essentially a continuation of the Sex Packets sound and themes, This Is An EP Release rides the Parliament vibe, eschewing the sample-driven sound and embracing live instrumentation; this is some of the funkiest organ work you’ll ever hear on a rap record. 6 songs deep, all killer and no filler. It might not be the perfect EP but it’s pretty damn close. Do yourself a favor: scoop this up and play it next Saturday night. I guarantee it will not disappoint.

1. Same Song
2. Tie the Knot
3. Way We Swing
4. Nuttin’ Nis Funky
5. Packet Man (Worth a Packet Remix)
6. Arguin’ on the Funk

– Echo Leader

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