The Cactus Album

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The Cactus Album
Studio album by 3rd Bass
Released October 23, 1989
Recorded 1988-1989 at New York, New York
Chung King Studios, Green Street Studios, Island Media Studios
Genre Hip-hop
Length 65:46
Label Def Jam/Columbia/CBS Records
CK 45415 (North America)
466003 (international)
Producer Pete Nice, MC Serch, Sam Sever, Prince Paul, The Bomb Squad (Hank Shocklee, Keith Shocklee, Eric "Vietnam" Sadler)
3rd Bass chronology
The Cactus Album (The Cee/Dee)
(1989)
The Cactus Revisited
(1990)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic link 5/5 stars
Q 3/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau A−[2]
Mojo link (Favorable)

The Cactus Album, also known as The Cactus Cee/D and The Cactus Cas/Ette, is the debut album by hip-hop trio 3rd Bass, released on Def Jam Recordings on October 23, 1989. The album received positive reviews from the hip hop press, and the group gained some publicity by being arguably the second white group to achieve hip hop credibility, after the Beastie Boys. It was certified gold by the RIAA on April 24, 1990,[3] the same day as Biz Markie's The Biz Never Sleeps,[4] which was released two weeks prior to The Cactus Album.

The Cactus Album peaked at #5 on Billboard's Top Hip Hop/R&B Albums chart and at #55 on the Billboard 200 chart. In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums. A decade later, Rhapsody (online music service) included The Cactus Album in its list of "The 10 Best Albums By White Rappers".[5]

Background[edit]

Most of the music was produced by Sam Sever alongside members MC Serch and Pete Nice, except for the Prince Paul-produced tracks "The Gas Face" and "Brooklyn-Queens," and "Steppin' to the A.M." and "Oval Office" by The Bomb Squad. The album generally features songs that are lyrical showcases or are about women (such as the hidden sexual meaning of "Oval Office"). The song "Sons of 3rd Bass" can be viewed as a diss to the Beastie Boys (who had recently severed ties with 3rd Bass' record label, Def Jam) in that it references them in many lines such as this one uttered by MC Serch in the first verse.

Swarm to the lyrics cause Serch is your father
Screaming "Hey Ladies", why bother?

The song "Wordz of Wisdom" was recorded while the group performed under the name "Three the Hard Way." Their name was changed after they signed to Def Jam, however, the recording made its way onto the album.

The group had a minor hit with the single "The Gas Face". The accompanying video, which featured a bevy of humorous cameo appearances that included Gilbert Gottfried, Flavor Flav, Salt-n-Pepa, and Erick Sermon, garnered respectable MTV airplay.[citation needed] The song also features Daniel Dumile in his recording debut. At the time, he was recording under the alias Zev Love X, a member of the rap duo KMD, but would later come to be known as MF DOOM. KMD were mentioned several times on the album, and they appeared in the music videos for "The Gas Face" and Steppin' to the A.M."

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Pete Nice (Nash), MC Serch (Berrin), and Sam Sever (Citrin). 

No. Title Length
1. "Stymie's Theme"   0:13
2. "Sons of 3rd Bass"   4:46
3. "Russell Rush"   0:24
4. "The Gas Face" (Berrin/Dumile/Nash/Prince Paul) 3:49
5. "Monte Hall"   5:26
6. "Oval Office" (Berrin/Nash/Sadler/Shocklee/Shocklee) 3:32
7. "Hoods"   0:17
8. "Soul in the Hole"   3:49
9. "Triple Stage Darkness"   4:10
10. "M.C. Disagree"   0:44
11. "Wordz of Wisdom"   6:31
12. "Product of the Environment"   6:16
13. "Desert Boots"   0:21
14. "The Cactus"   4:40
15. "Jim Backus"   0:03
16. "Flippin' off the Wall Like Lucy Ball"   3:16
17. "Brooklyn-Queens" (Berrin/Nash/Prince Paul) 3:37
18. "Steppin' to the A.M." (Berrin/Nash/Sadler/Shocklee/Shocklee) 4:50
19. "Episode #3"   0:11
20. "Who's on Third"   0:59
21. "Wordz of Wisdom (Remix)"   7:56

2000 CD Release Bonus Track

No. Title Length
22. "Brooklyn-Queens [UK Power Mix]"   5:31

Singles[edit]

Steppin' To the A.M.

  1. Steppin' To the A.M.
  2. Steppin' To the P.M. (Instrumental)

The Gas Face

  1. The Gas Face (Radio Mix)
  2. The Gas Face (Instrumental)
  3. Wordz Of Wizdom (Death In the Afternoon)
  4. Wordz Of Wizdom (Club Mix)
  5. Wordz Of Wizdom (Radio Mix)

Brooklyn-Queens

  1. Brooklyn-Queens (The U.K. Power Mix)
  2. Brooklyn-Queens (Power Radio Edit)
  3. Brooklyn-Queens (LP Version)
  4. Triple Stage Darkness
  5. Brooklyn-Queens (Dub Mix)
  6. Brooklyn-Queens (2nd Bass Mix)

Product of the Environment

  1. Product Of the Environment (Project Remix)
  2. Product Of the Environment (LP Version)
  3. Product Of the Environment (Redfern Gowanus Mix)
  4. 3 Strikes 5000 (Vocal)
  5. 3 Strikes 5000 (Instrumental)
  6. 3 Strikes 5000 (Stimulated Dummies Bonus Beatz)

Charting singles[edit]

Year Title
Chart Positions
Rap
Singles
R&B/Hip-Hop
Singles & Tracks
Dance Music
Maxi-Singles Sales
Dance Music
Club Play
1989 "Steppin' to the A.M."
#5
#54
#50
-
1990 "The Gas Face"
#5
-
31
-
1990 "Brooklyn-Queens"
-
-
-
20

The Cactus Vidie/Yo[edit]

The Cactus Vidie/Yo
Video by 3rd Bass
Released July 1, 1991
Genre Hip-hop
Length 19:00
Label Def Jam/Columbia
Director Lionel C. Martin

The Cactus Vidie/Yo is a collection of 3rd Bass music videos, which was released in 1991. The video, which was distributed by Columbia Music Video, contained music videos of the album's singles as well as short skits featuring Gilbert Gottfried that appeared between the selections. The "Wordz of Wisdom" and "Triple Stage Darkness" videos were not full-length and only contained the first couple verses of the song. The video is only available on VHS and is now out of print.

The videos featured are as follows:

  1. Steppin' to the A.M.
  2. Wordz of Wizdom (Just a Liddle Somethin)
  3. The Gas Face
  4. Triple Stage Darkness (Give Em A Taste)
  5. Brooklyn-Queens

Samples[edit]

The following lists some of the songs and sounds sampled on The Cactus Album.[6]

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Q Magazine, July, 2000 pg.136
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "The Cactus Album". Robert Christgau. 
  3. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum Database". 1990-04-24. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  4. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum Database". 1990-04-24. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  5. ^ The 10 Best Albums By White Rappers Referenced 26 July 2010
  6. ^ www.the-breaks.com, AKA The (Rap) Sample FAQ - Search: 3rd Bass