Shock of the Hour

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Shock of the Hour
ShockOfTheHour.jpg
Studio album by MC Ren
Released November 16, 1993 (1993-11-16)
Recorded 1992-1993
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genre Gangsta rap, political hip hop
Length 40:19
Label
Producer Executive producers
Additional producers
MC Ren chronology
Kizz My Black Azz
(1992)
Shock of the Hour
(1993)
The Villain in Black
(1996)
Singles from Shock of the Hour
  1. "Same Ol' Shit"
    Released: October 29, 1993
  2. "Fuck What Ya Heard"
    Released: April 26, 1994

Shock of the Hour is the debut album by rapper MC Ren, released November 16, 1993, on Ruthless Records and distributed by Relativity Records.

Background[edit]

After the success of his debut EP Kizz My Black Azz, a following album was promised for an early 1993 release. The EP, which had gone platinum after two months, was released as a promotion for the upcoming album, to be titled Life Sentence. However, in the middle of the recording of the Life Sentence album, MC Ren suddenly joined the Nation of Islam and converted to Islam with the help of his DJ and friend DJ Train. With a different outlook on the world, MC Ren scrapped the Life Sentence album, changing the name to Shock of the Hour and started to record new songs for the album. However, he kept some previously recorded songs and used them for the first half of the album, while the second half contained songs recorded after he converted to Islam, resulting in thematic differences between the albums' halves, not unlike Ice Cube's 1991 album Death Certificate.

Content[edit]

Lyrics[edit]

When listening to Shock of the Hour, the album plays as two separate albums. The first half were songs recorded before MC Ren joined the Nation of Islam. This half deals with social issues like ghetto life, drug addiction, racism and poverty. The lead single, Same Old Shit, strips away any pretense of glamour around the gangsta lifestyle and outlines the brutality, paranoia and violence at its core. The second single, Fuck What Ya Heard, tells people not to listen to rumors and to be critical on what they hear. Also featured on the album is One False Move, which is a diss track aimed at Tweedy Bird Loc.

While making Shock of the Hour, MC Ren was said to be affiliated with the Nation of Islam, which had a large impact on the some parts of the album's content. The second half kicks off with Mayday On The Frontline, which appeared on the soundtrack for the film CB4. Attack on Babylon prophesies a judgment day for modern America in which the races will be called to war in armed combat, while the title track foresees the nation's fiery end in an apocalyptic fury enabling black people to finally achieve justice. Do You Believe question black Christianity considering black history and everything that has happened. It also question interracial relationships.

Production[edit]

The majority of the album's production was handled by Tootie and Dr. Jam. Other producers like Rhythum D and Madness 4 Real produced one song each. Tootie, who is the brother of DJ Train, produced six tracks, while Dr. Jam produced four tracks. The producers managed to create an interesting musical backdrop for Ren's dark verses, operating completely independent of Dr. Dre's g-funk sound that was taking over the West Coast in ‘93. The album moves at a steady midtempo funk with rumbling bass, rough percussion and whiny synths. It's effective in that it's a dark and often powerful sound, but it's also somewhat faceless and industrial-sounding. The beats are focused to the point that a few sound too similar, but overall it is a memorable listen from a musical standpoint.

Album title[edit]

The title of the album is a reference made to a speech by Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan called "The Shock of the Hour".

Singles[edit]

Two singles were released from the album: "Same Ol' Shit" and "Fuck What Ya Heard". "Same Ol' Shit was released as the first single on October 29, 1993 and was produced by Tootie. It peaked at number ninety on the Billboard Hot 100, number sixty-two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and number eleven Hot Rap Singles. "Same Ol' Shit" became MC Ren's most successful single chart-wise by making it to #90 on the Billboard Hot 100, his only single to make it to that chart.

"Fuck What Ya Heard" was released as the second single on April 26, 1994 and was produced by Dr. Jam. The single did not enter any chart, but a music video was shot for the single.

Release and reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]
Chicago Sun-Times 3/4 stars [2]
Entertainment Weekly B− [3]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars [4]
The Source 3.5/5 stars [5]
Rapreviews (8/10) [6]
The Village Voice D[7]

Upon its release, Shock of the Hour was met with generally positive reviews from music critics.

Commercial performance[edit]

The album peaked number one on Billboard R&B and twenty-two on the Billboard 200 chart, with a first-month sales of 321,000 copies in the United States. It was eventually certified gold by RIAA. According to MC Ren the album has sold 1 million copies as of January 2005 .

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "11:55" (Intro) Tootie 1:58
2. "Same Ol' Shit" Tootie 4:07
3. "Fuck What Ya Heard" Dr. Jam 4:08
4. "All Bullshit Aside" Dr. Jam, Madness 4 Real (co.) 3:52
5. "One False Move" (featuring Da Konvicted Felon, Dollar Bill and Don Jaguar) Tootie 4:43
6. "You Wanna Fuck Her" Dr. Jam 4:31
7. "Mayday On The Frontline" Dr. Jam 4:27
8. "Attack On Babylon" Rhythum D 4:48
9. "Do You Believe" Tootie 2:45
10. "Mr. Fuck Up" (featuring The Whole Click) Tootie, Juvenile (co.) 3:49
11. "Shock Of The Hour" (featuring Laywiy and Kam) Tootie 3:56
Total length: 42:59

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wynn, Ron. "Shock of the Hour - MC Ren". Allmusic.
  2. ^ Williams, Kevin Michael. Buzzcocks Drive Hard With Rebuilt ``Transmissions.
  3. ^ Bernard, James. Review: Shock of the Hour. Entertainment Weekly.
  4. ^ Gold, Jonathan. Review: Shock of the Hour.
  5. ^ Gordon, Allen. Review: Shock of the Hour.
  6. ^ RapReviews review
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (November 23, 1993). "Turkey Shoot". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved July 5, 2013.