The Cactus Album

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The Cactus Album
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 14, 1989
Recorded1988–1989 at New York, New York
Chung King Studios, Green Street Studios, Island Media Studios
GenreHip hop
ProducerPete Nice, MC Serch, Sam Sever, Prince Paul, The Bomb Squad (Hank Shocklee, Keith Shocklee, Eric "Vietnam" Sadler)
3rd Bass chronology
The Cactus Album
The Cactus Revisited
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[2]
The Philadelphia Inquirer4/4 stars[3]
Q3/5 stars[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[5]
The Village VoiceA−[7]

The Cactus Al/Bum (also known as The Cactus Cee/D and The Cactus Cas/Ette depending on release format) is the debut album by hip hop trio 3rd Bass, released on Def Jam Recordings on November 14, 1989. The album received positive reviews from the hip hop press. It was certified gold by the RIAA on April 24, 1990,[8] the same day as Biz Markie's The Biz Never Sleeps,[9] 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 included The Cactus Album in its list of "The 10 Best Albums By White Rappers".[10]


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 either 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 one line 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 under the name Three the Hard Way. The group's name was changed after they signed to Def Jam; however, the recording still made its way onto the album.

The group had a minor hit with the single "The Gas Face". The accompanying music 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 and was a member of the rap trio KMD, but he 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 tracks are written by Pete Nice (Nash), MC Serch (Berrin), and Sam Sever (Citrin).

1."Stymie's Theme"0:13
2."Sons of 3rd Bass"4:46
3."Russell Rush"0:24
4."The Gas Face" (Berrin/Daniel Dumile/Paul Huston/Nash)3:49
5."Monte Hall"5:26
6."Oval Office" (Berrin/Nash/Eric Sadler/Hank Shocklee/Keith Shocklee)3:32
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/Huston)3:37
18."Steppin' to the A.M." (Berrin/Nash/Sadler/H. Shocklee/K. 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

22."Brooklyn-Queens [UK Power Mix]"5:31


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)


  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
Singles & Tracks
Dance Music
Maxi-Singles Sales
Dance Music
Club Play
1989 "Steppin' to the A.M."
1990 "The Gas Face"
1990 "Brooklyn-Queens"

The Cactus Vidie/Yo[edit]

The Cactus Vidie/Yo
Video by
ReleasedJuly 1, 1991
LabelDef Jam/Columbia
DirectorLionel 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 was only released 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



  1. ^ Swihart, Stanton. "The Cactus Album – 3rd Bass". AllMusic. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  2. ^ May, Mitchell (April 12, 1990). "3rd Bass: The Cactus Album (Def Jam)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  3. ^ Tucker, Ken (January 18, 1990). "3rd Bass: The Cactus Album (Def Jam/Columbia)". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  4. ^ "3rd Bass: The Cactus Album". Q (166): 136. July 2000.
  5. ^ Relic, Peter (2004). "3rd Bass". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 809–10. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  6. ^ Lowe, Steve (July 2000). "3rd Bass: The Cactus Album / Slick Rick: The Great Adventures of Slick Rick". Select (121): 117.
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (December 26, 1989). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  8. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum Database". 1990-04-24. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
  9. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum Database". 1990-04-24. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
  10. ^ The 10 Best Albums By White Rappers Archived 2012-07-16 at Referenced 26 July 2010