Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Foreign Legion 


Wednesday, Apr 9 2003
Unlike its more sullen contemporaries, hip hop trio Foreign Legion has always been as concerned with making listeners smile as much as think. Sure, the Bay Area threesome name-dropped linguist Noam Chomsky on its debut CD, Kidnapper Van: Beats to Rock While Bike Stealin', but the crew has also performed in Planet of the Apes masks and Batman & Robin suits. (MC Prozack has even practiced stand-up comedy for a bit.) Now, on Foreign Legion's sophomore effort, Playtight, the group's have-fun mandate has crystallized.

Whereas stark strings and sliced horn samples dominated Kidnapper Van, Playtight's production is funkier, fuller, and cleaner. This time out, producer DJ Design keeps the scratching to a minimum, while applying popping bass lines over elastic drum tracks and eclectic samples. Design sprinkles a dash of reggae on "Feel the Music" and a pinch of R&B on "Nasty Girl." On "Here We Go Again," he anchors the tune with a silky guitar sample, while keyboardist Juan Soria adds warm key tones for a lilting feel.

Prozack and fellow MC Marc Stretch match the music's hedonistic ambitions with lyrics about girls, liquor, and clubs. While song titles like "Nasty Lady," "Champagne Beamin'," and "Party Crashers" suggest the big pimpin' themes of Jay Z, Foreign Legion rises above such topics with biting, oftentimes self-deprecating humor. On "Bring It," Prozack wears an "O.J. Simpson jersey" and tells his girl about a fantasy with "her, Laverne, and Shirley." Appropriately, she "slapped the fuck out my face like Moe did to Curly."

While most outfits equate artistic success with either the street mantra "keepin' it real" or its cerebral counterpart "dropping science," Foreign Legion succeeds by balancing the equation. The crew has created an album that's smart and fun, suited to both the club and the coffee shop.

About The Author

Sam Chennault


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"