Do Remember: Fu-Schnickens’ Breakdown (Video)
The music industry is filled with plenty of curiosities. One lesser profiled head-scratcher is the fact that the Fu-Schnickens released only two albums, and yet the East Flatbush, Brooklyn trio had a Greatest Hits just four years into a short-lived career. Even more curious, the crew disbanded just after their compilation dropped.
1992’s F.U. Don’t Take It Personal is a gold-certified debut from Chip Fu, Moc Fu, and Poc Fu. With A Tribe Called Quest on the boards, Dres on the mic, the trio pushed on—backed by one of the era’s most versatile and esteemed labels, Jive Records. While accusation swarmed that they bit Das-EFX’s stutter-step rhyme style, many MCs were rockin’ that in the early ’90s, including The Jaz (l/k/a Jaz-O), Jay-Z, and others. With two hit records (“La Schmoove” and “True Fuschnick”), the trio marched into a sophomore album, 1994’s Nervous Breakdown.
By October 1994, things were wildly different in the Hip-Hop space than February, 1992. Near single-handedly, Dr. Dre and Death Row Records had changed the game, from a near non-existent force in ’92, to a power-house in ’94. Boom-bap had yielded to G-Funk, and back-packs had given way to lowriders.
Nervous Breakdown owns the changes in the Hip-Hop landscape. Although Diamond D and K-Cut (Main Source) worked the boards as guests on the Jive LP, opening single “Breakdown” is well-aware of the Funk-induced climate. Produced by Rod “KP” Kirkpatrick, the song knows no region. Only Chip Fu (whose had the most prominent solo career since) carried the “Looney Tunes” references and hiccup style with him onto the moment. Everybody else plays a role more akin to Shock G—funky, confident, and more about flow than style.
Even though the LP was a Top 100 debut on the charts, the cross-over guys seemingly did all that was asked of them, and still not enough. While Das EFX remains in tact to this day, and Jay Z is now a breathing down billionaire status, Chip, Moc, and Poc are largely forgotten, save for lunchtime mix-show. Today, Chip Fu remains active on albums by Pete Rock, Jedi Mind Tricks, and Nicolay & Kay, the group’s impact is lost on so many. Without A Tribe Called Quest in tact, even the group’s backers are unheard.
While the first album has become something of a dollar-bin staple at used record and CD shops, Nervous Breakdown is worth every bit of your time, if its explosive video single is any indication.