Ostensibly this is the Ohio Players best album. I wasn’t aware I knew the band, beyond their name, but it urns out that I know at least one of these songs here (and you likely do too). But, given that it is my first experience of this band, I don’t know that I can comment upon where it falls in their discography.
Ever wonder where the obsession with sex in Hip Hop comes from? I always just assumed it was a long slow “decline” from soul songs about love and funk songs vaguely about sex to Dirty Rap. (And, of course, funk becoming the soundtrack to porn along the way.) Well, judging by this record, Ohio Players had at least a bit of a role in making sex explicit in R&B, whether it’s the album cover (apparently a tradition), the lyrics to the title track, or the sound of “Fopp” (though I can’t tell if that’s about dancing or sex…), this album feels explicit. It’s definitely one of the more sex-obsessed ’70s funk albums I’ve ever heard.
It’s also relatively diverse; there’s a bit of a rock edge to some tracks and it doesn’t always feel like it’s the same band, which is almost always a plus in my books, especially when I’m listening to R&B. It’s not like they’re Earth, Wind & Fire or anything, but they can clearly do more than one thing, which is cool.
So this is the point where I must admit that I knew “Love Rollercoaster” was a song from the ’70s but I didn’t know who it was by. The original makes the Chili Peppers’ version seem pretty imitative (aside from the rapping). If that’s how you know the song (it’s how I know it) you should check out the original.
It’s a pretty solid funk record, with enough grit for my liking and enough of the exaggerated vocals to give it more of a unique feel than many albums of its era. (Some of their exaggerated vocals really seem to have influenced Hip Hop performers.)