Prodigy

Alright I don’t really have “dong rot”. Debt on the other hand is another story.

The video for “Smack My Bitch Up” that I’m talking about in the first panel was directed by Jonas Akerlund. It must’ve aired on MTV in the middle of the night, or with extreme warning; I don’t know how exactly my buddy recorded it.

This is NSFW, if you’re curious.

Prodigy’s The Fat of the Land (1996) has a 12-page inner booklet over which the following text is spread out:

WE HAVE NO BUTTER,
BUT I ASK YOU

WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE BUTTER OR GUNS?

SHALL WE IMPORT LARD OR STEEL?
LET ME TELL YOU

PREPAREDNESS MAKES US POWERFUL.

BUTTER MERELY MAKES US FAT.

STEEL?

LARD?

That’s originally from a Hermann Goering quote. I dunno how it applies to songs like “Smack My Bitch Up”, but there it is.

“Funky Shit” is the first real stomper of the disc after the opener, at track 4 (“Breathe” and “Diesel Power”* aren’t that terrific in my opinion, despite the latter’s promising intro). The Beastie Boys sample (from “Root Down” on Ill Communication) is instantly recognizable, and it kinda proves how extraneous the two main vocalists in the group really were. It made for a perfect blackout-to-the-credits in Paul W.S. Anderson’s only decent film, the space chiller Event Horizon. 

The “Theme from S.W.A.T.” is in that track too, and you know what, I’m just gonna go ahead and call that Prodigy’s best song.

(*”Diesel Power” has Kool Keith of the Ultramagnetic MCs on guest vocals!)

Look, I’m just not a huge fan of Keith Flint. Or Maxim (the other rapper, not the magazine, this was before that I think). So I was never crazy about the next four tracks.

  • “Serial Thrilla”; this is like Flint’s prelude to “Firestarter”, with the kind of punny chorus lyric we used to think up while rolling on too much ecstasy, and Flint’s vocals annoy me for some reason
  • “Mindfields” is alright I guess, but Maxim says “I walk through mindFIELDZZEHH”, not so much like a Rasta but a subpar impersonation of one
  • “Narayan” speaks for itself, but Crispian Mills (not a hearty rice-based breakfast cereal, but a vocalist) chants very nasally
  • Who still likes “Firestarter”?!?

I always used to skip ahead to “Climbatize”, another Liam Howlett-only track (like “Funky Shit”). It’s even better to listen to while intoxicated than the Chemical Brothers’ “Lost In The K-Hole”. In a technical sense, it’s the equal of “Smack My Bitch Up”. You can put this on headphones and lose your balance.

Now, any thoughts I had of Keith Flint’s superfluousness are dashed by the album’s final cut. It’s a deftly-performed cover of L7’s “Fuel My Fire”, and Flint’s voice is what really sells it. He’s right in Donita Sparks’s vocal range arena. It makes for an utterly ripping closer.

Before I wrap this up, I have to make a few notes regarding Prodigy’s most famous single.

  1. It was referenced on Sifl & Olly
  2. The transcendent female vocals over the bridge are courtesy of Shahin Bada.
  3. The intro to “Smack My Bitch Up” is one of the most exciting I’ve ever heard in my life.
  4. It leads into the greatest bass drop of all time. 

(0:49 in the following link: )

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