Earlier this year, the legendary DJ Premier spoke to HipHopDX about Gang Starr’s breakthrough sophomore album, Step in the Arena, for the first in the site’s new feature series revisiting time-tested Hip Hop albums with their creators to coincide with noteworthy anniversaries of those releases. That epic conversation was followed by Smoothe Da Hustler and Trigger Tha Gambler’s tag team discussion of their essentially duo debut, Once Upon a Time in America. And now, Dres and Mista Lawnge join the classic company of Gang Starr and Smoothe Da Hustler with the third induction into DX’s “Timeless” album series: Black Sheep’s A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.
Released on October 22, 1991, the critically acclaimed, and nearly platinum certified, long player has stood the test of time, sounding just as sonically and conceptually inventive as it did in the waning days of hi-top fades (Lawnge’s initial eye-grabbing flattop wouldn’t even make it all the way through the group’s second video.) The third in a trifecta of timeless full-lengths released in 1991 from Hip Hop’s greatest group of groups, the Native Tongues, following De La Soul’s De La Soul is Dead and A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory, Black Sheep’s A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing was just as creative, comical and even confrontational as its in-crew competition. But while Black Sheep boasted a strikingly similar sound to that of De La Soul – combining multiple Funk, Jazz, Soul and Rock samples to create a collage of hypnotic head-nodding aural stimulation – Dres and Mista Lawnge were far more carnally minded than their “Jenifa” and “Bonita Applebum” adoring brethren in the Native crew. Like De La and Tribe, Black Sheep too ripped mics and took to task frontin’-ass “full of sheep” frauds, all while championing a confident “do you” message and flipping the bird to “Doz That Slept,” “Butt In the Meantime” Dres and Lawnge spent plenty of playful energy focused on the “Hoes We Knows.”