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This "Hip-hop Classic" was reprinted from The 411, February 1996
BLACK SHEEP, A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing, Mercury
If you didn't know any better and popped A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing in your tape deck for the first time back in 1991, you might have thought you just bought a hardcore rap album. But chances are you'd already heard "The Choice is Yours" and "Flavor of the Month" and knew Dres' tale of a killing spree set off by a used tootbrush that claims the lives of his family (not to mention the mailman) was a setup. These Sheep were more of a dark shade of gray and not the "gangsta" side of the Native Tongue family. But for those that slept, besides a string of "f--- yous" near the end of the album, the tone of Wolf becomes clear on the second track, "Butt in the Meantime." This disc is laid back, with samples of jazz and rock laced behind Dres and Mr. Lawnge's lyrics. (Yes, that's Jefferson Airplane among the barking dogs on "Similak Child.") They're educational, too. "Strobelite Honey" warns the clubgoers that what looks good silhouetted on the dance floor might be more than meets the eye, the "Go to Hail" skit advises how to deal with selective cab drivers, "Pass the 40" introduces you to the posse by distributing the malt liquor and the mic, and "La Menage" brings in professor Q-Tip for a lesson on... well, a three-way that doesn't involve B.B.D.'s phones. The surprise of the album just might be how prolific Mr. Lawnge is on the mic. Not even hinted at on the singles, the Black Sheep DJ and producer proves to be a rougher, but welcome, complement to the silky smooth Dres. Bonus tracks are the "Revisited" remix of "The Choice is Yours" made famous by the single and video, and "Yes," a remix and response to "Have U.N.E. Pull." Five years since its release, and A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing has not left the regular rotation. Lyrics, production, concepts -- it's a classic in every sense of the word.
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Mason Storm

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