“In 1991, great rappers were a dime a dozen, good ones weren’t good enough to compete, and sucky ones made hits. But what about rappers who weren’t skilled, but immensely entertaining? Twenty years later, ‘personality rap’ pays the bills and that term usually applies to the majority of likable rappers that can’t really rap worth a shit (insert just about any current acclaimed rapper here). Tim Dog got points for being both bold and the poster child for Mayor David Dinkins-era NYC – an NYC overrun with robberies, racially-charged fights, and hair-trigger violence – but most people back then said the same thing with regard to his skill level: ‘Yeah, but he can’t rap.’ NYC’s infatuation with lyrical skill caused them to overlook one of the most ground-breaking and important albums in its history. Penicillin on Wax enjoys more appreciation on YouTube two decades later than it did at the time of its release. (Despite Sony’s claims that it went platinum, it’s still impossible to find on CD today.) What the naysayers didn’t understand was that Tim Dog’s modus operandi was not one of lyrical dexterity, but brute force. In 1991, brute force embodied the streets of New York and balanced out the ‘Prisoners of War’ and ‘Verses from the Abstract’ type of songs. Instead of being cerebral, brute force rap beat you in the cerebrum with a baseball bat. This wasn’t hip-hop; it was rap. Rap was bold, vulgar, hard, alpha male, gold rope-wearing, chest-beating shit, not the more eclectic stuff you played for critics to prove that all rappers weren’t ignorant hooligans.”
—Bronx legend Tim Dog, one of the more interesting and divisive artists in rap’s interesting and divisive history, died of a seizure yesterday. Ego Trip’s J-Zone wrote a really good essay about him two years ago. Tim Dog was 46.