Schoolly D, "I Just Can't Help Myself"

Here is a new video from the seminal Philadelphian rapper Schooly D, who is coming out with his first album in ten years, The International Supersport. Ten years is a long time, and really, you’d have to go back another ten, or even a few more, to get to a time when Schooly’s name rang serious bells in hip-hop. At this point, it’s likely that more people know him for providing the theme song for the Cartoon Network’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force. In that light, the new song “I Just Can’t Help Myself” is about a million times better than it has any right to be.

Schooly is often called the originator of gangsta rap, as he was rhyming vulgar crime stories over forceful beats as long ago as 1985’s “P.S.K. ‘What Does That Mean’.” (It means “Park Side Killers.”) He hit with “Gucci Time,” too, and “Saturday Night” and ‘88’s “Signifying Rapper,” which was used prominently in Abel Ferrara’s 1992 movie, Bad Lieutenant, before Led Zeppelin sued over the unauthorized sampling of “Kashmir.” It was before folks like KRS-One and Rakim and Big Daddy Kane raised the bar on lyricism, and before folks like Kool G Rap, the Geto Boys and N.W.A turned gangsta rap into the dominant style of the genre, but the old Schoolly stuff still sounds great today-rap music as hard and raw as any that’s been made since. Check out this incredible footage from a Dutch television show about rap in 1986: