Greg Nice and Smooth B may not have the name recognition of 2Pac, Nas, KRS-One, and Eric B & Rakim, but the hip hop duo left their mark on the Golden Age of Rap. Nice & Smooth came from The Bronx in NYC and combined clever and often hysterical rhymes over some of the most creative samples of their era. On just their debut album alone, they sampled Prince’s “Starfish and Coffee” (No Delayin’), The Fat Albert Theme (Early To Rise), Joe Cocker (We Are Number 1), Barry White (Gold), and even a Richard Pryor sample from “Have Your Ass Home By 11:00”. Their career was short, lasting only eight years and just four albums. But in today’s era of repetitive computer generated beats and some of the least creative lyrics ever, it’s fun to look back at one of the pioneers of “REAL hip hop” who recently celebrated their 30th anniversary.
“FUNKY FOR YOU”
Our first exposure to the Bronx duo was a guest vocalists on Big Daddy Kane’s anthem “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy”. But if you’re going to talk about Nice And Smooth, you’ve got to start with their monster hit, “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow”. If you want to call them a one-hit wonder, this is the jam you’ll choose. Taking a sample of the guitar riff from Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”, the lyrics tackled a timely agenda of AIDS and inner city strife. The duo scored a second hit with Gang Starr, “DWYCK”. They performed “Hip Hop Junkies” on the tv show, In Living Color. Who else could take a 70s corny hit (“I Think I Love You”) by the Partridge Family and turn it into a hip hop jam. My favorite track by Nice And Smooth is “Funky For You” from their debut album that took snippets from P-Funk and War and turned them into a party anthem! After their career ended, Tupac and Bobby Brown each worked with Greg and Smooth B respectfully, as songwriters. They did some anniversary concert dates with Bobby Brown and Aaron Hall (Guy) in 2016.
“SOMETIMES I RHYME SLOW”
“DWYCK” Gang Starr with Nice And Smooth