Torii MacAdams owns a Flavor Flav alarm clock
Quincy Jones III has led an interesting life. As his name implies, he’s Quincy Jones’ son, born of his father’s short-lived relationship with Swedish model Ulla Andersson, and raised in Stockholm. Like his father, Jones III took an interest in the music industry; he’s best known as the director of the Beef series, as well as one of the greatest rap films ever made, The Carter documentary, which chronicled Lil Wayne’s drug-aided slide into isolation and egomania. Long before he began his career as a documentarian, Jones III (under his QD3 moniker) ran a record label, Jungle Records.
Jungle Records only lasted two years, and its roster was headlined by Redfoo & Dre’ Kroon, the group of fellow music industry scion and future pop star Stefan Gordy, and South Central’s Xavier Thomas, known professionally as Mr. X. Before Thomas adopted the Mr. X persona, he and brother Sean comprised Rappinstine. Though the Thomas’ were originally mobile DJs for the DJ Yella and Dr. Dre-helmed World Class Wreckin’ Cru, they evolved into high top-faded recording artists. Rappinstine’s biggest single, the Dr. Dre-produced “Scream,” was included on 1987’s N.W.A. & The Posse. Their only full-length, 1991’s The Ultimate Creation, wouldn’t be released on Ruthless or Macola, but the elder Quincy Jones’ Qwest Records.
The four years between The Ultimate Creation and Mr. X’s first release with Jungle Records [1995 singles “One Time (At My Door)” and “Any Ole Sunday”] either transformed him, or allowed him to be the rapper he’d always wanted to be. Gone were the carefully angled haircut, the party raps, and the dance-ready breakbeats, replaced by bass-heavy, silver-tongued g-funk. In 1996, Mr. X released his self-titled solo debut. It’d also be his solo finale.
As I’ve noted before, a good barometer for a g-funk album is the number of times someone uses the word “playa.” On the Mr. X tracklist are “Playa Hater” and the excellent “Playa’s Life,” which features L.O.L. (Lords of Lyrics), whose “Summer Breeze” is a regional classic. There is ample playing. At its best, Mr. X has a switch-hitting knucklehead bounce, one which Jungle Records doesn’t seem to have appreciated as much as it should’ve. The album’s three singles are some of the album’s smoothest songs, which, taken as standalone documents, would naturally give one the impression that Mr. X was a Montell Jordan knockoff. He wasn’t. It appears a major factor in obscuring Mr. X’s debut was poor strategery from his own record label, rather than any (roughly) objective metrics. If you’re looking for high quality g-funk for the final, sweaty-creased days of summer, Mr. X marks the spot.