TDC’s top 20 albums: #20 Hold it Down – Das EFX

To some, Das EFX will never be anything more than those high-pitched MCs telling Ice Cube to chiggedy-check himself before he wriggedy-wrecked himself.

Those people are missing out.

Rap duo Dray and Skoob dropped their first solo effort, Dead Serious, in 1992, and followed that with Straight Up Sewaside the following year. Both were solid efforts, more remarkable for the pair’s tiggedy-tight flow and the addition of a certain phrase on the end of words – iggedy if you hadn’t guessed.

But it wasn’t until 1995 that Das got the lethal production that they needed to leave a sizeable impression on the mid-nineties. But what an impression it was.

A stellar production team headed by PMD – of EMPD fame – came up with a string of memorable tracks, with DJ Premier, Showbiz, Easy Mo Bee and Pete Rock all laying down beats.

The duo lay down a standard with No Diggedy, the opening track, and maintain it throughout. The fact that Blackstreet stole the phrase and turned it into a pop hit of questionable standard is no testament to the original version.

On first listen, one track smashes the others aside and demands a second listen. Can’t Have Nuttin’, with its powerful beat formed mainly from a bass-voiced bloke’s passionate cry, hits hard enough to send a shiver down the spine, and the political, intelligent lyrics are delivered thoughtfully enough to keep pace with the throbbing production.

On a second pass though, it’s the smooth grooves of Real Hip-Hop, Microphone Master, Dedicated and Ready To Rock Rough Rhymes that allow Das to do what they do best – wriggedy-wreck microphones and keep heads nodding.

Although Hold It Down was a commercial success, it was looked at unfavourably by critics, with criticism levelled at the duos performance in comparison to their first two efforts, with the lyrics being considered less deep especially.

However, here at TDC we think that the adoption of harder lyrics and the all-star production delivered an album not just worthy of note in Das EFX’s own discography, but in the history of the genre.

What can we say. We like to be diggedy-different.