Every so often an album surfaces that really makes an impact in your musical taste.
In 1994, that album was MC 900ft Jesus’ “One Step Ahead of the Spider.’
Anyone who remembers the early 90′s era will recall the tag “Trip Hop” that so many music critics applied to anything with a beat behind it. But ‘Spider’ was so much more than a trip hop album. I’d call it experimental spoken-word, hip hop jazz if I was asked (I wasn’t.)
The MC here is a guy named Mark Griffin, a classically trained musician/rapper from Dallas, Texas. He released his first album in 1990 called “Hell with the Lid Off” along with collaborator DJ Zero. 1991 brought a new album with MC 900ft Jesus under a solo billing with “Welcome to My Dream,” which had a crisper sound than the fist and showed hints of where he would take his music in the future.
When ‘One Step Ahead of the Spider’ was released, I picked up my copy after a friend at the radio station introduced me to the big hit single “if I only Had a Brain,” which got some decent exposure thanks to a really bitchin video by Spike Jonze and an appearance on Beavis and Butthead (see below). I listened to the single almost exclusively for a week before I slowly started to explore the rest of the album and realized how broad it was.
It was dark in parts, but light in others. It swerved from happy to sad, heavy to light, melancholy to sarcastic…all in the course of the album’s ten tracks.
When I headed home for the summer that year, this was the first thing I dropped on my peeps in Nor Cal. Many a night in a smoke filled car was spent bumping this record in ol’ 1994. The time was certainly right for MC 900ft.
The thing is, after ‘Spider’ dropped in 1994, Griffin dropped offf the radar.
I get the impression the industry really reamed him in a major way, and last I heard he was DJing a weekly gig in Dallas at a local club. But, I miss him, and what he brought to the table, and might have brought had he continued.
Come back, MC 900ft Jesus! We need you!!!
Or at least get up on Soundcloud…