SKITS for THE GOATS Tricks of the Shade
co-writer, co-producer w Oatie Kato
Click here to see more album art.
“They equate Columbus with Hitler, don’t like George Bush any better and think Bill Clinton is just another fascist – the Goats talk politics like N.W.A talks calibers. -Rolling Stone
“…rap without a safety net and the tightrope is on fire.” -Ian McCann, NME
Mention “political rap” and rap fans think of Ice Cube’s scattershot rage, Chuck D.’s stentorian call-to-arms, or KRS-1’s mixture of education and entertainment. What they don’t expect is the satirical political theater of this Philadelphia group’s highly original debut album.- Frank Owen, Newsday
“…in a word, unique….one of the most original and provocative musical journeys you’re likely to take this year…”- Melody Maker
Overviews of the skits:
“(The album) is billed as a “hip-hop era,” which means that the songs are linked by skits depicting the travels of Chickenlittle and his brother Hangerhead (his mother has been sent to Prolivin Prison) through Uncle Scam’s Federally Funded Well Fair and Freak Show.”-Rolling Stone
“Tricks Of The Shade” just might be the opera of the early ’90s. It’s a theme record, of two characters (Chicken Little and Hangerhead) making their way through Uncle Scam’s Federally Funded Welfare & Freakshow to find their mother who was jailed for attempting an illegal abortion. They meet Manny Noriega selling drugs, Leonard Peltier locked down as the last Native American, Officers Daryl Gates and Stacey Koons who ‘tattoo’ their heads, Rovie Wade The Sword Swallower who has no control over her own body, and multi-ethnic shooting galleries where whoever doesn’t look like you is the target. It’s a journey and each song breaks the flow of the story by taking it down another road to tell another story.”- Asda
Genesis: These are a few of the SKITS I co-wrote and co-produced with my brother Oatie Kato for the critically acclaimed hip-hop album, Tricks of The Shade. Oatie is the one in the baseball cap in the picture at right. Swayzack is in the middle and Madd Maxx is on the left. The Goats were one of the first, if not the first rap group to feature a live band. I actually founded the group with my brother but my heart (and my rhyming skills) were never in it. I love rap but i prefer straight ahead rock and roll. So I quit the band and moved to Mpls to stage dive into their budding grunge scene.
When the band got signed to Ruffhouse Records (KRiss Kross, Cypress Hill, Fugees, Schooly D, etc.) I came back to do the album art and to work on the skits.
In retrospect, our corny skits barely stand up next to the sharp and incendiary songs that follow them; our politics are stark naked, the production quality is rough, and the jokes are thin, but I still get a laugh listening. All the music samples and sound effects are from vinyl records I found in Philadelphia’s incredible used record stores. The voices are members of the band, myself and my brother, as well as whatever random bodies were laying around the house on the days we were recording.
• My favorite skit is Rovie Wade- Sword Swallower featuring Kinshasa Coghill as Rovie Wade and Mark Dean as the Carnival Barker. Mark was our one of our roommates at the downtown Phila aptmnt above the Fortune Cookie Chinese Restaurant where we all lived. Kinshasa and two of her friends came over after a party one night and stayed the rest of the summer.
DJ One-Take-Willie delivers a hearty performance as the barker in the Leonard Peltier in a Cage skit and the ever versatile keyboardist Mark Boyce plays a smattering of roles from Leonard Peltier to Christopher Columbus to Uncle Scam.
Gene Williams played Chicken Little.
RC Cola (Randy Colosky) plays the guitar part in the intro skit WE GOT FREAKS. Randy was famous at the time for finding girlfriends on public transportation. Harder than it seems.
To purchase the complete critically acclaimed TRICKS OF THE SHADE album, click here. All skits and songs included in their original order.
To purchase a few unreleased Goat songs click here.