Pennsylvania-based rappers Tuff Crew comprised Ice Dog, L.A. Kid, Monty G, Tone Love and DJ Too Tuff, debuting in 1988 with the Warlock Records release Danger Zone. Back to the Wreck Shop followed a year later, but in the wake of 1991's Still Dangerous Tuff Crew dropped from sight. -- Jason Ankeny
"So damn tough"... listen to the Deuce Ace Detonator, DJ Too Tuff, whittle away at this phrase and you’re probably underground, burrowing at the Earth’s core with Philadelphia’s Tuff Crew band.
The later half of the 80’s saw Philly threatening to transcend the West Coast as New York’s chief rival with the likes of O.G. pioneer Schoolly D, the acknickulous Three Times Dope, and Steady B’s Hilltop Hustlers. Yet, it was the "Kings of the Cuts on Two Turntables"- Champion DJs Jazzy Jeff, Cash Money, and Miz - that caused the most commotion for Philadelphia.Nor were any of the Tuff Crew albums bereft of pinpointed, fervent scratching. On the fairly obscure Soo Def label, the Tuff Crew had to share liners with the Krown Rulers back in ’87.
After the R-9esque "Techno Tuff," the quintet’s hallmark ruggedness was defined in ’88 via a dope tongue in cheek joint entitled "My Part of Town." With seismic implications, this notorious jam set the precedent for 89’s Back to Wreck Shop on Warlock Records.
Though "My Part of Town" does-and still does-firmly plant a skillfully aimed boot up your butt, the 15+ cuts on Back to Wreck Shop are pure "so leave my mic alone" Hip-Hop. Overlord Ice Dog’s eerily stoic, monotone style orders chills down MC spines like Orson Welles on radio. LA Kid the Lyrical Auditor and Tone Love the Teacher serve equally skilled time on cuts like "Show Em Hell," "Back to Wreck Shop," "Mountains World," and "What You Don’t Know." "Gimme Some" is a low ended ode to Miami.
On the DJ cut, "Behold the Detonator," the Deuce Ace breaks the PE air raid down like a ’74 Pacer on I-95 in 5:34 traffic. However, this album is about mic control - is there anything else? ‘Cause these kids certainly didn’t need (nor did they have) that MTV thematic montage crap to drop the goods on the only audience that matters. Now you know! (Oh yeah, after their break up, Ice Dog returned with some other kids on Still Dangerous.) - Dave Tomkins
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