TITLE: Funky Beat: The Best of Whodini
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Top 5: Magic’s Wand (#45 R&B), Freaks Come Out at Night (#43 R&B), Friends (#87, #4 R&B), Funky Beat (#19 R&B), One Love (#10 R&B), Be Yourself (#20 R&B), Keep Running Back (#69 R&B, #27 Rap)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe not
LINEUP: Jalil Hutchins, John “Ecstasy” Fletcher, Drew “Grandmaster Dee” Carter
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Early hip-hop crew’s hits are collected, and a few are well remembered and sampled to this day.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Teaming with Thomas Dolby (yes, that one), Whodini came out of the gate with “Magic’s Wand”, which used a keyboard riff and simple flowing lines to create a minor hip-hop masterpiece. Whodini’s career trajectory was set.
There’s no real hardcore rap here – it’s hip-hop that’s bridging between the early records of the Sugarhill Gang towards Run-DMC, so it seems a bit quaint. Whodini did create a sound that was not only entertaining, but lent itself to samples in the future. So you may have heard Whodini tracks and not know it.
Not everything on this collection works, and some are exiled, but they’re a good group for hip-hop historians to know.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Russell Simmons, noted hip-hop mogul, was their manager.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B-: Some tracks exiled, but what remain are an important bridge to mid-to-late 80’s rap, especially “Magic’s Wand”.