A film about Northwest hip-hop from 1994
DMS was a Seattle rap group with three members, Dee.aLe, Moe-B, and Sheriff. In the early ’90s they were discovered by D-Shot from The Click, who founded his own eponymous Bay Area record label in 1994. That same year the label released a short DMS cassette and CD titled Takin’ Ends. There are only six tracks, but I feel it has enough varied content to call it an album. Overall the beats might be basic but they are undeniably clean and punchy, and it’s a very professional-sounding and well-balanced project.
Takin’ Ends begins with the title track which is a play on words. ‘Making ends meet’ has always been a common phrase for earning money, but DMS aren’t gonna make it, they’re gonna take it. As the song fades in, the group members spy on and discuss another hustler in a drop top who is going to get “caught slippin.” The emphasis on the words “drop top” could be seen as a swipe at fellow Seattle rapper E-Dawg, who had released a single called “Drop Top” only a year prior in ’93. Track two “Which Game” finds the protagonist trying to make a difficult life choice, and it uses a classic Too Short lyric to describe the dilemma, “Do you wanna rap or sell coke?” In fact, the slow simple delivery on “Which Game” is reminiscent of Too Short’s easy going, slow, humorous rhyme style. “Drunk Drivin” is song three, but just like a drunk driver this autobiographical track unfortunately never really finds its direction.
Tracks four and five, “Back Up Off My Tip,” and “Sunshine,” were both featured by Jake One on the legendary 2010 Town Biz Mixtape. “Back Up Off My Tip” is a direct warning to scandalous, gold digging women who might try to use the group for their money. Powerhouse single “Sunshine,” easily the biggest hit on the album, is all about smoking grass. The song deftly turns a sped-up Alexander O’Neal line into a head-nodding beat. “I can’t go a day without my sunshine,” goes the chorus. The last song, “My World,” is all about various circumstances faced by African-American youth growing up in the United States.
This release in 1994 began a several year run for the group which pushed them to higher status in the Seattle rap game. In 2012, a remastered version of Takin’ Ends came out, which included two bonus tracks: “Hoes Be Trippin” and “Typical Tough Guy.” At eight songs Takin’ Ends can finally be called a true album, congratulations fellas. Written by Novocaine132