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Rap luminaries from Sacha Jenkins to Common have noted 1988 as a pivotal year for hip-hop, as well they should, for 1988 was the debut year for Yo! MTV Raps and Slick Rick’s solo entrance to the rap game, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. In fact, the list of seminal rap albums and events is massive—from Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back to the premier issue of Source Magazine to the Tougher Than Leather World Tour—all of which served to bring hip-hop to the masses, for better or for worse. In such a cataclysmic year, it stands to reason that some would-be genre-defining music and media would have to get trampled underfoot and be relegated to bargain bins and lengthy internet diatribes. So is the case with female rap duo L’Trimm’s first (and only) longplayer release, Grab It!
To credit this album with having come out in 1988 is a bit of a misnomer, actually: Grab It! was first released on Miami-based Time-X Records in 1987, and after big local success with their single “Cars With the Boom” the album was picked up for distribution by Atlantic a year later. For most of the planet, this was when they would have come into contact with it, so the 1988 birthdate stands as far as I am concerned. L’Trimm, which is French for “The Trimm,” consists of Chicago-born Bunny D and New-York born Tigra, though both ladies sound like a couple of giggling valley girls from Los Angeles. In this pre-“Ladies First” era, Bunny and Tigra make no bones about their gold digging, cocktease stratagem. Tigra goes so far as to proclaim: “My name is Tigra/ I’m a funky, fly skeezer/ my smile is big/ but my ego is bigger.” Isn’t being a skeezer a bad thing? This line comes from the title track, which also serves as a response track to Salt N’ Pepa’s “Push It,” featuring the hook:
“You’ve got to grab it/ don’t let it get away/ because you might not get a chance another day/ So take a lesson/ and I hope you learn/ that if you push it, it might not return.”This lame (and as far as I know, unrequited) dis is punctuated by a withering, “Ooh, baby bay-bee!” refrain during the bridge, and the remix features some suspiciously “Push It” sounding scratches that really drive the point home.
Don’t go away thinking that L’Trimm were a couple of one-trick ponies, though. No, sir, they had two or three more tricks to turn on this Casio-produced LP, including a rap device that I like to call The Forgotten Art of “Spellbound.” Though this track pre-dates K-Solo’s seminal verses by a few years, and spelling in rap is a tradition as old as rocking the mic itself, K-Solo’s “B-R-I-D in the sky” gaffe summararily ended the ritual as being a remotely cool thing to do. Still, Bunny and Tigra spellbind us deftly as they explain the meanings behind their names in the title track and what is arguably the best track on the LP, “Better Yet L’Trimm” where they expound thusly:
“Spell it with a T because I am Tempting/ I: for the rap you’re always Inventing/ G: ‘cause there’s Guys wherever I go/ R: ‘cause I’m always Right as you already know/ A: because I Always get what I want/ Tigra’s got it all, so why not flaunt?/ T-I, G-R-A means: ‘Try It Girl, then Run Away”Stupidly, 50 Cent did not sample the end of the last line for his song of the same title. I have included the spelling gymnastics from the title song below for your edification (and Bunny D’s is a lot better that time around).
“B: ‘cause my Body was Born to Be-bop/ U: I Understand but I never stop/ N: because I am and ‘cause you’re Not/ Again: because I know (Noe?) you want what I got/ Y: ‘cause Yes, believe what you see/ D: ya Don’t stop lovin’ Lady B”
“L: Le Tigra and Bunny D/ T-R: L’Trimm is meant To Rock your body/ I: then stop and you rock again(?)/ Double M: because we’re loved by Many Men”
Perhaps to make up for Tigra’s misuse of the slang word “skeezer” the first song, L’Trimm tries to introduce a new slang word into the hip-hop vernacular, which apparently didn’t take: “mutt” which stands for “male slut.” The song (appropriately named “Mutt”) is perhaps the most risqué of all: “This song is dedicated to all the little boys/ Who treat girls like second-hand toys/ But uh, we’re not with it, that ain’t the move/ Word to ‘mutha,’ this is the groove.” Tigra explains the hazards of consorting with a “mutt:”
“He’s always on the avenue and girlie shows/ and all the girlies love him ‘cause he can throw/ the D. So stay away tomorrow and the next day/ ‘cause he might have the disease the begins with an ‘A.’”This, before Salt N’ Pepa ever asked “Let’s Talk About Sex,” mind you. As much as they are motivated not to consort with mutts, L’Trimm is just as motivated by money, as described by Bunny on “Don’t Come to My House:
“I remember when I met you, I swore you were fine/ but I didn’t know I was wasting my time/ Well, I was walking down the street when you said, ‘hi’/ So I said to myself, ‘Hm, I’m-a get that guy’/ Riding in the Benz, oh looking so sweet/ the kind of boy I would like to meet/ but don’t come to my house if you don’t have no money/ I don’t like poor boys, you can’t be my honey.”Filthy skeezer, skeezer, skeezer.
Which brings us to the last and most popular track on the album, “Cars With the Boom.” The first time I heard this track, I was about thirteen and this kid played it for me on the bus home from school. I was well-versed in the dirty lyrics of Slick Rick, and to me this was more of the same, but even dirtier because they were rhymed by girls! Today, the song is beyond stupid, though it does feature a booming bass hit which comprises the bulk of innovative production on the album (which is handled, incidentally, by Davis Stone Klein, whoever the fuck that is). Believe me, it isn’t worth it to type out any lyrics from this song, but suffice to say that L’Trimm likes the cars, the cars that go “boom.”
This is a pretty crappy album, but for a couple of female rappers at the height of 2 Live Crew’s popularity, it makes sense in context. Compared to the X-rated lyrics of Lil’ Kim, these girls are pikers, but it was kind of racy for the time. Don’t go digging for this particular piece of wax, however; my synopsis, as verbose as it is, is far more entertaining than the music.
More Spelling by L’Trimm from “Grab It”:
“T: because I’m Tantalizing/ I: because I am Inviting/ G is for the Girl in me/ R is when I Rock the beat/ A is ‘cause I’m simply Awesome (Ahhsome)/ B is Because I know you want some/ U is ‘cause you (U) wish you got some/ N because I’m Nice/ it’s twice because I’m Nasty/ Y (why): you don’t need to know/ D is ‘cause I said so”