Terminator X & the Valley of the Jeep Beets

A solo album by a rap group’s DJ must be just scratches and instrumentals, right? No, Jeep Beets goes beyond that, setting up nervy, exciting grooves for a variety of guest rappers. Terminator X (Norman Rogers), Public Enemy’s DJ, vividly demonstrates the difference between his role in that standard-setting group and the input of its more obvious auteurs, rapper Chuck D and coproducer Hank Shocklee. Unlike rappers, the DJ uses language that’s nonverbal, kinetic, and sometimes even three-dimensional (check out the thumping call-and-response on ”Homey Don’t Play Dat”). Unlike record producers, a DJ makes choices that are cultural, not merely technical. (”Juvenile Delinquintz” sets loose the bad-boy ‘tude of gangster rap in a fractious schoolroom where the bluster sounds more credible and provocative.) The album’s title emphasizes Terminator X’s preference for streetwise beats over political rhetoric. This results in a record more determinedly dance-oriented — and road-ready — than PE’s, while maintaining the same level of heady dazzlement. A-

Terminator X & the Valley of the Jeep Beets
  • Music