By request! (In this particular case, "by request" means that a reader actually sent me a CD - thanks)
I haven't heard this album in 32 years and that's assuming I even heard the whole thing back in '88. But I remember MTV having the video for Parents Just Don't Understand on "heavy rotation" (4 or 5 plays a day). I should note that, as a broke college student, I didn't have any money for an uptown cable package that included MTV, but I was able to bootleg it if I could rig some wiring up correctly - the picture was far from perfect, but you could mostly kinda tell what was going on. Granted, I was mainly trying to watch Kari Wuhrer on Remote Control, but would catch the occasional distorted video.
The album turned out to be a hit mainly because it made pop-rap accessible to the masses. It doesn't take itself too seriously and is okay with that. A 19 year old Will Smith is disarming but Jeff steals the show with his turntable pyrotechnics. This from a 2017 retro-review over at Pitchfork:
...no one’s idea of a revolutionary document. It’s proudly, cheerfully, purposefully corny: The first song is a Nightmare on Elm Street parody featuring the line, “He’s burned up like a weenie/And his name is Fred.” Listening to it often feels babysitting a room full of fourth graders for a few hours. And yet, it racked up a lot of “firsts”: It was the first hip-hop double album and the first rap album to win a Grammy; in fact, it was the first year the Grammys even acknowledged rap.Spinning this CD today, I'm in full agreement, especially the babysitting part.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #4
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #5
Tracks: I'll admit to enjoying hearing Parents Just Don't Understand again (and laughing at myself for remembering most of the lyrics). In typical late '80s style, there are no writing credits given for the tunes sampled on here (the stylist gets his/her due, however), but I recognize some Stevie Wonder, Bob James, Steve Miller, James Brown, Cheryl Lynn, and George Benson, among others. I'll confess that I needed to take a 5 minute coffee break about 11 tracks in and by track 14, I was ready to be done. These days, it all makes for an interesting time capsule, but not much more than that. There's some homophobic stuff on here, which was sadly commonplace in the '80s and definitely not condoned by this humble blogger.
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Personal Memory Associated with this CD: While I didn't own the album, a friend of mine had the pre-recorded cassette and he brought it with when we took two girls on an unfortunate trip to Matagorda Beach in the summer of 1988. The trip was such a disaster that I've tried to forget about it, and that's the reason why I don't remember if I've heard this thing before.