In 1991 Andres “Dres” Titus and William “Mr. Lawnge” McClean of the group Black Sheep punched a hole the New York hip-hop scene with their satirical and sonically elevated debut album A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing. Buoyed by classic singles like “Flavor Of The Month” “The Choice Is Yours,” and “Strobelite Honey” the duo from Queens, NY owned dance floors and radio, earning a gold plaque and peaking at number 30 on the Billboard 200 chart.
They disbanded after their 1994 follow-up, Non-Fiction, but had a few short lived reunions. After a hiatus of several years the duo has announced in a series of social media posts that they’ll be reuniting to tour and perform the album in its entirety to celebrate the 25th Anniversary on October 22nd.
As a member of Native Tongue Family, Black Sheep turned the collective’s generally peaceful nature on its head, instead embracing their more prurient sides. While highly regarded by critics and peers, their content was not without its controversy.
In a 2010 interview, Dres discusses the gangster’s fairytale intro, “You Mean I’m Not,” where he wakes up to massacre his family before hopping on the school bus.
“It’s bugged because with the Natives we loved to make each other laugh. I just knew it was gonna be massively funny and cats was literally on the floor,” Dres said in a 2010 interview. “But one of the main things, we were entering a time musically where the bravado was getting a little dangerous. One of the things I was trying to stress was that we’re so broken down and divided that any black on black crime is us killing family member. We’re not doing something that’s to the benefit of us.”
Nevertheless, the aggressive intro got him flown to London to meet with then CEO of Polygram, Alain Levy, to discuss the content before the album was released.
“He was a child of the war, the Holocaust. And it created these feelings in him,” Dres said. “Of course the song had nothing do with that, but once I explained the content he was a little relieved. We met at this restaurant called Zen and it was good to be able to explain it to him and understand the power of words. Being young you do push the bravado pedal heavy. And as a MC all of us do it and in a lot of cases it’s dope. But definitely comes to growth. Even on that record there was a variety, which doesn’t really exist on the same record these days. You’ll get a record of fifteen ‘Hoes We Knows’ but no ‘Black With N.V.’ We can play and have a good time but at the end of the day we got some real prolific statements to make in the midst of having a good time.”
The visit was fruitful in other ways as the sample-heavy album had run into a roadblock.
“I told him we were having a problem clearing the Herb Alpert sample for ‘Flavor of The Month.’ He said ‘Herb Alpert? I just gave him $600 Million for A&M. That’s cleared.”
Dres has released several solo albums and formed a group with Jarobi of A Tribe Called Quest called EVITAN. Their debut Speed of Life was released in 2012. Black Sheep’s timeless appeal is continually confirmed because “The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)” has been featured in ads for KIA Soul and an most recently for AirHeads Bites.
We will have updates with Black sheep Tour dates as they become available.