|Robbin' the Hood|
|Studio album by|
|Released||February 8, 1994|
|Recorded||1993-1994 in various living rooms Long Beach, California & Westbeach Recorders in Hollywood, California|
Gasoline Alley/MCA (re-release)
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Robbin' the Hood is the second album by the Southern California ska punk band Sublime, which was released in 1994. It is noted for its experimental nature, low production values, and numerous samples and interpolations of other artists.
Robbin' the Hood is notable for having low production values (the album sleeve boasts of its "13 self produced 4-track home recordings"), as well as including multiple samples and lyrics from other artists. The album also features 'Raleigh Soliloquies,' selections from a rant recorded by a man with schizophrenia named Raleigh Theodore Sakers. According to Troy Dendekker (lead singer Bradley Nowell's wife), the majority of the album was recorded in a Long Beach, California crack house. She also stated that the album was written and recorded at the height of Nowell's heroin addiction, with many references to this reflected in the album's lyrics; particularly in "Pool Shark".
Some of the songs on the album contain parts that were later reused by the band on other albums. For example, the principle chord progression in the instrumental "Lincoln Highway Dub" was featured again in the band's later hit "Santeria", and elements of "Work That We Do" would later appear in "Under My Voodoo". Incidentally, it was during the recording of Robbin' the Hood, that the band recorded demos of "What I Got" and "Garden Grove."
Gwen Stefani, of No Doubt, contributes guest vocals on the track "Saw Red", notably before either Sublime or No Doubt enjoyed mainstream success. Many of Sublime's melodies and riffs have not only been influenced by, but directly taken from, other reggae artists and bands. "Steppin' Razor", originally written by Joe Higgs, was covered by The Wailers and later popularized by Peter Tosh in his solo career. [a] In "Greatest Hits", Nowell mentions The Ziggens, their "brother" band signed to the same label. The guitar riff and associated rhythm in the song was borrowed from Yellowman. Boss D.J. is partially a cover of a song by British reggae band Aswad, "Roots Rocking". The Free Loop Dub borrows melody from the song "Loaded" by Scottish alternative rock band Primal Scream. "STP"s lyrics "Baby you wanna give me kisses ... but a taste of honey is worse than none at all" are borrowed from "I Second That Emotion".
A number of other bands are either mentioned explicitly, alluded to, or sampled including: Steady B, Barrington Levy, Geto Boys, The Doors, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Marley, Flavor Flav, Just-Ice, Beastie Boys and Jack Owens.
Pitchfork magazine, reviewing Sublime's debut album 40oz. to Freedom and legacy in 2018, made a brief acerbic mention of Robbin' the Hood, offering that Robbin' the Hood, "was so haphazard and caustic that only the most devoted fan could tolerate any significant time with it (it was recorded in a crack house, and it sounded like it)..
Sputnikmusic gives a more generous review with 4.5/5 stars, reviewing in 2008 and noting the prescience of front man Bradley Nowell's lyrics, "the messages within Robbin' the Hood leave timeless impressions. They preach real-life problems and solutions, and Bradley's Nowell's lyrics were far ahead of his time," a nod mostly to Nowell's prediction that one day his substance abuse problems would prove fatal ("one day I'm gonna lose the war..."). The article praises the album's ability to mix its eclectic influences, all the while, "there isn't one noticeable mistake anywhere on the album". The article conjectures that odd inclusion of the Soliloquies was for the sake of conveying the ethos of the band, "they really explain what Sublime was all about...fun."
An irregularly run column in Red Bull Music Academy called The Weird One called it a "heady, offbeat musical collage" and noted that the album broke a number of conventions about musical albums, "...not only does away with allegiances to genre, but also traditional album structure and form." The article calls the album a "coherently incoherent" "mess", praising the earnestness and charm of the album as a "great mixtape", devoid of "self-consciousness".
All songs written by Sublime unless otherwise noted
* Track 22 includes several hidden tracks including an alternate version of "Don't Push" and an untitled dub song that includes snippets of "Boss D.J." The original Skunk Records release also contains a cover of Mudhoney's "The Farther I Go," which was removed from the Gasoline Alley/MCA re-release for legal reasons.
No singles were released from Robbin' the Hood, although the songs "Pool Shark," "STP," "Saw Red," "Boss D.J.," and "Greatest-Hits" became some of Sublime's best-known songs. Two versions of "Pool Shark," about frontman Bradley Nowell's addiction to heroin, appear on the album: An uptempo punk-rock version and a more emotional acoustic version. The uptempo version later appeared on Sublime's Greatest Hits album, while an acoustic version is featured on 1998's Sublime Acoustic: Bradley Nowell & Friends. "Saw Red" was included on Second Hand Smoke, Greatest Hits as well as the 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Sublime compilation.