RTB Rewind: UTFO Drops 'Lethal'

RTB Rewind: UTFO Drops 'Lethal'

Published Fri, September 15, 2023 at 5:30 PM EDT

Ya' Cold Wanna Be With Me

In September of 1987, UTFO released their third album Lethal. The lead single from Lethal was "Ya' Cold Wanna Be With Me" which is considered by many fans the groups best song and video. After the success of the group's self-titled debut album, with the hits "Roxanne,Roxanne," "Leader of The Pack," and "Bite It," the late Educated Rapper MD took a break from the group, and was noticeably absent from their next album, 1986's Skeezer Pleezer. While Kangol Kid and Dr. Ice held down songs like "Split Personality," "We Work Hard," and "Kangol & Doc," the chemistry that existed on their previous releases was missing.

"Ya' Cold Wanna Be With Me" was a reunion with The Educated Rapper back in the group on a song that was less of a "rap ballad" and more of a declaration that the fellas were good with a relationship, and just as good without one. The Educated Rapper spit: "I want a girl with action, control like Janet Jackson/ I hate the dark, I love the light so I can see reaction/against all relaxin', prepare for steady waxin'/ when you leave you must pay E for what - satisfaction/ I'll make you feel content/ fill you with bliss/send a chill up' your body with just one kiss/but if you don't show, I won't be stunned/give your mother my number, I know she'll come."

The group used their comedic wit, harmonizing, and rhyme skills to create one of the best "comeback" songs in Hip-Hop and fans eagerly awaited the new album.


Lethal, which is widely celebrated as UTFO's best album, drew from many different sonic influences. Run DMC's Aerosmith remake and collaboration, "Walk This Way," influenced a few other rap acts to collaborate with rock artists. The title track, "Lethal" was a solid collaboration with Anthrax, who would successfully rework "Bring The Noise" with Public Enemy four years later. Doc Ice, Kangol and EMD deliver dopeness minus their signature comedic flows, and Mix Master Ice shows why he's considered one of the best to ever do it.

"Diss" contains a clever sample of Prince's smash hit "Kiss," with the MCs delivering various disses. Kangol Kid bravely rhymes, "Now let get a little harder/your mother's pregnant again and I'm the father/ and if you think I'm lyin' by just a notch, ask your father he sat and watched."

UTFO were always a bit more musical than their contemporaries, largely due to the fact that R&B band Full Force served as producers on their albums. Kangol Kid sang and wrote ballads for the group, and "Ask Yo Mama" was one of the more interesting songs on Lethal. With the hook "Ask yo mama, she know she used to do it too," Kangol sings lead on the song, which questions the innocence of mothers. One of the more shocking lines is: "Mama, all I get is beef day after day, I think you want me for yourself/whole you're here bitchin' 'bout the time I'm comin' home daddy's bustin' nuts somewhere else."

"S.W.A.T. (Get Down)" samples the theme from S.W.A.T., with the provocative hook, "Get down, get down pull your panties down/all I wanna do is is put my ugh ugh in you."

"Mo Bass" is the album's go-go song, and one of the project's standouts. Once again, Mix Master Ice holds a master class in cuts and scratches. "The Ride" is a slow-tempo banger which serves as a metaphor for a sports car as a man sexual prowess. "Masterbaby" is perhaps Hip-Hop's first song dedicated to "self-care" — another suggestive ballad sung by Kangol Kid.

Lethal is UTFO's most cohesive and complete album, and represents the best of each group member. A perfect comeback.

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