THE MAIN INGREDIENT: Work To Do


The Main Ingredient - "Work To Do"
(Afrodisiac; 1972)

In an ironic twist, The Isley Brothers released their quintessential ballad to the amply employed, "Work To Do," on the cusp of Nixon's second term recession. Over the years, the record has been refurbished by several other R&B acts (Average White Band, Vanessa Williams, Mayer Hawthorn, etc.), to varying degrees of success. Fresh off their smash hit, "Everybody Plays a Fool," The Main Ingredient released their cover of "Work To Do," which conveyed a slightly more dark and desperate tone by entertaining the possibility that said employment may exist in the streets rather than steel mills or loading docks.

The everyman is superseded by the hustler, though, they are essentially one and the same. During the refrain, lead singer Cuba Gooding Sr. sidesteps his woman's sexual advances in favor of hustling up their rent money. Surprisingly, this piece of dialogue has yet to be sampled in rap music. Especially considering that "money over bitches" has been an overarching narrative within gangster rap for the last decade or so. More recently, "Work To Do" was interpolated in Rick Ross' "Gotti Family" and Danny Brown's "Work Song," with the latter taking thinly veiled potshots at the former. Neither are as effective or articulate as The Main Ingredient's interpretation.

10 comments: