Anthrax - I'm the Man (1987)Release ID: 1526
Wow... Who would've thought one of the Big 4 of American thrash and the inspiration for Kerrang! journalist Malcolm Dome coining the phrase "thrash metal" would also make a song that has kickstarted rap metal, in the same year as their third-time charm Among the Living? Now ain't that somethin'!
It was during the tour for that album in 1987 when the band's popularity was immensely increasing, and they decided to make a fun little "thank you" gift for their supportive growing fans. However, the more metal fans consider it more of a "f*** you" gift, thinking they're selling out. Of course, the band made it as a joke. They're still the influential thrash metal band they have been, though they did end up selling out with a groove/alt-metal sounds in most of the 90s...
Here we have 3 different versions of the title track. The first one is a censored version, which is only useful for radios and clubs. The original version is a fun hilarious metal rap performed by the band members, not just in the instruments. The rappers keep messing up their verses in a funny way "I'll steal your pop tarts like I stole your...socks!" And the chorus paraphrases a line spoken by Taylor Negron in the movie Easy Money, "I'm so bad I should be in detention, I'm the man!", while sampling "Hava Nagila" in Dan Spitz's riffing. Even the live version has some humor! Halfway through, the band tells the crowd to yell "JOEY F***ED UP!!!" and then calls them f***ing mean.
Also recorded for the EP is a great cover of Black Sabbath's "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". This is the year when Metallica released their Garage Days EP, so Anthrax is not the only thrash band who had the small bonus EP idea that year. While Anthrax did not record any other covers like Metallica in Garage Days, they probably should've made some more cover that would kick a**.
There are also a couple great live renditions of songs from Among the Living, starting with "Caught in a Mosh", a brilliant moshing thrash anthem almost rivaling the anthems of Metallica and Exodus, with out-of-this-world speed. The headbanging breakdown is definitely worth moshing to, brushing aside the comedic lyrics that are still genius ("Stomp stomp stomp the idiot convention, which one of these words don't you understand?"). The chorus to shout along to is the most impressive here. There's hardcore thrash in this house! Next, "I Am the Law" is one of the more classic thrash hits, but I don't enjoy the singing here. The moshing riffing is fun though.
This EP doesn't hit me with as much greatness and Among the Living, but it's essential for true fans of the band. You can hear the band be themselves, be like Black Sabbath, and be rappers. Although I'll never truly be a fan of rap metal, I can understand how well they broke the walls between those two separate genres, and that is respectable....
Favorites: "I'm the Man" (original), "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" (Black Sabbath cover), "Caught in a Mosh" (live)