Personnel: Spyder-D (keyboards, drum programming).
Recording information: Power Play Studios, L.I.C., N.Y.
A pivotal player in golden age hip-hop's "Roxanne Saga," rapper Sparky D rose to fame thanks to her "Roxanne, Roxanne" answer song "Sparky's Turn (Roxanne You're Through)." You won't find that cut here -- or its great follow-up "He's My DJ" -- but her third hit, the funky "Throwdown," is included on this debut album, along with her great, slept-on single "I Can't Stop," which features the wicked put-down "Better take a Midol girls and rest/'Cause I'm here!" Her "Ladies First" attitude shines throughout the album and there's little doubt Missy Elliot's sure delivery style has its roots in Sparky's pointed blasts. Sample-filled, golden age beats from producer Spyder-D seal the deal, but all this promise would be unfulfilled as the rapper went on to drug addiction, recovery, and eventually, gospel music. Still, she laid the foundation for the modern female MC, so until the great Sparky D set is compiled, this solid effort is the best way to check her groundbreaking work. ~ David Jeffries