Part 1: A Day in the Life of Binadopta
For two years before anyone had heard of the 3 Honkees, Binadopta Recordings
was in excellent financial shape. When some strict new affirmative action laws
went on the books in 1991, however, the Binadopta executives found themselves
For one reason or another, it seemed that Binadopta, who at the time
employed nearly 500 worldwide, was "one of the whitest companies in
America" (Wall Street Journal, Feb 1991). In fact one black janitor was the
only minority member employed at the Denver headquarters between 1986 and 1990.
With the threat of government action imminent, the Binadopta board gave several
fine employees the boot, and ordered the immediate hiring of 30 blacks, 14
asians, 10 hispanics, and 2 jews. Although this met the new government quotas,
the bad publicity generated by the ordeal sparked open criticism and even
threat of a boycott. The sudden hiring of minority members had done nothing to
calm the public, who saw it as "a petty attempt to allay fears" and
"a show of blatant tokenism" (NAACP newsletter, Apr 1991).
The Binadopta board held many meetings late into the night to come up with a
plan of how to escape the heat. The plan went something like this:
If they signed a black band to the label, they feared it would once again be
viewed as a token gesture. They had made that mistake the first time, and were
in no mood to be burned again. So, as an act of inspired racial unity, they
would sign a white group that performed rap music. This, they were convinced,
would lay oil over the troubled waters, or as Phillip Englehorn, manager of the
Binadopta department of disinformation put it, "go a long way towards
getting those damn politically correct loudmouths off our ass".
Part 2: The Once and Future Rap Group
Talent scouts were sent out across the nation, and two weeks later the
unknown "3 Honkees" found themselves with a recording contract. To
show their supposed unity with the newly signed act, the Binadopta board
invited them to record a "rap cover" of the country
song "The Ballad of William William Bob" for the soon to be released
"A Tribute to Bo Gritz" album, which featured many of Binadopta's
premier artists. Although the board had no plans to actually release any of
the 3 Honkees' other work, they were allowed to begin the recording of a low
budget debut album.
Much to everyone's surprise however, when the tribute album was released in
November of 1991, the included "Slam the Honky Remix" by the 3 Honkees
was the most popular song on the entire album. This convinced the Binadopta
executives to move the 3 Honkees debut album into the infamous "urgent
DJ Dutchboy, although inexperienced, was allowed to produce the album. The
Reverend and Ice Milk supplied most of the actual rapping, and a group of the
Honkees' friends known only to themselves as "The Honked-Up Posse"
were allowed in to handle the backing vocals. Things were wrapped up and ready
for release by May 1992.
The album did have a definite (if odd) message of racial kinship, but when
it was reviewed by the Binadopta board, they found the rather aggressive nature
of some of the Honkees' lyrics to be a little more controversial (and perhaps
disturbing) then they felt comfortable promoting. On June 7, 1992, without
fanfare, the 3 Honkees' self titled debut album was released. Much to
everyone's surprise, it began to sell.
Within a few weeks of release, several college radio stations began to play
choice tracks from the album, and a few rap magazines wrote startlingly
positive reviews. Binadopta Recordings was weary of the potential criticism
that some of the nastier tracks on the album might generate, in particular the
overtly offensive "Kill Da Bitch". Their fears were put to rest,
however, when Yo!Mtv Raps called and requested a video for the song
"Who's a Honk?"
With the support of a minority focused program, Binadopta was confident that
they were on the gravy train with the 3 Honkees, so a fairly expensive video
was quickly shot for "Who's a Honk?". It did quite well, so Binadopta
released three more singles over the remainder of 1992, financing videos for
each: the kickin' dance track "Putcha Hanzup!", the incendiary
"White Noize", and a "politically correct dub" of
"Can't We All Just Get It On?". All three performed admirably on the
charts. Meanwhile, the group delivered high energy performances to sold out
clubs across the country.
An interesting side to all the fame was the reaction of the more politically
aware reviewers and critics. It was believed that the 3 Honkees represented a
hitherto misunderstood section of society, and were actually expressing
"the angst of white suburban teens" (Social Thinking, Nov 1992). Some
went so far as to commend Binadopta for helping to give this neglected portion
of society a voice. When interviewed on these topics, the 3 Honkees confirmed
that they indeed spoke to and for their "bruthas in the 'burbs"
Part 3: The Beginning of the End
By early 1993, sales of the 3 Honkees debut were winding down, and Binadopta
Recordings began feverishly working to ensure a successful follow up. Respected
Hip-Hop producer Michael Sans-Michael was contracted to oversee the production,
and the Honkees were rushed into the studios where they began work on a new
album. In addition to the new record, the 3 Honkees were to star in their own
feature film. For this purpose, a team of screenwriters were asked to sit in on
the recording sessions to capture the "raw suburban feel" of the 3
young men as they worked.
As the songs began taking shape however, Sans-Michael grew concerned, and
wanted to call in lyric doctors to fix things up, claiming that he found the
material "patently perverse". The Honkees would have none of it,
though, stating that they had to "keep it real". The Binadopta board
of executives backed the Honkees up, not wanting to suppress the artists'
proven pop instincts. So Sans-Michael reluctantly completed his work.
Over the remainder of 1993, "SLAM: the motion picture" was filmed
sparing no expense. Starring the 3 Honkees, and loosely based on some odd
interpretation of their rise to fame, Binadopta believed the film was
guaranteed to propel the group to super stardom. A truly astonishing amount of
money was budgeted for the premier video single "Honk On", and as the
album's release date approached, Binadopta found itself on a do or die venture.
Part 4: The Fall of the House of Honkee
Early in 1994, Binadopta Recordings began a no-holds-barred promotional
campaign for the new album and film. Purchasing magazine ads and TV spots,
including a 15 second slot in the coveted Superbowl half-time run, they
heralded the coming of:
The all-new phreaky-ass album
from the original suburbian gangstas.
Billboards, busses, and taxis nationwide bore the words:
The Motion Picture
Starring the 3 Honkees - coming in June
The 3 Honkees second album "Honk On" was released in March of 1994,
along with the single and video of the title track. After a brief turn in MTV's
heavy rotation bin, however, the glossy and highly stylized video was dropped
from the play list. The Binadopta Promotion Department was caught off guard by
this unexpected turn of events. Afraid that the album sales would plummet, as
well as the movie hype, they quickly released the next single and video.
"Rememba d' Old Dayz" was available in stores just two weeks after
"Honk On", and it also fell off the charts almost instantly.
Panic set in at Binadopta Recordings, and the executives desperately tried
to capture any audience they could by releasing two more singles in the next
two weeks. The low budget video for "Putcha Finger In There!" was
hardly noticed, and the single "Whadduzit Reek Like?" was openly
criticized by the very DJ's who were forced to play the song.
Two weeks before the release of "SLAM: the motion picture",
Binadopta realized that the album was unsalvageable. Hoping to at least cover
their costs with the film's success, the decision was made to drop the 3
Honkees name from the advertisements. The billboards were changed to read:
The Motion Picture
Coming in 14 days...
...and the countdown began. The film promotion was intensified in the hopes
of clearing the association between the film and the waning 3 Honkees. No
pre-screenings were allowed for critics, as they would surely mention the
connection. Binadopta believed that the intriguing title alone would bring in
an audience, and that the crowd-pleasing narrative would generate it's own
success from there.
Unfortunately, on opening day the theaters were all but empty, and those
that did attend returned highly unfavorable reviews. Binadopta found itself in
arguably the worst financial crisis of it's history, and the 3 Honkees were
dropped from contract immediately.
Part 5: Epilogue
In addition to the canceling of the 3 Honkees contract, several in-progress
albums by members of the Honked-Up Posse, such as Curious George's "I
Ain't No Monkey" and Sloppy Meat's "Booze & Buns", were
canceled as well. Ice Milk was arrested late in 1994 for possession of drugged
milk. DJ Dutchboy signed on with a small time independent label to produce the
album "Dickfor". He later returned to Binadopta to produce for
"The Boob Factory" on some of their later work. The Reverend was not
heard from again.
Perhaps a reviewer of their second album summed it up best when she wrote:
"It was suggested after their first work that these three young men
represented the neglected troubles of suburban white teens. After their latest
work, however, it is apparent that these sick and disgusting boys speak for no
one but their perverted selves, and thank heavens for that."