A bootleg CD of ‘Sweet Insanity’ (via Discogs)
Circa 1991, the house of hip hop welcomed an honored guest. Accompanied by his longtime shrink, Dr. Eugene Landy, the gifted harmonist Brian Wilson shambled through hip hop’s laundry room into its spacious two-car garage, where he blessed the microphone with this still-unreleased ode to “Smart Girls.” Over a drum machine and a Frankenstein medley of Beach Boys hooks said to be produced by the late, great Matt Dike of Dust Brothers and Delicious Vinyl fame, Wilson spat about how he used to glorify stupid women in his songs, but lately had turned to celebrating “you brainy babes with your attitude.”
The project to which “Smart Girls” belonged was among the final straws in the Landy-Wilson relationship. According to Peter Ames Carlin’s biography Catch A Wave, Landy was, by this point, calling himself Wilson’s creative and business partner rather than his therapist. (A shrewd move on Landy’s part, because the Man soon came for his license.) In the Pico Boulevard HQ of their company, Brains and Genius, which included a recording studio, the pair were hard at work on the follow-up to Wilson’s self-titled comeback album: Sweet Insanity, co-written and co-produced by Landy. Carlin writes that “Smart Girls” was the result of Landy “pushing Brian to try his hand at rapping.”
The MC speaks on the sessions in I Am Brian Wilson:
Since the first solo record had been a success, Dr. Landy wanted me to go right back and make another record. We started one that was going to be called Brian and then was going to be called Sweet Insanity. The title wasn’t exactly the best. It was supposed to be a comment about the way that mental illness could turn into something beautiful, but I wasn’t sure I wanted a title like that. I had spent a lifetime proving that point, but why did we have to say it straight out like that? Plus the way Gene was trying to force me to make the record wasn’t a good scene. He kept on me all the time. He asked questions about every part. It was the strangest and worst way to make a record, with so much pressure and so much interference.
Brains and Genius delivered Sweet Insanity to Sire, who excitedly forwarded it to the trash can.
Bonus! The Beach Boys meet the Fat Boys: