Filed under: Features,No Country For Old (Rap) Men,The Unkut Opinion,Web Work
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Does. Not. Compute.
Does. Not. Compute.
Stumbled upon this nugget of rap trivia during a follow-up interview with Dr. Butcher earlier this year – the brief story of a New York MC named Lazy who was carving out quite the name for himself on the street level in the late nineties before some he vanished from the music game altogether. These are the only four examples of his work I could find, but apparently he was at his best when freestyling or battling. I’d be interested to hear some of his appearances on The Stretch Armstrong Show if anyone has them.
Robbie: Any good Eric B stories?
Dr. Butcher: I remember me, him and Tito [Fearess Four] linked up and he told us he had a deal with Sony. He said, ‘I wanna sit behind the scenes, I want you and Butcher to be the faces of the label. Let me handle the business and we’ll put in motion.’ In the meantime I rounded up three of the best rappers that I knew about – Joell Marquis, William Millions and Lazy. Fat Joe and everybody was trying to get Lazy at the time, he was the hottest dude in New York. Battle-wise, he was destroying everybody on the streets, no one could touch him. He was like fifteen, sixteen years old. C4, who did [Akinyele’s] ‘Put It In Your Mouth,’ was doing a lot of the tracks and putting stuff together but then Eric wasn’t coming through and he just disappeared. He stayed in contact with Lazy, I guess he felt like he had his next Rakim, he was like, ‘Yo, Eric’s promising to fly to Miami and this and that.’ Things just never manifested into anything.
There was a brilliant period in hip-hop and electro records where the engineers seemed determined to warp and distort the original track to near unrecognizable forms, splattering echo and gated snares on the walls of some long-forgotten underground cavern. Let’s call it the Spelunker Period. The labels often provided not so subtle clues about what we could expect, announcing ‘Zootie,’ ‘Stubb,’ ‘Burnt’ and ‘Psycho Dust’ versions of their vocal counterparts. The following are selection of abrasive, dusted drum machine and scratch experiences that demonstrate the beauty of that thing sometimes referred to as The Dope Noise.
Some warm weather action from Mr. Ragazino, produced by Jimmy Dukes.
Taken from Maff’s Eight Million Stories project, dropping 1 July. Looking forward to those WTK and Marci features on this.
If in need of mild amusement, please proceed with caution as we look back at this selection of ten dollar videos and hooky live performances.
As featured on the Straight Shotz In Dirty Glassez EP, out now on Chopped Herring
Baseball bats > record contracts.
Complex keeping it one hunned with this mini doc about the classic Guru and Premier single.
The War Report crew bring back Grandmaster Vic for some of that Queens blend tape magic.
Taken from the free Parts Unknown EP.
This week has seen the release of Pete Rock‘s latest album, PeteStrumentals 2, the follow-up to the first edition from 2001. Unlike the original, which was spiced-up with outstanding appearances from Roc Marciano and The UN, Freddie Foxxx, Nature and CL Smooth, the new one is a beats only affair. As much as I enjoy a good hip-hop instrumental from the like of the 45 King and DJ Spinna, do I really want to listen to an hour of rhyme-free music?
The process of recording a rap album for a record label has often been fraught with artistic compromise, clueless A&R’s and misguided promotional campaigns. While what goes on behind the scenes has often remained a mystery, the arrival of the ‘Advance Promotional Cassettes’ in the early nineties offered a glimpse into ‘what might have been’ for a number of albums. I can recall reading reviews of several albums, only for some of the tracks mentioned to have mysteriously vanished by the time the album was released. A prime example of this was Show & AG‘s Goodfellas album, which had six of the tracks from the advance copy either replaced or remixed before it hit the shelves, while the sampler tape for Mobb Deep‘s Hell On Earth was largley comprised of songs destined for other peoples releases (‘Recognize and Realize,’ ‘Live Nigga Rap’) or soundtracks.
Slick Rick The Ruler was the go-to guy for late nineties R&B remixes for a while, but it’s been his work adding his unique vocal stylings to rap tracks that have shone the brightest. From over thirty official guest spots I’ve selected the best sixteen appearances of the Rickster for another Zippyshare Records and Tapes sure shot treat.
The Doc serves up an Ironman style groove for these two upstarts to vent over. Taken from The Spring Tape, which you can cop for a dollar a song.
Great to hear the Rebel INS over the production he deserves again.
Here’s the full version of my Breakbeat Lou interview, some of which was used in my Ultimate Breaks and Beats: An Oral History feature.
Robbie: How did you meet Lenny Roberts?
Breakbeat Lou: Lenny I’d met at Saul’s Record Pool, back in the early 80’s. There was a feedback committee meeting that we had and everyone was talking about regular rap records and regular music. That wasn’t what he was really into, he was more or a less a ‘in the house’ kinda DJ. There was a comment about a particular record and I said, ‘Yeah, I know that record.’ He said, ‘How do you know that record? You don’t seem like you’re into that particular thing.’ I was already DJing regular stuff. I’ve been in the game a long time – a DJ since ’74, hardcore digger since ’78, producer since ’80. That’s where the connection with breakbeats came in between him and I. He was already involved in going to the jams, ‘cos Lenny used to hang out at Bronx River. First it was bootleg 12’s that were being released – we released ‘Big Beat’, before that was ‘Funky President’ and ‘Long Red’ on Sure Shot Records. We also released the guava ‘Apache’ copies, ‘Chinese Chicken,’ ‘Impeach The President,’ the [Magic Disco Machine’s] ‘Scratchin” one sided 12′, the ‘Rocket In The Pocket.’
Most rappers fall off after a certain time. These re the exceptions.
Newest video from the year’s best rap album.
Matter Ov Fact and EP are back with a free EP of new material. Some of the beats are leaning towards a more ‘modern’ sound but the raps are still that classic Shark Nation deviates flow.
The Wu-Tang Clan have been through more than share of ups and downs over the years, but there’s no denying that they brought back a much needed grit to rap music when they hit the scene in in 1992 with their self-released ‘Protect Ya Neck’/’After The Laughter Comes Tears’ single. RZA’s master plan to get everyone separate solo deals on different record labels was inspired, although it clearly worked out a lot for better for some. Fast forward to 2015, and all of the original squad (with the exception of the late, great Ol’ Dirty Bastard) are still releasing music in some shape or form. What I’m interested to gauge is who you consider to have done the best job at keeping themselves lyrically sharp? Who are you still hyped to hear a guest verse or a new track from? Are you tired of hearing Ghostface rapping with bands? Has Raekwon become over-exposed? Has GZA become a an angry old wino who’s best days are behind him? Will Method Man ever make an album worthy of his talents?
P.I.M.P is available now.
For a jam-packed four year stretch, The Sugar Hill Band was the most powerful force in recorded rap, providing the beats for The Furious Five, Funky 4+1, Treacherous Three, Crash Crew, Spoonie Gee, The Sequence and more. With it’s core membership consisting of guitarist Skip McDonald, bassist Doug Wimbish, drummer Keith LeBlanc, percussionist Ed ‘Duke Bootee’ Fletcher and arranger Clifton ‘Jiggs’ Chase, the Sugar Hill Band were assigned to replay and re-arrange the hot breaks of the day, as advised by the likes of Grandmaster Flash based on what the crowd responded to when he deejayed. Unfortunately, some of their finest work such as ‘Funk You Up’ and ‘It’s Nasty (Genius of Love)’ was never issued in instrumental versions, but I’ve done my bets to cobble together what I could from the vaults.
Another burner from Him-Lo and Clever One aka Da Buze Brovaz, produced by DJ Rocksteady and Him-Lo.
Marco Polo on the beat and DJ Skizz on the cut. This is CRC theme music at it’s finest.
Pumpkinhead and Sucio Smash [Photo by: Photo Rob]
As most of you already know, long-time indy rap champion Pumpkinhead passed away this week at only 39 years old, tragically leaving behind his pregnant wife and two kids. I’m not really qualified to speak on the man’s numerous contributions, but Chaz Kangas has put together a fitting tribute to the man for Complex, while some of his friends shared their fondest memories on Facebook:
DJ Eclipse: Some of us spend countless hours, days, months, years and even decades promoting others more so then we do ourselves. PH was one of those guys. Even though he made a name for himself in the battle scene and even made some records, it was his work here in NYC that I’ll remember even more. An integral part of the 90’s indie movement as well as today’s battle scene and a promoter of authentic acts and events, PH cared about the culture of Hip Hop. For him it was about your skills and how to improve on them. He was one of the ones that helped keep the foundation strong for others to go on and build careers.