In recent years, Tuff City has assembled some quality compilations from their vast back catalogue, issuing them on their Ol’ Skool Flava label. The latest two releases are of particular interest, since they highlight some lesser-known productions from Ced Gee and Paul C. You Need Stitches: The Tuff City Sessions assembles the Grandmaster Caz singles that weren’t included on The Grandest Of Them All, which means that the lion’s share of beats are supplied by Ced, including the two previously-unreleased tracks.
With the exception of the cheesy Pumpkin contribution “Mr. Bill”, the rest of the cuts on here are pretty good. Ced even wheels out “Nautilus” again for “Yes It’s True”, but considering how many sample-worthy moments are contained in Bob James‘ standard, this is by no means a bad thing. Although in some places Caz sounds a little too eager to please, when he’s in the pocket he still delivers that classic GMC material. Ced’s beats are a lot more stripped-down than his Ultramagnetic work, which seems to be a deliberate back-to-basics approach to compliment The Captain‘s park jam credential’s. Another suprise is the 45 King-like, uptempo party jam stylings of “Need To Know The Flavor” and the Spoonie Gee break on “Caz Is Goin’ Off” which are credited to Ced but sound like the work of the Mighty Maestro (Gee doesn’t mess with saxaphone solos!). The two Caz and Marley Marl beats are indistingushable, with “I’m The Judge” being the stronger of the two. You need this for “You Need Stitches”, “I’m Caz” and “Ain’t Takin’ No Shorts” alone.
Freddie B and the Mighty Mic Masters are a fairly obscure group who’s biggest record was the addictive “The Main Event”, which featured the late, great Pumpkin on drums. While their first single was a forgettable Spyder-D produced drum machine excursion named “It’s The Hip-Hop”, they’re later releases featured beats from Pumpkin, Paul C and Ced Gee (who’s two contributions are mistakenly credited to Paul C and Aaron Fuchs on this LP), which elevates these records from footnote to essential status.
“Coolin’ On The Ave” rocks shit pretty hard, as does “All The Way Live” with it’s running commentary from Delta Force One, but for me the highlight has to be “Go G-Whiz”, a solo sure-shot from MMM member Capain G. Whiz that features some of the most bone crunching drums ever committed to vinyl. You always hear people singing the praises of 1988, but for me the humble period of 1986-1987 produced some of the hardest rap songs ever. From Schooly D to the Skinny Boys, Steady B to Just-Ice, plus everything that Duke Bootee released on his Beauty and the Beat label, that was a great period as far as I’m concerned. “Go G. Whiz” is a perfect example of that era. Unless you own all the original singles, The Main Event is worth picking-up for fans of big ’87 drums and Shout Rap.
Grandmaster Caz – Ain’t Takin’ No Shorts
Captain G. Whiz – Go G. Whiz
Review copies supplied courtesy of Tuff City Records.
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