Filed under: Ced Gee Special,Steady Bootleggin'
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
First, the good news: I’ve finally imported the first five Ced Gee posts from the old Bootleggin’ site. The bad news is that since I’m using up most of my storage space at the moment, all the audio has been downgraded to 64 kps. But considering that most websites/audio blogs (aka “pathetic attempts to win friends on the internets”) take down songs altogether after a few weeks, it’s not really worth complaining about.
Part 1 – Ed Lover’s Theme Song
DJ Mark The 45 King‘s certifiable classic party-starter, “The 900 Number” seems to get brought back every few years in one way or another (I predict that Rich Harrison, the guy who did “Crazy In Love”, “Get Right” and “1 Thing”, will flip it for some singin’ broad in a minute), but the expanded EP release on Tuff City was blessed with three dope Ced Gee remixes which don’t seem to get much shine.
The truth of the matter is that “900 Number” never really needed to be remixed, since it’s addictive simplicity is the source of it’s universal and timeless appeal, but you really can’t lose with Ced’s hyped-up, BX-flavoured rendition. The first version features Lakim Shabazz’s “The Posse Is Large” vocals, but since there’s so much going on with the backing track, the two instrumental versions prove to be far more effective to display the added drum fills and soundbites from classic Ultramagnetic tracks. Originally I posted Remix #3, but I got sick of it so here’s the vocal mix:
The 45 King - The 900 Number [Ced-Gee Remix #1] (Tuff City, 1991)
Part 2 – The Travel Jam
Ultramagnetic weren’t exactly known for their guest appearance’s. In fact, prior to parting ways, the crew’s vocal cameo’s extended only to Ultra fam member Tim Dog‘s Penicillin On Wax, a Raw Breed track (Kool Keith is related to one of the MC’s), that “Free South Africa” record and this song.
I’m not sure what led to this collaberation, but Ced Gee and Kool Keith recorded a track with Dutch group King Bee in 1991. Rude Boy Remington mentions being an “Amstradamian” at some point in his verse, indicating that perhaps these guys carried weed for Ultra during their European tour. But due to the availability of quality smoke over there, I wouldn’t have thought that weed carriers would have been a necessary consideration, since you can just order hash from it’s many “coffee houses”.
Either way, Ced and Keith lay it down in their classic trademark style, while their new-found Euro pals do there best Ultra impersonations with amusing results. Producer, DJ and MC, Allstar Fresh, also scratches in Keith’s “I’m the king bee” line from “Break North” to further cement himself to the Bronx Bombers’ jocks. Not that I can blame him – I would have gladly carried some hydro for Ultra before they dropped Funk Your Head Up. Allstar also placed second in the 1988 DMC‘s, and these days can be found producing and playing House music under the name of DJ Guan.
King Bee featuring Ultramagnetic MC’s - Cold Slammin’ [Hypo Mix] (Torso, 1991)
Part 3 – Ruffs & Rares
Around 1994, Tuff City began releasing old Ultramagnetic demos and songs that never made the albums, with The Basement Tapes being the first and easily the best of the series. Kool Keith claimed these were unauthorised bootlegs that Ced had sold for some quick cash, while Tuff City countered that all the members of the group had cashed cheques from these albums. Whatever the case, the first volume was pretty dope, and included some vintage Ultra moments such as “Brainiac” and “Smack My Bitch Up”.
The best cut, “You’re Not That Large” was meant to appear but was removed at the last minute, and was later included on the “I’m Fuckin’ Flippin'” 12″ (I think it made the CD version though). As Ced explains on the intro, part of the song drops out due to “technical difficulties”, but the track would have been worthy of inclusion on their debut had that mishap not occured. Keith goes for self over a scorching Olympic Runners loop, reminding us of just how advanced he was at the time in terms of flow and technique.
“Delta Force” seems to be an alternative version of the LP cut “Ced Gee (Delta Force One)”. Here we find Ced carrying a bit of a chip on his shoulder, as he’s out to prove that he’s more than “just a back-up” to all those doubters who thought he was there to “play the back spot”. It’s fair to say that not everyone’s a fan of Ced’s vocals, but I thought he held his own until The Four Horsemen, when he adopted a style which sounded like a retarded android who’d smoked embalming fluid (aka Fry).
Ultramagnetic MC’s - You’re Not That Large (b-side of I’m Fuckin’ Flippin’ 12″, Tuff City, 1994)
Ultramagnetic MC’s - Delta Force (Mo Love’s Basement Tapes LP, Ol’ Skool Flava, 1996)
Part 4 – A Tale Of Two Ced’s
The story behind MF911, which they helpfully included on the back of the album, is actually more entertaining than much of the album. Originally calling themselves Philly Boy Productions, they changed their name to Mega Force 911 after Chuck D suggested the name “911” when they met him backstage (they also mention “This was before his album came out with the single 911 Is A Joke”, just in case we thought that song was directed at them?). After a few ups and downs, they finally gave the music game one more shot in the summer of 1992, and decided to try and track down Ced Gee, who they considered “the best on the music scene”.
After getting Ced on the phone, they decided to make a twelve-hour car trek from Detroit to visit New York, where they were greeted by Tim Dog and finally met their idol, the Delta Force himself. The next day they were invited to the Ultra Lab to work on some tracks, and by the end of the year Ced had gotten them a deal on Next Plateau (possibly as leverage to get Ultra’s off).
The group consisted of Anthony “Mad” Singleton and Ced “Rat” Chubb, with their brothers Tim the Terrible and Mainy Main (I guess all the good rap handls were taken?) serving as weed carriers. Ced Gee and Charlie Beats co-produced most of the songs with the group, and once again Ced reheats the old trusty break from “The Mexican” on “Get Open”. The standout for me is “My Turn”, which features a dope Ultra reworking of The Whole Darn Family. Lyrically, MF911 come-off like a cross between Tim Dog and Ced Gee, which is not suprising since their album could have been billed as ‘The Baby Ultramagnetic” in much the same way as Poison Clan were the “Baby 2 Live Crew” and Too Much Trouble were the “Baby Geto Boys”. While that would have been great news in 1988, Ultra weren’t that great by ’93, so a low-budget version was hardly going to set the world on fire, but it’s still worth checking out for Ultra loyalists.
MF911 - My Turn (Idol * The Bloodsport, Next Plateau, 1993)
Part 5 – When B-Side Attack
“Travelling At The Speed of Thought” is hardly the most essential of Ultra tracks. Despite the fact that three different versions of the song were released (the original and the best Rolling Stones based take, the dancefloor aimed LP remix and the horrible Hip House remixes that wasted space on the “Chorus Line” single).
Once again, the b-side saves the day with this dope sequel to “Ego Trippin’ (MC’s Ultra)”. Showcasing Keith and Ced’s early Shout Rap delivery, the lyrics still demonstrate just how far ahead of their time these guys were in terms of vocab, flow and content. Some off-key singing finishes thing up (a preview of Funk Your Head Up‘s R&B excusions, perhaps?).
On the beat side of things, this is a slice of bass heavy, “Apache”-obliterating madness which adandons any concepts of melody in favour of a sea of hardcore noise which smacks you round the domepiece until you beg for mercy. If only more rap records assaulted the ears rather than sending us to sleep.
Ultramagnetic MC’s – M.C.’s Ultra (Part II) (B-side of Travelling At The Speed of Thought 12″, Next Plateau, 1987)
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