Decent Rap Albums With Awful R&B Covers – Kings of Swing
Monday December 12th 2005,
Filed under: Steady Bootleggin'
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Not only does the cover photo for this album have a “smoothed out on the R&B tip with a pop-feel appeal to it” vibe, the name Kings of Swing brings to mind an album of full of trendy Teddy Riley inspired New Jack Swing jams. As it turns out, Strategy is the only album from Sugar Kay, Mike Master and Cocoa Chanelle, who were part of Nat Robinson’s ever reliable First Priority Music crew (Audio Two, MC Lyte, The Alliance etc).

With King of Chill and Audio Two’s Milk D and Gizmo handling most of the beats, Kings of Swing have a nice variety of loops to keep things moving, while DJ Cocoa Chanelle proves to be the most interesting member of the group as she provides more than her fair share of highlights by handling mic duties effectively on “Show Em What You Got” and delivering the dope cuts on songs like “Go Cocoa!”. The break that later supported Rakim‘s “The Punisher” was initially put to good use on “Funky Breakdown”, which would have to be the hardest track on here, while “Nod Your Head To This” was given a much needed remix on it’s 12″, which also included a Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) version, if anyone cares.

This album dropped around the time certain record companies started to introduce CD-only releases, in an effort to cut costs and turn consumers away from vinyl, and I’m fairly certain that Strategy never even saw a promo vinyl release. I guess it came out on tape as well, but I don’t remember seeing it even though I was buying wasting money on cassettes at the time. The funny thing is, fifteen years later all the tapes that I copped back then are basically worthless to everyone except for noz and a couple of guys in Japan, while records from the period usually fetch a small fortune….although the Return of The Funkyman tape has that amazing “Hands In The Air, Mouth Shut” song which wasn’t on any other format.

Kings of Swing Discography

Kings of Swing – Funky Breakdown [Strategy, Bumrush/Virgin, 1990]

Kings of Swing – Go Cocoa! [Strategy, Bumrush/Virgin, 1990]

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20 Comments so far
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I played this cd from time to time and while no great lyricst was not a bad overall effort for the time frame, Strategy is my favorite cut but may be because of the MC Lyte vocal scratch on that cut

Comment by Khalli-Vegas 12.12.05 @

The First Prioirty extended fam had some good moments. The comp album with the gym scene on the back had some good songs (I Ain’t Havin it, Many Styles). Also Barsha had a tight album that was slept on.

Comment by Elphonics 12.13.05 @

Yes, FPM is one of my favorite labels of the late eighties with artists like MC Lyte, Audio Two, The Alliance, Positive K, and Michie Mee. That Barsha album (not on FPM, but with King Of Chill and Audio Two on the boards) is nice too. I didn’t know about this Kings Of Swing album. I must have ignored it because of the R&B ish cover, but I’ll definitely check it out now. :)

Comment by Lotuz 12.13.05 @

Barsha’s album just happens to be the next post in this series…

Comment by Robbie 12.13.05 @

Awful cover indeed. That album deserved a much nicer cover.

Comment by Lotuz 12.13.05 @

I have this album on cassette, as many of my purchases from this era were. (It was indeed a waste of money. Anybody know where I can unload about 700-800 cassettes?) On the real though, the best joint is Cocoa Channelle’s solo. And she’s the dj.(?) Them guys had no flair. Holla.
ps The cassette version of ‘Return of the Funkyman’ did not include “Fuck ‘Em”, one of my faves.

Comment by Foster. 12.15.05 @

Look forward to that next post Robbie!

Comment by Elphonics 12.16.05 @

Anyone remember the Kings of Swing “I’m a microphone junky/cold pumpin something funky/Cause I’m a Mc Addict/? produced by Keyboard Money Mike? (Master Mind prod./BDP fame)with the scratches from BDP’s “part time sucker” “key..key keyboards money mike is down wit us!!”

Comment by marc davis 12.16.05 @

According to Werner:

1. Stop Jocking James (Vocal)
2. Stop Jocking James (Instr.)
3. Microphone Junkie (Vocal)
4. Microphone Junkie (Instr.)
(Bumrush – 1988)

I’ve heard it but I don’t have the 12″.

Comment by Robbie 12.18.05 @

yeah, I got the Kings of Swings tape when it came out. I recently (last year) got the CD off ebay. Probably my fav cut is Cocoa Channels solo too. Besides that I think “Strategy” is pretty dope. I always thought it was funny that they seem to go out of their way not to use profanity on the album then on the last cut they go all out with all this explicit lyrics that sounds so forced…

I got the Microphone Junkie 12″ and that stuff if better than the album.

good stuff as always robbie…

Comment by kevin beacham 12.20.05 @

Love the First Priority production (King Of Chill, Audio Two)!

Comment by Cinister Cee 12.20.05 @

My man Kevin Beacham from “caught in the middle”? If so, get at me my brother!! You use to have the second official copy of the Source with Slick Rick drawn on the cover, with a big write up on Ced-Gee for being producer of the month.


Comment by marc davis 12.21.05 @

yo what up marc?! Yeah, this is me and I still got that mag. Hit me up: is the email. peace

To stay on topic I also want to second that King of Chill had nice production and I don’t think he gets enough props!

Comment by kevin beacham 12.29.05 @

I purchased this tape when it came out solely off the single “Nod ya Head…” As many of my purchases were back then, theres only a handful of dope tracks, all have been said but y’all forgot about “The Hustler.” The drums and break have been used over and over again, but these guys somehow make the song work. Its a funky dope track. somebody mentioned Freshco. “Ain’t You Freshco?” was a funny track.

Comment by VerBaTim 12.30.05 @

I been looking for the survival of the fittest remix on the first priority family album for the longest. My favorite Lyte song ever, I haven’t heard it for like 20 years.

If anyone has it, hit me with an email.

Comment by gary flynn 01.17.06 @

Here you go

Comment by Lotuz 01.18.06 @

I just want to ask, is the Norman cook remix the same as teh Deelite Groove is in the Heart Sample? Been tracking this for a while. Thanks kidclam

Comment by kidclam 03.04.06 @

The FPM FAMILY was one that was never given proper props. They all had dope tracks on their albums for that era but most were slept on. Audio Two started it off but MC Lyte had taken the limelight but couldn’t pass it to the rest of the family. Barsha … slept on completely, Michie Mee..never had a chance (Bumrush didn’t do so good), Alliance of MCs … nice album / needed follow up effort..King of Chill went to production only ? , Kings of Swing … dope album / nice style / female DJ with skills…Positive K …ONLY OTHER with the 15 minutes of fame. My hat off to Nat Robinson & the entire First Priority Music Family …they were there long before the Bad Boy, Rockafella, Wu Tang, Ruff Ryders, etc. ever existed. If it wasnt for FPM … some of these might not even be here today. GIVE MILK, “YOU CAN ASK” GIZ, LYTE, POS, KING OF CHILL, DJ SKILL, K-SWIFT, MICHIE, BARSHA, BIG V, NAT, BIGFOOT, COCOA, SUGAR KAY, MIKE MASTER , DJ K-ROCK, (later on) MASTER T, SOUL SHOCK, LA LUV, & MC PEACHES … ( ya’ll didn’t think I could remember all these did ya ? )….ALL THE EARLY / OLD SKOOL PROPS !!! My hat off 2 all ya’ll.

Comment by Opie Cunningham 03.28.06 @

Coolest tracks from “STRATEGY” ….
1. STRATEGY 2. You Know I Love U Baby 3. Swing Fever 4. Nod Your Head To This & 5. GO COCOA ! ….. this was a cool album. I still give it 3 out of 5 stars today.

Comment by Opie Cunningham 03.28.06 @

i always felt COCOA, even tho she was just their Dj i could see she had talent after i heard that verse on show em, and her scratchin skills was on point. I was browsing myspace and found her page looks like she’s doin big things, shes a popular dj on new yorks HOT 97, she’s still rappin and producing for other rappers.

Comment by Jason 07.30.06 @

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