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 - Funky Breakdown [Strategy, Bumrush/Virgin, 1990]
Kings of Swing - Go Cocoa! [Strategy, Bumrush/Virgin, 1990]
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