Filed under: Flavor Unit Special,Steady Bootleggin'
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
I can’t confirm that Priority One were official Flavor Unit (actually I’m pretty sure they weren’t), but Louie Louie was 45 King‘s right-hand man for a while, so his work deserves a mention here. His first record was with his crew Priority One, who dropped “I Can’t Go For That”/”Showin’ My Stuff” on Tuff City in 1988. At this stage the group consisted of MC Ron Delite, Naikwan, DJ Smitty B, Louie Louie and JV-1.
Five Things You Need To Know About Ron Delite:
1. He’s a solo poet (that means he rocks alone).
2. He’s a South Bronx resident (that’s quite evident).
3. He’s been rockin’ rhymes ever since he was ten (but that was ten years ago)1
4. If Ron Delite was spaghetti, Smitty B would be sauce.
5. He’s clean, crisp and clearer (like 7UP).
The little known Priority One LP that dropped the following year, although it presented a new incarnation of the crew. It seems that by the time they started working on Total Chaos, only core members Ron Delite and Louie Louie remained on deck, presenting us with a decidedly more hardcore vocal style. It seems that Ron had out-grown his casual approach of the earlier record for a more “macho” delivery in line with his Flavor Unit label mates (or maybe he just improved his mic technique?). While the cover boasts “Mixes by the 45 King”, this is very much Louie Louie’s show, and he delivers an album representative of his musical approach – some up-temp brag rap, some Hip-House and some instrumentals. “This Stage Is My Stage” is another chapter in the seemingly-endless Book of the Funky Drummer, but as Ron Delite points out: “These ain’t lyrics of fury – they’re lyrics of rage!”, just in case we mistook him for Rakim (?!). While the drums may be familiar, this track features the first use of Lalo Schifrin‘s Enter The Dragon break that would later be heard on the Alkaholiks second album, amongst other things. Regardless of the break trivia, this is a a heavy track.
Luis “Louie Louie” Vega worked closely with the 45 King during their Tuff City/Wild Pitch period, and although he didn’t contribute a huge number of tracks to the Flavor Unit arsenal, his productions were always worth checking for. He later did beats for Queen Latifah (“Latifah’s Law”), Naughty By Nature (“1,2,3″), Double J and Nice & Smooth. (he also released a solo album called Deadlier Than Ever. The two of them also split an LP called Rhythmical Madness, which was a bunch of beats plus a couple of tracks with vocals at the end of each side. Louie’s side features what I believe to be the last record from Ron (although he also appeared on a dance record by Corporation of One called “Tomorrow Will Be A Better Day” around the same time). “Checkmate You Lose” is a sparse, stripped-back track with a loose JB’s riff and the classic “walkie talkie” effects for good measure, while Ron is in good form as he stomps out sucker MC’s who are “like diapers – full of shit”. He also claims that “like burgers from Wendy’s I’m hot and juicy” for some reason.
Louie Louie continued to mix his love for hardcore hip-hop and Hip-House on a one-off single he cut for Wild Pitch, which featured a talented verbal assassin named Jamose. His b-side effort “The Rhymthologist” features an awesome horn line over rolling percussion and a Garage-style bassline, while Jamose delivers an impassioned vocal turn that wins based on his voice alone, although his liquid style would win regardless.
Priority One – This Stage Is My Stage [Total Chaos, Tuff City, 1989]
Louie Louie featuring Ron Delite – Checkmate You Lose [Rhythmical Madness, Tuff City, 1989]
Jamose – The Rhymthologist [Wild Pitch, 1989]
- 1. Circa 1988.[back]
- 2. I’m sorry to report that I don’t even have this record, so I’ve had to jack it from DJ Ivory‘s Hear No Evil Volume 2 for the sake of this article.[back]
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