Check The Technique – Book Review
Tuesday June 26th 2007,
Filed under: Books,Not Your Average,Reviews
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Considering my obsession with rap trivia, it’s amazing that I never got around to grabbing a copy of Rakim Told Me, but since Brian Coleman just threw me a copy of his expanded edition, I’ve finally been able to absorb this shit. Anything involving Schoolly-D is essential as far as I’m concerned, and best believe the chapter covering Saturday Night – The Album was the first thing I read. This is the kind of thing that’s been lacking in hip-hop publishing – first-hand accounts and footnotes on actual songs, instead of grand discussions about everything but. This project’s greatest strength is the fact that even the chapters dealing with albums I could care less about (Onyx, Digable Planets) are still a good read. Here’s some examples of the kind of gold we’re dealing with here:

[Five random quotes]

5. KRS-One: “Me and Scott went to Sleeping Bag and met with a guy named Will Socolov. That was the one of the greatest record companies ever. No one ever got paid anything, you got paid in marijuana. But it was a great label…even though no one was ever paid. Just-Ice got paid, He’d go up there every week and they’d just give him money.”

4. Fredro Star on Bacdafucup: “While we were recording the album, niggas was on LSD the whole time, straight up. We was dropping papers, taking meth tabs, during that whole album.”

3. Schoolly D on “P.S.K.”: “When we recorded that, the engineer, Jeff Cheesesteak, was all nervous, too with eight black guys showing up. He was worried about motherfuckers stealing shit, which they did. I didn’t know, but all my homies was upstairs cleanin’ out all kinds of microphones. I made them take the mics back, though.”

2. Slick Rick on “Teacher, Teacher”: “That was another filler track. I wasn’t really feeling that one. That was there just to make the album reach twelve [songs]. It was empty, it had no soul to it. I didn’t put no effort into that song.”

1. Afrika Islam on “I’m You Pusher”: That was the first video and yeah, that guy Pimpin’ Rex was a real pimp.Rex would come to the studio with like twenty girls, but he’d be like, “Don’t touch them, I haven’t cleaned them up yet.”

Now all I need to do is track down the first edition for the Critical Beatdown chapter…

Brian Coleman’s Wax Facts

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11 Comments so far
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I liked the new one as well, but the only thing is, I feel like I’ve read a lot of it. I’ve seen half of the book it seems on the internet and old magazine articles. It feels like a copy and paste type thing to me for a good portion of the book. Then again… if he did all those interviews i had seen over the years that’s cool. If not it’s a little wierd.

Either way.. it’s a GREAT book. I’m just being trivial.

Comment by bbatson 06.26.07 @

Haven’t gotten this new one yet, but best believe the first book is worth tracking down for Critical Beatdown–it’d be one of the best chapters even for someone not into Ultramagnetic (if such a person exists). It’s like the BDP chapter in that it gets into the wider scope of things instead of just track by track.

Comment by Elijah 06.26.07 @

“Critical Beatdown” isn’t in the new one? At least he threw a bone to people who have the first one. I’ll try to scan that Ultramag chapter when I get a chance.

Comment by Scott 06.26.07 @


Rakim Told Me was ill!

I always like to enjoy my rap albums and books gradually. So I try not to read a good book all at once, try and space it out over a month or so.

But I read Rakim Told Me in about a week. And then re-read several chapters. Couldn’t stop reading it, until I lost it on the 246 Bus. I figured some kid might stumble upon it and begin a life long obsession with rap, so it’s all good.

Can’t wait to grab the new one.

I haven’t figured out who’s on the cover though. Is it Meth or Monch, or someone else?

Comment by Sheriff Rosco 06.27.07 @

That’s tight that he Afrika Islam talked about Pimpin Rex. Rex did an album with Kool Keith and crew: Analog Brothers.

Comment by mike g 06.27.07 @

I get so envious of today’s HipHop fan,because cats like Brian Coleman are delivering the dirt on classic HipHop moments for these young fans…and yeah us old schoolers.If you don’t own”Check the technique”run don’t walk and get it,pick up his first opus as well”Rakim told me”.
Then make it your business to track down”Gangsta:Merchandising the ryhmes of violence”by Ronon Ro,”Classic Material”by Oliver Wang,and”And it don’t stop”by Raquel Cepeda,some great reads here,but get that Brian Coleman first.
-Roger Jones

Comment by Roger Jones 06.27.07 @

3. Schoolly D on “P.S.K.”: “When we recorded that, the engineer, Jeff Cheesesteak, was all nervous, too with eight black guys showing up. He was worried about motherfuckers stealing shit, which they did. I didn’t know, but all my homies was upstairs cleanin’ out all kinds of microphones. I made them take the mics back, though.”


“He was worried about motherfuckers stealing shit, which they did”

Classic ig’nance.

Keep up the good work mang.

Comment by Jacks 07.07.07 @

This is a must for 30 something hip hop junkies that remeber these classic 80’s -90’s albums. As a hip hop conoursour I am fasinated by liner notes of albums. I always read the credits with notes, thanks yous , and production samples. I would love to read part 3 with other classic LPs and slept on LPs.. I dying to hear the stories behind Main Source -Breaking Atoms, Only built for Cuban Linx..,Business As USual, Mama Said Knock you Out, Stakes is High,Slaugherhouse,Fear of a Black Planet,etc

Comment by Peddy Ligonde 07.17.07 @

Oh man, I bought the book a week ago and I love it. The chapter on Commons Resurrection, Black Moons Enta Da Stage and Wut Tangs e6 Chambers are damn ill.

Good work, Brian! I’m definitly looking forward to the next volume.

Comment by Azad 07.20.07 @

I’m reading “Rakim told me” now, and I’d have to give it a mixed review so far. Writing is dope and many of the 1st hand stories from the artists are illuminating, but…the “paid in full” chapter makes no mention of Large Pro’s contributions. Nor does it address Johnny Juice’s claim that he’s doing much of the scratching. Sometimes the artists are being self-serving and not giving proper credit. It’s like another part of the story, but I still feel like I gotta put that together with other information out there to get the correct picture of who did what on some of these records.

Comment by 1-Take 04.14.15 @

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