Filed under: Black Rob Week,Not Your Average,Steady Bootleggin',Uptown Kicking It
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Winding-up our week of Robbie O coverage, here are some of his finest features on other people’s records…
Winding-up our week of Robbie O coverage, here are some of his finest features on other people’s records…
Freestyle Friday on Thursday? How’s that for future shock…
Banco “getting it in”, as they say in the classics.
Pretty standard stuff, although the ‘Whoa’ video is always worth a shot. Who’s idea was that Red Baron hat though?
‘You Don’t Know Me’
In a hard-fought cage match, O.D.B. finally defeated Redman by a mere percentage point for the title of Rap’s Funniest Effin’ M.F. or whatever this shitty poll was called:
Ol’ Dirty Bastard (43%)
Flavor Flav (15%)
While I’m talking results, it’s worth mentioning the top three results when I asked What’s The Best Thing To Call Women Who You Aren’t Related To?:
Bitch (20%, 127 Votes)
Chickenhead (17%, 112 Votes)
Finally, in the ‘Fantasy Rap Battle’ dept. we had Who Would Have Won A Face-To-Face Battle Between Biggie and Nas?
Biggie Smalls (44%)
Rapper Nas (39%)
Can’t Call It Else I Spoil It (17%)
‘Sheeeeeeeiiiit’ (c) Clay Davis…it looks like Kelis’ gravy-train can’t win for losing right now.
Black Rob Week continues with B.R. and Shyne going in on Stretch’s old Hot 97 show, before they both got sent off for separate up north trips.
As the man himself once said, “Your arms too short to box with Rob”. Fresh back from another “vacation”, B.R. just hit us with a new one, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to dip back into his extensive catalog of mixtape/unreleased burners.
One of the stand-outs from Spinna‘s latest LP, Sonic Smash.
DJ Spinna feat. Elzhi – ‘Colors Pt. 2’
Following on from Part 1, Combat Jack details some more tales from the front-line and discusses life after the music biz.
Robbie: How did you find most of your clients?
Combat Jack: The attorney I was working for, she let me build a hip-hop practice, ‘cos she saw the potential in me. I worked with this dude Bernard Bell – who is Regina Bell’s brother – and a lot of people don’t know him, unless you were in the industry, but this dude was a powerful songwriter/producer. He did a lot of shit with Guy, and he did that ‘Remember The Time’ song with Teddy Riley for Michael Jackson. Those were the types of deals I was working on as well. We were representing Color Me Badd, and they had this big-ass label deal. Do you remember this group Joe Public? I worked on a lotta R&B shit, and fell into the hip-hop shit ‘cos that’s what I was really looking for. My hustle was I was that ‘hip-hop dude’, so once somebody worked with me – if they knew an artist or a producer who was looking for an attorney, nine times out of ten my name came up first, man. I would get a million calls, and it was really just about working with anybody who had anything credible on the table. It was word-of-mouth, man. The bigger my clientele became, the more clients came through my door. A lotta people don’t know that I represented Smoothe Da Hustler and Trigga Tha Gambler. I did the whole D.V. Alias Kryst deal back in the day. I did the CNN, I did a lot of underground shit. Once again, it was cats comin’ my way, man. I represented Ced Gee…I worked with a lot of people. I can’t even remember all the deals I did. It’s not until I see somebody pop-up, like that chick Antonique Smith who played Faith in the recent Notorious movie. I used ti represent Antonique ten years ago when she was an R&B artist signed to Latifah’s Flavor Unit. I also represented the chick that played Lil’ Kim in the movie! Naturi Naughton, because I represented 3LW, and she was in that group. It was about hustling and being that person to go to.
After some unforgettable inside-story posts at Bol‘s spot a few years ago – one of which gave me some great material when I interviewed Pete Rock – Combat Jack started his own site at the beginning of 2009. Having worked with hundreds of artists during his career as music attorney, CJ has behind-the-scenes tales for days. Combined with a slick style of pen game and an infectious sense of humor and you’ve got yourself an internets triple-threat. I caught up with dude as he was about to commence some celebratory booze intake on the night of his birthday.
Robbie: When did you discover you had a knack for writing?
Combat Jack: When I started my career years ago, I really set-out to just follow my passion, which is love of the music, love of the culture – love of hip-hop and being a part of it. So even when I went to law school, I didn’t necessarily wanna be a lawyer but I knew at the time that I really wanted to empower myself. Even back then, my theme was Boogie Down Production’s Criminal Minded. I played that shit like every fuckin’ day in law school, ‘cos law school was such an intense and adverse situation – the hardest shit I had to go through at the time – and the only thing I could hang on that would really keep my focused and maintain my sanity was KRS, was hip-hop! So here I am now, it’s twenty years later, and sometimes some shit will jolt a memory outta my fuckin’ brain – like Loon on Al Jazeera! I’m like, ‘I know this dude!’ I been through the trenches with this motherfucker! So it’ll jolt some shit out and the ability to be able to do that? I just feel really fortunate, man. I think my first passion is film – or like visual shit – and went I went to law school it really helped me with the words. Twenty years later I’m able to combine my passion with my technical training….
Did you ever try your hand at rapping back in the day?
[laughs] That shit is embarrassing right now…when we first heard rap, it was formless, there was no industry. In 1978, everybody rapped! It was like kids doing the double dutch or kids playing handball. It was just another part of street culture. So yeah, I rapped! We was the crew on our block – Kings of the Turntable, man. But I wasn’t trying to be a rapper, because there was no business back then! The difference between when I started rapping and when Sugarhill dropped is like, ‘Yo, I’m going to college! I don’t have time for rapping right now’. That’s when I got on my career path, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m good – but I ain’t no rapper!’
After tallying the results from the first two rounds, Redman (23% in Round One) and Ol’ Dirty Bastard (35% in Round Two) move through to the final, where they have to face-off against the wildcard entry…that’s right, the most effed-up individual to ever pick-up a microphone – Flavor Flav! The real story here is the connection between your recreational drug intake and your comedic output…
Everyone who has any kind of a blog, website or even Twitter account will be familiar with the number of groups who hit you up to post their music. Most of the time I just ignore it, but this one got through the gate on the strength of their being managed by Adam Heron, the son of Mike Heron (who you’ll no doubt recall from this classic Unkut interview). The Doppelgangaz ‘2012 or Forever’ sounds like some 90’s shit (which is good, dummy).
A Chef update from the back of the car…
The rap game is full of clowns you say? Sure, there are some jokers out there, but what about the dudes who are actually funny on purpose? My gut reaction would be to say Biz Markie, but what about the other comedic MC’s out there? Apologies to Blowfly and Bobby Jimmy & The Critters fans, YouTube failed you.
Gotta mention this – an official Nah Right album produced by Cookin’ Soul. Any project featuring a song with Doo Wop and Mic Geronimo is an instant download as far as I’m concerned. Shouts to eskay, nation and dre for all the support in Nah Right Lite.
01 – Mickey Factz – Flyin Balloons
02 – St. Laz – Straight from Brooklyn
03 – Emilio Rojas & Tote King – Love vs Hate
04 – Joell Ortiz – Food for Thought
05 – Crooked I feat. One-2 & K-Young – Money Talks
06 – Skyzoo feat. Sha Stimuli & Donny Goines – On fire
07 – Remo Da Rapstar – Cruisin
08 – 40 Cal – Haters (E-n-v-y I-c-y)
09 – Grafh feat. King Charlton – My life (If I die tonight)
10 – AC – If I was you
11 – Ali Vegas – Cold Outside
12 – Streets Is Gettin’ Hot (Remix) featuring Tek, Stat Quo, Ali Vegas, Mic Geronimo, Rapper Pooh, Doo Wop, Icadon, Chirie Vegas & 40 Cal
Download it here.
This takes me back. I caught this on TV years ago – it’s a Dutch film exploring rap music in 1986, and features Mr. Magic and the Juice Crew, Doug E. Fresh, Run-DMC, LL Cool J, Grandmaster Flash and some ‘unsigned hype’. Comedy and vintage footage ensue.
“I look at the new rock ‘n rollers…it’s a shame what they did to it, and I hope that rap don’t go that same route – where they take the rawness away…just then make it too pretty! I don’t think rock ‘n roll was meant to be pretty. Rock was meant to be bad – just like rap” – Schoolly-D
K-Def gets loose on the wheels for this never aired mix intended for the Pirate Radio Show hosted by his mentor Marley Marl. “Oh snap, dude had ‘Who Shot Ya’ a year before it dropped?” Darn tootin’. As L.O.N.S. once harmonized, ‘That’s what connections are all about!’
Quality comparison of two musical mentalists, taken from the Feb. 2003 issue of Spin.
You might recall this from my interview with the artist once known as Paul Juice recently:
Robbie: Is ‘Queens Lounge’ from The LP ever going to see a proper release?
Large Professor: I’ll go back through the archives and try to dig that up and dust that off and get it right, man. I wanna finally put that stuff out there the right way – how it was supposed to originally be put out there. I might have to dust some of them tracks off, man, and get ‘em right. That album, The LP, was so muddy and dirty. The people [at Geffen] they wanted to pull outta the deal and everything, it was like, ‘Yo, I gotta go back to the drawing board and get something fresh and new to work with, so I’m not just sittin’ here with the 12-bit sampler – about to go to the grave with a SP-1200 and some floppy discs!’.
Turns out he was good to his word, with both CD and double vinyl versions of The LP shipping at the end of this month. This is good news for fans of Flushing’s Finest, for although this album isn’t Breaking Atoms 2, it doesn’t need to be. This is the musical document of a troubled man trying to make sense of the music industry, a solo career and growing-up, and as such presents a stripped-down, back-to-the-basics sound while still mining previously unheard samples. His DJ at the time, Dr. Butcher, explains in more detail last year:
Here’s my token under-30 rappers post for the week. Taken from Swedish rockers Peter, Bjorn and John remix project, Re-Living Thing. Shouts to Mick Boogie.
“I can buy your publishing like Michael did The Beatles band”…
Anyone for up some Angry White Guy Rap? From the album A Brand You Can Trust.
Remember that pic from the Top Choice Clique interview and everyone was like, ‘Who’s that chick in the photo?’. Turns out it’s a gal named Kayla Marie, who demo’s a little floor work for us. Blaow!
Jawn P and Force from TCC also performed ‘Peace of Mind’, with Will-C on the decks…
Here’s the first part of a new series talking to non-rapper dudes who still have a story to tell.
After cutting his teeth as a radio personality and DJ in Washington, DC for years, Peter Rosenberg has spent the past two years in New York City, and stays busy with three separate radio shows, including the morning show on Hot 97. Most notable, however, have been his Noisemakers sessions – extended live sit-downs with hip-hop greats.
Robbie: So you do the Juan Epstein show as well as your morning show with Cipha Sounds on Hot 97, right?
Peter Rosenberg: Ciph and I do the weekday morning show, which is a mainstream – but funny – morning show, and then I do real late on Sunday nights from midnight to two, and I don’t really have anyone to answer to as far as what I’m playing. I just play whatever underground shit I want. Then Juan Epstein is sorta separate – we talk about underground shit but we don’t really play music. Each show sort of has it’s different lane.
Hosting that session with DJ Premier recently must’ve been crazy.
Doing the Noisemakers series is crazy. We’ve had Premier, Q-Tip and ?uestlove so far. I’ve got a couple more planned for the summer, but they’re not finalized yet. When you grow up obsessed with hip-hop and then you get to really sit-down and talk to cats that you idolized…that shit never really gets boring! That shit’s always fun.
At last, a CDQ version of this Paul Sea classic.
Spotted at Steady Bloggin’.
It was fun while it lasted, but it seems that Unkut’s title as the “home of homophobia in the hip-hop blogopshere” has been brought to a close by the arrival of Rap Gaydar, a new blog which lets readers submit their favorite suspect lyric or photo. As I pass the proverbial torch over to the new kings of this fudge rap thing, it’s only right that I do one final drop on the topic of ‘up the coat’ rap – or in this case, rap that throws teh ghey’s under a bus.
Still as brilliant as when I posted it back in 2006. Lake covers a variety of important issues here, from ‘down-low’ dudes giving broads the germ to dudes turning sweet after being locked-up and how Lake doesn’t want them dude’s hanging around his kids. Say word.