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Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Some good news for vinyl fiends with three new limited-edition releases from Freestyle Records, who also brought us Showbiz & AG‘s Broken Chains:
Showbiz Presents: The Big L / Silky Black Double Pack
Freestyle Records proudly announces our second collectors-only collaboration with the one and only Showbiz. This time around we wanted to do something a little different and not only bring out lost tracks from Big L (R.I.P.), a true lyrical legend (the 11th anniversary of whose death just passed), but also give exposure to an MC who didn’t get his proper shine back in the day: Silky Black.
Big L / Silky Black Snippets
Big L – Gorilla In A Phonebooth: Original Demo Recordings, 1991-1992
Recorded at Jazzy Jay Studios, Bronx, NY
These recordings are from the original sessions of late 1991 and early 1992 which produced an album’s worth of material and a deal with Sony/Columbia. These sessions materialized after L, then working with his DJ, D-Wiz, approached a car containing Showbiz and Lord Finesse on the streets of Harlem in early 1991. Big L so impressed Showbiz with his flow that Show arranged to have him come to Jazzy Jay’s legendary studio in the Bronx and record with him. According to Show, these two recordings were made just after his introduction to Big L in Harlem in 1991 — the very first time L was ever in a studio.
1) No Endz, No Skinz (Explicit OG Version), 1991
(Completely different track from Showbiz with heavy bassline, fat horn section and chimes later used by DJ Premier for the remix of Crooklyn. Dirty version with lots of X-rated language omitted from the clean version later released. First and second verses are similar but rawer (with a flawless flow from L that makes the released version sound jumpy by comparison), while the third verse is longer than the truncated verse L recorded on the released version. Note that he shouts out “D” (DJ D-Wiz) at the end of the this verse rather than Showbiz as on the released version.)
2) Let ‘Em Have It “L” (OG Version), 1991
(Completely different track again. Smoother than the version later released, which was not produced by Showbiz. Different approach to chorus. Many different lyrics, some of which L later used in freestyles [e.g. his debut on Stretch & Bobbito in 1992])
Silky Black – Forest Houses Pedigree: D.I.T.C. Unheard, 1992-1993
Recorded at Jazzy Jay Studios, Bronx, NY
Silky Black is one of the best-kept secrets of the D.I.T.C. crew. A cousin of Show’s that grew up in Forest Houses, Silky continued to record throughout the 90’s. These are the first recordings made of Silky Black in 1992 and 1993 at Jazzy Jay’s studio in the Bronx, before he recorded the previously-released Step Up & Get Some (1994, produced by Show) and My Style (1994, produced by Show).
From these demo recordings we can see that Silky had great mic presence – confident with a strong voice, solid delivery and, when he chose, the ability to rap candidly about subjects in a heartfelt manner. Also, we learn that both Show and Finesse rightly thought enough of Silky to give him some absolutely scorching beats. It is exciting for us at Freestyle Records to be able to release these gems from an MC who deserves to finally be heard at his best.
1) Turn It Up (prod. Showbiz)
2) Blow Up (prod. Showbiz)
3) 163rd (prod. Lord Finesse)
This project is pressed as a 2×12”, includes all five instrumentals and is limited to a one-time pressing of 400 hand-numbered copies.
The price is $85 retail but the special pre-order price is $75 ($90/$82 with shipping Overseas/N. America)
In addition, the project can be purchased as part of a bundle along with Branesparker & Nutrageous – Da Gritty & Da Grimey EP and the limited edition Freestyle Professors – Ghetto Gospel bw/ Stanley Grimes – Stanley Grimes 7” (200 copies pressed) for the price of $105/97 with shipping Overseas/N. America
Freestyle Records Presents: Branesparker & Nutrageous – Da Gritty & Da Grimey EP
Bronx Queens connect! Branesparker of Freestyle Professors and Queen’s fixture Nutrageous aka Nutso got busy in the studio and cooked up 6 crazy joints for the fans. All production duties are handled by Braneparker. Also features cameos from Giff of Freestyle Professors and Stanley Grimes aka Page the Handgrenade.
This project also features instrumentals for two tracks and comes in a sticker sleeve. It is being pressed in a quantity of 750 copies.
The retail price is $18 but you will receive a discount if you pre-order (see below).
Branesparker & Nutrageous SNippets
Freestyle Professors – ‘Ghetto Gospel’ bw/ Stanley Grimes – ‘Stanley Grimes’
The second in our series of limited edition 7”s. This time around we are featuring a cut recorded late last year and intended as an exclusive for a second 12” from the acclaimed Gryme Tyme 2xLP. On the flip, we have an introduction to Stanley Grimes aka Page The Handgrenade who is set to drop his debut EP on Freestyle Records next year.
This project is limited to one-time pressing of 200 copies. This item is only available as part of special pre-order bundles (see below). Any remaining copies will be sold for $20.
Freestyle Professors/ Stanley Grimes Snippets
Showbiz Presents: The Big L / Silky Black Double Pack 2×12” PC $85 ($100/$92 w/shipping Overseas/N. America
Preorder for $75 ($90/$82 w/ shipping Overseas/N. America)
Branesparker & Nutrageous – Da Gritty & Da Grimey SC EP $18
Preorder for $15 ($30/$22 w/shipping Overseas/N. America)
Freestyle Professors – Ghetto Gospel bw/ Stanley Grimes – Stanley Grimes 7” available as part of Bundle #1 or Bundle #2
Pre-order Bundle #1:
Branesparker & Nutrageous EP + FPs – Ghetto Gospel 7” $23 ($38/$30 w/shipping Overseas/N.America)
Pre-order Bundle #2:
Showbiz Presents: Big L /Silky Black Double Pack 2×12” PC + Branesparker & Nutrageous EP + FPs – Ghetto Gospel 7” $90 ($105/$97 w/shipping Overseas/N. America)
Please make payments to jenniferhandal at hotmail dot com
All three projects will be shipping together around July 25th in the order in which we have received payment.
Freestyle Professors – ‘Valley of Death’ video
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