Stumbled onto this piece of gold the other night thanks to TR Love – Angus Batey’s interview with Kool Keith and Ced-Gee for the liner notes of the Roadrunner edition of Critical Beatdown! Of particular interest was Ced’s breaking down his involvement with Criminal Minded:
Ced-Gee: Me and Scott [La Rock] grew up together. I knew Scott’s whole family. With BDP’s Criminal Minded, my input was more of showing Scott how to use the sampler. When the SP-12 came out, a lot of engineers just looped. But I would take sounds and chop ’em up – even if it wasn’t a full sound I’d make it sound full. I was the first person to chop samples on the SP-12. Soon everyone was doing it. [KRS-ONE] would bring the record, I would take it, chop it, rearrange it. I did the whole album, apart from four songs. I didn’t do ‘Criminal Minded,’ ‘South Bronx,’ ‘My 9mm’ and ‘Elementary,’ but I did the rest. But I got jerked on the credit. Scott kept telling me to stay on the back of the guy who ran the label. ‘I’m telling you,’ he said, ‘he’s sheisty’. I’m like, ‘Nah, he said he got me’. And when it came out, it didn’t say ‘Produced by Ced-Gee and Boogie Down’, it said ‘Produced by Boogie Down, special thanks to Ced-Gee’. Me and Scott didn’t fall out, but it cost me money.
This is the ultimate rap addict dedication – the fantasy league lost Ultramagnetic album that we might have enjoyed if they’d released a follow-up to Critical Beatdown in 1990. Sure, it’s a collection of b-sides and vaulted tracks from between 1987 and 1990, but this sums up everything that makes Ultramagnetic MC’s the greatest rap crew of all time. All praise due to Ced-Gee, Kool Keith, Moe Love and TR Love – the best to ever do it. Shout out to James aka BadNewz of 100X Posse for dropping that ‘MC Champion’ verse.
Back before rap magazines and the internet, I heard a rumor that Grandmaster Caz and Ced-Gee were working on an album together. Needless to say, my young mind was blown at the possibility of these two rap geniuses teaming-up. While we only got a couple of Tuff City singles from this meeting of minds, it turns out that they did in fact record an entire album of material together in 1992 before Aaron Fuch‘s decided that the material ‘wasn’t commercial enough,’ according to a piece that Dave Tompkins did on the ‘You Need Stitches’ single. Tuff City eventually released the vaulted material on a couple of compilations, so I thought I’d assemble it all together to paint a picture of how Caz’s 1992 LP, The Grandest Of Them All was originally intended to sound before The Mighty Maestro was recruited to remake it. ‘I’m Gonna Freak You’ deserves a special mention as being one of the most amusing sex raps ever recorded, while ‘I’m Rich’ is flossing at it’s finest. I’ve also included the earlier records they did together, just on the general principle that everything Ced touched during that period was amazing and Caz still had some gas in the tank despite being part of the old guard by this point. Bronx brilliance at it’s finest, albeit in poorly mixed, unpolished form.
Clearly the greatest rap video shot for $2, I present to you Funkmaster Wizard Wiz performing the Ced Gee production, “I Ain’t Wid Dat” in the Delaney Homes Projects in Perth Amboy, NJ. Pass the lab coat! Thanks to Palmer Stallings for the tip.
Think there isn’t much money in selling old rap records these days? You’re just doing it wrong – Ultramagnetic MC’s acetates are the future! ‘CHILLING w/ Chuck Chill out’ by Ocean Ultra Magnetic went for over $2,800 in 2010, despite the fact that a bootleg taken off a tape recording of Chuck’s KISS FM show was also released on 10″. This past September, another Dick Charles Recordings acetate appeared, this time fetching just over $3,200! Labeled as ‘Simple Metaphore’ by Ultramegnetic MC’s feat. Kool Keith, T.R. Love and with ‘MC’s Ultra – Remix’ on the b-side.
Here’s hoping that a fifteen minute version of ‘Bait’ appears, as well as ‘Mentally Mad Pt.2’ or any of the seemingly endless alternative versions of ‘MC Champion’ in the near future.
The following clips go to prove that there is no such thing as too much ’80’s Ultramagnetic… (more…)
There’s no denying that Funkmaster Wizard Wiz is a bugged-out dude. From boasting about “making snowballs outta dog shit” to penning the most bizarre “anti-crack” record ever, Wiz never failed to entertain. After working with producers of the caliber of Ced-Gee and Pumpkin during his stint at Tuff City, Wiz tried his hand at hustling once his music career began to wane. Unfortunately, due to his flamboyant dress sense that carried over from his on-stage persona, it wasn’t long before he was arrested and sentenced to half-a-decade behind bars, where he embraced Islam and decided to focus his music in a more positive direction. Currently residing in Atlanta with his wife, Wiz talks about his early days in the Bronx, getting banned from KISS-FM, beating-up Aaron Fuchs and some of his unique on-stage stunts.
Robbie: Did you start out as an MC originally?
Funkmaster Wizard Wiz: Actually I was a B-Boy first. I was a breakdancer back in ’76, ’77. I spent a few years doin’ that, building a reputation at that, getting familiar with that, then after a while I just decided that I no longer wanted to get dirty and get my clothes dirty and be on the floor – but I still wanted to be in the spotlight. I found another way to not get my clothes ripped-up, not scuff up my British Walkers and stuff like that. That’s when I saw Prince Whipper Whip, Grandmaster Caz, T-Bone, Charlie Chase, Flash and ‘em were doin’ a party at Roosevelt High School in The Bronx. That was my first time being introduced to emceeing, and seeing that power that a microphone had. Actually, Whipper Whip was the one who really made the greatest impression on me as an MC during those early days.
When did you get together with The Undefeated Three?
It’s funny that you just mentioned The Undefeated Three, because I just got off the phone with both of ‘em! Those brothers are doing great. The brother Easy G from The Undefeated Three has accomplished some great accomplishments – he done been with LaFace Records, he done did projects from TLC all the way down to Mary J. Blige, so he’s still very successful in producing. 1979, 1980 was the first time I had got together and created The Undefeated Three. Me and T La Rock were partners actually, and a young lady by the name of Vicious T. We were actually the original Undefeated Three, but as far as trying to maintain the group and coming to rehearsals and keepin’ the name up, they really weren’t motivated in that. So I took the name over and I got two more members – which was Gerald Stevens and Joe McDonald – and we created the second version of The Undefeated Three. (more…)
Bet you didn’t see this coming, huh? A few additions to the Ced Gee Special I ran alast year. Thanks to Tuff City‘s repress, I can now bring you the Ced’s two contribution’s to Funkmaster Wizard Wiz‘s catalog. “Grand Concourse & 183rd” is a quality BX anthem set to the reworked drums of Ultra‘s original “Travelling At The Speed Of Thought” (aka The Rolling Stones “Honky Tonk Woman”) with some Kool & The Gang horns thrown in for good measure. The A-side, “I Ain’t Wid Dat” mines more familiar territory, but as usual, even the most well-worn break sounds better after some quality time in the Ultra Lab (tinfoil wallpaper and the whole nine). (more…)
When I first started this site, one of my earliest unpublished interviews was with TR Love, the most low profile member of the legendary Ultramagnetic MC’s. Towards the end of 2005, I was put into contact with Ced Gee, Moe Love and TR Love thanks to their man Marc Davis, but after several phone calls to both Ced (who was busy “entertaining” a female on one of the mornings I rang) and Moe (who’s grandma I managed to piss-off), I was still without any material. TR “The Funk Igniter” turned-out to be the only one of the three who I managed to pin-down long enough to speak to, and since they recently dropped a new album I thought it was about time I released this from the Unkut Dot Com vaults.
Robbie: How did you first get down with the crew?
TR Love: We were basically classmates at school. We all knew each other from our childhood. We met through rival schools, we went to different schools. We were interested in music, but we were just doing it in different aspects. Everybody had their own little set group – Keith had his group, Ced had his group, I had my group – but when the groups didn’t work, we all got together and decided to make our own group.
What was the name of your first group?
My first group was The Hardcore Brothers.
So the guys from that didn’t go onto anything else?
Nah, not really. I mean, we tried, doin’ what we did, but it just never really evolved into what we thought it could be.
On that “Feelin’ It” single, on the instrumental version there’s your verse in the middle, but it’s not on the actual song?
That was my introduction into the game, as far as lettin’ everybody knew that I rap. No one knew it was there until they started playin’ it. That was my very first rhyme that I put to tape. (more…)
I was just reading you’re Ultra reunion post and thought you might be interested in something I acquired from eBay recently: A demo EP with the four tracks “(NYC Critic) Mix It Down”, “Baby I’m Mad”, “Make It Rain” and “Who I Am”.
The seller had a record company that Ultra’s management had sent it to last year. Unfortunately his company could not afford their demands.
Although rumors of a reunion have been floating around for the past couple of years, I can now confirm that it’s official – after a ten year hiatus, Ced Gee, Kool Keith, TR Love and DJ Moe Love are back together doing shows and working on a new album called It’s The Best Kept Secret, with a working release date of July on Olio Records. First up they have a new white label 12″ called “Is It Them” b/w “Super Spell Bound”. I’d be interested to hear what everyone thinks about the A-side (the flip is closer to Keith’s solo stuff production-wise, on some “cosmic slop” funk tip).
Just when you thought the Ced Gee Special was over and done, I received a little something in my inbox from a guy calling himself Tim Frog. He sent me versions of the unrelesed mixes of “MC Champions” (sadly it cuts out before MC James gets on) and “Message From The Boss” that are a lot clearer than the versions previously posted here. Best of all, he also included “a recording from a short live appearance they did at VPRO radio in The Netherlands in 1990. All Star Fresh is DJ’ing for them”. (more…)
Funk Your Head Up has already been talked about on this site in great detail, and thanks to Ultra associate Marc Davis, it was revealed that Mercury records had refused to release the original version of the album for being “too hardcore” as far as the production was concerned. This further illustrates just how clueless many A&R people can be, raising the question “why would you sign a hardcore group like Ultramagnetic if you wanted a crossover act?”. So as it turned out, the label insisited that the group record a couple of “smoove” radio-friendly tracks such as “I Like Your Style” and then got some foreign producers called Solid Productions to remix many of the original beats. (more…)
Rounding off my Delta Force One Special, it’s only right that the full version of “Ego Trippin’ (MC’s Ultra)” gets some well-deserved shine. To put it bluntly, everything about this song defines the term “classic”. For starters, “Ego Trippin'” has the honor of being the first hip-hop track to flip Melvin Bliss‘ ill “Synthetic Substitution” break, which went on to be used in more songs than I care to remember but remains as one of the greatest drum breaks ever made. (more…)
First, the good news: I’ve finally imported the first five Ced Gee posts from the old Bootleggin’ site. The bad news is that since I’m using up most of my storage space at the moment, all the audio has been downgraded to 64 kps. But considering that most websites/audio blogs (aka “pathetic attempts to win friends on the internets”) take down songs altogether after a few weeks, it’s not really worth complaining about.
Part 1 – Ed Lover’s Theme Song
DJ Mark The 45 King‘s certifiable classic party-starter, “The 900 Number” seems to get brought back every few years in one way or another (I predict that Rich Harrison, the guy who did “Crazy In Love”, “Get Right” and “1 Thing”, will flip it for some singin’ broad in a minute), but the expanded EP release on Tuff City was blessed with three dope Ced Gee remixes which don’t seem to get much shine. (more…)
“Mentally Mad” has to rate as one of rap’s greatest ever b-sides. Any single with the outstanding “Funky” as the main attraction has already earned it’s keep, but throwing this shit on the flip seals the deal. Hearing Chuck Chillout mix the intro of this track for about five minutes before dropping in the vocals on his old Kiss FM show was the closet thing I ever had to a religious experience back when I was a kid. The beat should be played at speaker-melting levels to enjoy this hardcore “future shock” experience to the fullest. (more…)
Since this is the only Ced Gee / Grandmaster Caz team-up not featured on the You Need Stiches LP (which I’ll review tommorrow), it warrants an appearence here. I suspect that it was left off last years compilation after being licensed to ego trip‘s The Big Playback album, and seeing as though Chairman Mao did a superb job with the linear notes, I’ll let him sum things up:
“A little guitar, some “Impeach The President” snares and a few choice turntable manipulations and this former Cold Crush Brother never sounded so jeep ready.”
Don’t let label typo’s confuse you – “Cedge G” is still Ced Gee when he’s behind the boards in the Ultra Lab.”We’re Back Y’all” is usually forgotten in favor of the superior b-side, “Coolin’ On The Ave”, which – despite being credited to Tuff City‘s Aaron Fuchs’ – is now known to be another Paul McKasty creation. (more…)
Everyone knows that Special K is T La Rock‘s brother, but many of you may have missed their little-heard collaboration from 1994’s ill-fated Treacherous 3 album. With a title like Old School Flava, I wasn’t exactly expecting miracles from Moe, LA and K, but songs like “The Mic Wreckers” and “We Come Phat” were blatant attempts at imitating the trendy sounds of the time, resulting in some really bad songs from one of rap’s most lyrical groups. (more…)
When Philly’s Tuff Crew combined forces with New Jersey’s Krown Rulers for the P.H.A.N.J.A.M. (PHilly And New Jersey All-Star M.c.’s) album which included electro-jams such as “Techno Tuff” and the bizarre “Art of Love”, they wisely connected with Ced-Gee and Kool Keith for some much-needed production help. Apparently, Ced schooled them on how to use the SP-1200, which is apparent when you listen to Danger Zone‘s much-improved beats. (more…)