I had the good fortune of connecting with Paradise The Architect from X-Clan on the phone last week for an interview, which gave me cause to revisit the Blackwatch discography, since he was heavily involved of producing everything under the banner until Brother J started Dark Sun Riders in the mid 90’s. For extra good times, try and play a drinking game where you have to go a shot every time you hear the word ‘sissy’ or any variation thereof.
Eff a Fatman Scoop, the only old guy you need yelling on your records is Greg N-I-C-E. While recent years have seen king of the human echo chamber reduced to consorting with the likes of Jason Nevins and Talib Kweli, there was a time when having this man on your hook was money in the bank. Just ask The Beatnuts, who enlisted his help on no less than four album cuts and two outside projects.
Ice-T’s Rhyme Syndicate was one of the more unusual extended rap crews, with a core membership that included everyone from old school veteran Donald D, ‘Caucasian Sensation’ Everlast, rapper/crooner dude Bronx Style Bob and acid casualty Divine Styler. According to the Syndicate Facebook page, which looks like it’s run by Donald D, the official role call is as follows:
Ice-T, Donald-D, Everlast, Afrika Islam, Darlene the Syndicate Queen, Bronx Style Bob, Divine Styler & the Scheme Team, Bilal Bashir, Low Profile (W.C. & Aladdin), Spinmasters (Hen-Gee & Evil-E), Hijack, Randy Mac, DJ Chilly Dee, MC Taste, Shaquel Shabazz, Nat the Cat, Domination, T.D.F., Mixmaster Quick, F.B.I. Crew, Lord Finesse, Nile Kings, Rhamel, Tre Kan, Bang-O, Toddy Tee, Monie Love, MC Trouble and Body Count.
Here’s a collection of my favorite Syndicate songs from that era, a reminder of when LA rappers were still trying to impress New York by rapping properly and when important issues such as how great it would be to have a sweet new Rolex watch were addressed with the seriousness they deserved. Sadly, despite having some great production from Aladdin and SLJ, Ice’s rapping had begun to fall into steep decline by the time he made Home Invasion, where he introduced some teenage chick rapper named Grip. I blame Body Count, obviously.
First single from the second Czarface album, Every Hero Needs A Villain, due this summer.
DJ 7L sez:
First leak from the new Czarface record is “Deadly Class” featuring Meyhem Lauren. Been a fan of his for a minute, we linked up a few years back at the BAU release party which was around when we were working on the new Czar album. I think Eso and Deck have never sounded better I really can’t wait for the fans to hear it. This song was recorded at the mid point of the album and remembering hearing it and was like “man this keeps getting better”. Eso added that chop at the end with iphone battery line that to me is just genius with the sample. This is just the leak, more info music, art on the way!
Unlike Cold Crush Brother‘s ‘Punk Rock Rap,’ this vaulted Cosmic Force entry into the ‘punk rap’ canon is redeemed by a lack of fake cockney accents, the always reliable vocoder and the fact that it interpolates Michael McDonalds’ ‘I Keep Forgetting‘ 13 years before Dr. Dre’s stepbrother Warren G enlisted Nate Dogg to give it that extra ‘G’ quality.
United Crates has put together a superb collection of Ason Unique deep cuts and freestyles to mark the recent 20th anniversary of the Return To The 36 Chambers album. A timely reminder that Wu-Tang is for the children.
Following up the the first Bob James Unkut compilation from 2008, here are 24 more sure-shots based around my all-time favorite sample source – ‘Nautilus’. Considering that Bob James’ masterpiece is so chock-full of ill sounds, every interpretation takes on a life of it’s own, from the mournful ‘Sincerity’, the melodic swing of ‘Once Upon A Rhyme’ and the swirling menace of ‘Iceberg Slick’ to the tense understatement of ‘Let Em Have It L’ and ‘Mystery’.
As a member of The Chosen Few, Trio Connection and Black By Demand, CJ Moore did his thing as a rapper in the 80’s while honing his skills as an engineer and mixer. Here are some examples of CJ in action on the mic and behind the boards.
While I was staying in New Jersey mid 2013, I attempted to shoot some footage of the original Flavor Unit crew. As it happened, I only managed to get Chill Rob G on film, and after watching the video back I’ve decided that this plays better as a written piece. While some of the same stuff from our 2006 conversation is covered, Rob also went into a lot more detail on some topics, making it a worthwhile piece on it’s own. Not to mention that Ride The Rhythm still stands as one of the strongest and most original releases of 1989.
Robbie: You mentioned that you went through a few different names when you were younger?
Chill Rob G: When I first started I had an identity crisis, I had a bunch of different names. It was Jazzy B, it was Bobby G, it was Killer B – cos my name was Robert. I was down with a couple of different crews too. I was down with The World Rap Crew and I was down with the Dignified Almighty Magnificent MC’s – Those D.A.M. MC’s. When all of that fell apart I just kept rapping on my own. I used to practice with my man Michael Ali, be up at his house every single day, making tapes. When I said that on the record it was true!
Were these beats that he’d made?
He tried to make beats but they was [blows raspberry]. I would just rap over popular rap records. He would try to cut the break. He wasn’t really that good a DJ either – but that was my man back then. [laughs] We would make tapes and try to get it out to the drug dealers, cos they’d be out all night. They would play that music and people would get a chance to hear me rap. (more…)
Beat machine wonder kid Kurtis Mantronik had a nice little run over at Sleeping Bag Records, where he split his time between hard hitting electro hip-hop beats for T La Rock and Just-Ice and Freestyle/dance music for artists such as Joyce Simms. After three Mantronix albums with MC Tee on the mic, Tee decided to join the airforce and Kurtis recruited Bryce Luvah from Queens Brooklyn Connection to fill his shoes for the next two LP’s before moving onto to dance music for good. Shout out to Chep Nunez and Omar Santana on some of those razor blade edits.
United Crates has assembled some of the Outdoorsman’s older work to mark four years since Dr. Lecter dropped. Who knew that this Flushing, Queens rapper dude would turn out to be the Hipster Music Mafia’s pin-up boy? Regardless, dude can rap and ‘Shiraz’ is still my shit.