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.
The original 5ive-0 Posse, not to be confused with the weak 5ive-0 crew from 1994, dropped an entertaining LP in 1989 on Sue Records which dealt with the concerns of a rapper and a DJ who just happened to work for the New York City Police Department. Making it clear that they weren’t soft just because they were the fuzz (cutting in the Jungle Brothers ‘Shot and killed by an off duty jake’ line as a warning to anyone who stepped to them), while boasting of being able to ‘carry all the guns that I want and be legal.’ In case you were concerned that the duo were walking around like a couple of cowboys, we’re reminded that they never ever got a civilian complaint. Prince Rashaad and DJ Brother Lee-Luv broke down their statement of intent on the back cover:
“During the day to protect and serve, during the night to create and project an image that Police Officers are human and can be down to earth like anybody else.”
If you were a rap fan outside of the USA in 1987, it was in your best interest to collect the Street SoundsElectro/Hip-Hop albums, which were compilations of an often eclectic mix of current singles, mixed together by a selection of UK DJ’s. The one that really stood out for me was Hip Hop 18, which was mixed by a fellow named R.J. Scratch [Roger Johnson] and was a particularly mixed bag of great, obscure and just plain weird rap tracks from New York. I was eventually able to find copies of ‘You Know How To Reach Us’ and ‘We Have Risin”, but the two Marley Marl produced tunes on this volume remained out of reach. As it turns out, what would have been Frick ‘N Frack’s second single was never actually released, only existing on a couple of acetates. This was annoying since it means there was no way to hear the complete, unmixed versions of these tracks – until now. Turns out that Frick ‘N Frack have uploaded some of their old songs to iTunes for those of us who have waited for 28 years to hear the last minute of ‘Who’s On Mine.’ From the preview it sounds like they’ve been dubbed off cassette from when they were played on WBLS, but for 99 cents each I guess it’s worth taking a gamble.
UPDATE: The iTunes version is just a recording of the version on the Street Sounds compilation that cuts off when the Kings Of Pressure comes in. Guess we’ll be waiting another 28 years until Marley presses it up on Hot Chillin’… (more…)
Adding gunshots, sirens and rewinds to remove swears from rap records is all well and good, but you’ve got to respect the effort made by certain rappers who went to the trouble of re-writing and re-recording their lyrics in order to cater to radio guidelines. Some of my personal favorites include Tim Dog‘s ‘Forget Compton,’ (not re-recorded but hilariously re-edited) Willie Dee‘s ‘Bald Head Gals’ and King Tee‘s ‘Played Like A Piano’ (which sports a remixed beat and numerous mentions of the fact that it’s a clean radio version), while who can forget Showbiz switching up “Hoes give me head on the escalator” for “Girls smile at me on an escalator”? Hold ya head everyone who was gifted the first Wu-Tang tape clean version with three songs removed.
Crate Cartel member and CRC sympathizer Phil Gektor (aka GX) released this enjoyable remix of AZ’s A.W.O.L. LP last month. There’s no such thing as too much AZ, plus this version of ‘City of Gods’ is particularly enjoyable.