When I caught-up with DJ Moe Love in 2010, he sounded as if he was two-sheets to the wind as he explained why he and TR Love hadn’t been involved in the Best Kept Secret LP, and why they decided to release their own Ultramagnetic Foundation project. We also talked about the early days of the legendary crew, the story behind “Ego Trippin’” and the Ultra Lab, and their mixed experiences with different record labels over the years.
Robbie: What age did you get into music?
DJ Moe Love: As far as deejaying and all that stuff? I started at a young age. Probably around ten years-old. I was brought up into music, my father had mad records. Music was in my blood. Before I started with Ultramagnetic I was in a group called People’s Choice Crew. We were from Brooklyn, Fort Greene. I’m originally from Brooklyn. Dana Dane was a part of that crew. People’s Choice Crew was just friends, neighborhood DJ’s and MC’s. We used to do it for the fun. Just-Ice is from my neighborhood also. (more…)
Back in 2010 I received a recording of a TJ Swan demo recorded from Tim Westwood‘s show in 1988 titled “Mellow Love”, although someone claiming to be affiliated with Swan then contacted me and demand that I remove the track on the grounds that: “This was a practice session. Swan wrote and sang the song to get a feel for it”. He also claimed that a bunch of TJ Swan music was about to drop, but three years later we’re still waiting.
In the meantime, Rap Blog Godd noz recently blessed me with a few more cuts which may have been intended for Have No Fear Swan Is Here. or are simply more “practice sessions”. The first track, “Sensitive Love” features Swan flexing his microphone techniques and busting some rhymes, while “Love Is Blind” is more of an uptempo number on the Al. B Sure tip. Was Marley Marl involved with these tracks? Are they finished LP cuts or just demos? Sadly, there’s also no sign of the lost Big Daddy Kane/MC Shan cameos that I hoped for…
There was a time when I was rocking as much, if not more, LA Rap than I was stuff from New York. This was a time when rapping about shotguns over old Zapp loops was all that was required to impress. So in the spirit of rap blogging from 2006, here’s an hour of great Californian rap music to drive by.
Time for another Complex list, this time around on a topic that’s close to my cold, cold heart – record label history. With 2013 marking 30 years in the business, I wrote about the best fifteen years of the iconic label, based on my highly-scientific formula of Sales x Influence x Artistic Merit x Coin Flip.
After he read my interview with Dante Ross, former Tommy Boy artist Uptown reached out to tell his side of the story: “A lot of people don’t know the reason why I was a one-hit wonder, so I just wanted to share that”. Turns out there was a lot more to his story than a great single from 1989 – Uptown grew-up with Maseo from De La Soul and used to kick rhymes with a young Christopher Wallace back in the days, and featured on both of the Buckshot LeFonque albums which DJ Premier recorded with Branford Marsalis.
Robbie: What age were you when you got the bug to start rhyming?
Uptown: I was about 10, 11 years old. I grew up in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, New York – about three blocks from where Biggie Smalls lived. Me and a whole bunch of friends would go around in the neighborhood and do these little block parties. They would stop the street off, put a DJ out there and we would grab the mic. Biggie, Half-A-Mil, there’s a couple of us that was out there together in the neighborhood, used to go ‘round to all kind of block parties and do the shows. How I got my deal was, Mase from De La Soul actually grew-up in my neighborhood too, but in his early teens he moved to Amityvillle. I used to go out there and visit, even before they made their first record. He used to DJ their backyard parties and I used to battle everybody in the neighborhood. A couple of months go by and Mase comes to my house and he says, “Yo! I finally got it! I got a hit! My song is on the radio!” He gave me his first demo, it was not ready for sale yet, and it was “Plug Tunin”. I was like, “Oh my god! You can’t be serious! This is you?” Because “Plug Tunin’” was the number one jam at the time. He said, “Yeah. We’re doing a show in Virginia, we want you to come with us.” So I packed up my stuff immediately and go to the show with them in Virginia. While they’re doing their show, I met Dante Ross backstage ‘cos he was the A&R for Tommy Boy at the time. He heard me rhyme one time, and he was like, “Hey, I want you to come to our office, I like the way that you sound.” So I got signed to Tommy Boy with just a one-shot rhyme to Dante Ross! (more…)
The clear highlight of the reunion show was this timeless interaction between Bobbito Garcia and Rickey Powell during a 1993 episode of The Stretch Armstrong Show. I couldn’t resist but upload it to YouTube for prosperity posterity.
The music world lost a giant this week, as legendary trumpeter Donald Byrd passed away at the tender age of 80. Having bridged the spectrum from be-bop to funk without missing a beat, Mr. Byrd released a massive catalog of great music, much of which provided perfect source material for classic rap tracks. In honor of the great man, here are my ten favorite uses of his work. (more…)
To compliment the interview with Jonathan Shecter, here’s a classic episode of Shecky Green (aka The Sultan of Rap) and David Mays (aka Go-Go Dave) old radio show, which started The Source newsletter, on 95.3FM WHRB. Featuring Almighty R.S.O.‘s DJ Deff Jeff. Thanks to DJ 7L for passing this on.
If you caught the J. Force interview, you’d have read about the release of this lost project from Kev-E-Kev and Ak-B, who were on DNA Records with Super Lover Cee and Cassanova Rudd, with beats from Paul C. and Marley Marl. You can order this limited-edition release over at GoodFelons.
Update: Looks like this might not be coming out anytime soon based on comments below…