What do you get when you combine Babe Ruth, the Olympic Runners and Stetsasonic? This demo track, which the YouTube poster guesses to be from ’86/’87, but considering how rough it sounds in comparison to their 1986 album On Fire I’d venture that it’s from 1985. Thanks to noz for putting me onto this, you can go and buy some rap from his Park Blvd Records and Tapes shop in Oakland as thanks.
As much as it’s always a treat to hear the early, unreleased demo efforts of great rappers, it’s also intriguing to be able to experience the early, rough takes of songs that would be polished-up, adjusted or paired back. Some of these demo versions feature different lyrics, alternative loops or sometimes simply looser deliveries, and as a result a handful are actually superior to the final retail mixes. Considering the breadth of crusty old tape versions floating around, it was a long and sometimes tedious process to pair it down to these final twenty one.
This sounds great but I can’t help but wonder why Chopped Herring and other labels don’t offer stuff like this on CD as well. It’s not like a bunch of demos off an old cassette are going to playable in a club, is it?
I didn’t get hip to Stetsasonic‘s brand of BK brilliance until I heard KRS-One shout them out and tracked down their In Full Gear album, but On Fire is worth your time for the classic ‘Go Stetsa’ and ‘My Rhyme.’ Here’s the stripped down demo version of their debut single, ‘Just Say Stet,’ which eagle-eyed Unkut reader P_gotsachill just put me up on. Now with added Human Mix Machine Wise!
Prince Paul just pulled this out of the vault for Halloween. Who said Twitter was useless?
“This is the First song we recorded as the Gravediggaz in 92″ . It was the intro to our demo and it was actually recorded the day I introduced these guys to each other at my house . This track never made the album but It was one of my favorite productions. This was the track that started it all .. RIP Poetic . Enjoy.”
DWG009 – INTELLIGENT HOODLUM / TRAGEDY – ‘BLACK RAGE DEMOS’ (sticker sleeve / limited to 250 hand numbered copies)
Containing 3 previously unreleased Intelligent Hoodlum / Tragedy tracks (together with the 3 final album versions on the flipside) re-mastered for optimum audio quality. This release is endorsed by 25 To Life and will directly benefit Trag who is now working on new projects to revitalise his career. (more…)
Ever wonder what MC Delite, Daddy-O and The Human Mix Machine Wise sounded like before ‘Go Stetsa’? Here’s a tape of the Stetson Brothers (with DJ Prince Paul on the wheels) going for broke around 1984.
Thanks to Freestyle Records, I’ve just gotten the Showbiz & AGBroken Chains demo LP. Amongst the alternative original versions (including a sick mix of ‘Diggin’ In The Crates’ with a different Show verse and an extra horn break) is this piece of vintage D.I.T.C. material – an unheard Show & AG song produced by Diamond D.
So I get back from a short holiday in the great outdoors and amongst the hundreds of shitty mass emails from MySpace rappers which begin, “Love the blog, please post my song” I actually find two items worth posting!
For starters, Brooklyn resident Combat Jack – who previously dropped classic anecdotes about Puffy beating up Pos K and Pete Rock getting snuffed by the YG’z, has got his own spot and has already knocked out four posts. This discussion of Easy Moe Bee’s woe’s in the industry is a good place to start.
This is already everywhere but how can I resist a compilation with a demo version of Kane‘s ‘Ain’t No Half Steppin'”?
Lord Finesse continues to dig into his vast archives for his exclusive Japanese vinyl EP series. From Volume 2 we get a never-heard Big L song, which may be the first solo track he ever recorded, since it was done before ‘Devils Son’. Showbiz on the beats.
As he promised in the comments of the last post, Peter Divito from 2020Proof has come through in the clutch and laced me with one of the original takes of ‘Scenario’ featuring the whole Native Tongues crew.
* Since Divshare keeps failing, here’s a few other ways to check this track:
“This is NOT the version I had. Pos’ verse was waaaay better. Brown’s verse was different too. Mase was on it as well as Baby Chris Lighty. And no one did “What’s the Scenario” for a hook. This version must have been done after I bounced.”
Here’s Juice’s back-story about the very first take if you missed it previously:
A Tribe Called Quest was doing ‘Scenario’. It was me, Dinco, Busta, Jarobi was there – everybody was in that motherfucker – Dres from Black Sheep was there, both of ’em, Chris Lighty, Mase and Pos from De La, all them motherfuckers rhymed on ‘Scenario’. Everybody rhymed on it but Q-Tip, and the best motherfucker on that shit was Posdnuos. He fuckin’ destroyed it, and he ain’t even like the beat! And after he finished rhyming, everybody went back and rewrote their rhymes!
We was at Unique Studio, that motherfucker finished rhyming, he came out and goes, ‘That shit was wack.’ That’s what Pos said. In the middle of his shit, everybody was like, ‘Damn, yo!’ That’s how nice that shit was. He made ’em turn off all the samples, ‘cos they had like 15 samples in there. They had an ‘Engine Number 9’ sample, that shit by Wilson Pickett, they had four or five samples on there that came on for different people, and Pos didn’t like none of ’em so he just rhymed to the drums, and that motherfucker destroyed it. That shit wasn’t even close.
You might recognize this beat (minus the ‘Nautilus’ loop) from the first Godfather DonHydra Beats album. Jerry from Hydra told me about these joints years ago, and they recently saw a very limited vinyl release on One Leg Up, who also just posted a quality God Don interview.
Finishing up ‘Demo Week’ with the tail-end of the alphabet. In retrospect, half of these shits aren’t really ‘demos’ but however you want to describe them – ‘roughs’, ‘rehearsals’ or just ‘unreleased’ – it’s fair to say that a lot of great music never makes it to retail. Thank fuck for mix-tapes and underground radio.
Pete Rock & CL Smooth – ‘We Specialize’
Not exactly a demo, but shit wins regardless. (more…)
Gotta love demo tapes. Once sought-after trophies of music critics and studio interns, you can now find all sorts of demo tape gold all over the shop. This week I’ll be looking at some of my favorite demo moments, as we catch some future greats in their formative years. Since I couldn’t pick which to rock with first, this shit is running down in alphabetical order.1
The Artifacts feat. Brand Nubian – “Check Da Fine Print”
Readers of The Source may recall the songs reviewed for Tame and El‘s ‘Unsigned Hype’ appearance. Lord Jamar handled the beats and contributes a verse with an ill-advised shot at Rakim. (more…)
1. If I stole this from your site, dry your eyes and rack something back.[back]