The Triumphs and Tragedies of Larry Smith

Larry Smith

Please head over to Medium where you can read my first piece for Cue Point, a collection of long-form music features curated by Jonathon Shecter aka Shecky Green.

The Triumphs and Tragedies of Larry Smith

‘Best of Larry Smith’ playlist:
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Great Moments In Rap: LL Cool J Sons Run At The Roxy
Wednesday October 15th 2014,
Filed under: Features,Great Moments In Rap,Hollis Crew,Rap Veterans,The 80's Files
Written by:

A great moment in rap – the time that LL Cool J went at Run at The Roxy:

Dr. Butcher: That was not Jam-Master Jay, that was [Jay] Philpot [the second Cut Creator] his DJ on the turntables when he was rhyming. Run-DMC was performing after him, so when he’s freestyling he’s talking about Run in that rhyme. They were walking in and that’s why he wouldn’t let go the mic – he had something to say to Run because they weren’t getting along. Then they took the mic from him and pushed him off stage so Run-DMC could perform.



Stream: Conservative Rap Coalition Radio – Monday 13 October, 2014

JVC-RC-M90_boombox_LL-Cool_J_Radio_Album_cover

The third episode of CRC Radio focused on 80’s and 90’s album cuts that deserved some shine.

Stream: Conservative Rap Coalition Radio – Monday 13 October, 2014



No Country For Old (Rap) Men: Who are the most likeable characters in rap?
Friday October 10th 2014,
Filed under: Features,No Country For Old (Rap) Men,Not Your Average,Web Work
Written by:

image

Here’s a list of rapper dudes that I have absolutely no complaints about.

No Country For Old (Rap) Men: Who are the most likeable characters in rap?



Cole James Cash Discusses Making The BBW Album
Thursday October 09th 2014,
Filed under: Def Dames,Features,Interviews
Written by:

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Cole James Cash proves that being a homeless, recovering drug addict who wears a mask is no obstacle to making rap albums and hanging with XXXL XXX gals.

Robbie: Tell me about the BBW album?

Cole James Cash: I was trying to make the shit sound romantic, as ridiculous as it sounds. I was trying to bring a theme of romance, which is why you hear a lot of soft and very melodic type samples.

Were there many BBW porn stars that you wanted involved on the album that refused?

Not so much refused as ignored. [laughs] When we did the song named after Karla Lane, that’s when Kacey Parker was like, ‘I would like a song!’ That’s when she threw her support completely behind it. Everything from being on the cover to doing the intro. She went out of her way yo help me and she didn’t have to. I asked Sophia Rose and she straight ignored every email I sent.
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Download: The Dr. Butcher Production Collection

dr butcher ll cool j

Dr. Butcher, who you may remember as the guy who did all the scratching on Kool G Rap‘s second album (as well as rapping at the end of ‘Jive Talk’), has also contributed a number of wonderfully brooding soundtracks for MF Grimm, Akinyele and G Rap to unleash speech over. Here are fifteen of my favorites.

Download: The Dr. Butcher Production Collection

Track list:
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Download: Debonair P – Debonair Blends 12 [1992-1994 Hip Hop Megamix]

Blends 12 Front Cover

Debonair P goes deep once again, this time focusing on 92-94 and unearthing a few tracks I’d never heard before. Stream, download or cop the CD.



Is MC Serch fronting about discovering Nas?
Sunday October 05th 2014,
Filed under: Great Moments In Rap,The 90's Files
Written by:

nas-illmatic

Here’s a little something from the Unkut archives with producer T-Ray discussing how MC Serch became involved with Nas‘ career when he started out in the music business. There seem to be some major discrepancies between some of the key details when compared to Serch’s version of events…

T-Ray: MC Serch tried to claim a lot of times that he found Nas. He had just come out on ‘Live At The BBQ,’ but when I was producing MC Serch I was doing a song called ‘Back To The Grill Again.’ It was just MC Serch with Chubb Rock, and the track was just so fuckin’ happy – at that time, happy tracks were kinda cool, but that track was really happy – and I liked darker tracks, but Serch wanted to use that track so I was cool with it. But then when I heard Serch and Chubb Rock I said, ‘Damn, both of these guys kinda have passed their prime, I need some new blood on here. Someone who’s more street.’ So I called up every unknown MC at the time, including Percee-P, including Nas, including Akinyele and a few others, like maybe four or five others. The original version of ‘Back To The Grill Again’ had maybe eight rappers on it. I told ‘em, ‘Whoever does the best is gonna get on the record.’ So we did a whole version with Akinyele and everybody on it, and Nas just destroyed it! So Nas, in a sense, won the position and he got on the record. It was literally a recording battle.
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Master Ace – Howard Park [1987 Demo]
Thursday October 02nd 2014,
Filed under: Demo Week,Marley Marl Special,Tape Vaults,The 80's Files
Written by:

masta-ace-inc-graffiti-brooklyn

After that ‘My Melody’ remix sent me down the radio rip rabbit hole, I also stumbled onto this 1987 demo from Masta Ace from the same episode. Great work as always, Will C.



Eric B & Rakim – My Melody [Unreleased Marley Marl Remix]

RAKIM

Once again proving my theory that 1986 was the best year for rap, the good folks at ego trip just uncovered this rap relic over at Mark McDonald’s Soundcloud page.

Will C. also posted this mix back in 2011, although I can’t tell if the ‘Art of Love’ sample that comes in at the 0:54 second mark is blended in or part of the track.



Non-Rapper Dudes Series – Akili Walker Interview
Thursday October 02nd 2014,
Filed under: Features,Interviews,Non-Rapper Dudes,Not Your Average,The 80's Files
Written by:

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The always under-appreciated role of the engineer, both in the studio and on tour, is always a fascinating one. Akili Walker, who has worked with everyone from hip-hop production legend Larry Smith to James Brown, Eddie Kendricks, Kurtis Blow, Prince, George Clinton and LL Cool J, took some time out after the release of his new book, Turn The Horns On, to recall some of his best memories behind the boards.

Robbie: Where about did you grow up?

Akili Walker: I grew up in Freeport, Long Island, right next to Chuck D and Flavor Flav. We were like a mile from each other, they grew up in Roosevelt, but they’re a little younger than I was.

Are you a recording engineer by trade?

I’m an audio engineer, I switch between the studio and on the road. I was a musician at an early age – I was a drummer when I was thirteen. I won the ‘Battle of the Bands’ with my band and we was in the Musicians Union of New York at the age of thirteen. My father was an audiophile, he loved music and he had a large jazz collection and an expensive stereo. My drumming career ended when I was sixteen. I stopped drumming to join the hippy generation and do drugs.
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That Shit I Don’t Like: Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star Album
Monday September 29th 2014,
Filed under: Albums,Features,The Unkut Opinion
Written by:

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The Rawkus era, so fondly remembered by misty-eyed hip-hop forum regulars as some kind of third golden era, left me largely nonplussed at the time and with the steady passage of time passing us by, many of those records haven’t aged well at all. I was all about Hydra Entertainment and Tru Criminal, personally, but I did have an unfortunate run-in with the horrendously overrated Black Star LP after a buddy of mine who worked in a record store recommended it to me while I was ordering second-hand Big Noyd singles. After the records arrived in the mail and I threw on the Mos Def and Talib Kweli album, which certainly looked the business courtesy of Brent Rollins sharp artwork. I was then subjected to what can only be described as the most disappointing album purchase since I copped the first Arabian Prince album.

Let me break it down the issues I have with this record, one at a time:

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Stream: Cut Chemist – Mix By Jimmy
Monday September 29th 2014,
Filed under: Crates,DJ Mixes,Steady Bootleggin',The 80's Files
Written by:

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This shit is incredible.

Cut Chemist sez:

“Take a peak into the exclusive material from hip hop pioneer DJ Afrika Bambaataa. ‘Mix By Jimmy’ features recordings Bambaataa had pressed to acetate for spinning live at shows in the late 70’s and early 80’s. This mix includes entirely unreleased material along with demo versions of hits like ‘Looking For The Perfect Beat,’ ‘Renegades of Funk’ and ‘Planet Rock.’ Listen and take a trip through the deepest part of the most important music collection of our time.”

Thanks to egotripland for the tip.



Why Can’t Ice Cube Keep Any Rap Friends?

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When it comes to burning bridges, O’Shea Jackson may be the most accomplished hip-hop artist in the history of the music. It seems as if everyone who has ever had even the slightest involvement with him on a professional level has either gone on to record a diss song about him or made a series of angry Facebook posts filled with furious anger. Is Ice Cube really the “modern day Jerry Heller” as his former musical partner Sir Jinx insisted during a now deleted series of venomous status updates which implied that Cube continued to exploit musicians and actors working in his movies all in the name of pinching pennies?
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Cassette Culture with Stretch Armstrong: DJ Red Alert, 98.7 Kiss FM, 6.13.87
Wednesday September 17th 2014,
Filed under: Internets,Radio...Suckas Never Play Me,Tape Vaults,The 80's Files
Written by:

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DJ Stretch Armstrong breaks down his favorite old rap radio tapes in this new column he’s writing at Cuepoint, a new collection of long-form music articles curated by Jon “Shecyk Green” Shecter of The Source/Game Records fame. Since many of my fondest memories of first hearing rap revolving around Red Alert and Chuck Chillout tapes, hearing tape rips like this are always guaranteed to slightly defrost my cold, frosty heart.

Cassette Culture with Stretch Armstrong: DJ Red Alert, 98.7 Kiss FM, 6.13.87



Searching For The Akafella – The Akinyele Video Collection

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Inspired by this Martorialist Akineyele Deep Cuts compilation, I began to revisit some of Akafella’s later work, and it turns out that it’s a lot more entertaining now that the bitter taste of disappointment of him abandoning the genius of songs like “Exercise” and “Outta State” for endless variations of songs about poon have since been blotted out by years of excessive liquor consumption.

You may have read a few years back that Ak opened a strip club in Las Vegas called Lollypops and claimed to have clocked $5 million in the first week. According to some comment section gossip, which I always take as fact, “Last I knew he owns a strip club on Queens Blvd. in Queens, NY. He got he start due to a an accident he had years ago & won the lawsuit.” This was followed up by another blog of questionable validity posting this:

“Akinyele made up the story that LolliPop’s strip club made $5-Million in one week for press. His planned worked, but the dude who put up the money is pissed because Akinyele didn’t mention his name in the press. How the fuck can LolliPop’s make $ 5-Million in a week? The place is as big as a cupboard. Dude kicked Akinyele, out of the club and banned him from the spot. He ripped up the contract between him and Akinyele, but Akinyele is going to fight him in court. They did have an agreement between them.”

Back in 2008, Ak told AHH that he’s been in the game for a long time:

“Akinyele: Aww man. My first club I started in probably 1995. I got introduced to that whole game by a friend of mine. I did it first just for fun. Just thinking, “Hey I can probably get girls to come in here and dance,” and I did it for straight up p****y. Then I realized it was a business.”

As for his film work, of Aktapuss: The Sexcom, Amazon customer W. Curtis Mcdonald Jr. wrote:

“This movie was’nt even worth the postage…A few scene with some tight Sistas is the only reason I did’nt throw it out of the window !!!!”

According to this story from last month, Akinyele Adams can now be found working as the general manager of Disco Rick‘s infamous King of Diamonds strip club. Sadly, the reality show that was talked about a few years back never came to fruition…
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No Country For Old (Rap) Men: A Brief History of Porn Rap
Monday September 15th 2014,
Filed under: Def Dames,Features,No Country For Old (Rap) Men,Web Work
Written by:

djpolo

Coolio‘s back but there’s no sign of DJ Crazy Toones. Speaking of which, why is Wikipedia telling me that the MADD Circle made an album this year and then broke-up again?

No Country For Old (Rap) Men: A Brief History of Porn Rap



Bobby Simmons [Stetsasonic] – The Unkut Interview, Part Two
Wednesday September 10th 2014,
Filed under: BK All Day,Features,Interviews,Not Your Average,The 80's Files,The 90's Files
Written by:

stetsasonic

Continuing my discussion with Stetsasonic drummer Bobby Simmons, we discuss touring, Flavor Flav ethering Prince, the rivalry with EPMD, beef with WreckX N Effect and vaulted tracks.

Robbie: Touring must have been essential back then.

Bobby Simmons: The best tour I’ve ever done was that Run-DMC Run’s House tour. Every night I would sit on the side of the stage and I couldn’t wait to watch Run and them’s show. Run and them were just amazing to watch. When you watch Krush Groove and you saw Jam-Master Jay cut that “Run! Run!” You were like, “Oh shoot! They getting ready to do something!” It was really that kind of intensity in the air, waiting for Run to come on, and DMC just standing there with his arm’s folded. You just couldn’t wait to see Run walk out! Then when he came out, Run really controlled you with what he said. You didn’t see that in the movie. You didn’t get to see people take their Adidas sneakers off and put it in the air. When I saw that, I said, “This is it. It’s finished.” Who in the world can get everyone in Madison Square Garden to take off their sneakers and put them in the air? All you saw was different colored Adidas in the air. It was amazing to see that command. It was beautiful.
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Ten EPMD Deep Cuts
Tuesday September 09th 2014,
Filed under: Features,Not Your Average,Strong Island,The 80's Files,The 90's Files
Written by:

EPMD

Erick and Parrish made some dollars, then “someone” robbed P’s crib and E Double “fell” out of a window. We’re all familiar with their many hit singles, but here are a selection of worthy album tracks from the seven group albums, plus a couple from when they went for “delf.”
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Track By Track: Diamond D Breaks Down The Diam Piece Album
Friday September 05th 2014,
Filed under: Bronx Bombers,Features,Interviews,Promos & Exclusives,Track-By-Track
Written by:

the diam piece diamond d

Diamond D is releasing his latest project, The Diam Piece, on 30 September so I caught up with him to find out the stories behind each track and get a little bit of insight into the process of constructing a production project with so many guests.

Diamond D: It’s more or less a production LP, about two and a half years it took. A lot of tracks I didn’t even use. I had about 27 tracks but I only used 18. Some of the artists I was in the studio with, and others – because of their touring schedule and my touring schedule – I just sent them music and they sent me the session back. If the track that I give them has a sample in it that’s giving it direction then they’ll follow that. If there is no sample or concept at the beginning I just let the MC’s paint their own pictures and try to figure out how can make it connect. I use a lot more live instrumentation now. I still chop and manipulate samples, but my sound just sounds bigger now. Just using better equipment so the sample frequencies are better.

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