Filed under: Features,In Search Of...,Internets,No Country For Old (Rap) Men,Web Work
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
The plot thickens….
The plot thickens….
This is a little somethin’ somethin’ I was asked to write for another media organization that ended up on the cutting room floor. The basic premise is “The Most Offensive Lyrics From Conscious MC’s”, but the definition of “conscious” rappers is so vague that it’s pointless. It’s also the reason why stuff like “Black Korea” and “lllegal Aliens” isn’t included. In the plus side, you only have to click this post once!
Around the same time I talked to DJ Moe Love in 2010, I also did a follow-up interview with TR Love, aka The Funk Ignitor, covering the early days of Ultramagnetic MC’s, his knowledge of the break beat game, connection with the Zulu DJ’s and how they used to put it down for live shows back in the 80′s.
Robbie: What was your first crew?
TR Love: Moe’s DJ crew was the People’s Choice Crew, and mine was the Hardcore Brothers. They made a couple of records but it didn’t pan-out the way we felt that it should.
How did you first meet the rest of the crew?
They went to the same school together, and I went to the rival school. Cedric and I used to play ball together, we were on opposing teams, so we used to play each other four times a year. Other than that, we would see each other in passing in the street, at parties, or we knew certain individuals that knew the same people as we knew, so we would bump into each other a lot.
In news that shouldn’t be particularly surprising to anybody who watched the extensive Dateline report on Tim Dog‘s numerous “bad business deals” with a series of lonely ladies he met through internets dating, one of his “rubes” is so thirsty to get her $100 a month repayment plan continued by Timothy that she’s hired a private investigator to prove if the Dog actually died earlier this year. The story has even been picked-up by a local news show, despite the fact there is no actual proof that he’s still alive.
After being informed by a longtime Bronx resident that, “most Webster Ave niggas are con artist”, I think I may have a lead. Over at Discogs, a lone seller is offering a copy of Tim Dog’s final album, BX Warrior, on CD for $91. Since I’m pretty sure nobody actually bought that album, or even knew it existed, there’s a good chance that this is Tim’s latest hustle. I put to you that he left Atlanta with a briefcase full of BX Warrior CD’s, hopped the red-eye to Germany and is currently living with his latest online dating conquest in Berlin, who is helping him prepare the next Tim Dog Greatest Hits box set/all-black strip revue/movie project with Denzel Washington.
However, if it turns out that Esther Pilgrim is completely wrong about this crackpot theory, I hope she gets hit by a bus for continuing to drag the great man’s name through the mud. I mean she did get to experience a romantic night in Atlanta with the guy who made “Fuck Compton”, after all. You can’t put a price-tag on that kind of experience!
The most important thing you can do on the internets this decade is vote in the 2nd Annual Weed Carrier Awards, now expanded to cover sports, film, TV and comic books.
Having come-up as T La Rock‘s Human Beat-Box and graduated to be half of Nice & Smooth, one of hip-hop’s greatest duos, the mighty Greg N-I-C-E has also put together some great music on the solo tip, as both a producer and an MC. Here are ten of his finest efforts:
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.
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…
Having cut his teeth working with the Diggin’ In The Crates crew at the beginning of his career, Milano Constantine went on to sign a deal with Warner Bros. but was let go before the project was released. Thanks to a handful of independent singles, four mixtapes and notable guest spots with The Beatnuts and the P Brothers, Milano has continued to rep that classic Uptown style with his witty wordplay and vocabulary spill. Following an extended leave of absence, ‘Lano is set to return the rap game with three new projects. He took a little time out to speak about how he came up, working with Big Pun, Showbiz and T-Ray and how the late Party Arty taught him his most valuable lesson as an MC.
Robbie: What are you working on at the moment?
Milano Constantine: I’ve got the Alfa Romeo mixtape. It’s a vintage feel, I’ve got some unreleased, uncut raw stuff from the lab on there, and some new stuff that I’ve been working on. I had to take time off, but I feel very blessed, and now is time for me to go back into it with full force. Now I’m just feeling more comfortable with everything, you can’t put forth any good material if you have to get your life situated, everything has to go in line correctly. This is a great time in my life, I just had a daughter. My mother is in good health – she was really sick. You’ve gotta take care of your family first and music will come secondary. I wanted to reach out to y’all guys for always keeping that platform for me. God bless you guys always keeping me alive. I thank you guys for that.
My latest contribution to the fine tradition of Rap List Trolling, with a piece that’s certain to upset everybody. Which may be the point…
Just helped out on this piece over at Takin’ Mines:
Released just a week after the one year anniversary of Nas’ Illmatic, Mobb Deep’s Loud debut, The Infamous, is nothing short of a masterpiece. Although historically, Illmatic has been held to the standard as the best rap album of all time, it’s fair to consider The Infamous as the equivalent of Da Vinci’s Virgin and Child with St. Anne, to his former Mona Lisa.. Illmatic. Imagine younger, mischievous twin brothers to your high school’s star quarterback/prom king.. that’s them Mobb Deep boys Hav and P, compared to Esco (yes, even though Nas was wavin’ automatic guns at Nuns). Well enough of the analogies, we’ll leave that to our words and their raps, as featured in today’s special edition of Rewind Wednesdays.
Trying to interview R.A. The Rugged Man without treading over the well-worn ground of his expulsion from Jive Records and working with Biggie Smalls was challenge I was more than willing to meet. Having experienced the major label glory days, the independent vinyl boom and having managed to not only survive but actually thrive in the YouTube era, R.A. is a perfect example of how to adapt to the ever-changing landscape that is the Rap Game. As usual, Rugged Man was able to combine hilarious stories with serious rap trivia obsessiveness and actual facts, which is a good combination, as Pos K once told us. His new album, Legends Never Die, is out now through Nature Sounds.
Robbie: What made you start rapping?
R.A. Rugged The Man: I met my boy Bub, who was a neighborhood beat boxer – Human Beatbox Bub. He was like fifteen, sixteen and I was like eleven. He was in a shopping center and I seen this kid blowing-up a shopping center window with an M-80. He was like, “C’mere kid, watch this!”. He blew off the window and we were friends ever since. He’d say, “Yo, check out this tape! It’s Whodini ‘Escape’, it’s the best album ever!” Then there’d be firehouse dances and he’d start beatboxing and those bitches would be on his dick, and I’d be like, “Yo, I can rap and you beatbox!” I was terrible, but by the time I was thirteen, I got really good and started battling a lotta kids in the neighborhood.
Following on from Part 1, Pudgee explains his involvement with Main Source‘s “Live At The BBQ”, his shelved second solo LP, the importance of The Bronx and dealing with the deaths of Tupac, Biggie and Left Eye.
Robbie: On the intro to your album, the Trackmasterz seemed to include a larger crew than just Poke and Tone. What happened there?
Pudgee The Phat Bastard: In all these years, no one’s ever asked that question. That’s dope. Alex Richberg kinda handles all of the business. It was Alex, Poke and Tone, and Frank Nitty. Musically, they were connected, but as people? There was always a separation. Alex Richberg was more of a family man, he had his wife and kids, he wasn’t really a hang out in the club kinda person. Frankie was really into making his tracks and being in the lab and not running around doing too much of anything else. Poke and Tone were more of the playboy/front men. I don’t think they ended up hating each other. Oddly enough, Frank Nitty, who did my album, his cousin is now my mailman! Tone was responsible for finding Foxy Brown, she lived right next to him, she was like a little sister to all of us. She was in the studio sessions for the Give ‘Em The Finger album as a 12 year-old girl.
Did they introduce you to Kool G Rap?
No. At a party for Salt ‘N Pepa that they had downtown at this billiard room, Tragedy was there and his DJ. I became real close with Tragedy and his DJ.
Pudgee The Phat Bastard was on the forefront of punchline rap in the early 90′s. As part of the Trackmasterz crew, he delivered a strong debut album called Give ‘Em The Finger, which featured appearances from Kool G Rap, MC Lyte and Snaggapuss. His future was looking bright, but problems with his second record label and the deaths of many with whom he’s formed close friendships with through music (Stretch from Live Squad, Tupac, Biggie Smalls and finally Left Eye from TLC) resulted in him withdrawing from the spotlight for over a decade. Here, in the first part of our interview, Pudgee explains how it all began.
Robbie: Where did you grow up?
Pudgee The Phat Bastard: I grew-up in Harlem, and then we moved to The Bronx when I was in the fifth grade. We lived right across from Yankee Stadium.
What was the first live hip-hop show you ever saw?
I think the Fat Boys was the first time my brother could get me out at the house. It was at Latin Quarters. Maybe two times I got snuck in because of a bodyguard hook-up. With the breakers, the energy in the clubs was so much different. You had something going on which is more like the reggae clubs now, where people are on the floor, dancing upside down on their heads. The clubs kinda segued into people standing on the wall. Once the dancers left the club, it was over! Everybody came in trying to look fly, hanging by the bar. Nobody was battling. The thing I really loved about those days, there was no holding back! People were flipping and lifting each other up and jumping over each other on the floor and all kinda stuff! It was action! You came to see a show. My homeboy broke his neck trying to spin on his head. Everything centering around that time was just inventive. We are some creative motherfuckers when we wanna be!
Like many of you, the first time I heard Nasty Nas was through his stirring performance on Main Source’s seminal “Live At The BBQ”, but it was initial exposure to “Halftime” on a local radio show that really got me amped. I was so impressed with the track that I eventually went on to describe it as “The Best Brag Rap Song of The 90’s”: “The lyrics are a ‘Good Combination’ of declarations of poetic superiority, explanations of his daily operations, product name checks, witty punchlines, casual blasphemy and a healthy dose of Eff The Police sentiment. What more could a rap fan ask for?”