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….
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!
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…
Thanks to a tip from DJ 7L (who himself was tipped-off by DJ Eclipse), it seems that the mystery of T-Ray’s disappearance from the music game has been solved. Thankfully he wasn’t involved in a fatal knife fight with Joell Ortiz‘s manager Mike Heron following the interview I did with him, it seems that Todd has become the ringmaster for a freakshow, which now has it’s own reality TV show launching in 2013, complete with his wife and two teenage kids:
File under ‘Stuff I Missed in 2011′. Turns out Scaramanga returned from a four year bid last year and promised a bunch of new material, as well as announcing plans to shoot videos for a lot of his older material.
Here’s the clip of Scara from last June where he gives out his email address, Twitter handle, Facebook link and mailing address. Also features a cameo from A-Butta.
Phillip ‘Dive Bar’ Mlynar caught-up with Kool Keith for the Village Voice back in June and asked after the whereabouts the ever-elusive Godfather Don:
Earlier this summer, Kool Keith was standing up at a dive bar in Midtown Manhattan nursing a glass of chardonnay in his hand. I was there to interview Keith, which turned out to be a process that largely involved listening to a bunch of lengthy speeches phrased in the rapper’s own kooky way. At one point Keith mentioned Godfather Don, and I managed to ask him what happened to the cult producer and rapper. Keith obliged with an answer that involved “night-time gangster jazz,” Chinese food, and a kennel of rappers.
As Rakim tells it in the above video with RA The Rugged Man (who looks ‘like a teenage girl on her first date’ according to the YouTube comments ), he agreed to remove his four lines aimed at Big Daddy Kane from the first version of ‘Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em’ after Ant Live played like Sir IBU on some ‘I’m The Peacemaker’ shit.
Dr. Butcher, who used to DJ for Kool G Rap, offered this version of events:
Rakim, from what I understand – I didn’t hear it – but I know he had made a record called ‘Cut The Kane In Half’, and it was gonna be a diss record for Big Daddy Kane but he didn’t put it out. But if you listen to his rhymes, he says little slick stuff on the Follow The Leader album that was directed at Kane. Because there was a lot of stuff goin’ on about how was better and who was the best. Rakim was pretty quiet, he never talked about. Kane was a little more verbal about it. They never really made it publicly known, but he definitely was gonna do something.
It’s the most common accusation leveled against Tri-State Rapper Dudes – ‘They’re so boring!’. Non-progressive hip-hop can seem that way to kids raised on Outkast and Freestyle Fellowship, because…well, there are a lot of bland, generic rapper’s hailing from the Rotten. What one listener considers ice-cold nonchalance is boring monotone to the next. Instead of me spending the time and effort to actually devise the list myself and then have to read a stream of comments complaining that I forgot to include Lloyd Banks, I thought I’d open the floor to nominations. If you include a reason why the Rapper Dude in question is so coma-inducing then you’re more likely to get them through into the short-list for voting.
Hardknocks delivered something unique when they dropped the School of Hard Knocks album in 1992. It stood-out both musically and lyrically as a sophisticated blend of hardcore rhymes and groove-heavy beats that sounded nothing like any other record of the era. Then they promptly vanished…leaving a lot of unanswered questions for rap fanatics who knew little about the crew itself, save for their earlier incarnation as 3 Da Hard Way. While I’d always assumed that The Spearchuckas, who were credited as the producers, were in fact Hardhead and Stoneface, it turns out I was wrong. When I had the chance to speak to J-1, who was half of the Spearchucka team, I jumped at the opportunity to fill in some of the blanks regarding this outstanding album.
Robbie: How did you start out?
J-1: I’ve been involved in music ever since I was 9 or 10. I played drums, my father played drums, played bass guitar…my family was musically involved. As far as hip-hop is concerned, I was in New York deejaying from 1978 all the way until about five years ago. I grew-up in Long Island. We did all those block parties. The C.B.S. crew. I moved to Atlanta in 1984. I started meeting people and this guy Mike California knew Henry Lee, who was from Noon Time Music. He helped us get started. Now he does Jazzy Pha and Ciara and that kind of stuff.
A few weeks back I asked if anyone had any ideas for the Wild Card Round, but after going through the list I decided to go back to the drawing board and pick eight essential remixes that haven’t been covered yet. Once this is decided, the winners of this and the previous eight rounds will battle it out for the title of The Greatest Remix Of All Time, at least according to Unkut’s Conservative Rap Coalition (aka The East-Coast Rap Elitists). Whether on the strength of the new lyrics or just taking an otherwise shitty track and making it sound good, these eight remixes all win in their own way.
Let’s be honest – it’s all about the ‘Best Kept Secret’ remix. That shit is a monster! That being said, I’ve always had a lot of time for the ‘Knock ‘Em Out Sugar Ray’ remix as well. The ‘Posse Is Large’ remix is included simply as a reminder of the lost art of conga loops…
Hip-hop was the music of the twelve-inch single up until the ’87-’88, when the rap album became it’s own animal, as opposed to a collection of singles. But the Maxi-Single wasn’t going to just lie down and take that shit lightly, and it struck back like CAP-One, “the object is more…not the biggest or the beautifulist – but more”. Once having remixes out the ying-yang caught on, that shit went nuts. It was almost as if some of these A&R kids were competing to see how many big-name producers they could get on one single! Either that, or dudes were just too blunted to make a concise decision, so they figured, ‘Fuck it, throw ‘em all on there!’ Next thing you know, there are seven different mixes of the same song to choose from.
Let’s get this decided…it’s pretty clear that this is basically ‘Spit’ vs. ‘Sound of Da Police’ based on previous results. If I was a betting man, I’d have my cash on the Blastmasta. But I’ve been wrong before – maybe one of the wild card entries will seize victory?
Truth be told, the entire Runaway Slave album should be nominated for Show‘s greatest work with Andre The Giant, but since I’m sticking to the script of ten per round, that’s not going to happen. I don’t want to sway the votes here, but you’d be hard-pressed to find better beats than ‘Medicine’ and ‘Stand Strong’ in any producers discography.
Mistakes were made in the last ‘Search For The Best Beat’ feature…namely, Alchemist has too may cot damn tracks! This time I’ve selected a producer who is a little more restrained in terms of his musical output, but still a beast on the beat – the Bronx Bomber himself, Show. While his early work featured a signature sound that was easily identifiable, Show’s style developed into a tighter, more refined minimalism by the time Goodfellas was released. While the majority of his work has been with his Diggin’ In The Crates crew and Wildlife, he’s contributed tracks for a select few over the years. The first round is dedicated to production outside of his immediate D.I.T.C. circle. Hopefully we can get this one sorted out in three round this time.