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:

dj-red-alert-wrks-kiss-fm-22-april-1989-tape-1

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



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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Bobby Simmons [Stetsasonic] – The Unkut Interview, Part One
Thursday September 04th 2014,
Filed under: BK All Day,Features,Interviews,Non-Rapper Dudes,Not Your Average,The 80's Files
Written by:

bobbysimmons

Bobby Simmons is best known as a member of Stetsasonic, the original “Hip-Hop Band,” but during an extensive conversation with him last week he also shared some classic memories about Melle Mel trolling new rappers in the late 80’s, a two-year stint as a DJ at the Latin Quarters and the escapades of Eric B. and Rakim‘s main muscle, the original 50 Cent. This is part one of a three part interview, so get comfortable…

Robbie: Did you study drumming at school?

Bobby Simmons: I self-taught myself drums, I was six years-old. My brother was in the music business too, he was a session guitarist for groups like Sister Sledge and Dan Hartman in the mid-70’s, so I kinda self-taught myself listening to a lotta the records that he would play and trying to figure out the drum – what does what. The first record that I actually learned how to play – that took me from when I was six to when I was seven – was the Ohio Players. The drummer, Diamond, I was so fascinated how he played drums on ‘Skin Tight’ and ‘Fire,’ I wanted to learn to play how he played. The drum sounds were heavy, the snare was fat, the kick was fat, and Diamond used to do all this fast foot [work] on the pedal.

From there I played in my brothers local band and just kept myself active doing that. Deejaying also helped me how to play drums too, cos in the early 80’s it helped me how to blend timings and beats, with the disco records and the Chuck Brown records and the James Brown records helped me keep great timing. Knowing how to keep timing and knowing what the kick and snare and the hi-hat do, I self-taught myself. I kinda wish I was taught and went to schooling to read for it, but my father took me to drumming school and I never went back. It was taking too long! “I wanna get to this part!” [laughs]
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Great One-Shot Wonders
Tuesday September 02nd 2014,
Filed under: Crates,Features,Listicles,Not Your Average,Speaker Smashers,The 80's Files
Written by:

oneshot

These aren’t one hit wonders, since none of these records were technically “hits” in the traditional sense. This is more of a collection of rappers who only got one chance to shine before they got a steady city job with a pension or dangled in record company hell for all eternity.
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Download: A Salute To Duke Bootee

duke bootee

Perhaps best known for providing Melle Mel with the beat to “The Message” while working as a Sugarhill Records session player, Duke Bootee went on to unleash a series of DMX/Linn Drum driven speaker smashers for Profile and his own Beauty and the Beat imprint, as well as his own solo album. When combined with a great scratch DJ and some effective Shout Rap (Word of Mouth‘s “King Kut”) or the hardcore b-boy stance of one-time Rammellzee rhyme partner and a razor sharp Latin Rascals edit (K-Rob‘s “I’m A Homeboy”), the trademark Duke sound was unstoppable. Here’s a collection of his production and vocal work, including that time that Bootee was recruited to record a guest rap in Ewok…

Download: A Salute To Duke Bootee

Track listing:
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No Country For Old (Rap) Men – Why Criminal Minded and Critical Beatdown Are Both The Greatest Rap Album Ever Made

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The penny finally dropped as to why I couldn’t pick between my two favorite rap albums…

No Country For Old (Rap) Men – Why Criminal Minded and Critical Beatdown Are Both The Greatest Rap Album Ever Made



Spoonie Gee – The Unkut Interview
Wednesday August 06th 2014,
Filed under: Features,Harlem Nights,Interviews,Rap Veterans,The 80's Files
Written by:

spoonie gee 1

Thanks to Will and Aaron from Tuff City records, I had the chance to speak to pioneering Harlem rapper Spoonie Gee last week, who set the standard for street tales and slick talk on his earlier work for Enjoy and Sugarhill before he enjoyed a late 80’s comeback with Marley Marl and Teddy Riley providing the cutting edge beats. After enduring some rocky times for most of the 90’s, he’s currently in the process of recording one last project before he retires from music for good.

Robbie: Being from Harlem, in the early days before records, did you have to travel to see shows?

Spoonie Gee: I went to The Bronx, that’s the first place I saw Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five. First time I seen him, I think it was P.A.L on Webster Avenue. I used to go see the Funky 4 + 1, Fantastic Five.

How had you heard about them?

I heard a tape of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Four MC’s at the time, this was before Raheim joined them.
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Stream: Four Hours of Conservative Rap Coalition Radio

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The good folks at PBS-FM in Melbourne gave me a Saturday night graveyard shift to spread the CRC gospel. You can hear the results below:

Stream: Four Hours of Conservative Rap Coalition Radio



DJ King Shameek – The Unkut Interview
Tuesday June 24th 2014,
Filed under: Interviews,Jersey? Sure!,The 80's Files,The 90's Files,Video Clips
Written by:

shameek

Having returned to the music game five years ago after an extended hiatus, DJ King Shameek is back rocking clubs on a regular basis in New Jersey and beyond, but you most likely first saw him do his thing with Twin Hype for their dance floor classic “Do It To The Crowd.” Shameek took some time out of his schedule to talk about his roots as a DJ and early production techniques, King Sun vs. Ice Cube and his involvement with the mysterious diss record “The Truth” in 1999, which may have inspired 50 Cent‘s “How To Rob.”

Robbie: What made you want to take deejaying seriously?

DJ King Shameek: I was living in California at the time – I’m originally from New Jersey – but my uncle was at a legendary club in Newark, NJ called The Zanibar, so every time he used to come to California he would always bring a couple of records and give me some stuff, and I would see photographs of him deejaying. That’s when I really started trying to persue it a little more, get turntables and stuff like that. This is when they didn’t even have a mixer with a cross-fader yet. I was getting these microphone mixers that just had the faders up and down, so I would just sit there with a left and a right, putting one up and then putting the other one down! It was hilarious if you think about it now. I was always collecting records and I inherited records from my parents – they brought me up on a lotta Motown stuff and some Spanish stuff here and there. I was preparing myself in my adolescent years, toying around with my father’s record player, trying to scratch on them! [laughs] I would try to do that when he wasn’t watching. I ended up leaving California in ’87. Before that I was just doing a few gigs by being featured here and there, it wasn’t until I came here that I started producing and deejaying professionally.
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Mikey D and Devastating Tito – Got’m Say’n Hey [Produced by Large Professor]

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Mikey D and Devastating Tito [Fearless Four] have just teamed-up over a catchy Large Pro production for some of that good old back-and-forth rhyme routine action.

Mikey D and Tito also kicked some rhymes for 45 King‘s Making The Beat show the other week:
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Download: Fat Lace Show 009

spodcast9

Missed this when it dropped last month, but nevertheless this is an essential mix of obscure 80’s and 90’s rap courtesy of Drew Huge and Dan Large.



The Unkut Guide To The New Music Seminar Battle For World Supremacy

DJ-Cheese

Tommy Boy Records founder Tom Silverman started the New Music Seminar in 1980 as a music industry networking event, and in 1985 introduced the MC and Beatbox Battle for World Supremacy (the beatboxing was replaced by DJ’s the following year), which would provide a fertile showcase for both new and established rappers and DJ’s to make a name for themselves. The following is a selection of memories from some of the rapper dudes who either competed or were in attendance.

Role Call:
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Blondie – Heart of Glass [Chaze Remix]
Wednesday June 04th 2014,
Filed under: Beats For Broads,Def Dames,Remixes,Steady Bootleggin',The 80's Files
Written by:

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Ever wondered what this Blondie classic would sound like with an 80’s synth feel? Salutes to the first white dame to ever have a rap record.



An Oral History of New York’s Early Hip-Hop Clubs

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Phade, Gizmo and Milk at the Latin Quarters, 1987

During the formative days of the mid 80’s, when Run-DMC, Kurtis Blow and the Fat Boys were the biggest names in rap, the New York club scene was a vital part of the hip-hop food chain, providing both essential networking opportunities and the chance for new acts to get on, provided they could win over the often unforgiving crowds. Let’s take a step back into time as some 80’s hip-hop artists recount the good, the bad and the ugly of the club scene back then.
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Preview: Ultramagnetic M.C’s – Ain’t It Good To You [unreleased Paul C edit]

Limited-edition 7″ dropping through Black Pegasus Music of the unreleased Paul C. edit of “Ain’t It Good To You” for all you Ultramagnetic MC’s fanatics.



The Combat Jack Show: The Russell Simmons Episode

russell

From slinging dust to banging Australian soap stars, this is the ultimate American success story. The vintage stories start around the 30 minute mark.



Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick – La Di Da Di [Live At The Polo Grounds]

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Now that my entire vinyl collection has been reunited at the CRC HQ, I can get back to the time-honored tradition of ripping vinyl again. To set it off, here’s a live recording of the “La Di Da Di” from the Polo Grounds at some time in the 80’s. It cuts off before the big payoff but it’s worth a spin just to hear the reaction of the crowd, who proceed to loose their shit at various points.



Is Aaron Fuchs Really The Ultimate Bloodsucker of Hip-Hop?
Thursday February 20th 2014,
Filed under: Features,Non-Rapper Dudes,Not Your Average,The 80's Files
Written by:

impeach-the-president-ltd-edition-gold-vinyl-the-honeydrippers-funky-delicacies-9607

The wolves are out. Irate rap fans everyone are calling for Aaron Fuchs‘ head on a pike following with the recent news that his publishing company Tuf America was suing singer Frank Ocean for unauthorized use of Mary J. Blige‘s “Real Love,” which he sung a portion of in the track “Super Rich Kids.” Predictably, this resulted in responses such as ?uestlove‘s tweet: “when i speak and reference the bloodsuckers of hip hop only ONE person comes to mind” despite the fact that Frank Ocean is technically an R&B singer. Aaron Fuchs seems to have provided a convenient scapegoat as the stereotypical “evil Jewish record label owner” who’s only purpose in life is to exploit black musicians in order to fill his own coffers. Based on the testimonies of some former Tuff City artists and a peanut gallery of online writers, this may seem to be the case. But things are never that cut and dried, so I thought it was time to investigate a little deeper than the first page of results from a Google search.
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Timeless Classics Or Only Classics For Their Time?
Monday February 03rd 2014,
Filed under: Albums,Crates,Face Off,Features,Listicles,The 80's Files,The Unkut Opinion
Written by:

1989-corvette-1

Every now and then, one of these rap websites puts together a list along the lines of “The 30 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of 1993″ and such, which in theory isn’t something I should have an issue with. The reason I mention it is that a decent proportion of these albums – most of which are widely regarded as “classic” and important records – don’t exactly inspire me to dig them out of the shelves and throw them onto the turntable (or, if I’m feeling lazy, navigate to the folder on my hard drive). Is this simply due to the fact that I played that shit to death back when it was released? Or is it more of a case that some music outlives its usefulness?

Take De La Soul’s much discussed 3 Feet High And Rising, for example. While there’s no doubting the impact and originality that Prince Paul and Plugs 1, 2 and 3 brought to the table, I can confidently state that I have no intention to ever listen to that record in it’s entirety in the foreseeable future. That’s likely more of a reflection of my preference for anti-social rap with loud drums than anything else, but it’s an issue worth considering. Let’s take a look at the 1989’s greatest hip-hop albums according to ego trip‘s Book of Rap Lists for example:
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