Bobby Simmons [Stetsasonic] – The Unkut Interview, Part Two
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.
Ten EPMD Deep Cuts
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.”
Ten Album Tracks From The 90’s That Deserved To Be Singles
A selection of tracks worthy of twelve inch status on the grounds of how great they are. The fact that I don’t own proper instrumental versions of any of these kills me a little bit inside every day.
Download: Debonair P – Debonair Blends 11 [1990-1992 Megamix]
The eleventh volume of Debonair P‘s blend mixes has just dropped, this time covering the first two years of the 90’s. You can download or cop a bundle of CD’s from his Gentleman’s Relief site, which includes the exclusive Hydra Beats megamix.
Ten 90’s B-Side Deep Cuts
The good thing about actual singles was that it was possible to keep track of b-sides and such. These mp3 folders are far too confusing for old folks, so I’ve been told.
EPMD – “Brothers From Brentwood, L.I.”
Sermon’s rapping fell off seriously after the third album, but this beat and Greg Nice hook can’t be denied.
Stream: Four Hours of Conservative Rap Coalition Radio
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
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.
Stream: Lord Finesse – The SP-1200 Project Samplers
For fans of 90’s era Lord Finesse beats (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) the Slice of Spice crew have compiled a vinyl package to “keep the crowd listening.”
Finesse dug deep into his floppy disk and DAT tape archives to help bring us a monster 25 tracks of unreleased and previously unavailable SP1200 heat. After Finesse hooked-up the E-mu Systems SP1200 and Akai S950 to transfer and sequence these tracks, we had Eddie Sancho mix then, and Tony Dawsey master them.
You can pre-order here.
Below are the samplers from the various volumes, plus three full-length tracks as downloads:
Download: Fat Lace Show 009
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.
A Tribute To Father Shaheed of PRT
DJ Father Shaheed of Poor Righteous Teachers was killed in an accident while riding his motorbike on 26 May, 2014. After releasing “Time To Say Peace” on the independent North Side Records in 1989, Wise Intelligent, Culture Freedom and Father Shaheed (who was going by the handle of Devine on the original pressing), they were picked up by Profile Records, who re-issued the single with a remix and followed up with the Holy Intellect LP the following year. This contained what turned-out to be their breakout single – “Rock This Funky Joint.” Offering perhaps the rawest 5% rhetoric of the era over addictive rhythms, PRT made quite an impression and quickly gained a loyal fanbase. Their manager at the time, Kevon Glickman, who I interviewed in 2007, had this to say:
Memories of Big L
Just read this wonderfully comprehensive feature on Big L over at Complex, titled Casualty of the Game: The Big L Story, and was inspired to collate a few stories of my own from past interviews. T-Ray, Peter Oasis, Milano and AG all share some memories involving The Devil’s Son…
You Must Learn, Episode 1: Jeru The Damaja – The Sun Rises In The East
New series of specialized podcasts, produced and edited by Peter Oasis, written by Dharmic X, and executive produced by Evan Auerbach (UpNorthTrips), with narration from Soul Khan.
A Tribe Called Quest – Future Flavas Exclusive 
M.Will just threw this my way:
“So I was LEFT ALONE IN THE FUTURE FLAVAS CONTROL ROOM.. And I found this, among others. I HOPE MY DAD DOESN’T GET MAD lol.
Check out this exclusive HOT 97 Future Flavas edition with special Guests ATCQ promoting their last album “THE LOVE MOVEMENT” 1998!
Features QTip, Phife, Jarobi, Ali Shaheed, Marley Marl and Pete Rock blessing some cuts off the album as well as mixing some J DILLA! And an EXCLUSIVE freestyle by QTIP!”
The Legion Drop A New Album, Video and Remix
Bronx trio The Legion have just dropped The Lost Tapes LP, which is a mixture of new and unreleased material, as well as a few b-sides (such as the incredible “Freestyle Demolition”) and remixes. Here’s the Confidence remix of “Stero” and the video for the new single, “For New.”
“For You” Video and track listing:
Read: Elbow To Elbow – Tales From the Roosevelt Hotel Record Convention
Remember my Pete Rock interview where he complained about Prince Be reserving all the good records?
Record dealer John Carraro reflects on introducing old music to the likes of Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Large Professor, Buckwild, Diamond D, Prince Be, Mr. Walt, and DJ Clark Kent, among others.
Read: Elbow To Elbow – Tales From the Roosevelt Hotel Record Convention
via Wax Poetics.
Five Minutes With Pete Rock In An Airport
Pete Rock loves his food. So much so that he’s never let a pesky phone interview get in the way of his looking after the needs of his stomach. Back in 2008, while I attempted to extract some slivers of information from him for a cover feature for Hip Hop Connection magazine, the Soul Brother # 1 proceeded to chow down on an entire order of Chinese take-out while he fielded questions, noisily chewing into the mouthpiece like a bored boom-bap bovine. Six years later, I catch him between flights en route to Australia to play a series of club dates with DJ Premier, and the lure of the airport food lounge proved too much before he’d even made it halfway through my allotted ten minutes. Nevertheless, he did share a couple of interesting tidbits about his early days, which is what we’re here for anyway.
Non-Rapper Dudes Series – Matt Fingaz Interview [Guesswhyld Records]
Matt Fingaz is living proof that unpaid internships can be more than just slave labor for record companies, as he was able to parlay his connections into an independent record label with Guesswhyld Records before he made the move into project co-ordination with the B.O.C (Business of Coordination) management company with Stat Quo, which handles with music, sport and fashion. Matt took some time out to kick it about those idealistic days when making an underground rap record was as simple as knowing the right guys in the neighborhood, as he helped everyone from Mos Def and Talib Kweli to Sha Money XL get their feet in the door of the music game.
Robbie: What led to you getting involved with starting a label?
Matt Fingaz: In 1994 I was a DJ for college radio and I interned for Blunt Records – Mic Geronimo, Royal Flush and Cash Money Click – Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and Tuesday and Thursday I was interning at Relativity, when Common and the Beatnuts and Fat Joe and Bone Thugs was popular. I just loved vinyl, I loved collecting records – I didn’t even want to be in the music business! One day my friend Brandon put out this record called The Derelicts, and I said, “Wow! You put out your own record?!” He said, “Yeah, and I put it out in Japan!” He had this check and it said “$1,000”. I was like, “Oh, you’re rich!” Cos we were just kids. I was nineteen years old and I was really good with the college promotions and marketing, but I was terrible in the mail room. Basically I didn’t know how to tape up packages, and they hated me so they complained. I used to work under Irv Gotti – he was DJ Irv at the time – and I worked under this guy Chappy. Chappy was like, “I’m sorry but we can’t use your services anymore.” I’m like, “You’re firing me? I’m working for free!”
The UMC’s – Tried To Tell Ya
Kool Kim aka NYOIL has reunited with Haas G aka Fantom to deliver the first UMC’s track in over twenty years.
The 45 King feat. Supreme – Go Head Up 
Some hidden New Jersey rap gold, taken from The 45 King‘s The Lost Breakbeats – Test Press LP. Don’t call it Fast Rap though, that’s not a valid genre.
McGruff feat. Mob Style, Loon and Meebo – Bow Down
Following the mixed blessings that were McGruff‘s deal with Uptown, where Heavy D tried to Sean “Puffy” Combs’ Herb’s sound for something smoother, with decidedly mixed results, the Crime Dog took it back the gutter with this self-released 1998 single featuring the mighty Mob Style, Loon and Meebo over a gritty piano loop. “They thought it was over? Own label!”
Mobb Deep feat. Big Noyd – The Bridge ’94
After twenty long years, the CDQ version of Mobb Deep’s contribution to the long tradition of “The Bridge” remakes has finally been released into the wild. I’m declaring today an international holiday to celebrate – skip work, grab a few 40’s and go and brake some car windows in honor of this historic occasion.
Ten Early Cormega Appearances
Just after I put this together I recalled I’d already done a similar post back in 2009. Regardless, here’s a new improved look back at Cormega’s early raps from 1989 to 1997.
The Unkut Opinion: It’s Mostly (Completely) The Voice
There may only be two rapper’s with high pitched voices who I can tolerate – Milk D from Audio 2 and Ad Rock from the Beastie Boys, who also happened to have joined forces to record “Spam,” perhaps the most ear-splitting, obnoxious and completely brilliant rap song of all time. Otherwise, I have little to know time for whiny-voiced rapper dudes, regardless of how clever their rhymes may happen to be. While many aging hip-hop fans have a special place in their hearts for groups such as Souls of Mischief and Pharcyde, to my ears their debut albums represented the musically equivalent of golf being “a good walk spoiled.” Both 93 ‘Til Infinity and Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde featured outstanding production weighed down by some of the most annoying voices ever to rap.