The Influence of X-Clan on West Coast Rap
Tuesday October 28th 2014,
Filed under: BK All Day,Features,Great Moments In Rap,The 90's Files
Written by:

X-Clan Funk

While EPMD and Heavy D had already scored hits by looping ‘More Bounce To The Ounce,’ the sound of the first X-Clan album really brought the most out of the whole Parliament Funkadelic movement in terms of flipping it into a entirely new context. Their combination of jazz and soul samples with the heavy funk sound created a sound that was far ‘heavier’ than anything we’d heard from New York, soaked in a cosmic slop that no doubt made an impression on the ears of LA rap producers. Clearly the popularity of Zapp and P-Funk on the West Coast meant that it was always going to play a major role in the pre-synth era (or Before Chronic as I like to call it), but when I had the chance to speak to Brother J back in 2007 leading up to the release of the his new X-Clan project, he confirmed this theory for me:

Robbie: X-Clan was one of the first groups to get deep into the P-Funk samples. Do you think that West Coast artists were influenced by that?

Brother J: I don’t think they took it and ran with it, it’s always been here. I think what X-Clan did was we took music that we love. I never sample ‘More Bounce…’ because I wanted West Coast artists to pick-up on my music, I sampled it because in my basement that’s what we deejayed. You go to the parties, that’s what we put on. I’m from Flatbush, Brooklyn, I wasn’t traveling worldwide when I was making this album. I was 17, 18 years old writing To The East, Blackwards. I wasn’t world orientated, I just knew when we go to the block parties, when they put on that Zapp ‘More Bounce…’ the crowd was crazy! When adults hear ‘Knee Deep’? My father and mother listened to records. I dig in their crates and make my album! I knew what was moving the crowd I wanted to serve. It’s beautiful to see that a lotta producers out here in the west coast say, ‘Man, you inspired me. We used to play your album up on the big speakers when we was making Ice Cube’s album and making this dude’s album and this cat’s album.’ I’ve met a lot of legendary west coast cats that gave me a salute, and I’m saluting them cos they’ve got crystal clean sound. I’m from New York where sampling was king, and these cats are playing stuff over and got the mean band on it and the good engineer on it and their sound was just so much more cracking than what we were getting in New York. I admire Dre’s production, he had the best EQ’s.

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Download: The Dr. Butcher Production Collection

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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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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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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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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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Ten Album Tracks From The 90’s That Deserved To Be Singles
Monday August 25th 2014,
Filed under: Features,Listicles,Not Your Average,Steady Bootleggin',The 90's Files
Written by:

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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.

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Download: Debonair P – Debonair Blends 11 [1990-1992 Megamix]

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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
Tuesday August 12th 2014,
Filed under: Listicles,Not Your Average,Steady Bootleggin',The 90's Files
Written by:

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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.
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Rob Unkut discussing Nas’ Illmatic at the Melbourne International Film Festival

I repped the Conservative Rap Coalition position on the importance of the Illmatic album in front of an audience at The Forum yesterday. Stream below.

Unkut speaks about Nas’ Illmatic at the Melbourne International Film Festival



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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Stream: Lord Finesse – The SP-1200 Project Samplers

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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:
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Download: Fat Lace Show 009

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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

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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:
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Memories of Big L

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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…
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You Must Learn, Episode 1: Jeru The Damaja – The Sun Rises In The East
Wednesday May 21st 2014,
Filed under: Art of Facts,BK All Day,Great Moments In Rap,The 90's Files
Written by:

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 [1998]

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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

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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:
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Read: Elbow To Elbow – Tales From the Roosevelt Hotel Record Convention
Wednesday May 14th 2014,
Filed under: Crates,Great Moments In Rap,The 90's Files
Written by:

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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.



No Country For Old (Rap) Men: Redman = Peter Pan

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Looking for the fountain of rap youth…

No Country For Old (Rap) Men: Redman = Peter Pan



Five Minutes With Pete Rock In An Airport
Wednesday April 30th 2014,
Filed under: Food Rap,Interviews,Rap Veterans,The 90's Files,Web Work
Written by:

peterock

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.
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Non-Rapper Dudes Series – Matt Fingaz Interview [Guesswhyld Records]
Tuesday April 29th 2014,
Filed under: Features,Interviews,Non-Rapper Dudes,Read The Label,The 90's Files
Written by:

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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 RecordsMic 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!”
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The UMC’s – Tried To Tell Ya

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Kool Kim aka NYOIL has reunited with Haas G aka Fantom to deliver the first UMC’s track in over twenty years.