The Unkut Guide To The New Music Seminar Battle For World Supremacy
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.
A Salute To James Brown – The Godfather of Hip-Hop
While the rap world falls over itself in the never-ending J. Dilla circle jerk, today would have marked James Brown’s 81st year if he was still with us. Considering just how hard he worked during his life, it’s amazing that he lived until 73 – a lesser man may have perished mid-splits. According to his long-suffering friend Bobby Byrd, JB and Tina Turner once shared a stage at the Five Four Ballroom in LA where they spent the entire night attempting to outdo each other by jumping off the piano into the splits and whatnot! Yet the only mention of JB I’ve seen on the rap internets has been egotripland posting couple of JB tribute mixes courtesy of DJ Scratch and J. Period. So let us take a minute to recognize and realize just why James Brown is the alpha and omega of this hip-hop shit….
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.
An Oral History of New York’s Early Hip-Hop Clubs
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.
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.
This Is What Roc Marciano’s Debut LP Originally Looked Like
Schott Free just blessed his Instagram with the track listing for an early version of Roc Marciano’s debut solo project, back when it was intended to drop on SRC Records. As you can see, only a portion of these tracks made the final version (albeit with some changes to the names and spellings). Here’s what Schott had to say about it:
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.
Video: Greyson & Jasun – Livin’ Like A Troopa 
After having this Vance Wright produced gem on repeat for the last few days after being reunited with my records, I stumbled across the video today. Two things worth noting – Greyson and Jaysun might have sold more records if they’d shot a cover photo dressed like this instead of the whole “suits in an abandoned bath house” look they went with, and this is still the finest use of “The Big Payback” loop ever used in rap, thanks to the slight pitch distortion effect, which I’m sure was the result of something messing up in the studio for brilliant results along the lines of the “Top Billin’” drum pattern.
Stream: 107.5 WBLS Marley Marl In Control Reunion Show feat. Kevy Kev, Clark Kent, & Pete Rock
Respect to DJ Kool Scooby G for recording and editing this historic broadcast. Talk about “putting the band back together”…
Diamond D – The Unkut Interview
Growing up in Forest Projects in the South Bronx, DJ Diamond D embarked on a career as a local DJ before teaming-up with childhood friend Master Rob to form the Ultimate Force crew and release the “I’m Not Playing” single on Strong City. Following on from yesterdays detailed breakdown of his first solo album, we discussed his formative years as a music fan, his loyalty to those he grew-up with and some of his lesser known musical contributions beyond his work with the D.I.T.C. crew.
Robbie: How old were you when you first deejayed publicly?
Diamond D: First time I deejayed in public I was around 13, 14 in my projects at the jams outside. There were two DJ’s in my neighborhood – DJ Supreme and DJ Hutch. They would come outside and basically provide the soundtrack to our lives, through hip-hop. At some point, from me pestering them, they let me get on their set. To me that was the biggest deal, to be able to get on the turntables in your projects and feel the love of the people that were in the projects, basically.
Sir Ibu – The Unkut Interview
Born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant/Crown Heights, Sir Ibu cemented a place in rap folklore with a record called “Holy War (Live)”, which still stands as one of the rawest examples of beats and rhymes ever recorded, so much so that Ghostface recreated a portion of it on his own modern-day remake named “Mighty Healthy”. Beyond being an influential microphone god, it turns out that Ibu may also have been the first ever Conservative Rap Coalition member, as well as having an obscure connection to Australian culture. Salutes to BK Thoroughbred for connecting me with Brooklyn rap royalty and helping this interview happen…
Robbie: What sparked your interest in rhyming initially?
Sir Ibu: It was my cousin – I think it was back in ‘79. I heard him rapping, and I was like, “Wow! What is that?” So he told me what it was and then let me hear this record. I think it was by Spoonie Gee? I kinda liked that, so ever since then I just started writing. I just used to write about girls – all my raps were about girls. Girls this, girls that, just bragging about how I am with the girls. So then when I ran into Supreme – I would say was about ‘83, ‘84 – he told me, “Listen, you’re good. But you could be better if you changed your subject matter. Instead of talking about how good you are with girls, talk about how good you are on the microphone. How good you are with your lyrics and your music and your rhymes and your vocabulary. Just anything but girls!” I’m like, “Alright.” So I did it and I came back to him and I said, “How ‘bout this?” And he said, “That’s perfect! Do you wanna be part of my group?” I’m like, “Alright, let’s do it.” And that’s how I got with him and his sister. It’s interesting, ‘cos his sister – her name was Ice-T originally when we started – but Ice-T from the west coast started making a name for himself, so it was like, “Listen, you’ve gotta change your name.” So she changed it to Nefertiti.
KRS-One – Criminal Minded Practice Sessions
Wednesday October 23rd 2013,
Filed under: Bronx Bombers
,Great Moments In Rap
,In Search Of...
,In The Trenches
,Is It Live Or Is It Memorex?
,The 80's Files
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Holy shit…Kenny Parker finally got around to ripping some of those old tapes of KRS-One rapping over breakbeats courtesy of DJ Scott La Rock and Kool DJ Red Alert , as he told us about back in 2006. While there was no sign of the one with the dog barking over Kris’ verse, there’s an incredible ‘La Di Da Di’ style track which I’ve never heard before that will make your year. Shouts out to the Frozen Files crew over at East Village Radio for making this happen.
The Combat Jack Show – The Big Daddy Kane Episode
This oughta be good…
“Kane goes deep with his history, what he thinks about Mr. Cee, how he produced the majority of ‘Long Live The Kane’ with no credits, how Doug E Fresh taught him how to rock the crowd, how some cats from The Juice Crew wasn’t fuxin with him, how he really wanted to battle KRS-One, what Madonna smells like, how he shopped a young Jay Z with no success, why he started wearing purple silks and such…”
The Unkut Guide To Milk Dee Videos
Despite having a voice that can shatter glass and sends packs of stray dogs running for the hills, Milk Dee has built an entire career on the back of one song, which he then managed to sample or reference in every single thing since. Unlike most unfortunate 80′s rappers on indy labels, Milk’s dad owned the label that he and his brother Giz were signed to, alongside their sister MC Lyte. As a result, Milk was able to do a remix to 50 Cent‘s “I Get Money” where he listed all the high profile rappers who have written him checks for using samples of “Top Billin’” while wearing exactly the same outfit he sported in 1988. A true CRC role-model.
Willie D vs. Melle Mel Boxing Footage Found
I’ve been obsessed with finding out more info about this legendary event ever since I first read about it in The Source. Last year some highlight footage turned up, and now today we have some Yo! MTV Raps outtakes featuring more footage of Melle Mel getting his ass handed to him by the Clean-Up Man.
Video: Magnum Opus – The Making of Come Clean
The story behind Jeru The Damaja‘s “Come Clean”, aka why we should forgive him for discouraging women to wear tight jeans.
Unkut TV: Episode 7 – Kool G Rap and DJ Polo Live In Philly, 2013
When I heard that Kool G Rap was performing in Philadelphia last Saturday night, you know I was getting there no matter what, especially considering how often I’ve argued that he’s the greatest MC of all-time. Just so happens that this performance was also the first time that G had performed with DJ Polo in seventeen years, and I got to capture it all on camera. Here’s footage of KGR performing “The Realest”, “Take ‘Em To War”, “Road To The Riches”, “Ill Street Blues”, “Fast Life” and “The Symphony”.