Here’s the first video the Corrupted Citizens LP, courtesy of a couple of thuns from down this end of the planet who I’ve enjoyed copious amounts of booze with on occasion. Video executed by Josh Davis and Heath Kerr.
Pretty Tone Capone in the studio with Real Live, 2004. Photo: richdirection
The infamous Pretty Tone Capone from Harlem’s Mob Style is about to return to the rap game. While I haven’t heard his new material yet, his work with the group and as a soloist has given us some of the most authentic street rap possible, as well as some amusing N.W.A. diss records. Tone discussed how he was born into the hustling lifestyle in Harlem, why Tim Dog almost got scalped and explains how drug dealers are the trend-setters that rappers want to be.
Robbie: What can you tell me about growing up in Harlem?
Pretty Tone Capone: Harlem was all about money. Hustlers and stick-up kids – everybody else was workers and people in the way. Young kids getting a lotta money – doing whatever we wanted to do, where ever we wanted to do it at – at whoevers expense. It was wild like that back then. Rapping was something we did for fun, after it took off, ‘cos the public liked it. We were the only – the only – cats that were in the studio having fun rapping. There were many real cats out here, but they wasn’t rapping.
How old were you when you got involved with the street life?
I was born into this here, man. I’m from a long line of gangsters. I’m from the hustling tree of Harlem, which is from the hustling tree of the world. Family members and all that, I was raised among them. I didn’t have to go that route, but I chose that route. I’m also very intelligent – I coulda been [a] top Goldman Sachs official or one of them [top] 500 company running guys. More or less I chose this life and I love every minute of it, regardless of the down pits and downfalls. (more…)
So Doc Brown shows up and says you can borrow the modified DeLoran to go back in time. Where do you go? Here are a few rap related suggestions once you’ve tired of trips to ancient Egypt, seen the dinosaurs and punched Hitler in the throat:
1. Checking out Kool Herc DJing his sister’s rent party at 1520 Sedgewick Avenue, Bronx, New York in 1973.
2. Attending the Run-DMC show at Madison Square Garden when Run told the crowd to put their Adidas in the air.
3. Watching KRS-One battle Grandmaster Melle Mel at the Latin Quarter in 1987.
4. Witnessing Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five performing at the Audubon Ballroom on Broadway and 165th Street, Harlem, on September 2nd, 1976. (more…)
This one has been cooking up for long time now, but it’s finally out of the oven and ready to throw on your plate with a side of mash – the history of the Ultimate Breaks and Beats series told by the people who put them together and some of the DJ’s and producers they went on to influence:
Here’s a heart-warming tale of drinking too much from Grand Daddy I.U. from the interview I conducted with him in the carpark of a bar in Long Island, circa 2013. Living proof that doctor’s don’t know shit a lot of the time, and that drinking non-alcoholic beer really is a fate worse than death itself.
Robbie: Any good drinking stories?
Grand Daddy I.U.: Back in the days I used to drink Bacardi Dark. I must’ve been an alcoholic, cos I would go to sleep drinking that shit and wake up drinking that shit. One day my stomach was feeling so fuckin’ crazy I thought I had to shit or something. I’m sitting on the toilet and ain’t shit coming out – I start throwing up, throwing up – the shit started becoming yellow! I didn’t eat no shit that was yellow! Come to find out it was my stomach lining. This shit became so painful I called my moms, ‘I don’t know what this shit is, but you gotta come get me!’ She came and got me, the whole time I keep throwing up. (more…)
Illa Ghee was known as a Mobb Deep affiliate in the early days of his career, having appeared on Hell On Earth as General G, but his latest LP, Social Graffiti, has allowed him to free himself of any constraints and push his rhymes beyond well-worn street themes. While he was riding the subway the other night, we chopped it up about his early days and how Super Lover Cee inadvertently ended his cousin’s rap career.
What were you doing before you worked with Mobb Deep and Alchemist?
I was still rhyming, but I was more into the street life at the time. I went to school with Prodigy, they got cool with Alchemist and by the time I came home from jail Alchemist was hanging with them all the time so I started linking up with Alchemist too. My first actual CD I put together was called Body Music and most of the production on that was done by me. That was 2003.
Were you taking rhyming seriously at that stage?
I just wanted to rhyme on the radio! There was a show – Pete Rock and Marley Marl – at the time that was on the radio. That’s where most of the things I wrote were pretty much aimed at, just getting on the radio and lose my mind. (more…)
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. (more…)
Following the always entertaining festivities surrounding the Carbon festival (which I’m under strict orders never to speak of publicly), heading to the A$AP Ferg show at the Corner Hotel seemed like the perfect way to cap off a week-long bender. The venue was filled with excitable kids eagerly throwing-up ‘bows to the sounds of the local androgynous “It’s a Trap” Lady known as Mafia, before the curtains were drawn to prepare for the main event. (more…)
The good folk over at PBS 106.7 FM invited me down to do a guest spot on Richie 1250‘s Stone Love program for Valentine’s Day, where I unleashed what I consider to be some of the best and worst examples of the dreaded 80’s rap ballad on unsuspecting listeners.
In the interest of “music journalism” I forced myself to attend a rap show last night featuring rappers I don’t really listen to on a regular basis, but don’t really have any huge level of hate for either, which is about as good as it’s going to get until Nice & Smooth decide to tour these shores. After enjoying a few rounds of boilermakers and weed with some associates, we wandered into the venue the very moment that El-P and Killer Mike hit the stage. (more…)
Following the Kool G Rap & DJ Polo set at Treasures in Philly, Special Ed took to the stage and performed “Think About It”, “Crooklyn”, “Come On Let’s Move It” and “I Got It Made”. Basically half of the crowd had gone outside for a smoke by the time he hit the stage, but Ed’s female fans were in full effect regardless.
Dallas and Rafi scope out the best grub near the Jay Street – Metrotech A train station in New York City. Great to see that the fellas are sticking to CRC-approved attire with the polo and rugby steez on deck.
For the final part of this interview shot in Strong Island, The I Dot U Dot rags on bar patrons and his brother in between explaining about a bar room brawl against Treach and Tupac, the inspiration behind his first album cover and touring antics with Kool G Rap.
I.U. is joined by his brother DJ Kay Cee as he discusses the making of Smooth Assassin, why he changed his style up for Lead Pipe, record label problems and why shit went bad with Treach from Naughty By Nature.
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.