I didn’t get a chance to write anything about MCA when he passed earlier this year, but this is how I’d like to remember him – pouring beer over his head and then slipping over for a face plant. The bratty, obnoxious Beasties who had girls in cages were always my choice over the bohemian, thoughtful Beasties anyway. …Ill will always be better than …Boutique to my ears, unorthodox sampling be damned. ‘Three Jerks Made A Masterpiece”, indeed.
After catching the spirited debate as to the GOAT Public Enemy album between Dallas Penn and Combat Jack, I was reminded that as amazing as those albums are, nothing holds a candle to the mighty Critical Beatdown.
For years, I’ve flip-flopped between Criminal Minded and Critical Beatdown for the title of Greatest Rap Album Evah. But what tape am I lurching for before I pass out after too much Jamieson? Ultra, pusscakes! While Ced blessed Scott and Kris with his programming expertise for their debut, it was Beatdown that allowed him to go all-out in the Ultra Lab (decked-out in tin-foil to give it that ‘futuristic feel’, as legend has it) and really take rap so far into the future that the world still hasn’t caught-up. Word to Paul C. (more…)
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to sit through Breakdance 2: Electric Boogaloo, Rappin’ or even Posse, then get ready for more cinematic horrors in the not-too-distant future. Yeah, you guessed it – they started shooting the effin’ Biggie Smalls movie. After holding a nation-wide audition for the lead, the producers (I’m assuming Lil’ Cease is on as “creative consultant”) decided on Gravy, who – as luck would have it – just happens to be a fat rapper from Brooklyn. Actually, he was pretty much a shoe-in for the role months ago, but I’m guessing the auditions were some type of pointless publicity stunt. The point being – does anybody actually think this movie will be any good? Previous Rapsloitation flicks like Krush Groove at least had some live performances to distract us from the cheesy acting, and Beat Street had that dude who bit a can in half. Do you really need to see a young B.I.G. discovering that life as a shorty shouldn’t be so rough on the mean streets of Bed-Stuy before finding rap stardom, ugly Italian jumpers and finally getting his end in a dame with a blonde weave?
For all you ’80s fanatics, there have also been some reports that fruits like Cuba Gooding Jr. had been cast in the role of Engineer-All Star Marley Marl, and David Banner was to play Biz Markie in the Juice Crew flick! I doubt we’ll see this movie for another five years, but I’m sure that when The Vapors is finally made I’ll be first in line to see how badly it tells the story of how Big Daddy Kane, MC Shan and Roxanne Shante got their start. As long as Mario Van Peebles isn’t involved, I’m good. Admittedly, Paid In Full was pretty awesome despite not being an actual movie about rap, but if you ever peeped the back cover of Eric B. & Rakim‘s first album you know the deal (plus it good to see Cam’Ron making himself useful for a change). As for 8 Mile and Get Rich Or Die Trying? Blame them for this new wave of hip-hop themed films. OK, maybe not much Curtis’ caper. It’s only a matter of time before Kanye gives us his autobiographical magnum opus, although I suspect it will be closer to Tougher Than Leather or Cool As Ice than Style Wars. Here’s hoping the Black Eyed Peas get signed on for a remake of the Fat Boy‘s comedy vehicle Disorderlies.
Video: A tribute to the greatest rap movie evah: (more…)
Last December I was lucky enough to speak to Dr. Butcher for a couple hours, and he blessed me with some amazing stories about everything from his work to Kool G Rap, Akinyele and MF Grimm, plus a whole lot of shit I didn’t even know he was involved in. I’m not quite ready to drop the whole session on you just this minute, but I couldn’t resist leaking this section where he shares his feelings about Run-DMC, which are not unlike some of the things I mentioned in this post.
Robbie: Being a Queens dude, did you see the backlash against Run-DMC?
Dr. Butcher: The funny thing – me coming from Queens – I was never a Run-DMC fan. I was probably the most anti Run-DMC fan anybody had known. I just did not like Run-DMC. Mainly, I think a lot of it had to do with that I was such a fan of Grandmaster Flash and the Fearless Four – Tito and DLB – those dudes were like my idols and stuff. Run-DMC kinda took a lot of their spotlight, and I think I took it personal. [laughs] It was a funny thing. They kinda crushed the careers of a lot of those old school dudes. I wasn’t really too crazy about Run’s lyrics or nothin’ like that – he just seemed too cocky to me – so I just never liked him. I just felt ‘Oh man, the Fearless Four should be where y’all guys are. Y’all suck!’ But LL was always a huge Run-DMC fan, because he was from the neighborhood – he could frequently see Run riding around. But I didn’t care. He actually wrote some songs for them that he didn’t get credit for. I’m not gonna say which ones they were, but if you listen to around the Raising Hell material you may be able to pick it out. If you go back and listen to LL’s songs I think you’ll be able to notice the similarities in the flows and the writing. But he was so excited to be around those guys and be with Def Jam and Russell Simmons and them, I think he was helping them write and stuff. (more…)
There’s no denying the importance of the Kings from Queens in the development of this here rap shit, but truth be told, when I first started copping TDK D-90 dubs of Kool & Deadly and Criminal Minded that whole shout-rap style was sounding real primitive. Not only that, but the fact that headbangers were sporting Run-DMC shirts on the strength of their Wrestlemania appearance wasn’t exactly inspiring me rush out to cop Tougher Than Leather. Why would I want to waste me time with some “nursery rhyme white friendly rock rap faggotry”1 when I could be soaking-up some Rakim in my Sony Megabass auto-reverse? Had I started listening to rap a year earlier, would I too have stood in a record store for an hour, staring at the cover to Raising Hell and thinking “Rap has made it!” like Chuck D? (more…)