I’ve been fairly vocal in complaining about shitty, boring rap shows I’ve attended in the past. While the infamous Ultramagnetic show of 2013 rates as perhaps the most soul-crushing disappointment of my adult life, picking the best one I’ve attended is a little trickier. It would have to be a toss-up between Public Enemy‘s 1989 Melbourne show – where Flavor Flav was driven onto the stage in ambulance before he leaped off a giant speaker stack while me and my friends stood with our arms crossed in the appropriate b-boy stance while the rest of the crowd danced around like rabid meerkats; Lord Finesse and the late DJ Roc Raida in 2006 – simple yet effective; or Big Daddy Kane live in Herbert Von Park in Brooklyn, New York in 2013, where he tore up the stage and even managed to bust out some synchronized steps with his dancers.
What are your best and worst live rap show experiences?
The Wu-Tang Clan have been through more than share of ups and downs over the years, but there’s no denying that they brought back a much needed grit to rap music when they hit the scene in in 1992 with their self-released ‘Protect Ya Neck’/’After The Laughter Comes Tears’ single. RZA’s master plan to get everyone separate solo deals on different record labels was inspired, although it clearly worked out a lot for better for some. Fast forward to 2015, and all of the original squad (with the exception of the late, great Ol’ Dirty Bastard) are still releasing music in some shape or form. What I’m interested to gauge is who you consider to have done the best job at keeping themselves lyrically sharp? Who are you still hyped to hear a guest verse or a new track from? Are you tired of hearing Ghostface rapping with bands? Has Raekwon become over-exposed? Has GZA become a an angry old wino who’s best days are behind him? Will Method Man ever make an album worthy of his talents?
Biz Markie apparently makes up all his rhymes on the spot in the studio and then learns them later – except for when he gets his pals to write songs for him. Big Daddy Kane wrote the first side of Goin’ Off, as was clearly stated on the back cover (therefore not a case of ‘ghostwriting’) and for his next LP he enlisted GMC to lend his storytelling prowess for this entertainly tasteless tale of transgender luh gone wrong.
Seeing as though Caz’s original reference track was eventually issued with a 45 King remix, we can now compare the two. Who rocked it better? (more…)
Twenty years ago today, The Gravediggaz release ‘6 Feet Deep’ / ‘Niggamortis,’ and in tribute both myself and UpNorthTrips selected our top ten beats from both Prince Paul and RZA and gave them to The Vinylcologist to mix for us. Check the picks and vote for the best below…
We’re currently developing a range of t-shirts for all the collar-resistant of you out there to coincide with the release of Counterstrike 2: A Decade of Dope in the coming weeks, but the streets keep asking for more of those fine Conservative Rap Coalition garments. Let us know in the poll below what kind of CRC finery you would eff with and they shall be brought into existence. You can vote for as many items as like.
While we recover from the collective circle jerk that has been celebrating Nas’ first album, let us consider some long forgotten rap essentials that should be mandatory listening to any music fans under 25 in order that they don’t repeat the same mistakes from the past and understand what good rap music should sound like.
I’ll set it off and suggest Akinyele‘s Vagina Diner for starters…
The New Yorker has just published a piece on Lord Jamar titled ‘Hip-Hop’s Alpha Conservative’, where he is quoted the following: “I think I represent the hip-hop conservatives. And I use the word ‘conservative’ in the sense of conservation: I’m trying to conserve hip-hop and its essence.” With his recent fine work shitting on white rappers, MC’s wearing skirts and the general influx of overly emotion Wimp Rap, is Jamar the guy that the Conservative Rap Coalition needs to take the organization to the next level, by being elected as the Minister of Information? Providing he doesn’t start upsetting the Jewish Defence League with any ill-advised Professor Griff-style rants against Eminem‘s manager, he could be the last piece of the CRC puzzle as we continue our mission to civilize the uncivilized progressive rap fans of the world… (more…)
James Brown, for all intents and purposes, created rap. It’s therefore no surprise that he’s also supplied some of the most enduring breaks and loops of all time, my personal favorite being “The Payback.” Of the hundreds of uses of this super tight testament to revenge, here are nine that really stood out for me, plus a wildcard pick from Miami just to keep things interesting. This also marks the return of the ‘Vote Or Die’ section of Unkut, in dedication to the time that Puffy called future presidential hopeful Barack Obama “kid” during his MTV coverage of the 2004 elections. (more…)
The Greatest Man Alive, Da Wizzard of Odds and V-Born kicking rhymes over finger snaps for the Krush Rap show. Larry Larr gets a quick jab in at Cool C, while EST buries his old crew and his former manager in typically acknickulous fashion. Hopefuly footage of the time that one of the Hilltop threw a quarter at EST at the basketball court and the resulting brawl will turn up one day.
Much has happened since our last meeting. Those of you who couldn’t afford the original Platinum membership packs have requested other options to show your support, and the landscape has shifted somewhat. Hipster Rap ate itself in a blur of day-glo, but new enemies have emerged in it’s wake. Now is not the time to rest on our laurels and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done, for the war rages on. Here are some of the major issues facing the CRC in 2013: (more…)
After speaking to Uptown (of ‘Dope On Plastic’ fame) the other week, he mentioned an interesting story about his involvement in the 1989 New Music Seminar Battle For World Supremacy:
Uptown: I battled for World Supremacy – that was the year that Freshco and Miz won. I made it to the semi-finals – it was me, Serge from Ohio and Freshco. When we get into the final round, one of the associates of Tommy Boy comes up to me and says, ‘Freschco’s ‘4 At A Time’ is doing great right now, it would be real good if he won this contest’. I’m like, ‘What? What are you asking me to do?’ While I’m talking to them, my time was running out. So I had to run on stage – if anyone has video tape of that final, you’ll see I run on stage and tried to come-up with something real quick – and then Freshco kinda capitalised on it, ‘Why was you takin’ so long, are you scared of me/I don’t think you was prepared for me!’. He said some real slick shit and he won that title. I was like, ‘How in the world…?’ That was the same year where Miz won, but DJ Alladin also got kinda jibbed. Me and Alladin talked about it at one time, ‘We should get together and make a song’, but it never panned-out.
Did the Tommy Boy staff somehow rig the results?
Check this video of the finals and you be the judge: (more…)
Twenty five years of amassing records, CD’s, tapes and magazines is all well and good, but having relocated the Unkut Dot Com HQ on numerous occasions over the past two years has really stretched the friendship. Having all of your music on a portable hard drive is not such a bad thing when you’re living in Mom’s Basement or living under a bridge, and the older and lazier I become, I find it quicker to download a vinyl rip of something I want to listen to rather than spend an hour trawling through the ‘total kaos, no mas confusion’ that is my record collection.
While I’m not about to dispose of the spoils of a lifetime of hip-hop hoarding this week, it got me thinking…what would it take to part with your entire collection? An obscene amount of money? Permanently moving to another country? World peace?
As a rule, I prefer to change up the tried-and-tested hypothetical question of which celebrity you would like to shove into an active volcano with something a little more grimy. Not that Unkut Dot Com is any way, shape or form condoning the killing or causing grievous bodily harm to rappers, producers and deejays, but just for the sake of argument, let us suppose for a second that you were in a position to shove someone like Swizz Beatz in front of a bus without anybody suspecting foul play…who would you choose? Call it natural selection if you will…the culling of the less talented musical individuals for the betterment of our ears.
Don’t hold back now…the Unkut comment section is protected by doctor/patient confidentiality.
It’s the most common accusation leveled against Tri-State Rapper Dudes – ‘They’re so boring!’. Non-progressive hip-hop can seem that way to kids raised on Outkast and Freestyle Fellowship, because…well, there are a lot of bland, generic rapper’s hailing from the Rotten. What one listener considers ice-cold nonchalance is boring monotone to the next. Instead of me spending the time and effort to actually devise the list myself and then have to read a stream of comments complaining that I forgot to include Lloyd Banks, I thought I’d open the floor to nominations. If you include a reason why the Rapper Dude in question is so coma-inducing then you’re more likely to get them through into the short-list for voting.
It was bound to happen eventually. As I approach seven years of wasted youth as rap blogger dude, I’ve decided that it might be time to escape from the basement for a stretch and take it to the streets, as the Doobie Brothers once harmonized. That’s right, I shall be packing-up my cardboard box of old rap magazines and start sleeping somewhere under a bridge in Queens sometime this April. For any irate Weed Carriers out there, now you’ll finally have the chance to punch me in the face if you think that will somehow make the awful reality of your career decision suddenly vanish in a puff of indo smoke. It will also offer me the chance to drink 4-Loko at will, meet the four girls who follow me on Twitter face-to-face and eat some effed-up burgers with the Internets Celebrities. Hopefully it will also allow me to make amends for the wrongs I committed against the group known as M.O.P. when they were last in my town. (more…)
After months of preliminary rounds to establish the finest remixed tracks from hip-hop’s best and brightest (according to a couple of hundred East-Coast Elitist’s, of course) we finally have our final nine. Go in!
A few weeks back I asked if anyone had any ideas for the Wild Card Round, but after going through the list I decided to go back to the drawing board and pick eight essential remixes that haven’t been covered yet. Once this is decided, the winners of this and the previous eight rounds will battle it out for the title of The Greatest Remix Of All Time, at least according to Unkut’s Conservative Rap Coalition (aka The East-Coast Rap Elitists). Whether on the strength of the new lyrics or just taking an otherwise shitty track and making it sound good, these eight remixes all win in their own way. (more…)
Let’s be honest – it’s all about the ‘Best Kept Secret’ remix. That shit is a monster! That being said, I’ve always had a lot of time for the ‘Knock ‘Em Out Sugar Ray’ remix as well. The ‘Posse Is Large’ remix is included simply as a reminder of the lost art of conga loops… (more…)
“One thing I gotta say – I had a partner through all this stuff named John Gamble. Up until the second Everlast record I worked on, damn near everything I ever did with him. He was like the engineer of the team, but also a producer, and he’s an incredibly underrated part of the element. Geeby Dajani, he was my partner in the beginning. He put us together and then he wasn’t really involved from a really early point, after maybe the first Brand Nubian record I didn’t really fuck with him on music too much after that. Maybe H2O a little bit, but that was it. The thing was I was more dominant in making the music, so we kinda had to stop working together ‘cos I was just too ambitious and driven, so I just kinda went for mine. The whole time though, I had Gamble next to me, helping me clean my shit up, make it sound better, fixing up my programming – very underrated element. I was just wanna give him thanks, props and praise. I just wanna shout out my partner John Gamble, ‘cos he’s an ill dude.”
Now we’re pulling out the big guns. Pete Rock has had a long and varied career, but in terms of his remixing work, he really peaked early on in as a result of being the ‘go to’ guy for much of the early 90’s. His two primary techniques during this period were to either add subtle but effective tweaks to the original formula, as he did with the ‘Slow Down’ remix and the vastly improved ‘Straighten It Out’ remix, or to completely flip the original and recreate it as a hyped-up, horn-soaked assault on the senses. Regardless of the style he utilized, he was able to make even the worst MC listenable for 4 minutes, which pretty much says it all. (more…)
I recently bumped into Premier backstage when he was last in town, having promised Marco Polo that I’d drink his share of the free beers. I vaguely recall exchanging a few wisecracks and sharing some weed with him, as well as witnessing Masta Ace eat an entire bowl of fresh fruit and Ed OG betting Premo that he’d be the last to leave the hotel tomorrow or some shit….[end name-dropping session]
Why have I chosen these eight remixes from the Works of Mart discography? Because they bang the hardest. Cue comments complaining that I’ve forgotten his stuff for Da King & I or that overrated Ras Kass remix. (more…)
A case could be made for Buckwild being the most sophisticated remix scientist in hip-hop. He has a knack for being able to transform a good song into something incredible, as well as the ability to completely change the feel of a track without losing the essence of the original. Buckwild’s ‘Remix #1’ of ‘Life’s A Bitch’ flips the smoothed-out album version into an eerie vision of paranoia, while his interpretation ‘Daaam!’ twists a rowdy party starter into a smoked-out head nodder, while his version of ‘Rock On’ is nothing short of genius. (more…)