If, by some tragic turn of fate, all rap released prior to the year 2000 was somehow obliterated from the face of the earth and you were given the opportunity to take twenty CD’s to pass the time while I wasted away in exile on some deserted island (stay with me here), then what would you take? I considered the options this afternoon and devised the following list of hip-hop platters to bring along. (more…)
Beat machine wonder kid Kurtis Mantronik had a nice little run over at Sleeping Bag Records, where he split his time between hard hitting electro hip-hop beats for T La Rock and Just-Ice and Freestyle/dance music for artists such as Joyce Simms. After three Mantronix albums with MC Tee on the mic, Tee decided to join the airforce and Kurtis recruited Bryce Luvah from Queens Brooklyn Connection to fill his shoes for the next two LP’s before moving onto to dance music for good. Shout out to Chep Nunez and Omar Santana on some of those razor blade edits.
Despite being one of the greatest rappers to ever enter a recording studio, Rakim‘s four albums with Eric B. were pretty patchy, mainly due to the abundance of filler and sub par scratch showcases. This wasn’t such a big deal on Paid In Full, since every with vocals was amazing and 1987 rap LP’s usually consisted of a few strong singles and plenty of filler, but this formula really didn’t cut it by the time Follow The Leader dropped in ’88. I’m not sure if anyone noticed at the time though, because the first three tracks are so powerful that you’ve already been won over before you even get to the second side of the album, much like NWA’s Straight Outta Compton. (more…)
United Crates has assembled some of the Outdoorsman’s older work to mark four years since Dr. Lecter dropped. Who knew that this Flushing, Queens rapper dude would turn out to be the Hipster Music Mafia’s pin-up boy? Regardless, dude can rap and ‘Shiraz’ is still my shit.
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:
Phill Most Chill came up drawing flyers for local crews before dropping his own independent record in 1988, moving into some production work and eventually landing a regular spot at Rap Sheet. From there he became a record dealer and collector, released over 100 mixtapes and eventually returned to the microphone in 2005, and has since released a number of new projects. I caught up with Soulman to talk records, journalism and more records…
Robbie: How did you first get exposed to hip-hop?
Phill Most Chill: I go back as a little kid, cos I grew up right outside of New York, like a half an hour away from the Bronx in Connecticut. I go back to before when hip-hop was even on record yet, it was just parties. I’d see all the classic crews from back in the days – the Furious Five, Cold Crush Brothers – all of ‘em, they would rock at the community center or roller skating rink or high schools in my neighborhood. I started out as a fan but also I used to do flyers for some of the hip-hop pioneers back in those days. From there I went to making records myself – little, small indy records – and that led to the thing with Rap Sheet. During that time I also got into production and I went all out with collecting breaks and digging for records to the point where I would consider myself one of the leading people as far as digging in the crates. I used to also sell breaks and records to all the top producers in New York City. They used to have the Roosevelt Hotel record conventions. That came from me doing the ‘World of Beats’ column – at that point I felt I needed to really up my game and go all-out with the records. That led to me becoming a dealer as well, because a lot of the breaks people were looking for? I had ‘em and I knew how to get ‘em. Pretty much every great producer in the New York area back then? I sold records to. The only dude I didn’t see at the shows was Preemo. (more…)
Four of Jazzy Jay‘s Strong City groups released an album during the Uni Records distribution deal – Ice Cream Tee, Busy Bee, Don Baron and Nu Sounds. I vaguely remember owning the Mackin’ album at some stage but not really enjoying anything off it, and listening back now it’s clear that these guys were totally run-of-the-mill. Still, considering their modest talents they did well to have two videos shot, get Afrika Bambaataa to chant the hook, rent some colorful suits and still have enough left over to hire some hawt cheerleaders and video skeezers. ‘Condition Red’ is a slightly better track if you enjoy distorted phone crank callers, otherwise notable for being Skeff Anslem‘s first production credit. (more…)
The prospect of getting a guided audio tour through Afrika Bambaataa‘s record collection by two lifelong music geeks is appealing to even the most cursory of music fans, if the jam-packed crowd that squeezed into Melbourne’s Forum Theater on Friday night is anything to go by. It certainly didn’t hurt that it was helmed by music festival darlings Shadow and Cut Chemist, which made the whole thing easier to digest for those in the audience who haven’t memorised Bam’s original Blues and Soul list of his favorite breaks. (more…)
Back in 2006 I wondered why Schoolly-D never responded to Spoonie Gee’s ‘That’s My Style‘, included lines such as ‘Come in here from where ever you came/tryin’ to steal my style and plus my name.’ As was pointed out in the comments section, Schoolly fired back with a couple of lines at the beginning of ‘Housin’ The Joint‘ (‘You say I tried to diss you and I stole your style/but the days you was rockin’ I was still a lil’ child’), but I’ve always found this to be a weird piece of rap history, as I’d never noticed any similarities between the two. Looking back now, I can kind of see how the similarity in their names and the fact that the opening story in ‘P.S.K.’ involves trying to pick up women from a car in a similar vein to the start of ‘Love Rap’, but it still seems like a stretch.
In recent years I was able to speak to both parties involved and get their sides of the story, as well as a third party perspective: (more…)
Rocksteady member DJ JS-1 has been putting it down in the DJ, mixtape and production game for years, as well as getting busy with the paint as JERMS since his school days. We caught up last November to discuss the sorry state of modern rap, the trials of making compilation albums and tips copping vinyl on the sly.
Robbie: How did it start for you?
DJ JS-1: Growing up in Queens, New York – I was born in the mid 70’s – so by the time I was old enough to look around and know what’s going on, you’re six, seven, eight years old. It’s early 80’s and hip-hop culture was everywhere. My grandmother lived near Lefrak and I first remember them doing a mural on the side of pizzaria there when I was really young. I always loved to draw, and I got into graff from watching these guys do that. By third or fourth grade I was trying to draw my name and do stuff, and in sixth grade we stole some spray paint and went to the schoolyard to try and write our names. That was 1986. I was always listening to hip-hop and started buying vinyl as soon as I was old enough to get on the bus or the train by myself to get to the record stores. Then I saved up to get turntables. (more…)
I’m currently finishing off the final round of editing before we get stuck into the designing stage of the Past The Margin: A Decade of Unkut Interviews book and thought I’d share the final selection of my thirty favorite from the 150 or so that I’ve conducted so far. A third of those listed are expanded versions and follow-ups to what’s previously been published here, indicated in bold: (more…)
Thanks to Drew Huge for spotting this classic clip of Rock Around The Clock, a hip-hop event broadcast on UK TV in 1986 featuring performances from Word of Mouth and DJ Cheese, Mantronix, T La Rock and local lads Phaze One, with commentary from Morgan Khan, Dave Pierce and John Peel (who was able to squeeze in a quick appearance in-between bedding underage school girls). There’s also some break dancing and graffiti action going on, but I pity the fool who would rather watch someone doing a headspin on a chair than witness the microphone techniques of the great Terry La Rock backed-up by Kurtis on the decks!
Prior to his reign as The Rap Bandit, Danny Ozark went by the pen name Pistol Pete. For this column in the January 1991 issue of The Source, Pete invents ten rap rumors as an excuse to drop some hip-hop punchlines. Just think, before Twitter rappers had to listen to dumb myths about themselves for months and months! Progress.