Filed under: New Rap That Doesn't Suck,Video Clips
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Clip from 2014’s The Living Daylights.
Clip from 2014’s The Living Daylights.
Pic courtesy of Fat Lace.
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:
From the collection of J – Blast, Operator Emz edit.
Great trolling from Doug at the start of this.
Spotted at ego trip.
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.
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:
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.
File under ‘Attempted Club Bangers That May Never Have Actually Been Played In A Club’, much like Rockwilder‘s remix of ‘Thick’ for D.I.T.C. It appears that Puba wasn’t trying to hear that rapping-on-top-of-a-building shit and filmed his part in a bar, although it’s more likely that he just slept-in on the day of the shoot. One can only imagine that Loon was contractually obliged to provide the hook due to the Arista connection, since I’m pretty sure he literally phoned in his contribution from a payphone.
Just saw this advertised on Facebook. Does anybody know what the final track titled ‘Unexplained’ is? I’ve read elsewhere that this was the alternative name for ‘Swordsman,’ but since that’s listed as well it must be a totally different song…
Quite possibly the highlight of my brief print magazine career was when Hip Hop Connection ran my interviews with DJ Johnny Juice/Son of Bazerk and Keith Shocklee side by side in issue #221. As you can read above, the Bomb Squad co-founder didn’t appreciate the presentation. The best thing about the incident was the fact that it helped bring the ‘Bite Back’ page out of retirement after years in the wilderness. Salad days, indeed.
While Eminem was the first rapper dude to take home both awards, the fact that Rhymefest is a fairly obscure Chicago MC best known these days for having written Kanye West’s ‘Jesus Walks’ is impressive. Thanks to being the co-writer of ‘Glory’ from the Selma soundtrack, ‘Fest (real name Che Smith) now has a second trophy to sit on his shelf.
In recognition of dude getting recognition for his pen game up, here are the only Rhymefest songs I know from his pre-Mark Ronson days:
The Original Gangster of Hip-Hop remade his classic ode to rap history for the Deadly Dragon Sound System last December. I wonder if he’d do a version for the Conservative Rap Coalition if we asked very nicely?
Agafella still got that work.
A few months ago Random Rap Radio dug up an early MC DJ Flavor tape from the Spectrum City era when Terminator X was still calling himself DJ Mellow Dee. The hook for this record is nothing short of incredible.
‘I don’t care what you faggots say, you need to have a drink before I slap you in your faggot face.’
The original 5ive-0 Posse, not to be confused with the weak 5ive-0 crew from 1994, dropped an entertaining LP in 1989 on Sue Records which dealt with the concerns of a rapper and a DJ who just happened to work for the New York City Police Department. Making it clear that they weren’t soft just because they were the fuzz (cutting in the Jungle Brothers ‘Shot and killed by an off duty jake’ line as a warning to anyone who stepped to them), while boasting of being able to ‘carry all the guns that I want and be legal.’ In case you were concerned that the duo were walking around like a couple of cowboys, we’re reminded that they never ever got a civilian complaint. Prince Rashaad and DJ Brother Lee-Luv broke down their statement of intent on the back cover:
“During the day to protect and serve, during the night to create and project an image that Police Officers are human and can be down to earth like anybody else.”
WAVE: A True Story In Hip Hop is clearly a film that Mr. Wave had made about himself rather than an impartial documentary, but it looks like it will have some rare footage worth checking out.
This week marked the eleventh year of this website/weblog/blog/web page/national treasure/institution/boom-bap graveyard. As is our want, rather than celebrate the achievements that Unkut Dot Com and the mighty Conservative Rap Coalition have achieved, I’d like to focus on pouring out a little liquor for all the great things that are no longer with us:
After a number of delays, the latest release date for Sha Lumi‘s posthumous second album is 1 April 2015. Considering that I’ve heard the entire thing at this point I can attest that it does actually exist and that it’s dope. Fingers crossed we can get an official copy in April.
02. ‘Full Command’ feat. G.O.D 3, Foul Monday, Ruc and Tragedy Khadafi [Produced By Shroom]
03. ‘Black N Understanding’ [Produced By DJ Rated R]
05. ‘Give It Up’ [Produced By Carnage]
06. ‘Pressure Up’ Feat. Tragedy Khadafi [Produced By Nick Speed]
08. ‘Stop Hating’ [Produced By Shroom]
09. ‘Tell Me’ [Produced By Carnage]
10. ‘1712’ [Produced By Jewelz Polar]
11. ‘Work It Out’ [Produced By ThoroTracks]
12. ‘Keep The Faith’ [Produced By DJ Steady]
13. ‘Cash’ Remix [Produced By Audible Doctor]
14. ‘Pressure Up’ Remix [Produced By: DJ Phantom]
There once was a time when the human beatbox was an entertaining addition to 80’s rap songs, rather than something that you could do on into an iPad on your late night talk show. One of the unsung practitioners of this humble talent was Greg Nice, who lent his vocal percussive skills to no less than three crews before he teamed-up with Smooth B to make history. As revealed in my interview with CJ Moore, Greg Nice was down with the Nasty Comedians crew, which was originally Greg and Cool Nate-T. Their first single was released on Home Boys Only Records in 1985, the same label that CJ’s Small’s Chosen Few 12″ appeared on. As it turns out, the guy who owned HBO Records was Larry Davis, who would later rise to worldwide fame after he shot six cops in self-defense when they raided his sisters apartment in the Bronx.
Stretch Armstrong recently dropped the latest article in his always enjoyable Cassette Culture series over at Cuepoint, providing an essential retrospective of the art of tape editing, while also providing a recording of a classic Latin Rascals mix from 1985. The shit these dudes were doing with reels of tape and a razor blade was incredible.
The GZA has remade Babe Ruth‘s breakbeat classic ‘The Mexican’ with Tom Morello. While it’s no ‘Prisoners of War‘ or ‘Go To Work’, it’ll do. As a bonus, if you live in Canada you can book Babe Ruth to come and play this and ‘Keep Your Distance’ at your 40th birthday party.
Screen cap spotted at UB Massive
Him-Lo and Clever 1 keep on keeping on with that Punch You In The Face And Take Your Coat Rap.
If you were a rap fan outside of the USA in 1987, it was in your best interest to collect the Street Sounds Electro/Hip-Hop albums, which were compilations of an often eclectic mix of current singles, mixed together by a selection of UK DJ’s. The one that really stood out for me was Hip Hop 18, which was mixed by a fellow named R.J. Scratch [Roger Johnson] and was a particularly mixed bag of great, obscure and just plain weird rap tracks from New York. I was eventually able to find copies of ‘You Know How To Reach Us’ and ‘We Have Risin”, but the two Marley Marl produced tunes on this volume remained out of reach. As it turns out, what would have been Frick ‘N Frack’s second single was never actually released, only existing on a couple of acetates. This was annoying since it means there was no way to hear the complete, unmixed versions of these tracks – until now. Turns out that Frick ‘N Frack have uploaded some of their old songs to iTunes for those of us who have waited for 28 years to hear the last minute of ‘Who’s On Mine.’ From the preview it sounds like they’ve been dubbed off cassette from when they were played on WBLS, but for 99 cents each I guess it’s worth taking a gamble.
UPDATE: The iTunes version is just a recording of the version on the Street Sounds compilation that cuts off when the Kings Of Pressure comes in. Guess we’ll be waiting another 28 years until Marley presses it up on Hot Chillin’…