Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Back In The Day...Downtown Science Room To Breathe

Can I tell y'all that to this day there is no show like Video Music Box! Ralph McDaniels and The Vid Kid didn't just show the mainstream cats like Tribe, Leaders, Kane...whoever was big when I was watching it but they also gave lesser known indie and even poorly pushed big label acts some spins. One of those acts was Downtown Science.

In 1991, 3rd Bass boardsmith Sam Sever and his producing partner/MC Bosco Money put out a self titled debut album on Def Jam records. Room To Breathe was the first single and it was a smooth banga. Over a futuristic sounding loop, Bosco states pretty much what DTS is about: Sam's sick samples and his own positive rhymes. Bosco's style and cadence evokes a less political Chuck D, whom I honestly thought may have had a hand in writing this back then but I have to chalk that up to my youth. When I was younger I would break on his hat but now I appreciate the dudes lyrics and the decision to kick positive, clean rhymes.

The song was a minor hit in wide release but was pretty dope with DJ's and "headz" alike. The loop was resurrected three years later by Redman on "Bobyahed2dis" off the Dare Iz a Darkside album.

Check the leadoff single from the group and if you like it, it's available at:

Downtown Science-Downtown Science (Def Jam Records 1991)

Room To Breathe-Downtown Science

1. Room To Breathe (Radio Mix)
2. Room To Boom (Dub)
3. Room To Breathe (Instrumental)
4.Out There But In There (Main Mix)
5. Out There But In There (Instrumental)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

DJ's: Rescue Your Vinyl!

Break out your old 12"'s and get busy. Rescue your vinyl with this simple device. As a former DJ who no longer has his 1200's, this is a godsend!


The ION TTUSB05 is the perfect turntable for archiving and digitizing your vinyl music collection. USB connectivity simplifies conversion directly into your computer and with the included software for recording your music, you can now listen to your favorite music on CDs or portable media players. The ION TTUSB05 even features a standard, RCA line output for connecting to your home stereo or home theater system with no hassles.EZ Vinyl Converter by MixMeister is included free with the ION TTUSB05 and provides the easiest way to convert your records to your computer's digital music library. Simply plug in your ION TTUSB05 turntable, specify track information and in a few mouse clicks you're done!

EZ Vinyl Converter automatically imports your songs directly into your iTunes library. Once digitally converted, you can sort your music, make custom playlists, and easily take songs with you on an iPod or play them directly from your computer. Finally your record collection can be available wherever you are.In addition, the ION TTUSB05 comes with free Audacity software for editing your recorded tracks. Audacity helps remove clicks, pops and other noises from your recordings to restore the full quality of your vinyl.

It even enables you to convert 78 RPM records.
At $99.00 USD, the ION TTUSB05 is afordable for what it can do. Imagine saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of records on this thing. OK, maybe I'm late and all of y'all are laughing at me right now but I don't give a shit. I'll have this soon and that means more remixes and good shit for you all.
You can purchase it here:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Better Than The Original: Remix-A-Palooza II: Mix Harder

re·mix (rē-mĭks') tr.v., -mixed, -mix·ing, -mix·es.To recombine (audio tracks or channels from a recording) to produce a new or modified audio recording: remixed a popular ballad and turned it into a dance hit.n. (rē'mĭks')

re·mix·a·pa·looza (rē-mĭks'-a-pa-loosa') tr.v., -mixed, -mix·ing, -mix·es.To take dope shit you heard in your youth (audio tracks or channels from a recording) and put them together into a compilation to share with other headz, leaches and blog raiding sons of bitchez: when Animal Mother goes through his mp3's and picks out unique shit he loves.n. (rē'mĭks'-a-pa-loosa')

Yup...I'm back. It's that time again. I went to the vault(hard drive) and picked out some more of my favorite remixes and compiled them in a little collection for you. More big names! More "Oh yeah...I remember them cats."! It's all here. I usually like a uniqueness to my remixes so if they kick new lyrics, it's always a plus. I'm also particular to certain producers (Pete Rock, Beatnuts, Showbiz, Diamond D, Salaam, etc.) so there is alot of their work here. Let's get to it shall we?:

You Must Learn (Live From The Caucus Mountains Remix)-Boogie Down Productions: Leave it to the Teacha to get you out of your seat while diggin in your brain. With the assistance of hypeman Willie D, KRS takes the serious tone of the album version and gives it an almost block party-like feel. He's still teaching you about Benjamin Bannicker but he's also making you clap ya hands on this lively remix complete with mic checks, call and response with the crowd throughout the song and false stops. "We're not done...we're not done...CHECK THIS OUT!"

Toss It Up (The After Party)-Zhigge: Remix? Remake? Whore. Chick who bones after dinner on the first date. It's all the same man. I found the first Toss It Up a little too busy for me. "The After Party" sounds just like that, after the party when everyone is blunted out. The refrain is even changed to a laid back : "Toss it up. Toss it up, yeaaaaahh." Salaam Remi took a fiddle-driven sample(how often do you hear THAT in Hip-Hop?), added some horns and a nice snare and made a mellow, jazzy 90's type groove. Zhigge was an OK group for their time wonder how they'd rhyme today?

Silence Of The Lambs (Remix)-Showbiz & A.G.: I loved the original down to the happy flute that played in the background. On the remix however , Show went back to the lab and came out with a banger. This version was definitely made for the radio as all the profanity from the original is gone. The beat however is alot more sinister and the horns are more prominent. The interlude at the beginning with Kid Capri is one of my favorite beats that I used to go back to back on regularly. BX classic!

Case Of The P.T.A. (Remix)-Leaders Of The New School: You had to wait for the Sobb Story 12" to get this version. With in house production by Cut Monitor Milo, L.O.N.S. revisit the hallways of their first single and rip it with all new verses. Still makes you wanna East Coast Stomp. (Remember that?)

Yes You May (Remix) (feat. Big L)-Lord Finesse: This is kind of a two pronged attack. You have The Funky Technician who with the assistance of producer T-Ray took a minimalist approach to this remix. Standard early 90's jazzy type break with punchlines like: I'm spinnin' the action like a whirlpool/get wilder than a rapist in a catholic all-girls school Nothin' special right? Oh, did I mention that it's the first professional appearance on wax by an MC the name of Lamont Coleman? Listen to one of Hip-Hop's most underrated rhymers and a fallen great on this D.I.T.C. gem.

Oh My God (UK Flavor Remix)-A Tribe Called Quest: What's an Animal Mother comp without Native Tongues Posse representation? Not much of one if you ask me. Producer Tosh supplied Quest with a straight up outer space type sounding beat. It's more uptempo than the album version and I noticed that Phife's "Anti-batty boi big up is who I be" line wasn't cut. I suspect this was around the time of the Boom Bye-Bye hysteria. Dope track nonetheless. If anyone has the No Naim Remix with the vocals, holla at a brother. I wanted to add that one.

The World is Yours (Q-Tip Remix)-Nas: Esco got back in the studio with Tip behind the boards and blessed this jazzy remix with a few new lyrics and the Abstract chanting the chorus. The Pete Rock original stands on its own but this is a job well done by Q-Tip.

Flow On (Pete Rock Remix) (feat. Dai One & Sah-B)-Lords Of The Underground: Did somebody say Chocolate Boy Wonder? Had to get him in here! I didn't care much for the album version. The beat was nothing special and the upbeat tempo and grating chorus annoyed me. Pete who's half man/half SP, slowed the tempo down and gave it a much better baseline and the somewhat off key singing in the chorus worked. Funky and Doitall have always been underrated lyricists and they both turned in solid verses. A definite upgrade from the original.

Return Of The Crazy One (Lean Butter Bean Remix)-Digital Underground: The original "Crazy" was hot! The beat was thumpin' reminiscent of "Humpty Dance" minus the killer bassline (has there ever been a more identifiable bassline than "A-doooo-re-doooo-re"?) and Shock/Hump's vocals were sick as ever. I like this version however because it sounds like they were having FUN! From the nonsensical lyrics, to the slicked out R&B pace and the butchering of Bobby Caldwell with Hump wailing a digitally altered "I guess you wondered where I been", I'm all for it. Great f'in song!

Ego Trippin Part (Part Three) (Egoristic Mix)-De La Soul: De La done did it again! This was a bonus track featured on the Ego Trippin' (Part Two) 12". It's an entirley different song with a new beat that evokes thoughts of a carnival atmosphere and all new lyrics. Pos' "Johnny Feva..." verse may be one of my favorite verses of all time. He absoultely rips it, intentionally flubbing the line and starting over twice until he kills it! I was all smiles when I finally hunted this down on MP3(Thanks, Trav!)

It's On (Beatnuts Remix)-Naughty By Nature: The bassline at the beginning surges as if something's about to happen, and it does. Les and Ju put out another track that eclipses the original. The funky organs, 90's horns and Biz Mark "On and on..." sample are all keepers!

Letterman (Pete Rock Remix)-K-Solo: P to tha R gives his own spin on the Atomic Dog sample as Kevin Madison kicks one of my favorite rhymes of his. Always tight production from one of the best in the game and a solid lyrical effort by the former Hit Squad member.

The Shit Is Real (DJ Premier Remix)-Fat Joe: Primo laced Don Cartagena with his siganture sounds and scratches to make this probably one of the best songs Joe has ever done. Lean Back? Nah, I don't think so!

Searchin' (Remix)-Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth: A perfect way to end this comp! This is a great remix of the original Searchin'(which was a hell of a song) off the much over looked The Main Ingredient LP. Once again, Pete and C.L. shun the acapella over a new beat approach and have the Mecca Don lace the track with new vocals. A catchy hook and a sample of the original turn it into a great new interpretation. Overall, another Pete Rock banga.

If y'all like this, let me know. Part III is being worked on as you read this.

Animal Mother's Remix-A-Palooza II: MIX HARDER-Various Artists

Friday, December 7, 2007

20G WOW!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thanks y'all...(by "y'all" I mean the other thousand that visited besides my 19,000 relatives) Let's keep it goin'! I hope the few people that check in from time to time enjoy what I do. Sometimes it's hard for me to get on my grizzle like some of my contemporaries but I'm trying.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

24 Hours Of Insanity: A Tragic Loss And Another Senseless Act

Can we put the old school love on hold for a minute? Hip-Hop lost a pioneer in its powerful Southern Rap scene with the death of Pimp C on December 4, 2007. He and Bun B have been at it since '92 or so. To casual fans, he's one of the cats from Jay-Z's Big Pimpin' but UGK has meant so much more to the game.

Details are sketchy at the time but he was basically found expired in his room. I will not speculate on the cause because to each man what they do privately, behind closed doors is just that but it's definitely sad. Not only will he leave behind throngs of adoring fans but never forget that these are human beings and they leave behind loved ones as well. I thought about upping Too Hard to Swallow but out of respect for C and his fans, it's not the right time to give away his stuff at the moment, so I WILL NOT.

R.I.P. Chad "Pimp C" Butler

Another sensless act in the long line of continuing violence against black men by black men occurred yesterday when Bay area artist Spice 1 (born Robert L. Green, Jr.) was shot in the chest last night. His injuries aren't life threatening but what the fuck man? Growing up in the Bronx, I remember cats shootin' the fair one. You know, WITH THE HANDS!?! If you lost, you lost but you got to talk shit about it the next day. You and your friends might see duke one day and then it's on and he gets stomped out but guess what...he'll live! I'm not advocating violence as a means of resolution to life's everyday problems but god damnit, there's finality in a bullet. You can't blast someone and then say sorry.

I don't care if a dude skeeted on your chick and you caught him, snuffing out or trying to snuff out the precious gift we call life for any other reason but being in mortal danger yourself is wrong. Take a drink. Puff something. Hump something. This casually trying to end a dude's life for bullshit (and I know it was.) is straight wack juice.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Back When he was Nasty...but not quite Esco

In my humble blogosphere relevant opinion you can't like Hip-Hop and not like Nas! There I said it. Am I a fan? Yup! Do I think he won the Ether/Super Ugly war? Man.. Ether was like being locked in an elevator with Kimbo Slice after telling him you skeeted on his was pretty much finito, man. This ain't about Esco or Mr. Kelis, this is about young Nas...Nasty Nas...if your nasty...or something like that.

This collection(which I "leached" earlier this year before I started blogging. Big ups to whoever I got it from.) showcases a post BBQ/Illmatic Nas growing as a lyricist. This also contains real freestyling in it's purest form. "What does that mean" you ask? Stuttering, pauses beteween bars and some lines that will make you wince more than cheer. That's what comin off the top of the dome is about. Not your cribbed 16 on a sheet of notebook paper that will be on your next album. There are even some structured sets as well as him kicking his "Barbecue" verse again. He's no MC Supernatural or Craig G but Mr. Jones is definitely skilled.

While I believe it's incomplete, it's definitely a keeper. Some of the stand out cuts are The Foulness, a cautionary tale about jockin your neighborhood thug, a DJ Clue assisted spit session with The Firm wrecking the Road To Riches beat as well as a few Stretch and Bobbito appearances. Listen for young Akinyele and Noreaga as well as Cormega making guest appearances. Be warned: It's copied from tapes (remember those things?) so the sound is pretty tinny on some tracks but it's worth it just to get a glimpse at one of the greatest MC's who was developing his style at an early stage in his career.

Nas: The Early Freestyle Collection

Thursday, November 22, 2007



Monday, November 19, 2007

Rappers Don't Dance...Anymore...

Kane, Scoob & Scrap, Heav & The Boyz, Chubb Rock and Hot Dog, remember when it was cool to know how to shake your ass? Not this forced, "how to" finger snapping, let's name a dance after food or a cartoon character garbage but that good old Kid n' Play kind of kick step shit. Call me nostalgic but damn, it seems like everything was better back then when dudes were worried about mackin' chicks and looking cool doing it than how many bodies they caught. Then again rappers don't dance anymore.

I remember back in high school when me and my boys would watch Video Music Box and try to catch all the steps and learn them before we went to the clubs or parties. From Redhead Kingpin's leg catching trick to anyone of MC Serch's nonsensical moves, we wanted to do that. We never thought dancing was corny or soft (...OK, Kid n' Play would present a strong argument to the contrary but y'all all loved House Party! DON'T FRONT!). LL danced in Jingling Baby and even when Kane did Arsenio Hall, we knew when he finished rhyming, he was gonna get busy with moves...and he did and everyone talked about it the next day.

I think dancing got a bad rap when everyone and their mother wanted to be Nino Brown . Gangsta-ism pretty much put a stranglehold on the creativity and originality in Hip-Hop. Like I said before, it even had Cool J talking about "puttin slugs in domes". Dudes even stopped smiling unless they had a woman's ass in their face. One interview in particular always stuck in my mind: Fat Joe was asked about Hammer during his Pumps And A Bump phase and he said: "He all dancing around in a bathing suit, with a waterfall and girls, THAT'S NOT Hip-Hop." Fast forward to the last six years and any Terror Squad video and you can see the silly posturing and hypocrisy behind that.

All I'm saying is: It's ENTERTAINMENT, man! Entertain me. I don't care how many of your childhood friends you can fit on stage with white towels in their hand ice-grillin', do something! And not these cats who make songs about dancing. That's gimmicky and all they talk about is how to do the dance. Unless you're gonna actually start shooting people in your videos, smile a little. Move a little. If you really got skills, no one will think you're a cornball. Look at the "Hip-Hop honors" from last year, Common was break dancing and Kane did his thing. IT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE WHOLE DAMN SHOW! 'NUFF SAID!

Ahhhh, I'm taking it back to the early 90's. Older heads watch these vids and remember how good it was.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Know Your History: Hugh Masekela...Still Grazin'

"Sure is mellow grazin' in the grass"-Nice and Smooth knew that 16 years ago. However, you'd have to go back 23 years before that to truly understand the impact of that one song.

In 1968 South African trumpeter, Hugh Masekela had a huge hit with his jazzy instrumental Grazing In The Grass. The 4 million selling song was a giant mash up of instruments including: cowbells, drums, horns and piano. It was also one of the few instrumentals to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Only a year later the R&B group The Friends of Distinction had another top 10 hit with their version of Grazin' now with lyrics.(Nerd Trivia: In "I'm Gonna Get You Sucka" when Jim Brown and Isaac Hayes are driving around it's playing on the radio. The irony is Brown used to manage the group back in the day. Can you imagine telling that dude he can't get more than 10% of your shit?)

I have to admit, I had no idea the two were the same song. It wasn't until I started reading liner notes as a DJ that I got the correlation. In '91 Nice & Smooth effectively used the sample on One, Two and One More Makes Three off of their album Ain't A Damn Thing Changed. It was a noisy homage to Masekela's original with the "impeach" break draped over it and classic Greg Nice-isms like: "Almond Joy/Butta Finga/rapper actor and a singer/jump start the mic like it ain't no thing-a". While The Friends version has been used in everything from GAP commercials to the Anchorman trailer, I prefer the jazzy, laid-back vibe of the genuine article.

Check 'em out and see for yourself.
Grazing In The Grass (1968)-Hugh Masekela
Grazin' In The Grass (1969)-The Friends Of Distinction
One, Two And One More Makes Three-Nice & Smooth

Monday, November 5, 2007

Looka What I Got: Hard To Find Album Drop

Back in the early 90's, the Blackwatch movement was in FULL EFFECT. X Clan dropped two well received albums and with that success comes spin off joints. Rebel Soul is one of those offshoots and Isis (Lin Que to the uninformed) is a capable MC. Out of the three including Queen Mother Rage and Professor X's own solo joint, this one showed the most promise. She delivers her rhymes with an intensity that makes you take notice and her lyrical content wasn't about "I'll steal your man" or how fat her ass was, she spoke of love of her African heritage and black unity (whatever happened to that, Hip-Hop?). Stand out cuts are title track and The Power of Myself is Moving. Didn't change the face of rap but it's a nice piece for X Clan completists.

Rebel Soul-Isis

Rebel Soul (3:49)

Face The Bass (5:42)

Great Pimptress (3:37)

In The Mind Of One (4:16)

Hail The Words If Isis (5:04)

To The Crossroads (6:42)

The Power Of Myself Is Moving (3:12)

The Wizard Of Optics (3:54)

The House Of Isis (5:32)

State Of Mind (3:51)

Pretty much in the tradition of the Mr. Magic series, The Propmaster puts his own stamp on the compilation market with a nice collection of hits at the time. Kinda hard to find and I may have to re-up as I'm having problems.

Red Alert Goes Berserk-Various Artists


Salt 'N' Pepa-My Mic Sounds Nice (4:52)

Black Rock & Ron-That's How I'm Living (4:42)

Boogie Down Productions-South Bronx (5:06)

Ultramagnetic MC's-Bait (2:27)

Kings Of Pressure-Armed & Dangerous (3:40)
Producer -
Carl Ryder , Hank Shocklee (Bomb Squad drop, Trav!)

Ultramagnetic MC's-Ego Trippin (5:28)

Salt 'N' Pepa-I'll Take Your Man (6:05)

Masters Of Ceremony (2)-Cracked Out (5:03) (old school PUBA!)

Sparky D -Don't Make Me Laugh (5:17)

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Remember the weird kid in class? Not the booger picker or the dude that had the doo-doo breath and big ass dandruff but the kinda cool kid that talked to them? The one you would scratch your head and ask: "Why the hell is he doing that?" Ultra was that weird kid. In 1988 when It Takes A Nation Of Millions was making most of my friends angry at "the man", Critical Beatdown was making me nod my head. It's not that they didn't care it's just that it wasn't their niche.

Sometimes I feel Ultra gets a little disrespected with their place in "history". While Keith's rhymes are definitely some of the most bizarre lyrical tangents on wax, Ced's production is often overlooked. He was one of the first producers to cull different samples together and form cohesive songs from that...yes, pre-Bomb Squad! His uncredited work on BDP's Criminal Minded will attest to that. A perfect example of this is Traveling At The Speed of Thought with it's guitar-heavy, "Wild Thing" sampled riff.

After Beatdown they released Funk Your Head Up, which to me missed it's mark and didn't really stand out other than the immortal Poppa Large and the subsequent East and West Coast remixes(if anyone has that West Coast, holla!). The Four Horsemen is actually my favorite Ultra album. With the assistance of Godfather Don on the boards, they really laid down some dope shit. Raise It Up has my second favorite Keith verse (They said yo Keith yo Kool you usin big words/I went to college I'm even more stupid herb). Also give The Saga of Dandy, The Devil & Day, Yo Black and the Man On The Street a listen. More of a companion to the first album then Funk in my opinion.

For nostalgia's sake, I'm putting up Beatdown for a limited time.
Critical Beatdown-Ultramagnetic MC's
If you want to get Horsemen which is a great album, purchase it here:
The Four Horsemen -Ultramagnetic MC's

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Cream of The Top 10 REALLY BAD Ideas/Trends In Hip-Hop #5-1

Let's continue/cuz I got more"-Cool Chip


5. Horrorcore:
Abortions with rusty hangers? Check! Impregnation by demons and sex with corpses? Check and DOUBLE CHECK! Carrot Top? Ok, he doesn't have shit do with this but have you seen him lately? He scares the hell outta me. Around 1994, Russell Simmons coined the term when describing his group Flatlinerz and their type of music. He said it was the next phase of Hip-Hop. I think he also said that he and Kimora would last forever around the same time as well... Anyway, other than the Gravediggaz and RA The Rugged Man's Crustified Dibbs experiment, it amounted to little more than a bunch of cats trying to outgross each other and alot of A&R types signing anyone who could rhyme something with "fish hook up the ass". In one way, I think guys like RZA pushed themselves creatively to do this stuff...but then again the original title of the Diggaz album was Niggamortus. Fortunately, a little album called Ready To Die changed alot of people's tastes that year and Horrorcore took it's rightful place in the morgue...or the .99 cent bin at Tower Records.

4. New Jack Swing:
Damn you Teddy Riley! I love Heavy D. and Redhead Kingpin was my shit back in the day but Wreckxxx N Effect? Guy? Christopher Williams? Hip-Hop had an affair with new wave R&B in the early 90's. They used the same breaks and beats as rap but they sang over them with an occasional "guest rap". In one way, it was very radio-friendly and softened up MTV and other stations (VH-1) for the urban-heavy rotations that would come later on. However it was mostly forgettable, rapidly dated stuff that didn't stand the test of time. Does anyone realize that this music is responsible for Color Me Badd? That's like knowingly dropping a cannister of Ebola in Times Square! You're out of you're frickin' minds over there at Viacom. Hip-Hop Honors my ass.


In 1993 this happened:

...YES that's big homie from Juice...yes...Steel!

In 1995 THIS HAPPENED! Do I have to say anything else? DO I? There's a Ron Jeremy and DJ Polo single out there too. BAD IDEA? Nah, I'm buggin'...

2. Ballas "Rappin' ":
Now I'm not talking about the immortal Jewelz LP by the lyrical dynamo known as A.I. This even predates the Roy Jones Back in the early 90's, Shaquille O'Neal launched a multi-media camapign the likes of which no one had seen before. Shaq was in movies. He had action figures, a Pepsi deal, there was even Shaq-condoms (which he never took advantage of...OK I'm lyin'about the hats but dude got swimmers.) He even released an album with some decent rhymes that had some top shelf producers at the time. So what happened next? B-Ball's Best Kept Secret, a collection of really (below) average NBA player/ rhymers paired with the likes of Grand Puba, Diamond D, Warren G., Clark Kent and few others. Shaq appearing on this collection was like a guest appearance from Hov. They were all that bad! What did it produce? A Cedric Ceballos single and an in depth interview on Inside Stuff about his upcoming album and single "Ain't That Type of Party" *shudder* A MERCIFULLY SHELVED SCOTTIE PIPPEN ALBUM! Dude talks like the illegitimate son of Cleveland from Family Guy and Barry White. Manure like this is the reason why people even entertained the idea of Iverson or Jones. Bad Hip-Hop! *slaps its hand* Bad HIP-HOP!

1. Nice & Smooth team up with...NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK!?! A collab is a collab, right? The Fat Boys teamed up with The Beach Boys and Chubby Checker! Big Daddy Kane looked like the black member of Sgt. Pepper when he teamed up with Patti LaBelle in that video! PE did a song with Anthrax! This however is like going to a cemetary, digging up a corpse re-burying it face down and then taking a steaming dump on the site. This is the unholiest of unholies. Here's the story: After a bit of a layoff, New Kids got tired of being a running joke in the industry and tried to make a comeback. So what did they do? They Bin Ladened my Hip-Hop. Just look at the video with all the cliche's(hoodies, bonfires, Timbs, ROTTWEILERS!) The unkindest cut was listening to Greg Nice deliver this gem: Yo (yo) why you wanna act like a tramp? (tramp)/a wet food stamp. That was like getting kicked in the nuts by Hercules. Even worse...the production isn't half bad. They even sampled James Brown's Papa Don't Take No Mess and DWYCK. Still, definitely one of the darkest days in music and an ENORMOUSLY BAD IDEA. Just watch:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Famous Firsts: They Let The Roadie Kick A Rhyme?

When did he know? When do you think Tupac Amaru Shakur or Lesane Crooks (according to some "documents" of dubious origin) realized he was gonna be one of the greats? Not just a good or passable rapper as this first song shows but a titan. If you played Same Song from Digital Undergrounds This Is An EP Release and said that to me, I would have slapped the looney clean out of you.

In 1991 Digital Underground was on top of the world off the strength of Humpty Dance and Doowutchyalike. They could basically write their own ticket and release throw away material that people will buy anyway...and they did. Between Sex Packets and Sons of the P, Shock G., Hump and the boys released This Is An EP Release to satisfy DU fans cravings for new material. The first single was Same Song which was released to coincide with their cameo in the Dan Ackroyd/Demi Moore crapfest Nothing But Trouble. The video was the usual underground craziness but they had another dude. It was a young X Clan-ed out Tupac being carried on throne as he delivered a rhyme that was anything but spectacular. My man Humpty was talking about "sweat drippin'/girlies in the limo eatin' chicken" and this cat was talking about clowning around with the Underground? Whatever, but like I said in the Common steps, man.

Later on that year a month or so after DU dropped Sons Of The P, Tupac (now 2Pac) dropped 2Pacalypse Now. The album came out at a bad time in rap when every politician was scapegoating rap for damn near the cause of hunger in 3rd world countries. Even with Brenda's Got A Baby and Trapped, the album was a dud at the time and we wouldn't get an album from him for two years until Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z. We all know what happened after I Get Around and Keep Ya Head Up came out so it would be redundant to retell it. It's safe to say that average XClan rapping cat stepped his game up and poured his heart into a pen and then put it to paper. He is maybe one of the 10 greatest rappers of all time but you wouldn't guess it by his first display. Then again, Kobe averaged 7.6ppg his first year and he turned out decent.

Although 'Pac only rhymes on one track, it's an important part of the puzzle for 2Pac completists. The album has only two exceptional songs: the Jimi Hendrix sampled The Way We Swing and the very jazzy R&B-esque remix to Sex Packets. If not for it being the world premiere of one of the gods of rap, I'd definitely tell y'all to leave it alone.

Digital Underground-This Is An EP Release

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I Shouldn't Have Done It: The Top 10 REALLY BAD Ideas/Trends In Hip-Hop #10-6

When you love something, you love it warts and all. You take the good and the bad. If you have a funny Uncle Cleofus who's funny as hell but he smell like ass, you still hug him at the cookout but you keep it movin'...FAST. Well, I love Hip-Hop in all it's forms (even New Jack Swing but VH-1 was out of their flippin' minds however...) and even if there is an Uncle Cleofus or two, I'll hug 'em and keep it movin'. These guys get the Hug n' Move treatment:

10. LL Cool Thug, Gangsta Hammer & The Blue Cheese Guys Carry Machetes:

People do things to stay in the public eye. Britney shows that twizzy whenever she gets in and out of cars. Other celebs call the paps everytime they step out to go throw out the trash and rappers change their style. Fruits of Nature was dope! I understand that there was more to them than that image but Unleashed with the bonfires, hoodies and machetes? Come on man. I found out that lack of label support had a lot to do with this by third party accounts as well as reading stuff from Kool Kim but Timbo Hammer and Grimey L? Bad judgment. I understand this all happened Post-Wu and Pre- Shiny Suit but you can't introduce yourself wearing Genie pants and Solid Gold dancer gear and then all of a sudden you embrace your inner Treach and start stompin' in a speedo with boots and a skully. Uncle L? The man who made earrings jingle and needed love talking about shooting people in the head? Survey says: "ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

9. Rigeddy-Rawr!!!:

Who started it? Who igiddy-ed in my biggidy? Some people say it was Jaz and Jay-Z. Other people claim Das took it to the next level but due to HEAVY jock riding, it got tired real quick. Chip-Fu gave me a headache and Original Flavor (feat. Jay-Z) was more of the same. When this cat started doing it weekly on 90210 (hey my sister used to watch that shit...) and had the cajones to "drop" a RAP ALBUM? NO MIGGIDY MAS!!

8. Female Versions of Male Groups:

Aquaman had Aqualad. Flash had Kid Flash. Then there was BWP, H.W.A. and The Ghetto Girlz...*channeling Nancy Kerrigan* WHY!?! I don't remember thinking to myself: "Golly I wonder how Scarface would rap if he was a chick?" This was a cheap marketing ploy made up by dumb ass record execs who would rather jump on the back of something than create from scratch. I remember in that wack ass "My Man's Playin Tricks on Me" video that they had a midget there...TO BE A MIDGET! That's it! Word to Bushwick, that chick didn't say shit. She just completed the group! Good news is that the guy that signed them now has a part time job testing bullet proof vests. Ok...well...he should...

7. Kid Rappers Mean Muggin' and Growin' Up Fast:

Remember Illegal? Remember how frightened you were when you saw Malik and Jamal on camera and thought: "Where the hell are their parents?" Remember when Da Younstaz decided that they weren't gonna pass the mic but crack it over your fuckin' head? The saddest part about that was I remember listenin to No Mercy (Where the oldest one had to be 16) and on one of their songs, they "reminisced" about "goin' in raw without wearin' a hat." I guess nobody wants to Miss The Bus anymore? Jesus.

6. The Hip House Movement:

Don't kill me! I don't mean the legendary I'll House You or "dance rap" like Doug E. Fresh's Summertime or Rob Base's It Takes Two. I'm talking about the shit that had me and my friends puttin colors in our flat tops and wearing big ass leather shoes with metal tips on them and baggy open shirts (Ahh..shut the hell up!). House music was big and at one point alot of artists had a house cut on their album (see: The House That Cee Built or EPMD's It's Time To Party) but I'm sorry most hip house music was boring and repetitive and most importantly had extremely short shelf life. You'd bus' out Rock Box in your ride today but you wouldn't dare pump any of that nonsense. Even De La Soul was sick of it as evidenced by Kicked Out The House off the De La Soul Is Dead LP. I get it, "Get up dance, shake your butt...etc." but Do It To The Crowd? Neneh Cherry on Video Music Box every week? KYZE (The Stomp! Move Jump Jack Your Body dude)? Kill me...No seriously...KILL ME!


Saturday, October 13, 2007

You Can't Have That: The Art & History of Beatboxing

"Yeah but...HE AIN'T NICE LIKE JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE!" I never understood why adults wanted to slap the shit out of teenagers on principle until that moment. I was on the bus with some cookie cutter wiggas (don't like the word but can't find another one that fits...) and heard the tail end of a conversation about BEATBOXING and JT was being considered as ONE OF THE BEST? If you want to pretend to know about a culture you so recklessly steal from, at least watch some old stuff or crack a book. The knowledge is out there. The legends deserve better than this.

Modern Beatboxing (the true 5th element of Hip-Hop) really took hold in the early 80's. A young MC by the name of Doug E. Fresh appeared on a single called Pass the Budda with Spoonie G. in 1983. Fresh would claim that he invented beatboxing even before the release of that single. Fresh was known for his rapid and deep bass sound as well as his tongue clicks. Now there is dispute and even a little friendly beef from back then as Darren "Buffy" Robinson of the Fat Boys had come out around the same time and was called "The Human Beat Box". It was his style that helped the then Disco 3 win a talent contest and record contract. Robinson's sound was very bass heavy and relied more on heavy exhaling and clapping his hands closely to his lips. It was unique in that he liked to talk and say his name while doing it. In the legendary La-Di-Da-Di/The Show single, The Get Fresh Crew (Chill Will, Barry B. and Slick Rick) referred to Doug as "The Original Human Beatbox". For many years, these two were the standard that all were measured by.

The Holy Trinity: Darren "Buffy" Robinson, Biz Markie & Doug E. Fresh

As the 80's rolled on, a young DJ by the name of Biz Markie started beat boxing for Roxanne Shante and a group of friends known as the Juice Crew. Biz did the usual bass, treble and clicks as the guys before him but by adding what looked like a light chop to his throat, he was able to greatly distort the sound that came out. He would often name his crew, himself and other things while "choppin" and later mimiced beats from popular songs by artists like Nu Shooz and Whistle. This inspired a whole new legion of beatboxers to try and improve upon what the men before them did and catapulted it to the mainstream. It is being kept alive today by innovators like Rahzel, Kenny Muhammed, Click The Supah Latin and a host of others.

For a real treat, try to pick up or rent Breath Control: The History of the Human Beatbox, a documentary by Joey Garfield. It has interviews from the aforementioned trinity and other experts at their craft such as Emanon, D.O.A. and Scratch. It feels short at 73 minutes but it's crammed full of good info and anecdotes. And to those Ecko wearing walking stand up routines, Justin Timberlake is NOT Hip-Hop! Those two idiots in the McDonald's commercial are NOT Hip-Hop! Sweater vest from American Idol IS NOT HIP-HOP! Don't let some corporate a-hole from the 'burbs tell you what is. Know your history and respect the culture. As a favor, I've included a Beatbox Sampler that includes:
Stick 'Em-The FatBoys: Buff overhsadows the 'Boys with a fierce beat boxing sessions that starts off with his version of The Star Bangled Banner.

La-Di-Da-Di-The Get Fresh Crew:The seminal hit which features Doug's signature bass and clicks.

A-One-Two-Biz Markie: The Inhuman Orchestra starts off with the naming of his crew but then gets ridiculous by singing in between and doing his versions of Just Buggin' and I Can't Wait.


...And It's Still All Good Presents: Da Beat Box Sampla