Friday, June 22, 2007

What I Call Produce

Now That's What I Call Produce was an 8-song "bonus disc" EP that came free with Raw Produce's Feeling of Now album from Sandbox in 2004. It's a collection of rare and unreleased tracks from Raw Produce. All the unreleased tracks (and even some of the released ones) later found their way onto Raw Produce's really nifty Selling Celery To Get a Salary compilation, which came out on Pro Se Recordings (Cadence's label) in 2006, but for a long time this was the only way to hear 'em. Well... all that is, except for one (more on that when we get to it). I'm not gonna write much about the previously released stuff, assuming any Raw Pro fan is familiar with this stuff, and this post will be long enough anyway... but I do have some great notes that Pitch wrote for each track that I'll share with you guys as we go.

The first track is "Fruit of Our Labor," which had been floating around on mp3 for years (I don't remember how it first came out on mp3... it's possible I got it from Insomnia and debuted it in my column in the late 90's... or not. I'm really not sure now. hehe), but this was its first proper release (allowing that a freebie bonus disc from a single online vendor counts as a proper release, which it really kinda doesn't). It's from their demo, before even their debut "Make a Mark" 12"... Here, I'll just let Pitch explain it, "from our first demo, it remains one of my favorite Raw Produce songs - points to anyone that can name that opening sound clip." And for the record, I cannot name that opening sound clip. ;)

Secondly we have "Make a Mark," which was first released as the b-side to their "Cycles" 12" in 1995. I'll jump right to Pitch's comments here... "from our first single because a lot of folks don't have it. A pain in the ass to mix." Good song; not as good as "Cycles." 'Nuff said.

The third track is "Who's Right (Remix)." Ok, here's where we talk Japan. See, Raw Produce had been planning to release their first full-length album, The Feeling of Now (unless you count their Refrigerator Poetry EP as a full-length release, which I kinda do... but, whatever. You get the point) for ages. Seriously, it had been announced many years before it finally got released - Insomnia Records sent me a sound clip ofthe title track way back in '98 to promote the album; and it didn't wind up coming out 'till 2004. When they finally started making their comeback (as it were), and it looked like TFoN would finally be released, they made a deal with handcuts Records to put out an alternate version of the album, called Now and Then, in Japan. TFoN wound up getting held up even more, and the Japanese album managed to come out a good year before the US version (which threw the clever play between the titles a little off). Anyway, each album featured some exclusive tracks not featured on the other version (you can check my Raw Pro page for the specific track-listings, of course), and while TFoN featured the song, "Who's Right," NaT had the remix. Pitch says, "from the Japanese release of our record, it's a remix that Cad and I put together for fun."

Now track number four - "I Got a Rhyme" - is the never released one. Probably because it's just, as Pitch says, "a Cadence freestyle - definitely cool." But it's hot. The hook is based off of a fun Common Sense line, "I've got a rhyme; You've got a rhyme. But my rhyme is better than yours" from "Orange Pineapple Juice." Cadence raps over the same track, which has a pretty similar sensibility to Raw Produce's production sound, and kicks some slick, playful wordplay, which is the perfect blend of clever rhymes and a smooth flow that makes the material even better:

"My rhymes are better than
The next half-assed attempt.
MCs are reckless on mics.
I call their number if they slumber,
Servin' breakfast on mics.
But there's no need to get defensive.
The phrase turner Cadence rockin' the mic for my man, Pensive.
Bringing Deep Thoughts like Jack Handy.
Hand me the man of the year lyricist;
This is the way to the gym.
Buildin' and still I'm Poisonin' the Minds of Children.
A slaughter
Crossin' the front lines from South of the border.
Free delivery,
Bringing you the chaos that you ordered;
Hate when MC's are worth less like Canadian quarters.
Sort of insanity,
As if rockin' the mic was an embarrassment;
I came to bring some good old fashioned American arrogance!
I learned it from George - my man W,
Who said, 'I have no morals, fuck this.
I'm bombin' cats; don't let it trouble you.'
That's the example to follow; forget tomorrow.
If your ass can't cash the checks,
There's always trouble to borrow.
Fuck the world, right?
If it's no justice, no peace,
Then blast peace to pieces, then the need for justice will cease.
At least that's the plan,
The plan, the propaganda;
And it's a thin line lyin' between dissent and slander.
hand to hand, I stand to combat the hate;
Make no mistake, Cadence got proirities straight.
'Cause in these days and times of illegally wagin' wars,
Think I give a fuck, kid? My rhyme is better than yours!"

...Then Pitch comes in with some fresh scratching at the end. F'in' nice.

Track five was the first proper, never otherwise released, full song (until Selling Celery, of course): "Green Is the Color." Pitch writes, "from our first demo tape, this song is about naivete and jealousy. Have one of our first cut breaks that we would come back to in 'Mister Dope America.'"

Track six is "Nervous," a nice little number you probably remember from their Refrigerator Poetry EP. Pitch wrote, "my personal unreleased Raw Pro track (actually, it was on the Japanese-only EP) - this is probably one of my favorite overal RP songs."

If six is one of Pitch's favorites, seven is one of mine. "Mister Dope America" originally came out on 12" in 1998. It was (foolishly, IMHO) left off The Feeling of Now domestic release, but did find its way onto the NaT version. Pitch's notes: "the joke that just about no one got, or they got it and didn't think it was funny. Was originally supposed to have Pos from De La Soul on it but he backed out at the last minute. I think this song, and the reaction it to it cause Cad to write the immortal line "'Making real music for the six people who give a fuck.'" Of course, I'm as much a De La fan as anybody, but this is such a classic, I think we're better off without having Pos on the track... though I have to admit, I'm damn curious.

Finally, track eight is "Sink Or Swim," another debut at the time. Pitch wrote, "from our first demo tape, a downright silly song but still kind of fun. We were thinking of excluding it and then said what the hell. Definitely interesting for those interested in the evolution of the RP sound."

Today, sadly, Raw Produce is no more. Pitch has given it up, it seems. Their site,, is still live at the moment, but it says right on the front page, "this site will gradually fade to black." :(

Cadence is still in the game, at least. He's put out two solo albums to date and produces for artists like Zimbawbee Legit who've got a new album coming out called House of Stone (due out on pH Music/Pro Se Recordings in late summer/early fall*). It's just not as good without Pitch (Cadence's solo output, I mean; not the Zimbawbee Legit album), though personally I think a large part of the blame for that can be put on the fact that he constantly passes the mic to guest rappers (some better than others) on his albums, since Cade is definitely still a very talented MC and producer, and his stuff is always worth checking for. He has a myspace page here (he's also been known to post on the DWG and VE boards). Heck, if we support him enough and he keeps building a following, then maybe he'll even be able to talk Pitch out of retirement down the road. ;)

ERRATA: (updated on 07/02/07) This correction comes from Cadence himself, so I'll just give you guys his exact words, "in the interest of giving credit where it's due, the cuts on 'I Got Rhyme' are from the original Common track. I did it for a mixtape (by a DJ form Canada named Pensive) and the lyrics ended as the cuts began, so I left them in. And Pitch--multi-talented though he is--never laid down a scratch--good bad or otherwise--in his life. Ask him h'ell tell ya the same, he knows my name..."

And what's more, it's got a guest appearance by Chubb Rock. =)


  1. I'm digging the blog but why don't you upload mp3's of the material you're posting about?

  2. Thanks!
    As for why no mp3s, it's just not that kinda blog.  I wanna inspire people to go out and dig and enjoy collecting music, not just DL digital copies where the artist loses out.
    Besides, there's like a bajillion mp3 blogs, and only a handful that actually write substantially about records.  So I figured the world needed another type 2.  :)

  3. Nerd warning.......

    I'm a couple of years late commenting, but better late than never.... maybe...

    Just thought i'd mention, don't forget that the 'Who's Right' remix that is on this cd, differs, just ever so slightly to the version that appears on the Japanese release 'Now and Then'

    You may recall we discussed it a good few years back over on the Raw Pro message board, you may want to get clarification from Cade or Pitch, but i'f memory serves me..... Neither of them had realised there was any difference, and it certainly wasn't intended! The difference is so slight some may not even notice it....... I'm going from the memory as i haven't got both by me now to compare but i'm sure there was some ever so slight difference between the horns, i think on one version or the other some horns or something do not come in...... give it a close listen.... I'll check later and clarify the differences.

    Anyway, on another note....... i need to track down a copy of the 'Cycles' video.... anybody help me, always meant to pick the dvd up off of sandbox that had it on, but now i can't remember what dvd it was to look for.....



  4. Yeah, JM! I miss the RP forums; those were fun times. ...I'm gonna have to break out my two copies of "Who's Right" and compare; I forgot about that.

    The DVD was Culturama volume 4. 8)