Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Great Album Ideas (Partially) Ruined By a REALLY BAD Decision!

Ok... so if you haven't already seen them, be prepared for some good news. A new label called No Sleep Recordings, with some big-time distribution through Traffic Entertainment, have released two compilations of vintage, unreleased material from Godfather Don and Kwest tha Madd Ladd! Woot! And from what I hear, the sound quality is top notch. So, go get them. You want them.

Ok, now here's the REALLY BAD decision of the title that has be so incredibly frustrated with the guys at No Sleep who put this together - Both of these albums are chock full of previously released cuts. And both artists have way more than enough great unreleased tracks to take their place and fill the albums. The official write up for the Kwest tha Madd Ladd's These Are My Unreleased Tracks says, "he recorded over 50 songs, many of which were not present on his debut." Over fifty. So why have they filled the CD with stuff like the old "What's the Reaction?" remix and the tracks from his Gub-Ment Cheese 12" instead? "What's the Reaction" remix? That's not even rare!

I could see if he only had, like, 5 or 6 unreleased tracks, and so they decide to fill the album with "bonus" 12" remixes and such... But this way we'll still probably never hear most of those 50 genuinely unreleased tracks!

It's the same with Godfather Don's The Ninties Sessions. It's FULL of tracks from his old Hydra 12"'s that all us fans already have. They've even included 5 of the 6 tracks from his recent Slave of New York EP. Meanwhile, we know there are a grip of other Don cuts that have never seen the light of day. For instance, there's about 10 really great Cenubites songs I've got radio dubs of - at least as good as on the original, classic Cenubites EP - and they have never been released! Those would have been wonderful to have included on this album.

Anyway, both albums do have some quality recordings of some actual unreleased tracks... so they're worth picking up. And a little extra good news: according to their myspace page, "for all you fellow vinyl junkies, we will be releasing several limited 12" samplers of music previously unavailable on wax." So that's promising. But, man, No Sleep's decision to keep us from hearing those genuinely unreleased tracks in favor of "What's the Reaction" remix? FUCKING WACK!!

Update: No Sleep has addressed the issue of the other Kwest tracks, saying "we don't have them and sadly they may never be obtained. Unfortunately, Kwest did not keep good copies from back then. We were EXTREMELY fortunate to get DAT copies of what is on the CD from Dan Charnas himself. He does not have everything either but shared everything he did keep. Kwest constantly tells us about additional songs and concepts that he worked on, but are now lost to the ages...The album currently consists of material recorded and left off his debut album, as well as songs that were recorded soon after his album for the EP he was working on. He opted out of his deal before the release of this EP. A fan can tell which songs are from the EP by the noticed change in his style and wordplay (i.e. "Bust 'Em Off" and "Why Me?"). In short, what was found is what was released on this CD....To make the purchase stronger we added the 12" only stuff to please long time fans.."

They also addressed the similar topic of Don's other unreleased material: "as a huge fan of Stretch and Bobbito, I know (as most other fans do) about the deluge of material that was out there...Again, Don doesn't have copies of a lot of things anymore. He does have unreleased Cenobites material but that could not be included without involving Kool Keith. We are currently working on getting that stuff out to you too, so stay tuned! Hopefully through other sources, we can get you more of the solo material as well. Again, sound quality is key with these releases and our goal is hopefully share as many songs as we can in proper CD format."

I have to say, these are pretty satisfactory answers, and the fact that they're working on releasing more of Don's stuff is certainly promising. Apparently there are still issues of them breaking an exclusivity deal that Don had with DWG for material from their Slave of New York EP, but I guess I'll leave that between them. So good looking, No Sleep, for speaking on these issues and I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for your next Don release.

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  1. I totally agree I was so amped when I seen the covers then I read the tracklists.
    What a disappointment. I hope these do well so maybe they'll do a volume 2 and have
    actual unreleased tracks on it.

  2. I agree that they should have put out more of the unreleased tracks. I have picked up Kwest because I have been waiting for music from him for a long time. Maybe this will make them release all of his old recordings and possibly have him record new stuff.

  3. I think Werner is hating because he WISHES he had the props to pull something like this off, lol.  At first I was confused as well.  With over 50 tracks why wasn't the Kwest a 2CD?  Then I read more closely and it said that 50 tracks were RECORDED (not unreleased) at American...With 18 tracks on the debut and 17 tracks on this CD...thats a good chunk of that 50...Maybe Kwest doesn't have access to the rest anymore? Who knows...Well at least we were able to here some of this stuff and it is gay to complain 11 years later....Besides not all of us are vinyl collectors.  I always wanted a digital version of "What's The Reaction" remix.  Never look in a gift horse's mouth, Werner....

  4. Well, I wouldn't really say I'm "hating," as I'm promoting and recommending people purchase these two albums; but sure - like any fan, I wish I had the access to make any flawed album better, especially when just one, painfully obvious boneheaded decision is all that's making them less than they could be.  I mean, who wouldn't like to have had the opportunity to tell Granddaddy IU's label how stupid it is to make him censor "Represent" on his album, when the album is otherwise full of explicit lyrics?  Who wouldn't like it if Rza called them and said, "what do you think about this lousy singing on the new Wu album?  Should I leave it on there?" and be able to say, "no; take it off and replace it with something good?"  I think we all want that.  ;)
    But I think in general we agree.  Both CDs (sad that they're CD only) are dope releases as a whole.  I wouldn't have even asked for or expected a double disc set (which obviously would've ben a major addition to their budget) - just that they not wastw the space that they could've used for genuinely unreleased material with stuff any fan could purchase... 50 minus 18 & 17 still leaves 15, after all.
    And digital copies of "What's the Reaction?" are already easily had since this was not just released on vinyl but cassette and CD single.  There're copies on gemm right now, 13 years later, for like $3.
    With Don also, I KNOW there's a grip more really hot unreleased tracks... I've heard a bunch of 'em; trust me, they deserve a proper release.  So why RErelease "Status" when you could have included one of them?  What's worse - five of the songs on this new CD were just released a few MONTHS earlier, on a different label!  Again, I call WACK.
    Album filler is fine when that's all there is to fill an album.  But in both cases we KNOW there are songs we'll now never get to hear, just because this label wants to repackage and sell us music we already bought b

  5. I can't understand your point (because no one even knew Kwest HAD unreleased material until this CD came out).  Have you or ANYONE ever heard the other hypothetical 15 songs?  If you have any, I would love to hear them..You ASSUME (and you know what they say about that) they left off material which may not even exist anymore...I say get the full story about these releases before you slander them!  I would like to see an interview about this series because I am really hoping they do more.  I love your blog, but I am disappointed that a dedicated head like you would be so against this.

  6. I am also hoping they do more!  Maybe my reply was a little too TLDR, but I specifically said in the blog entry and my last reply that I'm RECOMMENDING both albums.  I'm just saying, in addition to that... well, you know what I'm saying.  It's all up there.  ;)
    I don't see why my support for the albums has to be unconditional, however.  There's definitely a legitimate flaw there that ought to be pointed out.  It's the same as saying, "Craig G's first album is dope!  ...But man is that house song corny and kind of annoying."  Do we have to pretend to think "Turn This House Into a Home" is as good as "Dopest Duo Out of Queensbridge" for fear that any criticism will make Craig G cry and stop putting out records?
    You say no one even knew Kwest had unreleased material until this CD came out; but actually it was very public knowledge that Kwest had tons of unreleased material for ages.  He always mentioned it in interviews, and he even announced an EP of some of those songs that was scheduled to come out on American shortly after the LP focussing on more straight skill-flexing battle rhymes.
    As for an interview about the series... I'd like to see one, too.  So far they haven't done any (as far as I know).  In the meantime, though, there's a recent interview on where Kwest, talking about this album, says, "There is still stuff that people haven’t heard from me." (I recommend reading the whole interview, by the way.  It's very good)
    And, as I said, I've HEARD (I even have crappy, low quality mp3s of) many really awesome Godfather Don tracks that weren't included on his album.
    I don't know.  You seem to feel that if an album is good, even if it has flaws, you can only say good things about it and not point out these flaws (in hopes that maybe No Sleep will read these criticisms and not do the same thing on future releases).  That's not the way I feel.  So I guess our differenc

  7. (cont. - stupid 2000 character limit)
    ...differences are philosophical, so we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.  8)