Saturday, September 29, 2007

Werner Interviews Grand Daddy IU! (Part 2)

...continued from the previous post.

And then, in the late ‘90’s, you came out on Universal Records as a part of the Juice Crew 3rd Millennium. What was the deal with that project?|

I don’t know. That was Fly Ty and Mr. Magic; that was their shit. They called me up like, “yo. We need you to produce a track. We’re gonna do this, um, Juice Crew shit and whatever whatever.” I was like, “I-ight.”

And was there, at one time, ever going to be a whole Juice Crew 3rd Millennium album or something?

Nah… (Laughs) Fly Ty and Mr. Magic were some funny cats. They were wheelin’ and dealin’, you know what I’m saying? They had somehow got up in somebody’s ear in Universal and got them to give them a budget. But they ain’t had no artists, no acts! So they just threw some shit together and were like, “yo, this is gonna be the… Juice Crew 3rd Millennium or whatever. Let’s just put some shit together and let’s get these checks.”

Yeah, because on the label, it mentions a Mr. Magic sampler album called Mr. Magic's Greatest Flavors, that never came out.

Yeah, it never came out. They ain’t pushed that single! And the single was hot. They could’ve done something, but they just was in it for the check. Niggas was just tryin’ to get their checks, that’s all.

And Oz who was on that track… was he the same Oz from your independent 12”, “Oz’s Track?”

Yeah, from Hempstead, Terrace Ave. Me, him, and my other cat who’s locked up now… we was gonna do something, but they couldn’t get along. So that shit never panned out.

But he wasn’t ever actually considered part of Steady Flow, was he?


Who exactly was? And who is now?

Big Snow, Chapelle, Oz, my brother… like, a lot of motherfuckers. DuQuan. But now everybody just went their fuckin’ separate ways. Now, it’s just a few niggas left holdin’ it down.

And are any of them involved with the music, really, now? Like, are any of them going to turn up on the next Grand Daddy IU project, or…?

Nah, they just roll with me.

‘Cause I saw Big Snow had, like, a track or two up on his myspace

Yeah, he’s still doin’ it. A little something.

Now, who was that on your first album, talking on like “Sugar Free” and…

Ah! Easy Rick the playa! (laughs) He’s alright… He’s sick now. Got cancer; all kinds of wild shit… in the kidney…

Damn. …Well, then you had… when the Marco Polo LP came out on Rawkus, he had a song with you on the promo CD, called “Veteran?” But it never came out on the album.

Yeah, ‘cause the album was already done by the time we linked up. He was just doin’ a mix-tape for his shit.

Oh, ok. So is there a chance that’ll wind up on the B-side to his next 12” or something?

“Veteran?” That shit’s gonna be on my joint that’s coming out.

Ok, yeah, I was gonna ask that. You got an album coming out? What’s the go with that?

Yeah, it’s on Steady Flow… through Red Line Distribution. It’s called Stick To the Script, and I believe it’s… October 23rd, or some shit like that? October twenty-something, I don’t even know, but shit is hot. Strictly hip-hop, you know what I’m sayin’? The “Veteran” track is gonna be on there, one or two of the tracks that’s on my myspace are probably gonna be on there… “Take Off Your Clothes” and “Regrets.” It’s nineteen joints, mostly done by me; I did thirteen or fourteen.

And who did the other ones?

DJ Doom did one: “Regrets.” Freedom did “Take Off Your Clothes;” he’s some piano cat from out here in Queens. Chucky Madness did “Fuck With I.U.” Blunt did “Double Remy” and, damn… somebody else did one more. Oh, I’m buggin’. Marco Polo! And I also can’t forget: Large Professor did “Mack Of the Year.”

Oh, I thought I read an interview with you saying the tracks from that 12” were gonna be, like, that 12” only.

It was. But the cat from the distributor, Jameson, he wanted that motherfucker put on there. So I was like, “whatever.”

So is he putting on both of the tracks, or just the B-side?

Just “Mack Of the Year.”

So, you had an online only EP, Long Island’s Finest. Are any of those tracks… I think you sort of mentioned… will any of those songs be on the new album?

Nah. I ain’t putting any of that shit on that.

Ok, so is there any chance of that material getting any kind of a physical release? A CD or vinyl?

Nah. Or... nah; I don’t believe so. I don’t know anything about that shit. I’m trying to move on. Keep it movin’.

I heard some of it, though; and there was some good stuff. Like that track with Pudgee

Oh shit! That was on there? “Back In the Days?” Damn, I be buggin’. Well, that’s gonna be on the album, though. I ain’t know that shit was on there. Damn…

Yeah, I thought it was cool you hooked up with Pudgee again, because he was another really talented rapper, who had a great first album but then really didn’t have the push from his label for his later stuff. But he’s stayed in the game, putting out material.

Yeah, he be floatin’ around, here and there. He be writin’ R&B songs and all kinds of shit.

And you had one other - pretty rare, actually – album. I just found one online site that’s been selling it, just called I.U. Volume 1.


I.U. Volume 1? It would’ve been, like, 2003 or something like that maybe?

Wow. I don’t know nothing about that.

It’s like a full album, not like a mix-CD or anything. Nineteen tracks, including one with 2Pac, and yeah… none of them were previously released anywhere else.

And they were selling that shit online? Get the fuck out of town!

Yeah, I think it’s still available. I can send you the link

Yeah, please do that. Oh shit! Oh shit! Wow. Yeah, definitely send that shit tonight, because I gotta find out who this is, because they’re definitely getting’ their ass robbed.

Damn, I thought you just put that out yourself, because it’s even got “Steady Flow” written on the CD like it came out on the Steady Flow label…

Wow… Who in the fuck did that? That’s crazy. Somebody dipped in my stash. Wow… Holy shit.

So, that’s about it for my questions… Is there anything you want to add, say to the people reading this?

Just cop that shit. October 23rd, that Tuesday, Stick To the Script. Cop that. Hot shit, nah’ mean?

Is there any chance we’re gonna get a vinyl of that?

Well, that’s what the distributor wanna do, but I don’t know. That vinyl shit ain’t really worth it nowadays. You know what I’m saying? Maybe. Maybe a vinyl EP.

Well, it probably works better for a more old school MC with a little roots, you know? Like, kids will just be like, “let me download whatever the latest G-Unit track is to my I-Pod,” but us older heads are still buying the vinyl.

Yeah, I might do that. Do a vinyl EP and add an extra track that’s not on the album. We’ll see.

Werner Interviews Grand Daddy IU! (Part 1)

I had a chance to speak with
Grand Daddy I.U. on the strength of some of the posts I made about his records here and on Youtube, and I had a lot of questions I was dying to ask him. He was really cool, open, and we got right into it, so let's do the same:

Ok, I guess we’ll start with some of your earlier material… On the production of your first LP, of course there’s production credits, but I’ve read interviews where you talk about how you came in with some of the tracks already essentially done and all… so I was just wondering if you could say, between yourself, DJ Kay Cee, Cool V, etc; just who produced what?

Well, basically, me and my brother did everything besides “Soul Touch.” Biz did that. And that’s about it, really.

And did Kay Cee do much production work, then, or just the scratching?

Yeah… me and him formulated all the tracks before we went to the studio. So, when we went in, we knew what we wanted to sample, what drums we wanted to put in, you know? And Doc was the engineer; he just made it happen. And Cool V was there; he was like the overseer. Biz was like never even there in the studio, really.

And is Kay Cee still down with you now?


Is he still working with you on the new stuff?

Nah, nah, nah. He ain’t been working on the new stuff, but he’s still around.

So, at that time, you had the single “Something New,” and that beat was kinda going around a little bit… Like Hi-C used it on “I’m Not Your Puppet…”


Hi-C, a west coast rapper... was down with DJ Quik.

Oh, I don’t know about him. I know Nice & Smooth had used it…

Right; they chopped it a little differently, though…

They chopped it in half. They didn’t use the whole shit. That’s why I was like, “You played yourself. Why the fuck? That shit’s hot to death! Why didn’t you use the whole shit?” So, they didn’t use thewhole thing, so I was like, “fuck that shit.” But then I heard that Marley Marl had did it for somebody…

Yeah, Tragedy and Craig G.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But, that shit ain’t hit! My shit was better than that shit, obviously.

Yeah, yours was a successful single. But when you were doing it, then, you didn’t know that anybody else was using it?

No. I knew that Nice & Smooth had used it, but they ain’t used the whole thing. I was like, “fuck it. I’ma just go ahead and use the whole shit.” And I know that nigga Marley Marl was on the radio and he said something slick, some slick little comment…

Yeah, he even says it on the song. He says, “Now you know this is the first place you heard this beat right here… let’s see how many jump on the dick.”

Some shit, I don’t know. Whatever.

I wasn’t sure if he was talking about you, or Hi-C, or anyone specific…

I don’t know who he was talkin’ about, but I don’t give a fuck! What’s he gonna do, nigga? Can’t do nothing to me, so I don’t give a fuck. I did it, and I came off with it. Whoever don’t like it, I don’t give a fuck. If you’re mad, you’re mad. Swallow it.


Word up.

Ok; and then, more recently, you put out an EP…. Smooth Assassin – the Classics. And there was a track on there that was never released, with Biz Markie. What was that recorded for; when was it recorded?

Yeah… That was like… ’92?

So that was originally gonna be for the second album?

Yeah, but the sample. They couldn’t clear the sample. Like, mad shit was supposed to be on that album, but they couldn’t clear the samples.

Oh ok, yeah. ‘Cause when I heard it, I thought that was a really good song; I was surprised it never got released.

Yeah, they couldn’t clear the sample because Biz fucked that all up because he didn’t clear that umm, what’s the name? I forgot.

On the third album, for “Alone Again?”

“Alone Again,” yeah. He didn’t clear that shit. Then, after that, they was getting on everybody. They were crackin’ down on sampled shit. And then they had NWA and Ice-T and all them motherfuckers talking all that shit – that gangster rap shit – “Fuck the Police,” “Kill the Cops” and all that shit, and Warner Bros started crackin’ down on all the lyrics. Then a lot of old school artists that you would get the samples from, like Bobby Womack and James Brown and these motherfuckers didn’t wanna clear no samples if you were saying certain shit in your lyrics. And back then, you know, I was saying all kinds of wild shit.

So, does that mean there are other tracks like that that didn’t make the album?

Yeah, a whole damn bunch! A whole bunch of shit…

So does that mean there’s a chance we’ll get a release of some of that, like on The Classics EP?

Nah, fuck that shit. Leave that old shit where it’s at.

Yeah, but that one track was really good and your first two albums were like classics, so…

I’m on some new shit now.

Right. So let me ask you now, coming up to the second album… with “Represent,” the single had some different lyrics than what wound up on the album ["Word to father, hot just like lava. Blow up the spot like the Japs did Pearl Harbor" became "Word to father, hot just like lava. Step to the U? Yo, kid, don't even bother!" And "refuse to pay dues; I use the uz and kill off whole crews like Hitler did Jews" became "refuse to pay dues; I use the uz, kill off whole crew, and lay back and sip brews."].


So, was that a label decision?

Of course.

Yeah, ‘cause obviously I can see on the one hand how it’s potentially offensive…


But I don’t know if it’s really any more offensive than a lot of what was coming out on that label at the time, with like Kool G Rap and all. Or even other tracks you did.

Well, the thing is… It wasn’t even supposed to be offensive; I was just… That was just a fact, something that happened, you know what I’m saying? So I don’t see why it could’ve been offensive. If some guy gets run over with a car, and I say in my rhyme, “I’ll run you over like he just got run over,” that’s not offensive – he just got run over by a car!

So, was it that they’d gotten complaints when the single came out, or…?

No, they got no complaints! Just… as soon as they heard it… The main boss up there was Lenny Fitzberg[sp? sic?]. Soon as he heard it, he was like, “nah. Can’t say that.”

So, ok, then in ’94 you came out on an Atlanta-based label, Z Records?

Yeah, that was my man, Tony P. He used to be the engineer at Libra Digital; it was Tony A. and Tony P. When the studio shut down, he moved to Atlanta. He got with some African cat, who owned some oil fields, who gave him some dough to start a little label and shit. He ain’t know how to run no label! Know what I’m saying? He just had the opportunity because the cat gave him some fucking bread. So we just went ahead and did whatever. I just got my bread from that shit and bounced.

So, was it just the one 12”?

Yeah, that was just a one-shot deal; we knew that shit wasn’t goin’ nowhere! But the African cat had dough, so we were like, “fuck it…”

And who was that the MC on the B-Side? X-Filez?

Yeah, that was some Atlanta cat that Tony P. was working with. I ain’t know that nigga from nowhere.

Yeah, when I first found that 12”, I wasn’t even sure it was you… But then I saw “Steady Flow” in the credits, so I picked it up…

Yeah, that was some ol’… Strictly for the bread.

To be continued immediately...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

More Rare Percee Material

Here's another rare Percee-P joint for your want lists... in fact, it's the one I mentioned in my recent Weekend post. Now you've probably heard this on mp3, or have it on the 2001 compilation album, Now and Then; but here's the real thing.

"Skills Mastered" came out in 1999; and the only label given is G-Smooth's own name. Like the title implies, it's a pure skills-flexing cut with G-Smooth, Infinite, who you may remember from Tragedy's "'98 Thug Paradise," and of course Percee (here credited as "Percy P") each taking turns kicking a freestyle verse. The production is handled by D-Moet. Yeah, as in King Sun & _______. In fact, this was Percee's crew for a short time... he says as much on an old DJ Avee tape. The track is a bit corny, what with the gong and church bell sounds and what-not, but ultimately effective Lyrically, of course, Percee kills it; while the other MCs at least manage to keep up.

The B-side is a G-Smooth solo cut, again produced by D-Moet, entitled "These Waters." The production here kinda cleverly uses familiar sample elements from other rap songs and creates something pretty new. It showcases Smooth's deep voice, while he essentially just kicks some more, nice freestyle rhymes. Yeah, it's not as tight as a Percee verse, but it's a pretty solid track.

Right after, Percee was supposed to come out with his own 12", "Bang In the Clubs" b/w that posse cut with T-La Rock, who was announcing a comeback of his own at the time, and an up-and-coming MC at the time, Rhyma the Massacarist, who makes it sound like he's saying he's a masochist. Both tracks were pretty nice, but I guess he had a falling out with the producers who were putting out the record... I think they called themselves The Vinyl Dogs. Really a shame, though there seem to be a fair amount of mp3s of the b-side floating around. Is it possible there were test-pressings or anything of this, maybe given to mix-tape DJs? I'd love to hear from anyone who might know. 8)

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Ignorant Three Plus None

Attention, Chubb Rock completists (and if you're not a Chubb Rock completist, you should be; so get on it). Here's one you probably missed. "Summer In America" by The Ignorant Three Plus None, which consists of Chubbs, Mr. Blue (who produced "I Will Survive" on the Chubbster's The Mind LP) and A-Love (I'm guessing on the spelling of this last one... his name isn't printed anywhere, he just says it in the song).

Unfortunately, this isn't available on vinyl (Japanese bootleggers, your mission has just been laid before you) or even CD... it's only available on the DVD of the film, Wet, Hot American Summer. It plays during the closing credits of the film in a truncated form, and better still, it's available to be heard complete and separately as an extra, under "Songs With Production Stills." Here are the full credits of the song, as written out in the credits of the film:

"Summer In America"
Written by A. Morenoff and R. Simpson
Performed by Mr. Blue & Chubb Rock
Courtesy of Race Music
Contains sampled copyrighted material under license from Tappan Zee Records, Inc.

It's really a crazy, fun song, using the basic drums and bells of Run DMC's "It's Tricky" but with extra horn stabs and what-not. And the lyrics go from 80's nostalgia ("Ice cream cone, it's gonna run... all over my Pumas, suede, it's '81, y'all. Who? It's A-Love and I'm on the scene. I got three Big Wheels and a Green Machine. I got Slip 'n' Slide and Sit 'n' Spin; and now it's time for my mellow; Chubb Rock begin!") to "Ya Bad Chubbs" references ("I'm Chubb Rock risin', and I'll break your leg. And I'm more than a 40oz.; I'm more like a keg. So just sip this, rip this, before you miss this. And get hemmed up if you land on my shit list.") to parodying "The Message" and "Rapper's Delight" ("Did you ever sneak to your girlfriend's momma's house 'cause the moms is lookin' good? Then you slide off the panties and lick on the fanny, but the pussy tastes like wood. So you leave, drink water, go find the daughter, 'cause she definitely ain't the wack. She got a pink bra and a g-string and a see-through in the back"). The three MC's constantly pass the mic back and forth (i.e. "Crooklyn Dodgers" style, as opposed to each MC rocking one whole verse each: "Return Of the Crooklyn Dodgers" style), making for a really fun song. And this came out in 2001, when Chubb Rock had all but stopped putting out new records (though he did have that one 12", also with Mr. Blue, on Fully Blown that year).

Well, I say he's all all but stopped putting out new music, but he puts up new songs every so often on his myspace page, and talks of putting out a new album (fingers crossed). He had a song up called "Da Ting" before, an ode to his phallus; and as of this writing has a song up called, "Ol' Skool Flava," which unfortunately is just another of the hundreds of name-dropping songs, where he lists old school rappers. Seriously, we all know the list. None of need to hear another song naming them... so f'ing boring. If you're gonna rap about old school hip-hop, guys, say something about it. Don't just name the same names. We stopped handing out bonus credibility for that years ago.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Because Weekends Are Made For Fun

Back when I first was making my Percee-P discography page, I showed him my rough draft and asked him if there was anything missing. One was a joint that was just coming out, which he gave me a copy of (fans probably already have heard this, but if you didn't know, Percee's a really nice, cool dude); and the other was a record I'd never heard of: "The Weekend" by Champagne. Eventually, I tracked myself down a copy.

Now, there's no credited record label or year printed on this 12", but the info I got from Percee was that this came out in 1998 from Luckee Champagne Music. It's a posse cut by a bunch of people I've never heard of: Champagne, Eclipse (well... it's possible I might've heard of Eclipse. A quick search of discogs brings up 30 listings, so yeah... who knows? But here's a tip to any up & coming MCs named Eclipse: change it. Or spell it funny or something), Brother-Mello, a girl named Ebony singing the hook, and of course Percee P wrapping it up on the last verse.

You've got three versions of the song on this 12": the "Champagne Mix," the "Mr. Luckee Mix" and the "Scorch Prod. Mix." I prefer the Champagne mix, if only because it feels the most like the track the artists originally recorded their vocals to. It also has a slightly more upbeat touch, which matches the theme of the record. But all three versions are reasonably comparable, and everybody will probably have their own fave.

Whichever your preference, though, this is a cool record. On the one hand, with it's topic and the fact that it's got a sung chorus, you'd think this was a bid for commercial radio (and it probably was), and therefore not worth your time, a la "Summa Day" as opposed to "Some Ol' Sah-B Shit" or "On Earth As It Is..." compared to "Anything Goes." But really, the beats are all understated and "underground" sounding; and the flows are definitely all of the dope, emphasis-on-skills variety that we all ate up on indie 12" after indie 12" in the late 90's. This belongs on a mix-tape right between, like, The Dutchmin and Natural Elements. Check it out. Here's a sample of Percee's verse... now, if you can imagine these lines ripped to the tune of his verse on "You're Late" or "Pray To da East," then you get how nice this sounds:

"Job's stressed ya mind?
Here, go buy a new dress to dine in,
The best, divine.
Since I'm pressed for time:
Screw ya plans.
Let's walk through the sands,
And cruise the land.
If you can dance and like to eat,
It's my treat - to Houlihan's.
No help from ya ex;
When he's around, he comes for sex.
Leave ya heated like a pot cookin',
Lookin' dumb and vexed.
Everyday he's ripped;
Checks docked,
Like a navy ship.
Daily, you passed on fakes
With no cash to make.
That's the breaks;
But now you don't have to wait
Or mastur -
At my show, smile.
I know how the ladies go wild
And wanna get laid like a flo' tile;
That's not my profile.
When the dough pile, boo,
It's you I'm seekin';
It's why I'm speakin'
From deep in my heart.
I'm reachin' out to you."

Nine years later, Percee-P has a myspace page and a new album just out on Stones Throw Records called Perseverance. I haven't got it yet, but (even though I'm a little underwhelmed by the choice of producers) it's a given that I will. ;)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Excuse Me, Do It All

Today we have another of The Lords Of the Underground's Undaground Butta 12"s, this time a Do It All solo joint... well, sort of. The first song, "Dangerous" is clearly labelled as being by just Do It All, but there's unquestionably another MC kicking the first verse. No, it's not Mr. Funky... maybe it's one of the Lunatic Asylum? Anyway, it's a pretty cool, understated little song, which picks up a bit more when Do It All takes the mic. The production is low-key but good... consistent with DJ Lord Jazz's production on the other Undaground Butta 12"'s; a cool, slightly sinister NYC crime-type record.

Next up is Do It All and Jac Swinga's duet, "Which Side Iz Which." Now, you may be wondering just who this Jac Swinga character is... The only material he put out before this was a song on the b-side of the only non-LOTUG-related (well.... not entirely non-LOTUG-related, as you'll see) Undaground Butta 12" "On the Real" by Nas. Here, just to clarify by catalog #s, the Undaground Buttas label went like this:

UBLMT11 - L.O.T.U.G. "M.O.N.E.Y." b/w Lunatic Asylum "Lunatic Asylum" (already blogged about here)
UBLMT12 - Nas "On the Real" b/w Jac Swinga "Coast II Coast"
UBLMT13 - L.O.T.U.G. "Bring It" b/w The Infamous Backspin "Sing My Song" (blogged about here)
UBLMT14 - Do It All "Dangerous" b/w Do It All & Jack Swing "Which Side Iz Which" & The Infamous Backspin "Ready To Party" (the blog entry you're reading now)

...So, his appearance here kind of ties UBLMT12 in with the rest of the series. And when you actually listen to the song, he explains explicitly who he is and his connection: he's Do It All's little brother, who he thanks for introducing him to the scene. On top of that, he's actually pretty good... he sounds like a mix between UG and RA The Rugged Man, but a little less over the top. He and Do It All really compliment each other with their styles and voices as they trade verses back and forth, line for line, over a simple, bassline-heavy instrumental that pulls you right into their flows. This song is a definite winner. The instrumental is included for this one, though they make the odd choice of not just including hte ad-libs, but the "conversation" at the end, where Jac thanks his big bro.

The b-side, labeled "Party Joints," on the other hand, is an entirely different kettle of flounder. Backspin (who, after this record, has indeed earned the title of Infamous in my book) returns, this time without the safety net of a familiar, classic instrumental to ride on (read my post on his "Sing My Song"). Instead of being the "Uptown Anthem" instrumental with a few added vocal samples, this is a dull, plodding bassline and drumtrack with a few vocal samples just looped over and over. It's painfully monotonous and it's sooo slow... I was genuinely beginning to question if I was meant to be playing this side at 45bpm. I don't know who Backspin thought would be partying to this... ground sloths celebrating a retirement? Ridiculously, they then include an instrumental version of this song - yes, the main mix is already an instrumental - where they just remove the vocal samples from it. ...Except for some of them, which they leave. So it's not even like you just get the beat and bassline if (for some reason) you wanted it... it's still got vocal samples ("Say 'oh yeah'" and "ha ha" looped) stuck on it. It's just like the main mix, but... even more boring.

Now, I've already linked to their myspaces and stuff in the previous posts, but I should point out that LOTUG has a new full-length album that just came out now called House Of the Lords. I can't say anything about it, because I haven't heard it yet. But it's available from and places like that.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Before There Was Anticon, There Was...

"Sole" is the first 12" release by Live Poets, Sole's old group with JD Walker and DJ CUZ on 45 Below Records (it's not credited on the label, but "45 Below" is etched into the run-out groove), the label that became Anticon. According to his online bio, "flush with savings from his after-school job at McDonalds, sole pressed up his first 12" and freely gave it away at the 1995 Gavin Convention to little effect." So I guess it's kinda rare... but I've seen it pop up on EBay once or twice.

There is even earlier material to be tracked down... a full-length cassette by him and his crew going under the name Northern Exposure, called Madd Skills and Unpaid Bills (and, I guess if you have the right connections, there's the demo he recorded as a young teen). But this is really the first release worth checking for above and beyond the novelty of "hey, this is a semi-established artist's earlier material I can collect!"

The bulk of the production is handled by a guy named Randy Nkonoki... Now, unless there are two Randy Nkonokis in the 90's hip-hop world (which seems unlikely), then this is the guy who would go on to be president of ...which is an online radio show or something, I guess, with a little video and some video game tips. I don't know. I checked it out just now, and got bored pretty quick, but apparently it was a pretty big deal at one time, at least in terms of money spent behind the scenes. Anyway, this is pretty much his only known production work, and it's not bad at all. The mix of piano, bassline, drums and little jingly bells makes for a definite head nodder on the first track, "Sole (Basement Mix)" - which later turned up on Sole's 2000 compilation, Learning To Walk. Sole's delivery here and the production both sound very inspired by early Black Moon (as he says in the intro, "Live Poets Society representin' Portland, Maine with some of that Brooklyn flavor, yo"); but that's not really a bad thing. In fact, it might be the selling point for a lot of people who pick this up. His lyrics? A bit corny (or maybe a lot corny... but, hey, it was 1995 and everybody's lines were corny) and there's nothing special in the content; but his flow is expert enough to keep you riding the rhythm. Here, I'll let you give you a sample:

"Sucker MCs
Be corrupt like a senator.
Rhymes hit ya mind,
And soothe like a sedative.
Props you better give,
Or become a statistic
From MC Jeffrey Dahm',
Eatin' mics, sadistic.
Blastin' MCs
Like that old dog, Yeller.
I never drop my pen;
I wanna be a best seller.
Tim Holland is the win,
Tougher than Helen Keller;
And when the beat runs out,
I rock my rhymes acappella."

Next up: "Sole (Sole Searcher Remix)" is a total lyrical and instrumental remix... It also turned up on Learning To Walk, but curiously retitled as "Give Me My Medal." This mix is credited to Sample, who I'm guessing is Sample 208 Of the Butterfingers Crew, who produced a bunch of tracks on the Whats It All About and "Respect" 12". He recently produced two of the songs on Exile, the bonus CD that came with Sole's instrumental album Poly.Sci.187 if you ordered it direct from his website, which were pretty tight. So hopefully they'll do more together in the future. But I'm off on a tangent. Sole's switched his style on this one; forgoing the Buckshot sound in favor of what is essentially his own. Which is fine, because really one track like that was enough. Sample's beat, and the hook performed by JD Walker, pull you right into the song, even if you can't quite follow Sole's lyrics for more than two lines at a stretch. ...The accapella included on the 12" is for this version, by the way.

"Ain't No Thing" on the B-side finally gets JD Walker in on verse 2, and then he and Sole trade lines back and forth for verse #3. The basic track is a kind of repetitive, clonking piano loop over a plodding drum track. But the hook totally changes the mood, swapping out the piano for another, more pleasant loop and adding a short sax break. All of a sudden, it's engaging. And then it's plodding again until the next hook. A-side wins again.

The final track is the only one produced by Live Poets' own producer, Cuz the Highlander, who'd later become better known as Moodswing9. It's kinda short and features Sole and JD Walker going back and forth over a subtle beat. It's cool if you're a fan; but entirely forgettable otherwise. Finally, there's a brief, uncredited "shout outs" track.

Today, yes, Sole has a myspace, and his own website at (look for me on the forums!). Sole has an album due out next month with The Skyrider Band, called appropriately enough, Sole & The Skyrider Band. JD Walker also has a myspace, and just recently put out his latest album, Them Get You Them Got You, which I haven't heard yet. But you can order it, along with a bunch of his older releases, right off his myspace on a Paypal shopping cart, which is handy.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Snagglepuss Week, Day 7

^Video blog!!
(Original content created for this blog; not just linking something by somebody else.)

Update 9/18/07: Snag already has some new tracks up on his myspace (i.e. newer than those appearing on his new CD), so I guess this is more than a one-off comeback, which is a good thing. =) If you click the link to his manager's myspace, though, the quote by his name says, "pmg no longer represents snagg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" so I guess there's some drama going on there. 0_o

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Snagglepuss Week, Day 6

^Video blog!!
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Snagglepuss Week, Day 4

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(100% pure, original content created for this blog, and this blog alone; not just linking something by somebody else.)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Snagglepuss Week, Day 3

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Friday, September 7, 2007

Snagglepuss Week, Day 2

^Video blog!!
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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Snagglepuss Week, Day 1

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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Unreleased Slick Rick, Chapter Seven

Apparently J-Love is back again with another version of his Slick Rick: Legends vol 2 CD, this one dubbed 2.2. And so, too then, must this blog series rise up out of the grave like a Grave Riser Outer in response. Here's the latest cover and renovated track-listing (thanks to Fecam at the DWG forums for bringing this to my attention):

1. Women Lose Weight Rmx Produced By J-Love 04:02
2. Moses 02:47
3. Lick The Balls 03:31
4. I Own America Rmx (Unreleased) 03:37
5. Treat Em Like A Prostitute Feat Doug E Fresh Live 03:49
6. Reggae Chat Feat Doug E Fresh (Unreleased) 00:50
7. La Di Da Di Feat Doug E Fresh 04:48
8. The Rulers Back 03:33
9. Whats The Scoop Marley Marl Rmx (Unreleased) 04:12
10. Indian Girl 03:06
11. Its A Boy Large Professor Rmx 02:50
12. Dont Come My Way Feat Common 03:27
13. Star Trek Large Professor Rmx (Unreleased) 03:09
14. Art of Story Telling Feat Outkast 03:59
15. Just Another Case Feat Cru 03:13
16. Tonto 03:01
17. I Run This 03:56
18. King 02:27
19. Cant Shake Us Feat Special K (Unreleased) 04:01
20. Pimpin Anit Easy Feat Dana Dane 03:13
21. Get A Job 02:34
22. Cuz Its Wrong 02:48
23. 2 Way Street 03:11
24. Sampson (Unreleased) 03:22

So this new track-listing kinda makes it clear why he reworked the CD the first time around (see here)... this version seems to be intended as more of a sequel to the first one (specifically the redux of the first one), rather than a replacement; and the strange decision to remove "Sampson," for example, now makes perfect sense since it's been added here.

Now, I haven't heard this yet, but you can see on this 2.2, we've got a couple new remixes (including his own remix of "Women Lose Weight"), "Reggae Chat" with Doug E. Fresh (I'm guessing another clip from a live performance? It's under than a minute long, whatever it is), and the only new "Unreleased" song he's added to the mix: "19. Cant Shake Us Feat Special K (Unreleased) 04:01." As with most of the ones on his previous entries, this song actually has been released, and if you want to hear it without the radio blends and J-Love's name all over it, it's pretty easy to find.

The original release of this song comes from the Special K 12" "Can't Shake Us" b/w "Nobody Loves Me" (which doesn't feature Slick Rick; just an unnamed R&B singer on the hook) on Never Knew Records from 2002. Produced by Kenny Dope, the instrumental is a pretty simple break with a chop of the main sample from The Crash Crew's "On the Radio" on permanent loop. It's an ok song, though the production on both tracks sounds a bit tinny, with Slick Rick kicking a short opening verse, then passing the mic to Special K for the rest of the song, only returning to provide the hook.

So, once again... we're treated to another episode of frustration via a third selection of great Slick Rick tracks that continue to never get proper releases. Why can't this stuff get pressed onto a proper slab of vinyl with some halfway decent sound quality? Large Professor remixing "Star Trek?" I need that on 12", man. But also once again, at least there's not so much new material as J-Love claims, and most of these songs are otherwise available.

Update 9/4/7: Ok, I've heard it now. That "Reggae Chat" is indeed just a clip of what sounds like a live performance... The sound quality on this 2.2 is a bit of a step-up from his older CD, but still not great (and the name-drop samples over every song is super annoying... these mix-CDs aren't press promos - despite disingenuously having "for promotional use only" written right on the cover, they're clearly commercial products produced only to be sold to paying listeners). The remixes are all a bit underwhelming... I actually preferred the original to the Large Professor remix of "Star Trek," the Marley Marl remix is cool (it sounds vintage), and the J-Love remix of "Women Lose Weight" is pretty worthless. The loop just doesn't match with the song and ESPECIALLY doesn't when the hook comes in (he should've taken a hint from The Alchemist's mix). I'd still like to see the remixes (except the "Women Lose Weight;" he can keep that one) get a proper release, though, along with all the genuinely unreleased tracks from the older discs.

Saturday, September 1, 2007



Who remembers Personics? Well, I still have my old Personics tape (plus a friend's as well, which he gave me once he wound up buying all the albums his Personics songs were taken from); so I'm gonna talk about that tonight.

"Uh, what the heck is this Personics," you ask? They were big arcade game lookin' things that were set up in music stores like Sam Goody's all across the country. You could listen to a whole bunch of songs, select the ones you like, fill out an order form, and get custom-made cassette albums of your songs right there in the store... Here's an excerpt from a May, 1987 article in Time Magazine, explaining the whole thing, "After consulting a catalog of available selections, the customer gives the order to a clerk, who transfers the music from a master optical disk to a blank cassette, and may use a computer to print a custom label for the tape. The high-speed equipment can record 40 minutes of music in less than five minutes. The cost: 50 cents to $1.25 a tune. ...So far, Capitol and Warner Bros. are among the leading record companies that have agreed to let their songs be distributed by the system. The firms, which will receive royalties whenever one of their songs is selected, hope to recoup some of the estimated $1.5 billion in sales that the record industry loses annually to home taping." The whole thing eventually went bankrupt in 1991.

But, considering this was way before the internet and mp3s and CD burning, this was pretty neat while it lasted. Here's what the actual tapes looked like:

And you got this fold-out tracklisting with song credits on the inside:

...You can see what I was rockin' in my pre-high school days. Heh. Sorry it's so small, though; AOL journals automatically shrinks graphics to save on bandwidth and what-not.

They also had take-home catalogs, and yessir, I sure did save one:

Like the front cover says there, this issue encouraged you to make tapes for the troops stationed in The Persian Gulf, and the on the back cover, they give you two sample track-listingsand letters you could write. And one sample letter you might receive from a soldier requesting a tape (I guess they think you should make the tape now to be prepared should such a letter as the following arrive), "Dear Sue, Been thinking alot [sic.] about home and would love some great American music to listen to. Is there any way you could make a tape of these songs and send them to me? I miss you and hope to see you soon, Love, Richard." I guess Sue sent Richard that tape, because we won the war.

Now, here's a sample page of what the catalog looked like inside. I marked all the hip-hop songs with a pen... not now, for your benefit. I actually did this through the whole catalog as a kid so I could pick what I wanted:

Again, it's been shrunken pretty illegible, I guess (yay, AOL!), but there's some stuff by The Jaz, Jazzy Jeff (the Funky Four + One one), Jonzun Crew, Just-Ice, Kid 'N' Play, Kid Rock, Kool Moe Dee and Kool Rock and the D.J. Slice on that page. In the pink column is, "TOP 20 - LAST MONTH'S BEST-SELLING RAP;" and the list reads:

"1. The Humpty Dance - Digital Underground
2. Intro: Turn This Mutha Out - M.C. Hammer
3. Funky Cold Medina - Tone Loc
4. Doowhutchyalike (Remix) - Digital Underground
5. It Takes Two - Rob Base and D.J. E.Z. Rock
6. Wild Wild West - Kool Moe Dee
7. Rollin' With Kid 'N Play - Kid 'N Play
8. Cuss Words - Too Short
9. Me Myself and I - De La Soul
10. Freaky Tales - Too Short
11. 6 'N the Morning - Ice-T
12. Parents Just Don't Understand - D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
13. You Gots To Chill - EPMD
14. Walk This Way - Run D.M.C.
15. Rock Dis Funky Joint - Poor Righteous Teachers
16. Paid In Full - Eric B. & Rakim
17. Ladies First - Queen Latifah
18. Planet Rock - Afrika Bambaataa
19. Freaks Of the Industry - Digital Underground
20. Let's Get It Started - M.C. Hammer"

So, does anybody else remember Personics, or better yet, still have their tapes?My friend Mike's had three Too Short songs, Schooly D's "Saturday Night," Boogie Down Productions' "You Must Learn (12" Remix)" and UTFO's "Bite It" (hope you don't mind me putting that out there - heh). What'd you guys rock on yours?

Personics - 1988-1991, R.I.P.