Monday, May 25, 2009

Mmm... Makeba Mooncycle

Most people, if they've heard of Makeba Mooncycle, know her as an outer sphere Wu-Tang affiliate. But she's actually had a long and varied career... She was originally down with The Blackwatch Movement and sang on X-Clan's first album. She then hooked up with MC Lyte and co-ran her company along with LinQue. I actually didn't realize it until relatively recently, but Makeba and Kink EZ are in fact the same person. And, yes, she's made several appearances on Wu-related projects. She also put out some indie singles like this in the 90's.

The enthusiastically entitled "Ahhh!!!" dropped on Mmm... Records in 1998, very possibly the only release on that label. And the first thing to establish, I guess, is that she's rapping here, not singing. Well, she sings a bit at the end (and it sounds good!), but essentially this is a straight-up hip-hop single. It's a simple track, with some slow drums lead by a deep bass guitar loop, meant to showcase the MCs' skills. This is quintessential indie 90's stuff right here, produced by a couple known as Kevin "The Dungeon Master" & Amelia Moore. It features a group called Coins sharing mic duty with her. The first MC kicks some straight space rap, "Came with dead-ass swords to the galaxian wars. Space shuttle, one accord; back to Earth before I'm bored," and then Makeba gets on to follow suit:

"Ride with the Coins in a lunar eclipse;
Took a ride on the starship; then we flipped.
Saw MC's in the Milky Way taking a bath;
Jump aboard the sunship, still doing the math,
Keep Coins by my side, 'cause United's my Kingdom.
Revolution is over, and acknowledge my freedom.
The new holy renegade, my lyrics cut like old blades,
Riding on shooting stars, politicking with the Gods.
The holy land to the stars, vacations on Mars;
The battle has been won, from the moon to the sun."

The B-side is called "High Plains Drifter" and features cuts by Chops of The Mountain Brothers. A brief intro featuring a clip of her introducing the song recorded live at some venue establishes that this is her battle song, where she's battling "against the beat." The beat again is pretty simple (and again produced by the Moores): another slow drum track, an unassuming bassline and a Spanish guitar sample, though of course the scratching stands out during the choruses. She basically just spits four verses of hard battle rhymes ("Crushing your mental like a blow to the temple. A-rat-a-tat-tat! Here's some blows to your central"), pausing briefly to drop a brief hook. Good stuff, no doubt. Probably not the easiest to find, but worth tracking down.

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