Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Capital K P-O-N-C-E

So, I was going back over my Fresh Kid Ice review I wrote for Hip Hop Isn't Dead, and I realized I made a pretty obscure reference without any kind of explanation. Basically, I started talking about K Ponce (who appeared on a track on that album) as if everyone would know who he was. But don't feel bad if you didn't, because that's a pretty obscure reference even for me.

K Ponce was a Miami rapper signed to Never Stop Records in the late 80's. In fact, besides the Fresh Kid Ice appearance, the only songs I know he had was "Go Like This" on a label compilation, and this, his 1988 single, "It's Time, Shake It Down." It's pretty good, though. :)

This is a very Miami-sounding track, alright, with deep (though not of the Magic Mike subsonic variety) bass, fast drums and a variety of upbeat samples. There's two versions on here (three, if you count the instrumental), but they're not very different from each other. K-Ponce is a solid MC - his lyrics won't blow you away, but they're fast and well-enunciated, with a clean, direct flow.

The strange part, though, is not his rhyme pattern and delivery sound like they're distinctly patterned off of "Ice, Ice Baby." And the background vocals (shouting back the last word of key lines, etc) are, too. And I mean, it's obvious enough that it has to be deliberate. Except... "Ice, Ice Baby" didn't come out until 1990, almost two years later. So I submit to you that actually Vanilla Ice had to've taken the flow from K Ponce (not surprising, that the only good thing Ice has managed in like 10 albums would be borrowed). And it follows, since they're both from Miami; and over the course of his career, originality has always been Ice's weakest point. But seriously, the lyrics are different, but listen to the two songs in a row and tell me one didn't come from the other. I don't think you could do it. Either he stole it, or K Ponce ghostwrote it or something.

Anyway, the track isn't much like "Ice, Ice Baby," and as a whole this record is a pretty different animal. So don't let Vanilla Iceophobia keep you away from this (though you will notice the similiarities).

On a related note, Max recently forwarded a message he received from my review (which is why I got to rereading it... see? it all comes together), "My Name is Tesfa Baruch. I'm the Tesfa featured on this track. Thanks for the review. I still make music." So, based on that, I did some googling and found out all about Daddy Tesfa. It seems like he's mostly performed live, rather than putting out records, but he released an independent album in 2007 called Familyman. He's now going by the name Waryah Priest, and here's a link to his myspace.

Oh, and finally on an unrelated note, one of the members of China Down, an old school Boston-based hip-hop duo, has been commenting on my Boston Goes Def post. They're the ones who did the song I referred to as being possibly the weirdest hip-hop song ever, which is no small thing. So, check out the comments, she breaks down a lot of nice history that even Boston heads will probably find educational.

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