Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting Off At the Ground Floor

Bandoola Records was a short-lived record label that used to run a whole ton of full and half page ads in The Source, Rap Pages, etc. It was a record label (Bandoola), management company (Ambitious, who had Show & AG and Organized Konfusion) and promotions team (Marquise), which was basically the same guys under one umbrella (BAM). They sponsored shows, they did this and that... but the one thing they never really got around to doing was putting any albums out, and so they folded.

Their first two releases, that they always advertised in every single one of their ads, were meant to be EPs by Lord Finesse and a new act called Ground Floor. Again, those EPs never surfaced (fans are still frustrated about that, 15 years later), but Bandoola did at least manage to press up a little run of promotional records and tapes of Ground Floor's teaser single, "One, Two." And it's pretty fucking terrific, which on the one hand, makes Bandoola's lack of releases all the more frustrating; but on the other hand, hey, at least we have this killer single.

There's not a lot of info to share about Ground Floor. They're three cats from Newport, Rhode Island who unfortunately never resurfaced after Bandoola went bottom up. There was a video shot for "One, Two," so we got a look at 'em, but I don't even know the members' names.

Anyway, "One, Two" is a killer song. It's a perfect example of 90's NY hip-hop at it's finest. Cracking drums, insanely fresh distorted hooks, an old school guitar sample, vocal samples cut up on the hook, and a deep piano loop. It's produced by Ground Floor themselves, so it's crazy that these guys didn't at least go on to make beats for other artists. Lyrically, it's not amazing to pull quotes from; they were just kicking nice, freestyle flows that were all about riding the rhythm and sounding fresh.

The B-side features, and is produced by, Lord Finesse. So you know it's a winner. It's somewhat darker and grittier than the A-side, with a super low bassline and sparse horn samples, plus a smoother one for the hook. They're kicking the same kind of fun, simile-heavy freestyle rhymes, "I see a mic and I'm a hungry man like Swanson. When I rap it's like magic, 'cause niggas be on my Johnson." And you can rest assured that those aren't the only two uses of the word "like" in the song. ;) These guys were a perfect match for Finesse in every way... one can't help wondering what other collaborations they would've come up with had their albums dropped.

So, this is the cassette version you're looking at, with Dirty and Radio versions of both songs. The vinyl doesn't have a picture cover with the cool Ground Floor logo, but it does have both instrumentals. This one's a favorite among collector's, but it's not too rare, so you should be able to find it for a reasonable price if you poke around a little.

7 comments:

  1. One of my favorite 12"s. Never seen the cassette before. I'll look into that! Thanks

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  2. Yo!

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  3. I am from Rhode Island and it is funny that you speak on how these cats just kinda up and disappeared. Rhody is a small state where it is really easy to run into individuals. I know many cats from Tonomy Hill that I grew up with and still catch up with, some still to this day and these cats never surfaced, nor did I ever find out how the Finesse connect ever came about. Anyways keep up the good work ma'man,Peace,Swerve.

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  4. I know it's long since this was posted but the Ground Floor single has been issued and in CD too!!!! One demo tape single of them surfaced earlier this year on ebay!!! Can be seen at discogs

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    2. I think i made a confusion. Not now. Back in the day. Along with the tape and 12'' there was and a CD release of this. You can see it here:

      http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/one-plus-dig-cd-lord-finesse-ground-114812686

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