Friday, June 25, 2010

Take a Drive With The Zulu Kings

If you've ever wondered why Busy Bee had a Rhyme Syndicate logo on his second album, or how it came that Melle Mel was writing songs for Ice-T ("The Tower); it originates back to a dope but short-lived indie label called Posse Records. There, way back in 1986, Syndicate producer Afrika Islam combined forces with Melle and his crew to form Afrika & The Zulu Kings.

This single is called "Cars," and it's a pretty simple, old school song about... cars. It features Melle Mel, Ice-T, and Bronx Style Bob back when he rapped instead of sang. It's of course produced by Afrika, although all the other members share co-production credit. And, interestingly, Grandmaster Caz gets credit for mixing this record with Afrika.

This song follows a fun structure: it's just a dope (though very dated) instrumental - drum machine beats, a large groovy bassline, and lots of horn stabs, bells, cuts and change-ups - and at first it goes your traditional: MC's verse, hook, MC's verse, hook... but soon they're skipping the hook all together, and each MC is just jumping on top of the other, grabbing the mic. There's even a few skits mixed in where they talk about their cars over the beat, so you never know what's coming next.

The song features a lot of talent, obviously; but are ultimately light, casual songs, as opposed to anybody really flexing their skills or kicking important messages. Melle Mel starts it out, sounding like he did on his classic records with The Furious Five, shouting out all the types of cars, "I drove a Chevy and even a Ford; I pushed a Lincoln Continental, a Honda Accord, limousines, a Porsche Audi, a Honda Seville, a Savannah Brougham and a Coup Deville. You ride a Saab or a Subaru, a Corvette or a BMW. Now you're movin' like a car stayin' up to par. You're seen even parkin' a Mercedes, you're a superstar! But you are what ya are, behind the wheel. I never ever let a car control how I feel. You feel you're big time 'cause you're driving a Rolls? Well, you better watch out for telephone poles!"

And of course Ice-T immediately takes it to the west coast, "Word! This is all I got to say: you gotta have a car if you live in LA." ...So they're not out to impress with their lyrics, but if you pay attention to the writing, you can still see why these guys are better than their less successful peers.

There's just the one song on here; though it comes in vocal (called he Zulu Club Mix), Zulu Dub and Zulu Beats versions. But this is not the only collaborative release of Afrika & The Zulu Kings... they released a second single that same year called "The Beach," which is equally fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment