Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Double Tee Bass

King Tee's earliest records came out on DJ Unknown's Techno Hop label. Then he signed to Capital, and the rest is history. Except, actually, there was a brief diversion. In between his first singles on Techno Hop and his major label debut, 1987, he released one 12" on a label called Mack Daddy Records. It was "Bass."

Of course, you know "Bass." "Bass" is a great, speaker-shaking song, with fresh cuts (provided by not one, but two DJs), fun rhymes killer horns and of course some really dope bass. It was on his debut album, Act a Fool; there was a video for it and everything. Every King Tee fan knows "Bass." But if you pay attention to the album's track0listing, the version that's on there, in the video, etc. is actually "Bass (Remix)." The Mack Daddy 12" has the original version.

The original "Bass" isn't too far removed from the remix, which is good, because the original is great. The signature horn riffs (though not the sax solo at the finish), big drums and bassline are all there. All of King Tee's four verses are there, and so are the funky-fresh scratch breaks by Keith Cooley and Pooh. The main difference, besides sounding a little less polished with some some stripped down percussion, is that the original record uses a bunch more classic records on the breaks and hooks, like "More Bounce To the Ounce." That might sound like overkill, because the remix already uses a fuckton of records! But it works; it never sounds overly busy; it's just great hip-hop. It also winds up with a final shout-and-call portion, Miami style, with Tee leading the audience, which for an upbeat anthem like this, is pretty appropriate.

Now, again, "Bass" was a hit, and Capitol did eventually put out their 12" single of it in 1988. This 12" features both the Remix and the original version, plus the remix instrumental, acapella, and another album track ("Ko Rock Stuff") and its instrumental. ..>The Mack Daddy 12" only has the Original version on both sides. So you really can't go wrong with the Capitol 12"; it's got all your "Bass" needs covered and then some. But there are some interesting things to note about the Mack Daddy 12".

First of all, they both come in picture covers; but they're completely different. My copy of the Mack Daddy 12" came in a plain sleeve, so thanks to Rare Dave for the original cover photo on the left, and that's a pic of my Capitol picture cover (hole punch - boo!) on the right:
It's also interesting to note that all the Capitol stuff only credits Pooh as a producer for "Bass," but the Mack Daddy version also credits DJ Bobcatt[sic.] as co-producer, and dedicates the song to the memory of the late DJ Easy Money. KDAY legend Greg Mack is listed as an executive producer, so I'm going to take an educated guess that Mack daddy Records was his project. So yeah, like I said, musically, everything on the Mack Daddy 12", plus a lot more, is on the Capitol one (though you need to get at least one of the 12"s if you've only go the LP), making the Mack Daddy 12" more of a collector's item than an essential. But when a song's as classic as this one is, sometimes a collector's item is worth having.

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