Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Now the Introduction: It's Kool Chip, Bronxwood Productions

Everybody who was down with hip-hop in the 80's knows Kool Chip from his killer '89 album with DJ Chuck Chillout, Masters Of the Rhythm. And serious collectors also know him for his subsequent, and now super-rare indie follow-up in the 90's, as Dope and a Gun. But while Chuck Chillout had a high profile history, as a member of The B-Boys, and even more-so as a famed hip-hop radio host alongside (or against) Red Alert and Mr. Magic; Kool Chip has a bit of a recorded origin as well.

Before the famous duo was formed, Kool Chip came out on 4th and Broadway with his own 12", "Jazz It Up." If you've seen this and had any question of whether this is the same Kool Chip, just a few short seconds will prove that it undoubtedly is - his unique voice shouting out Bronxwood with his signature, simple but forceful delivery.

And with the same thumping, programmed drum style, this could easily have taken off Masters Of the Rhythm. That follows, as it's produced by David Burnett, who'd also worked with Chuck Chillout before - it's likely that Chuck and Chip got a lot of their production chops from this man.

Now, granted, this isn't as straight-up a hardcore anthem as most of the tracks on Masters were. It's an ode to smooth, jazzy rhythms with a female singer (Toni Smith, who's had an interesting career of collaborations - even The Fat Boys' Crushin'! - and 12" singles herself, well worth looking into) on the hook. It's certainly more in line with "No Holding Back" and "The Mic I Grip;" but it really doesn't betray Kool Chip's later established sound. It's got a little more instrumentation, which is actually pretty cool, and parts of this record actually manage to echo "Buffalo Gals," but it's still not that far removed. I could understand anyone being hesitant to pick this one up - just looking at the label, it reads like a dangerously misguided crossover attempt or something painfully cheesy - but if you're a fan, you won't be disappointed.

Now, interestingly, the label actually credits a remix by Dancin' Danny D. But that remix is not in fact on here. It's only on some UK pressings (and actually, Danny is best known for his exclusive UK remixes, from everybody to Kid 'N Play to DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince) - but the remix credit is for some reason on all pressings. This original US pressing just features the main version on side A, and the dub on side B. But really, that's all you need. It's a funky little precursor to a great album.

1 comment:

  1. I always thought that Chuck Chillout and Kool Chip were poised for a great sophomore LP, but alas, it never happened. I played the hell out of the "Masters of the Rhythm" tape when it came out. I also think its real interesting that the posse cut featured Boy White, whose verse/delivery isn't all that bad considering the era.