Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Return Of the Freeze Force Crew

"Boogie Down Bronx" is one of the real all-time greats. It's by Man Parrish - an early 80's hip-hop and pop producer of the electro/ freestyle variety, also releasing "Hip Hop Be Bop" - featuring The Freeze Force Crew. It's a true classic, and yet the Freeze Force never seemed to get signed or release any records of their own. They seem like the perfect example of a "one hit wonder," except... that's not quite their whole story.

Rama is an electro disco group who had released a record called "Don't Want You To Be" the same year "Boogie Down Bronx" dropped, 1984, and on the same label: Sugarscoop. So the next year, they returned with their second single, "Go Go Get Down" featuring DJ Kool and MC Johnski. Who are they? They're The Freeze Force Crew, back with their second and only other record!

"Go Go Get Down" came out on Sugarscoop Records, just like the all the other records I mentioned above; so everybody was playing on their home turf, so to speak. Now, Rama was a singing group; but this song is pure rap. I mean, Rama are probably on the hook singing "Go! Go!" along with the others, but essentially all the vocals are verses by John Ski and DJ Kool (despite having "MC" in one name and "DJ" in the other, they were both rappers), and it's funky. Like the title implies, there's a lot of go-go in the percussion, and there's also some brilliant horns. They're specifically credited as "The Uptown Horns" on the label, and credited to Michael Rudetsky, a regular Parrish collaborator.

It really ranks right up there with "Boogie Down Bronx." I'm not a huge go-go head, but I appreciate it when it's good; and it's perfect here. The music is really full and alive. It's hard to tell exactly what elements are programmed versus played on proper elements, but this definitely has the feel of a live band, jamming and improvising the whole way through - especially when you flip this over for the seven-minute Dub on the B-side. The SugarHill Band housed a lot of under-appreciated talent; but honestly these guys are funkier.

Now, granted, neither MC are exactly Melle Mels; there's no really impressive lyricism on display. But they have great voices that compliment their instrumentals perfectly. They have some fresh interplay, and especially on display this time around, as this is a go-go infused record after all, they have a lot of contagious energy. Their verses are short and simplistic here ("I'm DJ Kool in the place to be, and next on the mic is my man Johnski." "My name is Johnski and I'ma let you know, that if you wanna get down you got to go go!"), but I really can't imagine anybody not having a good time with this record. Only "Pump It Up" stands alongside this as the a top, quintessential go-go/ rap hybrid.

Unfortunately, this really is the end of the Freeze Force story now. Johnski another appearance or two with other artists; but this was it for the Freeze Force Crew. DJ Kool and MC Johnski only made these two records together - it's a shame no label ever signed them and gave them a chance to show us what else they were capable of. It surely would've been pretty great.


  1. yeah it's crazy that there's no interview or something like that to find on the web.
    I would love to get more infos about this obscure Group "Freeze Force.
    If anyone has more infos about them pleeeeaaaase share them with us. Werner keep up the good Work.
    DJ Haitian Star

  2. ...yep...agreed, torch!...ha...
    peace + all the best from königsdorf to heidelberg!!!

    königsdorf posse