Thursday, January 30, 2014

Disco Beave!

I'd never heard of Disco Beave before DWG featured them on their Lung Butters mixCD. "From the Projects" was just one of those killer random rap cuts that made you think, damn, gotta add that to my want list! Turns out it was a three-song single from 1988 on a little label out of Delaware, and I wasn't the only guy with it on my list. Anyone after this sucker was going to have to sink a lot of time and big bucks into the effort.

But Dope Folks has hooked us up! Not only have they repressed and remastered the original single, they also included an earlier version of one of the songs that Beave had released as its own 12" in 1987. It's limited to 300 copies, of course, and comes in a sticker cover reproducing the original "From the Projects" picture cover. My pictured copy is a test pressing; but the regular release comes with the more traditional DF-style label.

So, if you missed Lung Butters, "Projects" is tough. Despite his name, Beave is far from disco rap; he owes a lot more to early Juice Crew. His drums lack the technical proficiency of Marley's, but that's the only department he comes up short in. His tracks are big and rugged, his delivery is energetic and murderous, and his DJ, Zim Zam, gets busy. This guy could've definitely made noise on New York radio if he'd gotten his records in the right hands back in the day (he does try shouting out Red Alert, Chuck Chillout "and the rest of my New York City boys," on one of his songs; but I guess that didn't do the trick).

"From the Projects" may be the tightest, but the other three tracks are all up to par. The first version of "I'm Servin'" is a tight, smooth but hard track using some classic samples and def rhymes. Then the 1988 version updates by putting some of Parliament's "Flashlight" to great use. And "Hall Of Fame" actually features a different MC: B Gets Busy, instead of the Beave. He's got a bit of a lighter flow, but he holds his own; and the having the MCs swap out gives some nice variety to the EP. Plus, since the song is an ode to Zim Zam, it gives him their DJ the biggest opportunity to go off. Yeah, they're more rudimentary 80s cuts than the kind of stuff we've become accustomed to since; but it works great on the record.

Discc Beave is a big scratch off our want lists, so I'm happy. And listen. I've been, and continue to be, a big fan, of all the cool 90s stuff the limited labels like Dope Folks and Chopped Herring have been putting out on a now regular(!) basis. But I'm extra excited to hear golden '87-'88 music like this. So all I have to say is: more like this please!

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