Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Too Hot To Handle, Too Cold To Hold

DJ Hollywood's "To Whoever It May Concern" was the biggest record Posse Records ever put out. That's according to Van Silk's introduction on the 1988 compilation album Posse All-Stars Rap Classics. That fact is made all the more interesting when you remember that DJ Hollywood's "To Whoever It May Concern," nor any other DJ Hollywood record for that matter, was ever released on Posse Records. It was first released on World To World Records, and then reissued on Spring Records for broader distribution, both in 1986. Well, the connection must be between Posse and Spring, since the same compilation features a couple other Spring singles sprinkled throughout the actual Posse releases as well.

So 1986 is a later release for somebody like DJ Hollywood, but this is a solid record. It's produced by Donald D... not The Syndicate Sniper, but the guy who made "Don's Groove" and produced those old school cats like B-Fats and Cheryl the Pearl. It's got big, bombastic horns, a funky electro-style keyboard riff, and a super funky bassline. Especially on this Spring Records version. Because the Spring Records release is actually an uncredited remix of the first version put out on World To World. It's basically more of a re-record, where they take another pass at recording the same basic track. But it all sounds more professional and, frankly, catchier. It's just better, plus over a minute longer. The older version is interesting as a historic alternative (and if you're curious, you can hear it on the Tuff City album Rarities from 1995, where it's been retitled "To Whom It May Concern"), but the Spring version is the definitive version. It's actually my favorite Hollywood record.

Have you ever heard the Busy Bee song "Poon Tang?" It's really an extended tribute to a routine Hollywood did during his live sets and in this record, sort of like Biz Markie's "Let me Turn You On."  Where he goes, "poon tang, oon tang, I don't wanna go, slept all night with my honey bun. Give me some of that yummy yum yum before I go to bed. Of all the animals in the world, I'd rather be a squirrel - climb up on the highest tree and do it all over the wor-orld." Of course, you can bet Hollywood didn't say "do it" live in the clubs.  Here's a great clip of Hollywood performing it in 2008 in Central Park.

Well, Busy Bee adds more animal rhymes to his song, but otherwise he's just doing the same routine that Hollywood does here. It's a pretty memorable segment, especially if you were hearing it for this first time on this record - in fact, the song is even titled "Um Tang, Um Tang (To Whoever It May Concern)" in other parts of the world. But while that routine makes up the entirety of "Poon Tang," it's just one part of "To Whoever It May Concern," which has Hollywood rapping multiple verses and singing multiple fun hooks and choruses.And yes, the "too hot to handle" line appeared in this song long before Bobby Brown got to it for his Ghostbusters song.

The Posse All-Stars Rap Classics album only features the Short Vocal Version that's on the B-side of this 12". It basically fades the song out super early, cutting in into less than half. The proper A-side version is a full seven minutes long, and the seven minute Instrumental Version is also included. And perhaps the best thing is neither version of this record is rare or hard to find. So if you're a serious head, you can get them both super cheap and easy. But you should at least have this one in your crates; it's a damn good time.

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