Friday, February 20, 2015

Chilla Frauste and DJ Magic Mike

Today's record is the third and greatest single by Chilla Frauste. Chilla released his first single, "Bed Time Stories," a more playful old school rap, in 1988 under the longer name of  Cool Chilla' Frauste and the Ice Cold Crew. He then signed to Miami Street Records and released some more traditionally Miami-ish dance records, "Get Off" and this one, "Get Up, Get Down, Get Funky, Get Loose." Now this is 80's Miami bass, where the emphasis was on uptempo, still disco inspired dance records rather than ultra-sonic bass tones to vibrate your jeep; and Frauste was more into that than anybody. He was also did all his own beats and was probably more of a producer who rapped than a rapper who produced. When he finally released his album in 1989 (Don't Fight the Feeling on Vision Records), a big chunk of the tracks were purely instrumental.

So, he's not really a strong MC, and he wasn't really that great of a producer either. Most of his work was just competent and despite being fast and upbeat, kind of flat. So his best work was basically just when he had a great sample to drive the track. "Bed Time Stories" used the same Nu Shooz sample Spyder-D did for "I Can't Wait," "Don't Fight the Feeling" used that classic Herbie Hancock sample Digital Underground used to create "Underwater Rimes" and Busy Bee flipped on "Kiss My Ass." You get the idea. Those songs are always his best, and "Get Up, Get Down, Get Funky, Get Loose"is the best of those. In Frauste's catalog, the best of the best.

You can guess the sample this one's based off of just reading the title: Teddy Pendergrass's "Get Up, Get Down, Get Funky, Get Loose." And Frauste is happy to give credit right up front, his opening verse includes the lyrics, "James Brown funk is dope but played. You don't own any record he's made but 'Brand New Funk?' Forget it! I got something better. Teddy's the most greater; I'm the trend setter. Go for what you know, move with the flow. Teddy and Chilla are runnin' this show!" Unfortunately, those are the most interesting lyrics. The rest is all just "say 'party right here, party over there.' If you wanna party, we can party 'cause the party's everywhere," kinda stuff and he basically comes off as a second tier Rob Base. But at least he keeps up with the tempo and it's alright anyway, because the heavily used sample (they use the bass, horns, and even the original vocals for the choruses) really is funky, and sounds extra hype on this racing Miami drum track. Plus, Chilla has a secret weapon.

He's not credited anywhere on the label, but this record features guest scratches by DJ Magic Mike. And he doesn't just add a little "jigga jigga" behind the hook. He fucking goes off on this. Especially on the extended Dance Mix on the B-side, he has long scratch solo where he's juggling the bassline and then starts scratching Whistle's "Just Buggin'" at the same time. And the way he chops up Pendergrass's voice and slices up Whislte's signature whistle sound is incredible. Classic funky soul samples combined with some of the best scratching on a hip-hop record over over a high energy beat? You haven't heard this record, man, get it.

Unfortunately, that recommendation doesn't apply to the rest of Frauste's catalog. Maybe "Bed Time Stories," though that's got a very different tone, and still comes in second place to Spyder-D's record. But "Get Up, Get Down, Get Funky, Get Loose" is absolutely where it's at.

"Get Up" was also Frauste's last solo single, and he only had the one album. He came back in the 90s as the leader of a small group called the Boom Junkies. He did most of the raps, which were still pretty flat and generic, and the production, which was even more high energy but still lacked that spark to really inspire repeat listens. Their last song was a collaboration with Disco Rick on one of those obscure Vision Records compilation albums. It's really just all about this one 12". Get it.

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