Thursday, March 14, 2019

Wake Your Daughter Up, The R.A.S. Posse's Back!

Besides that Baby Chill reissue, P-Quest Revivals has an even more interesting new release.  When I first heard they were putting out unreleased music by R.A.S. Posse, a.k.a. Riddem and Soul, the name rang a bell, but I couldn't place it.  They're from the House Party 3 soundtrack!  And they performed in the movie itself.  Well, outside of that, these Brooklyn cats just had one indie 12", the self titled "R.A.S. Posse" on Kid Entertainment Records.  Yep, as in that Kid, because he was genuinely managing them, just like they said in the movie.  Unfortunately, Kid 'N Play were having their own problems transitioning into the 90s, so R.A.S.'s stuff got left on the shelf.  That is until now that P-Quest got a hold of their archives, a whole collection of material recorded between 1992 and 1993.

The Posse consists of rugged reggae MC Bigga Don, Soul G, a.k.a. Easy G or ZG of The Undefeated Three (Funkmaster Wizard Wiz's old group) who kicks a distinctly playful American style ("I'm quick with the giz-nift of gab, the vocab, I smoke ya like a spliz-niff") and also produces, plus a singer named Robbie Irie who's on so many songs, he should at least qualify as an ancillary member.

The tone here is really interesting.  The production is rich and varied.  Sometimes you'll recognize some loops, but they're either paired with some other unexpected samples or just used in a very different type of song.  My favorite example of this has got to be "Lazy Body," that uses the signature music from Special Ed's "I'm the Magnificent" for some funny raps dunking on their lazy girlfriends, like an even catchier version of UTFO's under-appreciated "Beef Pattie."  To put it in terms of rap blogs, this is Wake Your Daughter Up music, not Unkut music.  And that's not a bad thing; I wish more unreleased stuff that wasn't strictly purist would get rescued from the vaults.  A couple songs, like "We Are the Teachers" and Money, Weed, Hoes" are a little rougher and definitely incorporate more hardcore elements from their time, like screeching horns and shouted hooks.  But, you know.  Think The UMCs' second album, not 36 Chambers.

Their actual House Party 3 song itself is left off of here, but instead we get an unreleased demo version.  The only really noticeable difference is that the final version fades the bassline from Ed O. G's "Bug-A-Boo" in and out of the mix, though, which the demo version doesn't really bother with.  That bass sounded really good, so I'd say the House Party 3 version is easily the preferable one, but since that's already out and easily accessible, it's cool to get this version instead as a historical artifact if nothing else.

Their Kid Entertainment "R.A.S. Posse" song is on here, too; though dedicated fans will still want to track down that original 12", since they left off the B-side, a pure reggae (as opposed to Ragga Hip-Hop, with G's rapping and their usual Hip-Hop beats) love song called "Love Me."  But I can see why they left it off; that's really an outlier for the crew, who I'd definitely described as Hip-Hop with a Reggae Twist, as opposed to Reggae with a Hip-Hop twist.  The only "pure reggae" song on this collection is the Dancehall Remix of a song called "Well Run Dry," which is quite different from the main Hip-Hop version that's also on here.

Yeah, there's one or two remixes on here.  The whole album is 21 tracks, with the first being a quick intro (a snippet from House Party 3 where Kid talks about the Posse), and one specifically demarcated as a bonus track.  So basically 18 songs and two additional remixes, and those "Well Run Dry" mixes are practically two entirely different songs.  The other remixed track here is "The Posse" (not to be confused with "R.A.S. Posse"), which is a pretty tight track that uses a sample you'll recognize from Pete Rock's killer remix of Da Youngsta's "Pass the Mic."  The other mix is the Freestyle Version, which sounds just like you'd think, alternate off-the-head lyrics roughly recorded in one pass, as opposed the more polished professional mix.  So it's basically just a fun lyrical remix.

And that bonus track?  It's an unreleased Cool Supreme (also of the Undefeated Three, and the classic "B Boys Style") song that features Bigga Don.  It has a similar production style, and Cool's flow and humor is just like Soul's with just a slightly deeper voice.  So it's just like another R.A.S. song; you probably wouldn't even catch the difference if it wasn't labeled.

So this is another very limited CD, restricted to only 100 copies.  It's brand new for 2019, but P-Quest already put out an equally limited (yes, 100 copies) vinyl EP of highlights in 2017.  That's a sticker cover pressed on green vinyl, and as of this writing, copies of both are still available from the label.  All six songs from the vinyl are on this CD, plus of course, 16 more.  I don't know if these recordings were taken from DATs, cassettes or what, but the sound quality is very clear and strong.  None of these are "sorry, these were ripped from low quality tapes but that's all that exists" like we sometimes have to settle for on projects like these.  I hope this projects succeeds, because Hip-Hop's an awesomely broad scene, and I'd love to see more diverse artists from different periods get their unreleased brought back.  And when they do, I'd like to see bigger runs than just 100.  In fact, my next post is going to get a little deeper in that.

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