Sunday, December 30, 2007

Here I Am, R. A. W.

So here's a cool, seriously overlooked record by an artist who's actually been struggling in the game for, like, ten years now. Raw (Linguistic Ventriloquist) dropped his "Comment #3 (Family Of the Continents)" 12" sometime around 1997 (there's no date on the label, so I'm just working off of personal memory), the only record put out on the label, Tetrahedron (if you sucked at math like I did in high school, I'll just throw ya a quick reminder: a tetrahedron is the three-dimensional shape of a four-sided pyramid… like the ones in Egypt). But it was mad nice, and thanks in part because of that and probably more because of his artistic associations, this 12" managed to make the rounds and got picked up for distribution by Land Speed.

Now, you'll have to go back in time with me a little here. Before Ikon the Verbal Hologram became Vinnie Paz, the embarrassing thug rapper; Jedi Mind Tricks was an exciting new group that had just come out with an incredibly impressive EP and LP. They'd pretty much come out of the blue, totally independently; and while Ikon seemed to be the lead, JMT's releases featured a slew of totally unknown, crazy lyricists with names like Yan the Phenomenon, Apathy the Alien Tongue, El Eloh, Subcon, Shadrach, Chico, Breath of Judah and the The Sun Pharaoh. Who the heck who were all these guys? Damned if anybody knew, but according to the liner notes, a lot of them were members of a crew called The Lost Children of Babylon.

Now again, this is before we were all disappointed by Heavenly Divine and what-not (though the production was hot, I admit - Stoupe actually became an even better producer than we heard on those initial releases) and everything since. And while we're all on the edges of our seats, the next release from any of these cats to come out was this debut 12" from Children of Babylon MC, Raw. I picked it up without even having heard it.

The production (by someone named Paul Ki-D) is cool, kind of simple, a little jazzy… and Raw has a clear, relaxed flow in the vein of Last Emperor. The song is a wild tale of countries and continents personified-cum-political allegory. Here's a sample:

"You see, Europe knew Australia had sex with China,
Who pierced her vagina
Just to be accepted by Australia…
Who's now being labeled a failure by Asia,
Europe and Africa. After
Antarctica received a sex change,
He blamed Europe for it.
See, Antarctica and Europe used to flirt
Until Australia lifted up her skirt.
It broke his heart
To find out his sex partner used to have male private parts.
Drama starts
Between the two; I had an interview
With the Earth last night;
And this is what she said."

Kinda bugged out, huh? The next song on the 12" is more in the vein of what us Jedi Mind Tricks fans were probably expecting… atmospheric production, with Raw performing the lyrics twice, in two different voices overlapped on top of each other (it's not as annoying as it sounds haha). He gets into the really out there, inventive sci-fi/religious lyrical territory as he narrates some essentially freestyle rhymes in the persona of the "Distant Traveler:"

"Intergalactic communication
Implanted by enchanted transcripts,
Engraved in Sanskrit,
Interpreted by…
Crystal translators!
I swarm through the storms
With a crown of thorns as my uniform.
My staff transforms
Into a unicorn,
In search of the promised land…
Guided by the pineal gland.

I built the sphinx.
The reincarnation of Ramses!
Protector of the holy relics,
Born in the subterranean
Level of the pyramid;
My eyelid
Resembles Osiris,
Bearer of the scepter.
My mind is a replica of Mecca.
Egyptian philosophers
Politic in verses with the alchemists.
Archangels walk from the seventh plain."

The final track, "Balancement (720°)" is the jazziest, with a collection of sax and other samples, over a snare-heavy beat. Sonically, he ventures into Raw Produce-type territory, but the lyrics stay advanced, with the heaviest use of multi-syllabic rhyming wordplay. Then, on the B-side, you've got instrumental versions for all three tracks. Definitely a must-have for anyone into that illustrious, innovative scene of independent vinyl that flourished in the late 90's.

Today, you may be surprised to learn, Raw is still doing his thing. He's still with The Children of Babylon, who've put out a couple albums and aren't shy about touting their loose affiliation with The Wu-Tang Clan whenever they can. Raw himself - going by the name Richard Raw - is gearing up to release a solo album soon, sensationalistically titled Rich Raw Vs. Nas… you can read all about it at his myspace. In his "top friends," you can find the CoB's page, which also has links to the other members' pages, so you can catch up on everything they've done since Jedi Mind Tricks severed its ties with them almost ten years ago. Interesting stuff.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Xmas Rap On a Budget

^Video blog!!
(I think I'm at the point where I don't need to point this out anymore, but just in case... You're looking at original content created for this blog; not just linking something by somebody else.)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

U Don't Hear Him Tho'

So, in my last entry, I mentioned an interview on West Coast Pioneers where Rodney O says he wasn't that pleased with his first single, "These Are My Beats." The interviewer then asked him what he felt was his most successful (artistically, etc.) single. Interestingly, he didn't say "Everlasting Bass." He didn't pick anything off their classic debut, in fact. Instead he named a record most of you probably haven't heard before.

"U Don't Hear Me Tho'" came out on Psychotic Records in 1992; the lead single off their fourth album, F__k New York. And it's a good one. It flips some P-funk samples into a fairly hardcore, but still funky, hip-hop track. It's not so much so that it isn't a fun song, but Rodney O (who says, "when I die, put a sound system in my hearse") was clearly angry on this album. The liner notes read, "F-K New York This album was inspired by all the negative people in New York who have disrespected us in the past & because no one else would speak up about how New York disses L.A. Now someone finally has." The intro to the LP, a mock interview with Rodney O & Joe Cooley, explains this further.

The first (proper) song on the album, then, was this lead single. And Rodney jumps right into the subject:

"I got a New York critic in a choke hold.
He tried to diss me 'cause he didn't like my vocals;
And now I'm showing him the meaning of loco!
I'm not friends with my peers, so I'm overlooked.
I got the P-funk, fool, on the funky hook.
I'm paying suckers back for all the years of dissin' me;
But now I'm rollin' and there ain't no stoppin' me."

Joe Cooley takes the mic (yeah, sometimes he rapped, too) to add his own thoughts:

"I'm not down with that R&B; it makes me sick.
Singin' and cryin', and tryin' to add a rap don't help a bit.
You know what I'm talkin' about; that shit's not real rap.
They try to add the hip-hop flavor, but it's still wack."

There's no scratching on the record as a whole, but Joe Cooley performs a nice, quick number afterhis verse, a perfect example of what is real hip-hop. Then Rodney comes back for a third verse and then finally an uncredited MC (I checked the album, too, and the notes there don't say either) who I'm gonna go ahead and guess is General Jeff gets on for a short fourth verse, telling us, essentially, not to diss Compton.

The radio version (which, interestingly, they also decided to include on the LP), features newly recorded, clean vocals ("they didn't give a fuck about you years ago" becomes "they didn't care about you four years ago," and so forth). And the "Club Mix" features some new samples into the mix, but is essentially just an extended instrumental version (odd to start the 12" off with an instrumental), so it's cool that they added something, but it doesn't have a lot of replay value.

Finally, the other track on this 12", "Chase the Bass (Joe Cooley's Turntable Show)" is exactly what it sounds like: a showcase of Cooley's impressive turntable skills. There's no vocals at all, it's a pure DJ cut with just Cooley scratching up a variety of samples over a beat. Despite the addition of the new subtitle on the 12", this is exactly the same version of "Chase the Bass" as you hear on the album.

So yeah. All in all a nice little, overlooked 12" that Rodney O isn't entirely alone in remembering fondly.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Those Aren't His Beats

"These Are My Beats" is the first record Rodney O made when he got on Egyptian Empire Records, before he teamed up with Joe Cooley with whom he of course recorded his biggest hits, and who he's still recording with today (though he did release a solo album in 1997, before reuniting with Cooley for Veteran's Day in 2000). It comes in a pic cover (albeit a rather unattractive one, as you can see), and features the main mix and the "Re-Mix (Dubb Beats)" on the flip. But, despite its name, it's actually an extended (almost ten minutes) version with all the vocals. Even the main mix is a 12" exclusive though - this was never featured on any of their albums, not even their two volume 52-song release of their past hits, The Collection (on Kritical Entertainment, also in 2000).

In an interview with West Coast Pioneers (I definitely recommend you fully explore their entire site and listen to the whole thing, by the way), Rodney O says he's not so pleased with it - he felt it was more an Egyptian Lover (who produced and co-wrote the track) record that he's just rhyming over, unlike his subsequent material, which he felt was more his own. And it really kinda does. It features The Egyptian Lover's unique brand of drum track, pronounced keyboards and exercises in erotic panting (ha ha Well, what would you call it?). New elements keep getting thrown into the mix as the song progresses, including vocoder raps and a female vocalist singing, "I like his beats, I like his beats."

But the music also feels a little more tailored to Rodney's presence (which is a little more traditional compared to the MCing Egyptian Lover does)... or maybe it just feels inherently different with Rodney rapping over it. With his voice and flow… it really plays like a true collaboration: something more than either artist would've made on their own. Still, Rodney essentially keeps his verses pretty short and simple, like:

"The beats you hear
Are about to be uncovered
By me, Rodney O,
And the Egyptian Lover.
The music that you hear
Sounds so good;
You won't stop dancin'
Even if you could.
Relax your mind,
Let the music take control;
And listen to my beats
As they sooth your soul."

In that West Coast Pioneers interview, Rodney O also mentioned he was working on a new album with Joe Cooley, and that, when they were ready, he'd have new tracks available on his myspace. They're not there yet, but you can keep checking out; and also drop by Joe Cooley's myspace while you're at it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Underwater Rimes

^Video blog!!
(You know the steez... Original content created for this blog; not just linking something by somebody else.)

Oh, and a note. I've gone back and added the "(Video Post)" to the titles of all my video blog ("vlog") entries, to make them more searchable/easier to find if you're, like, into the video. 8)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Unreleased JVC Force (Album #3)

So I just received an e-mail announcement from AJ Woodson, a.k.a. AJ Rok of JVC Force. Apparently, the JVC Force are doing an on-air, on-line radio reunion ("first time the group has done anything together as a group since 1991"). B Luv and Curt Cazal will be appearing on AJ Rok's Heavy Rotation Magazine Radio show, which airs on from 10pm-12am.

Most exciting of all, though, is that they promise (in their press release) to air - in addition to their classic material (including some all new remixes, which could be cool) - "material from an unreleased third album which has never been played elsewhere." Woot!

...If you can't listen right then at that day and time, I think they archive and stream their past shows, so I'm guessing it will be available to hear anytime after it initially airs.

The radio show's founder, Brother John, added, "JVC Force is just the beginning. The Best Jams wants to go after all the pioneers, all the rappers from that era... From Special Ed to EPMD to the Boogie Boys to Steady B: the pioneers are always welcome here.” Someone should probably tell him that Steady B won't be able to attend anytime soon. ;)

Anyway, let's hope this is just the first step towards getting the whole third album finally released.

Update: It's aired now - here're direct links to part 1 and part 2 for stream or download.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

'Halls of Justice' You Call It

"The Verdict" is the second single off of Professor Griff's debut album, Pawns In the Game. This - along with the first single, the title track - is the best material he ever put out (and they had awesome videos as well). So get it.

Unlike his first single, this is a posse cut featuring his crew, then known as The Last Asiatic Disciples. If you hold a magnifying glass to the liner notes of his first album (at least the CD version, which is the one I'm working with), you'll see that the LAD consists of "SEAN PEACKOCK B.K.A. LIFE, THE IST DISCIPLE. SEAN SMITH B.K.A. PATRICK X, THE IIND DISCIPLE. JASON WICKS B.K.A. JXL, THE IIIRD DISCIPLE. ROBERT HARDING B.K.A. B-WYZE, THE IVTH DISCIPLE. THE DEMANDING JUSTICE, THE ESD 'OBIE'." And they all get a chance to shine on this one.

There's some interesting production personal involved here, as well. It's credited to Griff and Clay D (of "Dazzy Duke Down" and "That Booty In There" fame), with "Re-Education" (referring the remixing, I guess) credited to Griff, The 2 Live Crew's Mr. Mixx(!), Kerwin "Sleek" Young and Kavon Shaw (who would later go on to form The Soul Society with Griff and Tone Control). It adds up to the type of PE-inspired beat that Chuck & Flavor really should've stuck to themselves. When PE got too far out there and cartoony, Griff - the man Russell Simmons once called "a racist stage prop" - was doing beats and delivery styles straight out of the Nation of Millions playbook. Lyrically is where he tends to lose his audience, making extreme race-related claims and divisive religious references. But I don't think any of us who grew up listening to politically-charged rap music in the 90's would be strangers to that, anyway.

Now, you may notice the picture cover proudly proclaims there to be "NO EXPLICIT LYRICS CONTAINED" on this single - an interesting decision since, in 1990, an Explicit Lyrics stickers essentially meant 50% more sales. For "The Verdict" (the b-side, which I'll get to in a minute, didn't feature any language that needed to be removed in the first place), they redo the vocals with new lyrics to substitute the curses. For the most part, it works. Only one instance, where one of the LAD defiantly ends his verse, "I charge you with a count of bullshit, and 'Guilty' is the verdict!" becomes "I charge you on account of being a misfit." …Doesn't quite have the same impact. Or even really the same meaning if you think about it.

Much more importantly, though, this "Radio Edit" features two new verses, all new scratching, all kinds of shit that any fan of the album version will need to have in his collection. Here's a verse one of the LAD kicks that isn't on the LP:

"People of the jury seeking signs of the end,
Matthew: 24 reveals the who, what and when.
Many who were judged were the devil in actuality;
Tried and set free. Your irrationality's a technicality.
But we're free now;
'Cause when we speak the truth, we're merely prosecuted;
Where before, for tellin' the truth, a brother would be executed.
Yeah, I shot the sheriff... knew him by his six-pointed star.
He claimed to be chosen. The righteous: exactly what we are.
If you don't know the truth by now, then you will learn.
There will be no stone left unturned."

The b-side is the third best album cut, "Suzi Wants To Be a Rock Star." Really, if you get the first two singles, the album becomes more of a for-completists-only-type deal. This isn't up to "Pawns In the Game" or "The Verdict;" it's more of a fun song, with rocking heavy metal guitars and even some guy singing heavy metal style on the hook (no credits given say who that is). It's another posse cut, and the cheesy guitars mix with the underlying beat in an enjoyable way. If you can get over a song being "corny" (the ultimate condemnation for those who haven't realized that most of the rap music they take so seriously is actually at least as corny by grown-up standards), you'll dig this anti-drug song, albeit not in the same way as the a-side.

When I first flipped to this over to the b-side I thought, "what the heck? They left off a version," but it turns out the "Heckl-a-pella" version just refers to a very short collection of vocal samples which sounds more like the beginning of the next version. And that next version, "The Supreme Court Instrumental," is the reason tobuy this single. At it's core, it's the instrumental to "The Verdict" but then, throughout the song, the instrumental is flipped and changes to new breakbeats and horn samples. It's like The 45 King snuck into their studio late at night - dope stuff! The one drawback is that it's a little sparse... it's still essentially an instrumental largely meant to support complex lyrics. The change-ups help, but it could use a little more by way of vocal samples, lyrics or something. Really, they should've let Mr. Mixx tear it up on the tables. But that's about the only complaint you can have about it. In the final analysis, hip-hop beats just don't get much better.

So all told, in addition to "Suzi Wants To Be a Rock Star," you get five versions of "The Verdict:" the new "Radio Edit," the "Speech-A-Pella" (acappella of the new, "Radio Edit" version), LP Version (described in the liner notes as "Curseless At Its Best" - it's the album version with the curses just flipped in the traditional way), the teensy tiny "Heckl-A-Pella" (I don't care what they say, it's the intro to the next mix) and the extra funky "Supreme Court Instrumental." And with his decked out uniforms, the man knows how to make a nice picture cover. Not bad for something you can pick up in a dollar bin.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Beauty AND the Beast

This is the definitive version of one of Buck 65's best (especially from his earlier period) songs, "The Centaur." It originally appeared in '98 on his album Vertex. But on this version, the vocals are redone - a substantial improvement in both his voice and delivery. Also, the track is remastered. It's the same basic loop, but the quality is better, and it features the cello as played by his then-girlfriend Steffi, which adds a lot.

There's a couple other versions out there... He did a drum & bass-type mix on Synesthia (meh) and updated it to his country and western rap style (or "Countwap" as Johnny CashMoney called it in Big Daddy Kane's "How You Get a Record Deal" video) on This Here Is... but it doesn't seem to jel. It's nothing against that style he's developed - in fact, I feel Talkin' Honky Blues is Buck's best album to date - but this version of "The Centaur" just feels lazily done: a phoned in delivery over an unengrossing instrumental. They're not bad if you're a completist, but they're nothing a non-fan should worry about tracking down.

No, it's all about this 12" that came out on Anticon in 1999... The liner notes say "from the forthcoming album Man Overboard," but by that time that album came out (2001), they wound up leaving it off. This was probably done because of his decision around that period to retire the song. As he told (click here for the whole interview), "Well lots kinda come in and out of retirement but the main one that I would love to put to rest would be 'The Centaur,' but it’s difficult to put to rest because a lot of people really like that song. It’s the song through which a lot of people discovered me. But the fact is, the song doesn’t mean very much to me at all. When I was younger and when I wrote that song, there was a big division between me the performer and me the regular person and I felt very threatened by the idea of people thinking that they had me sorted out and knew who I was based on my music and what they saw on stage and Ithought that was not fair at all because they were two completely different people. So a lot of people used to think I really was some kind of asshole or bla bla bla because of who I was on record or stage. But as I’ve gotten older, that line has been blurred. I’m more comfortable with who I am and I’ve mellowed out and I just try to express myself as honestly and try to be myself as much as possible. So really that song is about the hostility I felt to an audience that I felt was misunderstanding me and I just don’t feel that way about my audience any more." He's since brought it out of retirement, but until he rereleases Man Overbaord with another tracklisting (which I wouldn't put past him), it's too late for this mix of "The Centaur." So you need the 12" to hear the decidely best version.

In an interview with (click here for the whole interview), he mentioned how he came up with the song, "It all started during a visit to San Francisco, years ago, around 1996 or something like that. I was staying with DJ Stef from Vinyl Exchange. We were walking down the street from her apartment. I saw a coin on the ground. It wasn’t legal tender -- it was a coin from a casino. On the back it had the symbol for Sagittarius on it, which is a centaur." I encourage you to click that link and read the whole thing, by the way. He talks a lot about the (granted, rather obvious) metaphor of the song, how he was inspired to sample the theme from Carrie for the instrumental, and what ultimately compelled him to bring it back out of retirement.

It's not that the lyrics are that ingenious (though they are reasonably smart); it's just one of those concise songs where the idea and the delivery and the beat all come together to make a tight, lasting song. And if you want to read the lyrics, by the way, I've already posted my entire transcription of the song in this previous entry.

This 12" also has a remix (different from the ones mentioned above) which is kinda cool... The hook playfully uses a portion of the "I am the magnificent" vocal sample that Special Ed used for his record. And if it feels a bit truncated, that's because originally Kool Keith was going to appear on it and kick a verse at the end, but that fell through. So they stuck it on vinyl without his contribution; which is probably just as well.

Now, the b-side is an epic, fifteen minute collection of non-sequitor (think: Greg Nice), freestyle rhymes called "15 Minutes To Live," a tiny portion of which actually did turn up on the pre-release version of Man Overboard (the Red Liquorice version... it didn't make the Anticon release) - about sixty seconds worth, and it fades out mid-lyric. You've gotta get the 12" to hear the complete thing. For what it's worth. The beat is cool, with some more cello by Steffi; but fifteen minutes of random not-quite-punchlines at a Mr. Scarface pace can wear pretty thin:

"I love the JVC Force
And MC Shan,
But draw upon dreams
And fractured memories.
I factored remedies
And serums into this equation.
I hold up one mirror into another and ask,
'Is nothing sacred?'
I've seen the movie
And read Alice in Wonderland.
Don't make the mistake
Of pitching to me underhand.
Today I enter my late twenties officially,
Or react with water initially
I'm dead to the world right now
Despite my promises;
But at least I'm honest about it.
I've got diamonds in my eyes,
But I'm looking for a harder crystal.
I'm feeling for something smoother;
I'm listening for a starter pistol.
Three sheets to the wind
And I'm using clouds for pillows;
I wanna drill holes in the sky.
I'm in love with a nomad,
And I miss my mother badly.
I was a sideways baby,
Always will be.
To start the party right,
You'll probably have to kill me.
I can't be held accountable,
So instead I pass the blame;
And besides, I wanna live forever,
Like the cast of
Serious trouble will pass me by
And my life will be happy,
Protectin' the veterans
From scorchin' rookies,
And trustin' my faith
In the fortune cookies.
Red right, white left.
Slogans for doormats.
I'm lookin' good right now;
I gotta wear more hats."

...And so on. See? Just drop "Dizzy Gillespie plays the sax" in there anywhere and you're done. But, yeah. All in all, this is a hot little 12" of vinyl exclusives for the Buck 65 enthusiasts, and even a must-have classic for the average hip-hop fan.


Friday, November 30, 2007

(Werner Necro'd) Shadow Government (UMC's interview)

It's 1999. The UMC's hadn't released anything together for five years since the lackluster response to their more hard-core, follow-up album, Unleashed. Kool Kim had made a few waves since then with a guest spot on a spoken word compilation in '96 and a hot independent 12"… but even that was two years past. But I caught up with them in a small studio in New York, working on a new full-length project called Shadow Government.

FG: I'm the artist formerly known as Kool Kim... rather be known as FG: Feel Good, Feel Great. Found God. Fly Guy. It just represents the growth and change... The name is just an attribute to describe who a person is at that stage in their life, so at this stage in my life, I call myself FG because those two letters embody what I'm feelin' at this juncture in my life. And maybe one day I might call myself something else.

Hass: This is Hass G the Phantom of this. The Phantom. It's the new and improved me. It's all good. When we came out with "Time to Set It Straight..." I'm not gonna say I regret comin' out with that joint, 'cause I thought it was hot. I thought it was very hot. And all it did was just, I guess, reflect what we were feeling at the time. And us, in our ignorance, didn't understand that we let emotions take control and blanket our creativity. We weren't able to get that out to the heads and to the fans. We just let the emotional part come out of us and kick it, and that's not what we hit them with first. But, still, I don't regret it; that's just a reflection of how we were feelin at the time. Like this Shadow Government situation is gonna be a reflection of what we're feelin' right now. It's gonna be the bomb.

FG: But you know what I wanna say, to like, expand on that thought? You know, that's what we experienced. And that's one of the greatest things about life, to go through change. And it's sad that in this game of rap, artists are so stagnated that they just have to follow trends or just be whatever it is they were, for however long that's gonna let 'em shine, and then it's over for them. You know, we're growin' people. That's why it's scary. Because if you say that character can't grow and change... That he can't mature... That means that you can't mature in this music and what that means is, what? When you reach thirty or forty, you won't be able to listen to rap no more? You're still gonna like it. You're still gonna be feelin' it. But you gonna grow. I got three kids and a wife. I can't be listening to some of this shit in my house that cats is rockin' now. I just can't go for it, B. I just had a little party the other day for some of the little kids in my community. I had to turn that Funkmaster Flex off, cause there was too much cursin' in it, and I just could not endorse that, be no twenty-seven year-old parent of three kids on the street playin'. You want stuff that's conducive to your lifestyle. So, with that said, when we did that 'Unleashed' album, we were doin' something that reflected that little bit of growth we were goin' through, like Hass mentioned. But, if you listen to the first album, we said, yo, you know, like on the song, "Morals": "The cats that talk about how they know you so well, but they don't really listen, though. Existence is a game of chance, l took my chance, and now I'm winnin'. But, then again, my life is just beginnin'." In other words, there was things to come for us, you know what I'm sayin'? And, in this joint, I go on to say... on the last cut on the first album, I said, "I keep on movin' like the hands of the clock. Persistence is the movement, mechanism will tic-toc. My goals is every number on the clock that fits. And Kim becomes successful when the stroke of twelve hits. It's twelve o'clock now." But it ain't twelve o'clock right now; it's another time now. It was twelve o'clock then. So time is changin'. And in the change of time, I'm dealin' with an all new aspect of life, and I just gotta respect and accept it.

Hass: Personally, I don't think we paid attention to the times. I just think that, at that time, there were a lot of artists that were out there probably frustrated, so we just fit into the same type of situation. And that's why we probably delivered the same type of situation. But, I know, personally, I was really mad. What I delivered, that's what I was feelin'. I just felt, "Rah, rah." I felt, "Fuck it. They can't appreciate any of it, we comin' that other way. Fuck it. I'm hitting them like this. I don't give a fuck no more."

FG: That's the truth, cousin. I'm not Jesus, B. Even when Jesus was getting' put up on the cross, he made his prayer to Allah, like, you know, "I don't wanna dothis." He said it, right before he was gonna be crucified- he didn't wanna do it. And I ain't nowhere near that, so how you think I'm gonna be out hear representin' just positive, and make a whole album full of positive shit, not one curse on the album? Yo, enlightenment, yo sciences. Yo, there's stuff on there that cats still ain't picked up on, 'cause they thought we was clowning. `Cause the devil likes to do that shit. He puts you out there, you be positive, he try to make you look like a clown. So, we was doin' stuff that was positive and people read that as soft and all.

Hass: So, we gave them the same message, but we changed the tone of the message. It wasn't like we were trying to be hard, but it was like. "Yo, son, listen to what we're sayin'." But, like I said, we've moved to the point now, we're gonna bring that message to you in all sorts of forms. Shadow Government rules the world. We just got an understanding of the global situation that we're in and how to take advantage of that.

FG: Yo, I'ma do this thing, break it down, do the knowledge. Boom, '91, UMC's come out, we drop a positive album. Somehow we're made to look like pure idiots. They tried to make us look, in retrospect, like bell-bottom pants or something, you know what I'm sayin'? They'd be like, "Yo, I can't believe that video that they did." But those that listened to the lyrics, had knowledge, were like "Yo, these cats are ill! Did you hear what they were sayin'? They was madd before their time. Listen to the beats. It's phenomenal. Listen to the precision in the beats and the lyrics. It's nuts." Ay-ight. My contention is this. This is what I offer to the rap intellectuals. Ready? '90, '91, '92, the government, the CIA, Counter-Intelligence Program infiltrated rap. I think that was their retroactive move for the next generation after crack. See the whole idea was to get up into rap, change the art-form where a cat... See, I learned the preamble of the constitution of the United Stated off the 'School House Rock' shit. I learned how a bill became a law from off the 'School House Rock' shit. I understood verbs, adjectives, nouns, and I passed tests because of those songs. Now, you got rap, where you're really talkin' out what you're sayin'. I could teach you - I'm a good enough MC, straight up and down - I could write a rhyme and teach you how to do DOS with my rhyme. And, yet, at the same token, though, you hear these rhymes now - it's pure idiocy. Why? Because, somebody, somewhere, decided that shit was not gonna be about nothin'. And what they did was, they leaded kids that was fly and talkin' about real shit and tried to turn them into clowns and appear soft. 'Cause that's what the devil likes to do... likes to make God appear soft. Look at movies, and look at TV, he tries to make the power of evil amaze you so you won't want to have nothin' to do with bein' positive. Make ya think, positive is faggot or sissy or somethin'. I'm not disrespectful to nobody, I'm just sayin' that's the truth. My feelin' is that the government took that over. Why? 'Cause they wanna keep cats ignorant. 'Shadow Government.' 'Cause we in the shadow of this government. The government is actively trying to put us in a situation that we remain the sheople. And I don't wanna be one of the sheople. And we don't wanna be one of the sheople. We cumin' to find projects in Paris, cats in Australia, suffering the same suffering we're suffering, loving the same lyrics we re lovin' but havin` thev same trials and tribulations to the backdrop of a whole other land and a whole other government. But the government still doin' the same things and making us the sufferer's plight, and we understand that and we're bringing that forth now. We ain't glamorous. We're men. We're men and women in this situation, trying to survive and trying to make this happen for ourselves. And that's why Shadow Government rules the world and that's why we're here doin` it. Otherwise we wouldn't be here, 'cause we'd probably be still struggling in the other shit. But we got the understanding. That's why we're in the capacity to say that we're about to rule the world. Because we bring it to the world like the world already got. And what they just need somebody to be the harbinger, the truth of the matter. Basically that.

So, how did y'all get caught up with Wild Pitch?

Hass: Real quick, first we was doing that independent joint thatKim was talkin' about, "Party Stylin"' and "Invaders of My FruitBasket." Off of that, we ran into Premiere and Guru. Then they turnedus on to Wild Pitch, 'cause they were on Wild Pitch. Little did we knowthat they were gettin' off the label when we signed on!

And what was the thinking behind the earlier material like "Blue Cheese?"

Hass: Basically, then, everything was abstract. A lot of the groups that were comin' out were speaking in a lot of metaphors. But they were crazy, they were out of this world. And there was a lot of symbolism and all that type of craziness. And we came with it at the same time, the same thing. So, on "Blue Cheese," we was just basically sittin' around vibin'.

FG: Like the phone call. You remember the phone call?

Hass: I don't even remember that, son. You're gonna have to handle that one.

FG: RNS came up with the skeleton of this beat, and the shit was nuts. Hass hipped me to the beat, we was rhymin' to the beat. Lemme tell you how it was. We'd get on the phone and be writin' the shit. And we were like, "How were we gonna come with it? This beat is so banging, kid, we gotta just flow over this, cousin. All we gotta do is just flow. Just call this shit, 'Blue Cheese' on 'em!" (Hass laughs) He was like, "What?" I was like, "Word is born, we're gonna call it 'Blue Cheese.'" "What's it gonna mean?" Well, blue is sad, and cheese is you frontin'. You're sad 'cause you're frontin'. Something about what you're Join' is frontin'. What you're doin' is not proper. And then we started, 'cause we're educated, we got knowledge of self, we started buildin' on it and buildin' on it to the point where it just manifested into, like...

Hass: Anything that's wack...

FG: Basically.

Hass: "Get out, get out, I don't love you no more."

Do you feel you lost the ability to appeal to the kids then, in `93, when you came out with 'Unleashed?'

Hass: I don't know what I felt back then. My mind was twisted. I was just, like, traumatized by the fact that it didn't do what I thought it was gonna do. I'm like, "Damn! Off of the first good album, and we come out with this, and it don't do?" After that I was like, "Yo, I have no understanding of the business. None whatsoever." We just fell back. I couldn't answer that. I couldn't call it. Was it because we changed, or...? "No, it couldn't be because we changed. Because motherfuckers like real people. We were bein real." Well, I was like,"We was bein real, but our shit ain't sellin'." What was the deal? "Yo, son, I don't know." That was it. I heard that (about tryin' to be too hard), but, then, again, at the same time, when everything else that was still sittin' in our genre came, it all failed, too. So, you can't say it was because they changed. Because what if we didn't change and we still did that? So, nobody ever knows. You don't know that. It wasn't because we changed. I mean, we did come with a different thing, but it's not because of that. We don't know what it was. And there were quite a few people that all had nice hot albums and didn't come back. Second time around - no good. That's because the industry said, "Boom. Check this out. I made my money off of you this first time around. Right now we're just gonna put you to the side. We don't need you. We can't use you no more. We're gettin' ready to change the whole direction of this year and, frankly, you just don't fit in." That's what it was.

FG: A lot of them cats just comin' back just now.

Hass: A lot of them cats just on their way back right now. Why? Because it's just evolution. It's all evolving; it's coming back. What was, comes again, B. And now, we're coming in a different light.

FG: A very different light, B. Now we're in a whole new... What? We're decade awav? A lot of shit in ten years has happened, son. The first joint we did was back in...'88. '88 or '89 we did, "Invaders of My Fruit Basket" and "Party Stylin'." We were always on some avant-garde shit... just be about something else. We just wanted to be different, have a good time. Not even so much want to be different, 'cause we're different, B. Because we're not scared, cousin.

Hass: This feels ill, to talk about our return. I have shit under my belt that we can talk about. "Yo, I was out before."

FG: Gettin' ready to come back!

Hass: 'Shadow Government' gonna touch them.

Didn't you have a DJ named Kid Magic back in the day?

FG: We still do. He's still down. I'm about to go out to Columbus, Ohio, and lamp with him in a minute. He just bought a house.

Is he gonna be on 'Shadow Government?'

FG: Yeah, he's part of the Shadow Government. Shadow Government in Ohio.

Hass: All those murderous cuts that he had, back then... What you think he's got now, for the future?

FG: And he's doin' production... He's got a studio out in Columbus Ohio, now, so he's doin' well. No doubt. We're about to go out there and we're gonna make that connection. The thing about 'Shadow Government' isn't about "me and my man." The Shadow Government is the sufferer's plight.

Hass: We are the rebel force that's about to come through. Representing like that. We're about to go, break them down. I feel like that. Mark my words, son. I'm gonna have the whole show goin', "Shhh..." That's representation right there. No music, just "Shhhh...."

So, Hass, are you still rhymin' at all? Or have you sort of hung it up for the production?

Hass: Uhhh.... Good question.

Because I noticed you weren't on any of the 'Shadow Government' tracks you were playin'.

Hass: No doubt, good observation. I didn't hang it up. My whole thing is I just learned a couple lessons out of life and I reevaluated a lot of things. I figure first time I came through, maybe that wasn't my nature, then. Maybe I didn't find my real foot yet. This time comin' around, there's a lot of chemistry happenin' with me rockin' beats and gettin' 'em out to people. I got something on Busta's joint, you know what I'm saying. That was the thing that "boom!" gave us the inspiration to go like, break down this door....But, back to the point of me rhymin' again, I gotta just wait `till my shit is sharp. And there ain't no harm in just waitin' it out like that, 'cause we got so much other shit that's about to blow.

Well, as you now know, Shadow Government never did wind up coming out (it's too bad, too… I heard some of what they were working on and it was hot), but Kool Kim at least, did finally manage to reinvent himself successfully. And as for the UMC's as a unit, well, they have some new tracks up on their myspace, so all is not lost. And with all this previously unreleased hip-hop that's been coming out this year, maybe there's a chance for Shadow Government still to see the light of day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Phil Most Chill, Be Intelligent

So I got mine a little late, off of EBay (making this now officially the most I've ever paid for a record, by the way), but here it is: Phill Most Chill's Be Intelligent EP. It's the first release on the Diggers With Gratitude label, preceding their excellent Godfather Don EP, The Slave of New York. Limited to only 100 copies pressed; mine is #34. :)

So you've got two really hype previously unreleased joints from Phill's vaults: "Be Intelligent" and "Release Yourself" (including the instrumental for "Be Intelligent") on a top quality pressing. Plus, then they've added the instrumental for his classic, "On Tempo Jack," which was never included on the original In Effect 12" or the Landspeed rerelease. Finally, they finish things off with a recording of "Accept No Substitution," from the never released 12" of "On the Hype Tip" b/w "I Gotta Have It (Freestyle Rhymes)." An acetate was made, but the record was scrapped before it was ever pressed to vinyl and the DATs were lost, so this is the first release for that cut as well.

So, just on the off chance you needed to be told: all three cuts are bangers. Dope beats, rhymes, and a lot of scratching (courtesy of Scratchmaster Rob). Trust me, guys; you want this in your collection. But, oh yeah - expect to pay a lot for it.

In the meantime, check out his great blog (already in my site links to the right), his World of Beats website, or any of his many myspace pages (a, b, c). Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go play this 12" twenty more times.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kwamé Meets Original Flavor

Here's a nice, typically overlooked 12". Typically overlooked because by the time this was released, the backlash against "fun" artists like Kid 'N' Play, Dana Dane, etc was in full effect, and because, unlike the first single off Kwamé's third album, this one didn't cater to his fanbase with one of his best, but most mainstream, releases. This album takes one of the best, but less "pop"-y songs from the album, "Can You Feel It?" which features some hot production that keeps changing up, showcases Tat Money's scratching, and a hook based off of The Jazzy Five's "Jazzy Sensation" and showcases it to an audience which I'm sure Kwamé rightly felt had grown hypercritical of his style in the face of the incoming gangsta fad.

But then, even more interestingly, Kwamé takes it one (or several) steps farther... he essentially reinvents himself in a style he only really does on this one 12" (by album #4, he was essentially back to his old self). Now, Kwamé always handled his own production with his band, A New Beginning - it's one of the things that really makes his album stand as fresh, But for the "Pass the 40 Oz. Remix," he hooks up with Original Flavor. The beat is pretty stripped down, with a simple break beat and sparse horn sample... if you can imagine what Kwamé would sound like if he were a member of DITC, you get the idea. The hook is replaced with a more "roughneck" shout and response kind of thing (again, think DITC or Original Flavor's second album). DJ Tat Money gives another, different display of his scratching skills. And Kwamé's crazy flow, where he's apt to change pitch, cadence, speed, etc could already fit pretty well into the Original Flavor repertoire. ...There's also a "Pass the O.J. Mix" which is essentially the same as the "40 Oz." one.

Then, you've got his only 12" exclusive cut (originally, "It's OK" was an exclusive B-side on his "Sweet Thing" single, but then he wound up putting it on his second album), "Wake It Up." This one is again produced by Kwamé (or, as the label puts it, "produced, arranged, looked at and lived by Kwamé and A New Beginning 4 Brothers Grimmmm Productions, Inc."), but done entirely in the Original Flavor style- like in the time of Beyond Flavor, not This Is How It Is. The beat is hot - and yeah.

From the chopped horn samples, the sped up piano loop, the shouted chorus, all down to the shout outs at the end, it's a Kwamé you've never heard before. But it's just true enough to his original style(s) that it's not a totally off-putting 180 on his fans (i.e. The UMC's Unleashed). This is a dope little 12" you'll definitely want to look into picking up if you're a Kwamé fan... and maybe even if you're not.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Positive for the 90's

Here's one I knew nothing about until I stumbled on it used one day... It's Positive K's 1996 "What You Want" 12" on Chilltown Records, featuring Yum Yum. And there's a 45 King remix on the flip. Well... actually, it's on the A-side; and the B-side is the "Polo & Twin's Mix;" but since 45 King's mix is called a remix, I guess the "Polo & Twin's Mix" is the main mix.

So, the Polo & Twin's mix takes the same clubby bassline that The Jungle Brothers used for their single, "What 'U' Waitin' '4'?" though it's a bit more muted and they occasionally beat juggle it. The hook is simple, and the whole exercise is really just an excuse for Pos K to spit game with the touches of class, wit and style he's known for:

"I'm the main feature.
You don't know?
It's costin' me to teach ya.
You need dough?
Feel for you, but can't reach ya.
That's the rules;
That's the way I got to treat ya:
Nasty, baby,
Yeah, every day, all week.
Throw you in the car
Next to the baby carseat.
Damn, a nigga raunchy!
I play the game, baby,
Worse than Jumanji.
We can get dirty;
Hit the laundry."

Yum Yum turns out to be a female MC who takes the second verse (and claims her "pussy stay smokin' like the Fourth of July"). It follows in the tradition of Positive K giving voice to both sides in the battle of the sexes on his records (a la "I'm Not Havin' It," and of course "I Got a Man"), but here Yum Yum's role is smaller, with Pos K doing the bulk of the rapping. Which is a good thing; because she holds her own ok for the short time she's with us, but she's defintiely not the one we paid to hear.

Now, interestingly, you've actually got "Polo & Twin's Raw" and "Street" mixes, which are in fact two completely different versions, with very different instrumentals (as opposed to just being dirty and clean versions like you'd expect). After the "Raw Mix" with the JB's loop, the "Street Mix" is some East New York, gritty tales-of-the-dope-game-type instrumental - something you'd expect Kool G Rap to be rhyming over if he put out an indie 12" in the late 90's and couldn't afford Premiere. So, it's cool... it doesn't really jive with the tone of song like the first mix does, but it's good enough to be an alternate version when you're tired of the "Raw Mix."

The 45 King mix is dope, too. It's a fast beat with some handclaps and a simple bassline, that goes back to the upbeat tone of the first version. It's not as hot as some his classic songs with The Flavor Unit; but you can hear the crackles in the King's samples; and you know... it's pretty much in line with the beats he put out on his many breakbeat records. Good stuff. And they include the instrumental version for this mix, too, which is nice. The only downside is that 45 King used the clean version for his mix... and it's not too bad, because the original doesn't have that many curses on it; but it's still a little annoying.

I don't know much about what's become of Positive K... he did turn up on Nas's "Where Are They Now (90's Remix)" earlier this year, so I guess he's still around. But he doesn't seem to have a site, myspace or anything; and I haven't heard anything about him planning any upcoming music The 45 King, on the other hand, has a dope website at: (and he has a myspace, too); so definitely check that out and enjoy. Play with his Virtual Mixer! And if you wanna be a pest, you can point this record out as one he forgot to include in his discography. ;)

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Friday, November 23, 2007

(Werner Necro'd) Luke Sick IM Interview

You guys remember Rebirthmag? It was a dope, indie hip-hop site run out of Chicago... I wrote for them for a while towards the end. This is an unedited (the way I like 'em) interview I did with Luke Sick of Sacred Hoop for 'em 6/8/01 at 4 in the morning. Some people I talk to, by the way, remember Sacred Hoop's classic material from the mid to late 90's, but seem surprised when I tell them that they're still killing it and just put out a great, new album this year. But yeah, anyway. Without further ado, here's my Luke Sick IM interview - enjoy:

Luke: this is luke
I would like to join hassan I sabbah's hash assassin force
Luke: how do i prove it
Luke: oh I know I have a five foot cock
Werner: Well, I generally prove my sincerity through song, but that's just me
Luke: I should have killed you I wanted to then and I still do
Werner: So, tell the folks at home something introductory about Sacred Hoop
Werner: (You'd be surprised how many people IM me to tell me that, actually)
Luke: that's one of my songs but I'm not really on the murder tip these days though. Sacred Hoop is me (luke Sick)--DJ MarZ (the Drug addict) and Vrse Murphy who doesn't want to be located right now--other crews are jealous of us cuz we have the best players at all the crucial positions and because we have orgies on week nights not just after shows-- and we know how to cook crank and they don't.
Werner: So speaking of Marz, how did you hook up with him, and what did y'all do with Fundouglas?
Luke: Fon quit. that song 'I quit' on the new album is dedicated to him. Can you believe he quit the Beatles of this underground whiteboy garage hip-hop shit? He quit the week after we found out that Elektra was interested in signing the Hoop. He isn't into that 'show yer ass on TV shit' so He quit. so we got Quest and Marz from space trav but then Quest quit to do Live Human so now we got Marz--I met him at a High Noon party (Some backyard Mission district, sf shit at that graff writer SPIE's house --he smoked all my weed so I asked him to be in the gang. he breaks records over my head if I don't get him beers during the show. he thinks I'm his bitch, but that's not really how I see it. Marz joined like 5 years ago--we did acid and chopped down a tree at Vrse cabin together while vrse was making the beat for When I'm Broke
Werner: So, was that connection with Elektra in any way related to Brougham's Elektra stint, or is that pure coincidence?
Luke: Yeah but Brougham stole our thunder. it was fucked up! they didn't even know--and this was before limp biscuit before eminem before whitey ford before moby before at the drive in before Rimbaud before Jack Kerouac before Henry MIller before James Joyce before Mix master mike joined beastie boys before buckethead was in guns 'n roses before before before and Quest was in the group when they showcased us--but they were on Brougham's dick so I was like "gotta make some scrill off this so I don't have to get a job and can keep getting drunk--then elektra dumped brougham and warner bros. picked it up and sat on it for like two years so when it came out is was all blase.I got chumped but I used the money to record and put out the new Hoop album. it's called 'Sleepover' --Oak d's sittin over my shoulder makin me prostitute that shit, but the album is the illest I must admit.
Werner: ok, so tell us about the new album... why the title "Sleepover?"
Luke: we were gonna call it "a teenage sleepover" or 'a teen sleepover' and it was supposed have a little girl on the cover, laying our 45 on her plastic fischer-price, in her room at her parent's house with roses from prom night hanging on her wall drying out--but vrse pussed out cauz he ain't down with gettin busted for kiddie-tricks, and besides the guy who did the cover, world reknown painter Aaron Horkey, had a different idea of what a teenage sleep over meant. so for those two reasons it became just 'sleepover'--but I just thinkit's an awful nice thing to say to a girl "Hey! you. no not you! you. sleepover." and she's Like, "okay." And I'm like, "I'm fuckin'."
Werner: is there really a Sacred Hoop 45?
Luke: No
Luke: really no
Werner: heh; ok. i understood at one point, there was going to be a SH release on Oxygen Music, though... is that still happening?
Luke: no and so was Kinetic and so was Dog Day and so was sick wid it so was get low so was stones throw so was mo'wax so was sole sides so was epic so was grand royal so was rap -a-lot so was ruthless so was rawkus so was rhyme sayers so was uncle howie's so was hollywood so was funky ass but they all fell threw no just kidding only the first seven ever actually approached us
Luke: okay none accept the first one approached us and that's why oxygen didn't work out. but nothing ever works out. you just get fucked gently with a chainsaw
Werner: ha - i was gonna say... i was counting seven, going "solesides? really?" so, we shouldn't hold our breaths for a "matronik vs. the hoop" techno remix of "frrrnt."
Luke: naw that shits comin' out in zero-six. did you know I did songs with Brain from Primus and Buckethead from Praxis who are both in Guns 'n roses now. wow! I'm gettin drunk now --when I get drunk I get on my own dick.
Werner: well, i knew you did a couple songs with the dwarves, though it's actually kind of hard to pick you (or anyone/ thing) out on that album...
Luke: Let's talk about music what you feel these days potna
Werner: well, contemporary music-wise (i still listen to a LOT of old school records, generally); i'd say pretty exclusively underground, "artsy" rap, like anticon, braille, aesoprock, ani difranco... looking for stuff with substance
Luke: I know if you blink you miss me--I'm on track 7 it's called "deadly eye" I say "Hewhocannotbenamed bring on the young girls and the free cocaine!" and some other shit-- Marz scratches on song "Over you"--'tis dope...that was the only thing cool about Brougham we got to meet the Dwarves--I've been a huge fan since birth. Kurt Cobain used to bow to them. we were recording in the same place and I got to Know Blag the lead singer and now me him and Marz are doing a project called "get the hater" our first single is 'fuck you style' b/w 'what' is all about"
Luke: I Like M.O.P. Salute! I don't like substance I expect it.
Werner: i imagine expecting substance could be pretty disappointing business on a general scale...?
Werner: is "get the hater" gonna be a miasmatic project?
Luke: uhhhhhh? I dunno what--I kinda want it to come out on Man's Ruin but Marz thinks he owns the rights to it--and Oak D. is calling his lawyer--I dunno --I stay out of that side of it--I'm a retard
Werner: so, vrse's not gonna be involved in that... he wasn't with brougham, and only tangently on disturbers... is he more "strictly hip-hop," then, i take it?
Luke: no he's doing his instru-fag-mental dj shadow-esque/moby/fat boy slim solo project right now. does that answer your question? no seriously I'm just fucking with him because he just got out of rehab and he doesn't want to be located right now and he doesn't want any body to find him. I called my boy Thug-e-fresh (Check for our live collabo 'Killin' mutha fuckas in Vacaville') to see if he was in Chico. but he ain't seen him neever... so vrse as usual is missing and yes he is 'strictly hip-HOP" emphasis on HOP.
Luke: of course he's hip hop have you heard The Bachelors?
Luke: That's a b-boy classic Z-man is my favorite mc.
Werner: no, actually, i haven't... here on the east coast, folks've gotta wait for atak to stock it
Luke: my title is "the only whiteboy to bring a gold plaque back to ATAK
Luke: gee aren't I racial today?
Werner: gold plaque? was that "i walked in?"
Werner: ha - you're aboutthis close to offending my delicate sensibilities...
Luke: Fuck yeah. I was on the same album as run-dmc. I stood on my head and shit on myself. MY mom has the plaque up in her kitchen it was like my ticket back into thanksgiving dinners. seriously though I like the coked up run-dmc--tougher than leather era--in fact all my favorite music is from the crack era '85-'92 hip hop's golden years like '79 was for brit punk
Werner: yeah, it all kind of rose and fell with the fat boys...
Luke: when crack was cool.. oh, when crack was cool
Luke: crushin' is the album right there
Luke: fat boys that is
Luke: i'm not being facetious
Werner: nah, i agree... though i kind of missed the sutra sound... though, it didn't occur to me to miss the sutra/ k. blow style until coming back hard again
Luke: did I spell facetious right
Werner: yeah, that looks right to me
Werner: let me ask you this: who's the film buff in SH? 'cause, you know, while most hip-hop are quoting and sampling every nanosecond of scarface, y'all've been referencing and/or sampling peckinpah, say anything, russ meyer, fellini, etc
Luke: we played the fillmore in SF. I love to brag about this, and I might as well kepp braggin cuz that's all I been doin' --at the Fillmore this girl said we sounded like "suburban ametuer karoke" and I'm like finally somebody got it right. Can you believe the Hoop played on the same stage as Janis Joplin? Grateful Dead? Jimi Hendrix? Cream? after that girl made that comment I said, "what do think about dildos? oh did I say dildos? no I didn't mean--oh yes I did--what do you think about dildos?" and she walked the fuck away. that's right
Luke: ok about film. Fon was the original with the peckinpah shit--but I know more than him did you catch the Fletch in No Category?
Werner: nah - i'm gonna have to go back, now, and check it after this
Luke: I'll have a steak sandwich and a steak sandwich the bassline from the end of service and maintainence is from the movie Kalifornia vrse is gonna be pissed that I'm snitchin
Luke: Fellini? where?
Werner: on "panhandling" - the driving loop of the girl singing is the girl who sang on the beach in 8 1/2
Werner: that "lah, da da da dah" ish
Luke: oh la dah dah oh yeah that's vrse tryin' to fuck an arsty bitch and blowin' her off to make beats cuz the movie had some tight shit in it
Werner: yeah, i remember thinking that had to be a hip-hop first...
Luke: fellini or kalifornia or fellini or a producer who actually blew off a bitch to make beats for once?
Luke: I menat fletch not the second fellini
Werner: well, i meant fellini, but they all probably apply
Luke: I meant meant not menat
Luke: ha
Luke: a whole new kind of drunk interview
Luke: good thing I'm like Bukowski on these keys bitch
Werner: it'll give the whole thing more of an "genuine" feel... maybe
Luke: maybe i'll shove the dead rat in the cat's ass
Luke: stupid
Luke: so ask me about drugs and women
Werner: moving on? who's the band on "moe's interlude" (moe's trange hobby) and the intro to the second disturbers' cd?
Werner: for that matter, who's moe?
Luke: The Donnas an all chick punk group from palo alto california
Luke: moe is a graffiti writer who lived at my house who never bombed and never got up he didn't even tag he was a toy I think he did half a piece once and show it off to me no less
Luke: that was in Mountain view (dirttown) like 4 years ago
Luke: The donnas are hot I have a crush
Werner: so, alright... drugs and women... ha, we'll do it Tiger Beat interview style: what kind of girls do you like, and where's your favorite place to take a girl on a date?
Luke: when I say 'i'm that rocknroll boy who don't wash his hair' it's because they have a song called rocknroll boy about a guy who doesn't you guessed it wash his hair.
Luke: cool that kinda answers that last question
Luke: I like all the donnas even the scary bassplayer
Luke: but my favorite is the guitar player
Luke: but she's out of my league
Luke: this is easier to do type writer style
Luke: I'm down for the lead singer most she's kinda christina ricci
Luke: the drummer is like animal from the muppet show with long hair
Luke: but hot
Werner: well, that follows... animal was kinda hot
Luke: oh shit
Luke: so tell every body to cop the old albums and remember who they bit
Luke: rappers are so mad
Luke: going to frig for beer one sec.
Luke: word I'm back. have you heard the bullet proof space travelers album
Luke: let's talk about who I bit
Werner: i got the space travelers breakbeat set and a dub of an old bullet proof tape
Luke: well the rapper on the new album 'Built to Last" out on Stray records is one of the main people I bite his name is Eddie K. he is the 1000 proof mc he is from Lake view, sf and has been down with Eddie Def the last creep from jump.
Luke: I just did a song with him called --we might be drunk
Werner: is that going to be for their next album, or the next hoop album, or...?
Luke: no on an album that Marz is doing cause he's in that crew too. the project is called the Rehab clinic in honor of vrse not having anything to do with it. the rehab clinic is live outtakes of our shows from sf to santa cruz to az to chico, ca and drunk ass songs recorded by marz it should be chainless get it?--that is so honky!
Luke: chainless how stupid
Luke: do you want to hear about the next two miasmatic releases?
Werner: yeah, definitely
Luke: first is --The Bachelors--featuring Z-man from 99th Demention and Vrse"go ahead ask him if he's thirsty" Murphy from yours truly--like I said before it's a b-boy classic-- and sorry I mean the EPMD b-boy not as in breakdancing--secondly we have a Vrse Murphy presents type thing coming out that'll be just like a Hoop record but me and Z won't be the only emcees--Eddie K.'s gonna be on there so is Jihad from third sight and Brandon B from gAME tIGHT eLECTRO and some other lucky bitches
Luke: have you heard the disturbers kefu qan
Werner: yeah... although i haven't really played the newer disturber tapes as much as anasi spider
Luke: My boys from the disturbers most namely Unbreakable Combz and Curator are floating beautiful on some fuck the world shit --honestly though can you even listen to kefu qan I know it's hard
Werner: yeah... i mean, it's not something i've ever really sat and gotten that familiar with, though
Werner: oh, hey - lemme ask you about that neila ep (that vrse produced) before i forget
Luke: good you are too scared to talk about kefu qan that's how I like it. Neila got Marz so fucked up on brown weed blunts one night that he could join me a Z-man jumping into the pool with gold ropes on at a vrse's house house party in phoenix--he passed out off weed--and i'm not talkin bout gittin the spins i'm talkin bout drinkin til ya brain cave in
Werner: well, i can't really speak too intelligently on kefa qan (it may also be debatable on whether i can speak intelligently on other matters), as i've only actually listened to it a couple times
Luke: i mean he couldn't join me and z-man
Luke: dude I should skidattle I got go collect me virgins and cold beer and go to gourmet food with my girlfriend Tina hi tina don't try an bust me out when you read this on the internet cause yer a nerd get offa there don't you know that is why our rent is so high don't support these fucks, I don't mean you john, ofcourse.
Werner: ha, cool; alright. good talking to you for... actually, quite a while
Luke: I know a pint later and we're still here I typing slower now though and I didn't write I'm
Luke: how do you hang up? oh I have to say what's up to Cocks Of Satan new rap crew comin out of San Jose and Shadow People from Redwood City and Joe Dubbs and Sub contents and megabusive and FTA and rase and shane and p-minus and smash adams and little pussy every where. when I get my shit together I'll send you my shit did you know the Hoop (me vrse, z, and marz where in a majorly released movie
Luke: doing a Brougham song in a bar scene
Werner: no; what movie is that?
Luke: it is call Playing Mona Lisa it was adapted from a play called two golsteins on acid
Luke: put that in the interview I want these bitches to know
Luke: if you blink you'll miss us we beat out Rasco for the role and that is not a lie
Luke: I really have to go my girl is gonna kill me
ok one more beer

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Great Album Ideas (Partially) Ruined By a REALLY BAD Decision!

Ok... so if you haven't already seen them, be prepared for some good news. A new label called No Sleep Recordings, with some big-time distribution through Traffic Entertainment, have released two compilations of vintage, unreleased material from Godfather Don and Kwest tha Madd Ladd! Woot! And from what I hear, the sound quality is top notch. So, go get them. You want them.

Ok, now here's the REALLY BAD decision of the title that has be so incredibly frustrated with the guys at No Sleep who put this together - Both of these albums are chock full of previously released cuts. And both artists have way more than enough great unreleased tracks to take their place and fill the albums. The official write up for the Kwest tha Madd Ladd's These Are My Unreleased Tracks says, "he recorded over 50 songs, many of which were not present on his debut." Over fifty. So why have they filled the CD with stuff like the old "What's the Reaction?" remix and the tracks from his Gub-Ment Cheese 12" instead? "What's the Reaction" remix? That's not even rare!

I could see if he only had, like, 5 or 6 unreleased tracks, and so they decide to fill the album with "bonus" 12" remixes and such... But this way we'll still probably never hear most of those 50 genuinely unreleased tracks!

It's the same with Godfather Don's The Ninties Sessions. It's FULL of tracks from his old Hydra 12"'s that all us fans already have. They've even included 5 of the 6 tracks from his recent Slave of New York EP. Meanwhile, we know there are a grip of other Don cuts that have never seen the light of day. For instance, there's about 10 really great Cenubites songs I've got radio dubs of - at least as good as on the original, classic Cenubites EP - and they have never been released! Those would have been wonderful to have included on this album.

Anyway, both albums do have some quality recordings of some actual unreleased tracks... so they're worth picking up. And a little extra good news: according to their myspace page, "for all you fellow vinyl junkies, we will be releasing several limited 12" samplers of music previously unavailable on wax." So that's promising. But, man, No Sleep's decision to keep us from hearing those genuinely unreleased tracks in favor of "What's the Reaction" remix? FUCKING WACK!!

Update: No Sleep has addressed the issue of the other Kwest tracks, saying "we don't have them and sadly they may never be obtained. Unfortunately, Kwest did not keep good copies from back then. We were EXTREMELY fortunate to get DAT copies of what is on the CD from Dan Charnas himself. He does not have everything either but shared everything he did keep. Kwest constantly tells us about additional songs and concepts that he worked on, but are now lost to the ages...The album currently consists of material recorded and left off his debut album, as well as songs that were recorded soon after his album for the EP he was working on. He opted out of his deal before the release of this EP. A fan can tell which songs are from the EP by the noticed change in his style and wordplay (i.e. "Bust 'Em Off" and "Why Me?"). In short, what was found is what was released on this CD....To make the purchase stronger we added the 12" only stuff to please long time fans.."

They also addressed the similar topic of Don's other unreleased material: "as a huge fan of Stretch and Bobbito, I know (as most other fans do) about the deluge of material that was out there...Again, Don doesn't have copies of a lot of things anymore. He does have unreleased Cenobites material but that could not be included without involving Kool Keith. We are currently working on getting that stuff out to you too, so stay tuned! Hopefully through other sources, we can get you more of the solo material as well. Again, sound quality is key with these releases and our goal is hopefully share as many songs as we can in proper CD format."

I have to say, these are pretty satisfactory answers, and the fact that they're working on releasing more of Don's stuff is certainly promising. Apparently there are still issues of them breaking an exclusivity deal that Don had with DWG for material from their Slave of New York EP, but I guess I'll leave that between them. So good looking, No Sleep, for speaking on these issues and I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for your next Don release.

Tags: ,

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lyrics? Somebody Want Lyrics?

Every so often I transcribe and submit lyrics to the Online Hip-Hop Lyrics Database... Here's a compilation of all the lyrics I can remember submitting (there are probably one or two others I forgot):

Artist: Man Parrish f/ Freeze Force
Album: Boogie Down Bronx 12"
Song: Boogie Down Bronx
Typed by:
Cool Johnski from the Freeze Force Crew
I came here to say a def rhyme for you
About the Boogie Down Bronx, it's a one of a kind
It's the place to be; it's a state of mind
But the guys out here, they really are crookin'
They snatch gold chains when the cops ain't lookin'
But what can I say? It's the place to be
It's where I stay in reality
So listen close and you all will here
About the devestatin' body rocker of the year

Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie, Boogie Boogie

One young man born to be an MC
The only one that rocks ya with a guarantee
Because I dress to impress, guaranteed to be a hit
I walk down the street, the girls are jumpin' on it
I got the ladies on my left, the beats on my right
The ladies follow me all through the night
'Cause I'm the one with the action, the king of satisfaction
You listen to my rhythm, there is a chain reaction
It goes on your back, it goes down your spine
And when it hits your head, it's gonna blow your mind
And if you're from the Bronx and you hear the sound
Come on, everybody, boogie down, boogie down

Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie, Boogie Boogie

My man Man Parrish and Cool Raul
Cooler than the water in a swimming pool
Like a R to the A, the U and the L
Pushing more power than a Duracell
And like the L to the A, the F and the Y
The hip-hop master that you can't deny
So check out the beat and listen to the sound
And if you're from the Bronx just boogie down

Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie, Boogie Boogie

People all around walk around in the streets
They got the funky box with the Johnski beats
You here the sound, become a believer
Then go to the Bronx, hang out at The Fever
You take the D to 205th
Then go see me 'cause I got the gift
And I'm the cool MC with the vicious sounds
I'm not from the Bronx, but I still Boogie Down
F to the R, double E, Z, E
F to the O, the R, C, E
Yes, the Freeze Force and we never lost
At any cost 'cause I'm the boss
I'm the cash back, money keeper
Never broke, never cheaper
If you ask me for a dime
Give it to you any time
Keep cash money, but I'm no jerk
I can use it, don't abuse it, I can put it to work
Just to buy my clothes, all designer names
And if you wanna bite, you'll never look the same
Bill Blass, Calvin Klein, are some of mine
You'll never catch me on the welfare line

Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie, Boogie Boogie

You've got the perfect beat, I hear you say
But you better listen close 'cause I'm here to state
That I rock so good, I rock so strong
I rock so well 'cause I last so long
I rock the mic with the greatest of ease
To all the all fine and the sweet and the young ladies
And when I say my rhymes, I know ya want to bite
That's not right or polite, so we have to fight
But I don't want to fight; I'd rather rhyme instead
'Cause my rhyme style's fresher than Wonder Bread
And all my brothers in the Bronx we got to rhyme
Catch all the ladies and blow their minds
And all the brothers and the sisters in the US of A
This hip-hop music is here to stay

Johnski boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx
Freeze Force boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx
Raul boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx
Zulu Nation boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx
Mayor Koch boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx
? boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx
Captain Mike boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx
Two Sisters boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx
? boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx
Haunted House boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx
? boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx
? boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx
Brooklyn boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx
Queens boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx
Staten Island boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx
Manhattan boogies down to the Boogie Down Bronx

Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie, Boogie Boogie

Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie, Boogie Boogie

Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie, Boogie Boogie

Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie, Boogie Boogie

Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie
Boogie Down Bronx, Boogie Boogie, Boogie Boogie
Artist: Surf MC's
Album: Surf or Die
Song: Surf or Die
Typed by:

Oh, Surf!
Or die!
Or die!
Or die!
You've got to surf!
Or diiieee!
We were born in the year of our lord
With nothing on our backs but our funky surf boards
Miles at sea - that's where you'll find us
Hundred foot waves, not far behind us
Sharks on my right, sharks on my left
One false move, we knew it was death
That's when we heard a terrifying cry
"Hug wood, homeboy - you better surf or die!"
Or die!
Or die!
You've got to surf!
Or die!
Surf or die!
Surf or die!
We surfed as Magellan; we surfed as Columbus
We surf around the world, and we don't need a compass
We have no beginning
We have no end
If you're reincarnated, you'll surf with us again!
Forget the other shit
The other shit's bunk!
We want the beach town surf
We walk on the beach, in the sand
with our boards in our hand
And If you don't know by now
Then you'll never understand!
Surf or die!
Or die!
Or die!
Now on the beach, Californ-I-A
Where another surfers born every single day
Zuma Jay board, the one I use to surf
We put on our wheels when we're rollin' on the dirt
We roll through the streets, we roll through the valleys
We roll through the hills, and we roll through the alleys
Once on water, now on land
If it can be ridden than the funky surfers can!
Or die!
Or die!
You've got to surf!
Or die!
Or die!
Or die!
Or die!
Or die!
You've got to surf!
Or die!
Or die!
Or die!
Surf or die!
Artist: Special Ed
Album: Top Shelf 8/8/88 (Compilation)
Song: This Mic
Typed by:

I'm about to open up this mic and fix it
With fision in a vision
Like I'm in a television
Via satellite
You wanna battle, right?
Yeah, press the channel
Refer to your manual
You rhyme semi-annual
I make fresh rhymes... daily
Never did my school work
So they tried to fail me
Never told me nothing about Hailey
Call me Special Ed
'Cause they don't see what I see
Flight pilot
Keep your wallet
Give me your dedication
Druggy with your medication
Have ya waitin'
Out in the rain
For a train and a bus
I was made from dust
Style: hazardous
Church Ave., straight from Erasmus

I'm deep like the sea floor
I'll make you see four
When there's one
You be stunned
Didn't see me come, but yeah, I'm right here
Up in your ear like q-tips or wax
Either which one, relax
And keep still
Peep skill
As I get deep like a drill
In a molar
I roll like a stroller
Sold a
Whole lotta records in my life
I hop flights to rock mics
While you frontin' for the cars
Or maybe for the chicks
I walk right through
And I'm steppin' on ya kicks
Right to the mic
Front and center
Don't nothin' enter
This area is restricted
Too much heat, you need liquid
It's scorchin'
You don't wanna go there
I got it locked down... I did a show there

You don't wanna get me mad
I'll put you in a bag
And tie it
Like Wyatt
You'll get hurt
I'm much worse
I touch first
I don't scream and curse
I just breath deep
And I put you to sleep
Like hypnosis
Givin' you fatal doses
Rap ulcers
I rhyme aggressive
Get the message?
I bring forces
You can't stop
Like a pack of wild horses
Comin' back
To they extensions
I'm the kid everybody mentions
When you say: classic
When you say: lyric
Originality, performance and spirit
I don't wanna hear it
Bring it and I'll put it on you
And make you wear it
Where the stage?
Clear it
Anybody come near it
Let 'em come
And leave you shinin'
Red rum
And then some
Artist: Buck 65
Album: Vertex
Song: The Centaur
Typed by:

Most people are curious
Some wanna get dirt on
The Centaur; I'm famous
I walk around with no shirt on
The easiest way would be for you to lie face down
I'm a man
But I'm built like a horse from the waist down
People are afraid of me but act like they love me
Feast your eyes upon my nudity
I am Beauty AND the Beast
I have plenty to say
But nobody listens because my cockis so big
And the end of it glistens; so I'm famous for it
"Freaky" is what everyone's name is for it
Sure, it's larger than yours
I'm a CENTAUR for Chrissakes!
I like to eat rice cakes and listen to classical music
I'm told passion is my specialty
But really I'm old-fashioned
I'm quite well-built
As fas as physiques go
So people seem to think that I belong in a freak show
They wanna have pictures taken
Constantly assumin' that my sex drive
is three times that of a normal human
Askin' silly questions like I'm their personal mentor
All they care about is my big dick because I'm the centaur
The porno industry
Wants to pay me lots of money to appear in books and movie
'Cause they think I look funny
But I'm lookin' for true love
Not groupies and freaks
More than a huge cock - I have a complicated mind
I'm not the favorite kind of companion
For the average person
Sometimes things start well
But eventually worsen when sex becomes a problem
Or else they're unimpressed with the attention that you get
Bein' a centaur's love interest
You don't care about my next life
Just my ex-wife and the intimate details of our sex life
Most people are curious
Some wanna get dirt on
The Centaur; I'm famous
I walk around with no shirt on
The easiest way would be for you to lie face down
I'm a man
But I'm built like a horse from the waist down
Artist: Kurtis Blow
Album: Deuce
Song: Starlife
Typed by: WVWalenrod@AOL.com_

If you party hearty
If you make the scene
If you've got the jones
For a limousine
Forget your worries
And the wya things are
Spend a day in the life
Of a superstar!

Star life
Staarraarraarr life
Star life
Staarraarraarr life

On Monday morning, he checks the news
He's number one in rhythm and blues
From record to record he tops the sheet
And the other stars cannot compete
He hits the notes that are so high
The men just stare and the women cry
They come to see him from near and far
The man they made a superstar

The genuine owner of twenty cars
Spends all his days among the stars
And when he's got to cool out and chill
Got a brand new house at the top of the hill
One of a kind, not even two
Push button down with an open view
And every room's got a new TV
And every dog's got a pedigree

Livin' every day in the life of a star
Star life!
Livin' every day in the life of a star
Star life!

He's got a mansion up in Beverly Hills
With a great big swimming pool
Got a townhouse back in old New York
Where he used to go to school
And some folks say
He's got his own chalet
If he wants to go and ski
And a house in France
For a little romance
Outside of gay Pari!
Ha ha, ha ha!

Star life
Staarraarraarr life
Star life
Staarraarraarr life

Star life
Staarraarraarr life
Star life
Staarraarraarr life

Wherever he goes, he sets the mood
With the fly, fly clothes and the fancy food
All over the town with the pretty girl
He makes the scene and he rocks the world
He's makin' money, maybe even the most
With the bass that's known from coast to coast
He gets the best; he gets it all
He's got fifty gold records up on the wall!