Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Markie Deethroned

Here's a surprisingly little known record (not on Discogs, etc), considering it was a pretty major label release from a long established artist: Markie Dee's "Bounce."

Perhaps part of the reason for the obscurity is the name change... Prince Markie Dee, formerly of the Fat Boys had already established a fairly successful solo career for himself, putting out some hit records of his own in addition to producing a lot more. Still, his '95 Motown album, Love Daddy, failed to yield any hit singles, so I guess he was looking for a new image. So, here he's just Markie Dee... though the front cover sticks a little crown image in place of the word "Prince," but the spine of the tape and the tape itself just reads "Markie Dee," and that's how this record's cataloged; so this was a full-on name change... though the writing credits do credit "Prince Markie Dee"... I'm guessing it was a label-imposed change, perhaps? He has since gone back to using the "Prince."
And this record has a new (or at least different from his last two albums) sound to go with his new image... in addition to dropping the "Prince" from his name, this artist-formerly-known-as stepped away from his, frankly kinda boring, R&B-heavy last album style for a more traditional hip-hop track.

For this venture, Markie Dee plays it relatively safe, using Kool & The Gang's essentially unaltered "Hollywood Swinging" for the track. The rapping delivery is a bit more relaxed then the Prince Markie Dee of old, and clearly a bid for the Hot 97 market. I can totally hear it coming out of my car radio in the late 90's in my mind... ;-) There's a real Bad Boy sound to this record - so much so, in fact, that Puff Daddy and Mase used the same track and made basically their own copy of the same record for their record, "Bad Boys." Anyone who used to work at Crave, if you're reading this... that could have been your hit!
See, what happened with this was: "Bounce" came out on Mariah Carey's short-lived vanity sub-label (of Sony), Crave, in 1997. When Mariah Carey divorced former Sony/ Columbia Records CEO Tommy Motolla that same year, the label was shut down, making this Markie Dee's final record (to date). The fact that he's not even on his cover (it's a woman's breasts, because the song is named "bounce," right? How classy) and no upcoming album is mentioned in the liner notes suggests that it was over before it began, and Crave just threw this out into stores knowing there'd be no follow up.

Now, this song comes in two versions: "Bounce" and "Bounce (Ol' School Intro)." The first version features several live instruments, almost tuning up, showcasing the fact that Markie Dee still had the whole Soul Convention engine behind him ...there's even a female R&B singer doing her thing in the background of the hook. The "Ol' School Intro," on the other hand, dumps that and replaces it with the much easier, but also much catchier, horn sample intro to the original Kool & The Gang record. I think Markie Dee agreed with me that this is the preferable version, as it's the "Ol' School Intro" version that's used for the instrumental mix on the B-side.

The hook of the song, interestingly, is a play on some of Rob Base's from "It Takes Two." It's a peculiar choice, and a lot of people who didn't grow up with "It Takes Two" on the radio every single day like me probably didn't catch it, but check out this lyric comparison and see for yourself:

"I'm Rob Base and I came to get down.
I'm not internationally known,
But I'm known to rock the microphone;
Because I get stupid,
I mean outrageous.
Stay away from me,
If you're contagious.
Ladies love me,
Girls adore me;
I mean even the ones who never saw me
The way that I rhyme at a show"
"My name is Mark and I came to get down.
And I'm internationally known
For chillin' in my Benz with an eighteen chrome.
I got honies,
So outrageous;
We can get it on
'Cause Mark is the greatest.
Ladies, they love me;
Yes, they adore me;
Wanted to bounce the first time they saw me,
Bounce, bounce, bounce!"
...That's more than just a coincidence.
Today - that's right - he has a myspace page. He's how living in Florida where he hosts a radio show. Now, I don't know if you remember, but around the time of the Love Daddy album, he did a little press talking about a Fat Boys reunion album. In fact, the Fat Boys had done a little production and DJ work on his solo albums, so it's not like they'd ever had irreconcilable differences. Of course, tragically, Buff Love died in 1995. But there was still talk of putting out an album, using the tracks Buff had already recorded... of course, this never came out. But we know there's at least SOME Fat Boys reunion material recorded. Obviously, this needs to be released in some way, shape or form and anyone with access to this material, directly or indirectly, needs to get the f' on it already. Right now. I'm serious. Go.

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