Wednesday, October 3, 2007

LOTUG's Nas Bootleg

Ok, I covered all the other Undaground Butta releases, so I guess I might as do the final one. =) Although there's no artist credited on the label, this is Kamakazee's "On the Real," featuring Nas and Cormega. In an interview with, Blaq Poet of Screwball talked about how that song originally came about, "[w]ith that 'On The Real' shit, Marley had the DAT at his crib and Nas came up there one day and laid down shit first, to the beat. Then KL and Solo went up there and Marley was like 'Yo, I got some shit with Nas. Y'all cool with Nas, right?' 'Oh yeah, yeah. Nas is our man.' They jumped on the track, then Marley played it and motherfuckers was loving it." It was originally pressed up as the b-side to Kamakazee (the group Kamakazee was the duo of Screwball members KL and Solo, later known as Kyron)'s "The Bridge '95" 12". As an indie release from a then unknown group, it was a very small run; so when the B-side started turning up on mixtapes and playing on Marley Marl's Future Flavas show, a bootleg was inevitable.

The track's produced by Marley Marl, where he essentially just loops the very opening of The Soul Children's "Move Over" (listen to it; the first six seconds are pretty much the entire instrumental of "On the Real"). Well, Marley's name is on it, anyway. As to who actually produced it, K-Def had something to say, in his interview with Unkut, "I was on the radio one day, cause I used to the radio with Marley on pirate, I played that break for the first time and Marley had recorded that radio show and looped it up and then put Nas' vocals on it, and then claimed the fame for that track."

Now, a few of you reading this might be thinking, "hey; wait a second; I've got Nas's 'On the Real,' but it doesn't have KL and Solo on it." Yeah, there's actually been a couple versions of this song, though the beat never changes on any of 'em. First you have the original mix featured on this 12". But then, in 2000, Screwball included it as the final track on their Tommy Boy album, Y2K. But since Nas, as Hydra Records co-founder Jerry Famolari explained in his Unkut interview, "wanted a certain amount of money, so they took him off and they put Havoc and Mega on there." So, that's mix #2, with a new, alternate verse from Cormega and one from Mobb Deep's Havoc. Then there's mix #3 that came out in 2004. Nas included an "On the Real (Remix)" on his Illmatic 10th Anniversary reissue on Columbia, featuring his original verse from the first mix, and replacing any other MC's verses with two new ones of his own. Columbia and Ill WIll (Nas's imprint label) also put this version out on 12" that same year with clean, explicit and instrumental versions; b/w the other "unreleased" song from the reissue, the Large Professor produced, "Star Wars." According to The Record Inspector, however, some copies of this record (or at least one) are misprinted, featuring only the "Star Wars" b-side on both sides of the record. So listen to it in the store before you take it home. ;)

So, the Marley Marl/ Future Flavas connection sort of explains why this wound up being booted on The Lords Of the Underground's indie label, which otherwise stuck to putting out legit releases of their own music. DJ Mike Nice clarified on the DWG boards that the "[s]tory behind it was someone from the group left with a dat after a Marly session, their was some Real Live and Kamakazie joints on it as well." So, this was the second release on their label, and they gave the b-side over to Jac Swinga, DoItAll's little brother, to make his debut with his only released solo cut to date, "Coast II Coast."

Well, I say "solo," but actually the second verse is shared by two uncredited MCs Jac apparently met on the West coast. Anyway, they keep it short, and the weight of this song is all on Jac Swinga's shoulders, who carries it well. The production - which doesn't sound like Lord Jazz's more low-key approach during this era… could it be Marley? bounces along, with a nice little horn loop for the hook, as Jac Swinga, sounding kind of like UG using Masta Ace's Slaughtahouse flow, shines, narrating his trip "to LA, around the time of OJ." This song alone more than makes this 12" worth nabbing. Really, it's a shame those cats didn't use him a bit more.

All in all, a nice little 12", even if it is 50% boot.

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