Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Record for Halloween

Happy Halloween, everybody! I thought I'd come with a haunted holiday-themed blog entry today (and I hope to see other hip-hop bloggers have done the same when I check my bookmarks later)... the spooktacular "Amityville (The House On the Hill)" by the man who actually coined the term "hip-hop," Lovebug Starski.

If you're too lazy to click enlarge on the image in the top left there, I'll tell you what it says on the front cover, "Record comes with a free >>Black~Hole<< for the time~shift appearances of Horror and Inter-Stellar guest~stars!!!" This came out in '86 on Epic/CBS Records and is actually a 45bpm 12" (not unheard of, but certainly a little less than usual) single off of his album, House Rocker. The song is produced by Kurtis Blow, and it did pretty well for itself... charted on Billboard's Top 100 and was a Top 20 dance hit in the UK. Heck, it oughta if it comes with a free Black Hole. ;)

Anyway, this is a "monster mash"-style record, in the tradition of Whodini's classic "Haunted House of Rock." That's of course the unfuckwithable original Halloween hip-hop record, but this one is really great, too. Granted, it's dated - I mean, even for it's time, it's dated. Kurtis Blow's rock & disco inspired production, and Starski's "radio DJ" style of rapping weren't scoring him any points with the kids fiending for more stripped down and hardcore Run DMC and LL beats. Honestly, by this time, all of the Lovebug's real hits were behind him; and he never put out another record after House Rocker.

But now that it's ALL old school, we're no longer hung up on what's keeping up with the latest trends, and we can simply appreciate all of these records at face value, this is a just a damn good time. The production is really upbeat and very catchy, with a crazy mix of syntheizers and live instrumentation, combining Sugarhill Records style funk guitars with 80's rock guitar solos. And Starski enhances his stories of partying with crazy monsters in the Amityville house by going so far as to do full-on impressions of his characters, from Dracula to Captain Kirk. As the other great Starski would say, "you can't beat that with a stickball bat."

So, yeah. Dig this one out of your crates and give it a spin before you go trick or treating with the kids today. And if you've got a little time, drop by Starski's myspace page (although there's not a lot there right now except for some cool pics) and wish him a Happy Halloween, too.

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