Monday, August 23, 2010

Grandgood Caz

Before Grandgood was one of tour leading hip-hop newsfeeds it's become today, they were putting out music on vinyl. And this is their debut release*: a 7" record, recorded in 2003 and released in 2004, by DJ Signify and Grandmaster Caz. That's a heck of a combination right there, so let's repeat it: that's DJ Signify of one of the greatest underground contemporary turntablist crews, the 12oo Hobos, and Grandmaster Caz, the old school master MC from the legendary Cold Crush Brothers.

And if Signify and Caz aren't enough star power for ya, just get a load of the credits: It features a spoken interlude by Waterbed Kev of The Fantastic Five, it's co-mixed and arranged (with Signify, of course) by Stenski and was mastered by SixToo of The Sebutones! That's a pretty damn auspicious (and ambitious) line-up for a debut single from an indie company.

There's no title, but it's just the one song (with the instrumental on the flip), with some almost dark, ominous samples over a funky old school-style congo drum break beat. The hook sings the praises of the four elements of hip-hop: "B-boys make some noise, and all the graf heads, let's tag it up. DJs get busy on the 1s and 2s, and MCs just do your stuff!" And Caz kicks two verses sharing his history:

"I was one of the first DJs to put in work,
After seeing Clark Kent, Coke la Rock and Herc.
I kept the name Casanova, before it was Caz,
And tried to battle Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash.
Me and Disco Wiz, my partner in crime;
He used to cut up the breaks, I used to mix and rhyme;
I used to practice 'till my cuts were right on time.
Then Theodore started scratchin'; that's when I said I'm
Gonna take it to another level. And I did, B:
First cat to cut and rhyme simultaneously!"

Then, just when you think the song's nearing its end, Kev gets on the mic and demands we give them some of that "old to the new school shit." The beat changes, kicking in some banging hard drums and DJ Signify provides a sick scratch interlude (you knew we had to get one of those at some point, right?). Then Caz comes back, kicking a high energy, hardcore verse (pretty much every line ends with "nigga" for one thing). And it ends with one more scratch session. Neither half of the song has that light, bounce, rock style to grab the casual, bouncy fans, and the last verse certainly wasn't opening any doors to radio play; this is strictly for the heads.

And it was marketed strictly for the heads, too - limited to 1000 copies (which was considered a little more "limited" back then), vinyl only. It came in a cool picture cover (above), and is relatively easy and inexpensive to find used today if you dig around a bit. Or, if you're not a vinyl head (what're you doing here, sir?), you can cop it digitally from Grandgood for just $2 ($1 if you don't care about the instrumental) here.

*More or less... apparently there was a DJ Signify mix-CD called Teach the Children released before this, if you count that. But this is catalog number GG 001. ;)

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