Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mixmasta "D" Meets Big Daddy Kane

Mixmasta "D", of the Bizzie Boyz and that killer EP on Dope Folks Records last year made a record with Big Daddy Kane in 1996. Yup. And if you're like me when I first found out about it, the two thoughts running through your mind are, "why didn't I know about this?" and "I've gotta get it!" Well, it wasn't the easiest record to find, but I tracked it down and now I'm able to tell you guys about it and spread the word.

After dropping Turntable Scientist (the first iteration), Dana Mitchell changed his name from the 80's-style MixMasta "D" to the 90ish Dana Lucci. He and the MC from that EP, Flipsyde, (who also changed his name - in this case to Celinski), cliqued up with two other cats from NC: brother and sister O. Shabazz and Rasheedah. They called themselves Da Pit-Stalkaz (named after D's studio, Da Pit), and released this 12" single in '96.

It's hard to say which is the "A" side, since both sides of this record are labeled "Pit Side," but we'll start out with the most exciting one - the song featuring Kane. It's called "Pit-A-Strofik" (a play on the word catastrophic), and even if you didn't know the story behind it, you can tell it's descended from the same origins as Bizzie Boyz and Original Flavor. It's all about fun, lyric-flexing rhymes - think the NC version of Tha Supafriendz (who were dropping "Vowel Movement" the same year). The beat's kinda slow and atmospheric, with that very stripped-down sound of the indie hip-hop vinyl movement of the 90's - it's all about putting the attention on the MCs' rhymes, as each MC kicks a freestyle verse. Some punchlines are witty, some are corny, but they manage to make them all work by keeping the flows light-hearted and engaging.

So, Kane's not actually on "Pit-A-Strofik," but he is on the remix that follows. It uses exactly the same beat, but all the MCs kick new verses. And yeah, this time Kane gets on the mic to spit right along side them. Disappointingly, though, it turns out to be a verse we heard before. Well, not really. At the time it was new. This record dropped in '96, remember. But he brought this verse back in 1998 for his own single, "Hold It Down" (off of the underrated Veteranz Day). I guess he figured nobody'd heard of this North Carolina local record. And I guess I have to concede he was right - even I didn't find out about this until recently. But,. anyway, at least it's a really killer verse, and he sounds good over this beat.

So you get both versions of that song plus the Instrumental, which again, was the same for both versions. But flip this over and you get another dope song: "Represent." It's another, kinda smooth, atmospheric but raw beat, taking its hook from a choice Lost Boyz sample. Overall, this song sounds better - the sound is a little richer, the MCs come off better, and the hook is a big improvement. It just doesn't feature Kane. Essentially, "Pit-A-Strofik" felt more like a live, down-the-line freestyle recorded in the moment (which is, in a way, a plus to be sure), and "Represent" sounds more like a finished studio song. This is definitely the one that'll catch your ear if you do a quick in-store needle drop; but still... "Pit-A-Strofik" has Kane. haha

Fortunately, we don't have to choose; we get 'em both, making for a pretty nice little indie find. "Represent," by the way, comes in EP Mix, Radio and Instrumental versions. The only thing different about the EP Mix is that it doesn't have the curses edited out like the Radio version.

Since this record, Dana Lucci and co. have stayed busy... He and Celinski first put out a CD called Da Pitz: Greatest Hits, and then Dana dropped a vinyl EP in 2001 called Urban Legend. In 2009, he released an mp3 album called Klassic Truck Musik. And obviously, most recently of all, he's linked up with Dope Folks, who're releasing the best of his unreleased vintage material. Their next release has been announced to be some unreleased Bizzie Boyz songs from even before they were on Yo! Records. I seriously can't wait.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. umm I released a TRIPLE ALBUM on CD called URBAN LEGEND that EP were just songs that I decided to put on vinyl. - LUCCI