Author Archives: jakebiz
On one of my eternal quests to stay inspired, one day i went looking for new rap music and happened upon Long Island’s Hus Kingpin and Rozewood. I don’t know a great deal about either but i have seen their music being championed over at Ego Trip and Nah Right in recent months. I remember emailing links of their stuff to a handful of my friends and the response was a reply of general indifference, “yeah that’s kinda cool, meh” keep it moving.
I think it’s time to start spreading the word on these two guys. Where the recent spate of Roc Marciano features have had me essentially looking straight past them, Hus and Rozewood are rekindling that feeling i used to get when listening to The UN or when i first heard Marci’s magnificent “Snow” and “War Games” long before Marcberg had everyone screaming “Al Pacino with a tan”s praises.
High Rises was the first joint i heard that really piqued my interest, reminding me a bit of that old B-1 aka B-One 12” that dropped on Rawkus, Empire Staters / Verbal Affairs.
Hus and Rozewood don’t slouch on their output either both having released numerous albums, mixtapes and iTunes singles over the course of the last few years. This clip is taken from their free 100$ Taper album of mid last year.
The most recent full length release came via Rozewood’s The Beautiful Type which dropped in December 2014. Produced entirely by Illatrate and featuring appearances from Hus Kingpin, Boog Brown and SmooVth.
Rozewood talks The Beautiful Type and the process of working with friend and producer Illatrate.
Shibuya Shrine ft. Boog Brown & Hus Kingpin. Taken from The Beautiful Type
If talent were gauged on youtube views then these two dudes should be getting 200,000 plus views per video but they’re not. In saying that though, i have noticed the underground starting to pay more attention to these more than deserving MC’s. A quick YouTube search will have you discovering the amazing quality of music Hus and Roze are putting out at an alarmingly efficient rate, with flows and cadences reminiscent of a hungry Roc Marci or even Planet Asia and a left of center lean that reminds me of Alchemist and Oh No’s Gangrene project. Head over to iTunes or Amazon and start supporting this grass roots hip hop movement today!
But before you do peep how Hus and Roze do their thing over a beat originally found on The Alchemist’s Rapper’s Best Friend vol. 3.
Hus Kingpin & Rozewood – Star Castles
Tracie and Kerry… Two bad-ass dudes that’ve been done their thing, with feminine names.
Enjoy ya Friday yo!
Though it’s a fine line between ’94 and ’93, outside of 1988 hip hop’s finest year may just belong to 1994, lets take a sec to think back. Illmatic, Ready To Die, Sun Rises In The East, Hard To Earn, The Diary, Southerplayalistic, Tical, Stress: The Extinction Agenda, Ill Communication and the list goes on. What tends to bother me though is when truly defining albums of that particular year are glossed over in favor of what most would consider their more worthy counterparts. Omar Credle’s debut Word… Life fits that category, rarely if ever mentioned alongside 94’s more noteworthy solo debuts from Nas and Biggie. Due in large part to the drained financial coffers of Wild Pitch at the time, OC’s debut somehow slipped through the cracks having never been given the financial support that it rightfully deserved.
OC is a Brooklyn native by way of Queens who found himself living across the street from Pharoah Monch, he debuted on Organized Konfusion’s “Fudge Pudge” way back in 1991 which in turn caught the ear of MC Search who was working for Wild pitch Records. His affiliation to Organized Konfusion has continued to this day but it’s his role in New York’s Diggin In The Crates collective that brought him the most shine. According to folklore it wasn’t actually Buckwild (who produced most of Word… Life) but Fat Joe that secured his eventual membership in DITC by giving the final ok to OC’s induction into the all-borough collective. Now back to Word… Life.
Elevated lyricism, jazzy loops and hard drums are the key to Word… Life, a benchmark release for East Coast rap. It’s easy to compare this album to Illmatic in that both were overseen by MC Search, both were solo debut’s dropped only months apart and both were underpinned by phenomenal single’s, It Ain’t Hard To Tell and Time’s Up respectively. Thats where it ends though, Word… Life for my money probably shares more similarities with Gangstarr’s Daily Operation. Check the title track, i used to bump this joint every Friday night way back when.
I mentioned “Time’s Up” before and its hard not to when talking about anything OC related. Times Up is without a doubt one of the greatest and most profound statements any MC has ever made. Strangely enough it was actually the second single, behind the more commercially oriented “Born 2 Live” which see’s O taking a friends we lost along the way kind of approach. Regardless, Times Up is the centerpiece of this album in that almost everything revolves around it. Roc Raida’s (??) perfect use of Slick Rick on the cut, Buckwild’s rolling down tempo bass and stabs and OC declaration against all that is fake and fraudulent within rap, there hasn’t been many better songs made since, not to mention how heavily jacked this track is, almost every second line can be heard sampled or scratched on someone else’s record which is probably the highest compliment this song can be payed.
Here’s the clip. It has to sit alongside Raw and Shook One’s pt2 as one of the most sampled hip hop songs ever not to mention it’s possibly DITC’s greatest single released.
While Word… Life is probably producer Buckwild’s greatest body of work it also comes with a few healthy assists from DITC alum Lord Finesse and OGee, as well as Organized Konfusion. The Lord Finesse produced “Ga Head” deals with subject matter rarely heard outside of an Eminem song, when was the last time you heard an MC of OC’s status and caliber discuss having his wife leave him not for another man (wait for it) … But for a woman?!?! I said it earlier, elevated lyricism, the perfect wordplay be it battle oriented bravado or introspective philosophy. Check it for yourself.
It’s OC’s everyday approach to the sport of rapping that makes him so appealing. While Nas was touted as the second coming of Rakim pre-Illmatic, O gives you that humility Nas lacks, his voice says that even thugs crack a smile. While Nas might tell you how he snuck an uzi on the Island in his army jacket lining OC would probably describe how impossible it would’ve been to get that uzi onto the Island (of Riker’s i’m presuming) so he left it in the car instead. No posturing, no posing, no fake thuggin just a little mean muggin to make sure the point gets across. Point O Viewz follows Time’s Up and is one of my favourite joints on the album. Buckwild takes a splash of Roy Ayres for O to get loose over and drop some of that everyday i was just talkin about.
Thanks to Fatbeats Distribution Word… Life saw a rerelease back in 2004 to mark it’s 10 year anniversary, in the 10 years that’ve passed since then OC’s debut has begun to finally get the props it deserves. Looking at it in the context of 1994 a lot was happening, hip hop was still riding high off of 1993, Doggystyle and Wu-Tang’s reverberations were still being felt and then along comes Illmatic and Ready To Die. Word… Life today is widely regarded as a must have for any rap fan’s collection but it was actually OC’s PayDay released sophmore album, Jewels from ’97 that brought the attention back to his at-the-time overlooked debut. Unfortunately a string of patchy releases followed which also included a stint on the west coast based Hiero-Imperium label but those missteps wound up culminating in 2012’s OC & Apollo Brown collaboration Trophies, easily O’s greatest and most cohesive album since the 90’s.
Word… Life mighn’t be a masterpiece but it’s pretty close, it’s as solid as any release in DITC’s lengthy catalogue and the fact that OC has managed to stay putting out music for the past 20 years is worthy of accolade in it’s own right. OC has continued to showcase his diversity and lyricism in the many years that’ve followed but Word… Life is a declaration and definitely one of the top 5 releases of 1994 irregardless of where it sits in most of those (ahem) ‘wanky’ blog lists.
I remember years back receiving a textual transmission from my friend and esteemed colleague Proof telling me to check out this blog he’d just discovered called Daily Mathematics. I’d never heard about the blog of which he spoke and in the following text he proceeded to tell me that it was written by a hip hop music attorney and lawyer who wrote these amazing stories about his time within the industry, needless to say i was intrigued. That evening i went to my future wife’s computer and typed Daily Mathematics into its search engine and spent the remainder of the evening glued to the incredible and often hilarious stories on the screen. I stuck with Daily Math for a while, Combat’s insider tales about everyone from Dame Dash to Easy Moe Bee had me hooked, his stories were crack for a confessed rap addict such as myself.
I’ll try not to sound like a Wikipedia entry here but Combat Jack was born Reggie Osse a native New Yorker (Brooklyn to be exact) of Haitian decent. After receiving degree’s from Cornell and Georgetown Law he interned at Def Jam in 1989 where he’d work sample clearances for 3rd Bass’ Cactus Album. From there his credits are endless, after brokering Jay-Z’s first ever deal with Payday Records he’d go on to work with everyone from Bad Boy and Rockerfella to Capone-N-Noreaga and RA The Rugged Man. He also worked as a managing editor at The Source for a minute as well as a very brief stint with MTV, he was hugely involved behind the scenes of a lot of the most popular records of the 90’s. He retired from the music industry unsatisfied and disheartened by its constant fuckery in the early 2000’s.
He started blogging about his time within the industry under the alias of Combat Jack following his retirement and fast gained a following in hip hop blogging’s formative years of 05/06, translating that following on to an online radio show and then on to a prominent hip hop podcast. His broadcast alongside team member and prominent NY sneakerhead Premium Pete is going from strength to strength and has been a weekly must listen for a few years now. The show is an intrinsic look at hip hop and New York culture and i consider it one of the most important documentations we have of hip hop at this point in time. I was a little concerned when Dallas Penn retired from the team last year but the show didn’t miss a beat and has only gotten better in my books.
The guest list over the years is endless, if they were involved in East Coast hip hop anytime from the mid 80’s on then they’ve probably been on the Combat Jack podcast. Recent episodes with Lord Finesse, Freddie Foxxx, Jermaine Dupri, Chuck D, Kane, Cormega and Ice-T have been stellar, jam packed with history, stories and a literal tonne of amazing content. Not to mention episodes with Clark Kent, Bobbito Garcia, photographer Glen Friedman, Spike Lee, the infamous first Dame Dash episode and the episode where Havoc of Mobb Deep said he wrote those tweets about his man Prodigy and that a publicist told him to say he left his phone at a gas station, he continues on essentially calling P a bitch.
No matter how little i know about some of the guests i’m constantly intrigued and usually enthralled by most of the discussions. Like it, follow it, rate it, stream it, listen to it and enjoy it. Go back through the archives and discover something about someone you might know nothing about. The Combat Jack Show is available over at iTunes and Soundcloud and also streams off their website below.
I remember walking upstairs at Rockinghorse Records when it was two levels on Adelaide st, around the corner from where it is now in Brisbane’s Queen Street mall. I was either just 18 or turning 18 when I picked up a flier for an upcoming hip hop gig at Ric’s Café, Trem featuring Rob Nat supported by the 2Dogs and – from memory – Seany B… I won’t bore you with detail after detail, but the following Sunday with the Blackstump cassette blaring out of my cousin’s ride we made the pilgrimage from the far flung southern suburbs of Logan City into Fortitude Valley. No one knew what was to come and where things would head over the coming years but even during those formative stages, the handful crammed in to Ric’s Cafe knew they were watching someone with a firm grasp on the craft of hip hop.
We were young and enthusiastic for live hip hop, particularly local hip hop and performances were sometimes few and far between. I didn’t know a great deal about “the scene” or Trem’s origins at this stage but the following week, or possibly the week following that, i went and got myself a copy of the Sheer Talent 12″(twelve bucks out the second hand crate). Not long after that i got the 12″ Trem was launching that night at Ric’s, Amateurs. Alongside a few other releases of the period i listened to those records intently, they were my go-to-guide, i was already writing and rapping but i learnt and developed thanks to those records. In the years following i found myself blessed to be sharing stages with Trem on more than one occasion, though only ever in a support capacity i still managed to thank the dude for making those two EPs… I figured i owed him that much seeing how i’d probably written ten raps off the back of “Basic Fundamentals”. That shit was straight fire!
When you’re a fan like that you gotta take the time to tip ya hat and with Trem’s Adelaide album launch taking place this Friday Decmber 12th I thought I’d share with you 5 murderous Trem – or Trem assisted – joints pre For The Term Of His Natural Life…
AKA: 5 tracks you probably won’t hear on the night.
Trem – I Can See Clearly
“One sunny summer Saturday at Prahran bowl..” I recall grabbing drinks and going down to Prahran bowl one not so sunny afternoon when i was visiting Melbourne. We were waiting for a soundcheck at Revolver and i was a little disappointed by the tail walking around – or more to the point – the lack of tail walking around. This track is timeless and moves with a Nas-like flow, its effortless even in story mode. The first verse on this can also be heard on The Formula tape where Trem trades bars alongside Brad, Lazy and Rob Nat over a Dilated Peoples beat (i think?).
Prowla featuring Trem – Renown
The Jase remix of this was dope but I can’t go past the original, it’s perfect. I think Renown is possibly the greatest Australian rap song of all time, its that simple. GREATEST! I couldn’t pick one verse over the next, the chorus is intelligent with an amazing flow and the production is flawless… If you don’t own Prowla’s Lonewolf you should do something about that soon!
Lyrical Commision featuring Crossbred Mongrels – Lyrical Mongrels
“I’ve got a twenty ready honey show us all ya axe-wound..” (Rob Nat)
Posse cuts don’t get much better than this track whether they’re American, Australian or Swahili. Lyrical Mongrels is still one of the toughest tracks around and is a quintessential piece of pre-commercial era Australian hip hop with the mighty LC teaming up alongside Adelaide’s Crossbred Mongrels (DJ Debris and Flak). The beat knocks and every rapper goes in hard with Trem rounding things out in style… From the first Culture of Kings record circa 2000.
Trem featuring Rob Natrule and B.A.Lance – Distinguished Gentlemen
This early collab with The Formulators is as insane today as it was the first time I heard it. I can only pay it the ultimate compliment in saying that it sounds like it could’ve been a down-tempo answer to Lord Finesse’s, Percee P and AG featuring classic “Yes You May”. Prowla’s production is hypnotic and each verse is effortless with the flows. If your head doesn’t nod you’re not human… I always liked that shout out to “Blackstump in Brissy gettin bizzy’ at the end too. For no particular reason, i just did.
Lyrical Commission – Press Release
It’s hard to belive this track is 12 years old. It seems like just yesterday we were driving around in Ken Oath’s little blue Gemini bumping the Stage Is Set on repeat. We all loved the album when it dropped – and still do to this day – but the original mix of Press Release stays owning shit! From memory this version didn’t appear on the vinyl in favor of the remix… This track is a barrage of blackout rapping from Brad, Trem and Bob over a fuckin funky loop that we’d hear used again the following year on the DangerDoom project.
Delta – The End Is Near featuring Trem, Motion and Prowla
You could see that collab on paper and know that its going to sound fucking dope… Nuff Said!
Unless it’s The Godfather II, i’m not much for sequels.
In the sport that is rap music i’ve come to the conclusion that sequels are what rappers do in a vain attempt at reclaiming some form of past glory in an era where music sales are at an all time low, one last moment in an otherwise dimming spotlight. Fat Joe, CNN, Red & Meth, Jay-Z and far too many others have all dropped sub-par sequels to one of their classic recordings. Off the top, the only sequels that i can think of that worked were Raekwon’s OB4CL2 and Prodigy’s HNIC2 and in saying that, i don’t think Cuban Links 2 was exactly what everyone hyped it to be, it was good but a classic?! Nas’ Stillmatic probably deserves a mention also but only time can define a classic so we’ll wait and see…
Now, to the contrary. The possibility of a sequel to Cormega and Tragedy’s timeless track “They Forced My Hand” pricked my ears up when i caught this video last night, the reason for that being that in 2014 i don’t think either QB veteran has been sharper with their pen. Tragedy’s been dropping heatrock after heatrock in the lead up to Magnum Opus and you already know how dope Mega Philosophy is from earlier this year. A Mega and Trag collab is always a welcome thing in whatever form but a sequel to “They Forced My Hand”, if handled by the right producer, could be a very good look for two incredibly sharp MC’s known for reflective and emotive music.
Til then let’s just keep our fingers crossed and hope that Ghost never drops that Supreme Clientele 2 he’s been promising for the past couple years. I’d hate to see another album’s legacy tarnished by a shoddy, inconsistent follow-up.
Here’s “They Forced My Hand” for those that don’t know what the fuck it is that i been talkin ’bout.
I want to first and foremost send massive props out to Robbie at Unkut.com who’s interviewed and shone extensive light on this album and the career of Chill Rob G. A lot of my own knowledge on this album comes directly from the work Robbie has done, that and my pal Lenny who put me on to this back in the early 2000’s. Since then i’ve done my own knowledge on Ride The Rhythm. I’ve hunted it down on Vinyl, CD and even stumbled upon a couple 12″s from it, needless to say it’s become one of my favorite late 80’s rap records.
At this point in 2014 i think its a shame that albums like Chill Rob G’s 1989 debut Ride The Rhythm have gone largely by the wayside. You should consider for a minute the year this album dropped and all that means to rap music, the culture was still young. Paul’s Boutique, 3 Feet High And Rising, No One Can Do It Better, Unfinished Business, The Cactus Album, Ghetto Music, Its A Big Daddy Thing, Iceberg… Get it? Originality was paramount with every single release deserving of its own accolade and merit. Whether you were down with The Daisy Age or As Nasty As 2 Live Crew wanted you to be the music of Hip Hop was a burgeoning cultural movement that was still breaking new ground and defining itself as it had throughout the monolithic years of ’87 and ’88.
Enter in to all this Ride The Rhythm. Expertly produced and crafted by Mark The 45 King, this album is a 101 lesson in breaks and rhymes and should be considered for any list on defining rap albums of the period. Chill Rob is a New Jersey native and was also a member of Mark the 45 King’s original Flavor Unit alongside Queen Latifah, Lakim Shabazz, Apachee, Latee and Lord Alibaski. Mark The 45 King would produce and see the release of this and the debut albums from Lakim Shabazz (who had killed 45 King’s “900 Number” a year or two prior) and Queen Latifah all in a two year period, impressive for even those highly productive days. Chill Rob G’s vocals are as commanding as Chuck D but maintain an almost Rakim like flow and preciseness.
Check the title track. I love this joint and you might recognise the break which was later used on “Buck 50” from Ghostface’s Supreme Clientele.
I think that the whole Snap jacking Chill Rob for their Euro trash pop hit “Power” has been covered elsewhere ad nauseam, to the point that almost all the info about this album pertains to those happenings. It would probably be remiss not to mention it here seeing that it is such a huge part of this album’s history, for those that don’t know here it is very briefly. Snap – a late 80’s / early 90’s European pop dance duo – sampled vocals from Rob’s song “Let The Words Flow” and neither Chill Rob nor Wild Pitch were too happy about it. A deal was struck between the beefing parties that would see Chill Rob G record his own version of “The Power” over Snap’s music – with the blessing of Wild Pitch who clearly had dollar signs in their eyes. The results weren’t great, Snap had a worldwide hit when they replaced Rob’s vocals with another rapper (Turbo B??!) and Chill Rob didn’t… Have a worldwide hit that is. Here’s the video for it.
I was actually aware of of one song off this album before i knew that i knew it. “Court Is Now In Session” was instantly recognisable to me when i first heard it, though i could never pinpoint where i’d heard it. The 45 King’s use of layered sampling is incredible particularly how he uses multiple records to construct a production that still seems to allow so much room to breathe. His use of Graham Central Station’s drum break from “The Jam” and what appears to be a little pitched up flute is crazy! On top of that, i own the 12″ of this and it contains accapellas of both Court Is Now In Session and Let The Words Flow which is the B-side… I like that kinda thing.
Here’s the official video for Court Is Now In Session.
As with most Wild Pitch Wednesday’s, the releases we focus on are definitely of their era and by that i mean that they sound and look distinctly of the point in time that they were released. While the cover art to Ride The Rhythm leaves a little to be desired – lets be honest, it’s kinda wack – the music this album contains is magnificent. This is the foundation to how Mark The 45 King would wind up producing mega-hits for Jay-Z and Eminem (“Hard Knock Life” and “Stan” respectively) among numerous others. This is also one of the pioneering Jersey records pre-Naughty By Nature and is regarded highly by the handful that know of it’s existence. Chill Rob G’s flow is an effortless barritone of rhythmic and quotable phrasing. Years after this album was released in ’99 Latin funksters Ozomatli teamed up with Cut Chemist and Chali 2na from Jurassic 5 for what was a moderately popular song at the time called “Cut Chemist Suite”, the reason i mention this is because Chali 2na’s chorus is a lyric lifted directly from The Chill One’s song Motivation, “I’m an aristocrat, ghetto diplomat and i’m blessed with the gift of rap”… Check it for yourself.
Unfortunately Chill Rob didn’t make much more music following this album. He did show up on a European 12″ for a couple of verses in the mid 90’s from what i’ve read and may’ve even dropped something as late as 2008 but i haven’t heard it if he did, and to be honest i’m not sure i would’ve been checking for it if he had. I do love this album though and would recommend it to any fan with more than a passing interest in late 80’s hip hop, trust me on this one.
“I might be chill but i’m not frozen…” Once again, that production combined with the flow and voice! The Future Shock.
Happy Friday to you all. I recently discovered this footage of the S-N double O-P (D-O double G-Y D-O double G ya see) performing Slick Rick and Doug E Fresh’s classic “Ladi Dadi” live with Doug E. Fresh himself. Check out Snoop breaking down what it is to be a fan of this here rap shit before inviting The Worlds Greatest Entertainer to the stage, it’s a great way to kick off a Friday!
Due to outside commitments (well, that and the fact it takes me hours to type these posts) i didn’t get around to Wild Pitch Wednesday this week but rest easy friends, we’ll return with our regularly scheduled post next week.
In the meantime and in between time check this salute i wrote to the mighty Broken Tooth Entertainment for elsewhere on these here internets.
Broken Tooth Entertainment deserve the props. BTE have been at the forefront of innovative, independant hip hop in this country for well over a decade. Continually pushing the envelope, Broken Tooth is the most consistent label around and their influence Australia wide is not only visible but undeniable.
With LGEEZ, Booze Bastards and Fraksha having all dropped recently and Ciecmate, Mortar and Dazastah’s Grand Lodge 3 dropping later this month I thought I’d give ya 10 standout tracks from my favorite Australian record label.
Ciecmate & Newsense – Speaking As One
Ciecers and Stu are one of the greatest duo’s in Australia and this 12″ is still one of my favorite releases out of our country. If memory serves (and it rarely does) this was also the secret track on their debut album A Tale Of Two Cities, a must have in my books! I’m pretty sure this 12” got reviewed in an issue of HHC way back when also.
Bigfoot – Crimewave
The spirit of “Ride The Rhythm” era Rakim and vintage Ice-T is alive and thriving on this track here. Bigfoot is one of the best MC’s in the country and when he comes with a concept (like this, Can I Kick It or Footprints) he always nails it. I love DJ Lopsided’s cuts and Heata’s visuals for the video never disappoint. Giant Steps dropped a few years back, this is off that.
Gargoyle – Drown
“Rock n roll star, handing in a form fortnightly…” Rest In Power Joey! He didn’t get the props he deserved while he was with us but those of us that know, knew exactly what it was. An original voice with a knack for incredibly vivid and descriptive bars, Gargoyle is sorely missed!
Tornts – This Place
Tornts is without a doubt in my mind one of the most original and prolific voices in the local scene. Since he debuted with Adding Insult To Injury and over the course of his six solo releases that’ve followed, he’s constantly pushed himself and reinvented his science without ever once compromising what he does. This Place is off his last album Street Visions and wins on every level.
Fraksha – Rap Francais ft Tornts, Diem and Murky
BTE are rolling heavy on this recent cut. Fraksha has brought a refreshing influence to the game over the past five or six years. He’s at the forefront of the local grime movement and – in my opinion – his influence can be heard on a whole wave of next-gen rappers. That Smash Bros album is going to be crazy also!
Hospice Crew – Cainin’ Em ft Hired Goons
Back in 05/06 was the second time we heard the entire Hired Goon collective on one song and the results were undeniable. The raw, brutal energy of a HG posse cut can never be topped, it’s a barrage of individuals so innovative and individually unique that you don’t even know what style you’ll be hit with next. Fuck you!
Known Associates – Ashes To Dust
Me and most of my mates really enjoyed this record when it dropped. I was doing Phat Tape at the time and this and Fraksha’s debut My Way were getting a lot of burn. Ciecers and Mouf do their back and forth with this here and the beat is hard as fuckery.
Fraksha & Diem – Crepes
I fuck with cunts that fuck with sneakers and staying fresh, sorry for the language but its as simple as that.
And Diem needs to make more songs.
Newsense – Showstopper
Newsense is capable of all manner of poor behavior when he’s intoxicated, I know, I’ve seen it. This track is one of my favorites from the BTE catalogue, it’s clever, it’s quotable and it has the best use of a Lazy Grey cut yet. Stu’s flow and content is never less than A1 … We go to jams like Encino Man!
LGEEZ – The Anthem
BTE have got the future on lock with Flea and Son of Sam. This track is too ill, its adrenaline and pace is a fucking rush, they go in with the lyrics and the Nas cut in the chorus is perfect. Self built, confident MC’s with a strong online presence like this are a great continuation of the BTE legacy.
Billy Bunks – Devil’s Clay
Only Bunksy could make the idea of slingin literal shit at people from rooftops sound like a plausible and possibly doable offence. Nick’s production is that familiar headnod steez that I like and Bunksy comes through with the shit, for your ears and everywhere else… literally .
Go check out and support BTE’s music here: http://brokentoothentertainment.bigcartel.com/
Cool C has been sitting on death row in jail since 1996 after shooting a Philadelphia police officer dead in a botched bank robbery with his then partner Steady B. Convicted of first degree murder on October 30 1996, Cool C was sentenced to death by lethal injection, his execution is scheduled for January 8 2015.
Cool C was a member of pioneering Philly hip-hop crew Hilltop Hustlers, he dropped his first single “Juice Crew Dis” in 1987 going at – you guessed it – The Juice Crew. There’s some killer shots fired in this record.
This eventually lead to his debut debut album I Gotta Habit dropping in 1989 on Atlantic Records. I Gotta Habit spawned the sizable hit “Glamorous Life”.. This is almost the perfect late 80’s hip hop video.
In 1990 Cool C dropped his second album on Atlantic, Life In The Ghetto. This album didn’t fare as well as I Gotta Habit and he formed C.E.B. (Countin’ Endless Bank) with Steady B and Ultimate Eaze. Obviously C.E.B. didn’t do too well either because a few years after their debut dropped in ’93, one member was on death row and the other was serving life for a bungled bank robbery.
The self-titled debut, Countin’ Endless Bank did spawn what i think is one killer single though.
I haven’t seen much mention or coverage on Cool C’s reported January execution across the internets since i heard the news last night. While absolutely no one can excuse what Cool C did in taking another person’s life i am presuming a certain amount of tribute will start spewing forth from the internets over the coming month or two.
I think DJ Skizz is owed a great debt for having the stones to put together this collective of hardbody rap gods on one track. I’m neither here nor there with the Droog/Nas comparisons but i give thanks to Skizz for letting one of the greatest MC’s DITC ever birthed another chance to shine.
Brooklyn stands strong on this track but Uptown reigns supreme once Milan Costantine has done his thing.
DJ Skizz- Hot Breath ft. Your Old Droog, Sean P, Li’l Fame and Milano Constantine.
Just in case you missed it: Each Wednesday we’re taking a couple of minutes to talk about the importance of certain albums that dropped on Wild Pitch Records, a label that dropped a tonne of varied and great rap music from the late 80’s up until the mid 90’s. Most of the labels releases are long out of print and are either highly revered or largely forgotten about in the grand scheme things.
Look at that cover art (above), it’s incredible as well as timeless and indicative of early 90’s regional rap. Unfortunately the wax is a generic black sleeve with the logo and track listing stickered to the right hand corner – it is on mine anyway, and the few i saw on Discogs when looking to see if the picture cover existed on vinyl. Regardless, that silhouette logo is nuts!
True story. I went into a record store on Manhattan’s lower east side a little over a year ago and found a copy of this on vinyl, same as the one above, i was stoked, i took it to the counter eager to fork out the fifteen buck price tag. I get to chatting to the dude behind the counter about music and he tells me he’s ODB’s older brother and that him and his cousin the GZA are currently working on something. I bugged out and started asking questions but i was polite enough to give the dude my condolences for the loss of his younger brother Ol’ Dirt, to which he replied “yo i appreciate that my dude but that was one wild ass nigga, no one could tell that motherfucker what to do”. He said that shit in a real animated way and then continued with, “oh you an Ossie?! great selection homie” referring to my purchase of this very album.
I digress. Street Military were a five man crew from Houston Texas that put out a seven track ep in 1993 on New York based Wild Pitch Records. According to something i read on lead MC KB Da Kidnappa this was by and large the reason the album failed commercially and almost faded into obscurity, a New York label didn’t know how to market and promote a rap act from Texas. Eazy-E was reportedly interested in Street Military at a point in time also, while one MC, Pharoah is doing 200 years for murder or some such offense. Another dude in the crew Nut was killed in some gang shit while the afore mentioned KB Da Kidnappa is the only member that’s appeared to have stayed in the rap game, i saw a 12″ a while back where he’s draped in an anaconda on the cover. He’s still breathing apparently.
All of the above is secondary to the music which is that classic early 90’s Houston funk, though comparing Street Military to the Geto Boys would be like comparing Above The Law to NWA, two completely different entities. SM are melodious similar to how Above The Law were melodious but not quite as melodious as Bone Thugs were melodious, get it? Not as abrasive as their peers. Check the title track.
I’m not aware how Street Military wound up as what would appear to have been Wild Pitch’s down south experiment and why they weren’t signed to Rap-A-Lot, but the undeniable thump of that early 90’s down south bass with over riding keys, strings and layer upon layer, too much is never enough. Producer Icy Hott does his thing and is also a member of the Houston collective, South Park Coalition. The last track on the album is the gleefully titled “Dead In A Year”, the lyrics are bleak but the beat is all that shit i was just talking about before, layers.
There existed a time in hip hop when releases from outside of either New York or Los Angeles were considered regional. The Convicts, 5th Ward Boys, UGK, 8-Ball & MJG, Gangsta NIP even Outkast before they blew in the late 90’s were all relatively unknown outside of Texas, Atlanta, Memphis and anywhere else not called NYC or LA. This neglect from the major markets led to a thriving down south scene largely harbored and nurtured throughout the late 80’s and into the 90’s by Rap-A-Lot Records. Of course as the 2000’s rolled around regional rap’s influence would come to infiltrate the New York market and even begin to dominate it’s airwaves, but that’s a story for another day.
I’m definitely not the foremost expert on Houston rap but i do like to dig a little deeper than just Scarface and the Geto Boys. My comrades Heata and Bigfoot hipped me to this album in the mid 2thowz, i borrowed Bigfoot’s copy of it on CD and didn’t give it back for three years. Street Military’s debut is now, 20 plus years later, considered a benchmark release for the Houston scene. If you fuck with Rap-A-Lot or even Wild Pitch (funnily enough) then you’re probably up on this already but if you aren’t i’d consider it well worth your time.
A regional rap classic that’s very much of it’s period in sound and flavor but one that is well worth your time if you enjoy early 90’s gangsta rap.
According to Ben Baller – LA DJ, jeweler and former Death Row affiliate – Beyonce’s husband not only wrote Dr. Dre’s Snoop assisted hit “Still D.R.E.” but also recorded a ghost version for the good doctor to make sure his flow and cadences were all on point. Ben Baller also stated that the above mentioned recording was firmly in his possesion, Still Dre performed by Jay-Z… While its no secret to anyone that rap’s first billionaire has a habit of calling in producers and attaching his name to their work, the thought of a version of “Still D.R.E.” being performed by Hov interests me no end, or more to the point, hearing Hov perform “Still D.R.E” would interest me no end!
Welcome to Wild Pitch Wednesday here at Run Royal where each Wednesday we’ll take a brief look back at one release from Stu Fine’s storied imprint, Wild Pitch Records. Most of Wild Pitch’s catalogue has long been out of print relegating many of the label’s releases to mere footnotes in the annals of rap music, so why not shed a little light and take the time to have a look back at some of the labels classic releases.
The Coup hail from Oakland California and released their second album, Genocide & Juice on Wild Pitch in 1994. There was a radio show that broadcast around my ways back in ’94 called Phat Tape, at the time hosted by DJ’s Katch and Frenzie. Phat Tape introduced me to numerous acts of the era when each sunday night i’d set my cassette to record and then spend the next day at school listening to everything i’d recorded the night before. It was on one of those same tapes i was introduced to The Coup, the track “Pimps” to be exact, which was sandwiched between Keith Murray’s “The Most Beautiful Thing” and Channel Live’s “Down Goes The Devil” (i rewound that tape so many time i still remember the order of tracks around it).
The Coup in 94 consisted of Boots Riley, E-Roc and Pam The Funkstress, E-Roc would leave the group following this album. The album’s title was a play on Snoop Dogg’s popular song “Gin and Juice” (taken from his 1993 debut Doggystyle) and was a pointed commentary on the state decay within the black community at the time, a time when gangsta rap’s largely negative message was dominating not just hip hop but popular culture also. The album’s production – handled by Boots – was definitely “west coastcentric” and indicative of the era, g-funkish with live instrumentation and featuring appearances by fellow Bay Area natives Spice-1 and E-40. I want to highlight tracks 2 and 3 in particular keeping in mind that there’s a whole album of dope lyrics and beats following these two songs. Fat Cats, Bigger Fish plays directly into Pimps and could possibly be the greatest saga hip hop has seen since EPMD introduced us to “Jane”.
Fat Cats kicks off with down on his luck hustler Boots Riley off to pursue another day of hustling, scamming and partaking in just about any scheme that’ll see his pockets grow and those around his lessen. He’ll pick pockets, scam bus tickets, sweet talk a butt-ugly chick for free fast food until he happens upon his cousin, who as luck would have it is throwing in his job waiting on a bunch of wealthy white industrialists. Knowing these well to do devils won’t pick him from his cousin (“they be thinkin all black folks is resemblin”) he swaps outfits and goes in for some “pocket swindling”. Once inside the magnitude of what he stumbles upon is unfathomable, thinking himself the greatest “sneaky motherfucker” he comes to understand the magnitude of the scam these white folk CEO’s are pulling daily on his own people, “i’m gettin hustled only knowin half the game…”
“Fuck naw i aint got no grey poupon” Boots says as he passes another wealthy socialite. Funnily enough this socialite broad is attempting to coax David Rockerfeller into telling her more about this new venture of his called rapping. In his pompous anglophile tone Rockerfeller replies “we have this thing we do with our voices, we sing like authentic rappers” and then agrees to display his new venture providing the orchestra in the background can make the music more funky. After one of the richest men on earth proceeds to break down how they’re actually pimping the entire system and that the common man is the trick, the mic gets passed to Jon Paul Getty, another immensely wealthy industrialist who’s trying his hand at this rapping thing. After a little bit of coaxing and asking the accompanying lady to hold his glass “i have to do those hand gestures”, Getty proceeds to break the systematic corruption down in much the same way David Rockerfeller had done before him… And then Donald Trump shows up, embarrassing both Getty and Rockerfeller by dropping “something i picked up at a property i’ve got down in the carribean”, the group attempts to disperse so they’re not seen in the company of outcast Donald Trump.
Genocide & Juice celebrated 20 years just recently and it hasn’t aged a day in my books. Its actually ahead of its time in the sense that it speaks on many issues that are only beginning to come to light today in 2014. Boots Riley’s storytelling is masterful, he can paint the most vivid and detailed art with his words. I still give it up to Slick Rick and Ice Cube as great story tellers (even Nas) but Boots’ eye for detail is something else, i’m listening to a video clip when he kicks it. Audio video rap! Press play on Fat Cats and then go into Pimps, its one of the greatest and most original narratives in rap music!