Thursday, January 31, 2008

Is it funk? Disco? Call it soul.

The Strikers' lone LP is a minor collectible in the disco world on the strength of the Larry Levan and Francois K-mixed "Body Music."

This track, which is buried on the flip, speaks to me a lot more:

The Strikers: "Hold Onto the Feeling" (Prelude, 1981)

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Forget Oreos

I don't expect LL Cool J to ever make another song I want to hear, but this was my shit when it came out:

LL Cool J: "No Airplay" (?, 1994)

My expectations were relatively low then. LL had kinda stumbled with "Strictly Business." 14 Shots to the Dome was a turd. But "No Airplay" captured the miracle of his best records--he managed to sound imperial and hungry at the same time.

The song also contained probably the most suspect and inadvertently funny braggadocio of LL's checkered career. There I was figuring he'd never top "Sucker MCs really make me sick/I'm so bad I could suck my own dick" when, lo and behold, he comes out with "I'm up through your asshole and fucking up your insides." Sometimes you really shouldn't top yourself.

If I remember right, there was a super-limited vinyl promo of this version of "No Airplay." For years, I only had the song on a tape of my homie Beni B murdering two copies on a Canadian radio show. Then there was the version I got, which sounds like it was recorded from scratchy vinyl. The version that appeared months later on Mr. Smith was junked up with some extraneous shit.

For some nice Cool J obscurities, check my man Phill Most's blog.


So excited

Recently the homie Serg invited me to mix volume 4 of Hard As Fuck so right now I'm in the process of trying to take about 60 songs about subjects like stomping haters out, mean mugging, whooping on a trick, bowing haters up, looking for ana, leaving Nike logos on a fool's forehead, etc. and trying to condense them into the single hardest CD known to man.

The mix won't be ready in time for the gig above, but I'm psyched to play a bunch of rowdy shit in a club with Mr. Whut-It-Dew, Shane & Swayzee.

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Don't be a dangler

I'm not sure what's best about Too $hort's "I Ain't Trippin'"-- the insidious bassline, the way $hort pretty much mumbles/whispers all of the lyrics or Mark Curry's adlibs. Probably the adlibs, which perfectly capture the feel of Oakland at the time.

A few years later, Berkeley rapper Mac Mill came out with another single featuring a pre-"Hangin with Mr. Cooper" Curry riffing on street life and, in particular, danglers.

Mac Mill: "Straight Dangler" (No Question, 1990)

Danglers are still with us, but sadly, the word "dangler" has pretty much passed from the lexicon, although E-40 did drag it out of the mothballs for the Federation's "Hyphy" in 2003. Hopefully he'll include it in the slang dictionary he's been promising to publish since about that time.

As for Mill, I don't think he has put out anything since like 1995, when he released the EP with "Arabian Hump" on it. [I have a vague recollection of that song making the local news and Mac Mill explaining that he was shocked, shocked I tell you, at the controversy, because he was just imitating dudes who owned the local liquor stores-- anybody else remember that?] A couple years ago, I was surprised to read that my man Lyrics Born was in a crew with Mill in the dangler era, but when I asked Tom about Mill, but he said they lost touch years ago.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It'll take a while to get going

but it'll be worth it.

The Undisputed Truth: "Space Machine" (Whitfield, 1979)