Saturday, April 26, 2008

Yeah you know me

Back when Naughty by Nature's "O.P.P." came out, I remember hearing rumors that they'd stolen the track from a breakbeat album by Tony D, a fellow Jersey guy and producer of the Poor Righteous Teachers and YZ, among many others. I don't think the Tony D record ever got distributed on the West coast, so it wasn't until a few years ago that I found it and finally heard the song. (Weekend Records, NYC, I miss you.)

Tony D: "Adams Nightmare" (Sure Shot, 1989)

As for whether Naughty ripped off the beat, I can't say. Sampling an obvious soul classic and putting it over the popular "Substitution" break isn't the most idiosyncratic pairing; the way both tracks use the "come on, come on, come on, let me show you what it's all about" vocal seems less like coincidence. In Naughty's defense, if they did steal it, they stole it from a record prominently labeled:

Thinking about the one Tony D album led me to think about one he released a few years later.

His hand-drawn covers make my eyeballs want to scream, but I always loved this track.

Tony D: "Inspiration Abstract" (Contract, 1995)

Which makes me think of this:

Jimmy McGriff: "Back on the Track" (Blue Note, 1969)

And this:

O.C.: "Ma Dukes" (Wild Pitch, 1994)

"Ma Dukes" is from O.C.'s Word... Life, which just got reissued with the rest of the Wild Pitch catalog; there's also a recent reissue with some bonus tracks. If I remember right, it's titled what it is because his mom sings the hook!

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Oakland, California 94610

The Coup is playing tonight at the Shattuck Down Low with my homeboy E Da Boss. Paradoxically, although it's in Berkeley, this may be one of their most patchouli-free shows in the next few months. I wish I could go see them but I'll be tied up DJing at the Ambassador in SF.

I went to Amoeba the other day and was happy as hell to see their Kill My Landlord album back in print. If I'd been keeping up with Noz's blog, I would've known that this and almost all of the rest of Wild Pitch label catalog is back in print as of this week, with Genocide & Juice due out in another week or so. Noz conducted a poll about which Wild Pitch album was the best; I like Main Source's Breaking Atoms, but I'd take Genocide & Juice or Word... Life any day.

The Kill My Landlord reissue is okay, a little stingy (certainly no Steal This Double Album). They didn't add any bonus tracks and the liner looks like it was made at Kinko's, but I'm glad to see the album available.

Shoulda been on there:

The Coup: Dig It RMX (Wild Pitch, 1993)

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Al Wilson, R.I.P.

Al Wilson: "Falling (in Love with You)" (Carousel, 1971)

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Head of the class

I've been meaning to post something about my homie Trackademicks's new mixtape, The [Re]Mixtape Vol. 2, but now I gotta.

Trackademicks is not only one of my favorite producers from the Bay, he's one of current favorites, period. He's soaked up influences from synth-pop to hyphy blap and transmuted them into a style that's endlessly smooth without ever getting slick. He's produced Mistah F.A.B. & Lyrics Born, remixed E-40 & Yummy Bingham and performed with everyone. This summer he'll be dropping a single on Fool's Gold.

The new CD, mixed by the boy DJ Tap.10, features him and his crew, the Honor Roll, remixing and remaking songs by other artists (Outkast, Raphael Saadiq, Ready for the World, Honeycut, etc.) plus busting out a few of their own. I was planning on waiting until it was in stores to hype it up, but now Track is letting folks download the mix for free:

Grab it quick and be sure to check out the liner notes Trackademicks has been posting day by day at his blog.

Oh, p.s.-- catch Tap.10 filling in for me and Willie Maze over at Kitty's this Saturday. I'm sure the Honor Roll will be in effect.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth day special

Two ecological-minded funk records, one of them from Texas, of all places.

Koko Taylor: "Pollution" (Chess, 1972)

Sonny Raye & Fancy (Introducing Little Sheba): "Sacrafice" (sic) (Jetstream, 1975)


Monday, April 21, 2008

Bros before hosiery

This video is tied to the straight-to-video mockumentary Gangsta Rap: The Glockumentary. I've seen clips from the film and it looks unfunny-- some slapstick, a few scenes ripped directly from Spinal Tap and a really gross joke involving fefe bags. I think the inherent ridiculousness of gangsta rap probably makes it difficult to parody (CB4, anyone?); on the other hand, maybe it's just poor execution in both cases.

Regardless, this song and a few of the tracks from the soundtrack full-length are surprisingly great-- they're solid musically and genuinely funny. The fact that this song's chorus rips off the Jungle Brothers' "I'll House You" is icing on the cake. Special shout to my man DJ Serg a/k/a DJ House Shoes.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Good life

Easy Mo Bee: "Good Life" feat. AZ & Mack 10 (Priority, 1999)

I've never been a big fan of Easy Mo Bee's production, Mack 10's rhyming or smooth rap songs with R&B choruses, so this one snuck up on me-- the beat is great, AZ makes reference to getting handjobs in both verses (!) and even Mack 10 comes off. I think DJ Eleven may be the only person I know who remembers this record and/or loves it half as much as I do.


Friday, April 18, 2008

His voice is real fresh, he don't need no vocoder

Ice-T's Rhyme Syndicate crew is unfairly forgotten. Although two of the members, Everlast and W.C., blew up after they left the crew, I don't think anyone associates either with it. And I never hear anyone talk about the one-and-only Rhyme Syndicate album, which is a shame, because it had some really fresh material, like Low Profile's debut, "Think You Can Hang", and Domination's "You Haven't Heard Nothing".

Domination was a Bronx duo made up of Kid Jazz and his DJ, Kid Scratch. Aside from "You Haven't Heard Nothing", the only release they had that I know of was a 3-song 12" on Rhyme Syndicate featuring a commercial R&B jam, a hip-house jam and the crazily great "Back At It Again". Kid Jazz's style is kind of a cross between early Kool Keith and Sir Ibu of Divine Force-- fast, frantic and a little unhinged. I would love to hear more.

Domination: "Back At It Again" (Rhyme Syndicate, 1990)

Domination: "You Haven't Heard Nothing" (Warner Bros., 1988)


Thursday, April 17, 2008

This is how we chill

Last night I caught a freebie and went to see the drummer Billy Cobham. His chops are ridiculous and he had the great Kenny Barron on piano, but there was a lil too much Randy Brecker-with-awful-effects on top of a few too many Cobham compositions with crazy time signatures. So I didn't enjoy the show much, except for when he played this:

Billy Cobham: "Heather" (Atlantic, 1974)

If you're from the Bay, you'll recognize it as the sample to Souls of Mischief's "93 Til Infinity", which long ago became an Oakland anthem. The rightness of hearing him play the song live in Oakland made me happy and got me wondering-- does he bust out "Red Baron" when he plays Compton? "Crosswinds" in Brooklyn? "Almustafa the Beloved" in the Bronx? I hope so.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Me too

Willie Maze is somewhere in the foreground but the boy is so lightning-fast that only his shoes show up on camera.

Joe Tex: "I Wanna Be Free" (Dial, 1963)


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

19 for me

Junior Parker: "Taxman" (Capitol, 1970)

Big shouts to Kool Moe Dee, Richard Pryor, Ron Isley, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Willie Nelson and Joe Lewis. Spiro Agnew, Leona Helmsley and Dennis Kozlowski get the bozack.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Different from the others

Stepin' Strong: "Rhymes Different from the Others" (Rough Luxury, 1989)

I recently grabbed this from the Bustthefacts blog, which posts up a ton of obscure 80s and 90s rap albums. I'd been wanting to hear the song in its entirety since DJ Shadow played a portion in his 2003 BBC Essential Mix/Diminishing Returns mix, which might be my favorite DJ mix ever. The album it's drawn from, Roughouse Orchestra, is a 1989 compilation on the Rough Luxury label out of the Bronx. Although one group featured on it, the Universal MCs (later the UMCs and, after that, 3-2-1), went on to some success, the comp is pretty obscure.

After a little poking around, I learned that Rough Luxury is still in business (!) and the album is legitimately available in digital from Juno (!!). The versions sold on Juno are vinyl rips, but they sound pretty good-- occasionally scratchy, but loud and clear. I really recommend copping both this and the other Stepin' Strong track; both sound like they could have been on the first Jungle Brothers album, which is about as high as my praise gets.


Monday, April 7, 2008

Part 3 Part 2

The Young Senators: "Ringing Bells (Sweet Music) Pts. 1 & 2" (Innovation, 197?)

In honor of the recent wedding of my dear homies, the bell-ringing, ruckus-bringing DJ Stef and Serg Dun, I got off my ass and back on the grind long enough to rip and patch together both halves of this, perhaps the greatest ever psychedelic funk song about getting married. The Young Senators were a D.C.-area group that cut two singles before hanging it up to become Eddie Kendricks's backing band on songs like the almighty "Girl, You Need a Change of Mind."