Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Pharcyde : Pork (from Passin' Me By 12")

The Pharcyde : Pork (Delicious Vinyl, 1993)

Despite a small catalogue The Pharcyde (in their original line-up) was one of the most creative groups of their time. In 1990 Imani, Tre and Romye were three kids known in the LA club scene as 242, they were dancing in music videos and TV shows like In Living Color. Soon they met Fatlip and J-Sw!ft and together they recorded a demo under the name Pharcyde that got them a deal with Delicious Vinyl. The rumor was that a shady manager spent most of their advance before they complete the recording of Bizarre Ride. Broke and homeless they had to stay at their A&R crib for a while until they could rent their own place, the Pharcyde Manor, a two story, four bedroom wood frame house in South Central, known for the wild parties.

The first album was an instant classic among rap fans and they soon attract fans from the rock audience. J-Sw!ft left the group before the first album dropped, allegedly all members were bringing samples and they didn't want him to be the only one getting props for the production. The liner notes on the album reads "Produced by J-Sw!ft. Co-produced by The Pharcyde", but I don't think too many people read past the first line. The second album was disappointing for most of their original fans, but the label always tried hard to promote the group, releasing many 12", shooting many videos, including the best music video ever, they even had a video for the Jiggaboo Time skit ! Delicious Vinyl also came with a remix budget for most of the 12" hiring stars like Kenny Dope or Beatminerz or lesser known producers like Jay Dee or The Angel.

Anyway, Pork was the second track the group did without J-Sw!ft (the first was Otha Fish on Bizarre Ride) and while it sound a bit harder than the earlier material it still has that great freestyle feel with five different choruses that seem unfinished (unless someone has an explanation for the bars left blank in between scratches here and there). Pork and most of their b-side exclusive was later repackaged and rereleased in the Remix And Rarity compilation ironically called Sold My Soul.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

T-Love : Butcher's Hook (from Definition Of A Yee-Yee 12")

T-Love : Butcher's Hook (Brawl/Pickininny, 2007)

You gotta thank the recession for giving me finally giving me time to update this blog, or should I say resurrect it...
So why not start again with some record I know quite well, since I put it out. I know noboby will complain for copyright infringement here.
This 12" came out two years ago as the first single from the Long Way Up [Basement Tapes] album. We pressed up 1000 copies of the single and it's been sold out for a while. The main track Definition of a Yee-Yee is on the album (limited to 500 copies, all vintage material, with full color artwork at a regular price, email me for info/orders), but the track Butcher's Cut is exclusive to the 12". Actually the song was already out before but only on the japanese version of T-Love's first CD, Long Way Back, but as far as I'm concern if a track is not available on vinyl it might as well not exist. This was recorded when she was living in London and it's produced by Herbaliser, hence the british slang in the last verse.

I also want to give props to my man Xcuz for the artwork, even though the final product didn't end up being exactly how we wanted, I think he did a great job in a very short time.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

SLurg Lesson 3 mix

I haven't done an indie rap mix in a long time, so I figured since the genre is so popular in the blog world I could do another one. 75 minutes of indie rap from the mid to late 90's, from LA, New York, Australia and Europe. Enjoy.

> > SLurg Lesson 3 < <

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Run DMC : Hit It Run (from You Be Illin 12")

Run DMC : Hit It Run (Profile, 1986) (DivShare)

I wonder why Run is never mentioned when people talk about the best beatboxers. Oh, sure, he's not very good, but neither are Biz Markie nor Doug E. Fresh. The Biz got props for making a song about beat box where you barely hear him beatboxing, and while Doug E Fresh sold a million copies of "La Di Da Di", his performance on the song is not impressive.

Hit It Run was DMC's solo, like most tracks on Raising Hell ("Peter Piper", "My Adidas", "Is It Live", "Perfection", "Son Of Byford", "Proud To Be Black") it begins with an a cappella intro before Jay drop the beat. DMC's deep voice, Jam Master Jay's cuts and Run's beatbox chorus divert your attention from the simplicity of the lyrics. Here it's mostly the voice that gets you up...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Run DMC : Peter Piper (from My Adidas 12")

Run DMC : Peter Piper (Profile, 1986) (DivShare)

Contrary to what Glen E. Friedman once said, Walk This Way was not the first Profile 12" with a picture sleeve. Before releasing the lead single off Raising Hell they first came out with this "street single", as we call them now. It's also the very first record which bear their famous logo, very basic design and color scheme put together by  Stephanie Nash from London Records' art department Haze. He later used the same idea of stripes and letters for EPMD and then for OBR records' logo.

While My Adidas is a great track, it was immediately overshadowed by the opening track of Raising Hell, the nursery rhyme inspired ode to Jam Master Jay. With so many lines bigging up the DJ, said with the natural authority of Run and DMC, it didn't take long for this one to become a classic, a DJ competition staple. I couldn't name one DJ who didn't used Peter Piper in one of his routines.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Run DMC : Sucker MC's (from It's Like That and You Talk Too Much 12")

Run DMC : Sucker MC's (Profile, 1983) (DivShare)

24 years after the facts it's easy to say that it was an obvious mistake to put Sucker MC's on the B side of It's Like That. As much as I like it I have to admit it's a little bit corny. Most would think that keeping it on the B side was a label decision and that Run DMC had to fight with Cory Robbins, Manny Bella and Steve Plotnicki to release Sucker MC's, but actually DMC described the classic as a throwaway track. Go Figure...

Now may be someone can enlight me on something : how comes every copy of It's Like That I've seen reads : Sucker MC's (Krush-Groove 1). They had no idea they would do a movie named Krush Groove when their first 12" came out. Does that mean that I've never seen an original copy of the record ? Same question for the LP, the album came out march 1984, long before they though about doing a movie.

The track was released years later also on the B side of the UK pressing of You Talk Too Much, which is actually the first Run DMC 12" with a picture cover.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Peanut Butter Wolf : The Chronicles (I Will Always Love H.E.R.) (from Lunar Props EP)

Peanut Butter Wolf : The Chronicles (I Will Always Love H.E.R.) (2Kool, 1996)
Peanut Butter Wolf : When You Feel Good, Things Can Turn (2Kool, 1996)
Grand : I Can't Understand (demo)
Encore : Untitled (demo)
Encore & Grand : Story (demo)

Some A&R must be totally death to hide the best track on the B side. In this case I think that the guy who took the decision to put "The Chronicles (I Will Always Love H.E.R.)" on the B side didn't actually listen to the song. That or he thought that everybody knew the song from Return Of The DJ, which kinda make sense (the version here is different though).

I'm not really sure why they call that the Lunar Props EP, since with all due respect to Peanut Butter Wolf, "Lunar Props" (as the name implies) is more like a study on Black Moon's "Who Got The Props". It's a cool variation of Evil Dee's composition, not a track you would spend $6 for. Hate to say it but it's the least interesting of the EP. They could have call it the When You Feel Good, Things Can Turn EP, but that's a bit long for a title.

But really, as a big fan of cut & paste, I have to say that "The Chronicles (I Will Always Love H.E.R.)" is probably the best of it's kind. I bet Cut Chemist, Steinski and Coldcut are actually happy that this track is less known than their Lessons/Beats & Pieces etc... because it's shitting on anything they did in the genre. Opting for a chronological approach Chris Manak is collecting his favorite hip-hop breaks and samples from "Rockin'It" to "I Used To Love H.E.R." and cutting vocals from famous rap tracks. The 12" also include an instrumental, that doesn't have scratches or vocals, a bit like the "Giant Wall Crawling Insect Breaks" 12" by The Herbaliser.

The last part of the song is made up of three beats by the little known Dreas, whose demo was unhearth by the now defunct blog My Fist In Your Face. You can still get some tracks here Grand : I Can't Understand ; Encore demo ; Encore & Grand : Story.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Boss : Drive By (Rollin Slow remix) (from Deeper 12")

Boss : Drive By (Rollin Slow remix) (Def Jam West, 1993)
Nice & Smooth, Asu, Gangstarr, Bas Blasta, Milo T, Preacher Earl : Down The Line (RAL, 1991)

I'm really a big fan of The Drawing Board work, they shaped what rap records should look like, much like what Reid Miles did with jazz by designing all thoses great Blue Note sleeves. I love their big fonts and how they frame the pictures with letters. For those of you who are not familiar with them, the crew created by Cey Adams and Steve Carr was responsible for almost all the Def Jam artwork until 1999 and countless record sleeves from Cooky Puss to Ready To Die, and many logos for the likes of Hot 97 or Dave Chappelle.

So I had the promo 12" of Deeper for years when I finally bought this retail copy just for the artwork. They both share the same tracklisting, the catalog number is exactly the same but what surprised me it that the credits for the Drive By remix are different. Totally different.

And they're probably both wrong (to some extent).
The promo reads : Produced by MC Serch. Remixed by Jeff Trotter. Recorded at Soundtrack studio, NY.
The retails reads : Produced by Robert Jones. Additional production by Erick Sermon & DJ Premier. Mixed by Jeff Trotter. Recorded at Soundtrack studio, NY.

Strange, don't you think ?

Now what is really surprising is that if you go back to the credits of the original song on the album, the producer of the song is neither Serch, nor Robert Jones. According to the album Drive By was produced and mixed by Stone Tha Lunatic and was recorded in LA.

For those who don't know, Stone Tha Lunatic's real name is Angelo Trotter, also know as Torch and Torcha Chamba. He produced "Wicked" for Ice Cube, "Hounddog" for MC Ren, "Sunbeams" for Volume 10, and if I'm correct he's the uncredited guy who rhymes on Freestyle Fellowship's classic posse cut "Heavyweights" just before Volume 10.

Now, MC Serch as a producer of the song ? Why not, but I've always seen him credited as a co producer, with T-Ray, with Sam Sever, etc.

And could you picture DJ Premier working with Erick Sermon on this remix ? I've seen this remix credited to DJ Premier on some mixtapes and compilations to my surprise. Sorry but I can't picture DJ Premier doing this remix, it doesn't sound like him, at all. Primo sampling the "Humpty Dance" drums ? The saturated bass line ? Those are Erick Sermon trademarks. The only little thing that sound like Primo is the scratch in the intro. Should you get additional production credit for just one scratch ?

One thing that always seems stranged to me is the fact that DJ Premier has produced tracks for every MC on every label from Tommy Boy to Rap-A-Lot but never for Def Jam. I don't know if he has beef with Lyor Cohen or something, but who wouldn't dream of a Redman track produced by Premier or a Primo remix of some PE classic ? What's strange is that he didn't even help his good friends Nice & Smooth when they were working on the trainwreck that was Jewel Of The Nile, even if Gangstarr was credited on Ain't A Damn Thing Changed for Guru’s verse.

UPDATE : Scroll down to the comments to get the facts straight. Thanks to Rob Jones and Angelo Trotter for clearing things up. And thanks to Premier who confirmed to me in an interview that he had nothing to do with this remix.