Friday, April 01, 2005

Artifacts & Mad Skillz : Dynamite Soul II (Lip Service remix) (from Dynamite Soul 12")





Artifacts & Mad Skillz : Dynamite Soul II (Big Beat, 1994)
Mad Skillz :
Freestyle (Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito show, 89.9 WKCR, 1994)
Artifacts : Who Am I ? (Big Beat, 1994)

Hard 2 Obtain, Artifacts & Raquel : A Lil Sumthing (Atlantic, 1994)

The collaboration between Artifacts and Mad Skillz on Dynamite Soul II didn't happen as a big surprise to anyone. The group from New Jeru and the MC from Virginia shared the same hip hop aesthetic and both had their first demo selected in The Source's Unsigned Hype column, back when that meant your music would also be played in the Wake Up Show and The Stretch Armstrong Show. Coincidencially they all got signed by the same Mr Armstrong who was then A&R at Big Beat. Also Artifacts were managed by Bobbito through Hit U Off, a short lived management company he co-owned with Pete Nice, who also handled Hard 2 Obtain ’s career.

Noz from Cocaine Blunts & Hip Hop Tapes has a theory that rap music at that period was specifically mastered to be listened to on tape. judging from the crappy vinyl pressing It's clear that labels didn't pay attention to DJs who had a late night hip hop radio show. We always had to turn up the gain to the max whenever we wanted to play any Black Moon, Common Sense, Beatnuts, Del or OC album track.

Being signed by a DJ had at least one good consequence : their albums were pressed on loud double LPs. But since DJs could play any song from "Between A Rock And A Hard Place", you know the 12" had to offer some exclusive material. They had Busta "Mr Cameo" Rhymes on "C'Mon Wit Da Get Down", and on this third 12" labelmate Mad Skillz came with his usual ton of punchlines. The beat was produced by EZ Elpee, with some nice cuts by Roc Raida.

The 12" includes another unreleased b side, Who Am I ?, which could have been a dope song without the chorus. They try to harmonize on the hook, but unfortunately they're no Nice & Smooth or anything.


Artifacts & Mad Skillz : Dynamite Soul II (Big Beat, 1994)
Mad Skillz :
Freestyle (Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito show, 89.9 WKCR, 1994)
Artifacts : Who Am I ? (Big Beat, 1994)

Hard 2 Obtain, Artifacts & Raquel : A Lil Sumthing (Atlantic, 1994)


La collaboration entre Artifacts et Mad Skillz sur Dynamite Soul II n'avait rien de surprenant. Le groupe de New Jeru et le MC de Virginie partagent la même vision du hip hop et ont tous deux vu leur première demo selectionnée par The Source dans la rubrique Unsigned Hype, à l'époque où les maquettes sélectionnées par Matt Life étaient diffusées dans le Wake Up Show et le Stretch Armstrong Show. A la suite de ça Artifacts et Skillz ont été signés par Monsieur Armstrong, alors directeur artistique pour Big Beat. Par ailleur Artifacts étaient managés par Bobbito via Hit U Off, une compagnie de management montée par l'animateur et Pete Nice, sur laquelle on trouvait aussi Hard 2 Obtain .

Noz de Cocaine Blunts & Hip Hop Tapes a une théorie comme quoi les disques de rap à cette période étaient spécifiquement masterisés pour être écoutés en cassette. C'est clair quand on écoute en vinyle les albums de Black Moon, Common Sense, Beatnuts, Del ou OC que les labels n'accordaient pas grande importance aux DJs qui jouaient leurs disques tard le soir en radio. Chaque fois qu'on voulait passer un titre pas sorti en maxi il fallait pousser le gain au maximum.

Le fait d'être signé par un DJ a au moins un bon coté : leurs albums ont été pressés en double vinyle bien fort. Mais comme les DJs pouvaient jouer n'importe quel titre de "Between A Rock And A Hard Place", il fallait que les maxis apportent à chaque fois quelquechose d'exclusif. Ils avaient Busta Rhymes sur "C'Mon Wit Da Get Down", et pour le troisième extrait de l'album c'est leur camarade de label Mad Skillz qui est venu les accompagner. Le beat était produit par EZ Elpee, avec des cuts de Roc Raida.

En plus du remix il y a une autre exclu sur ce maxi, Who Am I ?, qui aurait pu être un bon morceau, si seulement il n'y avait pas ce refrain. Tame One et El The Sensei essaient de faire des harmonies, mais n'est pas Nice & Smooth qui veut !

1 comment:

dj bobby cousy said...

Nice research done on this blog, it was fun to see all the archives of less well known tracks. Who Falls Apart by The Nonce is still such a good track. Back on Tony Touch's 50th tape he had a Group Home freestyle over the instrumental for Who Falls Apart that was tight. I have to agree that the sound quality for the Artifacts singles sucked. I was djing for WODU in 1992 to 1997 and the levels were all over the place on their releases. Don't forget the B-side to Mad Skillz Nod Factor single, Skillz in 95, produced by Extra P. Living in Virginia at the time we were all repping Skillz.
Keep up the nice work. Peas.