Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Mad Skillz : Skillz in '95 (from The Nod Factor 12")





Mad Skillz : Skillz In '95 (Big Beat, 1995)
Mad Skillz : Live Freestyle from the Stretch Armstrong Show (Big Beat, 1995)
Mad Skillz : Freestyle (Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito show, 89.9 WKCR, 1994)
Bedroom Wizard featuring Mad Skillz : Skillz In '98 (Unsigned Wrecordings, 1998)

Most of us probably first heard of Mad Skillz first via his spotlight in the Unsigned Hype column of the late Source Magazine. While the column usually reviewed demo, Mad Skillz won his feature in the mag just on the strength of his freestyles in the Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito show. The story was that Q-Tip heard this guy from Virginia battling Supernatural at the New Music Seminar, and took him on a thursday night to the WKCR studio in october 1994. Soon after Stretch signed him to Big Beat, and they released his first single on the summer of 1995.

"Nod Factor" was an underground classic produced by the Beatnut Psycho Les (recently covered by Quasimoto), but the real gem was the B side. His Hip-Hop vs. Rap inspired freestyle was pressed on the dark side of this vynil but the real treat was Skillz In '95.
This song with the L.P. shitting on the SP (or if you prefer : Large Professor working the SP 12000) was excluded from the album because From Where ? was delayed and didn't hit the stores before 96 ! Extra P once said to Q-Tip "don't say the years, it's for eternity", but Skillz didn't listen to this advice, and made it his trademark, he made Skillz In '98, and for the past three years he just released one song a year : 2002 Year End Rap Up, 2003 Wrap Up, 2004 Rap Up, 2004 Rap Up etc.

Nowadays he spends his time writing and ghostwriting for less talented and talentless rappers (most recently for Will Smith's Lost And Found), and was recently seen touring with DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Roots. He was supposed to do an album on Decon/Okayplayer, but I doubt it will happen anytime soon.


Mad Skillz : Skillz In '95 (Big Beat, 1995)
Mad Skillz : Live Freestyle from the Stretch Armstrong Show (Big Beat, 1995)
Mad Skillz : Freestyle (Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito show, 89.9 WKCR, 1994)
Bedroom Wizard featuring Mad Skillz : Skillz In '98 (Unsigned Wrecordings, 1998)

Beaucoup d'entre nous ont probablement découvert Mad Skillz via la rubrique Unsigned Hype de feu The Source Magazine. D'habitude la colomne de Matty C était une chronique d'une démo, mais Mad Skillz s'est retrouvé là uniquement grace à ses passages en freestyle dans l'émission de Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito. L'histoire veut que Q-Tip ai entendu ce type débarqué de Virginie lors de la battle du New Music Seminar contre Supernatural, et qu'il l'ai emlmené avec lui un jeudi soir aux studios de WKCR en octobre 1994. Peu après Stretch le signait chez Big Beat, et son premier single sorti au début de l'été 1995.

"Nod Factor" était un classique underground produit par Psycho Les (et récemment repris par Quasimoto), mais trésor enfoui en face B était du même niveau. Son freestyle inspiré de Hip-Hop vs Rap est aussi sur la face B du maxi. Skillz In '95, produit par Large Professor n'a pas été retenu pour figurer sur l'album, pour la simple raison que la sortie de From Where ? avait été repoussée et que le disque n'est finalement sorti qu'en 1996 ! Extra P avait prévenu Q-Tip "don't say the years, it's for eternity", mais Skillz n'a pas suivit ce bon conseil, au contraire même citer l'année est devenu sa spécialité, il a enregistré un morceau intitulé Skillz In '98, et depuis trois ans il se contente même de sortir un morceau par an : 2002 Year End Rap Up, 2003 Wrap Up, 2004 Rap Up, 2004 Rap Up etc.

Le reste de son temps il le passe désormais à écrire des textes pour des rappeurs moins talentueux que lui (recemment on lui doit le texte de Lost And FOund de Will Smith), et on l'a aperçu en tourné avec DJ Jazzy Jeff et The Roots. Un album avait été annoncé il y a un an chez Decon/Okayplayer, mais depuis plus de nouvelles.

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