Thursday, September 29, 2005

Phife : Thought U Wuz Nice (from Bend Ova 12")

Phife Dawg : Thought U Wuz Nice (Groove Attack, 1999)
Phife Dawg : If Men Are Dogs
Phife Dawg & Chip Fu : Rumours

How comes I don't have a retail copy of this single ? I really should, not only because I like this record, but because I actually was doing the promotion for Phife's album in France ! But I was green back then. That was before I understand the importance of keeping 10 copies of every record I promote. I was so young and naive that I really thought it was useful to send out promos to all those mainstream DJs who don't give a fuck about a records unless its distributed by Sony, BMG, Universal, EMI or Warner.

The original artwork has one of those classic Rock Steady Crew pictures circa 1982, I think it's Kuriaki but I wouldn't bet my copy of "Hey You The Rock Steady Crew" on it. "Bend Ova" was Pife's official first solo single, "If Men Are Dogs" had leaked years before, but was never released properly. This 12" was released way before the Ventilation LP, and for some reason they forgot to include "Thought U Wuz Nice" on it. It would have been the best track of the album, despite the fact that it's produced by Jay Dee. Not that I don't like Jay Dee, but I'm still mad at him for destroying A Tribe Called Quest. I mean it's not a coincidence if their career started to go down when they hired him.

Everybody dissed the album at the time, trying to compare it to Tribe's best material. Of course it wasn't as good as Tribe ! But then again who was ? Slum Village ? Please... At least it was better than Q-Tip's first solo.

"Thought U Was Nice" was one of those tracks were the MC takes a look back at his life, which very often means that the best part of his career is behind him ! Phife disappeared from the music scene not long after his album, occasionnally dropping a verse here and a single there, but no one really cares anymore. Most recently I heard him on a very nice track with Chip Fu, courtesy of the "Rappers I Know" website.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Self promotion

Et pourquoi j'utiliserai pas mon blog pour ma promo ?

Je mixe demain, jeudi 22 septembre, au Boxers, un pub parisien situé 120 rue Montmartre, métro Bourse. L'entrée est gratuite, je serais aux platines entre 20h et minuit.

Je jouerai du rap vieux, récent, "underground", "commercial", de la soul, du funk et de l'electronica.

Désolé pour ceux qui n'habitent pas à Paris ! Allez, pour pas que vous soyiez venus ici pour rien, un lien vers un de mes mixes en ligne avec en vrac du KRS One, Shirley Bassey, Cut Chemist, Chris De Luca, Stezo etc...

A télécharger en zip avec la pochette et tout ! Merci au webzine

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Pete Rock & CL Smooth : It's Not A Game (from Lots Of Lovin 12")

Pete Rock & CL Smooth : It's Not A Game (Elektra, 1993)
Pete Rock & CL Smooth : One In A Million (Epic, 1993)

I have to admit that Pete Rock is not my favourite producer ever. I know that in some countries you could go to jail for saying that, but sometime a man has to stand for what he believes in. I mean, I like some of his music, but I really don't understand why so many people consider him a demi-god. He has a blind cult-following among beat-makers and wannabe producers. The funny thing is a lot of producers are fans of Pete Rock, while DJ Premier appeals more to MCs (and DJs judging by how many best-of Premo mixtapes are around).

It's almost cliché to try to compare them, but they have a similar career. Both were in a group with an average MC, and surrounded themselves with a crew of terrible MCs. When they had the oportunity to work with great MCs, DJ Premier is the one who pulled the best beats in my humble opinion. Take Rakim, listen to "Remember That" and then listen to "Been a Long Time", or say KRS One : "MC Act Like They Don't Know" compared to "Get Yoursel Up remix" ? "The World Is Yours" vs. "Represent" ? "Juicy remix" vs. "Kick In The Door" ? (by the way I don't consider Biggie to approach anywhere near Nas, KRS or Rakim, it's just to prove my point).

To me, Pete Rock reached his climax with They Reminisce Over You, and he somehow manage to make his entire career out this extraordinary song. Very early he understood the importance of having a signature sound. At first it was the echoing horns, the adlibs, and on The Main Ingredient it was the Biz Markie/Big Daddy Kane scratches (as heard on "I Get Physical", "I Got A Love", "Main Ingredient", "Places I Been", "Check It Out" "In The Flesh" and "Get On The Mic"). "It's Not A Game" was made between their albums, so it still has the adlibs and the horn sounds. The other cut is from the same time period, the horns are still there, but in a jazz style, with a scratch chorus, courtesy of MC Ricky D.

It beats anything on the Main Ingredient album. But that's just my opinion...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Aceyalone : Feet Upon The Table (from Mic Check 12")

Aceyalone : Feet Upon The Table (Capitol, 1995) (fixed)
Aceyalone : Project Blowed (Ground Control, 2000)

Remember back in the early 90's when the Good Life Cafe was the bomb shit as far as Los Angeles underground goes ? Well, a lot of people (read : nerds) seem to consider the groups that were playing at the "Please Pass The Mic" show as hip hop best kept secret. But actually the Freestyle Fellowship and all their mates had their fair share of exposure in the media. While it's a shame that most of them never got big, they definitely had the opportunity to make their names shine.

I first heard the Freestyle Fellowship in 1993, I was doing my radio show, We Love on Radio Pomme, and some guy who was into pop-rock gave me a sampler tape he had with NME. In between a U2 song, a live version of some Disposable Heroes' track and Ice Cube's U Ain't Gonna Take My Life, I heard Inner City Boundaries. Of course, silly me, I immediatly thought they were some Stetsasonic friends, since the only info I had was the credits on the tape. But soon I learned a lot from them through The Source who between 1993 and 1995 used every opportunity to namecheck them, run review of their records, plug their open mic etc. That's were I first became aware of Volume 10, Nga Fish and Pigeon John.

The b side to Aceyalone's first single (second pressing of his first single to be exact...) is like a Heavyweight 2.1 with a plethora of lyricist. In order of appearance Vic Hop (who also produced the track), Riddler, Acey, Ellay Khule, NGA Fish, Mark The Murderer and Abstract Rude.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Black Sheep : Still In The Ghetto (from Similak Child 12")

Black Sheep : Still In The Ghetto (Mercury, 1992)
Black Sheep : On The Wall (Sire, 1992) (fixed)

La pochette de Kid Rock que j'ai posté la semaine dernière m'a fait penser à ce maxi de Black Sheep. Certes la personnification du cunnilingus est un peu moins classe que le visuel de Similak Child.

Esthétiquement j'avoue préférer de loin cette dernière pochette, mais je doute que beaucoup de disquaires américains aient osé l'exposer en magasin. J'étais à Oakland quand est sorti ce disque mais je ne l'ai vu dans aucune boutique à l'époque, alors même que le groupe était au sommet de sa popularité puisque The Choice Is Yours était encore sur la playlist de beaucoup de radios.

Autant le maxi de Strobelite Honey avec son remix atroce est trouvable partout, autant ce petit bijou semble beaucoup plus dur à trouver, à croire qu'aucun magazin américain n'a voulu le vendre. Dommage car l'inédit en face B, Still In The Ghetto est du niveau de n'importe quel morceau de "Wolf In Sheep's Clothing". En bonus, un autre inédit de la même époque, présent sur la BO de Trespass ("Les Pilleurs " en Français) intitulé Off the Wall. Typiquement le genre de morceau qui laissait présager un second album exceptionnel. Sauf qu'en l'occurence ça n'a pas vraiment été le cas. Non Fiction a mis très longtemps à suivre et malgré quelques très bons morceaux n'était pas au niveau.