Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Eazy E: Fat Girl (Ruthless, 1986)
Eazy E : Eazy Street (Capitol, 1990)
Probably the last of the beatbox series, and once again it's a nasty song. Boyz In The Hood was Eazy E's very first 12" and turned out to be a huge, huge, HUGE success. It has been said that the record sold half a million copies, keep in mind that it was the first record put out by Ruthless, an indie with no major distribution. The simple fact that the title was used to name a movie and a group, none of them having anything to do with Eazy E or Ruthless, is a good enough indication of the impact this song had on our generation. And do I need to insist on the career of the producer of this 12" ?
About two years later Eazy E put out his album, with the help of MC Ren, Ice Cube and DOC, and by that time the old b side that was Fat Girl would have sound dated on Eazy Duz It. Hip-Hop had changed a lot in two years. Even Boyz In The Hood had to be updated, no matter how classic the OG is. I gotta say that in the meantime both songs had been featured on an odd compilation put out by Macola titled NWA & The Posse (the same record where Mykah 9 got his first writing credit), which explains why they didn't feel the need to include them on the solo album.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Five Deez : Rock Rehab (B.U.K.A., 1999)
Blogger keep messing with me and I couldn't update the site for a few days, sorry about that. In the unfinished beat-box b side series comes the underappreciated b side to Five Deez first 12".
In the wake of the 96-97 indie craze Fat Jon, Pase, Sonic and Kool Kyle came with a 12" which barely could indicate the path that Five Deez would take. They have a new album coming out now on Rapster/K7, which is another installement of their now usual mix of deep house, broken beat and traditional hip-hop.
But this Rock Rehab is the foundation, lunch table cypher, human beatbox and rhymes. Who needs more than that ?
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Black Sheep : Here's Another Asshole (Mercury, 1994)
Roxanne Shante : Def Fresh Crew (Pop Art, 1985)
It's crazy how things have changed in hip-hop in a couple of years. In the 90's the worst thing you could say about a rapper was to call him a sell out. Now the ultimate insult is playa hater. Back then the price to pay for selling out was to have KRS One bumrushing you off stage or to have your lookalike getting his ass kicked in a 3rd bass video. If you're a sell out in 2006 you can expect to be on the cover of XXL every other month and to have Busta Rhymes in your remix.
Selling out is the norm now but in the late 80's, when rappers were artists, the sudden change operated by MC Hammer from mediocre rap to pop shocked the rap world. The idea that someone would dumb down his music only to sell ten million records was not very popular among hip hop purists. Well, actually there was no such thing as hip hop purist back then : if you were into hip hop, you had to be a purist.
In the early 90's everyone had a rhyme dissing Hammer from A Tribe Called Quest to Tim Dog and LL Cool J. Shit, even Vanilla Ice dissed him ! Right after the Adams Family soundtrack and before he filed for bankruptcy Hammer managed to release a record that was supposed to take him back to his nitty-gritty roots, with a little help from Suge Knight and the Dogg Pound. "The Funky Headhunter" was his way of responding to some of the people who dropped his name in their rhymes. Nobody bought the album, but rumor says that he was dissing Q-Tip, Warren G, Kriss Kross, Redman, Run DMC, MC Serch, Rodney O and Dres from Black Sheep.
One would wonder if it really makes sense to battle a guy like MC Hammer, especially in 1994, when no one cared about him anymore. But when you grew up on hip hop you know that you can't let a diss record unanswered. So Dres and Mista Lawnge went back to the studio to cut this really nasty dis record called Here's Another Asshole . It appeared on the North South East West, which is also the last Black Sheep record to this day. The beat box on H.A.A. is actually a sampled loop of Biz Markie's only decent beat-box performance on a record.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Boogie Down Productions : The P Is Free (B-Boy, 1986)
Like a lot of people I heard the remix of Pussy Is Free long before the original. The version on "Criminal Minded" had that reggae sample while the first recording of the song was straight hip-hop with noting but beat box and some 808 sounds.
The B side to Boogie Down Productions’ first single, South Bronx, was really on some low fi tip. Recorded in one take for the astronomical budget of $ 25 with D-Nice as the human beat-box, The Pussy Is Free suffers from a terrible mixdown, but regardless is historically important if only for the inclusion of KRS/BDP signature line “Fresh for 86, suckas !”