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.

Friday, April 20, 2007

De La Soul : Freedom Of Speak (from Plug Tunnin 12")

De La Soul : Freedom Of Speak (We Got More Than Three) (Tommy Boy, 1987)

From day one De La Soul and Prince Paul always had a little bonus or two on each 12". This was their very first record and you could already feel their genius. Sure at first it seems that it's a regular James Brown loop with some scratches, but it's the little additions to it that made the track so dope. Try to recreate the exact same beat in 2007 and you'll understand.

While talking about De La, I just posted the 5 mics review of De La Soul I Dead at Press Rewind If I Haven't.... Go check it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Why so few updates ?

Yeah, I know. 3 months and only three updates is my all time low. No need to mention the poor quality of my latest writings... But I don't resign, keep checking once in a while ! I strongly suggest you also check the other blog I do : Press Rewind. If you like hand picked track with interesting writing, you will bookmark it.

But that's really not what's the most time consuming. What keeps me from posting more is this project :

I'm starting a new label, the first 12" should be out in a couple of days. It's a three-song single, you can listen to two of them on our MySpace :

This 12" contains material recorded between 1995 and 2000. The organic-hardcore-hip-hop feel of "Definition Of A Yee-Yee" which was produced by a beat maker who used to be know under the moniker of Mudfoot (Whooliganz, Soul Assassin...), coupled with the smooth jazzy side of "Foolish Pride" (an Herbaliser composition), should give the listener an idea of the width of T-Love's repertoire. "Butcher's Hook" is a b-side exclusive where T is having fun, flexing east-London lingo with her version of the cockney accent.

No, you can't download them, I won't put full mp3 of the tracks here. If you want good quality, just buy the record. We'll make sure it's available online, and I'll post the address of the stores who carry it on our myspace.

If I don't lose too much money with the 12", an album is ready to drop before the end of the year.

If you're a store owner who want to carry it, or a writer for a magazine and you want to review it, feel free to drop me an e-mail @

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

De La Soul : Skip To My Loop (From Jenifa Taught Me 12")

De La Soul : Skip To My Loop (Tommy Boy, 1988)

Prince Paul genius has been quite heavily documented, and people always credit him for eing the first to put skits on his albums. But what is never mentioned is that he also was the first to put skits on singles. Musicians were doing concept albums for ages, and that sometimes require to link the songs with interludes. Having skits on singles elevate the 12" to the rank of art. With a skit a 12" is not just a promotional tool anymore, it's a piece of art in itself.

I know that the actual skit presented here is not really great, but at least the record has nice artwork. There was also an EP on tape with the same artwork that got released at the time with both the Jenifa 12" and their first record, Plug Tunin. But that's for later.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Twin Hype : Lyrical Rundown (from For Those Who Like To Groove 12")

Twin Hype : Lyrical Rundown (Profile, 1989)
Style : What A Brother Know (Select, 1990)

This record is really special, as far as I know this maybe the only rap record wher you could see people wearing old dirty Air Force. Actually Daddy Rich has some fucked up sneakers on the cover of "Derelicts Of Dialect", but then again he's supposed to be homeless. But not a neat looking homeless like Common Sense on "Can I Borrow A Dollar".

This is also one of the hardest work of Twin Hype. Like most of their tracks Lyrical Rundown was produced by Rick Pagan aka Hollywood Impact, best known for his work with King Sun, and a bunch of long forgotten hip-house acts. From what I understand this song was supposed to appear on their never released second album "Double Barrel". But by that time the hip-house trend was over and nobody was interested in them anymore.

Style is the other duo who was working with The Hollywood Impact, much more hardcore, but unfortunately their career was even shorter. If you want to know more aobout Hollywood impact, a year ago Can I Bring My Gat did an entry about him which quickly became a meeting point for his family and friends. I'm sure you can holler at him through this page !

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Swollen Members feat Tony Da Skitzo, Mr Brady & Mixmaster Mike : Paradise Lost (from Shatter Proof 12")

Swollen Members feat Tony Da Skitzo, Mr Brady & Mixmaster Mike : Paradise Lost (Battle Axe, 1997)
Swollen Members feat Aceyalone : Consumption (Battle Axe, 1997)

There are probably more different pressings of Swollen Members' first album Balance than there are of Black Rock & Ron's. I know at least four different ones, and I'm not even a fan. So depending of where and when you bought the album you may or may not have "Consumption" on it. You probably don't have "Paradise Lost" which as far as I know was not on any version of "Balance".

The best thing about those two tracks is the guests. I don't know too many people going crazy over a Madchild or a Prevail verse. On "Consumption" they both try real hard to sound like Acey, but all we really wish is to hear what PEACE and Mikah 9 would have to say instead.

Well the best thing about any Swollen Members song is usually the guest (and obviously they know that since they had the nerve to use other people's logo on the following single) and on "Paradise Lost" it's really Mixmaster Mike who makes the song for me, not to say that Mr Brady or Tony Da Skitzo are boring, but yeah, they are.