Saturday, January 28, 2006

Just Ice : That Girl Is A Slut (from Latoya 12")

Just Ice : That Girl Is A Slut (Fresh, 1986)

Another member of the Boogie Down Crew, Just Ice made his first mark in the hiphop community with this single, especially the hit Latoya. When that record was released (twenty years ago...) I just started listening to hip hop and I didn’t hear anything from him until years later, probably 1989 or 1990, way past his prime. Don’t ask me why, but in my mind I thought of him as a harder version of Fresh Prince. My knowledge of hip hop was very limited then. Being young and stupid I dismissed anyone rhyming over some beatbox as being too soft (the Fat Boys didn’t really help to make beatboxing credible).

A rauchy version of Slick Rick would be a more approriate definition of his style. If you thought that Latoya was misogynistic, wait until you hear its b side ! I don’t know why so many beat box tracks are so sexually explicit, it has to do with the idea of a guy making strange noises and spitting saliva. On this track Just Ice is joined by the Original DMX (well not to be confused with Davy DMX aka Davy D who produced Kurtis Blow, Run MC, Spoonie G or Dr Jeckyll & Mister Hyde). Anyway, I'll have a beat box week, with a few other to share later this week.

Just Ice : That Girl Is A Slut (Fresh, 1986)

Membre du Boogie Down Crew, Just Ice s'est fait connaître de la communauté hip hop avec ce single, en particulier grace au tube Latoya. Quand ce disque est sorti il y a vingt ans je commencait juste à découvrir le rap, et il s'est passé plusieurs années avant que je découvre Just-Ice. Betement je m'étais imaginé Just-Ice comme un clone de Fresh Prince en moins inoffensif. Pour moi tous les rappeurs qui avait un beat boxer étaient assimilés aux Fat Boys et à Fresh Prince. Si je devais définir Just-Ice aujourd'hui je dirais qu'il est un mélange de Slick Rick et Schoolly D. Sur ce morceau il est accompagné de son beat boxer DMX, à ne pas confondre avec Davy DMX alias Davy D, producteur de Kurtis Blow, Run MC, Spoonie G ou Dr Jeckyll & Mr Hyde, et auteur d'un album sur Def Jam.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

3rd Eye : 360° (from Reality 12")

3rd Eye : 360° (Sure Shot, 1997)
Jesse West : Renegade (Motown, 1989)
Heavy D, 3rd Eye, Notorious Big, Rob O, Guru & Busta Rhymes : A Buncha Niggas (Uptown, 1992)
3rd Eye : Ease Up (Uptown, 1993)
Trends Of Culture : Valley Of The Skins (Jes Wes remix) (Mad Sounds, 1993)

The post about Nine just made me think that his rhyming partner in 24/7 really deserved some shine. Jesse West, also known as Third Eye, is one of the most deserving unsung heroes in hip-hop. His sketchy career probably suffered from his constant name changes.

So Jesse West signed with Motown in 1989 for his first album No Prisoners, produced by Commissioner Gordon. Obviously the label didn't know how to promote a rap act at that time (not that they do now) so the record didn't go anywhere. Renegade was a favourite of mine at that time.

He kinda disappeared then for a couple of years and came back hard with a bunch of great tracks like, well, A Buncha Niggas , the posse cut from Heavy D's Blue Funk, with a young and hungry Biggie, INI's Rob O, Guru and Busta Rhymes. You gotta appreciate the credit on the sleeve : rap by Busta Rhymes. I guess the other guys are just singing opera or something.

While hangin around Puffy he also did a remix of Supercat's Dolly My Baby where, according to Jay Smooth, he dropped the very first occurence of the phrase bling bling (yeah, I just googled that one). Around the same time Puff gave him the opportunity to cut his own single on Who's The Man soundtrack, co produced by Lord Finesse. He pulled a Large Profesor on Ease Up with his last words, "you want some more flavor ? Go buy the album !". He didn't put out an album until years after that statement.

He kept producing, doing tracks for PMD, Xzibit, Raw Breed, Nine (of course) and most notably KRS One's antepenultimate Jive single "Step Into A World", and then dropped this dope single on the original Sure Shot Recordings in 1997.

This soulful 12" is one of the best thing that Jesse West has recorded. I'm the first to admit that his first album has not aged really well, but the Reality single is good from the first song to the last instrumental. You should know how this site works : I won't give you mp3 of all the songs from the 12", you wil have to dig the record yourself to hear the rest. Both Reality and Circles are on his second album though. With its Milt Jackson loop and 3rd Eye crooning an old Bobby Caldwell tune over it, 360° is smooth, but not in a sell-out way. As far as I know the album called Planets was only licensed to a french label Declic, and I don't think there is any other pressing.

Strangely this rapper who was kinda obsessed with the new millenium hasn't released much in the past 5 years. The aforementioned 24/7 material is the last decent record he did. There was also a yellow 12" with RZA floating around, but it's less than stellar. But who knows, he may be releasing stuff under another name I haven't heard yet.

Monday, January 09, 2006

REM featuring Q-Tip : The Outsiders (from Wanderlust 7")

REM & Q-Tip : The Outsiders (Warner, 2005)

I usually don’t post anything that recent. I try to avoid covering records that are still in print for the same reason that I rip in mono : I want you to buy records. The point of B Side Wins Again is not to put another nail in the coffin of the music industry. Seeing major firing people and indie labels folding is not a good sign. My point is to have people realize that there are dope stuff to be found on vinyl. The mp3 are here as teasers only. I don’t want people to go out and play the joint they download here on their Serato or Final Scratch. To quote Bobbito : If you own an iPod or Serato you are contributing to the death of hip-hop. So go buy some vinyl, godamn ! Don’t you think that those 350X350 pixels jpg would look better on 12 X 12 inches ? Buy new releases, or old shit, grab reissues or try to hunt original copies if you’re a fetichist like me, but it’s really not good for your karma to rely on mp3 to get musical knowledge.

So why do I post a song from last year now ? Well, I realize it’s contradictory, but I’m a KRS One fan, so what the hell ! Actually The Outsiders shouldn’t really be on B Side Wins Again because it’s not a B side exclusive, it has been released on CD before. I guess it’s already easy to find it if you use Soulseek, Kazaa, Emule, or any of those illegal programs. But I assume that most visitors to the site are hip-hop heads who don’t regularly check 35-and-over rock group albums. At least I don’t. I hope this post won’t hurt the sales of their album, or of the 7”.

It’s funny how they structure the song, leaving a blank before Tip’s part, so I don’t know if they added his part after the song was finished, or (more likely) they knew most of their fans would want to skip the last verse with the rap guy talking. I turns out that in my case I’m happy to be able to mix the song without having to put up with the old white guy singing for two and a half minute... Anyhow, it's really one for the Q-Tip completists.