Saturday, October 28, 2006

Is there a doctor in the house?

Apologies for the recent lack of posts.
I've been in hospital for the last week after a scan revealed a cyst on my brain.
I've been let out for the weekend but I've got to go back in on Monday morning.
The Kool G Rap profile & more links will be up some time in the next week - as long as the results of my upcoming MRI scan are all ok & I'm allowed to leave the hospital.

Be patient & I'll be back soon

UPDATE I'm now out of hospital - been given the all clear for the time being but have to visit a neurosurgeon in the near future. Thanks to all of you for the comments/support. Right, time to get back to business....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A few more links...

Here's something a bit different. It's a mixtape from Liam Howlett of dance group The Prodigy. Some of it might not be for you but there's some real classics on here from B-Boys, Word of Mouth, JVC Force, LL Cool J & Hijack amongst others. Definitely worth checking out. Respect to the GIve Me Back My Head blog (not a predominantly hip hop blog) for this.....

A couple of open directories worth looking into....

And finally, some classic Biz Markie flavours from Hip Hop Bootleggers blogspot

Sorry for the lack of detailed posts. Another artist profile, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo should be up this weekend. Til then, enjoy the links

Monday, October 16, 2006

More Public Enemy Material

No time for a write up (so damn busy at the moment!) - just a link to The Universal Masters Collection that I stumbled across earlier today. Fifteen tracks, most of them classics, grab it from the directory listed below....

Friday, October 13, 2006

Public Enemy Live (1992)

I feel lucky enough to have seen Public Enemy live in their heyday. They were (are) without doubt one of the finest live hip hop artists of all time; probably the first to have an actual "show" that you would usually associate with a rock band on a multi-million dollar contract. When I saw them it was in Brixton, London in 1989 (I think) when they were at the top of their game. It was their first UK tour (if I remember rightly) & certainly their first since the Nation of Millions album. It started with the obligatory sirens & Griff with the S1Ws parading around the stage with their mock uzi guns before Terminator X cut the sirens dead, scratched the hell out of some horns & then Chuck D & Flav came bursting onto the stage with "Bring The Noise". By the time the concert finished, I felt that I'd witnessed a truly awesome event!

The link below is to part of a show they did in Winterthur, Switzerland in 1992.
In it are live performances of what some might say was their anthem "Fight The Power", plus medlies of ""Rebel Without A Pause/Public Enemy No.1/Don't Believe The Hype", "Bring The Noise/Welcome To The Terrordome" & "Buck Whylin/She Watch Channel Zero". It's just a taster, for the uninitiated, of how powerful they come across live on stage. Anyone that's ever been to a PE show will want to download this. Anyone who hasn't, MUST download it to find out what they've missed. Not sure where I got the original link from but it's just been re-uploaded so grab it while you can!!!!! You will NOT be disappointed....

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Brief Update + Some Classic Electro

I've managed to fix the problems I was having with the sidebar by messing about with the HTML in the template. If you're having problems viewing all of the page then you'll need to change your resolution size to at least 1000 x 760 pixels.

I'd also like to big up Scholar at Souled On Music (link in sidebar) for mentioning this blog on his own site. Visitor numbers have rocketed almost overnight, so please return the favour & visit his site if you haven't already.

Absolutely manic at work at the moment, hence the lack of updates so far this week. However, I have managed to find an open directory with some serious old school singles & a few electro albums. The link I've put below is to the Crucial Electro 1984 album. It includes the classic "Rockit" by Herbie Hancock (one of THE best breakdancing/popping tunes of all time) on side 1 & "Al-Naafyish (The Soul)" by Hashim on side 2.

For those of you who don't know much about the Streetsounds Electro series of albums, please visit the following link for more info

As stated on the vinylvulture site, "By far the most coveted of the Streetsounds releases were the Electro series. These albums introduced the UK to the developing hip-hop scene from America - a stroke of genius that brought electro and early hip hop from the underground to the UK high street and, one could argue, helped in the creation of the UK's hip hop scene".

PS: If you do visit the tribalhiphop link, make sure you check out the parent directory - there are some great singles on there from the likes of Man Parish, Major Force West, Original Concept & The 45 King to name but a few.

PPS: Don't forget I'm still looking for suggestions for future posts. Leave a comment at

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Artist Profile: Big Daddy Kane

"Kane is one of the most incredible lyricists, the most real cat if you ever get a chance to meet him. Straight out of Brooklyn, soft-spoken but he will devour you on the mic." - Ice T

Big Daddy Kane (real name Antonio Hardy) was one of the true masters of fast-paced rapping. The speed of his delivery is even more remarkable when you consider he suffers from asthma. Often citing Grandmaster Caz & Kool Moe Dee for his inspiration, he grew up listening to local artists such as Randy C & Disco Ritchie and thought, in his own words, "I can do this!"

His 1st step in the right direction was hooking up with Biz Markie. Story has it that they hit it off instantly a true friendship was formed; a friendship that would lead them both into being members of The Juice Crew & having records put out on Marley Marl's Cold Chillin label. Indeed, Kane wrote a considerable amount of material for Biz (and Roxanne Shante too).

His big break came in '87 with the release of the single "Raw"; widely regarded as an underground classic & still a firm favourite of many of today's top rappers. The debut album "Long Live The Kane" would not disappoint & featured another fast-paced masterpiece "Set It Off"; the opening accapella of which has been cut up and sampled by many DJs since. Other note-worthy tracks include "Aint No Half Steppin" & my personal favourite "I'll Take You There" (the vocal sample coming from the Staple Singers "Respect Yourself").

Backed up by his dancers Scoob & Scrap Lover, Kane had now hit the big time & was filling arenas everywhere. In an interview with halftimeonline, he was asked how his life changed once he'd hit the big time. His reply was "Pussy galore"! He was known to be a man who really knew how to seduce the ladies & was even featured in Madonna's "Sex" book. Another thing that Kane was known for was truck jewellery & he was one of the 1st rappers I remember to sport the 4-fingered ring.
He wasn't just about being top MC/ladies man though. As an article on allhiphop states, he would rap about "the state of affairs in the community, injustice, racial pride and other topics of depth and substance".

Just over a year later, a second album followed - "It's a Big Daddy Thing". This time with a more soulful/R&B flavour, the singles included "Smooth Operator", "Lean On Me" & "Aint No Stoppin Us Now". A couple of my favourites from this album are "Warm It Up Kane" & "I Get The Job Done". Another year passed & then came the 3rd albun "Taste of Chocolate". Not as successful in the hip-hop charts as the 1st two albums, probably due to the rise of gangster rap elsewhere.

Kane fondly remembers the Chocolate City tour as one of his favourite times in his career; a tour which included the likes of Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Digital Underground & 3rd Bass. Maybe his fondness for this period was that it was possibly his last 'really' succesful album/tour. In comparison to his previous successes, the albums from "Prince of Darkness" (1991) onwards were relative flops.

Rumour has it that he was to sign to 2Pac's Makaveli label in '96, in a last bid to refind his previous glory. But as we all know, 2Pac got shot & the rest, as they say, is history. Although he may not be the force he once was, it's worth pointing out that both Jay-Z & Nas cite Kane as one of their major influences & you wonder if they would've been as succesful as they are if the Big Daddy hadn't been around to warm it up in the 80's!

Asked recently what he wants to do now, Kane said "I want to go sit on a porch in Raleigh, North Carolina drinking some corn liquor talking to my boys about the good old days. I want to have some Al Green or Curtis Mayfield playing in the background. That’s what I want…"

An unofficial site with some great Kane videos -

Interview with Halftime (find out where he got his name from) -

BDK Lyrics -

His InternetMovieDataBase listing -

His 1st album, "Long Live The Kane" -

His 2nd album, "It's a Big Daddy Thing" (courtesy of Pimpin on Wax) -

Friday, October 06, 2006

Paris via Crooklyn

You MUST get over to Crooklyn's Classics ( for some serious Paris business! I tried so hard to find some Paris stuff on the net - without succes but Crooklyn has posted his full discography! Respect due.

"The Devil Made Me Do It" was a classic album & probably the last great one that Tommy Boy put out before their downfall. Knocked by many in the politcal centre ground (and even MTV), this was an album of rage that defined the man behind Scarface records.

Taking shots at George Bush (the 1st one) & American society in general, this album was a deep, dark insight to the mind of a serial antagonist with a grudge to bear. Not to be taken lightly, Paris (aka Oscar Jackson Jnr) was an economics graduate at California Uni. He never really received the praise that he was due, in my view. PLEASE check out the posts at Crooklyn's blog and you wil NOT be disappointed!!!

The Legendary Juice Crew

As requested, I'm going to profile some of the artists that were part of the collective known as The Juice Crew. This will obviously have to be spread out over a number of posts, as there's so much to write; so be patient!

For the uninitiated, The Juice Crew was the brainchild of producer Marley Marl. Throughout the mid-late 80's his crew brought out a string of successful records & also got involved in some historic disses with other artists; probably the most famous of these was the Bridge vs Bronx battle that seemed to go on for an eternity. The basis of this arguement was hip hop's origin. On the one side was The Juice Crew & their claim that Queensbridge was where it started; on the other side was KRS-1 & his Boogie Down Productions posse whose claim was it all started in the South Bronx. The feud went on until KRS-1's partner, Scott La Rock, was killed in 87/88(?), after which their seemed to be a bit of a reality check from both sides & they moved on. However, the Juice Crew's MC Shan (not being one to forgive & forget forever) eventually tried to restart the beef with his track "Juice Crew Law" but it never really escalated the state it was at before Scott's death. It will though remain as one of the classic "wars" which provided loads of lyrical entertainment for the neutral.

This war wasn't the only one that The Juice Crew (and particularly MC Shan) got involved in. To me, Shan was probably the most tenacious of the crew. Perhaps it was in his nature; I see him almos terrier-like, unable to let go of something when he's got his teeth into it. I could go on for ages about all of Shan's beefs but I'll leave that for an Artist Profile at a future date. However, I must quickly tell you about one of my favourite beefs that he got involved in - with LL Cool J.

LL's "Rock The Bells" featured a beat that Shan had used in a demo tape. Consequently, Shan followed up with "Beat Biter", produced by Marley Marl. At the time, I don't think I'd heard such a direct diss. The 1st few lines of the 1st verse leave you with no uncertainty as to what this record's about -

"Let me rock this rhyme only if I may,
It's directed to my man, LL Cool J.
You're brand new jam sure does sound sweet.
You rocked the bells but you stole my beat!"

The irony of it all was that even though Marl produced and, presumably, gave his full backing to this track by Shan, he later went on to produce much of LL Cool J's "Mamma said knock you out" album.

Anyway, enough of that....
Marl's Juice Crew had some of the best rappers of the era. It's prominent members included Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Master Ace, Biz Markie & Roxanne Shante. The first of these to be profiled on my blog is Kane - the post should be up this weekend.

Finally, I wanted to give you a link that summed up The Juice Crew's quality. For me, the choice of track was obvious - "The Symphony". This record came out in 88 on Marl's Cold Chillin label and included the vocal talent of Master Ace, Craig G, Kool G Rap & Kane. Find the video clip here (courtesy of shockg - THE no.1 poster on youtube!)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Time Is Of The Essence...

...and I don't seem to have much of it at the moment, unfortunately. I'm almost done with my Artist Profile on Big Daddy Kane. I'm also working on a few other bits & pieces but don't seem to be getting very far with them right now. I hope to make a couple of significant posts at the weekend (the BDK profile being one of them).

Also, I want to big up Travis at for his positive piece on this blog. If you haven't checked his one out yet, please do so. He's currently got some links to some great live music, including a 30th anniversary Zulu Nation set.

Another blog worth visiting is Drop Da Bass.
I've never seen a site with so much Miami Bass on it. Definitely worth checking out -

Monday, October 02, 2006

Future Posts - Any Suggestions?

I'm currently researching/gathering info for a few posts I have planned for the future -
Artist Profile: Big Daddy Kane;
Down By Law - Artists who have had "problems" with the police. A major part of this will focus on the case of Steady B, Cool C & the Lauretha Vaird shooting;
The Roxanne Wars - from the original UTFO single, to all the follow up Roxanne records etc;

I have a few other ideas in the pipeline but just wanted to know if there's anything in particular YOU want me to write about. After all, I'm not writing this damn blog just for myself! So please have a think about what you want to read about, leave something in the comments section of this post & I'll see what I can do. All suggestions/contributions will be gratefully received.

Ultramagnetic MCs - "Ego Trippin"

As I said in my introductory post, this blog came about as a result of me searching for this record on the net. I thought it was only fair to express why I feel this song was so important in hip-hop's golden era.

Released in 1986, it was the Ultra's debut single on Next Plateau records - the 1st of many from the acclaimed "Critical Beatdown" album. It was the first record, that I know of, to sample the drum-break from "Synthetic Substitution" by Melvin Bliss; a drum-break that has since been sampled hundreds of times but never to such good effect!

Opening up with a typical '86-style "Party people in the place to be" declaration, the first verse soon starts with Kool Keith & Ced Gee tearing up the mic, belting out a line each. The first two lines seem to be an attack on Run DMC (though I'm not quite sure why) - "Say what, Peter Piper?" (KK), "To hell with childish rhymes" (CG). The rest of the verse is just a straight-forward ego trip before a very simple, but extremely catchy, chorus.

One verse, one chorus in & you're already hooked. Or, at least, I was. I remember hearing it originally on the Mike Allen Capital FM Rap Show (later hosted by Tim Westwood, before he moved on to Radio 1) and it almost became a signature tune, being Number 1 on his unofficial chart for what seemed like 3 months or so!

It's my understanding that Ced Gee was the brains behind the production of this track (and much of the Critical Beatdown album) but it was the orgnised chaos of Kool Keith's vocal talent that laced the backing, that really took hold of my attention. His complex, almost mal-structured, lyrical style was something that appeared different from what I'd heard before. Maybe he was able to draw from his experiences at Bellvue (a psychiatric hospital) - as many of his lyrics have references to the brain & the subconcious. Maybe he was just a genius. He was definitely, in my opinion, clearly intellectual with a very wide range of vocabulary.

This record remains one of my favourites from the "golden era", paving the way for a host of other artists to try complex vocal styles over the top of sampled breakbeats from the days of James Brown etc. A classic in every sense of the word!

A few links -

"Ego Trippin" Lyrics -'s/ego+trippin_10161554.html

Melvin Bliss - "Synthetic Substitution" -

Short video clip of "Ego Trippin" Live @ The Bomb Tour -

"Ego Trippin" on LastFM -'s/_/Ego+Trippin'

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Do You Like Mantronix?

Throughout the mid-late 80's, Mantronix championed the combination of electronic beats & synthesisers with raw hard-core rap lyrics. Originally comprising Kurtis Mantronik (Kurtis Khaleel) & MC Tee (Toure Embden), the pair signed to Sleeping Bag Records & soon released their debut single "Fresh Is The Word".

The self-titled initial album contained the classics "Bassline" & "Ladies", which are still very listenable today, over 20 years on. As a teenager, MC Tee was one of my favourite MCs, being able to string out a single verse for almost two minutes - take Ladies for example. Simple, catchy, braggadocia lyrics backed up by Mantronik's skills on the 808 drum machine & Korg keyboards. The pair worked so well together.

Two years later came the second album, "In Full Effect". Personal favourites are "Simple Simon" & "Get Stupid (Part 3)" - another fine example of Kurtis's desire for a banging bassline that made you move your feet.

After this, MC Tee left to join the US Army & was later replaced with Bryce Luvah (a cousin of LL Cool J). Although the 3rd album ("This Should Move Ya") sold well, in the UK at least, I don't think Bryce complimented Kurtis's style the way that Tee did. Their music had become more commercial (now on Capitol Records) & was probably now too "soft" for the hardcore hip hop fan.

One thing's for sure, Mantronik was a hugely talented producer (working with artits like Just Ice, T La Rock, Ruth Joy & Kim Sims ) not afriad to experiment with different sounds & direction. I still play the original album from time to time & think to myself this guy was way ahead of his time & it's a shame he's not in the scene anymore....

A few links -

The Bassline video -

Simple Simon video -

Mantronic - The Album (courtesy of Tico In Japan) -

Mantronix - In Full Effect (courtesy of Bust The Facts) -

Mantronix - This Should Move Ya (again, courtesy of Bust The Facts) -

And the classic "King of the Beats", which didn't appear on any of their albums -