Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Mike Zoot feat. Mos Def "High Drama" (1997)

Everything about this record was right: Released at the peak of the wave of indie records, hot guest MC, ill beat by a producer about to enter his prime. Mike Zoot was in a way the perfect indie MC, from a marketing standpoint (not that marketers give/gave that kind of a fuck). He was New York, but definately had his own style of quirky rhymes, worked with a variety of producers in the underground, and was defiantly indie in a way Rawkus only pretended to be. This record with Mos Def was his gem:

The first thing you might notice about "High Drama" is how good Mos Def and Mike Zoot sound on a track together; the rhyme styles mesh pretty well (although there's not much back-and-forth). This is definately Mos Def in "Universal Magnetic" form; some of my peoples at the time thought that "whether you speak Japanese/or goonie-goo-goo" shit was w-a-c-k, but I dug Mos Def's creative sensibilities at the time. Both MC's stick pretty tight to the theme of High Drama; there were so many "f*ck the fake gangstas"-cuts out at the time, it was good to see a different take on it. Oh, yeah, and did I mention Hi-Tek hooked up this beat? Classic.

The B-side contains "Service", which happens to be #2 on my Mike Zoot list. First of all, there's the vicious beat, perfectly paired with the Large Professor vocal sample (love how the beat drops in, with the snare pounding the vocals). It's one of those things that's irritated the hell out of you countless times: "A wack n*gga rhyming kills a raw beat". It's obviously annoyed Mike Zoot as well, enough to make a dope cut out of it. This is/was Mike Zoot's appeal (I almost wrote "genius") at the time...the music was so down-to-earth. He obviously loved hip-hop (I get almost the same vibe from J-Live's stuff), and was making shit for other people who felt the same, regardless of what thugs or marketers thought about it.

Includes "High Drama" clean, dirty, instrumental, and accapella; "Service" clean, dirty, and instrumental; and the clean version of "Turn".


Blogger nicgreaves said...

Great review. Any idea where the hell Mike Zoot is now?? This guy has to come back...

3:47 PM  
Blogger darby@redtapeproductions.com said...

great site! anyway you can re-up this (esp the acapella) ?

11:13 AM  
Blogger illcuzz said...

always LOVED this track. haven't heard it in a long while. THANK YOU! review is on point too.

1:28 AM  

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