Monday, November 27, 2006

Rubberoom "Body Snatchin'" (1995)

Rubberoom was one of the most prominent Chicago underground crews of the mid-90's, and didn't seem to get much of a break 'til the late 90's, when they finally released an LP ("Architechnology") that went nowhere. Their first official release, "Body Snatchin' (On the Isle)" was also one of my first Chicago indie hip-hop records, and with the possible exception of the vicious "Street Theme", remains the best shit they've dropped.

"Body Snatchin'" is straight sinister. The relentless pounding of metal is so persistent that it almost functions as a hi-hat, and gives a dark industrial vibe to the track. Beyond that, there's a dark piano loop that reverses back onto itself at times, love the finishing touches put on the track. Lyrically, it's a group effort, with Lumba functioning as the point man:

Now what's your name? Who me? My name is Lumba
I'm two in half with that crew - Rubba
Body snatchin' like traps and for rest I get my naps in
Slide up in tush with my condom tightly fastened

In this case, "Body Snatchin'" is about snatchin' your girl's body. So while this shit may seem corny on paper...

I'm a Lover like Ed, without Doctor Dre
Your honey came my way, so I rocked her...hey

...with the right delivery and instrumental backing, it comes off almost matter-of-fact. A Nas sample fuels the chorus ("wylin' on the island"), and the cut continues with its predator-and-prey take on sex. It never veers into shock/gimmick territory, strictly dope underground lyrics and delivery. Includes "Body Snatchin'" (Radio, Original, Instrumental, Remix, and Remix Instrumental) as well as "Stacks of 45's" (Original and Clean).

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dancehall Joints: Mad Lion "Take It Easy"

Right next to the Supercat joint in terms of classic status, this track will probably be immortal, unlike Mad Lion himself:

KRS-1's beat still bangs twelve years later (this dropped in '94), and Mad Lion still sounds just as gruff. Even if it was just a performance, shit came together on this cut, at least. If you haven't heard this, absolutely essential, as it was close to genre-defining in terms of hip-hop/dancehall fusion, albeit from a discredited "dancehall artist". If you have heard it (as I'm sure 99% of the visitors here would), here's the full twelve in digital form.

Includes "Take It Easy" (Vocal, Instrumental, and Intro Edit Mix) and "Big Box of Blunts" (Vocal, Instrumental, and KRS-1 Mix).

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lord Finesse "Game Plan" (1996)

The Funky man is one of my favorite Producers/MCs ever, so if you’re a fan of his music, make sure you have this in your collection.

This record contains the LP version of “Actual Facts” and “Game plan” from The Awaking LP plus two previously unreleased cuts, “Soul Plan” being one them, hits you with the smoothest beat on this 12” featuring Roy Ayers who later delivers a xylophone solo over the instrumental version. The other joint is “Underworld Operations” featuring Marquee who was also on “Speak ya Peace”.

Since Dj Espionage did an R&B post, check out these tracks that Lord Finesse produced:

She was part of Masta Ace Incorporated click back in 94’. Her album, called “Rhymes & Beats” was released in '96 and it had production by Ase One and of course Lord Finesse. Very Dope track.

Caron Wheeler
Soul Street (Remix)
She did some collabos with Soul II Soul, released 2 albums, had some hits...frankly I don’t care much about her music, but this remix is too dope to leave out of this post. Puff Daddy also received some production credit.

Stephen SimmondsAlone (Remix)
Originally recorded in '97, this remix features the late Big L & Marquee and was later released on vinyl in 2001 under Priority Records.

Link Fixed

Showbiz & AG - Under Pressure EP

Adding on to Espionage's Show & AG Post, This is another Bootleg joint with tracks that didn't make the Goodfellas LP. Ain't No Fun is my joint on this, I remeber hearing it on Mixmaster Mike's - Neckthrust One mixtape. Didn't find out where it was from untill I saw this EP at UGHH. 3 Dark hard hitting tracks also featuring all 3 previously unreleased Instrumentals.

192 K

Showbiz & AG - Under Pressure EP (dead link)


Under Pressure
Stand Strong
Ain't No Fun
Under Pressure (Instrumental)
Stand Strong (Instrumental)
Ain't No Fun (Instrumental)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Showbiz & AG "Unreleased Shit" (1996ish)

Back with some grimy Show & AG. This one was a late-90's bootleg; not too rare, and sounds like Goodfellas-era type shit that never made it to the album. Not sure if any of this material has dropped on other comps, but here's this bootleg 12:

My two favorite joints on here are on the flipside. "I'm Not the One (Original Mix)" is about as hard as Show & AG can get, with a plodding (but bouncy) drum loop complimented by a dark sample. Show drops a story rhyme about how he takes care of his business, with a Diamond D vocal sample warning the snakes, "I'm not the one to be gamed on".

"You Want It" is a lot more playful, and features Diamond on the mic. Diamond mentions something about a preview of the LP, so that places this cut pre-"Hatred, Passions, and Infidelity". Which means he hasn't fallen off yet (leave your hate mail in the comments).

Includes "Time For (Original Mix)", "Stand Strong", "Under Pressure", "I'm not the One (Original Mix)", "You Want It", and "Ain't No Fun". No instrumentals on this record, sorry.

Friday, November 10, 2006

R&B Joints: Jodeci "Come and Talk to Me" Remix

I'll be the first one to say that Jodeci (in all its incarnations) often annoyed the sh*t out of me...K-Ci and Jo-Jo's begging and pleading et al...but you can't front on this vintage hip-hop remix. Uh, no you can't.

This record caught some people off-guard...even my man that educated me about Philly hip-hop and was the resident hard-rock at the time (any Hilltop Hustlers out there?) would rock this in his black-tinted Corolla when the EMPD and Gang Starr albums were getting some rest. What was the magic this record held? I think it was all in that initial acapella sequence, then dropping the hip-hop break hard that blew it up. Once you get beyond that, the actual production in the song is pretty basic, and even sounds kind of dated.

Anyone hearing this for the first time? I'd be curious to know how it sounds. Includes "Come and Talk to Me" radio remix, instrumental, and hip-hop mix.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Da Fat Cat Clique "My Tracks" (1997)

I'll preface this post by saying I *know* I've seen this record around somewhere (maybe the old Vinyl Addicts?), but I'm pretty sure it wasn't posted in full. I've had a Philly bias for a while (more Cool C/Steady B than the Roots, although that ain't a diss), so when O-Dub started raving about this record in '97 I tracked down doubles immediately. Mid/late 90's underground Philly shit, and one of the stronger indie singles of '97. Unfortunately, this was the only (formal) release the Clique dropped:

There are a grip of cuts to choose from on this record, and I've always gone with "Da Flow". All of the production is kinda jazzy/breezy, but love how "Da Flow" sprinkles piano rolls over the bassline. Lyrics are dope improvisational underground shit:

It's clear - like shrink-wrap on cassettes or CD's
You're like a vulture - feasting on the styles of true MC's
So flee - or face the fate of those who rely on pretentious subject matter
Step to da flow and get beat like cake batter

Includes "My Tracks", "Gettin Over" (with instrumental), "Da Flow" (with instrumental), and "Live From Fox Valley".

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

No False Lyricists "Who Ever Thought" (1997)

Looking through the crates, I've come to the unscientific conclusion that the indie hip-hop revolution peaked in '97 - in terms of volume. There seemed to be a sharp drop-off in volume between '98-'01, perhaps with people realizing that putting out a record usually means just that...putting out a record. This record is "classic" '97 NYC indie, in the sense that this crew is obviously doing this all on their own, hoping the single will catch on (i.e. college radio) and lead to more work. This description may seem like I'm setting up to introduce a mediocre single, but I've always thought this record was mad slept on:

I prefer the title cut, "Who Ever Thought", which is a defiant keep-it-true-school anthem. The beat is simple and straightforward, but I never get tired of nice piano samples. Never learned the identities of the MC's in this group, but the second MC on this cut definately comes with it:

...and turn slavery into hip-hop:
Your ass don't go gold, then son you gonna get dropped
You flip-flop; that's symbolic to the house negro
No longer in the deals with the underground, you reachin' white people
(?) be quick to scream "sell-out!"
Kick you out the ghetto, tell your ass to get the hell out...

The chorus echoes the almost epic frustration expressed on this cut ("Who ever nation would take shorts?"). Dope shit. On the flip side, you have the complimentary anthem "Fu(n/c)k the Radio", which really is just as tight, f*ck my earlier opinion. Includes both cuts mentioned (clean, dirty, and instrumentals).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Double X Posse "Not Gonna Be Able To Do It" (1992)

'92 had a number of ice-cold tracks (in the "Take It Personal" vein), and this Double X Posse semi-hit was definately one of the cream. I remember this cut making a fair amount of noise on the radio; the production and rhyming fused with the concept so well it made heartless make more sense than love:

There's a remix on the twelve that's worth checking out, and the Double X Posse did spread out some tight material over their two albums, but they never could touch the perfection that is "Not Gonna Be Able To Do It". From the dark bass intro, to the wicked snare that opens on to the drum break, the lyrics start and end with "Nah, baby, I'm not gonna be able ta do it!" MC Sugar Ray is a reasonable man; his verses wind through the dramatics, but always find their way back to principle:

...I knew that this was just too good to be true
and what you're asking me to do, girl, I cannot do
You told me "no commmitments" and you best stick to it
or baby, I'm not gon' be able to do it

T-Ray's beat is hard as f*ck, and like I said, cannot possibly complement Sugar Ray's lyrics any better. Yeah, I ride this cut, but sh*t is definitive. Includes the Criminal Minded Remix (and instrumental), "The Pure Thing" (and instrumental), and "The Headcracker remix".

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dancehall Joints: Super Cat "Ghetto Red Hot"

I suppose saying Super Cat was your introduction to Dance Hall is like saying MC Solaar was your intro to French hip-hop; you gotta start somewhere. This record dropped in that golden year ('92) and was the first "must-have" dancehall cut I heard. From my perspective at least, this was the record that got the whole hip-hip/dancehall scene jumping off:

Super Cat "Ghetto Red Hot" 12"
(Z-share link)

Skip directly to the "Ghetto Red Hot" hip-hop remix, if you don't already know. It's arranged by Bobby Konders and Salaam Remi; anything Salaam Remi took part of in the early 90's is vintage. The beat bounces (but hits with a wicked snare) over that sample you've definately heard before as Super Cat's chattering is at its best. On the flip side there's a hip-hop remix of Don Dada as well, but it doesn't come off quite as hard as "Ghetto Red Hot."

Includes "Ghetto Red Hot" (vocal, instrumental, and hip-hop remix) and "Don Dada" (hip-hop remix and instrumental).

Friday, November 03, 2006

...Strictly Beats...

I've just set up a new blog, Strictly Beats, that will hopefully serve as an archive for hip-hop instrumentals. A lot of instrumental albums are scattered across blogs. I'm not trying to take away from what everyone else is doing, it just seems to me that this is the sort of thing that would be ideal to have in one place. I've got a limited number of instrumental albums; hell, we all do, and point blank, there are a limited number of instrumental albums out there. It's not about rarity or obscurity, just trying to make shit available for DJs/producers/MCs, or avid listeners just looking for more to vibe to.

If you've got some instrumental albums, PLEASE drop links to them over at Strictly Beats in the coming days/weeks/months. And if you're interested in making some posts over there, let me know. I think this could be a really useful resource.

...and not to forget about business here; here are some of the links that have shown up in the C-box lately:

Portishead "Glory Box" 12" upped by dj espionage
Saukrates "Father Time" 12" upped by the worm

Red Foo & Dre Kroon "The Freshest" (1997)

Part 2 in the Red Foo & Dre Kroon series (Part 1 is here), and another piece of vinyl that is just plain dope. This one follows the formula for tight late-90's indie records: a couple of dope new tracks, a remix, collabo cut with a more affluent MC/producer. In this case, Evidence joins them on the mic in "The Freshest". If you're unfamiliar with this crew, don't be fooled by the silly name; their shit is uncharacteristically funky for mid/late-90's indie hip-hop. Must be that West Coast...

Red Foo & Dre Kroon "The Freshest" 12"

"The Freshest" is more laid-back (i.e. not as funky) as most of their tracks, but definately a solid cut, produced by Red Foo, and Evidence's verses dominate the track. Personally, I find the B-side "Hardcore Ish" more representative of Red Foo & Dre's sound, and the dopest cut on this record.

Red Foo's production always makes use of tight snares, and "Hardcore Ish" is no exception. "Hardcore Ish" opens by banging a snare into the first verse, which finds Red Foo casually rocking over a rolling groove. The verse transitions into a makeshift chorus, with Red Foo spitting:

I gets paid to rock a Mike like Evander...
Your body is the ship, and my beat is the commander...
We boom-bash, boom-smash, boom-bip...
'cause, we, we, we tha (hardcore shit)...

Another snare breakdown transitions into Dre Kroon's sing-songy rhyming, before the process begins again with another verse. Shit is dope, and should have gotten a LOT more play than it did. The 12" contains "The Freshest" (clean, instrumental, and acapella), "Hardcore Ish" (clean and instrumental), and "Life Is a Game of Chess Pt. 2" (which is also on the "Life is a Game of Chess" 12").

UPDATE: Hit Redfoo on his Myspace page or check out his website