Before Brooklyn loved POLO, they loved Fila. Fila kicks, Fila socks, Fila tees, Fila baseball caps, Fila bucket hats, Fila headbands, and Fila tracksuits.
Code Money Anthony, put ya Filas on! 16 or 17 year old AZ circa 1988. Pic's got me wishing there was a lost 1989 teenage AZ song over some Hitman Howie Tee production. After all, Howie's beats worked wonders for another Brooklyn teenager in 1989.
Special Ed - I Got It Made
(From Youngest In Charge album; 1989)
Special Ed had a frog, a dog with a solid gold bone, and the first Rap video to feature a buncha POLO gear.
The Jacka - Aspen
(From AP.9 Presents: The Mob Movement; 2007/The Street Album; 2008)
Here is somethin' I just can't understand: why did Jacka & his team leave Aspen off Tear Gas? When an artist has a single that's as capital A anthemic as Aspen you don't relegate that shit to the sidepiece street album mixtape, you throw that shit on the official album as one of the big opening tracks. Ideally, Rule The World would have been the regal Tear Gas intro with Aspen as the blockbuster opening track thereafter - works a treat musically and conceptually since the last line of Rule The World is "my n*ggas be jumpin' snow cliffs without the ski's." Amirite? Yes, I am:
Obligatory wrap-up post of those songs I've played most during the month when DMX didn't even play his G.O.A.T solo song during his soundclash with Snoop. Ain't gon' lie, I loathe those Verzuz battles as a concept: music reduced to a sport for DJ Vlad, Joe Buddens, and Rap Twitter to have opinionz about. The absolute last people that rappers/producers should be encouraging are the dullards who spend all day on Twitter ranking Jay-Z and KanYe West albums.
If a vanity challenge goes down on the 'net, I want in. Bit unfair for us Brits to whittle this particular challenge down to a quartet of albums when high school lasts for half a decade in the U.K, but this is a accurate reflection of my first four years of secondary education. Let's party like it's 1988 to 1992!
I can't think of any British albums which were the shit to me during high school. I can, however, think of a shitload of British singles which ruled my high school years. Official faves:
There's no point in playin' this parlour game if you're gonna pretend you were too cool for high school. Me, I was too young and dumb to appreciate some of the G.O.A.T British dance singles which dropped during my high school years even though they were chart hits: 808 State's Pacific 707 and A Guy Called Gerald's Voodoo Ray in 1989, LFO's LFO in 1990, and Future Sound Of London's Papua New Guinea in 1991.
"Every time I needed help n*ggas forgot about me
I ran into some chicken and forgot about it
N*ggas hatin' you can't even get no gwop around 'em
Cut 'em short 'cause you'll never see the top around 'em"
Mac J & Bris - Forgot About Me
(From YouTube; 2018/Big Headed album; 2019)
I like Adios but I love Forgot About Me. Can't fathom why Sacramento didn't embrace Forgot About Me like San Francisco embraced Lil' Yase & Yatta's Get It In. Different city, but same energy.
Why didn't Flo Milli just include White Girl Mia on her debut EP rather than use a snippet of it for the intro? Song is peak hoodrat Angelica from Rugrats Brat-Rap in the Flo Milli canon. Really doe, twelve songs isn't an EP - it's an LP masquerading as an EP because major labels are terrified of classifying anything as an album in case it flops. If the label are all up in the game with the rules twisted then they shoulda just maximised this opportunity and included My Attitude, Eat It Up, and Iconic anyway for the full Flo Milli Shit™ experience.
Best song from Dangerous Dame's debut tape, imho. Your nuts and your arms - you gotta know when to hold 'em and you gotta know when to fold 'em if you're slappin' some raw Bay Area b-boy shit like this.
If nothing else, 2020 will go down in the history books as the year when one of Hip Hop's oldest debates was finally settled - yes, Cap from Style Wars really is a toy!
There's nowt as noncey as grown men who are into toys, but I ain't mad at someone making their own personal Style Wars action figures. How very fitting that Min One's figure is a dead ringer for Moxie from Auf Weidersehen, Pet since he's ended up being the documentary's biggest dirtbag.
Most iconic use of Dion's The Wanderer: Style Wars or The Wanderers?
The most iconic All Fila Everything™ outfit in the history of Rap? It wasn't worn by noted-fanboy 2Pac or any of the Rappers who've recorded odes to the brand like Schoolly D and Steady B. Shit, it wasn't even worn by a Rapper - it was #actually worn by Eric B & Rakim's Fort Greene kingpin m8 Rapp Magnetic on the back cover of Paid In Full:
Ya host's own personal favourite All Fila Everything™ outfit in Rap history, however, is a bit more complicated. It was worn by Black Dynasty's Dion Stewart, but in a song which has no need to exist - the jankey video remix of Deep East Oakland:
Much like the O.G Goodfellas DVD, there's two sides to every story. But you either lyin' or you deaf like Ben Mitchell if you prefer the video mix of Deep East Oakland to the O.G version.
Black Dynasty ft. Dru Down & Dangerous Dame - Deep East Oakland
(From Deep East Oakland single; 1994)
Truthfully, I fronted on Rover for the longest - homeboy tryna flex in Superdry ski goggles is unforgivable, but as an anthem this song is undeniable. Rover had URL goin' nuts during lockdown to the point where it reached number 3 in the U.K Top 40, hilariously inspired an Australian remix, and even went gold in New Zealand (we did it, Moscaddie, we did it!) Now a certain sense of normality has resumed, Rover deserves to have IRL goin' nuts for what's left of this lost summer. Basically, if I can drunkenly sing "I just wanna make the moo lah lah, got 'em all screamin' ooh la la" in the pub on a quiet Wednesday night then it'll be my official Song Of The Summer™ 2020.
Here at The Martorialist we're savouring Flo Milli's current run of singles because generic Auto-Tune f*ckery and cameos from hacks like Tyga and Gunna are surely inevitable. Highway to the danger zone from hereon in?
Do you ever dream about music and then wake up sad because the song which soundtracked your sleep was just a figment of your imagination and it'll only ever exist in your head? Ya host had one last night where Nate Dogg flipped Biz Markie's Let Me Turn You On and I'm now feelin' blue because it was all a dream...
Biz Markie - Let Me Turn You On
(From All Samples Cleared album; 1993)
"Ay, n*ggas slide but we don't scam
I just bought another glizzy, it's a grown man
Yeah, it bust moves but it don't dance
I should call him peanut butter 'cause he don't jam"
Mac J - Free Bris
(From YouTube; 2020)
Turns out I was wrong - this other Mac J track is #actually the most Front Page Of Siccness.net-core slap of 2020 thus far. Damn, Bris' sidekick/patna has some serious gas in him. Also see: Siccame which makes the ideal B-side to this.
"He ain't got on headphones so I know he heard
N*gga you ain't paralysed, bitch,you got ther nerve
He was dissin' on the first, he dead on the third
I run up in ya house, we call it a purge
N*gga this a life lesson, you live and you learn
Now his soul in the sky, it look like a bird
I call him Lil' Saint, that n*gga got served"
"When that drac' start singin' It gon' hit high notes
And that glock speak Spanish - adios!
Mac J & Bris - Adios
(From YouTube; 2020)
Probably an unpopular opinion, but I like this more than any of the Bris solo tracks my ears have crossed paths with. Purely a production preference thing tho because Adios is the most Front Page Of Siccness.net-core slap of 2020 thus far.
All factoid, zero tabloid: there has never been a better example of "you made it a hot line, I made it a hot song" than Ice-T's Bitches 2. A random Bushwill Bill lyric from Size Ain't Shit expanded into a full fledged life lesson consisting of 4 different flesh & bone examples of 4 different full steezy fellas. People sleep on Ice-T's songwriting but that man was penning Rap gospel between 1986 and 1991.
Tbf, on a purely aesthetic level these things are no worse than any of those Yeezy clodhoppers. Here at The Martorialist we'll wear a Mac Dre cap or a Max B t-shirt, but we'll be damned if we ever walk around in KanYe Pest's equivalent of the dreaded Master P sneaker.
Other notables: totally slept on Cavalier's Go Brooklyn until it belatedly got blessed with a video; Eatem & Female Rapper's Bing Bing Bam is a better Whoop Sum sequel than the Whoop Sum remix; two new entries in the Boyz-n-the-Hoodcore canon this month with Boosie's Dope Muzik and Megan Thee Stallion's Girls In The Hood; Zaybang's New Rem is cool but really needed a hook; other than the new episodes of What We Do In The Shadows, the best TV show of June was DJ Quik's episode of Unsung.
"This life I live is pricey, man
Mama ain't give me dollars for the icey-man"
Max B - Didn't Mean To Kill A Man
(From Charly EP; 2020)
Bah bah dah dah dah. Bring out the piano from the Purple City ByrdGang video for this one. The World Boss Vybz Kartel and the Boss Don Max B are the only people in the history of music who can record pristine classic shit in a prison cell.
Because the recent DJ Quik episode of Unsung is on there! Job's a good 'un, though the show occasionally favours The Drama™ over The Music™ to its detriment - Quik's work with Suga Free deserved more screentime, as did Quik's triumphant return on the album with Kurupt. Oh well, feels churlish to complain about a TV which includes a segment detailing the recording of the Penthouse Players Clique LP dunnit?
It's a game of two halves, Clive. They just don't make booty anthems like this anymore: songs that sound like the past, present and future at the SAME DAMN TIME! Back of the net, my son & shawty.
Who'd have ever thunk there'd be a Rapper called Trap Beckham tho? You'll never win anything with kidz unless you've got a different class of '92: Crunk Giggs, Atlanta Bass Scholes, Snap Butt, and the Futuristic Swag Neville Brothers.
Bonus beats: Flo Milli's new single is hardbody. Not so much death by stereo as death by stiletto.
Flo Milli - Like That Bitch
(From the internet; 2020)
Everyday feel like it's an off day with Ferris Bueller, but everything ain't going according to plan, man. Six months deep into this annus bizarriblis, here's a generic list of my favourite 25 songs of 2020 (+ very late 2019) thus far. Music is a great escape from life's bullshit, so twist those shoulders like a Muppet to these:
If, like me, you've been waiting for someone to make an R&B song outta Anri's 80s Japanese dream-pop classic Last Summer Whisper then Jenevieve's Baby Powder is the jam 4 U. Song is so sultry it can even survive the deeply unerotic baby powder metaphor. Word around town, Jenevieve is gonna drop a sequel to this song. It's title? Jennifer Canesten.
Obviously there's no such thing as a sequel to Top Shelf 8/8/88, but there could be if I made a playlist comprised of 15 songs from 2007 onwards possessed by the Golden-Era spirit. Stuck to East Coast artists because expanding the regional parameters would be too much food for thought tbh. Let's party like it's 1987 to 1992!!!
The Martorialist presents Top Shelf 8/8/88 Part 2
DJ Jazzy Jeff & Peedi Crakk - Brand New Funk 2k7 (2007)
AZ - Doin' That (Memphis Sessions mix) (2007)
Max B - De La Soul (2007)
Azie of MobStyle - The 80's (2008)
Prodigy - Raining Guns And Shanks (2008)
De La Soul - Excursions '09 (2009)
Grand Puba ft. Q-Tip - Good To Go (2009)
N.O.R.E ft. Flava Flav - Nutcracker (2010)
The Bounce Squad ft. Black Rob - Live At The State Building (2011)
Kurious Jorge - Best In The World (2014)
MF DOOM & Madlib - Avalanche (2016)
Edan - Real Bad Promo (2018)
Slick Rick - Midas Touch (2019)
Positive K & MC Lyte - I'm Still Not Havin' It (2019)
A-Mafia - Wunn (2019)
(Loadsa folks argue that the Golden-Era ended in 1991 but I disagree. It ended in 1992 with the break-ups of Eric B. & Rakim and EPMD; the rises of Redman, Nas, Wu-Tang and Black Moon; and the release of The Chronic.)