Tuesday 28 April 2009

Humble pie

Cheers to Breezy for hookin' me with a copy of J-Stalin's Gas Nation album which i got through today. I hereby take back the time on Fat Lace when i sniffily suggested that The Jack Artist would've benefited from more Husalah and Ap.9 appearances and less verses from people like J-Stalin as Gas Nation is a solid collection of Bay slappers and low-key Mob musik.

These are the 2 cuts i'm really feelin', both of which are far more entertaining than this Barcelona vs. Chelsea match. Messi? Poor man's Dean Windass.

J-Stalin - My N*ggaz

I used to play Madden 'til the sun came up
look, momma, i'm a star now, your son done came up

J-Stalin - Brand New Jordans

Homie, i got the number 2s mixed with the 9
potna, they so clean they can be seen by the blind

Thursday 23 April 2009

Great songs from forgotten rap albums part 3

CPO - Homicide

CPO - CP Osis

I've already pontificated about this group here but this LP has many a banger on it and i'm hereby launching a rap-nerd reappraisal campaign in an attempt to catapult these guys into the upper echelon of pre-G Funk Cali' gang$ta rap groups alongside NWA, Compton's Most Wanted and Above The Law.

Facemob - Tales From The Hood

Facemob -Bank Robbery

There be gold in them there post-The Diary, pre-The Fix hills including the 1996 group album Scarface assembled with Devin, DMG, Smit-D, 350 and Shi-Ray. To all intents and purposes this was actually a DMG album with a bunch of verses by 'Face, Devin et al but it's none the worse for that and when you add ominous panoramic Rap-A-Lot production which Mike Dean had his mitts all over then we have ourselves a gem of an album. These are the best 2 tracks from it with Tales From The Hood being particularly great.

Mob Style - Gangster Shit

Mob Style - Rough

To the casual rap listener this album will probably raise a shrug but to Ageing Harlemites and a few hundred worldwide rap-geeks from the corners of London, Tokyo, Amsterdam and Wrexham this is a holy grail. Azie Faison's ensemble with Gangster Lou, Pretty Tone and Whip Whop were the first real gang$ta rap group from NYC and were briefly involved in a beef with NWA as Mob Style accused NWA of being studio gangsters with Eazy E sending a few lyrical jabs in retaliation. Gangster Shit is their most known tune as it featured on the Brucie Bee mix disc of the Paid In Full soundtrack and a very young Cam'Ron namechecked it in his loveletter-to to-Mob Style verse on I Remember When back in his C.O.C days. Rough is yet another example of how you can't go wrong with an Isaac Hayes sample.

Young Bleed - I Couldn't C It

Young Bleed featuring Da Youngtymaz- No Disrespect

Young Bleed's Ballz And My Word debut was a regional success when it came out in '98 and has achieved cult-classic status for rap-nerds in the years following by being the one No Limit Records album even the harshest critics of that label actually dig, but the follow up set My Own from 2000 is a far more consistent affair as Bleed is freed from the shackles of the standard No Limit album blueprint to get loose and do his own thang. Whenever i see or hear the phrase Country-Rap i immediately think of 2 things : Pimp C's adlibbing at the end of Belts To Match and the bluesy twang and Louisiana drawl of I Couldn't C It by Bleed.

Tuesday 21 April 2009

Greatest movie scenes ever part 6

What's a fella to do when the scene from Django where our eponymous hero whips the gatling gun from his coffin and mows down at least 40 of Colonel Jackson's men into the sea of mud that make up the town's streets isn't on Youtube and that scene from Carry On Behind where everybody ends up with their arses out due to glue on the seats after the stripper from the super-8 movie Kenneth Williams accidently shows at the start turns up at the holiday camp entertainment night to strut her stuff is on there but the twat who uploaded it has disabled the embedding link? Why, he does the only thing he can and retreats into the comforting arms and bosom of another scene from The Wanderers.

Witness Joey Wanderer schooling Perry on the various high school gangs found in the packed corridors on the way to class. Whatchu know about 27 guys all with the last name Wong? Find out here. You've seen them bloody wops, right? You've seen 'em on the telly coming on as late substitutes who score with their first kick of the ball in two successive games only to then be completely ineffective when they're given a start in an F.A Cup semi-final on sunday, right? Well, them bloody wops use the bulk of this particular scene to trade racial insults in class with the school's main Black gang before a brouhaha and ruckus ensues which ends with both gangs agreeing to resolve their differences with a good old fashioned spot of fisticuffs after the weekend football game. TV nerds will notice that Clinton Stitch is a young Omar White from Oz, although Clinton is the complete antithesis of that over-zealous bitchmade lickspittle Omar.

Heltah Skeltah - Da Art Of Disrespekinazation

Thursday 16 April 2009

It was 40s, not bubbly; Uptown money was lovely

Finally received my copy of Azie Faison's book the other day and so far it's an essential read for any fans of the Azie and Alpo FEDS interviews, both Game Over ducumentaries, Paid In Full or anyone interested in the history of Harlem/NYC in the 80s.

Naturally, reading a book like this really puts you in the mood to listen to nothing but Harlem shit so here's some classic Uptown tunes including the only released track from Black Rob's 1991 recording sessions, an answer record to Vanity 6's Nasty Girl by Dr Jeckyll & Mr Hyde, a track by Azie Faison's old group Mobstyle, a slept on Marley Marl laced Spoonie Gee album track, the highlight of McGruff's old demo, a What's Beef?-esque blend of Cam'Ron's That's Me by MF Doom, a CRU track with guest verses by Black Rob, the highlight of Doug E. Fresh's sophomore album and the finest tune Stack Bundles made before he was sadly shot.

I couldn't even decide on which Big L track to choose, hence nothing by Lamont, but rest assured that some L has been in rotation too, particularly Devil's Son and the Doo Wop freestyle over the Pre-Game beat.

Black Rob - Da Smoothness

Dr Jeckyll & Mr Hyde - The Challenge

Mobstyle - Harlem (Uptown)

Spoonie Gee - She's My Girl

Herb McGruff - I Keep My Palm On The Handle

Cam'Ron - That's Me (MF Doom blend)

CRU featuring Black Rob - Nuthin' But

Stack Bundles - I'm Paid

Doug E. Fresh - D.E.F

On a related note, here's an interview with Dapper Dan from last year conducted by his son. He talks about how the rappers most famed for sporting his creations (Eric B & Rakim and Big Daddy Kane) wanted to look like the gangsters who originated the look (Azie's old business partners Alpo and Rich Porter), mentions Mike Tyson being a loyal customer and laughs about how LL, BDP and Doug E. Fresh still owe him money. You can tune out at about 6 minutes in as his son starts twittering on and using the video to promote his own rap career for the remaining duration of it.

Tuesday 14 April 2009

Greatest movie scenes ever part 5

The 80s, history tells us, was a decade of decadence but this was also the time of Just Say No by the Grange Hill Gang, Rock Hudson dying of Aids and the ensuing panic it caused, teetotal frontmen as diverse as Ian MacKaye, Chuck D and Morrissey, the Straight Edge movement, bible thumpin' Cliff Richard songs polluting the charts and generic slasher flicks like the Sleepaway Camp trilogy whose anti-hero(ine - it's a long story) Angela Baker - a Jewish Joanie from Happy Days resembling psychotic female Ned Flanders with an acoustic guitar - killed foul mouthed Summer Camp teenagers who indulged in booze, drugs and pre-marital sex.

Here in the UK the Sleepaway Camp flicks were retitled as Nightmare Vacation 1, 2 and 3 and this scene from Nightmare Vacation 2 : Unhappy Campers remains the highlight of the franchise. Witness Angela incandescent with disgust as she watches the Shit sister twins smoking weed, drinking beer, being ravished the camp studs and, worse of all, interpolating her hallowed Happy Campers song into a filthy X-rated sing-a-long which Trina would approve of before making the slutty sisters pay for their sins.

Oh i'm a happy camper, i love to drink and fuck
and if you pay me money my titties you can suck

It was a hot summer that year.

Nightmare Vacation 2 was also particularly notable as it had Emilio Estevez's sister Renée Estevez in a pre-Betty Finn in Heathers role as the straight laced heroine chick Molly.

Molly and Angela during happier times.

Thursday 9 April 2009

Great songs from forgotten rap albums part 2

K-Rino - Ultimate Flow

K-Rino - Step Into The Mind

I guess if you're from Texas you'll probably suck your teeth in disgust at me saying this album is forgotten but most of the jocking of K-Rino i've come across is fairly vague and usually doesn't extend much beyond K-Rino can really rap his arse off, yo type sentiments into praise of specific albums or songs. His debut from '93 might be his most consistent set and when it's good, it's really bloody good with K-Rino, um, rapping his arse off, yo, over rootsy pimped-out beats or them old Ice T-ish spooky synth productions. Paul's Boutique fans take note : Ultimate Flow makes excellent use of the same butter Idris Muhammad sample the Beasties made famous on To All The Girls.

Onyx featuring Havoc - Hold Up

It was albums like this comeback platter by Onyx and Krs One's dreadful Spiritual Minded which defined Koch's reputation as a retirement home where old NY rappers went to die over appallingly produced albums before Prodigy and AZ made use of the lax sample clearance laws which go hand in hand with being on a indie label and came out with 2 modern NY classics. Truthfully, i've never heard more than a couple of songs from this album but it got terrible reviews and i can imagine just how atrocious it is. Hold Up, however, was one of the 12"s from it and features Havoc from the M.O.B.B on beat 'n' hook duties and is some QB shit that's both street and slinky (think : Burn) which could only have been improved on if it were a Mobb Deep and Big Noyd track instead.

C-Bo - Til My Casket Drops

C-Bo featuring E-40 - 40 & C-Bo

C-Bo's 1998 Til My Casket Drops cd is mostly notable for being the album which introduced the Mob Figaz crew to the world on 3 tracks before he orchestrated their group album the following year but it's a pretty decent slice of Bay Area gang$ta shit otherwise, with the 'ard title track and the imaginatively titled 40 & C-Bo featuring E-40 being the Martorialist approved tunes of choice.

Akinyele - Sister Sister

Akinyele - Messin' With My Cru

Praise for Akinyele is generally restricted to love for his verse on Live At The BarBQ, his Vagina Diner LP, the Put It In Your Mouth EP and the odd other tune like the original version of In The World but his '99 album Aktapuss is equally worthy of your adoration as it's a superb demonstration on how a brash hardcore rapper whose 2 key motifs are sex and thuggery can successfully smooth out his approach with humourous songwriting and catchy ass r&b hooks. Sister Sister, where the Ak-Ha-Ha bemoans being caught in the "you're like my brother" zone with a chick in typically unsophisticated Ak' fashion, is the less blunt cousin of Biz's Just A Friend and Messin' With My Cru is just some plain good ol' brutal shit. In a perfect world this album would've gone triple platinum but Jive dropping the ball as per usual and a couple of highly saucy singles which ended up being little more than 3 minutes of bleeps when cleaned up for radio/video play resulted in it being one only the Ak' fanboys checked for.

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Cold as Ice

Ras Kass can kiss my arse. I break wind sulphuriously in the direction of his pisspoorly produced debut album and the Diamond D remix of the title track because there's only one Soul On Ice which really matters.

Back when Ghostface rhymed over the entirity of La La Means I Love You by The Delfonics on Holla you had dudes spunkin' themselves and claiming a rapper rhyming over a full song was the reinvention of the wheel. Holla was a great tune and all but it was nothing than Ice T didn't do back in 1988 when he instructed Afrika Islam to let his copy of Harlem Buck Dance Strut by Les McCann play and then got his Lightnin' Rod on over it.

Ice-T - Soul On Ice

But then most people barely even remember Ice-T as a rapper these days, do they? It's a tragedy that Ice's '85 - '91 prime (Why do people always forget Killers? Isn't that the track where Ice found his niche and, thus, the real genesis of West coast gangsta rap?) is almost forgotten by the average rap fan nowadays because O.G is every bit as good as, say, Death Certificate and the image of Darlene in her swimsuit on the double sided cover of Power is seared onto the consiousness of every early 30 something male who clumsily had a tug over it as a teenager :

Much like the image of the Fat Lace spoof of Power is seared onto the consiousness of every ageing rap nerd :

As far as Power goes, beyond Soul On Ice, the classic singles like High Rollers, I'm Your Pusher and the infamous sex-jam Girls L.T.G.B.N.A.F (remember when it featured in the Christian Slater teen-angst 'n' pirate radio flick Pump Up The Volume?), i've always been a mark for Drama and it's the cold, sinister synth squiggles on Ice tracks like that, Squeeze The Trigger and Colors which were clearly the blueprint for everything from Season Of Da Siccness by Brotha Lynch Hung to old Three 6 Mafia production to pretty much any regional gang$ta rap underpinned by eerie keyboard beats you care to mention.

Ice T - Drama

Thursday 2 April 2009

Great songs from forgotten rap albums

Big Mike - Made Men

Big Mike - Hard To Hit

Who didn't sleep on this album when it came out in 1999? Shit, in those pre-internet days when you could only find Rap-A-Lot releases in a handful of shops here in the UK i was still struggling to find 'Face's My Homies and Devin's debut from the previous year so thanks to Chek for puttin' me onto this. It's no Somethin' Serious but it does feature some classic Peterman with production from Mike Dean and Mr Lee as demonstrated on the above tunes.

Big Daddy Kane - The Beef Is On

Big Daddy Kane - Rest In Peace

After It's A Big Daddy Thing 'Kane fell off like Hans Gruber at the end of Die Hard and spent the early 90s pumping out schmaltzy r&b/njs rap (as opposed to the good r&b/njs rap that Heavy D did) but briefly rediscovered his mojo in 1993 with the Looks Like A Job For.. album. It's generally considered that, while he only got production credits on a few tunes, Easy Mo Bee was behind much of the production on here and it shows as it's very much in the same vein as the tracks he did for Biggie on Ready To Die.

Juvenile - Solja Rags

Juvenile - Pimpinabitch

A year before Juvenile blew up with the overrated Ha! in '98 (U Understand? was a far superior song with the same concept) and Cash Money Records signed with Universal for 50987 trillion dollars he dropped Solja Rags, which was his debut album for Cash Money and his first album with Mannie Fresh on the beats. Juve' had clearly been studying Broken Language by Smoothe & Trigga when writing Pimpinabitch, which was fair enough because a few years later NY rappers were clearly studying Ha! and U Understand?, with the most obvious example being Whoa by Black Rob.

Black Rob - Help Me Out

Black Rob - Smile In Your Face

And onto Black Rob himself. Did you know that Whoa is the biggest selling Bad Boy Records single ever? Meaning that it's outsold any of the Biggie or Puffy hits. Well, apparently it is. Who'd a thunk that, eh? Black Rob has spent more of his career in prison than Rosicky has spent time at Arsenal injured and his 2nd album suffered from sample-clearance problems (not to mention Heavy D re-selling a beat he'd sold to Black Rob to Beanie Sigel) and the usual awful collabo tracks which pepper any Bad Boy release but it still turned out as a suprisingly solid effort, particularly these 2 tunes with Rob gettin' busy over piano samples.