Tuesday 30 March 2010

Martorial elegance # 40

Yes :

No :

You don't need to take a Scott Hall survey to able to deduce that 9 out of 10 breezies who attempt the Anna Wintour bob end up with a 'do which is more reminscent of post-Jaws Richard Kiel, but if we're feelin' in the mood for a Polish sex slave-turned San Francisco artfag chick with the hair of Randy Quaid in Kingpin then that chickenhead from the What Are You Wearing Today? thread on SuperFuture.com never fails to give us one of Larry's Pant-Tents after turning our todgers into Peter Crouch :

Her male WAYWT? accomplice really needs to wind his neck in, though. If he's not goin' ham posing with his gob agape around various industrial locations in his lounge-around-the-house-eating-Dorritos vest and standard Goth-Ninja attire, then he's espousing cringeworthy cerebral cortex-belches masquerading as profound philosphical musings on his blog :

March 19th, 2010

when i think back on my life as a thing, mostly it comes in a series of fragments, different people, different times, different places. it is as if through variety i have been several different people.

when i take a breath and let my thought slow down, i see the constant that runs through the different experiences, everything feels more connected, one long ribbon.

it is when my mind is quiet that i am reminded of childhood when i was only known by my nickname.

Man, it's been over 10 years since Tony asked Melfi Whatever Happened To Gary Cooper? in the first episode of The Sopranos, but the question seems more poignant than ever.

Friday 26 March 2010

Rakin' In The 'Lo with Zhigge

The U.K really is an ass-backwards place to call home. The highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe? Presenting Blade to the world as an example of how we could do that rap music stuff too? High court judges and F.A officials who let cunts like Steven Gerrard get away with physically assault scot free? All seem like minor examples of the machinations of our retrograde little country when we compare them to having to wait until this past monday for season 2 of Twin Peaks and the Definitive Gold Box Edition of both seasons to receive a dvd release here.

But 3 nights spent in the company of Dale, Lucy, BOB, and the Log Lady require a Zack Morris time-out this evening to reminisce on some early 90s Random-Rap courteousy of the Harlem 5-piece Zhigge, who included Salaam Remi (AKA him who hooked up Nas with a bunch of played-out but undeniable samples for 4 of the 9 great songs he made from 2000 - 2009) amongst their ranks as their Dre or RZA type superproducer figure. Think of this post as a triple-header of staples here at The Martorialist; a textual Chimera with a Reasons I Love Youtube edition where I salivate over finding a video I never knew existed for one of my favourite early 90s singles as the first head of the beast, a Martorial Elegance post where we gaze lovingly at the gear the rappers are wearing in that video and their other main video as the beast's second head, and an installment of Great Songs From Forgotten Rap Albums with a song from their album which was dedicated to their sartorial shopping habits as the third and final head of our beast all rolled into one.

Zhigge - Rakin' In The Dough (Headboppers mix)

This is one of those songs which sounds like it was written especially with a video in mind as every verse is a mini-narrative for each member to provide evidence that, yup, they're definately Rakin' In The Dough as they go about their business dipped in the finest Ralph Lauren Polo of the day. The contrast between this mix and the album version are subtle, but the additions of the DO THE UPTOWN BOUNCE refrain and the horns sure do make one helluva difference with this superior remix, and that "don't let the doorknob hitcha where the good lord splitcha in your rear, dear : get outta here" was pretty damn fresh. Why the Ego Trip crew didn't include this or Zhigge's other single in their 1992 singles list in the Rap Lists book instead of the odious Jump Around (which they ranked higher than Know The Ledge, Hand On The Pump, Ill Street Blues, Head Banger, Just Like Compton and Who Got The Props FFS) and cack like Age Ain't Nothin' But A # by Chi-Ali, and Back To The Hotel by N2Deep I don't know. Let's surmise that they were making the same kind of critical decisions which saw Y.N go from putting together an n.W.o dreamteam of blog posters on the old XXL site (plz forgive me Miss Elizabeth for tainting your memory by assigning Tara Henley your role in another lazy n.W.o analogy) and doing a rather fine job of blogging himself, to chronicling inane gossip about Rick Ross and posting the latest videos by Slaughterhouse and Kid Cudi on RapRadar the day they put together that best singles of 1992 list.

Zhigge - Toss It Up

Can you believe that there are numbskulls out there who genuinely prefer Zhigge's other single here to Rakin' In The Dough C'mon now. Heck, let's not even ponder such puzzling taste and just sit back and appreciate Zhigge's get-ups in both videos and suck our teeth at the height they're wearing their jeans around their stomachs on some ol' Margaret Sheridan in The Thing From Another World type shit.

Zhigge - Some Ol' 'Low Life Skit

I can't deny that Thirstin Howl III has had a few joints here and there over the years, but, realistically, he's a better interview and vintage photo displaying classic Polo pieces than he is a rapper, so it's no suprise that Zhigge's official ode to 'Lo and the Lo Life lifestyle remains rap's defintion track on the subject. Special Ed was the first rapper I know of who sported Polo, but how come no Brooklyn rappers were penning tributes to Ralph and the art of shoplifting? Kind've ironic that a Harlem group boosted the concept and beat every Brooklyn rapper to the punch, really.


Zhigge - Drop The Beat, Salaam!

Even Eric B. & Rakim had deserted the token dedication to the producer/dj album track by 1992 with Don't Sweat The Technique being their first LP to not feature an Eric B _____ (is probably on the john droppin' logs as someone else does all the studio work) track so it was left to Zhigge (and EPMD) to uphold the tradition. It's impossible to hear this and not wanna do the Ed Lover dance, but it's a pity they didn't throw in a few choice vocal samples, scratches and chants on this one or they could've found themselves with a 90s club classic of the Party Groove or Let Me Clear My Throat calibre.

Buddah Nation - Buddah Nation

Another example of rap songs about weed being better than smoking weed and all the grubbiness it entails by a pot-themed, Uptown-based supergroup of You Won't Be Around Next Year rappers including Downlow, Zhigge, and Figures Of Speech, plus the slightly more successful, pre-DITC Ghetto Dwellas. The B. side of Downlow's forgettable Hands On Ya Pumpz 12", this gem more than makes up up the lackluster A. side. Stretch & Bobbito apparently agreed as they all but ignored Hands On Ya Pumpz and rinsed Buddah Nation on their radio show in '92.

Weirdly, this one was hooked by UK citizen and former Wild Bunch/Major Force producer Milo Johnson, who also co-produced a couple of songs on the Zhigge album. There's some weird UK-to-NY connection between Milo and Salaam Remi (after running out of Incredible Bongo Band samples for Nas to rap over he went on to produce for Ms. Dynomite and Amy Winehouse) which I can't figure out. Who knew an obscure little group like Zhigge would be the crucial link in a game of 6 Degrees Of Seperation between Hiroshi Fujiwara and Blake Fielder-Civil, though, eh?

Tuesday 23 March 2010

That new E-40 is exactly what I meant..

..when I said rap songs about weed are preferable to the act of smoking weed in the post containing Blunt After Blunt by Lil' Slim Ft. Pimp Daddy recently :

E-40 Ft. Stressmatic - The Weed Man

So, is Berner the biggest weed dealer in the Bay/cracka-ass-cracka rapper that rappers work with for free dank now or somethin'? I thought he was just the hook-up for the Mob Figaz, and that '40 and the Sick Wid It crew had their own pet peckerwood weed hook-up in that Extreme chap?

Extreme ft. Turf Talk & Laroo - Money Long

Didn't west coast Gangsta-Rappers learn not to adopt crackas into their respective folds back in the early 90s? It's like a Jerry Heller and Tarrie B at Ruthless or Ice-T signing Everlast to Rhyme Synidicate type situation all over again.

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Great songs from forgotten rap albums part 13

Lil' Slim ft. Pimp Daddy - Blunt After Blunt

Let's start today with a 1994 Mannie produced banger from Lil' Slim's 2nd release Powder Shop featuring one of the many dead pre-Juvenile Ca$h Money Records rappers. Seriously, being signed to Ca$h Money Records before 1997 was as dangerous a career option as being employed by the WWF or WCW in the 90s. Anyway, I've always found songs about smoking weed preferable to the actual act of smoking weed itself as sitting on dubious looking couches in weed spots, frequenting with undesirables, getting hot-rock burns in good clothes, listening to Bob Marley, smelling of smoke, and late night trips to garages for hydrogenated junk-food and soft drinks which are high in sugar (eat after eight and put on weight, dudes) aren't activities I'm tryna partake in.

Tragedy Khadafi - Neva Die Alone Part 2

Yeah, I know Tragedy jockin' on blogs is laughable, and that it's hard to take a Tragedy song about him extracting revenge on some shady young upstart who set him up seriously after the story that Maino beat the shit out of him and then had him hiding out in his Miami hotel room all week, but bear with me on this one as it's one of the five good songs Tragedy has made since The War Report. I was genuinely fiending for Still Reporting in 2003 after the two previous years had given us killer 12"s like What's Good? and Stay Free, and his cameo on Cormega's They Forced My Hand, but then the album turned up with neither of the singles on it, nor anything as good as them bar this one track. It's obviously not as good as the original Neva Die Alone, but since that's the best song on The War Report and one of the greatest examples of late 90s Q.B Thug-Rap I'm hardly gonna hold it against part 2 here.

Dubee AKA Sugawolf - Ain't No Curr

If you listen to Mac Dre and/or Mac Mall then Dubee is someone who pops up on their shit with such alarming regularity that you eventually just surrender to his charms and check some of his releases out to see if he's ever made a song which neither of the Macs appear on. The hardcore Bay aficionados seem to laud his debut, but, man, them guys are buggin' because it's all about his sophomore effort For That $crilla. Both Macs, Too $hort and Suga Free are decent reference points, but I'm rather fond of Ain't No Curr, by far the hardest cut on For That $crilla, myself as it sounds like some unreleased mid to late 90s C-Bo tune, and that can only ever be a favourable comparison.

Ice City ft. Freeway & Oschino - Philly N*ggaz

How you gon' try come at the kid?
How you gon' get mad 'cause your girl let me cum in her wig?

A fair point, although there are other areas I personally prefer to bust nutz over. So, the Freeway presents Ice City album came hot on the tails of Philadelphia Freeway and it had me excited because it appeared to be a group consisting of Freeway, Peedi (Fall Back was a slept on single of '03) and two weedcarrier dudes, but when my copy arrived it was more like a group consisting of two weedcarriers with a few appearances from Freeway and a solitary quick verse by Peedi. This might have been a problem if the two weedcarriers weren't dead-ringers for the Young Gunz, if the beats weren't entirely competent Just Blaze knock-offs with samples from the Rocky 4 soundtrack, if the songs weren't short and sweet (1000 Barz is only 3:29 in length), and if the whole affair didn't have a strong aroma of outtakes from the first State Property album which were cut from the final tracklist due to sample clearance (I imagine Vince DiCola samples don't exactly come cheap) about it. Pity about that Joe Budden verse on Ride Up, though, eh?

K-Rino ft. DJ Screw - Why Ya Wanna Hate?

Usually a song which begins with "I don't brag about cars, and I don't brag about clothes/I don't call women bitches, tramps or Hoes" would have me scrambling for the skip button faster than Phil Brown reaches for a tin of creosote now he's on 'gardening leave', but, like them Masta Ace noughties solo albums, there's enough authorative attitude present here for it to not topple over into the abyss of humourless hectoring where KRS has resided since 1997 and for me to not be alienated by a rapper frowning upon all the traits I fell in love with rap for in the first place, particularly since it's the rapper I first discovered on Ganksta N-I-P's South Park Psycho tape back in 1992. Of course, beyond the opening gambit this is essentially your standard K-Rino battle-rap track where he talks about doin' bad things to other rappers, Screw's slurred pontifications on the intro and outro are more than welcome, and minimal synth driven beats such as this are the third element of Gang$ta-Rap after misogyny and gun-talk.

Sunday 14 March 2010

Clash of the titans

Slick Rick - Facebook Freestyle

I mean, it's cool that Slick Rick is dropping freestyles on there and shit, but Facebook is still the most ghastly creation to hit the internet since the picture of that porn star with the prolapsed colon. It scares me that some of the most psychotic, feral kids I went to school with are now frequenting an online social networking site, and the only thing more soul-destroying than reading banal updates by people you once respected, is being subjected to other people's abhorrent conversations about Facebook on public transport or in supermarket queues.

Not like the days of Myspace. Good ol' Myspace, which was the only site on the 'net a gentleman could find a naive girl up for relatively strings-free sex AND old hardcore bands who were willing to share their rare and/or unreleased recordings with you in under 10 clicks of a mouse. But was fornication with bipolar middle class girls into drum & bass and having Mike Neider hook up a copy of the M.A.D demo worth being bombarded by fat, tattoed Goff munters pestering you with their gruesome burlesque pictures? You decide.

Be warned : while these pictures aren't pornographic, they're not exactly worksafe either, and nausea may occur if you've eaten in the past couple of hours :

Andre Williams - Pass The Biscuits, Please

Wednesday 10 March 2010

The odyssey to find Mello-T

For nigh on a decade now I've searched for info about Mello-T from the Gang$ta-Rap episode of Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends (Louis fact # 1: his favourite rap album is Efil4zaggin) to no avail. If the episode where Mello imparted profound musings like "it seem like when a woman got a pistol to her head, it seem like she seem to listen better" on Louis wasn't enough, Louis's excellent Weird Weekends postscript tome The Call Of The Weird where he visited Mello and various other characters from the Weird Weekend shows like April and the Prussian Blue twins 4 or 5 years later and found Mello now in a perpetual state of personality flux inbetween Elijah Muhammad and Suga Free (Louis fact # 2 : he turned down Crooked Lettaz era David Banner in 1999 to interview Mello-T instead) only managed to further whet my appetite.

But a name like Mello-T is relatively Google-proof and just brought up that Greg Nice associated rapper Mellow-T who made Keep It Real back in 1993 and a DC DJ with the same name, so I was shit outta luck until I happened to come across this video on Youtube a couple of weeks back:

And, whaddaya know, it's a Warren Comission report of trivia about the man who can bust off six shots at a tin can and not come close to hitting it once. Where do we begin? Well, Mello generally went by the moniker of the Godfatha/Godfather Mello-T which brought up his not accessed since 2007 Myspace page where he instructs world weary damsels to contact him if they're sick of the hussle and bussle of the 9-to-5 in trademark Necro styled caps lock text:




More importantly, Mello mentions his music starting with his old group Wildliffe Society. A mint copy of the first EP with the songs Nuthin' But A Come-Up (Move, Muhfucker, Move) and Bald Headed Ho's Suck Dick was available on Discogs for the suRprisingly cheap price of $13.99 before I snapped it up. interestingly Discogs lists a couple of other early Wildliffe Society records including a 1991 debut 12" called (Throw Up The) Peace Sign from when they were a Brand Nubian rip-off act, and a later 1993 4 track EP which the excellent title of Ho's Ho's Ain't Nothin' But Ho's.

But all roads to Wildliffe Society lead to their national debut in 1995 when they signed to - and this is a bizarre pairing of the Corey Haim laying pipe to Posh Spice back in the 90s calibre - Blunt Records the then home to various grimey Q.B dunnies like Mic Geronimo, Royal Flush and Ja Rule's first group Ca$h Money Click, and released their debut album Jacktown (601) and its main single:

Wildliffe Society - Jacktown

Wildliffe Society - So Much Pain

Kind of a Country-Rap meets early Bone Thugs meets The Diary-era 'Face ambiance goin' on here, no? Very feelin' the opening seconds of So Much Pain which sound like the intro effects on videos on the Blastro.com site.

Of more interest to fans of the Weird Weekends episode are Mello's next group Children Of The Cornbread, which he was in the process of recording the debut album for in the show. His 'yatch Sunshine is even featured on there. Anyhoo, this beat should be instantly recognisable for any Louis & Mello-T fans (or, um, anybody who watched the first video up top):

Children Of The Cornbread - Mello-T & The BNJ

And you sit there waiting for him to break into the rap about not wantin' to be a balla no mo' or even adlibs from Louis (Louis fact # 3 : he's written for HipHopConnection), but they never come as this is little more than the prerequisite album shout-out track where Mello and his mate, the suspectly nom-de-plumed Big Nosed Jew, shoot the shit back and forth. It's an entertaining shout-out, mind, with Mello reminding us that "conversation don't rule the nation, paper participation what we lookin' fo'" and even saluting Bigalow and Reese, who were the two hefty lads who helped Louis come up with his radio freestyle battle rhymes.

But the centrepiece to the album is the title track, which is some off-kilter Country-funk with a tube and a bunch of the Cornbread weed carriers. Vaguelly reminiscent of Crooked Lettaz or early Banner if he'd have let a bunch of his mates on a song with him:

Children Of The Cornbread - Rather Be Hated Than Loved

And there the trail goes lukewarm. His Myspace is linked to the Myspace page of his company HollyHood Entertainment who put out an album called Chevys And Impalas by someone called Ice Cold (unfortunately not the Ice Cold from N*ggaz With Hats in Fear Of A Black Hat) a couple of years back. I 'unno, maybe i'm just too easily pleased by any generic southern-rap with a link to Mello-T, but the Ice Cold shit on his Myspace sounds pretty good, especially Chevys & Impalas and Top Of The Line Playa. So, what next? I might procure a copy of the Ice Cold CD and I'm gonna try and track down a copy of the Ho's Ho's Ain't Nothin' But Ho's EP, but until any more concrete info on Mello comes to fruition (that's "Mello-T" from the "Louis Theroux Weird Weekends" episode should he be vanity-Googling and find this page. If so, then hit me up for an interview, Mello) then it's back to searching out albums on the wall of the Pen & Pixel studio wall when Louis visits:

Sunday 7 March 2010

Wanted dead or alive # 2

I really need an mp3 of this minus all the DJ 5150 soundbites :

B.G & Juvenile - 187

Although this apparently first appeared on an advance version of Juve's 400 Degreez. it ended up featuring on DJ Skribble's 1999 Traffic Jams 2000 album before being given a new lease of life on that DJ 5150 Juvenile & The B.G mixtape from last year. Since I can't find a downloabable link to the Skribble album, and because I'm still too much of a lazy, doltish technophobe to work out how to rip the 12" of it (handily featuring the C-Bo & Spice 1 from the Skribble album on the flip) I don't have a DJ-less CDQ version of it, which is a crying shame as it's a classic-era Ca$h Money Records banger between their two finest rappers at that point with Mannie in stark Mantronix mode behind the boards, and I really wanna give late night car treatment to it or just bump on my Mp3 player as I'm ambling around in M&S trying to work out which aisle they've moved the fish to. Anybody got a hook up?

In the meantime, let's reminisce on that other great Mannie produced, Ca$h Money Records roster featuring song on a 1999 New York album :

Notorious B.I.G ft. Hot Boys & Big Tymers - Hope You N*ggas Sleep

This was song from Born Again which had NY purists coming out in hives at the time, but which we can now look back on as being the best official posthumous Biggie track because it ticks the three boxes every other posthumous track leave blank or draw a spasticated squiggle in :

1. It fucking bangs.

2. It feels like a proper Biggie song which he would've made or appeared on in 1999.

3. It doesn't feature an out-of-place other Bad Boy rapper, or Lil' Cease, or some passed-it west coast rapper like Ice Cube who completely ruined that otherwise great Nasheim Myrick produced track from Born Again with Black Rob and Beanie Sigel.


Thursday 4 March 2010

Martorial elegance # 39

Drop-crotch trousers have featured on catwalks and What Did You Wear Today? threads on the more adventurous fashion boards for a while now, but if there's anyone who has ingratiated Hammer-Pants to the average schmuck on the UK street it's him from JLS who looks like Robert Earnshaw :

And that's it for us at The Martorialist as far as saggin' goes, because when lil' ruffians and Hoorah-Henries alike can walk da mean northern streetz in pants gaffled from the set of Ali Baba & The 40 Thieves you know the jig is officially up. But where do we go from here? Do we start sportin' our kecks like Vince Gallo in Buffalo 66? We'd love to, but unfortunately we haven't got the arse for it, so we're gonna follow the lead of Eldridge Cleaver instead :

This keeps our whole heavily inspired by black American culture swag and crotch-obsession intact, but adds a touch of classic British tailoring a la the infamous codpieces of Henry VIII and Edmund Blackadder. Damn, we're medievally 2011 on datazz tonight, but let's shuffle along with the ghost of saggin' past one last time as we bring you a video of some black chil'ren dancing to Pumps And A Bump by Hammer.

Never forget, troops. Never forget.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

LL Cool J - Year Of The Hip Hop ('91 or '92?)

An unreleased LL gem recorded sometime inbetween Mama Said Knock You Out and 14 Shots To The Dome. Possible shots at De La and the Native Tongues towards the end, but anyone who remembers the appalling gear LL was forced to wear to fit in during the conscious era during the time of the Around The Way Girl video and his MTV Unplugged performance (the furry top hat was bad enough, but the patchwork shirts and kecks were near unforgivable) can't really blame Uncle L for his saltiness.

LL Cool J - Year Of The Hip Hop

Does a better quality version exist? If so, hook it up for a gringo. I can't remember if it was K. Def or Dr Butcher who produced this, but it doesn't really matter either way as we can basically boil this down to being LL rapping over the classic UFO by ESG sample, which is such a magnificent break it still sounds good being rapped over now as DOOM & Raekwon proved last year, and it's pounding eerieness can make even the most average weed carriers sound like G. Rap and Kane on The Symphony as anyone who ever heard Realms Of Junior Mafia can attest.

I always thought it was weird how old hip hop djs and producers gravitated towards UFO by ESG considering the rest of ESG's early 80s catalogue. I mean, great song 'n' all and the way they slowed the record down to create something altogether otherwordly was a stroke of genius, but wouldn't you think that other ESG songs like Dance and Moody are way more ripe for block parties and sampling? Even student birds in the UK like Dance since it was in that car insurance advert.