Thursday, 10 February 2011
Anthony and the golden-oldies
Yup, it's a thursday evening appreciation post for a couple of officially unreleased late nineties AZ cuts where he rapped over early eighties classics by Malcolm McLaren & The World's Famous Supreme Team and Grandmaster Master Flash & The Furious Five.
The Firm ft. Half-A-Mill - Firm Biz remix (1997)
What, you didn't think I was gonna plump for Hey AZ as the joint with the Supreme Team sample, did you? Chill, son, because the connoisseur's choice is this now often forgotten remix of Firm Biz. Even though no dirty version of it was ever released, this was a proper remix in the sense that it featured new verses from all concerned, an extra guest rapper in Half-A-Mill, and an entirely new beat which is basically World's Famous before Se'Divine the Mastermind and JazzyJust the Superstar started rapping. The only thing it retains from the original is the Dawn Robinson crooning and even that sounds far more cozy here, which makes me think that someone should really take the acapellas from The Firm album and remix the everything bar Phone Tap, Desperados, and 5 Minutes To Flush over a bunch of classic instrumentals from 1983 - 1985. I'm thinking, like, I'm Leaving over One For The Treble would be a good start because the gawd Nore deserved better for his cameo spot than that beat.
AZ - Sunshine (1998)
This one comes with an interesting yarn attached if you happen to be a fan of trivia which involves rappers getting unwittingly cockblocked by Bad Boy : AZ recorded Sunshine as his main single for Pieces Of A Man with the expectation it'd do for him what If I Ruled The World did for Nas, but he had to scrap it after Puffy & Mase came out with The Message-sampling Can't Hold Me Down first which resulted in him then reusing the lyrics with new production for Pieces Of A (Black) Man. Possibly a wise move after Big L's MVP was halted in its tracks by the One More Chance remix back in 1995, but Sunshine jams regardless and I favour this to the song it eventually became. It used to be that people would rap over The Message every few years back in the 90s (Survival In The Garden by C-Bo is an underrated favourite), but ever since Sugarhill Records released the acapella version of the song last decade all we get are hopeless remixes by hacks like this instead nowadays.
And on that note here's Flash and The Furious Five dipped in leather catsuits, Star Trek shades, and the like performing The Message on UK yoof TV show The Tube back in 1983; Melle Mel's channeling the future spirit of Jodie Marsh with those 2 belts strapped across his bare chest, yet he still looks like less of a fruit than Theopolis London or Yung L.A.
Poor Duke Bootee : not only did he perform all the rapping on the actual recording of The Message bar the last verse but he also composed, played on, and produced the backing track, and what rewards does he get for his tour-de-force auteur performance? Various members of The Furious Five lip-synced over his vocals in the song's video and Duke ends up airbrushed out of history entirely. Still, I'm sure the fact that 95% of the population who've heard the song think it's Grandmaster Flash rather than the Furious Five rapping on it is a form of schadenfreude for Duke, as is that Duke & Duke from Trading Places loot he received when he eventually successfully sued Sugar Hill Records for his publishing.