Monday 30 March 2015

Rap songs that aren't on YouTube but really should be # 6

The year is 1989 and denial is not just a river in Egypt but how rap's O.G King Of New York Melle Mel is livin'. By night the fallen Frank White is now hittin' the crack pipe like Jimmy White; by day he shoots anti-crack TV commercials for WNBC with his What's The Matter With The World collaborator Van Silk and hits the studio to record songs like White Lines '89 and Drug Wars for his Piano LP.

Drug Wars isn't Piano's highlight (that'd be Free Style which saw Melvin blackin' the fuck out and Izz-izzing words on wax before E-40 or Snoop even touched down proper) but it still badly needs to be streamable somewhere online for the chil'ren. Rumoured to be ghost-produced by the album's in-house DJ Kid Capri, its beat is a lo-fi precursor to Know The Ledge, and the song itself is a lowkey missing link between Night Of The Living Baseheads and Slow Down in the pantheon of golden-era songs about how crack decimated New York's poorest neighbourhoods. Basically, it's prime street-level rap noir from a man slap bang in the middle of N.Y.C's crack epidemic and a final grand huzzah from rap's first Grandmaster.

Grandmaster Melle Mel - Drug Wars
(From Piano album; 1989)


Etteltunn said...

The cover of that 'Piano' LP still makes me laugh to this day.

SE said...

This is dope. Nice crate-digging on those PSAs.