July 29, 2011

Metal Advocates - Graffiti DVD

Many graffiti writers would say that if you haven't bombed a train then you're not really a writer.  Well, I'm not sure about that, but I understand their sentiments.  Like much of hip hop's history, the cultures and trends that were set in the early days have become the benchmark for what hip hop culture is about today, and back in the 1970's, trains were THE thing to paint, and that belief has never really died.

Which leads us to this DVD.  It's an Australian film which focuses purely on trains, most of which is filmed in Australia although there is the odd bit of European footage from France and Germany too.  Like most graffiti DVD's, the footage is a mix of day and night scenes.
It includes live actions with nice panels and some wholecars too.  The backing track is a nice blend of electro and hip hop that's been mixed by DJ Keen.

Download (Hotfile: 2 x 350mb)

July 24, 2011

Humanity's on the brink of insanity.

Not a reference to a Geography Department in absolute chaos, but a clear nod to the 30% of people recently surveyed who believe George Osborne is making a good Chancellor. We'd be better off with Ozzy Osborne at the helm. Don't let the fact that he was born twenty years before George was given the keys to the country's stationary cupboard, ruin a rubbish attempt at a joke.

Worries about NHS funding aside, this particular duo released, in my opinion, a hip hop classic that didn't come close to receiving the props its innovations deserved. Signed to the now defunked. Sorry. Wlyd Pitch imprint, they seemed to be caught in the maelstrom of politics enveloping the label at that time, and went under with the ship, never to be sighted again. Not even by their families.

This has been a particularly difficult post to write; not because we all shared a night of passion and to reminisce is to cry, more that there is simply no information on our capeless crusaders around. I cannot recall the name of the DJ, so we'll call him Clive, but i do remember the microphone operative worked under the name of Hardhead, perhaps assumed after he had bravely sheltered the Coney Island seals from the inevitable, and together they, (as in Clive, not the grateful mallet tempters), fashioned an album that shone light into the darker corners of life. Hardheads considered lyrics tackled subjects as diverse as male rape, the likely fate of runaways and working for a racist employer. Meanwhile Clive manufactured an assortment of appropriate tones to solidify the image our lyrismith had skillfully conjured.

This album is now available on Amazon as a reissue and i strongly recommend a purchase. Please don't be put off by the cover, which appears to see our heroes candidly captured, blissfully unaware that someone has brazenly pinched their classroom with the inevitable repercussions for winter learning. It is fantastic album, a rare outing in which both musically and lyrically, consistent highs are simultaneously reached.

July 23, 2011

MC Serch Interview

In my previous post I looked back at Non Phixion's Legacy 12" and I referenced an interview that the P Brothers did with MC Serch back in 2003 and I promised to share it with you. 

Now this interview is a real banger, it's like no other interview that you've read before.  Normally an interview is conducted for a specific purpose, usually to promote an artists new album, to clear up some pointless beef, or to drum up interest in their new protege blah, blah, blah.  There is almost always a motive for the artist to do the interview.
What makes this different, is that Serch pretty much did the interview to satisfy the persistant requests of the P Brothers, who are hip hop purists and whose only interest is to better understand Serch, some of his history and to get to the truth behind all of the gossip and rumours.

Serch said it himself, that this would be the last interview he does of this kind, and I can see why.  He bares his soul here and openly and honestly answers all of the questions put to him.  You really get the feeling as you read through it that he's laying some demons to rest.  He talks in detail about the formation of 3rd Bass, their success and their later demise, and what the real issues were.  He explains the trip to LA where he and Pete were nearly killed by gang members over the MC Hammer diss, and then his behind the scenes work executive producing Nas' first two albums and O.C.s classic, Word, Life.  Oh, and he clears up some of the Non Phixion story too!

It's a two part interview, and it's quite long, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  The depth and scope of this interview is what makes it so brilliant.  I hope you appreciate this as much as I did.

Shout out to the P Brothers too, I love you guys.

PART 1 - http://pressrewind.wordpress.com/2007/06/01/def-jam-3rd-bass-hammers-gas-face-mc-serch-in-grandslam-part-1-2003/
PART 2 - http://pressrewind.wordpress.com/2007/06/05/3rd-bass-split-nas-oc-non-phixion-mc-serch-interview-part-2-in-grandslam-2003/

July 17, 2011

Paul C Biography

Today marks the anniversary of the death of Paul C in 1989 (it also would have been Guru's 50th Birthday!).
Any respectable hip hop head who was 'living hip hop' in the late 80's and very early 90's will now know who Paul C was (if ya don't know, then this is a must read).  I say 'now know' because at that time he wasn't a big name commercially.  He was the guy behind the scenes, the man behind the desk, the dude whose name appeared in the small footnotes in the bottom corner on the back of the album cover.  He was largely unknown.
How someone who was so instrumental in progressing the art of production and taking things to that next level could be so overlooked is beyond comprehension.

It was only later on, after his murder, that ordinary folk really started to understand just how talented and influential Paul C was.  He was completely ahead of his time, he was an innovator and creator, and he fully deserves his place in hip hop history alongside Herc, Bambaataa, Flash, Marley Marl etc.  Many of the artists he worked with at that time knew of his skills and recognised that he was a pioneer, but this respect and recognition didn't really extend to the record buying public.  Mainly because his name wasn't always shown in the credits. 

Fortunately, in 2001 Dave Tompkins spent 3 months researching the story of Paul C and put together this fascinating, absorbing and compelling narrative.  This has got to be the most concise collection of facts and recollections about someone who is largely undocumented.
With contributions from Ultramagnetic, Rahzel, Large Professor, Pharoah Monch, Prince Po and many more, this is about as close to a biography or written documentary as we're ever likely to get.

I'm not going to dwell on this any further as Tompkins' article tells you everything you need to know and a lot more besides.  He sets the scene, he takes you right back to that time and he puts you in the mindset of those who were there.  It's not a quick read, so grab a drink and a snack and absorb yourself in some classic hip hop history.  You're hip hop knowledge will be expanded by the end of it!


July 11, 2011

Non Phixion - Legacy 12" (1996)

It still amazes me to this day that Non Phixion ever managed to get their material published.  They had significant interest being shown from several major labels, were then signed to Geffen, then signed to Matador, Matador then committed to producing an album and yet 5 years later they had virtually nothing to show for it! 

To the groups members, it must have seemed like the whole industry was against them.  Despite them having the backing of some industry heavyweights like MC Serch and Rick Rubin along with proven sales from their early single releases, it just didn't seem like it was ever going to happen for them.
Still, perseverance pays off, and so does setting up your own label (Uncle Howie Records) as this was the eventual remedy to the Non Phixion headache.

Going back to 1996 before most of their troubles started, when MC Serch was helping to get Non Phixion a major signing.  Their debut 12" entitled Legacy was released independently on the Fat Beats label and sold around 20,000 copies. 

It's an interesting release, because as it was 6 years before their debut  LP was released, it understandably has a completely different sound.  It was produced by Serch under his Serchlite Music company, whereas their later productions would come from either Necro or Non Phixion themselves.  However, it still maintains that trademark Non Phixion style.
MC Serch makes an unexpected appearance too, and somehow manages to sound a bit different without completely flipping his style, but it works quite well.

The B side is a different matter though.  The track is called No Tomorrow and is produced by Necro.  It's not the usual Necro style that we've become familiar with, instead this sounds much like most of the mainstream NY productions of that time.  The style of the chorus is also very typical of that era and overall the track reminds me of numerous east coast melodies from the mid 90's. 

It's definitely worth checking this out  If nothing else, it's good to feel some more of that mid 90's east coast flavour.

For those historians out there who like to know all the minuscule details of an artist or their history etc, you'll be pleased to know that the P Brothers conducted an explicit, honest and unique interview with MC Serch back in 2003 which he claimed would be his last interview of that kind.  He really went to town on setting the record straight. 
During the 2nd part of the interview, Serch explains much of the background to setting up Non Phixion and openly discusses the later fallout between him and Ill Bill.  It's a riveting read as it also uncovers lots of great history that hasn't previously been told about 3rd Bass, Nas, OC, Wild Pitch records etc.  But it's too much to cover here, so I'll get it uploaded in the next week or two!

Download The Full 12" (Hotfile 32mb)

July 5, 2011

Blogwatch - June 2011

(What a great rework of a classic King T album cover)

Well, another month passes us by and as the weather starts to heat up, so does my monthly round up of all the best features from across the many blogs and websites that the internet offers us.  June was a pretty good month with a variety of gems:

Masta Ace Interview
This was written a couple of years back, but I've only just stumbled upon it and as its a timeless interview it's just as interesting today as it was back then.  Ace reflects on some of his back catalogue, Kane getting dissed at his own birthday party, working with other artists and a whole bunch of other ish!  Get stuck in.

Big L's brother insists the movie will be released this year
For any Big L fan, this documentary is long overdue.  L's bigga bro gives the low down on what we should expect when the documentary is finally released.

King Tee - Going Way Back
Money B (you know, the guy from Raw Fusion and Digital Underground) does a regular radio spot on Rapstation.com called Going Way Back where he only plays material released before 1999.  This month he caught up with west coast legend King Tee from the Likwit Crew.  Check out his podcast for an hours worth of classic King Tee cuts and an interview.  For the full track list follow the link.

DJ Lord Ron - Black Moon Dedication
DJ Lord Ron of the mighty Zulu Nation has put together a nice little Black Moon dedication mix.  It's a free download and worth checking out if you're a Buckshot fan.