September 30, 2011

Rare Demon Boyz Video

In case anyone hasn't come across Style Warrior, he runs a nice little site selling extremely limited runs of t-shirts featuring UK artists of the golden era.  If you haven't checked him out, I recommend that you do.

He also shares some interesting videos and this particular clip is no exception.  According to his website, it's an exclusive and unreleased video from the Demon Boyz for the track No Hocus Pocus.  Check out his site for more details on how this video came about:

September 26, 2011

Hard as Chinese arithmetic.

Once more we revisit our Brooklyn dwelling pioneers; this time for some Wordz of Wisdom. This has to be one of my favourites from the Bassers, 7 minutes of rhyme fuelled mayhem over a driving rhythm track that sounds as fresh today as it did in 1989.

The video itself is something of a frustration however, only released, as far as I am aware, on a VHS compilation, it would appear that it was cut to a tantalising two minute snippet for continuity purposes. Or more likely Serch and Pete Nice started fighting and the director’s panicked shouts of ‘cut’ simply saw them unsheathe their respective knives.

Speaking of the video director, I’m not sure he was their biggest fan. How else do you explain his remarkable decision to site the shoot in the middle of road you would have to describe as busy. Then placing the Prime Minister on a precarious looking chair, that certainly wouldn’t have withstood the impact of a Serch kick, never mind a 69 Impaler or whatever they’re called. He, and surely it is a he, then suggested, to our presumably incredulous duo, that we finish this bitch on a construction site! Where far larger vehicles roam unchecked, kicking up rapper obscuring amounts of dust, what could possibly go wrong! Despite this clear recipe for disaster the shoot went ahead; presumably our wordsmiths concerns were sated, when once more they were informed that the chair, undoubtedly now retired from a BBC King Arthur period drama, would be present.

I should also add that admirers of fierce crotch gyrating should certainly have their notebooks ready at 28 seconds in. For it is here that we witness an oscillation of such pelvis shattering proportions that you have to assume Serch has become accidentally entangled with a local fishermans hook, and an inadvertent, yet rhythmic fight, for genital survival briefly ensued. Thank goodness they managed a satisfactory take first time round. A second attempt may well have killed him, or at the very least separated him from his indispensible spine.

There is of course a third member of the group, who rarely seems to warrant much attention, DJ Daddy Rich. A trawl through Google reveals nothing of note, which is a shame as I would certainly loved his take on the politics of the group. He seemed happy though, always smilling. However this is perhaps best attributed to the fact that he knew that Serch and Nice were always only ever a misplaced glance away from staging their own unscripted version of ultimate fighting champion in the recording studio. An event that would appear to have ended, judging by the Serches hairdo, with him being chased down an alley that was significantly narrower than he had initially estimated.

Enjoy downloader, enjoy!

September 19, 2011

Silver Anniversary Series - DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince

For my latest instalment in the Silver Anniversary Series, I'm kind of passing the buck!  It's not that I don't want to do this instalment, it's that someone has pretty much done it already and I'm not one for reinventing the wheel or biting others work. 
Many people don't know that DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince were around as early as 1986, two years before their major releases on Jive Records, so I think it's important to cover them within this series, and when you've read this article you'll understand why a bubble gum pop act is being featured on this site (hint - it wasn't always like that!).

Now, Werner Von Wallenrod did an excellent narrative earlier this year on his blog about the 'original' version of DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince's Girl's ain't nothing but trouble.  I say 'original' because as Werner rightly points out in his review, the original 12" (released in 1986) existed two years before the more commonly known version and the differences are pretty significant and intriguing.

I'm not going to go into the differences here as Werner will give you the low down, but let's just say that once you've read his review you'll be wondering whether Jeff and Will could possibly have been a more credible group with much more underground success.  I'm not suggesting they would ever have been 'street', but they could have been something more akin to Biz Markie's style of credible comedy hip hop. 

Anyway, head over to Werner's review and see for yourself what I'm waffling on about.

Once I'd read Werner's review, it made me wonder about the other version of this single, Guy's ain't nothing but trouble.  Did this undergo the same revamp?  Unfortunately I can't find a copy to listen to, but if anyone else knows the answer then please let us know or leave a comment.
I also wanted to provide you with an audio clip of the original 12" so that you could hear the difference for yourself, but no matter how much I dig, I've not managed to dig up a copy (yet!).  If anyone knows of a blog that has this, please let me know and I'll add it here.

Mike Check.

September 10, 2011

Before I Wake

The 13th of September is the 15th anniversary of Tupac Shakur's death.  So it seems like a good time to share this DVD with you all and reminisce on the brilliance that was Tupac.  I know that many people have allowed time, the media and some of the posthumous (and thugged out) releases to taint their memories of Tupac, but let's not forget that before all the hype and the demise, he was a brilliant revolutionary with pioneering lyrics and concepts.

In the wake of both Tupac and Biggie's death's, I took the time to watch many of the video releases that the market was flooded with.  Unfortunately, most of these were torturous as they contained very little in the way of interesting footage or new information.  Mostly, they were interviews with a bunch of wannabe gang-bangers with tenuous links to Tupac (like they once bumped into Tupac in a liquor store, or they lived on the same road as him when he was growing up etc).

As a result of these diabolical releases, I didn't explore any of the later material that was published, until much more recently.  So when I stumbled across this DVD, I didn't hold out much hope, but I was wrong.  This particular documentary has an interesting twist, it's Tupac's story told by one of his long time personal body guards Frank Alexander (Tupac had 5 bodyguards).  It also contains genuine unseen and rare footage that really adds to the overall presentation.  And I'm not talking about the usual scam of including a 30 second clip of Tupac on stage, recorded on a mobile phone that allows the DVD to be labelled with 'Exclusive footage', uh uh, this is proper stuff.

Some of the footage is from Frank Alexander's own personal library, other clips appear to be the edited out sections from the interviews that we've all seen previously.  These additional/extended clips add interesting new insights into Tupac's life and character.  But the bulk of the footage in this documentary is the compelling interview with Frank Alexander, supported by reconstructions, a visit to the crime scene and accounts from one of the investigating homicide detectives and a reporter who was at the scene. 

Frank Alexander comes across as a very sincere person without any ulterior motives.  He was clearly a friend of Tupac's as well as his bodyguard and he, like the rest of us, could sense that something didn't add up about the whole event.  Frank gives his own detailed account of the day leading up to the shooting, he was in the car behind Suge Knight's and saw the shooting take place, and then most interestingly he details the events that unfolded over the next few days before Tupac died almost a week later.  This is a first hand, eye witness account which I've not previously seen anywhere else.

For conspiracy theorists, Frank's account might leave you with more questions than answers.  Why was security so lax that evening?  Why did Suge drive the particular route that he did?  Why was the crime not secured by the police?  Why were eyewitnesses not identified and questoned?  Why did it take so long for detectives to interview anyone?  The list goes on. 
This information really starts to help the viewer understand why nobody was ever charged or named as a suspect and why there is such a lack of meaningful evidence.

However, what Frank's account does give, is a believable insight into aspects of the incident that haven't (to my knowledge) been previously discussed or explored.  He appears to stick to the facts and avoids filling in the gaps or speculating on what might have happened.  This helps to give credence to his version of events.

Overall, it's an interesting documentary and Frank Alexander is a decent orator.  Lasting just over an hour and half, it doesn't feel padded out and neither does it drag.  So if you're only going to pick one posthumous  Tupac video to watch, I'd strongly recommend this one over the many others that are out there.

RIP - Tupac Shakur (13th Sept 1996)

Download 700mb

Mike Check

September 4, 2011

Blogwatch - August 2011

Well, August has been a quiet month across many blogs and there's not been a great deal that I'd shout about (or take the time to share with you), but hopefully these two little gems will prove that quality is better then quantity.  I doubt many can argue that these two pieces of news are music to most people's ears.

Masta Ace Documentary
Yep, you did just read the title correctly.  What makes this good news even better, is that DJ Premier is producing the soundtrack for it.  Check out more details over at the DJ Premier blog.

Premo Produced Rakim LP!
The second great piece of news coming from the DJ Premier blog this month is that Rakim is working on a new album and Premo is producing it.  Now, this collaboration is probably around 15 years over due and most people probably can't understand why this project hasn't already happened as it's a no brainer for both artists.  Check the video for more details: