July 25, 2012



Yesterday there was a lot of buzz around the web about this awesome mixtape from Rock Steady DJ, JS-1. It’s 3 hours of demo’s from major artists, most of which were big in the 1990’s. Don’t get me wrong, the line up looks stellar and there are quite a few that I’m eager to hear, but when you take a minute to consider some of these joints, I’m not convinced they are all true demo’s.

For example, we know from many different stories how Eric B & Rakim’s early material came to be, and there certainly wasn’t a Rakim demo tape kicking around. So what I think we really have here is a collection of tracks that are either cuts that didn’t make the album, unused remixes, or early versions before they were fully mixed down etc, with a few demos thrown in for good measure.

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t make the mix any less interesting (in fact it probably makes it better as demo tapes can, understandably, sound very amateurish), but it’s good to keep things in perspective. I’ve included the full track list after the jump, along with the download link.

And if hearing a demo from your favourite golden era artist is your kind of thing, keep an eye out over the next few weeks as I’ll be posting 30 more demo tracks, and this time they will be the proper original demo tapes!

Mike Check.

July 22, 2012

A Fresh Lick of Paint

Hello peeps. The new site is now up and running, and there have been a few changes to the appearance and layout. It also seems to be operating a little slicker than before (not that we had any problems previously).

We've been running for nearly two years, and so it seemed a good time to tart the place up a little bit. Be careful as you look around though, there's still some patches of wet paint :)

Mike Check.

July 16, 2012

Do you know anything about this?

Whilst digging in my (digital) crates looking for something a little different to share with you, I stumbled across an mp3 rip that intrigued me. The file name simply said ‘UK Rappin Championships 1988’. I’ve had this for quite a while, so I can’t remember where, or who, I got it from. “Not a problem” I thought, I’ll just do a quick Google search to find out more.

But this is one of those items where the all knowing internet surprisingly returns zilch!!! I’ve got cassette rips that I consider more obscure or rarer than this, but most of them have turned up on blogs or YouTube. Yet this is a national championship akin to other competitions like the DMC, so it seems strange that it’s undocumented. I tried several popular search engines and numerous variations of search text, but the only thing I can find is an entry on Last.fm that has no description. This has just made me all the more curious. This is a part of UK hip hop history that is clearly undocumented, so if you know anything about it, however trivial, then please leave a comment below and let’s see if we can build a better picture of this event.  On the plus side, it does mean that this is probably an exclusive to FoaWP!

If you listen to the embedded music player below, you can hear that it sounds like an officially organised event and one of the first emcees to appear is an MC Einstein. I can only assume that this is the same Einstein that was signed to Music of Life records in 1988. Other named emcees are MC Brooklyn, Jazzy P and Miss Delight, but I think there are other uncredited emcees.

From what I can make out, the format was to line up a number of emcees and let them take turns, as opposed to the now traditional battle style of head to head dissing. However, there are still some nice little battles within this format (listen at around 6:15 for a good example of this). The host also makes a reference to ‘last year’ so this wasn’t the first or only event of its kind.

Whilst the judges are deliberating who the winner is, an unknown beatboxer entertains the audience which includes a nice little tribute to the kids TV programme Rainbow. The biggest travesty though is that whoever edited this from its original cassette omitted to include the announcing of the winner, duh!

The whole affair has been edited down to just less than 25 minutes. As you would expect with a recording of this age, it’s got the atmospheric cassette hiss in the background, but this doesn’t detract from the lyrics, if anything it’s a timely reminded of what we used to endure without really noticing it.

So, can you remember this event? Do you know where it was, who hosted it, or any of the contenders? Let’s hope someone can shed some light on it.  Leave a comment below if you have any info.

Update - Some of the questions here have now been answered.  Check out the update here.

Mike Check

Alternatively, download the mp3: https://hotfile.com/dl/156219942/d041742/UK_rappin_championships_1988.mp3.html

July 9, 2012

De La Soul

The month of April saw the (incredibly quiet) release of De La Soul's Plug 1 & Plug 2 presents... First Serve, the latest LP from the group’s front men.
I’d forgotten that this LP was in production and its stealthy release did nothing to bring it to my attention, nor will it help its sales.  As a result, I’ve not yet listened to it so I’m not going to comment on it.

Instead, when I accidentally spotted that the album is now out, it reminded me of several De La Soul videos I have sitting in my archive, and I subsequently realised that De La Soul haven’t made an appearance on this blog yet. So I think it’s time to put that right.

I wanted to upload the original 3 Feet High and Rising VHS release from 1990 that accompanied their debut LP, but I haven’t got the time to convert if from a vob file at the moment, so instead I’m going to hit you up with this rare concert footage from 1997.

This concert was filmed in Belgium at the Lokerse Festival. In an effort to make it a little more interesting than just the plain raw footage of Plug’s 1, 2 and 3 on stage, the editor has added some visual effects. Although the effects don’t detract from the concert or the music, they’re a little odd as the quality falls somewhere between amateur home video and authorised professional release. If these effects had been added to the video when it was recorded in 1997 then I probably wouldn’t have commented, but according to the closing credits the film was edited in 2008!

But don’t let any of this deter you from watching this DVD as the trio delivers a balanced mix of tracks from their early albums (which some might say was when they were at their best), all tightly pulled together and well performed.

Tracklist and embedded video after the jump.

July 2, 2012

Latest Bloggings

Here is this months round up of goodness from around the web and bloggasphere.  As is often the case with my highlights from the web, it's a mixed bag of old and new, but hopefully it's still full of the realness that us true hip hop heads are in need of (if not, please let me know in the comments section).

Before I get into some of these gems, I want to welcome Moyinka to the FoaWP team. He's an experienced blogger who shares many of his old school rarities (1986-1991) over at the To The Break of Dawn blog (which I recommend you check out). I think he's got something slightly different planned for this blog, but I don't want to spoil any surprises.

Up North Trips Presents The 10s

The fella's at Up North Trips have paid homage to one of the most significant album releases of the 90's, Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth's Mecca and the Soul Brother which celebrated it's 20th anniversary earlier this month. 
They've picked 10 tracks from the album and focused on the samples and beat construction to highlight the complexity and ingenuity of Pete Rock's production and thus the major influence his work has had on other producers ever since.  The end product is a brilliant mix of the original samples blended with the finished tracks.
You can listen to the mix on the Soundcloud player below, but I'd strongly recommend reading the full article to gain the full appreciation of this mix. 

Large Professor - Part 2

Following on from last months update, Extra P continues to break down his classic records in part 2 of Complex's review.  He not only talks about his productions, but also the tracks he featured on as an emcee working with people like Nas, Pete Rock, Beatnuts etc.  He also gives insights behind Nas' groundbreaking track Rewind (the one where he tells the story in reverse). 

Kurious & A.G.

Kurious is back with a new joint which features A.G. on the mic and Diamond D on the boards.  It's not what you might expect from Kurious or the DITC veteran, but it's still funky all the same.  Thanks to the DJ Premier Blog for sharing this.

Mike Check