February 25, 2013

Jam Jay Crime File

US television channel, TV One, recently covered the death of Jam Master Jay as part of their Crime File series.  But before looking at the tragic death of Jam Jay, the episode begins by documenting the formation of Run DMC, them getting signed to Profile Records and the influence Jay had on his band members. 
Also covered is the demise of Run DMC in the late 80's, supposedly caused by Russell Simmons' law suit against Profile Records, although I'm not sure that I'd entirely agree with that perspective.  Run DMC had a distinct sound, but the late 80's saw the hip hop landscape change dramatically.  To me, the group no longer fitted so neatly into this new era and they failed to adapt.

Other angles explored are Jam Jay's signing of Onyx and 50 Cent, and the financial difficulties he later faced.  Then we get to the night of the murder.  Don't expect any revelations here, we see the well documented links to Kenneth 'Supreme' McGriff touched upon, but then dismissed!  The occupants of the studio that night are all named and we see a reconstruction of the events, but ultimately we're not given anything new or led to any different conclusions.

But don't let this put you off, this is still a good documentary that, for the most part, explores Run DMC's history and influence and only the last 10 minutes is given to examining the night of the murder.  It contains contributions from a range of industry associates and his friends Eric B and Fredro Starr.

February 18, 2013

When Philly Met Brooklyn

This is the recently made documentary about Freshco & Miz, the emcee and DJ duo who won their respective titles as the Battle for World Supremacy Champions in 1989. For those too young to remember, the Battle for World Supremacy was the competition to win back in the day, and winning had always ensured that a prosperous career lay ahead.

Previous winners of the DJ battle had been DJ Scratch, Cash Money and Jazzy Jeff. So when Miz won in 89 and teamed up with Freshco, the emcee champion from the same year, they looked set to follow in their predecessors shoes, but that wasnt to be. This documentary explores their journey to, and beyond, the Battle for World Supremacy. Why it didnt work out and what happened to masters of their craft.

Theres some really nice nuggets of history shared through the narrative of this documentary. Miz in particular highlights some of the evolution that was taking place at that time in terms of DJing techniques and how the music industry was changing around them. Keep an eye out for appearances by MC Serch (BfWS host), MC Lyte, Guru, Ice-T as well as early performances by Treach, Dres and Yo-Yo and several others.

As a side note, Im not sure what happens to Monie Love at 57:30, she suddenly decides to speak like someone with learning difficulties, very bizarre!

February 10, 2013

Fresh Fest 2

This is Video Music Boxs televised coverage of Fresh Fest 2 from 1985. This comes from the era when multiple headlining acts doing stadium tours was something new, and this footage shows how it all went down. 
Presented in the style of a documentary, we get to see Grandmaster Flash & the Furious 5, Whodini, Fat Boys and Run DMC all perform their live sets.   And lets not forget that this is when they were at their peak and performing what we now calltheir classics. Theres plenty of interesting back stage clips, a press conference with Whodini and Run DMC doing a collaborative freestyle and a few other artists making surprise cameo appearances too.

This is a must see for old school enthusiasts, but if youre a graf fan, then be prepared for the over-the-top anti graffiti messages (no doubt encouraged by NY Mayor Ed Koch, famed for his anti graffiti views). Incidentally, Ed died last week (1st Feb), but thats purely co-incidence and not the reason Im sharing this. Check out Mario Van PeeblesDont Do It skit, itll make you cringe.

I'd also recommend you check out Robbie's recent interview with Ralph McDaniels, who filmed this concert, over at Unkut.com.  Ralph McDaniels is the creator of Video Music Box that pre existed MTV Raps and BET, and in the interview he details how this concert was filmed along with a whole host of other interesting hip hop history.  One of the things he mentions, is his involvement with filming the Lifers Group documentary.  I just checked YouTube and it isn't on there.  I have a copy, so will endeavour to get that uploaded and shared in the near future.

Ralph McDaniels interview - Part1 and Part 2.

February 4, 2013


It's a brief look back at some of the gems from around the internet this month, but don't let that fool you.  The two interviews are quality pieces that explore untapped history from two very different artists.  And then I had a macabre few minutes deciding to share the final piece, but there's something about it I find quite fascinating. 

MC Shan Interview

shan 1002b

This is a corker. Anyone who is familiar with Shan will know that he’s honest, upfront and outspoken, which are all the ingredients required to serve up a good interview. And Robbie (from Unkut.com) does a sterling job (as always) in asking Shan some unique questions to draw out some great stories and hip hop history. Shan recalls dissing LL Cool J (and his fans turning LL’s limo over), the formation of Cold Chilin Records, drug addiction, various beefs and why hid didn’t appear on The Symphony. Definitely worth digesting!

Unkut - MC Shan Interview

What happened to Kool Kim?


Or his partner Hass G for that matter?  Well, if you ever wondered what happened to The UMC's check out Unkut's upfront interview with Kool Kim who explains what went down, reminisces on growing up with the Wu Tang  on Staten Island (and battling Shyheim), and recalibrates people's opinion on whether they were hard or soft.  

Unkut.com - Kool Kim Interview

Biggie Smalls - The Autopsy Report

I know it's a bit grim, but at the same time its kind of fascinating, and I know some of you will be intrigued by this.  TMZ have obtained a copy of The Notorious B.I.G.'s autopsy report which details how many times he was shot and what, from a medical point of view, actually killed him.
What's most interesting to me is the details of the entry and exit wounds.  If you do the math, it's clear that he was moving around in an attempt to minimise the risk of being hit.  It paints a grim picture of the chaos that must have occurred in those few tragic seconds.