Archive for the ‘PRESS REWIND’ Category
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T-Love aka Taura Love
KMD & Grim Reaper : What A Nigga Know Remix (Elektra, 1994)
The main focus of this blog is not really remixes, but sometimes you may wonder what’s the definition of a remix after all ? Literally a remix is supposed to be a different mix of a song, you turn the bass up, add some percussion and flip the sample differently. Back in the 80s it was closer to arrangement than composition. Then in the early 90’s most hip hop remixers started to do beats out of scratch and just blended a cappellas over it. Then Sean Combs came and “invented” the remix, very usefull when you know your rapper won’t be around next year but you have a dope beat and you want to extended the longevity of the song. You just cast a bunch of free lance MCs to spit rhymes over the original music. But nowadays you hear remixes with different beat AND different lyrics, so I guess a remix can be anything.
This song is listed as the remix to What A Nigga Know. The beat has nothing in common with the original, the lyrics are totally different and MF Grimm appears as an uncredited guest on the song. I used to think that it was a typo, or a type of mistake on the 12” artwork, but it seems that this was not a song per se, but really another version of What A Nigga Know. OK, they don’t even say the words What A Nigga Know in the remix, but whatever… That particular song was one of the very first time we heard The Grim Reaper. If memory serves me correct this 12” dropped in april 1994, just a few weeks after Kurious’ album where Grim made his debut on “Baby Bust It”. The remix pitches a strong line from Gil Scott-Heron’s ballad “Pieces Of A Man” as a hook, not a surprise since the Black Bastard album was strongly influenced by spoken word.
I remember buying the record when it came out, and loved it so much that I used the instrumental to open my radio show for a whole year in 94/95, and from 95 I used a beat I made sampling the Constipated Monkey bassline. I was really expecting the album and I was really sad when someone told me they got dropped from Elektra over some artwork argument. I guess artwork was a very sensitive subject for WEA back then because they used the same reason to refuse to distribute more than a few records that same year.
I found a bootleg copy of the album during the summer of 1994 in London, and of course the so-called “remix” was not on it. However it was included as a bonus on the original official pressing of the album, released years later on Subverse.
Kurious featuring Mike G & Sadat X : A Mansion And A Yacht (Hoppoh, 1994)
Having guest on your previously unreleased B side is always a plus, especially if he’s not your hype man (or you’re not his hype man !) or part of your crew.
For his third single (but the only one released after the Constipated Monkey LP), Kurious had to offer something fresh. The puerto-rican MC got his start by co-hosting the Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito show in it’s early days, hence his fan base consisted of some the most underground heads, but with it’s Blackbyrd played out sample I’m Kurious was his most commercial song (OK, I admit I didn’t know where the sample came from back in 1994, but I knew it had been used one too many time).
A Mansion And A Yacht was an unlikely posse cut produced by VIC, where Kurious teamed up with Sadat X and Mike G. You could have imagined him trading rhymes with his CM fam friend Zev Love X, or his Hit-U-Off management mates Artifacts or Hard To Obtain, but instead he decided to randomly pushed to the studio a couple of rappers at the lowest in their carreer. I don’t know the story behind the song, but they probably just met while working in the same recording studios (part of All Or Nothing was actually recorded in the same studio as this song) or freestyling on the radio. And quite honestly the result sounds more sincere than a lot of posse cuts where each verse is written diplomatically, everybody kicks one verse, and no one has more bars than the other. Also you can bet that most times the host has his verse in the middle of the song, or if it’s a group the guest verses will be intertwined with the host verses. Here we have a feel-good song where they all pass the mic back and forth, kick two different chorus, and don’t even bother to repeat the title twice.
The album seems to be in high demand nowadays, despite the fact that Hoppoh vinyles were manufactured by Sony, which means very bad pressing. This LP and Big L’s Lifestyle Ov Da Poor And Dangerous can be qualified as some of the lowest hip hop vinyl ever, along the line of the whole Relativity catalogue. Anyway, the 12″ sound was correct and had two mixes (the Baja Panties an the Merchantz mixes), this is the horn-less Baja Panties one.
Hip-Hop Vs Rap has to be my favourite KRS One track ever (expect to read that again). This joint is a killer from beginning to end. From the fake crowd participation intro you know this won’t be a normal song, then KRS makes it an interactive record by talking directly to the MCs and DJs listening, in a way no one ever did ! He then goes on by kicking one of his most memorable verse (sampled many times) that ends up with the famous part made of various lines borrowed from classic rap joints.
A few years later used the same trick on Bring It Back but the song just did not have the same magic.
The fact that the song does not have a chorus is characteristic of the general superiority of a B side (I don’t know why, but usually I think that I’m wasting my time when I listen to a chorus). He gets a bonus point from including the accapella of Hip-Hop Vs Rap on the 12″. This track was the B side of “Sound Of The Police” and was never made available officially anywhere else (not that I know of at least). Since the record was one of his most popular under his own name it should not be very difficult to find a copy.
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The last post about De La Soul reminded me of this other collab the Biz did. Drunken Praying Mantis Style is one of many tracks Biz Markie did with the Beasties, two of which were included on the Sound Of Science compilation, but this one is only on the B side of Pass The Mic 12″. As always with the Beastie Boys records, there are a dozen different pressings of the 12″, all with different tracklistings.
The song is like one of those moody funk jam that the Beastie Boys start doing after they build their own studio. Quite honestly the song is not anything special, and if Biz Markie was not in the studio at that moment I bet that Mario C. wouldn’t have push Rec. on the DAT. For some reason they put a snippet from an old school Busy Bee tape at the beginning of the song. I don’t know why people always bring Biz Markie’s name when talking about beat box, because he never really impressed me, and this song probably captured one of his worst drum machine impersonation. Well, as the name of the song implies, the Biz was not really himself when they did that so we forgive him. It’s funny to notice that Biz Markie is not credited on the cover, even if he is on the label but as the Grand lmperial Dr Marcel Hall.
The 12″ also includes an untitled song (those who know better calls it Netty’s Girl ) which is in the same vibe as the previous one, except that this time it’s Mike D who tries to prove us he can sing worse than Biz Markie. OK, I know these are two weird tracks, but it also included the Skills To Pay The Bills remix of Pass The Mic, it’s really dope and it’s technically a B side only release as well ! Just like the original version the remix has a million samples in it but not all playing at the same time, but they got rid of the big rock guitar (a Bad Brains sample I think). The remix kept the infamous James Newton flute loop which, ten years after they release the song, got them into a strange legal battle that they won.
De La Soul & Biz Markie : Lovely How I Let My Mind Float (Tommy Boy, 1993)
De La Soul is hands down the group with the best B Side catalog. I can’t think of any other artist who is that generous with his fans. They gave us so much goodies that I almost forgive them for the numerous appaling european remixes that went with it. Even the Beastie Boys who were always willing to drop new songs whenever possible couldn’t compete with De La. They could have made a triple album full of their unreleased B sides instead of the disastrous aborted AOI trilogy. They simply have more B sides than A sides, almost all their singles were blessed with at least two new songs and/or remixes.
Moreover they always wrapped them in dope artwork. That may seem a frivolous detail, but quite honestly it’s half of the reason I’m doing this weblog. Shit, whatever happened to the pic-cover 12″ ? Except for Sony all the major label nowadays sell their rap 12″ in generic sleeves. How comes Arista and Aftermath would rather do expensive picture-discs for promo than retail copies with artwork ?
But let’s go back to Lovely How I Let My Mind Float a first class b side from an overall dope 12″. As I said once a B side is always better with a guest star on it, and in this case the diabolical Biz is making a welcome appearance. This was 1993, when Biz decided to give up his recording artist career and go full time DJ, so any feature slot was highly appreciate by fan of stupid def simple rhymes. In the tradition of unreleased B sides no one bothers to mention the name of the song before Dove last line. I’m lovin it !
Besides this gem Plug One, Two and Three had another new song hiden behind the deceptive title Ego Trippin (part 3), which is not a remix of the main track but a totally different song dedicated to old timers.
The dope cover was one of a long line of Phase II inspired artworks. But don’t let the flyer fool you : Shortie No Mass is not dropping a verse anywhere on the record. They put her picture here but she only says a few words on Ego Trippin 2. And by the way, Biz Markie is not beatboxing at all on the song !