Saturday, 26 December 2009
Random Nineties 12" number 5- Mike Zoot featuring Mos Def, Consequence and Talib KweliHigh Drama, Pt. 3: The Search For 2
Following on from last weeks High Drama remix (part 2 ? who knows maybe) this week we have the final part of the trilogy; High Drama Part 3: the Search for 2 (are they referring to the part 2 in that title ?). This came out in early 1998 if I remember right and it was released on Guesswhyld (GW 201) distributed by Fat beats, like the first two parts and like the first two parts this was purchased from Mr Bongos on Poland Street in London's West End. Of course like most of the decent Hip Hop record shops in London Mr Bongos has long since closed down which is a shame as I bought many dope tunes from there and even remember seeing a few good in store performances too. You can still check out the Mr Bongos website but its mainly focused on the rereleases put out on the Mr Bongos label and their mostly Latin, Jazz and Funk albums and compilations. Returning to the 12" at hand, the track is produced Shawn J Period who was at the time at the top of his game and not only did we have Mike and Mos returning for the final chapter but we also had Talib Kweli who was on fire on the at the time and Consequence who was clearly being prepped as Phife's replacement in Tribe. This record was destined to be a major underground hit; dope upbeat track with four sick underground Emcee dropping dope intelligent whilst funny rhymes.
I love this track, each lyricist drops a rhyme that makes fun of the stupid drug riddled rhymes of the late nineties. I'm not talking about the Biggie or Jay-Z because they were original and good at it I'm talking about the second rate rhymers who it seems were constantly escaping from Colombians they had recently 'copped a brick from in Bogota somewhere. Mike, Mos, Kweli and Consequence pointed out the stupidity of their mainstream counterpart's rhymes not to mention the fact that not every Colombian, Sicilian or whatever other ethnic minority was the flavour of the month were not necessarily members of some sort of criminal underclass. Shawn J out does himself with possibly one of his bounciest tracks ever with a mellow horn sample that drops in and out like Brad Pitt's accent in Snatch. Whilst converting this to MP3 from the original vinyl, yes I actually own the vinyl, I found another remix of this track in my iTunes Library as an added bonus I have included this along with the vinyl rip which can be found by following the link below. I have no idea who produces this and it was originally downloaded on some dodgy Mos Def compilation called We are Hip-Hop which I grabbed from the long since shut down Music download site Oink's Pink Palace. If anyone knows who produced this please let me know. Enjoy and please post in the comments if there is something you are looking for, next week looks like it will be some vintage Wu affiliates shit.
High Drama part 3 the search for 2
Sunday, 20 December 2009
After doing the original 'High Drama' last week it only seemed logical to put up the remix this week. The remix came out a couple of months after the original also on Guesswhyld (GW 201) in late 1997. This was a pretty big hit on the Indie scene and was featured on a lot of mixtapes at the time, my favourite being the Eddie Ill and DL tapes which featured so much dope indie music at the time.
This was another Mr Bongo's( a long since closed down Hip Hop record shop in London's West End) purchase and probably cost about £6.50, around this time I was spending at least £30 a week on vinyl and mixtapes, the good old days when buying music still held some excitement.
The 12" features the 'High Drama remix', 'Service remix' and the original 'Service' with instrumentals too. The best joint on the 12" is easily the 'High Drama remix' which is remixed by Shaun J Period. Shaun J Period always struck me as a bouncier version of Hi-Tek who had some seriously dope beats. He had produced for a number of well respected underground and indie artists up to this point (Heltah Skeltah, Mad Skillz & Mos Def had used him for his solo debut Universal Magnetic easily one of Mos's best songs ever)and would go onto produce Blackstar's Respiration & the fantastic Body Rock with Q-Tip, Mos Def and Tash from the Lyricist Lounge compilation on Rawkus (RWK 1129-2 released in1998). He also laced Coocoa Brovas's with a joint on the Rude Awakening album. But then Shawn just seemed to retire from the scene, but a couple of years ago I remember seeing a new project with his name on a few blogs and message boards although I never heard too much about it. Back to the 'High Drama remix' its a bouncy joint as you would expect laced with some nice piano stabs of a mid tempo drum break and some intermittent horns somewhere in the background. Its the same lyrics as the first so no need to comment on those.
The 'Service remix' is produced by Mr Mayhem, who only seems to have produced a few other joints the most notable being for Big Kwam back in 1996 on his track 'I don't give a whut' indeed I can't remember that either. However the beat he provides Mike with isn't too bad; nice strings, some horns and a Tribe vocal sample I think taken from the beginning of 'Check the Rhyme'. Theres no change on the lyrics like the 'High Drama remix' its only the beat which is remixed.
The B side contains the original version of 'Service' the clean and dirty versions and the instrumental. Seeing as they were on the 12" I upped last week I'm not gonna bother to up them now. I have always thought that the 'High Drama remix' was part 2 of the series and then part 3 was the joint with Consequence that had new lyrics and beat but someone mentioned to me that the real part 2 was never released. If anyone has any info on this or even a rip of part 2 I'd love to hear form you. Meanwhile check the link for the rip and next week its part 3's turn.
High Drama Remix
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
As some of you know I saw Mos Def live in London a couple of weeks ago and I was incredibly disappointed; he was late on stage, did barely an hour, did none of the tracks I wanted to hear, he did a mediocre drum solo (you are not Questlove) and bad Michael Jackson covers. I came away asking myself was I the only one there who thought he sucked ? but after speaking to some friends I came to the conclusion That the real hip hop heads were let down by this poor concert. Even the people who thought it was good could said the best thing about it was that Definition was fantastic and so were couple of other tunes. These guys seemed happy that he did three great songs, in all honesty I have to say three songs don't make a concert. So I went home and vowed not pay to see Mos Def again and that I would content myself by listening to some good old Mos Def before he became the pretentious artists that he now appears to be.
So I dug into my record collection and found one of my favourite indie joints of the late nineties; Mike Zoot featuring Ms Def 'High Drama'. Mike Zoot was one of those Indie rappers who seemed to be everywhere for a few years but then kind of faded into memory along with people like Mr Complex, L-Fudge, Problemz, Defari and Shabam Sadeeq all of whom were dope but I for one cannot remember the last time I heard them on a new track. It seemed at the time when this 12" dropped that every visit to shops like Deal real and Mr Bongo who lead to me buying a 12" by one of the above artists or someone similar one Rawkus, Guesswhyld, Stones Throw, Fondle 'Em or another one of the prolific labels of the time.
Getting back to this 12" 'High Drama' was an anti gangster rap track with a humorous tone to it. Instead of being preachy like the Jeru's of this world Mos and Mike decide to make fun of the gangster rappers. The beat is provided by Hi-Tek and is suitably bouncy with a nice strings sample over a mid tempo break simple enough but effective enough not to draw your attention away from the raps.
The B side (if it is indeed the B side as theres no indication on the label) features two tracks; Service produced by QB cohort EZ Elpee and Turn produced by Sha Self (aka Sha Money XL). The main track of the two is service and a clean, dirty and instrumental version are on the 12". 'Service' is a decent enough track nothing major compared to High drama but Mike Zoot's comic delivery place it a little higher than the usual Indie track. 'Turn' is cool enough and features a nice piano loop over a mid tempo beat. Theres a couple of skips on this 12" but their not too bad so hopefully they wont detract from your enjoyment.
There was of course follow ups to 'High Drama' and I will try and get these up in the next week or so. Please check the link below for the 12" rip.
Everybody love a good fight
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
For the second instalment of my Random nineties series I've stuck with the Non Phixion/Necro family and gone with Ill Bill's Gangsta Rap 12" which dropped in 1999 on Necro's second label Psycho-Logical label (PL2). The 12" features two tracks; Gangsta Rap and How to kill a cop both of which are produced by Necro.
Gansgta Rap features a lovely piano loop with a spiralling bass riff and a mellow trumpet sample that almost sounds out of place on this track but somehow Necro pulls it off to great effect creating an eerie track with a mellow vibe. DJ Eclipse provides some nice cutting and scratching of a dope ODB sample (You's a Gangsta?) and Ill Bill drops some funny tongue in cheek lyrics about being a thug;
"Aye yo I smoke dust and shoot cops,
Sold guns to Tupac, smoke blunts with Biggie Smalls and sold drugs on new lots,
I was too young,
couldn't get up in clubs in the old days,
we used rob and terrorise kids in front of home-base,
When Funkmaster Flex was inside rocking the whole place we was outside smacking kids and snatching gold chains"
The B Side features Ill Bill's homage to the classic Redman track "How to roll a blunt" however Bill is telling us how to Kill a cop. Obviously not being a rapper that really goes for radio play allows someone like Ill Bill to really cut lose on a track like this and he does. The beat is a very similar to the original Redman joint however Necro has roughed up some of the edges with some nice samples, cuts and scratches. Bill messes with Reggie's lyrics putting his own twist on them to create a funny albeit slightly sick few verses;
"Check out this new Ill Bill gimmick that's splendid
Since you're down with other shit let's see if you're down wit this
It's about strictly tryin to kill a cop
Once you get the hang of it, after you blast one you steal his glock
First of all you need a fat bag of dust plus the biscuit
Any local store sells the shit, friend
Purchase a milli', not that bitch Millie Jackson silly stunt
I'm talkin about the nine millimeter gun
Pick up the gat, scratch the serial numbers off
No fingerprints, surgical ones are my gloves of choice
All of these other cop killers be thinkin guns are toys
And when these cats get caught, they snitch on all they boys
I kill a cop on a solo mission; without a pair of gloves
Shot him in the face with a stolen biscuit
Then wiped my fingerprints off real careful
If you don't think you ready yet dog, just let the song prepare you
This 12" was bought from the now closed down Mr Bongo's which served up indie hip hop and breakz to London Hip Hop heads for many years. The A Side has a clean, dirty, instrumental and ac cappella version where as the B Side features an extended sample from a classic 90's film the of which escapes me before giving us a dirty, clean and instrumental version. Check the link below for the 12" rip.
Next week it will be an early Mos Def 12" to remind people how good he was before he started turning in performances like the one on Sunday the 29th in London which in my opinion was absolutely terrible and catered to a strictly trendy crowd.
For some DJ Eclipse dopeness check out DJ MK's blog where he has dope Eclipse mixtape from '98.