Monday, 18 January 2010

The Re Up:Mobb Deep and Claudja Barry

Because I have had a number of people asking for the Re Up on this post here it is again, with the download of course.

Back in about 1999 I picked up a Bootleg Mobb Deep 12" from London's now closed down Mr Bongos. I've always been partial to a nice bit of Havoc and Prodigy especially if its Havoc behind the boards. I like the dark ominous production style that Havoc fathered and their style of morbidly threatening raps has always cheered me up. At the time I had only heard 3 the Hard way and Gun Love on a couple of mixtapes and had liked what I heard despite the wack DJ shouting all over the tracks. So of course being a big QB fan I had to grab this bootleg 12"
The track Gun Love is about a love affair and how it lasts through the various ages of Prodigy's life and how much this love means to him. I know what your thinking this doesn't sound like the usual Mobb Deep subject matter but the love that he's talking about is as the title indicates his Gun Love. I know this sort of thing has been done before by a few other decent MCs but Prodigy drops the rhymes with such dry humorless lyrics that give this track its unique flavor.

The beat is made up a of a Claudja Barry sample taken from the track Love For The Sake Of Love from her 1976 album Sweet Dynamite. Claudja Barry was at one time a member of Boney M and was a well respected Disco artist in the mid seventies. The beat isn't the usual dark and suspenseful Havoc produced joint but a rather up beat and almost happy joint, which I guess is Mobb showing how ironic they can be.

The rest of this bootleg is taken up with some rather unusual tracks. Flippin is on the A side along with the above mentioned Gun Love and is a pretty run of the mill Mobb track with what sounds like Big Noyd dropping some lyrics but as its a bootleg I can't be sure as there is no credits. The first track on the B Side is 3 the Hard way which is a dope track. It has a cool guitar loop with lots of static over it. Its a little short for my liking but I'm sure there is a full version out there somewhere. Once again I think I hear Noyd on this but I'm not 100% sure. The last track on this is terrible it has Mobb Deep rapping over a an upbeat piano loop that by the end of the track turns into Pavarotti's Nestle Dormer, I think with Pavarotti singing included. Its so wrong for so many reasons and its abruptly cut short.
Check these out and the Claudja Barry sample by clicking the link below
I used to let Noyd hit her

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Teddy closes the door for the last time

I awoke this morning to the news that yet another Soul legend had passed away, Teddy Pendergrass. Teddy's career began when he was a drummer for The Cadillacs, which later merged with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Melvin asked Teddy to become the lead singer. Months later the group signed with Gamble & Huff on the then-CBS subsidiary Philadelphia International Records in 1972. The Blue Notes had hits such as "I Miss You," "Bad Luck," "Wake Up Everybody," the two million seller "If You Don't Know Me By Now" and many more. Following personality conflicts between Melvin and Pendergrass, Pendergrass launched a solo career and released hit singles like "The More I Get the More I Want," "Close the Door," "I Don't Love You Anymore," "Turn Off the Lights" and others.

His first solo album was self titled Teddy Pendergrass (1977), followed by Life is a Song Worth Singing (1978), Live Coast to Coast and Teddy (1979), 1980's TP and the final Philadelphia International Records album It's Time for Love (1981).
In 1982, in Philadelphia, Pendergrass was involved in an car accident. The brakes failed on his 1981 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit, causing the car to hit a guard rail, cross into the opposite traffic lane, and hit two trees. Pendergrass suffered a spinal cord injury leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
That year PIR also released This One's for You, while Pendergrass was recovering from his accident. In 1983, the album Heaven Only Knows was released. This was his last album containing his pre-accident recordings.
After completing physical therapy, he returned to the studio to record the album Love Language, featuring the 1984 ballad "Hold Me", a duet with a then-unknown Whitney Houston. He also returned to the public for a performance on July 13, 1985, at the historic Live Aid concert in Philadelphia, then continued to record throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 1998, Pendergrass released his autobiography entitled, Truly Blessed.

Teddy has been sampled by many acts including Little Brother, Raekwon, Kanye West, Cam’Ron, Twista, Ghostface, 9th Wonder, DMX and Green Lantern have utitized his works
In 2006, Pendergrass announced his retirement from the music business.[10] In 2007, he briefly returned to performing to participate in Teddy 25: A Celebration of Life, Hope & Possibilities, a 25th anniversary awards ceremony that marked Pendergrass' accident date, but also raised money for his charity, The Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, and honored those who helped Pendergrass since his accident.
In 2009, Pendergrass underwent surgery for cancer and had difficulty recovering from that disease from which he eventually died on January 13, 2010, at age 59.
Below is a collection of my favourite Teddy breaks both as a solo artist and with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

Rest in Peace Teddy

Monday, 11 January 2010

My Top 10 Reggae Breakz

As I haven't done a breakz post in a while and I've been listening to a lot of Reggae recently I thought I'd compile my top 10 Reggae Breakz. I'm not saying these are the most sampled Reggae Breakz or even the best but these are my favourite Reggae Breakz;

1 - Yellowman - Zungguzungguguzungguzeng
Classic Yellowman track from the album of the same name best utilised for Boogie Down Productions "P is Free" this was released in 1983 on the Shanachie label.

2 - Brentford All-Stars - Greedy G
Fantastic up beat Reggae / Ska tune used by BDP, Eric B and Rakim, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince and Ghostface amongst others. This was an early 1970s release by Studio 1's house band and apparently based on James Brown's Get on the Good Foot.

3 - Dave & Ansel Collins - Double Barrell
I am the Magnificent... this was taken form the 1971 album of the same name and was most notably used for the famous vocal sample at the start of the track by too many people to list here.

4 - Max Romeo and the Upsetters - Chase the Devil
Fantastic song from the album War Ina Babylon by Max Romeo and Lee Perry's backing band The Upsetters, released in 1976. This was also produced by Lee Scratch Perry and used on Jay-Z on Lucifer and also The Prodigy on Outa Space.

5 - Stranger Cole - These eyes (Crying every night)
Fantastic song from a 7" released on Baron records in 1971 and utilised by Hi-Tek on the first Reflection Eternal 12" Fortified Live.

6 - John Holt - I Will
Great Beatles cover by legendary Reggae artist John Holt taken from a Trojan Tribute to the Beatles and used on Jay-Z's Encore form the Black album.

7 - Barrington Levy - Under Me Sensei
The first of two track in this top ten by one of may favourites Reggae artists of the last twenty years or so Barrington Levy. This was released on the Thunder Bolt label in 1985 and was used by the Beastie Boys for Funky Boss from the Check your head album

8 - Wayne Smith - Under me Sleng Teng
A 1985 GreenSleeves release from Wayne Smith was used by the Prodigy for their track Weighin my Brain but the tune itself is a dope track with a nice synth beat.

9 - Barrington Levy - Minibus
Another dope track from Barrington this time from 1984 and released on Kingdom Records in the UK and used by DJ premier on the Afu Ra and Cocoa Brovas track D&D Soundclash.

10 - Rita Marley - One Draw
Rita Marley ode to weed to which was just begging to be sampled and who other than our favourite early nineties weed smokers, Cypress Hill better to use this on I Wanna get High. This was taken form the 1981 Rita Marley album Who feel is knows it on Shanachie.

Check the link below for the whole top ten. If you have some recommendations let me know in the comments

Under me Sleng Teng

Monday, 4 January 2010

Random Nineties 12" number 6-J Live - Longevity 12"

When J-Live's debut 12", the original Longevity/Braggin' Writes 12" dropped in 1995 on Raw Shack (RSP-001, another nineties indie label that seems to have disappeared) I totalled missed it and by the time I heard Braggin' writes I couldn't find a copy anywhere. That is why when the remix 12" (Groove Attack GAP 00211) dropped in 1996 I made sure I got two copies and if I remember correctly this may have been one of the first records I bought off an internet site, Sandbox I think.
Obviously the original Longevity/Braggin' Writes 12" is an amazing debut 12" which really shot J-Live onto the indie hip hop scene. The dope A-Side Longevity had a mellow beat with a crisp drum and the B-Side has a killer guitar sample with some sick scratches and both of them featured J-Live's intricate lyrics therefore to make the remix 12" something special they needed the remixes to be dope but significantly different to the originals.

The Longevity remix is handled by Roe Beardie, who had a track record mainly in European Hip Hop although he had worked with Walkin' Large (if anyone remembers him). The beat however is pretty dope; nice crisp drums, cool strings sample in the background and good vocal sample scratches throughout the chorus, intro and outro. A nice mellow take on the original.
The Braggin' Writes remix is handled by Dj Spinna who was just starting to rise to prominence by the time this came out but had worked magic withe Jigmastas on the Beyond Real 12" and would go on to work with a whole range of indie hip hop lyricists throughout the mid to late nineties. On the Braggin Writes Dome Cracker remix Spinna develops a lovely mellow piano loop based track features snappy drums and ambient sounds that come in and go out intermittently. Its a major departure from the barn storming beat of the original but the more mellow beat allows you to savour J-Live's sick lyrics, check the example below which is the second and third verses from Braggin Writes;

Cause yo, I got the hairsplittin, self-written unbitten style
that leaves the competition running scared and shakin in their pants
You best to set it off cause black it aint no second chance
once I'm open, all you doin is hopin that the Live one
will put the mic down, but son don't try to snatch it after
The laughter won't cease from the comparison, how dare you son
Step around the booth when I'm on
The microphone magician says poof, you're gone with the wind
There's no trace of your friends cause you don't know where the
beginning ends or where the end begins
But you see that's the difference, you get sold, I get paid
Black I told you, get paid
If you're broke I'll have to rain on your parade
You belong in Special Ed if you think you Got It Made
J-Live with the mic is like the chef with the blade
Cause suckers get sliced and sauteed
Yeah, you thought your joint was fly but the flight was delayed
because everybody's rappin, and only few can flow
So why the hell they tryin to deal with Live I don't know
I handle true MC's on their block or at their show
So if you come with bull kid, keep it on the low

Cause yo, I take the grey matter of pretenders
through my mental blender, and then return to sender
My pen don't pretend to offend
I intend to render MC's, hangin loose like a fender bender
I recommend regardless of your gender
That you strike messin with J-Live from your agenda
And remember that whoever lends a helpin hand to defend ya
Will get burned to a cinder
As I end the, reign of wack MC's with their suicidal tendencies
Renderin me sick, with the thoughts of killin enemies
But then I return to reality
Metaphorically murderin MC's when they battle me
You can't rattle me
I'm not your average snake slitherin through the grass
I surpass the serpent as I head to class
You consider me crass as I wax that ass; style's no joke
but you best belive I gets the last laugh

Although I don't think J-Live has ever made a better tune than the original Braggin' Writes he has made some majorly dope music throughout his career. Its also worth remembering that this guy not only raps but also produces and DJ's too. Check the link below for the 12" rip including the remixes, originals, instrumentals and acapellas. Next week maybe a little Jigmastas.

You belong in Special Ed' if you think you got it made