Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Strong Arm Steady and Pete Rock


Strong Arm Steady, often referred to as SAS, have been bubbling under the surface of California's underground hip hop scene for sometime now and most serious hip hop fans will be aware of them. The act consists of members Mitchy Slick of San Diego, California, and (both of Los Angeles) Phil Da Agony and probably the most visually distinct member, Krondon. Originally an amorphous collective of at least eight, formed as an alternative to the gang-focused productions of West Coast rap's then-dominant Death Row Records, SAS pared down to four members for recording in the studio and performing live, with Xzibit as the frontman. Since he left the group in 2006, the three remaining members have been a stable trio.
Talib Kweli signed Strong Arm Steady to his Blacksmith Records label in 2007. In 2009 the group announced two albums for late 2009 to 2010 release: The first is a collaboration with producer Madlib, In Search of Stoney Jackson, with a roster of guests including Kweli, Planet Asia, Guilty Simpson, Phonte (of Little Brother), Fashawn, and "a host of underground Los Angeles's emerging rap talent". Stoney Jackson, as it has been called for short, was released online as MP3 files in December 2009 through Stones Throw Records, with a CD release date of January 26, 2010. The second 2010 album will be Arms & Hammers (with an exact release date not published as of December 2009). The release, originally slated for 2009, has been delayed because Warner Brothers dropped Blacksmith from their distribution roster due to the recession.
On Arms and Hammers they have a more diverse gathering of producers including the Chocolate Boy Wonder, Pete Rock. The joint Pete gave them, "Makings Of You" is the based on the same sample that he used for Kanye and Jay-Z's "The Joy". The Kanye joint "The Joy" was only an internet track anyway and never made it to the final version of "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy". Pete has said on a number of occasions that this was a beat made in the mid nineties and he has made considerable changes to it since Kanye and Jay spat on it. The Strong Arm Steady version has more depth to it and a nice little piano loop that wasn't on the Kanye version. Strong Arm's lyrics are totally different than Kanye's but still enjoyable and the Curtis Mayfield sample works just as well. Check the link below for both versions, which at the moment seem like they will remain internet only tunes for the time being.

The Joy / Makings Of You

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