Every time I see, Doom‘s mask, I can’t help but recall bits of this interview with the legendary writer/visual artist/MC/lettering theorist Rammellzee from the Style Wars bonus material. One can easily draw a few parallels between the two wizards, especially the third-person living character thing. Coincidentally, Dumile’s mask was designed by a writer as well, KEO aka Lord Scotch.
Ah, summer in the city…streets flooded with hydrant spray, glowing skin, icey carts, the warble of Mr. Softee‘s theme music, young freeze tag champions and old stoop sages alike, screeches from a busy ball court, the combined scent of some-hybrid tropical fruit fragrance, lighter fluid, and warmed garbage at work, and rioting for plasma tv’s…and fires. Sure, everyone’s running wild in those streets, but in the back of our collective minds, we know that after the madness, there’s a mean plate of ma-duke’s home cookin’ and that Forty Deuce funk awaiting our safe return. And return, we did!
Our Forty fam invited the lord (me, God.Eternal.Now.Grizzly…for all my math scholars out there) back to rock, alongside my main stain, Note Diesel. This time, Gee and Keene knew it was only correct to unleash a full show of that PURPICIDE…so I went in knowing that those 2-hours had to be unrelentingly turned-up. The god had to show his wingspan for this to work…and to help accomplish that, I invited my co-d to curate the first hour of musical selections. In case you haven’t already noticed, my millz Note is a fuckin’ triple-OG whizkid. Dukes approached me with a crate of gems that was just atrocious…all I had to do was organize and let said joints live through my hands. And live, they did!
‘Pon the second hour, it was only right to twist the wheel off of the vehicle and 360 like a heavy whirlwind. You’ll see.
Essentially, the entire episode is a tour of uptown and downtown, on both East and West. You get a serving of fresh biscuits with a steaming heap of rice & beans on one side, and soul-charring gumbo on the other…mostly courtesy of the “45RPM” setting.
They got Gil Scott now? Damn. Another legendary talent has gone forth to unravel the mortal coil. Although physically, he may no longer remain, it is surely evident that his socio-political message has been immortalized in the make up of millions for decades now, and will continue to be passed on to the following generations (no matter if THEY like it or not). Before rap, he was one of THE original MC’s, a ravenous truth speaker. His words were a new science, fused together by the dead tears of those who fell to immeasurable odds and the unescapable sight of society’s sickly grin as it watched the simple slaughter continue by the day. They hated to see him with a mic in his grasp, as it immediately became a threat of unfathomable proportions to their agenda.
Gil Scott-Heron “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”
Gil Scott-Heron “Or Down You Fall”
Gil Scott-Heron “Home Is Where The Hatred Is”
The man had a mean team with him too. Brian Jackson, Hubert Laws, and Pretty Purdie, to name a few.
Before The Blueprint, and even much of the classic Wu catalog, at a time when such a thing was not so en vogue, there stood a sped-up vocal sample that I could never put down from wanting to repeat all-day (though not so easy to sing). It was on KMD‘s “What A Niggy Know? (Remix)” (such a fucking great record for so many reasons), and at first, I swore it was some old female soul songstress. Come to find out, thanks to my man Commander Black, that my favorite vocal sample of all time came from Gil Scott’s “Pieces Of A Man,” the heartbreakingly beautiful title track from his 1971 classic. I think I need to bless you with some audio.
Kid Hood was one of those cats who came and went far too quickly – to the point where dude is now a 90′s rap folk legend. What’s both sad and funny is the fact that many people know duke’s relentless wordsmithage from the set-off of Tribe‘s “Scenario Remix,” and (most likely) hundreds of thousands more know his one line from the cuts on Biggie‘s “Gimme The Loot” (“I’m a bad, bad man!”), yet it is safe to say that 99% of these people would not be able to put a name to those bars. (Let’s also not forget the cuts on The Juggaknots’ “Troubleman”)
The following is the type of aficionado historian shit that makes our week. On some late night campfire steez. The premise is that of how “Drop The Bomb,” the only other song to publicly surface containing Kid Hood vocals (via Stretch & Bobbito), came to be. The recent discovery was the fact that this demo joint started as just bare verses on a cassette, posthumously welded together to a beat. Oh, but it gets deeper. Dr. Frankenstein, in this case, was played by a young El-Producto (or El-P of (pre) Company Flow/Def Jux fame). Click the following link for El’s own walk down memory lane on how it all went down. It’s story-time kiddies!
This is as official a Gang Starr/Guru tribute can get (as well as a follow-up post to a freestyle over a Gang Starr track)…I mean, it’s fuckin’ DJ Premier tearing out multiple pages of the epic catalog that he and his ace-boonie authored for that decade and change and rebinding them live on Funkmaster Flex‘s Hot 97 show. As with most special Flex “throwback” type events, expect a lot of entertaining on-air interaction + memory lane shit.
Rare ’97 footage of Big L (RIP), OC, and DJ OGEE on the Croatian TV show about DJ culture, Top DJ Mag. Dope live performance bits at Club Aquarius (in Zagreb), as well as a sit-down with both artists and obligatory freestyle session to close things up nicely.
Shit like this brings back crazy memories of the Fat Beats days where it seemed like my man Ryan (Siko) was constantly going back and forth to participate in overseas shows with various D.I.T.C. members (to then hit local spots like Tramps, RIP). He’d tell me how much love heads received out there (and you can see the proof in just how packed and amped the crowd is during the live segments of these videos), it was crazy to me. At that point, I really began to understand how much the rest of the world, as in countries I’ve never even considered, was in-tune with this Hip Hop shit.
Part 1 – OC Interview, Live Performance, “Far From Yours” video
Part 2 – @2:57 mark: Big L Interview, Live Footage, Big L & OC Freestyle
In a sea of Gang Starr tributes that were (re)released on the anniversary of Guru‘s untimely passing, the following mix by DJ Mister Cee, put together live on-air during his Old School At Noon show on Hot 97, stands as one of the finest servings to emerge thus far. Throw this on and let the boom-bap and memories pour.
One of my favorite cuts of all time from one of the best groups ever. This is an archival gem of late night television performance…not only does it feature a young Primo schoolin’ Jay Leno (and his audience) on how the turntable works as a live instrument (showcasing his precision on the cuts, throughout)…but we get a clear glimpse of Guru at his (earliest) prime – agile on stage while effortlessly knocking out the bars without much need for back-up (another example of an MC who knew how to hold a mic correctly). Plus, Primo’s Mobb Deep t-shirt is extra ill.
“Take It Personal” (Live on The Late Show, ’92)
Bonus footy. Another live favorite off of arguably my favorite Gang Starr LP (between that and Hard To Earn).
“Ex Girl To Next Girl” (Live on Uptown Comedy Club, ’92)
Kiss opens up the memory banks to revisit his earliest times spent with Biggie. To this day, The Lox rank among the highest in the “NY hip hop” bragging rights department as they harbor the ability to truly break down all things “Frank White”…such as his science of 40′s and pretzels as a creative tool in the studio.
Now, I pose a question to all of you, remember the first song the three of them (The Lox) did with Frankie? It wasn’t “Last Days,” that’s for sure…