Friday, 28 December 2007
All Hail the Drums!
So what we are going to do here is pay homage those artists who blessed us with some of the hardest and funkiest drums on the planet. Without them we couldn't make Hip Hop music the way we do.Some of the records we will feature have been widely used within Hip Hop and sometimes in other forms of music. Some will be lesser known, but we're more than happy to spread the knowledge for the lesser known funky break beat. Hopefully one or two of you reading this will feel the urge to contribute 2 or 3 of your own. Please feel free to hit us off at the usual address, and we will add them to the list and give you your props.
And please remember, the use of drum breaks in Hip Hop spawned a million other musical genres and totally re-defined the way most music would be made for generations to come. There, I've said it!! I'll get off my soapbox now...
So here's a few classic beats to get us started.....Of course we ain't gonna hit you with our stingers straight away, but they will definitely come later LOL! The first three are examples of great drums for looping, and the Locomotiv GT joint is more of a B-Boy break, but still a party rocker!! The drums and vocal chants get busy on that one towards the end, so stick with it and feel the groooove!! First out the drums crate is.....
Fausto Papetti - Love's Theme
JSD Band - Green Fields (of America)
Passport - Puzzle
Locomotiv GT - Rock Yourself
Butts Band - Caught In The Middle
Alice Cooper - Public Animal #9
..and a BIG thanks to RICKY RICK for putting us up on this one below. Snappy drums no doubt! Keep 'em coming!
T.Life - Checkin' Out Your Love
"Cold break ill with the drummer - HIT ME!!"
Monday, 17 December 2007
Beats on Toast
Ahhh yAWn! On a day when I have no work or other early morning plans (of which there are few) I like nothing more than to kick back, switch on the sampler, pull out some dusty reccuds, and flip a few early morning beats. I like to think of it as my "beats on toast" to start the day.
Our first ingredient is a horn burst, followed by a helping of atmospherics, served with a dusty breakbeat chopped in two for easy digestion. OK so this isn't exactly gourmet cooking at its finest, but it will help you start your day bright and cheery.
I follow this with a rich helping of sleazy sax, surrounded by snappy drums, with a hint of flute. Watch out for the hidden stabs!
Mostly, I like to serve it up on the plate within a few minutes. I try never to complicate things when cooking up a selection. Too many ingredients can spoil a dish!
So, pop a couple of slices of funk in yo toaster and enjoy!
and if you're still hungry?
Saturday, 8 December 2007
Real Beats and Real Raps
The period from 1990 through to the late 90's saw some incredible releases which were "must-buys". Both the classic early 90's stuff and in particular the mid 90s Indy rap scene was incredible. But over the last ten years of the so-called "Rap Industry", we found ourselves buying less and less new releases and we readily admit we turned our backs on the industry and its bullshit product. And it wouldn't be the first time either. There have been several periods in Hip Hop's history where the industry and its artists don't know which way to turn. From the very early days the industry thought Hip Hop was a "craze" or "fad" and just decided to milk it for what it was worth while they could. This point shows exactly how "out of touch" the industry can be - they didn't see the Hip Hop culture as a genre with longevity. For them it was here today and gone tomorrow, and even the gangster fraternity wanted a piece of the action to earn extra cash and launder their dirty money. Hence many artists got "jacked" back in the day - labels offered crumby deals, or in many cases just blatantly never paid them. Just ask KRS! But overall these people only ever saw Rap Music as way of making money in the short term. No-one (except the kids involved) ever thought Hip Hop would reach the age of 30 and become a major influence on everything from fashion to TV, music to cinema, art to politics.....and also spread to every continent worldwide.
Despite it's ups and downs, our love for Hip Hop has always kept us connected, and it always eventually rises like a phoenix from the flames to re-birth in a new form, which is truer to the artform. We've seen it happen several times so we were confident things would turn back around.
And luckily for us real hip hoppers out there, the politics of the biz and the constant weak product would again turn round on the industry itself and bite it on its own arse! The whole mp3 over CDs argument has been a major blow for the Record Companies. Despite all the new-millennium technology at their disposal it has still lead to their sales plummeting, whilst illegal downloading and file-sharing have increased dramatically amongst music fans. What comes round goes around I say.
But the artists themselves have used the same technology to their own advantage. Now the lack of respect for the artist from above has lead to bands taking on the whole pressing/manufacturing/distribution thing themselves with incredible results. And with sites like myspace etc., getting your music heard by the people you want has become a reality, without the need for a huge budget and a team of lawyers/accountants etc.. And more importantly the musical composition remains as you want it to be; no label influence or politics to deal with. This is great news for the artists and the fans. So now we're feeling positive about the Hip Hop scene again - we can ignore the weak-ass "rap" we see on TV and hear on major radio station playlists, and investigate the new independent groups out there on Internet Radio, Myspace, & Hip Hop forums for instance. There's even specialist sites like 16pads that runs a monthly beat competition for aspiring producers. Once again it's all good in the Hip Hop hood, and we're enjoying listening to new stuff again.
So when we bumped into a crew online called SPUTNIK BROWN who had a joint called "Gone Diggin'", it is safe to say we were more than intrigued.
After all, diggin' is what we do best! And these guys know their shit - in the lyrics there's a mention of New Heavenly Blue, Dalys Big Band and other secret squirrel drum breaks only hardcore diggers would know. But who are these cats?? Well, read on.....but first here's a few lines from "Gone Diggin'" and you will see exactly what I'm talking 'bout.
"My name's OX I'm a vinyl addict
Started off at 11 with this vinyl habit
Never needed toys cuz wax was all that mattered
When I see the funk in the stash - I gots to have it
45s 33s from 12s to LPs
78s whatever man it's a disease"
SPUTNIK BROWN have already paid their dues in the Hip Hop world. The crew members are...Musa The Penultimate (aka Howard Lloyd), E The 5th, Tre Best (aka Xis10s), Slim Donuts (aka Swagger Official), Oxygen (aka Ox the Architect), DJ Shark (The 'Japanese Import') and Dude Spectacular. Hailing from Long Island (the home of some of hip hop's greats) member Oxygen has been down since way back. Formerly known as Jonzhaft the Psychopath, he is already well known for rocking mics and having some mean records - he started in '88 as a ghost writer for MCs on LaRhon Records, and then dropped his own release "Groove to Get Down" on the same label which featured on DJ Muro & K-Prince's "WKOD: The Golden Era Of Hip Hop". Dues paid! So who are the other members? Musa is a childhood friend of Ox's who also got put on through the LaRhon connection, then known as KID C.H.A.O.S., and went on form House of Reps who dropped "Why It Gotta Be Me?" in 1996, along side a couple of other childhood peers INCLUDING his first cousin Tre Best . Musa also brought to the frame his good friend E tha 5th who is "the man with the beats to cause a disaster" - a cool Brooklyn cat on a mission to keep heads nodding so much we all need a neck-brace! E Tha 5th's genius began in 1991 with a busted Tascam four-track, pause tapes, and a Casio SK-1. Slim Donuts makes up the group - creatively, he and E tha 5th began formulating ideas together in 1994. Collectively, they make up the duo known as NEWSPEAK & Slim was also part of a crew of talent known as Dead Poets Society during the mid-90's. In 2003, Oxygen made his return back to New York from brief stints in Virginia & Cali, and through natural progression these creative souls united to form SPUTNIK BROWN.
Their eagerly awaited first release has just dropped on HIGH WATER MUSIC, and the 12inch features 3 stingers - "U Havin' Fun Yet?" "Brownout" and "Unadulterated". "U Havin' Fun Yet?" begins with great use of Charlie Brown (L.O.N.S.) saying "Brooooown!" and is a snappy, drumbreak-driven track with a hypnotising bassline and perfectly executed funky drum roll. Oxygen, who rhymes on this track has such a unique vocal sound (remember Gangstarr saying "It's mostly the voice"??) and drops some real clever lyrics that have you hooked from the very start. You don't wanna miss a word or beat with these guys, in case you miss something. And once the track's over, it's time to rewind and come again.
BLAAM! Have a listen to the soundclips below and see for yourself these guys got skills. If you love Hip Hop music made by artists with real skills then this crew will blow your head like the JBs! The samples are fresh out the crates, and you just know they have beats TO GO (and some stupid rare records!). "U Havin' Fun Yet?" is taken from the twelve inch, but I've also added exclusive snippets of the unreleased material "Gone Diggin'" (prod. by GENSU DEAN) and "Titles", the latter being Tre Best's incredible rundown of classic Hip Hop records from days gone.....listen carefully and see how many classics YOU can spot. Believe me the lyrics on these tracks will have you buggin'!!! And there's PLENTY MORE where this came from - ENJOY.
You can catch up with SPUTNIK BROWN's antics on their myspace page, as well as order your copy of the wax. Tell 'em the DAILY DIGGERS sent ya. Peep the new track "Hip Hop" which has recently been added, and watch out for the full-length album dropping in April 2008 entitled "THREE SHADES OF BLACK" also on HIGH WATER MUSIC. If it as well received as the twelve has been so far then we are talking "Classic Material". I also hear on the hip hop grapevine that DJ SPINNA is providing a beat for the LP. I think 2008 will be SB's year.
Also look out for Howard Lloyd's Quickie EP on sperm white wax which is also available through myspace. It may have been a quickie EP, but it's also a QUALITY EP and features the other SPUTNIK members performing at their best......if you snooze you lose!
SPUTNIK BROWN - U HAVIN' FUN YET?
SPUTNIK BROWN - GONE DIGGIN'
SPUTNIK BROWN - TITLES
JONZHAFT - GROOVE TO GET DOWN
When Sputnik blow the hell up, remember where you heard it first!!
Peace - Kid Dyno
Sunday, 2 December 2007
The Joy of Diggin'
Now I don't want to sound like a miser here, but any good digger will always raid the bargain bins first on hitting a spot. Don't get me wrong I am happy to pay out for a particular record if it has eluded me in the past, but the bargain bins are mainly the places to find the real gems of the day. I had already gathered some Hip Hop classics into a neat pile on top of the racks (see list below), but then I headed to the bargain corner where a few FUSION records were calling me.
Stuffed at the back I found an LP that I have wanted for some while, after a couple of beat-head friends had put me up on it. I've always enjoyed funky flutes over ill drums so I guess they knew it would be right up my street.
JOE THOMAS was one hell of a funky flautist, and his 1974 Long Player on PEOPLE Records entitled "Joy of Cooking" demonstrates his prowess on the instrument. One track in particular called "Thank You (Fall Etin Me Be Mice Elf Agin)" is a perfect example of this, and it was sampled in the last few years by the very funky crew from Sweden SPEECH DEFECTif my memory serves me right (please feel free to correct me). The drums and horns on this joint are real nice too - take a peep at the soundclip below.....
And the hardcore diggers amongst you will know that MAIN SOURCE also ripped a horn/flute riff from the track "Mike" on this LP for use in "Peace Is Not the Word to Play" off the BREAKING ATOMS LP. Maybe we will feature that track another time?? Who says we don't share the knowledge here on Breaks for Days Beats for Weeks...??
So here's a rundown of today's finds...
KING TEE - Ruff Rhyme 12" (Capitol)
EPMD - Strictly Business 12" (Fresh)
DE LA SOUL - Buddy 12" (Tommy Boy)
POET - All Hell is Breaking Loose (Nu-Sounds)
UGLY DUCKLING - Fresh Mode 12" (Special)
JOE THOMAS - The Joy of Cooking LP (People)
GROVER WASHINGTON - Reed Seed LP (Motown)
FUNKY JUNCTION - Talking Trash (Stereo Gold Award)
JSD BAND - Travelling Days LP (Cube)
ERIC GALE - Forecast LP (Kudu) has a nice bass and horn sample used by MOBB DEEP on "It's Over" (on Landspeed).
Thursday, 29 November 2007
Girls Got It Goin' On!!
We love girls. And we love Hip Hop. So it stands to reason we love girls into Hip Hop. So we raided the crates for our favourite records with female MCs. It wasn't that hard to be honest - maybe you forgot that the girls got it goin' on! Just a quick peek through our crates reveals wax from the gorgeous MC Lyte (above), Roxanne Shante, the sexy but obviously hard Antoinette, Sweet Tee, MC Peaches, MC Pre-Sweet, Sparky D, Ms Melodie, Bahamadia, Ice Cream Tee, Queen Mother Rage, Monie Love, Dimples D, Isis, Big Lady K, Salt n Pepa (pre-commercial wackness), and I cannot forget her royal highness Queen Latifah (remember the Paul C & 45 King mix of "Ladies First"??) Ayway let's get down to business and pull out some favourites...
First on the list has to be the incredible SHA-ROCK who is as much a pioneer of the old school as the other more-noted male MCs of the time. At a tender age she was throwing down her lyrics at the park jams of the late 70's & early 80's and became a member of the Funky Four plus One along with DJs Breakout & Baron, Jazzy Jeff, Lil Rodney Cee, KK Rockwell (original member Rahiem left to join the Furious 5).
The young SHA-ROCK use to live between homes in the Bronx and Harlem. Back in the 70's she would sneak out of the house and go to Kool Herc's infamous parties, despite there being no female MC'S at the time. At first she did her thing as a B-Girl, and just like the fella's she would wait for that certain break part of a record and then begin to hit the floor. But after seeing a multitude of male MCs, she strived to become the first girl to grab the microphone and represent the ladies in the house....and she also succeeded as the first Female MC to become a part of an all-male Hip Hop group namely The Funky Four Plus One More. SHA also became the Bronx's first girl on the mic to go full circle in an MC battle, and first female MC to use the echo chamber behind her voice, and even appeared on Saturday Night Live with Blondie in 1981. And you better believe she could compete with the guys just as well as the girls! Check out how SHA-ROCK holds her own in the soundclip below from Funky Four Plus One "That's The Joint" from 1980 (yes 27 years ago!). Here she sounds as much a part of the group as the other MCs. Classic stuff.
"Man your battle stations I'm ready!". Another flygirl on the mic is a constant favourite here at the DAILY DIGGERS HQ. ANTOINETTE was one of Hurby Luv Bug's proteges signed to the SOUNDCHECK label, and we have to give props to Hurby cuz he did give this girl some of his funkiest raw beats! ANTOINETTE's rhyme style was hard and heavy, and she came across as a confident MC with her ill flows and punchy yet slightly nasal sounding voice. Very often she was referred to as the female equivalent of Bid Daddy Kane, and she even got the Juice Crew's seal of approval on that when recording "Raw Attitude" with BDK - a clever male-female combo fusion of their individual hits.
Boy, you WOULD wanna kiss this honey but you would NOT wanna get dissed by this honey! When she wants she can spit out some scalding rapid-fire rhymes. Her first and in our opinion best appearances came on the Hurby's Machine (House that Rap Built) LP in 1987, and the subsequently released "I Got An Attitude" and "Unfinished Business" 12-inch releases on SOUNDCHECK RECORDS.
"Ducks, halfspins, I'ma show them all
I'm not a joker, but I laugh, cuz y'all can't brawl
I roll....the mic smokes.....I lay it to rest
Embalmed in my palm, I touch it and it's blessed
Got style...I know the routine
All punks popping junk can't join my team
I got an attitude!"
Below is a soundclip from "I Got an Attitude" from 1987. Killer drum sequencing by Hurby I'm sure you will agree. And under that is a snippet of "Raw Attitude feat Kane taken from Mr. Magic's WBLS show." As the man, the icon BDK would say...."Come get some, you little bum!"
Now whilst the First Priority Music posse had the gorgeous MC Lyte (have I said that already?? LOL), the JUICE CREW had its very own MC GLAMOROUS. As far as we know, she first appeared on the JUICE CREW ALLSTARS self-titled track in 1987 on Cold Chillin'. Although a b-side track, it's a must-have classic posse-cut featuring the mic talents of Kool G Rap, Craig G, MC GLAMOROUS, MC Shan, MC Percy (Tragedy the Intelligent Hoodlum), Roxanne Shante and of course Marley on the boards. This was their first posse cut before concept of "The Symphony" had even been dreamt up. MC GLAMOROUS (real name Maya Angelou) also featured on the A-side cut "Evolution" alongside T.J. Swann's trademark vocal delights.
But for us the standout release from GLAMOROUS is the lesser known and fairly sought after PRISM RECORDS release entitled "Good to Go". Put out in 1988, when Glamorous was still a Juice Crew member but no longer produced by Marley Marl. However this record is a stormer - a dope horn sample and a funky drum pattern with a sporadic break loop tucked underneath. Her vocal delivery even resembles Antoinette at some points. Great stuff Glamorous, but why can't we find a picture of you anywhere??
More funky females to come...
p.s MC LYTE if you are reading this we LOVE you!! xx
Monday, 26 November 2007
THE DIARY - mo' bounce for yo ounce!
So when we heard that CHRIS READ of SUBSTANCE was putting together a mixtape to beat all other Hip Hop mixtapes, entitled "THE DIARY", we just had to find out more.... At first we were reliably informed that there would be over 500 records featured in the finished mix - surely this couldn't be true? Could it? But then we got lucky and CHRIS himself played us a tasty snippet of the semi-completed mix when he visited DAILY DIGGERS HQ for Record Rehab several months back. And straight away we realised we were witnessing something pretty damn special right there - the 5 minute teaser we heard left us salivating and foaming at the mouth, yearning for more of the same. What we heard was tight - real tight.....and I mean TIGHT like a new pair of jeans! This robust and confident style seems to be CHRIS's trademark (you know his steez!). The five or ten minute extract we heard was very well thought-out & had us speculating on what was coming next in the mix - and we liked it. In fact we liked it a lot!
With over 800 records thrown into the blend, the mix’s record-breaking status will undoubtedly capture attention of those within the Hip Hop community and those on the outside. Despite the tongue in cheek claim to be the “World’s Greatest Rap Megamix”, this release serves to document an important period in the history of modern music and should certainly not be dismissed as mere novelty.
Chris Read has for 12 years been resident DJ and promoter of ‘Substance’ - one of the UK’s biggest and longest running Hip Hop, funk and soul club nights. Chris has also spent two years as mix show DJ on the BBC’s station for ‘new black music’, 1Xtra. Plus over those 12 years his nights have featured some of Hip Hop's great performers (incl. KRS One, Dj Premier, Marley Marl, Busy Bee (see photo), Masta Ace to name just a few) as well the DMC mixing championship heats. If there was an annual Hip Hop Club awards ceremony Chris would undoubtedly be nominated for hardest working promoter and DJ - he puts mad work into this culture. For more details of his antics over the years check out musicofsubstance.
Against the backdrop of Hip Hop’s dwindling commercial sales, commercial Hip Hop artists continue to churn out
material devoid of originality pandering to the near cartoonish stereotypes expected of them by the major labels. Conversely, true exponents of the genre have been driven to take the music in new directions; Hip Hop music has made the unique achievement of reaching an all time creative low and all time creative high at one and the same time. There has been no better time to remind the world of the rich legacy of rap’s 28 year recorded history. CHRIS READ's latest mixtape epic “THE DIARY” does just that.
This jaw droppingly intricate mix chronicles the genre’s landmark recordings in order of release from 1979 to 2007 (no mean feat in itself) and has been quick to gain support from some of the world’s best respected DJs and taste makers;
“A tour de force through the history of hip hop. A unique view of hip hop’s golden moments”(DJ Food - Ninja Tune / Solid Steel)
“Bloody great! One of the best hip hop mixes I’ve heard in years.” (DJ Format – Genuine Records)
“An amazing piece of work!” (Mr Thing – Former World DMC Team Champion)
“This mix is bananas! F***ing awesome! The best and some more” (Marc Hype – Former ITF Champion) To attempt to give you a track listing for THE DIARY would be a complete nightmare, but somehow CHRIS has managed to complete the mix AND provide a complete track listing for it. This must have taken months, even years. I'm not about to list them all right now, but suffice to say if you like ULTRAMAGNETIC MC's , KRS ONE, GANGSTARR, LORD FINESSE, DE LA SOUL, RUN DMC, EPMD, AUDIO 2, 45 KING, KOOL G RAP, NICE N SMOOTH, PUBLIC ENEMY, LAKIM SHABAZZ, JUNGLE BROTHERS, NWA, CASH MONEY & MARVELOUS, LONS, ATCQ, LOTUG,...phew that's only the 80's covered but I'm sure you catch my drift!! Recommended listening for all Hip-Hoppers - cop it or live to regret.
Both old school heads and Hip Hop fanatics alike will be screaming "I know this one" as each tune drops on their unsuspecting eardums, but only the true aficionados of the culture will be able to name them all (and even they will struggle!). And it wouldn't surprise us if a few of the gems hidden away on THE DIARY mix will also keep a few cats asking questions like "what is that shit?? I need that record." We've added a lil soundclip below to give you a taster of what this mix is all about. But to catch your very own copy of THE DIARY could not be any simpler or any cheaper...
* FREE download from DECEMBER 8th 2007 from www.musicofsubstance.com
* also 1000 FREE CDs will be available through these outlets below...
Suspect Packages LONDON www.suspect-packages.com
Sounds Of The Universe www.soundsoftheuniverse.com
Jibbering BIRMINGHAM www.jibberingrecords.com
Fat City MANCHESTER www.fatcity.co.uk
Hip Hop Vinyl Store BERLIN www.hiphopvinyl.de
Waxwell Records AMSTERDAM www.waxwell.com
Fat Beats www.fatbeats.com
Record Mania STOCKHOLM www.recordmania.net
Cali Roots www.caliroots.se
Turntable Lab www.turntablelab.com
Huf Store www.hufsf.com
Jazzy Sport TOKYO www.jazzysport.com
Plus a transmission via satellite on the MAIN INGREDIENT Hip Hop Radio show with our good friend DJ CRO on Dec 3rd at midnight.
And what better way to start things off than with a LAUNCH PARTY!! This Wednesday (28th November) sees the THE 80's DIARY SESSION at the DRAGONBAR in Leonard Street East London (nr. Old Street Tube Station) with FREE admission. Our very own KID DYNOMITE (DAILY DIGGERS) will make an appearance on the wheels alongside CHRIS READ on 28th with some killer Hip Hop classics from the back of the stack - so if you're in the mood for reminiscing on the Old and True School then get yourselves over to the DRAGONBAR. It's gonna be FRESH TO DEATH! This is just the first of four DIARY SESSIONS, and there will also be a 90's SESSION to follow on 5th December for the Boom Bap professionals out there amongst you. We look forward to seeing ya there!
And don't forget the 20th December 2007 for the DIARY SESSION featuring world-class turntable action from DJ Babu & Mr Thing. OOH OOH OOH!! It doesn't get much better than this...
THE DIARY soundclip...
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Essential Reading for Hip Hoppers
Get Down with the Goosedown
If it wasn't Cool J that introduced me to the Goose Jacket then it was possibly the release in 1987 of Eric B & Rakim's "Move the Crowd" 12" on 4th & Broadway records which showed Ra in the background looking serious as ever in a V-stitch Bomber Goose in Black leather. That was it for me, I had to own one of these jackets. Furthermore Run DMC rocked these throughout the 80's and were also seen wearing them on their classic LP from 1987 "Raising Hell" with the shocking green/purple and mindbending orange/blue negative cover prints. (I remember hearing these covers caused some epileptics to have fits!)
However, my favourite Goosedown action has to be from the film "Tougher than Leather" which also starred Run DMC. During the club scene, the camera pans across the dancefloor to reveal several homeboys wearing Gooses in varying dope colours. My favourite being the powder blue with black fur - what an awesome jacket! Another classic record cover showing how dope these jackets is the 12" cover from Public Enemy's "You're Gonna Get Yours". Below you can see a black one, a blue one and even one in red being sported by PE's crew -
they knew what time it was! But it wasn't just the artists themselves to be seen in them - these jackets were widely and cheaply available and worn by hip-hoppers and homeboys alike.
There were many companies in the US producing leather goosedowns, but the first and original jackets were made by GOOSE COUNTRY, and DOUBLE GOOSE COUNTRY. Despite many imitators, some good and some bad, these were the real deal leather jackets available in bomber form, or 3/4 length, and with or without the real fur collars. Available in every colour you can possibly think of (I have seen pink and even bright yellow) and the freshest thing to be seen in when winter draws in. And believe me these jackets were super warm - keeping the average knucklehead toasted as he hit the streets. In NY these were available across all boroughs, and in Manhattan the places to find them were Orchard St and Spring St (just off Delancey Street). Prices were not particularly high because these Korean manufactured coats were designed mainly with the purpose of keeping warm rather than for fashion - it was only that the Hip Hop community did what it always did & took something run-of-the-mill and made it uniquely it's own.
Back in the 80's one of the only places to get your hands on one of these incredible jackets in London was a very small basement Hip Hop shop known as 4 Star General in Carnaby Street. George and Everton, who ran the shop back then, were some of the first guys to travel to NY in order to buy a stock of these Double Goose jackets and return to the UK to sell them. Even back then (circa 1986/87) these jackets were expensive at £350-£400, but where else could you find one of these and dress like your Hip Hop heroes?? Sadly for me I couldn't afford to buy one at that age (16 years old) but the feeling of wanting one never faded, even when the Hip Hop styles changed and rappers stopped wearing them.
Now you don't need me to tell you that life runs in cycles, so I knew eventually these Goose jackets would be in favour once again. So in the mid 90's when I finally could afford to, I made the pilgrimage to NYC - the home of Hip Hop. The Rocksteady Crew were holding their Anniversary Jam and this provided the best excuse for me to hit the streets of New York for a 2 week Hip Hop holiday. My intentions were to take in a few of the Rocksteady events, check some NY Hip Hop clubs, rinse the record spots clean of their dollar bins, grab some really fresh sneakers, and of course continue my search for the elusive Goosedowns!
I travelled to NY in '94, '95 and '96 and despite my best efforts trawling the tri-boroughs no-one seemed to be able to tell me where I could find an old stock of these vintage coats. From Canal Street in Manhattan to Gun Hill Road in the Bronx, I spent days taking the train uptown and downtown, taking in the graffiti spots as I went, but every day ended fruitless. We had a few close calls though - with some store owners taking us through the back only to be disappointed with other moth-eaten stock they wanted to push on us, thinking we were naive tourists! In '95 and the following year my close friend and brother from another mother Break DJ Leacy (RIP) also made the trip to our "mecca" with his brother Aidan Orange. Now if anyone would track down these coats it was him. James Leacy had an unrivalled passion for all things Hip Hop, and his journeys to New York lead him into a career as a break DJ at many of the US B-Boy championships in the late 90's and early noughties. When Jim did something, he did it to the fullest degree, never giving less than 100%, and the same went for his search for the Goose Jacket.
It was the late 90's after Leacy had made many trips over to the capital of Hip Hop (where I had now given up my search) that the phone call that I had been waiting for finally came. Nothing could prepare me for the story I was about to hear. Jim had been going every year since my early visits, and every year he would head over to the same spots and re-visit the stores and warehouses where we had learned that Goose jackets could be purchased back in the days. Jim's connections led him to one warehouse in particular out in the tri-borough, where he had been repeatedly refused access to the back of the store to allow him to search through their old stock. However his persistence had eventually paid off, and the owner who had become sick of the site of him but admired his balls in coming back again, told him he could finally search through the loft space at the very top of the warehouse. Jim told me he had to climb up some rickety ladders to gain access to the storage loft, and under years of dust and some god-awful 80's leather jackets he found a "pile" of original goosedowns still in the polythene covers. HOLY SHIT! Of approximately 20 jackets though, most were rotten or had simply disintegrated over the years, but luckily a handful at the bottom of the pile were still as fresh as the day they were made. Jim being the great friend he was, called me up on his return and took great pleasure in hearing my heart miss several beats when he told me. I must have sounded like a kid on the night before Christmas! He was gonna give me first refusal on them.
So, it took me over 10 years, but eventually I got my sticky hands on 2 original jackets from the 80's. One a V-Stitch Bomber in beige leather with brown fur, and the other a V-Stitch Three Quarter Length in dark blue leather with fox fur. In that very pile he also found the most amazing bottle green example with black fur. My classic old school image was now complete, but little did I know that 10 years later these jackets would become collectable and highly sought after by other old school fools like myself (just watch 'em sell on eBay!). And of course you can now buy the French made Double Goose jackets, which are of amazing quality and designed to be as close a reproduction of the Double Goose Country originals as possible (check out their website and peep their Camo edition above). YMC (You Must Create) also produced a jacket along the same lines but it fell short of looking good in my honest opinion. If you wanna cop an original yourself then I suggest you trawl through eBay's vintage clothing section on a regular basis, and have at least a couple of hundred pounds (approx 400 dollars) at your disposal. You won't regret it! ..and you will never complain of the cold again!
Tuesday, 20 November 2007
Put the Needle on the Record...
But then in the 1980's some bright spark at Phillips decided to (attempt to) kill off vinyl by inventing the Compact Disc. At that time the buzz was that these CDs were much smaller than records, offered superior sound quality, plus you could cover them in raspberry jam and put them in your CD player and they would still play OK! Well nearly. But I remember in the 80's everyone said the days of vinyl were now numbered, because of this new invention. I freely admit that I hated CDs at first (and still do) so I took great pleasure in the latter stages of the 20th century when mp3s arrived on the scene and began to kick the the CDs arse! It felt like the old school bully finally got his come-uppance.
But however hard the music industry tried, they just couldn't expel the love of vinyl from people's hearts and minds, and now I believe the 7 inch single is making an incredible comeback - Hurray!
The only drawback of vinyl was, and still is, that you do have to handle these babies with extreme care, always replacing the record in it's sleeve carefully after playing, and try not to damage the groove part of the wax. It's a shame, however that so many records over the years were not handled with the same care, and hence condition is paramount when buying a vinyl record. Plus a plethora of deejays and turntablists over the last 20yrs means a lot of Hip Hop/Breaks vinyl can be pretty much trashed. But please do not despair....if you like to treat your wax with a little TLC, and you get annoyed when finding a gem of a record whilst digging only to find out it has a skip or pop this will be of interest to you. In fact maybe you should scrub up, put on your surgical gloves, have nil-by-mouth for at least 12hrs, and then head off to Kid Dyno's Record Surgery!
A month or so ago at our weekly Record Club, my wax buddy the Beat Detective brought with him a CENSORED LP with a funky drum break on it. The problem was that although the vinyl looked to be in great condition, there was a "skip" of all places right in the middle of the drum break itself. DANG! Don't you just hate it when that happens?
But no fear, KID DYNOMITE is here with my tried and tested method of removing jumps and scratches from your highly prized slab of wax. Now I must point out that this method does not work on all record jumps, but if you can spare 10 minutes in the day and you do not want to search for another copy of the record, I suggest you read on...
All you need is one record with a skip on it, an old stylus (preferably not your new one), and a cigarette. For the non-smokers of you out there, may I suggest you ask a friend who smokes for a spare. Or you could buy a box of ciggies, use one and send me the other 19! Puff Puff!!
Seriously though, the cigarette is used to re-cut the groove back into the wax without applying to much pressure to the needle. Fit your old stylus and cue the record up so it is placed just before the skip happens.
Hold the cigarette by the butt, and lean the white part on top of the stylus cartridge. As the record revolves and reaches close to the point of skip, apply light pressure downwards on to the cartridge (don't worry if you use too much force the cigarette will either bend or snap). This may not work the first time, but be patient and try this several times, applying slightly more pressure each time you do it.
Some skips will disappear almost immediately if luck is on your side, but in most cases you will need to repeat the above operation several times in order to "re-cut" the groove as it was meant to be. "Come on KID that won't work!" I hear you cry. Well trust me on this one I have saved many many records from the scrap heap using this method. Don't get me wrong, some records are so obliterated that you will not be able to retrieve a decent playing copy, but if you were to ask me how many times it will work I conservatively reckon you will be successful in at least 50% of your attempts. My success rate is slightly higher than that, but I must have done a hundred or so in the past so I tend to know which ones can be saved and which ones are still gonna be destined for the bargain bin in Oxfam!
As you can imagine, when I fixed Beat Detective's copy of CENSORED LP there was a stunned silence in the room. Damn it was like I had cured cancer or something. But I guess if you are a vinyl lover then a trick like this can only be useful to you. Needless to say we sampled the drum break after the operation and it was virtually impossible to hear any remnants of the skip. Not all cases will be like this and sometimes a faint click or pop will remain, but at least you can play the record through from beginning to end. Give it a try, and don't forget to use an OLD stylus - man I don't want y'all complaining to me that you snapped your £100 stylus on my instructions now do I??
Once the skip has been pleasingly removed, I then suggest giving the record a good clean. While the most common method of cleaning off lightly soiled records is the use of slightly soapy lukewarm water and a light brush or cloth, there are certainly those audiophile theorists that will point out that undistilled water will leave behind mineral traces in the grooves of the disc, and that soap will just generally get in there and have all kinds of drunken, debaucherous parties deep in the groove! Using small amounts of alcohol is also both recommended and frowned upon, because while alcohol can act as a solvent, it will also remove much of the oils within the vinyl grooves. Less oil in the grooves means less lubrication for the needle, which means increased friction, which means increased heat and can obviously result in damage. And don’t even think about using hot water - heat is the mortal enemy of vinyl! But unless you have time to prepare some quadruple-ionized water I suggest you go the soapy water route. Please ensure you clean in an anti-clockwise direction and moving inwards towards the label as you go. But if you remember just one thing from this post, let it be that you should NEVER play dirty records. It will dullen the sound from your all-important (and usually very expensive) stylus, and any dirt that the stylus picks up will be dragged through successive grooves and carve them up like a psychopathic butcher!
...now it's clean your record is ready to play and enjoy! If however you tried in vain to remove the skips, and other scratches and pops are too prominent, I suggest you make a novelty ashtray out of it (see above) and then smoke those other 19 ciggies!
Happy diggin' y'all - Kid Dyno
(Oh and by the way, the break LP title has been censored for your own protection and also to maintain the BEAT DETECTIVE'S secret-squirrel arsenal of dope drums) LOL! And speaking of the secretive Mr. Beat Detective, here is the only known photo of him below....
Friday, 9 November 2007
Just messin' with beats pt5
J-Ro, Tash and E-Swift make up the Cali crew, and they have recently come back strong on form with the track "The Flute Song LaLaLa" which uses the already dope Headhunters "God Make me Funky" drum loop, so it also seems appropriate to revisit some of their classic records. (Check the "Flute Song" out on their myspace page it's a head-nodder).
The Liks have been dropping wax on us Hip Hoppers for over fifteen years now, and they still sound fresh! Much like the Beatnuts they can re-create their classic sound in an instant. Sure, not all their beats are consistent, but the ones that thump really do make you wanna rewind and play again!!
Anyway, back to the Mary Jane remix and the purplish clouds of smoke that are floating in our lab.....Here's J-Ro's smoked out verse for your enjoyment - please feel free to twist a tree or two and rap along with us....
Verse Two: J-Ro
Early in the morning, you gave me a buzz
I picked up the phone and didn't know who the hell it was
I feel like Johnny Gill I wanna wrap your body tight
Lick you from head to toe and watch you glow like a Lite Brite
I met you at the park around three
When I got there you was loungin in the car with my homey
He said he needed a dub so I slipped him one
And said "C'mon Mary Jane and let's have a little fun"
I got you in the sack, between the sheets
J-Ro needs you like J-Ro needs beats
She's the Queen of the Ghetto, ask my buddy Tom
Mary Jane is the bomb
Mary Jane Mary Jane
Mary Jane Mary Jane
Sunday, 28 October 2007
Diggin' in the rain
OK so the weather was piss-poor today but I'm not about to let a drop of rain dampen my beatdigging urges. At the time I didn't realise the trains were also "effed up" in the centre of London. It's not an easy journey into the capital at the best of times, coming from out in the suburbs of the city, but the engineering works at weekends on London's railways sometimes make it a lottery whether you and your wax get home or not! Had I known about the train problems I may have thought again about braving the elements (the natural ones that is, not the hip hop ones.)
....anyway I threw on my goosedown to keep me toasted on the way, with some tunes in my pocket - Soulman's 92-93 beats mixtape to be precise, to get me in the digging mood. Fortunately the weather had kept many people away from the city and I was free to roam the backstreets in search of a dusty vinyl resting place. If all else fails there was always the usual spots which could guarantee a find or two. But today the digging Gods were smiling on me because
it wasn't long before I stumbled on some treats. The first exciting find was in a dusty second hand store just off Oxford Street, namely Jimmy McGriff "Mean Machine" LP on Groove Merchant with the amazing "It Feels So Nice (Do It Again)" on it, and for a mere 4 pounds (approx. 8 dollars). There is some water damage to the cover but the record was virtually mint. Check the soundclip for yourself I'm sure you will agree this was a steal! Such a beautiful track. I think it appeared on one of Kon & Amir's fine mixes.
There are several small record shops scattered around the Oxford Street and Soho area of W1, but to be honest it was pretty much a fruitless exercise other than the Jimmy McGriff LP. I chose to make for the tube and head for Camden Town where the Music and Video Exchange was the next destination for a rummage through their racks in the basement. And that's where I found the next record that made me think the journey today was worthwile - a copy of Johnny Hammond's "Shifting Gears" on 45rpm on Milestone Records. I have the LP already, but I also have a fetish for any Ultimate Break on 7" 45rpm format, so this record and I were destined to leave the shop together!
Thanks to Steve Skye for hooking me up! This little beauty was hiding away under the counter so I could easily have missed it. I have added a soundclip of this gem too because the song is just sooo good! One for the B-Boys.
I also found a copy of D-Nice 12" "Glory" b/w "It's All About Me" on Jive for a quid in their bargain shop across the road near Camden Lock (right next to the marijuana dealers!) It's one D-Nice 12" I didn't own already, and didn't recognise the track names either. But at that price I bought it "blind". I must be totally honest I never realised how dope these tracks were 'til I got back to the lab and threw it on my turns. "It's all About Me" is one of the killer tracks from his LP, so I will leave you with a soundclip of that joint to keep the hip hop heads happy and YOUR head nodding. D-Nice is definitely at his peak here despite the crumby track titles, and visually unappealing picture sleeve. And he definitely "kicks the science" as the scratchin' says!
I won't bore you with a picture, but instead here's a better one of D-Nice with BDP stablemates KRS-One and Scott La Rock (RIP).Doesn't he look young? Give the soundclip below a blast, and see what YOU think. I'm sure you will recognise it when you hear it, and love it as I did. But do you got it on 12" huh??