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!

Over the last few years we have heard many "mixtapes" which don't seem to do what they claim on their own packaging - they don't mix! Obviously a mixtape should be, as the name suggests, a mix of tracks carefully blended to keep the listener hooked to the music throughout. It's surprising how many tapes and CDs feature no mixing or turntable skills whatsoever and this has often baffled us, compared to the deluge of mixtapes that were available throughout the 90's when every deejay wanted to showcase their skills on the 1s and 2s..

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

* also 1000 FREE CDs will be available through these outlets below...

Suspect Packages LONDON
Sounds Of The Universe
Hip Hop Vinyl Store BERLIN
Waxwell Records AMSTERDAM
Fat Beats
Record Mania STOCKHOLM
Cali Roots
Turntable Lab
Huf Store
Jazzy Sport TOKYO

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

I can't actually remember the very first time I saw a Leather Goose Jacket being sported by one of Hip Hop's great artists of the 80's but it may have been a certain James Todd Smith looking fresh in 1986, after release of his debut LP "Radio".
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!

Kid Dyno

Tuesday 20 November 2007

Put the Needle on the Record...

During the dark ages, a long time before such inventions as CDs, iPods, mp3s etc. were invented, people played recorded music on circular slabs of vinyl known as "records". Now these could be played at 33rpm (revolutions per minute) 45 rpm and even 78rpm using machines that were very unimaginatively called "record players".
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! 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

It's been a hot minute since we flipped a little REMIX here at the HQ. Beat Detective has just found a Carole King "Fantasy" LP with a mellow loop that just needs to be sampled, so here goes.................. The drums have been taken from "Burning Bridges" on the Kelly's Heroes Soundtrack, and the finished beat is topped with a soulful vocal hook from Carole once again. On listening to the beat we both agree that Tha Alkaholiks accapella of "Mary Jane" would sit nice over the top of it (or it could have been the fact that we were intoxicated at the time? The Liks would be proud of us!)
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