Monday 29 June 2009

Ah Memories!

It's good to reminisce. Here's myself and DOUG E FRESH at ROCKSTEADY PARK NYC in 1995. Shortly after this photo, DOUG absolutely ripped it on stage. Have you ever heard a 2000 strong crowd recite the lyrics to "LA-DI-DA-DI"? Simply amazing.

Thursday 25 June 2009

Very Superstitious

Recently a good friend of mine asked me if there was an instrumental version of STEVIE WONDER's hit track "Superstition". A friend of his, a singer, is due to audition for the UK TV talent show X FACTOR, and wanted a "Superstition" backing track. Knowing I live in a vinyl dungeon, my buddy came to me for help and although there are lots of covers of "Superstition", finding an instrumental wasn't going to be so easy. There is a shitty karaoke version available to download on the net, but he doesn't want to go out all cheesy. And I respect that.
So I donned the scuba gear, and dived head first into the DAILY DIGGERS crates in search of the best cover I could find. Believe me it took a while to search those easy listening LPs without success. But I had a niggling feeling in my mind that I had just what this singer needs, so I persisted, and in a stack of throw out LPs I found this version by JOHNNY PEARSON (of KPM library fame). Now I was about to take this record down the charity shop thinking there was nothing of note on it, but this version of STEVIE's classic is possibly the best I have heard. And NO LYRICS! Hell, it even has a drum break at the start - it seems I own more beats than I first realised. In future I'm gonna double check every LP that I have to "throw away". Let's just say I'm very superstitious.

Yep, the writing's on the wall....


I hope he does well in front of SIMON COWELL!

Kid Dyno

Thursday 18 June 2009

Graffiti Legends - IZ THE WIZ RIP

It was sad to hear today that IZ THE WIZ, notorious NYC train
bomber and graffiti godfather, finally lost his fight against kidney failure and passed away on June 17th. Following years of painting without masks, he was diagnosed with kidney problems in 2006. IZ was best known for his constant high profile bombing of the NY transit system during the 70's and 80's, and his appearances in the films Style Wars and Wild Style (where he portayed a transit police detective). Throw-ups and whole cars with the names IZ, CRAZY IZ, IZZY, IKE and IZ THE WIZ (all aliases of the same dude) were seen all over the city over a long period particularly on the IND and BMT subway divisions. IZ was the longest reigning all-city king in NYC history, taking the title many times throughout the same period.
In the late 1970s he broadened his focus by working on top-to-bottoms, burners and whole cars on the prestigious 2 and 5 lines of the IRT subway division. During this period he simultaneously maintained all-city throw-up king status.
He painted for a variety of top level crews - served as president of The Master Blasters (TMB) and as a member of RTW. He has also painted for The Odd Partners, The Crew, The Three Yard Boys and other crews too numerous to mention. He will be sadly missed but not forgotten.

On a lighter note, here's some vintage footage of other graffiti legends ZEPHYR, MIN ONE and REVOLT painting throw-ups in the West Side Tunnels in 1983. Made even better by the fact that the soundtrack to the footage is the b-boy classic "Films" by Gary Numan.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

B-Boy Action Eastern Style

Those Koreans love to rush a circle don't they!

Kid Dyno

Thursday 11 June 2009

Get Busy or Get Lost

We have now reached the milestone where Hip Hop music on vinyl is now 30 years old. At it's inception few believed that Hip Hop had any staying power whatsoever as a form of legitimate music, and was to some merely considered a craze. How wrong those critics have now been proved! Over those thirty years a few producers have risen to legendary status, and if you ask any fan of the music and the following names will no doubt be mentioned - DJ PREMIER, PETE ROCK, MARLEY MARL, 45 KING, DITC CREW, LARGE PRO, PAUL C, BOMB SQUAD, JAY DEE (rip), TONY D (rip), RZA , SALAAM REMI, THE BEATNUTS, SKI (formerly of THE BIZZIE BOYS), DR DRE etc etc. I'm sure all hip hop collectors will find records produced by these legends all through their crates. But very often some names go un-praised despite their contribution to hip hop music. In fact PAUL C is a good case in point - he was pretty much un-recognised by many until Dave Tompkin's excellent "Travellin' at the Speed of Thought" article in BIG DADDY magazine, and then became hip hop collectors' hottest property practically overnight! The whole story of PAUL C's work with many artists including the likes of ULTRAMAGNETIC MC's, ERIC B & RAKIM, then followed by his untimely death, became hip hop folklore.
So what I would like to do here is to mention one of the lesser known or rarely spoken about producers who has blessed us with dope music, and give them a little shine. Y'all know enough about PRIMO, PETE ROCK and LARGE PRO - so let's get a little deeper in the crates, and see who else was rockin' the beats real nice.
So on to our post title ... collectors of 80's hip hop will recognise "GET BUSY OR GET LOST" as the name of a certain VANDY C's production company. VANDY COLTER, or VANDY C as he was known in Hip Hop circles, released two records under his own name together with BILL BLAST.

The latter track made some serious noise back in '87, and still sounds fresh to this day. Heavy use of sample repeats, punchy drum patterns and crushing snares were VANDY C's trademark sound, and "Just Feel It" is no exception. I love the fact that he has added in the mix a human beatbox over the beat at the end (I can't get enough beatbox!) Peep it for yourself...

VANDY C & BILL BLAST - "Just Feel It"

But for me VANDY C was at his best when producing records for other people. Two very strong records that spring to mind instantly are TRAY BAG MC's "At A Jam" and KID FLASH's dope ass joint "Ain't Nuthin' But a Party". On both of these tracks VANDY C provides a banging beat for the MC to rhyme over. The sound is raw, and simple in technique terms, but with all the right elements to create the dopest of sounds - a horn stab here, a james brown grunt there. On KID FLASH's 1988 release on TABU RECORDS, VANDY provides one of his best beats in my opinion, using KOOL & THE GANG'S infamous "N.T." drum break to full effect. Little horn bursts, hooks, stabs and drum rolls hit you from all angles, and on this release he collaborates with the legendary PAUL C MCKASTY on the beatmaking, and even credits PAUL on the label for "horns and ideas". Listen again and this becomes obvious when you study the way the samples drop in. It doesn't get any fresher than this! You NEED this record in your 88 crates - both sides are highly dope.


KID FLASH - "Ain't Nuthin' But a Party" 1988 TABU RECORDS

VANDY C also produced records for the URBAN ROCK label - this project was another collaboration with PAUL C when between them they produced and mixed two FREAK L releases - again two very respectable records in their own right. One such record being FREAK L - "When The Pen Hits the Paper" (Urban Rock 1989)
Once again VANDY C showing his production skills with the late great PAUL C on the mixing desk. Despite the dodgy intro using "It's Just an Illusion" by the UK group IMAGINATION, it's still an incredible record purely for its heavy use of turntables (how Hip Hop should be). Relegated to the b-side of "Line for Line", the beats are still pretty damn tight use of the SP1200, with some real quiet drum noises keeping the tempo. Based around Marvin Gaye's "T Plays It Cool", Vandy C still manages to cram in as many other classic break records as he can, including the "Handclapping Song" by the Meters, "Before I Let Go" by Maze and others. But FREAK L rhymes clever and real tight too on this track, as he does on his "Slammin'" release, making this another worthy purchase on the URBAN ROCK label.
FREAK L - "When the Pen Hits the Paper"

So VANDY was working with one of the greatest hip hop sound engineers ... I guess those two must have been tight as friends and behind the boards! And no doubt on the same wavelength musically. I have browsed Dave Tompkin's article but I can see no mention of VANDY and I can find very little else about the man himself on the net. Please let me know if you have more details, or more tracks produced by him, or even if you know VANDY C.

I will have to delve deeper in my crates and see what else I can find. He also produced other bangers including GRAND POOBAH TONY D & COOL GINO G - "My Day" b/w "I'm Terrifying" 1987 on BODYROCK RECORDS. Any others you know please add on...

VANDY C ... w-w-where ya at-at-at?

Kid Dyno

Monday 8 June 2009

Kool-Aid Volume 1 - Jay Malls

Summer's Here! Time to rock those box fresh sneakers and catch a few rays. Here's the perfect mix for those sunny days, courtesy of J. MALLS. Guaranteed fresh.


Saturday 6 June 2009

Hogan's Thing - De Wolfe Music

Since the early days of Hip Hop on wax, many a record has been released where the original sample used is such a stone cold killer, that it then becomes "re-cycled" by another beatmaker or emcee.
Even back in the early 80's during Hip Hop's infancy, it was not unusual for an MC to simply rhyme over someone else's instrumental, and then release their "version" while the beat was still hot. The quick turnaround of vinyl pressing back then meant that it was often only a week or two before the "re-cycled" record hit the streets. If you listen to BUSY BEE's "Making Cash Money", you will notice the backing track is identical to SPOONIE GEE's "Spoonie Gee is Back" (both on SUGARHILL RECORDS). Other early examples include....

RUN DMC - "My Adidas"
DIVINE SOUNDS - "She's a Skeezer"

MAN PARRISH - "Hip Hop Be Bop"
THE BEAT BOYS - "Be Bop Rock"

This phenomena has been happening throughout many years of hip hop music (please feel free to add other records that spring to your mind in the comments section below) and countless records have re-used a well-known sample, or flipped it a different way etc..

Today I wanna concentrate on one of my favourite sample tracks of all time. It has been flipped and re-flipped by different crews, but every time I hear it used I love the outcome. The track in question is "HOGAN'S THING" on the well known LIBRARY LP series DE WOLFE. Now the name may not be instantly recognisable, but I'm sure when you here the beats you will be saying..."Oh Damn!".
"HOGAN'S THING" appears on the DE WOLFE LP entitled "HEAVY TRUCKIN'" from 1973. These Library LPs were intended for use within the TV and Film industry to provide background music relevant to the theme of the show. Many well known TV series' plundered the DE WOLFE archives for dramatic sequences and scores, including THE PROFESSIONALS and THE SWEENEY.
Speaking of THE SWEENEY, this is how I first heard "HOGAN'S THING". All of you SWEENEY fans out there will be aware that the pilot film for this superb 70's TV series about SWEENEY TODD (aka the Police Flying Squad) was a film called "REGAN". The intro to the film used "HOGAN'S THING" as the eerie music in the intro when a badly beaten policeman wakes up after having been dumped on the shores of the river Thames in London. Check it out below. Hogan's Thing is about 30 seconds in ... but the whole score to this film is incredible - seek it out if you can.

"Ah that's the sample" I hear you cry! You may know it as sampled by JAY-Z on the DAME DASH LP, or before that used by DILATED PEOPLES's DJ BABU on his "Bonus Beat" but recently I spotted a MONEY BOSS PLAYERS video whilst peeping the new shit on HIP HOP BATTLEFIELD (what's up to DRASAR MONUMENTAL!) where EDDIE CHEEBA spits lyrics over the very same sample. Which do I prefer the best? I'm not sure. Have a listen and I will let you decide.


BABU - "Bonus Beat" produced by DJ BABU

JAY-Z - "Don't You Know" Produced by JUST BLAZE


Who rocks the beat the best? You decide.

Kid Dyno