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.
VANDY C & BILL BLAST - "V the Viper" 1986 WHOP RECORDS
VANDY C & BILL BLAST - "Just Feel It" 1987 SELECT RECORDS
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.
TRAY BAG MC - "At A Jam" 1986 WHOP RECORDS
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?