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


fish said...

can't pretend i was aware of ANY of the songs you posted along with this article...good work and definately three to look out for...cheers!

earl mendez said...

you're on some new level shit my friend... keep it up, mad love to the site... from the boys at

Anonymous said...

what's up, Dyno! nice to see you do a piece on Vandy C. interesting character know very little about, that 12 Just Feel It w/ Bill Blast is classic in my book.I'd like to know if the Bill Blast that gets a shout from Large Professor on 'just hangin out' is one and the same. how about a Lyvio G and P - Fine post?

Vandy C produced tracks on The Jaz - To Your Soul album. other than those you mention I cant remember where else ive seen his name on production..add on.P

fishlycoxwell said...

more to the point, is it the same Bill Blast of Spraycan Art fame??

Daily Diggers said...

Yo P! Great, thanks for letting me know about THE JAZ LP - I will dig out my copy and give it a spin. Nice work bro I never knew that one!

And Fishly, I think it is a different BILL BLAST from the Graffiti artist famed for painting inside the Roxy venue back in the days,.... check this out....

...but also, I notice on the label of "Just Feel It", it only credits VANDY C and TRAY BAG MC.

So was BILL BLAST just a pseudonym for TRAY BAG???

the plot thickens!


Anonymous said...

Tray Bag MC from "At a jam"? tuff tuff!! damn good tune off hip hop electro 17 with the classic graf gate-fold sleeve by ACE.

Going back to the Bill Blast character.I asked about Large Professor shouting out 'Bill Blast', I now think Large says 'Bill Blass' why? because if you check the liner notes to G. Rap's "4,5,6" he shouts "Black Ass Bill Blass" now im only making the connection through the Queens NY thing/G.RapxLarge Professor connect.

There is a picture of Vandy C. in the Latin Quarter edition of Wax Poetics if you have that Dyno..check it.P

setrule said...

Good find!! Red use to play that FREAK L after Early To Rise back in 89' First time i heard it without cuts.... nice blog!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Vandee Cee's name is well known in hiphop law here in nyc, I went to broadcasting school with vandee back in 1982 at NBS radio here in nyc, some songs during the late 1980's that vandee produced he used the name "blackmale" on the production credits, Vandee Cee and Bill Blast also had a very popular radio show in nyc during the period of about 1984-1991 ish called Vandee Cee's get Busy Get Or Get Losted radio show with Bill Blast as the co-host. Vandee Cee honed his tremendous production skills from his always on point turntable skills, vandee cee was one of the best on the wheels aswell, glad you brought the brotha up, it's true not much is mentioned about vandee, but true skool hiphop heads in nyc know him, pre trick97 hiphop era/error.

Daily Diggers said...

^^ hey many thanks indeed for adding on to the VANDY C discussion, and great to hear you knew Vandy personally. And now you mention it I recall theere being VANDY C and BILL BLAST radio shows, but I don't have any tapes of it unfortunately (anyone?)

But to hear he also used the name "BLACKMALE" ... damn I never knew that. I like the fact that his production skills stemmed from him being dope on the 1s and 2s.

If anyone out there has any VANDY C tapes, please lemme know.

Thanks guys for adding on.

VANDY please see this and get in touch.

peace from London town.

Kid Dyno

Ausar said...

I grew up listening to Vandy Cee on WNYE in New York; that was the Medgar Evers College radio station (91.5). Vandy Cee is an underground legend in Brooklyn if you grew up in the 80's. I still have some pause tapes of the show but mainly capturing the music that was played as opposed to any of the interviews or talking that took place in between songs.

I always loved the Freak L record and felt he was a severely underrated MC. I also remember when the Tray Bag record was a rough mix demo! I never realized that Vandy was actually producing these records as well.

For some reason today I went searching for any info I could find on Vandy and your site popped up; I'm impressed.

underground4lfe said...

This was one of my favorite songs of the summer. I used to to to East Orange and Newark NJ every summer and listen to WBLS and KISS FM in NYC. I had this song on cassette but I lost it. Thanks! Many people don't know bout this. Real underground hip hop.

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone, So I was browsing on the web trying to explore some web business and I came across this blog! Great! This is Bill Blast. If you want to holler, give me a shout on Facebook under Bill B Last. I can bring you up to speed! Also, you guys are pretty accurate! Kudos! i especially like the fact that I may be Traybag..haha! All of us are still connected one way or another, Vandy, Tray Freak ad Me

Anonymous said...

Yo, in regards to the lyrical references of Large Pro & G Rap, they were referring to "Bill Blass" and not "Bill Blast" (tho no dis to him).
Bill Blass (R.I.P.) was a legend in Hip-Hop who worked closely with Rakim since he first came out as well as for years with Kool G Rap.
He was still grinding (after 20 years) when the same streets that gave birth to this art took him back with a bullet.
Ask Ra, ask Nas, even ask Sticky Fingaz or Fat Joe. Bill Blass was the real deal.
I was honored to have known him.

Anonymous said...

whoa whoa whoa.. bill blast is not dead.. sheesh.. this is not about the bill blass ur referring to anonymous..

dyno i am excited to see you did a piece on my father vandy c and bill..

Daily Diggers said...

^ hey thats a pleasure, your father's sounds rocked many a stereo back in the days. Just like he rocks his congregation nowadays at the Kingdom Covenant Christian Center.

Still getting his message across to the community.

Please pass on my regards to your father, I can assure you he is held in high regards by the hip hop community "in the know".

Kid Dyno

V's Daughter said...

One thing I can say is when it comes to the Hip Hop community many people are unaware of the rappers that paved the way for the new school of hip hop. I can honestly say I grew up with hip hop. I remember being with my father(Vandy C) on his radio show and having my voice on his shows and just loving the rush I go each and every time. Even as a young woman I can respect Hip HOp and I wish more artist were aware of who made the way for them.

Anonymous said...

I remember every Sat. listening to Vandy C & Bill Blast & Barry Mason & The Rhythm Team

Anonymous said...

On the Freak L 1989 record . does W.mitchell get a credit (isn't that also large pro))

Daily Diggers said...

It does credit W Mitchell you are correct. I think it's safe to say that could be Large Pro but I will check with Vandy C himself and let you know what I find out.

Hopefully a VANDY C interview coming this year. Stay tuned!

Kid Dyno

Kevin Beacham said...

Nice Blog and Great post on Vandy C. I did a interview with him this past Summer that just went live, it answers many questions about his career. You can see it here: