Ice Cube, A Gangsta’s Fairytale
Rap music, it’s all about the kids these days. Walking around the streets with their pretend limps and their big hooded tops. They’re so sweet. So, we thought we’d allow them a hip hop treat this week, so we dug through the crates and decided on a nice fairytale with appalling language from Ice Cube – now a bad actor, once a great rapper.
Positive K, I Got A Man
And so another Tuesday gently rolls around, meaning that it’s time for us to indulge ourselves in yet more stunning rap music. Hence, we’ve pulled our jeans down to expose our underpants, we’ve decanted apple juice into a milk bottle, and yes, we’re throwing dice against a wall. All because we once saw Menace II Society. Today, one-hit-wonder Positive K explains to a woman that, really, he just wants to do it with her.
Kool G Rap and DJ Polo, Streets of New York
Site regulars will already be well aware that we like to spend Tuesdays listening to hard beats, and mouthing along to street raps in front of a full length mirror. Sometimes naked. Sometimes wearing just a vest and some socks. Today, it’s the turn of the legendary Kool G Rap to put you off ever holidaying in New York. It’s a big rotten apple by the sounds of things.
Wu-Tang Clan, Da Mystery of Chessboxin’
Every Tuesday we like to pull our trousers down to the outward tip of our buttocks, grab a massive bottle of beer, then limp around town growling at people. It wasn’t always that way, but that’s only because we hadn’t yet been introduced to the RZA, the GZA, Old Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, U-God, d’Artagnan, Porthos, Aramis, Scarecrow, Titch, Ringo, Method Man, and the Ghostface Killah. Aka. The Wu-Tang Sisters. Above is one of their finest moments.
Ludacris, Area Codes
It’s an unlucky day for Americans, September 11th. Mainly because it’s Moby‘s birthday. Lots of people like Moby, but a certain high ranking member of the Interestment family had an absolutely appalling time interviewing him a few years ago, finding him to be one of the most unpleasant humans imaginable – all snappy, sneering and “oh, oh, can you not smoke near me, I’m allergic to cigarettes”. What kind of baby is allergic to cigarettes? Honestly. Hence, we thought we’d blank Moby this year, and celebrate Ludacris – the 32-year-old rapper – instead, so we drove around in one of those bouncy car things playing loud beats, discussing gifts, and it wasn’t long before it boiled down to a toss up between some condoms, or a song he once did which rather glamourises his sexual hunger. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Ludacris! Get stuffed, Moby!
Absolutely including this lot…
The big news is that John Lydon is reforming his old group Public Image Ltd to go on some kind of tour. And that got us to thinking. PiL was Lydon’s second successful stab at the big time with a band, but what other artists have been lucky enough to enjoy two days or more in the sunshine? We decided to come up with ten of the best, with the likes of The Last Shadow Puppets, The Raconteurs, Gorillaz and The Foo Fighters all falling at the final hurdle…
1. The Style Council
The Jam split up in 1982 and Weller formed The Style Council in 1983. Much to a lot of Jam fan’s disgust. Where were the spikey guitar riffs? Fuck me, is that a PIANO? The Style Council were much silkier and soulful. They wore lovely cardigans. It was picnic-pop, but totally brilliant. Weller’s finest hour?
2. The JB’s
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, James Brown ploughed through backing band line ups – mainly because he was a massive soul bastard, and paid everyone in either punches or peanuts. The JB’s provided the sound for his golden period in the early 1970s, succeeding The Famous Flames, The James Brown Band, and The James Brown Orchestra. Bootsy Collins on bass, “Jabo” Starks on drums, Fred Wesley at the back tromboning. So to speak.
3. Public Image Ltd
Formed in 1978, almost directly after the Sex Pistols had imploded, PiL featured John Lydon (formerly Johnny Rotten), Keith Levene – once of The Clash – and Jah Wobble. Or, at least, the first line up did. Over the years, almost twenty thousand people could claim to have once been a member of PiL. You were probably in the band without realising it. Lydon’s best band.
4. Humble Pie
Small Faces were bloody excellent, Humble Pie weren’t too bad either – much rockier, intent on wooing audiences in America. They initially got together after Steve Marriott had failed to convince his Small Faces bandmates to allow Peter Frampton to join the group, so he flounced off and made Humble Pie instead. For the first half of the 1970s, they were a fantastic band, then Marriott went a little bit loco.
5. New Order
After Ian Curtis decided to dance weirdly into the eternal night in 1980, the Joy Division morphed into New Order – a far more oily band, replacing their office temp outfits for short shorts, and highlights in their hair. All three surviving members– Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris – stayed on board, with the addition of Morris’ girlfriend Gillian Gilbert on keyboard guitar. As anyone who reads massive textbooks about war well knows, the Joy Division was a reference to the prostitution wing of concentration camps during the Second World War, New Order was incorrectly seen to be taken from a quote in Mein Kampf. The band are not fascists.
Wings, though rather unfashionable to like, were actually a pretty decent band. Not, obviously, as good as The Beatles, but tracks like Maybe I’m Amazed and Live and Let Die would have been great additions to any Beatles back catalogue. In fact, the latter was produced by George Martin. They were also the only permanent band formed by any of The Beatles after the split, with McCartney leading the merry troupe for around ten years. He might even have been a Wing for longer than he was a Beatle. They enjoyed much chart success with Linda on backing vocals.
7. Crosby, Stills and Nash
Crosby was once of The Byrds, Stills was once of Buffalo Springfield, and Nash was once of The Hollies. All very successful, sometimes brilliant, pop groups. Hence, this was seen as something of a supergroup project when the three formed in 1968. And yet, they’re still going. Or, at least, on and off. They were so-named to prevent any of the bandmates stealing the name of the group should any of them decided to leave – a result of bitter experience in the cases of Crosby and Nash – and Neil Young would occasionally join in, making it Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Rather cleverly.
8. Lucy Pearl
Like Crosby, Stills and Nash, Lucy Pearl was made up of three big names from successful R&B and hip hop groups. There was Raphael Saadiq from Tony! Toni! Tone!, Dawn Robinson from En Vogue, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad from A Tribe Called Quest. Originally D’Angelo was supposed to join in too, but some kind of commitment clash meant that he couldn’t. In the original formation, they only managed to squeeze out one album – in 2000 – but the good news is that it was a corker.
9. Big Audio Dynamite
After getting royally booted out of The Clash, Mick Jones shuffled around for a bit, then eventually formed Big Audio Dynamite with reggae/punk legend Don Letts in 1984. With Jones on lead vocals for once, they became known for mixing punk rock with reggae, hip hop, and whatever kind of genre they fancied with an impressive degree of success and innovation. Their biggest hit came with E=MC2 in 1986. Which isn’t featured below.
10. Gnarls Barkley
Both members of Gnarls Barkley have enjoyed musical success with other groups. Danger Mouse with the Damon Albarn cartoon vanity project Gorillaz, and Cee-Lo Green with the popular US rap group Goodie Mob – who were particularly popular in the 1990s thanks to their affiliation with Outkast, and the rise in popularity of raps from the Deep South. As Gnarls Barkley, everyone knows them for that great song about going bananas.
Gang Starr, Step in the Arena
Another Tuesday comes around, making it high time for another classic rap – this time from DJ Premier and Guru, who together like to be known as Gang Starr. Which, as you can probably see, is a brand new method of spelling “gangster”. Clever. Very clever. Above is one of their finest moments.
With Tuesday Jazz enjoying a much deserved Summer holiday, we’ve turned our attentions to the greatest raps of all time, and this week is the turn of Rakim to spit some rhymes – he’s one of the best ever.
Kurtis Blow, The Breaks
With Tuesday Jazz taking a little breather for a few weeks, we’ve turned our attention to great raps from back in “the day”. Back when rapping was just another form of gorgeous beat poetry, and rappers were perfectly at liberty to go shirtless underneath their suits. Great times. Take it away, Mr Blow!
Main Source, Looking at the Front Door
Everyone needs a holiday, especially at this time of year when boiling hot rays of sunshine create a nationwide urge to down big icy bottles of brewski, roll one trouser leg up, and listen to some excellent raps. Hence Tuesday Jazz has been given the rest of the Summer off, and from now on we’ll be bumping metaphorical fists with some great hip hop from way back in the olden days. To kick things off, here’s Main Source, our number one Rap Group.
Oh dear, an uncomfortable meal…
It’s always brilliant to hear from an important member of the luxurious Interestment family, so we punched fists, spat on the ground with glee, and mumbled ‘sup? when Hip Hop Sam piled onto the scene brandishing a funny album cover. He had this to say…
Ghostface Killah‘s album cover for Bulletproof Wallets depicts the aftermath of the most embarrassing moment in hip hop history. Raekwon the Chef, fresh from his three mile morning jog has popped over to his best friend, Ghostface Killah’s house for a spot of breakfast, a girly chat and a nice big glass of freshly squeezed OJ. But, sadly, his timing couldn’t have been more appalling. Judging by the awkward look on Raekwon‘s face we can only assume that he’s just caught a glimpse of Ghostface Killah‘s morning penis “popping out” of his loosely tied dressing gown. Gutted. Here’s a track from the album…
Making excellent music for your steri-eri-erio…
It’s always a complete pleasure to hear from a member of the growing Interestment family, and today it’s the turn of Hip Hop Sam – a wise man, with a fine line in enormous trousers and wonderful records. He had this to say about rap’s beat makers…
Only 2 people are required to make a hip hop record: 1. A rapper – an arrogant, boastful, violent drug dealer, with a love of gold and weaponry, yet blessed with the ability to talk in rhyme. And 2. The producer – a man/woman who makes the beat over which the rapper talks aggressively. To do this a DJ samples a section of someone else’s music, and simply replays it in a repetitive, continuous loop over some drums. Hopefully you’ll end up with a track that sounds like gigantic monster-truck-transformers sensually dogging in a late night car park. Here’s the best four producers, like, ever…
1. DJ Premier
Premier is without a doubt the king of hip hop producers. For the entire 1990s you couldn’t attend a hip hop club night without hearing at least fifty DJ Premier tracks before getting mugged at knifepoint.
2. Dr Dre
If you’re a fan of smoking the chronic in bouncy cars, squeaky voiced maniacs who are a little bit kerraazy, or big muscular men with their tops off, then you’re probably a fan of Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent – all of whom are themselves big fans of Dr Dre for turning them into household names.
3. J Dilla
Before James Yancey tragically passed away at the age of 32 from a rare blood disease, he was responsible for classic tracks by Common, The Pharcyde, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes and Slum Village. His production style was original, futuristic and completely peerless. Who knows how good he’d be now if he was still alive. RIP Dilla.
4. Marley Marl
Put “ley” on the end of your first name, and then repeat the first bit. The result – instant cool rap moniker. This works with every name except for Lee. Pioneering producer Marlon Williams did this, and never looked back, going on to make loads of superb tracks for Erik B & Rakim, Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Master Ace and LL Cool J.
No room for this gentleman…
In tragic music icon terms, Michael Jackson actually lived a fairly long and prosperous life. He made it to half a century, which isn’t bad at all. Elvis only got as far as 42, John Lennon made it to 40 before taking four bullets in the back, and Michael Hutchence was still a fairly youthful 37. Keith Moon and John Bonham made it fashionable for great drummers to die at 32. Then, of course, you have all of the rock stars who couldn’t make it past 27 – Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison. Gram Parsons was even younger at 26, as was Otis Redding when he died in a plane crash. Tupac was 25, Notorious BIG 24, Ian Curtis 23, and Sid Vicious and Eddie Cochran were barely grown ups at just 21. In fact, the list of tragic early deaths is relatively endless. So with that in mind, we thought it high time to select the four most unfortunate, as decided by us…
1. Jimi Hendrix, 27
It was a very sad day for music in 1970 when Hendrix apparently lay on his back, choking on his own sick, thanks to a few too many red wines. The whole thing still smells a little bit fishy, with rumours floating around that it might not have simply been the innocent death of a drinker. Either way, it robbed the world of a fantastic music man, who managed to mix rock, soul and psychedelic stuff really really well. He keeps the likes of Steve Marriott, Janis Joplin, Marc Bolan and Phil Lynott out of the top four, and, to really put things in perspective, without Hendrix we probably wouldn’t have Prince. What kind of rubbish world would that be?
2. Minnie Riperton, 31
One of the great female soul singers, Riperton died of the damn cancer when she was 31. But what a 31 years. She’ll always be remembered for Lovin’ You, a slightly drippy love song, but we’ll forever love her for the rock/soul numbers she did with Rotary Connection, Les Fleurs, and the rather graphic sex song, Inside My Love. With so many excellent soul singers to choose from, she has achieved the remarkable feat of keeping Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke out of the top four. That’s a very big score for the sisterhood.
3. Keith Moon, 32
There were a few decent dead drummers to choose from, but Keith Moon just beat Dennis Wilson and John Bonham to grab a place in the top four. He edged it for being more of a total maniac. Famous for driving cars into pools, flushing explosives down toilets, and for being a completely brilliant drummer in The Who, he died after taking too many anti-alcohol pills in 1978. He’d just been out for dinner with Paul and Linda McCartney, which presumably had nothing to do with the overdose.
4. Big L, 24
The rap game has seen lots of premature deaths – Easy E, Big Pun, Tupac, Scott La Rock, Jay Dee, Biggie Smalls, Jam Master Jay, Ol’ Dirty Bastard. But the one that really makes us slam our fists and weep up to the heavens screaming “why?” is Big L‘s. We honestly think he could have been the greatest rapper of all time, but instead he took seven bullets to the head and chest one evening in 1999. The murder remains unsolved, which makes it double annoying.
This man did not make the list…
It’s been a while since we heard from Hip Hop Sam – for a while he was presumed dead. But now he’s back, jeans as baggy as ever, his trainers resplendent in the afternoon glare of the sun. He lit up a herbal cigarette and thought he’d turn his eye to the most kind rappers he could think of. He had this to say…
Rappers famously hate pretty much everything except jewellery, women, and a full clip. You’ve seen them – they go around in their baggy jeans, limping, smoking cigs, wearing caps on sideways, bragging about killing people. They’re really not very nice when you sit down and think about it. Hence, I took some time out to figure out whether there are any nice rappers out there. And guess what – there are loads of them after all. These are the four kindest…
Chicago’s best ever rapper is a great guy. He’s the kind of gentleman who’d pluck a sobbing cat out of a tree, or help an old lady with their shopping whilst on his way to the library, where’s he’s probably returning a book about feminist politics. Although his rapping style sounds like a seductive aromatherapist explaining oils to you, he’s highly respected in Hip Hop circles, having worked with hip hop legends like DJ Premier, Jay Dilla, and more recently The Jonas Brothers.
If invited for tea round your house after school, most rappers would allow their dogs to foul on the lawn, whilst they were busily making obscenities out of fridge magnets. But not cutesy voiced little Q-Tip. Oh no, he’d well behaved, and probably even bring a cake with him. And not a shop-bought cake either. He’d make one himself. From scratch. Anyway, an immensely talented individual he’s consistently produced excellent music with A Tribe Called Quest and on his own, and his new album The Renaissance is particularly amazing. “Thanks for the cake Q-Tip” we’d say when his mum picked him up (although secretly we’d have preferred just a plain sponge).
3. Talib Kweli
Have you ever imagined that you were a beautiful woman with huge juicy breasts, going out with a rapper? You’ve been going steady for months, and the time’s finally come to introduce your new man to your parents – EEEEK!!! If you were going out with 99 per cent of MCs this would pose an enormous problem, as the most likely outcome would be the pistol related death of your father (cringe!). Not so with Mr Kweli. He’d charm the pants off your old man, so much so, that they’d probably end up really bonding. Maybe hanging out together. Your Dad might even end up freestyling and breakdancing while Kweli does some simple beats using his mouth. It would be weird, and you’d end the relationship shortly after to go out with Akon.
Once a teacher called me dude by accident. It was a horrendous moment, acutely embarrassing for both of us. I reported him, and he gave up teaching shortly afterwards. There’s just no room in the classroom for hip-hop slang or ebonics. This is probably why J-Live gave up teaching to become a rapper. This mild-mannered, kindly-faced, bespectacled MC is the only rapper EVER that you’d feel safe to leave your children with. In fact, he’d possibly teach them to spit the Periodic Table to a SERIOUSLY funky breakbeat.
Some very sassy ladies didn’t make it…
Regardless that when you break it down, rapping is just poetry recital in front of your friends, there has been a serious shortage in female rappers over the years. The ratio of men to women is probably about fifty to one. Being very serious about our beliefs regarding equality, we would like to see this change. We want to live in a world where Jay Z is a woman, Snoop Doggy Dogg used to be a beautician, and Eminem has the most wonderful bikini body. Even so, choosing the four greatest female rappers was very tricky indeed, with MC Lyte, Lauryn Hill and Lady of Rage all falling at the final hurdle…
1. Roxanne Shante
Not to be confused with The Real Roxanne, Shante was party to one of the original hip hop beefs when she became caught up in the infamous Roxanne Wars of the mid-80s. Thankfully this was before the days when problems were solved with bullets, so she lived to rap another day. Our number one girl, she was famous for being a brilliant freestyle rapper, and as an affiliate of the Juice Crew (with Marley Marl, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap etc…) her legend is set.
2. Queen Latifah
The Will Smith of female rap, Latifah is now a cheerful tubby woman who crops up in films like Chicago, and is more likely to sing from the classic American Songbook than actually rap. But, there was a time when she was a serious MC, from her early days as a beatboxer with Ladies Fresh, to her decade long career as a Tommy Boy rapper. She’s a whole beautiful mountain of woman.
As conscious female rappers go, Bahamadia is the best. Her 1996 album Kollage was produced by the peerless DJ Premier, and she’s got a monotone, fluid flow that drips like syrup into a mixing bowl. If that makes any sense. The thinking man’s choice, she keeps Lauryn Hill off the four.
4. Jean Grae
Named after a character in the X Men, Jean Grae is possibly the best lady MC currently working. That she’s worked with the likes of Talib Kweli, The Roots and the legendary Masta Ace tells you everything you need to know. One heck of a gal.
Aww, who’s that little cutie?
Say what you like about Eminem, but in 8 Mile, he taught us that if you embarrass yourself first, no one will ever be able to embarrass you again. It was a clever move, turning his rap attack on its head, making that other guy look like a chump. That’s why we always do something enormously humiliating first thing in the morning, just to make sure that the day can’t get any worse. We might deliberately trip up at the bus stop, or accidentally (on purpose) walk back from the office toilets completely naked. It works. So good for Eminem. Good for him. But, actually, he wasn’t the first rapper to gently mock himself, back in the early 90s a young rapper called Nasty Nas unlocked a painfully humiliating box of childhood snapshots, and hung them on a washing line for everyone to see. By which we mean he put a picture of himself as a child of the cover of his amazing Illmatic album. Look at him, staring out at you, a seven year old child, he looks lonely and frightened. And yet, when you hear him rapping as an adult he’s street tough. What a glorious juxtaposition! It made for a much better cover than the original idea, which was to have the rapper wrestling Jesus. Here’s a track from the album…
Bra testing at Alton Towers
Wow, it’s one helluva week for rappers and their birthdays – yesterday Ice Cubes, today Pacsie. Better know to you as Tupac, or 2pac, or The Pac Man, or The Pacmeister, or OnePac Tupac ThreePac Four, or Our Sun Pac, or Burt Baccha-Pac, or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Pac, or Dusty SpringPac, or Farrah Faw-Pac, or Charlie and the Chocolate Pac-tory, or Hey Diddle Diddle the Pac and the Fiddle, or What the Pac!, or Crisp Pac, or just plain old Pac. He would have been 38 today, had he not been gunned down after a beef with Biggie Smalls. Also known as Notorious BIG, or Big Man, or Smally Bigs, or The Big Stuff, or Fat Folks, or Double Whopper with Cheese, or 2001 A BIG Space Odyssey, or Mr Big Potatoes, or just plain old Big starring Tom Hanks. Anyway, Pac would have been 38 today, so after much discussion we decided to buy him either a grain of rice with all of his nicknames engraved on it, or a video of semi-naked women on a rollercoaster sent to us by a chap in PR. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Tupac, aka 2pac, aka The Pac Man etc…
G is for Gangsta
For a time, Ice Cube looked set to become the original Will Smith. But no. He might have been a better rapper, but all of his songs were odes to shouting things about bacon at hard working police officers, or calling his girlfriend a bitch. He should have stuck to Smith style ditties about church garden parties and the benefits of a nice early night. Regardless, Cube turns 40 today, we thought we’d get him a nice gift, so we drove slowly around town in one of those bouncy car things, listening to Snoop, smoking the chronic. It boiled down to a toss up between a really lovely porcelain duck, or a clip of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street showcasing some mad rapping skills. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Cube, hope today is a good day!
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus
Ace rapper Andre 3000 turns just 34 today, making his ghetto monicker either completely inaccurate, or nothing to do with his age. We just don’t know. What we do know, however, is that the man has had an amazing life up until now. He’s rapped songs, sung songs, worn women’s clothes without getting shot up by infuriated gang members, and he was once even found lying back on a hotel sofa talking to a certain Interestment member about what was so good about Lucozade. True story. Hence, we thought we’d get him a gift, so we each slipped into an outfit of skinny jeans, loafers, oversized vest, flat cap and stupid sailor tattoos, and headed to a grotty looking arthouse pub in a trendy area of London to pretend we might be heroin addicts or rent boys. It was there that we decided to get Andre either a shovel to pan us all in the face with, or a clip of an amazing film that we were alerted to by a young man called Steve. In the end we got him both. Happy Panning Andre!
Say ‘sup to some genuine tough guys
It’s always a total joy to hear from one of the beautiful members of the Interestment family, so when Hip Hop Sam strode up wearing enormous trousers, brandishing an album cover review, we slapped five and took a mighty gulp from his gigantic bottle of lager. He had this to say…
Vincent van Gogh was a poor downtrodden artist, and nobody liked his childish oil paintings until he cut his ear off – probably following a Stella/Fosters binge drinking mix up. This led to instant respect in the art world, with experts referring to his Chair and his Sunflowers as “brilliant” and “very sexy indeed”. In much the same way, the Geto Boys were the outcasts of gangster rap, with their songs about necrophilia, killing people, and wearing Nikes frowned upon by beard twiddling hip hop bureaucrats. That was until one of the band members, a rapping dwarf called Bushwick Bill, drank a bit too much on a date and stupidly shot himself in the eye. Fortunately for Bill, every cloud has a silver lining, as the startling hospital scene made for the beatiful cover of We Can’t Be Stopped. Their ode to not being stopped. Great cover, excellent record. Here’s one of the tracks from it…
Be afraid, hip hoppers…
By the early 1990s, rap album covers went in one of two directions: guns or pastel colours. The guns signified hardcore raps about killing people and then having sex with someone, whereas the pastel colours meant that some social issues were going to be covered. Perhaps using humour as a tool. We prefered the conscious pastel coloured rap, especially as some of the guys with the guns had sparkling jheri curls, which just made them look like violent grandmothers. A silly look. But that all changed in 1993, when the Wu-Tang Clan came along, and suddenly the trannies with uzies looked almost kindly and adorable. These guys – Raekwon, ODB, Method Man, Ghostface, GZA, Scarecrow, The Face Man, BA, Murdock, and Ringo – were terrifying and mysterious, taking their style from obscure martial arts films. It was totally thrilling, and the sleeve found them kitted out like demonic ninjas prowling stealthily in a strange part-dark/part-shiny room with a massive curtain at the end. Was this one of the chambers? The 36 chambers? What are the chambers of death anyway? A fantastic record. Below is one of their classic tracks…
Daddy Freddy Raps on Record Breakers
Rita Coolidge. You know, Rita Coolidge. The one who broke up Crosby, Stills & Nash by servicing both Stills and Nash but totally ignoring Crosby. She was also a backing vocalist for Joe Cocker at one stage. Then she married Kris Kristofferson for a bit. Yeah, her. Now you remember her. Now you know who we’re on about. Her. Anyway, she’s 64 today, so as is the tradition in this country, we thought we’d pick up a present. We stood outside Blockbuster on Clapham High Street, smoking spliffs, knocking back bottle after bottle of orange WKD, trying desperately to figure out what to buy someone who we’d never really heard of. We cried, we talked, we wept. We punched a guy in the face. Then Hip Hop Sam strolled past in his gargantuan trousers and told us that we should either get her a tub of raspberry ripple ice cream or a clip from Record Breakers featuring the fast rapping of Daddy Freddy, and the legendary Wee Papa Girl Rappers. In the end we got her both. Happy Birthday Coolidge!
Without them, no sign of this strange man…
It’s with total and unreserved elation that we welcome Hip Hop Sam back into the Interestment fold. He’s been off the scene lately, spending nights rifling through his thousands of sleek vinyl records. Today, he’s provided an interesting historical lecture about Drum and Bass music, and how it really came about. He had this to say…
Drum and Bass is amazing, and in its heyday it was an exciting movement to be part of – cowering in a dark room throbbing with bass, crack smoke wafting through the air, fingering a rosary, praying that a gun crazed madman won’t get all shooty and kill the vibe. Ahh great days. No one really knows where this weird and frightening music originated from, but if you pull up a chair, I’ll tell you who invented it.
1. Rebel MC, Comin’ On Strong
We’ll forgive the Rebel for making awful pop-rap song Street Tuff, partly because when he preformed it on Top of the Pops he shouted “am I a yankee?” and we all cheerfully shouted “no I’m a Londoner!” back at the telly, but also because in 1990 he released a b side, Coming On Strong, that merged bleeps with drums, bass, and a bit of talking in strange new language, called Ragga. He later went on to release the Drum and Bass classic Conquering Lion under the name Code Red. Bo? Exactly.
2. The Ragga Twins, Spliffhead
Originally from Hackney’s s Heatwave Sound System (alongside future Drum and Bass great DJ Hype), Shut Up And Dance (PJ and Smiley) made a number of mistakes in their career including the terrifying release of Raving I’m Raving – a record banned the second it was released thanks to copyright naughtiness. They also appeared topless and greased up on their debut album cover, which is quite frankly a big no-no. However they were among the fist to mix House music with breakbeats creating early Drum and Bass. Above is the track Spliffhead – produced by Shut Up And Dance for the Ragga Twins, everyone’s favourite brothers.
3. The Winstons, Amen Brother
There wouldn’t’ be any Drum and Bass music without drum solos from early funk bands. Most of these drummers were fat, sweaty men with kind faces, and of course excellent rhythm. The best example of a breakbeat is the break from Amen Brother by The Winstons, which has been used in almost every single Drum and Bass track ever created. It’s located at around one minute twenty-seven seconds.
4. 4 Hero, Mr Kirk’s Nightmare
Before Drum and Bass, ravers were annoying. They used to take vast quantities of the evil drugs – acid and ecstasy – and then danced around sweating, gurning, and wearing Global Hypercolour t shirts and yellow smileys. They were an embarassment to our once proud nation. 4 Hero put a stop to this nonsense with the release of Mr Kirk’s Nightmare. The record was based on a cop telling Mr Kirk that his son had “died of an overdose”. This made all these grinning imbeciles feel frightened and paranoid… thus paving the way for the darker sounds of Jungle. Rewind? Yes please.
Kanye West and the tough guys…
As everyone knows, rap music is about posturing, looking mean, showing the next crew that you’re the best. No one can stop you. It’s also about wearing tight animal print trousers, carrying dinky little suitcases and feeling a bit tearful sometimes. Observe (above).