Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Is This Record Underrated?



I don't like making bold statements just for the sake of an interesting blog, but if you know me, you know I champion Melle Mel's legacy more than the average Joe. I feel like a great deal of rap fans give a standard answer when it comes to Melvin Glover's back catalogue. It's on some "You have to respect Melle Mel. He's a legend!" stuff, but it seems like the people saying this are strictly acknowledging that you need to respect your elders. In other words, they show respect but usually aren't fiending to cue up a Sugar Hill 12". I get it... a lot of the songs are sooo long, so dated, they're mostly played with an in-house band (Wood, Brass &Steel) before the advent of a sampler, so they're not as cool to like. They don't always make you scrunch your face in the same vein a lo-fi recorded-in-the-basement track would (nerds), because they are a different style of recording altogether. But Melle Mel was always a beast on the mic, and in his prime was ferocious, with lyrics I want to describe as prophetic. Really, any epic word needs to be used to describe them.

"Minds are poisoned and souls are polluted
Superiority complex is deep rooted
Leeches and lice’s, and people got prices
Egomaniacs control the self-righteous
Nothing is sacred and nothing is pure
So the revelation of death is our cure
Hitler and Caesar, Custer and Reagan
Napoleon, Castro, Mussolini and Begin
Ghengis Khan and the Shah of Iran
Men spill the blood of the weaker man"

Seriously? In 1984? Nobody is touching those lyrics (From Beat Street). The way he delivers the lines... who could make the "Superiority complex..." line flow better than that? His voice is so powerful, it's almost hard to believe that's how anybody could really sound. That's fine though, my youth was comprised of many things that are hard to believe. The World Wrestling Federation. Nickelodeon cartoons. Superman comics. Melle Mel fit right in. The difference is, all the other things I mentioned ARE fictional. Melle Mel was a living and breathing super hero, an exciting personality who was a pioneer of a blossoming art form.

In my haste, I went on youtube to proofread the lyrics I copied and pasted above*, and even the youtube users know what's up. There's no "You're a fag, Melle Mel was gay" comments you'd expect to see below any video. That's how you know you got a gem on your hands (slight sarcasm). Instead, there's comments like:


This song is pure fucking genius. The beat is is hot, the lyrics are so poignant and powerful... these people were pioneers.

...

the greatest rap ever rapped

AND

That's the verse that made me post this rap, and its still true today. wow! I dont think a lot of hip-hopers know how deep that verse is. be cool...

This is the first time I've wanted to hang out with anonymous youtube users. Nevermind, I still don't want to.
Anyways, let me get to the point of this post. Is the Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five LP (known as Work Party on some pressings) underrated? It's after the original Flash and the Furious lineup disbanded, so you're missing Kid Creole and Raheem (and you have a couple weirdos added), but there are some incredible tracks here.


Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five- The Truth-



Let's start with The Truth. I hate to bring Run-DMC into this post to compare, but this seems like the appropriate time. I've always believed most of Mel's fire on his verse is aimed at Darryl and Joe. The age of Sugar Hill was about to come to an end, and Run-DMC's self-titled LP was ushering in a more stripped-down sound of hip hop production. Mel wasn't going to lay down and die though. He knew he could rap circles around these dudes, and I'm sure the fact that Run and D came up listening to tapes of park jams instilled Mel with confidence, knowing these newcomers studied from his and his colleagues blue prints.

Yes, Run-DMC had a cooler edge to the them, the way they dressed is much cooler than how Mel's lineup is dressed on their cover, but Melle Mel is murdering them here. I started this post by saying I would never make outrageous claims for the sake of an interesting blog, but it's okay to have your own opinion. And I think it's safe to say I think The Truth has a harder drum track and harder cuts than Sucker MCs. blasphemy? Maybe, but I gotta say, that's what I truly think.

You got a little bit of fame and wealth
Now you think you did it all by yourself
I am you but you ain't me
because you didn't start rockin' 'til '83
Melle Mel is the best that'll ever exist
and if I gotta be a sucker, suck on this

I just always imagined those lines going in on Run-DMC, but my young mind could've been reaching. This really isn't a Melle Mel / Run-DMC battle for rap supremacy post, I'm just sharing my thoughts on this particular track. Something has to be said about Cowboy as well, who unfortunately passed away much too soon. He gets down on this one.

I've been rockin' that party 8 years of my life / got shot by a gun and stabbed by a knife / had to pay my dues, had to learn the rules / had to separate the smart from all the fools

There's some other bangers on the record also...

Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five- Hustler's Convention-



A reconstruction of Lightnin' Rod's Hustler's Convention, I feel like this is one of Wood, Brass & Steel's greatest in-house Sugar Hill sessions. They kill it. I never see this one on Best of compilations or anything, but I personally always loved blasting it.

This Record is dedicated to Kool Herc... Errahhhh!


Here's a selection from the original Hustler's Convention LP:

Lightnin' Rod- Sport-



As for this next one, if you can get past the odd flatulent-esque noise at the beginning, it's another keeper. I always loved it, but now, it's kind of hard to put a finger on why. The whole song's concept is somebody trying to page them with the group nowhere to be found. It pieces together lyrics and portions from previous songs on the album. All I know is I listened to this one quite a bit. That was possibly the worst write up I could ever assemble to introduce a song.

Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five- The New Adventures of Grandmaster-



So with all these tracks being exceptional, why don't people show love to this album more? How come I don't bring it up as much and passionately debate with people how good these songs are on a regular basis? Probably because a track like Hustler's Convention is followed up with this:

Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five- Yesterday


GuLllllLLLllL. I'm scratching my head too. Or am I?

I got nothin'.


* In regards to copy and pasting the lyrics, I did wind up changing one part. The internet had it as "Mixed with the blood of a weaker man," and I've always heard "Men spill the blood of the weaker man." I could be wrong, though.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Blues Guy Black Def- Heroes & Villains, Saving Seamus Ryan, Evil in the Herald, and more

Crazy weekend! Doing the Coffee Break for Heroes and Villains radio show was dope (see previous post). Shouts to Noah for having me and KARMA come up there. They got an insane record room... I stayed at the station until about 3:30 AM looking through the shelves and getting the tour. Met this one dude "Choke" who was the man. He's currently working alongside Ski producing, and has previously laid down the cuts for Tuff Crew's Still Dangerous album. Very cool guy, so shouts to him as well. The craziest thing was, he doesn't have a laptop, so he was lugging around a computer monitor and PC tower. When he does gigs, he's gotta carry that stuff around, but I hear he can cut his ass off, so anybody snickering gets put in their place. Well, that's the rumor. Anyways, check out an excerpt from the show below:


And stream the entire show HERE. We showed up a little over a half hour into the 3-hour show. It was a night of worrrllllld premieres, worllllld premieresss, including a track off of Esoteric's upcoming solo album, the long awaited and extremely anticipated Saving Seamus Ryan. Listen for the DC the MIDI Alien produced Hold On. More on this sure-to-be incredible album later.


The next morning me and KARMA headed from Jersey City to Hartford, Connecticut to meet up with Blacastan. If you don't know about this dude, do not sleep! He's going to be dropping an incredible album on Brick Records in the not-so-distant future. If you've heard Life of a Tape, I know you don't doubt me. For those who haven't, check it out below.


Blacastan is Brick family, so it was good to finally meet him. It's a privilege having him on my team. No doubt he is super talented, so I look forward to working with him more in the future. He's got the rhymes, he's got the beats, and on some DMC King of Rock shit, he can draw! Not too shabby.

There will be more on Blac soon. For now, all I got to say is Blacastan + Hooters = A good time.


Since I'm on the Brick tip right now though, I gotta also give infinite praise to the up-and-coming emcee BoyCott Blues. His debut single dropped the same day as my album last Tuesday, and it is d-d-d-dope. His upcoming album is almost entirely produced by rapper/producer/dj/apple iphone app creator Insight, so you know it will be quality. His single Da Math features Consequence and Insight, and for me it's really a toss up as to whether the b-side, A Will & A Way, wins again. I really think both of these tracks are exceptional. I know my man Big Dan's vote is for Da Math, and since I debuted A Will & A Way on Coffee Break... (which you can hear above), I gotta go with Dan on this one. I also had to include Da Math remix from Blues upcoming mixtape, R.I.P. City. Check 'em out!


BoyCott Blues Feat. Consequence & Insight- Da Math


BoyCott Blues Feat. Consequence & Insight- Da Math (R.I.P. City Version)



And finally finally- Marty Caballero over at the Boston Herald just let me know his review of Evil In The Mirror was in last friday's paper. I gotta thank him for such a positive review.

Grade: A minus and 1/2 plus! Just playing...

BOSTON HERALD REVIEW

“Evil in the Mirror” (Brick): A-

For Will C., the 22-year-old hip-hop prodigy who earned plaudits for his smart and inventive skills as a mixtape DJ (the ’80s-inspired “Commercial Rap” and “Down the Dial”), making the transition from behind the scenes to behind the mike isn’t simply a matter of spitting rhymes. On his solo debut, “Evil in the Mirror,” Will carefully constructs the universe as he sees it: a split-screen battle between his better and lesser instincts played out over tough old-school drums and samples. “Be Yourself Syndrome” breaks down his life (and hip-hop) philosophy with lyrical shades of Wu-Tang’s GZA (with lines like “trivial like the bottom of Snapple caps”). As competent and confident as he is an MC, Will’s greatest strength remains his ability to formulate a concept and execute it: “Evil” is greater than the sum of its parts thanks to consistently creative production and arrangements. As a reflection of Will’s wide-ranging talents, “Mirror” looks good. Download: “Synthetic Genetics.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Was Wondering...


Is it okay that I cost a dollar more than Michael Jackson? Evil In The Mirror or Man In The Mirror. Showdown!

I went with MJ. Shit

Thanks to Darren for the picture.

Evil Is Live - (Evil In The Mirror Out Today)


I gotta apologize... I've been quiet for the bulk of this month. Things have been a little hectic, but I'm definitely going to get back into the swing of things once a little bit of the mayhem dies down.


My debut full length album, Evil In The Mirror, is out today worldwide! You can cop it on Itunes, all digital networks, and any physical retailer who knows what's up. It's also available from me directly on my myspace.


I hate to use this blog solely as a means to plug things going on with myself, but it's looking like this post has gotta be all about that. Random thoughts on other records will have to wait. Today I need to take a breather and celebrate.


(Above: Jawn P. and Gemini of Top Choice Clique- goin' way way back to the early days)



Unkut posted this a couple weeks back, but if you missed it, here's some footage of Top Choice Clique performing Peace of Mind with me on the tables.




THIS THURSDAY- 11:00 PM - 2:00 AM- Tune into 91.1 WFMU- KARMA and myself will be special guests on Noah Zark's Coffee Break For Heroes & Villains radio show. It's going to be a lot of fun. I'll play a couple of exclusives and get on the wheels for some of the show. I'm sure the three of us will be talking about some SUPER interesting stuff as well. If you are not in the New York area, it can be listened to via WFMU's site. Here's the write up from Noah:




Thursday, July 23rd, 11pm - 2am: Will C. & KARMA (Brick Records)


22 year old rap anthropologist Will C. just released his debut; Evil In The Mirror on Brick Records. KARMA; Boston MC of legendary group God Complex both come down to the show to play us some goodies and talk about their favorite baseball team.



Oh yeah, and one more thing. If you're in the greater Boston area on the 8th of August, come check out a performance by myself, Top Choice Clique, and MC Esoteric in Malden. It's going to be a lot of fun. Here's the flyer! KARMA with the dope design!



Check it out! I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"Losers" Single Out Today! + Debut Music Video!!


Boom...

Losers, my debut single from the forthcoming album Evil In The Mirror, just dropped today on Itunes and all digital networks!

This is cause for celebration, it's been a long time coming.

Random fact - Although this is my first official single, it IS NOT my first music video. That dropped back in 1992. You can check it out below.



POWER!

Anyways, here's the official track list for the Losers single.

01 Losers (Clean)
02 Losers
03 Losers (Instrumental)
04 Synthetic Genetics Feat. Esoteric (Clean)
05 Zodiac Extension Pt. 2 (Clean)
06 Synthetic Genetics Feat. Esoteric
07 Synthetic Genetics (Instrumental)
08 Losers (Remix- Clean)
09 Losers (Remix)
10 Losers (Remix- Instrumental)
11 Losers (A Capella)
12 Synthetic Genetics Feat. Esoteric (A Capella)


Itunes has it missing a little info at the moment. Bastards!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

You Think We'll Ever Meet Stevie?


This is for anybody who is a Beastie Boys fan but not an intense Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 fan.

3:25 in (above)...

"You think we'll ever meet Stevie? One of these days, D!"























The origins of this line lie in the Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 track, Dreamin', found on The Message album. A passionate ballad for the boy Stevie Wonder, Dreamin' is certainly the track that withstood the test of time better than any Furious tune. Certainly much more than the title cut off the album. Dreamin' is as poignant today as when it was first released in 1982.

"Taking walks in the park, getting closer to your heart, is all we want to do"


Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five- Dreamin' (Isolated Part)-



Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five- Dreamin' (Full)-























Alright, so I'm being a dick. I LOVE the Furious 5, and Raheem can sing his ass off. You can find me rapping along to most of their records when they're cued up. Hell, I'll even try to keep up with the open party track.

Hey Sal!

Yeah, we party allll the time!


...etc., etc....

Actually, I think Cowboy's sister, Neicy, was on a lot of those party tracks that Sugar Hill liked to put on their 12"s. Jayquan from the Tha Foundation, who has put in many years documenting stories from the pioneers of hip hop, has an article remembering Cowboy, where Neicy shines some light on this:


J: Did you ever go to the studio while they were recording?

N: Yes. We met Joey & Sylvia Robinson.

J: It always sounded like a party in the background of those records , and I wondered if that was family members or what.

N: Yeah , my mother and I























I also am a dick for not posting the real Pass The Mic video above. Here it is:



And here's an unrelated Bad Brains track. Or is it? You tell me.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The (Other) Doo Doo

Since it's now officially summertime, I figured it's appropriate to give this one some shine. We got the Fourth of July coming up Saturday here in the states, but to be honest, the weather is turrible. It doesn't even feel like summer with the nonstop rain, so instead of going outside, can I rely on this track to get the mood right?

Doug E. Fresh And The Get Fresh Crew- Summertime-






Doug E. Fresh And The Get Fresh Crew- Summertime (Fresh Dub)-


Everybody always knocks this Doug E. Fresh tune. Too soft for ya? Fun rap can be fun too. There's no way I can feel stupid for enjoying a track with Doug E. Fresh AND the 45 King listed in the credits. I'm envious of the 45 King actually... I want to receive credit on a track for "Doo-doos." That's it, nothing else.


Doug E. Fresh... Get Fresh Crew... Todd Terry... 45 King...


...


DIDDY!



video


That's right, we got an early Puffy appearance in the "Summertime" video, carrying stuff out the limo trunk (right at the beginning). Is that motivating or demotivating? Gotta start somewhere, I guess. I wasn't sure if demotivating was an actual word, but it's not getting underlined in red. I'm on a roll. Now, if it get only be sunny this Saturday.


Here's Diddy finding a 1 dollar bill:




So yo, some of you readers actually weigh in on this one. I want to know how many of you people feel the desire to give this track the gas face. Word to KARMA's "Pop Goes The Weasel" shirt he's got on today.