Monday, February 28, 2005

Showbiz: Can I Get a Soul Clap?

This is the last part of the DITC posts. Tonight I'm gonna talk about Showbiz. There's not really a lot of info on him. He was kind of low key considering how much of an influnece he had on putting New York back on the map, but I will try and do my best to school you...

Showbiz lived a few blocks aways from Diamond D and they started chillin with each other, because they both had extensive knowledge of breaks and beats. They meet in 1982 and just worked together gettin' there skills up. They finally came up with the whole concept of DITC and got Fat Joe and Finesse and AG together to form the crew. They all lived real close so that is how they knew about each other.

Show and AG became partners and started promoting there joints on the street and making sales out the back of there trunks. They hit up mad record stores and they started to get a demand for their records. The sales from this self promotion and distribution financed there first single, "Soul Clap" b/w "Party Groove". It was played in the clubs all over and got mad love on Yo MTV Raps. At the time there was that corny party rap nonsense and Show and AG came with some real rugged soulful shit that put the Bronx back on the map and pretty much started the whole East Coast style of rap that we know today.

In 1992 they relesased a self-titled LP. Then after that they made there debut album "Runaway Slave" in the fall of '92. The production on the album had the ill loud drums, and the dope jazzy horns, that built on their peers, like Gangstarr and Pete Rock's type production. They were mainly focused on a deep drum track, with horn loops and piano stabs or strings layered in to make deep, hardcore beats. The beats could rock a party, while appealing to the more rugged cats in the back nodding their heads. This album was a DITC group effort that brought the likes of Big L, Fat Joe, and Diamond D to the world. Big L's first appearance was on this record.

Diamond D's album, "Stunts, Blunts, and Hip Hop" dropped the same week as theirs, to solidify the DITC crew's status as pioneers of the East Coast sound and Hip Hop's "middle school". After this album they dropped "Goodfellas", but it wasnt really critically accalamied. It was a good album, with the lead single, "Next Level" that was remixed by Premo. But that was really the only track that made any noise. Show and AG then did the DITC album in 2000 and both contributed a lot to the whole album. Another aight album, but nothing really spectacular.

All in all, Showbiz' production with his trademark horns and drums, added a lot to the foundation of DITC. The crew had the talented producers and the ill emcees that really made them a bad ass group of motherfuckers, and brought the boombap to hip hop again.

Soul Clap
Represent - ft. Big L
You Want It? ft. Diamond D

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OH SNAP, 50 Responds to Joey Crack

God damn. Someone gonna get capped. The folks over at Trickology have posted 50's reponse to Fat Joe and the Jadakiss beef. He talks to K-Slay for bout 10 minutes and says some pretty crazy shit. Someone gonna die. Or maybe this is just a really good marketing plan. Hmmmm.....

Anyways, enough of that bullshit.

This is kinda of hot. This is a trailer for this movie called Copyright Criminals: This is a Sampling Sport. Its "a new Kembrew McLeod/Ben Franzen co-directed documentary featuring "world famous Hip Hop artists, activists, academics, cut-up artists and others cogently and persuasively discussing the case for sampling." Pretty ill shit. Check it out if you make beats or DJ. Or just like to listen to hip hop artists and producers bullshit. (I wanna thank the homie elmacaco for getting me a working link, oh and btw is Harry Allen a midget?)

Here is a couple of pretty ill interviews by the P-Brothers. These cats used to do work with Bigdaddy Magazine (a real ill UK mag bout beatdiggin and funk and soul samples. I dont know what happened to them though. I stopped seeing the mag in the record store like a year ago. If anyone knows how to get backissues or if they even still around, hit me up at The Low End Theory) EDIT: Thank you to Dom who provided the link to Bigdaddys, new page and name Grand Slam. I just hit them up for a subscription. I would advise you cats to do the same. The magazine is straight fire.

Some cat posted up bout every Big L mp3 at this site. Get em while u can.

Check out the 40oz Archive and get the 8 Ball rollin. Im a big fan of Mickeys Ice and Camo. I love drinking 3 of thouse and blacking out. Good times....

Thats it for now. Tommorow I will have another installment of the DITC saga featuring Showbiz, if i can get off my lazy ass and write it. So stay tuned.

Clizick fo more!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

On A Funk Crusade

The Crusaders are one of the biggest Jazz Fusion bands around. The group was originally founded by four members: Trombonist Wayne Henderson, Saxophonist Wilton Felder, Pianist Joe Sample, and Drummer Stix Hooper. The Band was birthed in the 50's as The Modern Jazz Sextet, and they mainly stuck to playing traditional jazz. As the years moved on this group of talented musicians went through many name changes and many metamorphoses until they eventually became The Jazz Crusaders, and their history unfurls from there...

In the 70's the group made a change that placed them into funk history. They dropped the "Jazz" from their name to simply be known as The Crusaders. This name change is quite monumental, because it signified the fact that the group wanted to expand it's musical horizons to cover more than jazz. Those Horizon's soon included funk, soul, and rock combined with jazz to make a potent musical gumbo that gained The Crusaders world wide recognition. This recognition has enabled The Crusaders to re-unite and do tours world wide long past their prime.

The Crusaders' highest point was with the release of the single and album "Street Life" which was an enormous hit for the group. The Crusaders never seen such heights again. In fact their music soon after became what was described as "elevator music with a beat," and the The Crusaders disbanded a few years later. Each member went off on their own path, with Joe Sample being the most successful by having a long rewarding solo career.

When I stumbled upon The Crusaders' music I was initially taken aback by how much this group has been sampled. They've been sampled by artists ranging from The Beastie Boys to 2pac. Even DJ Premier couldn't resist sampling them for his classic productions. There have been countless others as well who have sampled them. Every time I go back and listen to The Crusaders albums I find more sounds that have been lifted and placed into some first-class Hip Hop tracks.

I've Chosen three tracks to share with you all. These tracks are incredibly funky and soulful! Depending on how familiar you have been with Hip Hop over the years you will notice that at least a dozen songs have been spawned from just these three examples of this group's musical brilliance.

Soul Shadows
Whispering Pines
Joe Sample - In All My Wildest Dreams

Clizick fo more!


Salvador Dali - Clock Explosion

How ill is that painting? We'll get to that in a minute..

Yall fools are sleepin. No responses on that Sun Ra post? Was anyone feelin what they heard? Is anyone reading this? Do not sleep on Sunny Ray. Damn. These blogs are creepy, it's like giving a speech to 300 heads except you don't see them while you do it. Let me know how you feel. Post a comment ...yall got Fruity Loops open so fast you forget to listen first. I ain't mad at ya though, so please accept this ''hilarious mime routine'' as a sign of peace. Peace God, it's a new which can only be celebrated by a song called The Mexican and a mime routine. This shit is sure to do the trick, unless your SOUL is FRIGID. The song's been covered alot, you should recognize it. If you don't feel this theres no hope for you

What up to DIRTY DON from NYshitty, he's requested some articles that are gonna be coming soon..Gil Scott Heron, Sun Ra PART DEUX, and the one and only BEETHOVEN..yeah kid, I said, yall are sleepin...

Check these paintings by Salvador Dali while your bumping that Sun Ra. Dali is the mastermind behind some real ill artwork, like that Clock Explosion up there ^^^. Hooked up courtesy of the Dirty Don, I wouldn't have known about this dude if he hadn't put me on

If that's not enough to hold you down.. come on feeet! do ya thaaang!!

Last but not least...for all you hip hop heads, Supercharger Records just released a bangin mixtape, Supercharger Records Presents the Campaign. From what I'm reading I guess it was only released overseas so far, but you can order it from the store section of their site. Highly recommended if you like raw beats and rhymes. -- This is what happens when you buy this REKKID. Here's a little sample of the rawness (Kain Slim, Propoganda, Mod the Black Marvel - Bust Em Down)

Clizick fo more!

He Cuts The Music With So Much Class

I want to thank all the blogs that have been showing us love. A big thanks goes out to So Many Shrimp, Straight Bangin', and Funk-Digital. We hope to keep bringing the ill music to u cats.
Now on with the links.

I want my toothbrush to play the "Humpty Dance". Or Eazy E's "Niggaz My Height Dont Fight"

Hacking a car boot. I havent been booted yet, but i got enough warrants for tickets that they might as fucking well. Cause they aint getting there money any other way.

Count Bass D reviewed in the Onion. Please check out his new album BEGBORROWSTEEL.

MF DOOM prepares to drop a live album and work with Ghostface.

Bob Marley and the Wailers - Waiting in Vain.mp3

Thats it for now bitches. Enjoy.

Clizick fo more!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Buckwild: Word..Life

Today is part 3 of the DITC producers.
Buckwild is kind of slept on, but he is still doing production work for big name artists. Buckwild started out as Lord Finesse's DJ. He mainly was a DJ, doing a little production but nothing big. He then produced his first track, "Shit is Real (ft. Diamond D, Lord Finesse, and Stretch)". He became one of DITC's main producers doing tracks for Big L and the rest of the crew. This got him noticed and he hooked up with O.C. to do his classic album, Word...Life. Producing almost all the cuts on that record he starting messing with other cats. He worked with Organized Konfusion ("Stress"), Biggie's ("I've Got A Story To Tell"), Sadat X ("The Lump Lump"), and the hip hop anthem of 2000, ("Whoa!") by Black Rob, Jigga, and Diddy's ass. He did a lot of ill remixes also. One of my favs is the Artifacts "C'mon wit the get down (ft. Busta)" He released his own album Compositions, on his own Kurrup Money label in 1999. This joint had cuts with OC, Reservoir Doggs, Big Pun and many others. Most recently Buckwild has been working with the GAME's lame ass for a track called Like Father, Like Son(ft. Busta Rhymes). He also did the controversial Nas track, "These Our Are Heros" (shits comedy). He did some cuts off of Shyne's real disapointing album, Godfather Buried Alive. So peep a real through cat. His whole catalog is consistent and he still makes hits. One of the Bronx's finest producers.

Creative Control - O.C.
Put it on - Big L
Dammn - Alkaholics (Buckwild Remix)

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He Came From Outer Space...

Sun Ra, July 1973

Presume the unpredictable

More photos

Some cool links on that page too, here's everything you need to know from his very own dedicated website. I'm not gonna go on long about him because i'll end up writing a book and shit, so these links should hold you down. Check this short biography too (scroll down). Ra claimed he was from the planet Saturn and had interplanetary connections that were responsible for all the music he made. I'll take some of those connections man. Everything about this guy is genius to me, from the more contemporary work he did to the bugged out, science fiction madness. From the 10 minute bongo drum solos to tracks where every instrument in the Arkestra was flaring out of control, and everything in between - its all relevant. Theres alot of truth in his music. You just have to listen. Everytime I listen to his music I take away snapshots of the universe as he portrayed them through sound. Like he was giving us a sample of sound from other galaxies. Other then music, he made his own movie and accompanying soundtrack. Close-minded fools need not apply. To everyone who loves psychedelic, spiritual and mind expanding shit, then you need to buy the movie ASAP. Along with whatever albums you can find. Good luck finding OG vinyls tho, but reissues are around. I was lucky enough to get ahold of a whole lot of his LPs, so I can share the genius that is Sun Ra. Here are 2 tracks that Im feeling at the moment

A Quiet Place in the Universe (Sun Ra - A Quiet Place in the Universe, 1976)
Watusa (Sun Ra - Space is the Place OST, 1973)

Space is the Place

More coming soon..

Clizick fo more!

Jimmy Smith...A True Innovator (RIP)

News just caught up with me that Jazz innovator Jimmy Smith passed away recently. The exact date of his departure was Feb. 8th, 2005. This post is dedicated to his memory. RIP.

Jimmy Smith was a true innovator in Jazz. He did amazing and brilliant work, was quite prolific, and was commercially successful. Jimmy Smith's career spanned from the 1950's to the 2000's. His works have been immortalized on the audio media of two of the world's most important and influential jazz labels: Blue Note and Verve.

Jimmy was a master pianist who did with the Hammond B3 what many thought was impossible. He made it funky and orchestral at the same time. His music was also very eclectic ranging from the standards to blues to swing to funk. He also employed quite an array of musicians in his compositions. For instance, the track I am choosing to share with you all entitled "Burning Spear" has a deep bass groove with lush strings, flutes, and guitars that bring forth a mellifluous melody that beautifully enhances the ornate organ playing of Smith himself.

Today Jimmy Smith's influence can be heard in a variety of artists and styles. Jimmy's track "Root Down" was sampled by The Beastie Boys for their hit of the same title. Jimmy has also influenced many Acid Jazz artists such as Groove Collective, Incognito, and Us3 who incorporate his groove into their works.

Without further adieu I give you "Burning Spear" for your listening pleasure. Sit back and enjoy the funk of Jimmy Smith!

Burning Spear

Clizick fo more!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Return Of The Funkyman

Aight, tonight is part 2 of the DITC producers. Now i thought bout writing my own lil summary of the Funky Technician, but screw all that. Elemental Magazine interviewed the man in 2003 and it summed it up better then my i'gnant ass ever could. So sit back and educate yourself on the man who found Big L, got signed to Ice T's label Rhyme Syndicate, worked with Dr. Dre, and is a triple threat (DJ, producer, and emcee) who helped found one of the most rugged crews in hip hop. Since this is such a long ass post imma throw the mp3's here so u have some shit to bump while reading bout this cat.

Shorties Caught in the System
Hip to the Game - (Buckwild Remix)
The Graveyard - Jayz ft. Big L, Lord Finesse, and two other cats

"Lord Finesse" written by: Austin "The Judge" Wheeler"

"I go back to rhyming in the playground, when I was fourteen," begins Finesse. "That’s when we took rapping for fun and shit. Women, money, none of that shit came into play back in the day. We just did it because it was the thing to do. It was fresh, you know? It was ‘fresh’ back then."

But back then Lord Finesse really wanted to DJ. "I began with Mike Smooth in about ‘85 or ’86, and he used to force me to rap," remembers Ness, "I wanted to DJ. He used to have a DJ set-up in his room, and when he left the room to make a sandwich or some shit, I was on the turntables. I didn’t really want to be no rapper, but he really kept pushing me. He knew I had the talent to do it, so he just kept pushing me."

Around the same time, Finesse began to roll with another couple of DJs from Forest Projects: Diamond D and Showbiz. "I used to go to Show’s house. I used to go to Diamond’s crib, but I would DJ more at Show’s crib because his set-up was custom-made for me," explains Finesse, "Diamond would have the turntables set straight up, like the old school way. Diamond was quick like that. He was fast cutting like that! I was always knocking over fucking tone arms. I liked the other way, and Show had his set-up the other way."

No matter how much of a push Show, Diamond and Mike Smooth gave him to keep rhyming, Finesse still just wanted to DJ. "That’s what I wanted to do… to hell with rapping," explains Finesse, "I mean, I was rapping, but DJing was more cooler because you could do block parties and house parties and get the girls. The girls would come to a party to hear you DJ, so, I wanted to DJ. Mike used to always put me on the turntables. Show taught me a lot on the turntables. I mean, I learned from Mike, I learned from Show. I learned watching Diamond. So my DJ skills are better than average. When I say better, I mean it’s out there."

DJing quickly became Lord Finesse’s main hustle. "I was doing house parties before I was really rhyming seriously," remembers Ness, "because that’s how I used to make my money. $250- $300 to do a party back then, that was alright." As far as equipment: "I had turntables and borrowed shit from here and there. I might borrow an amp from my man, a bass bottom from this guy. I had the curved-armed Technics. Not the 1200s, the B somethings… the curved-arms before the 1200s. I was nice on those, so by the time they came out with 1200s, I was ultra-nice. When I finally got a pair of 1200s, shit, you couldn’t tell me nothing. You couldn’t tell me shit. I knew it wasn’t going to jump. If you set the weight right on that shit, man, it was over."

Upon entering junior high, Finesse gradually shifted back to rhyming, eventually forming a group with DJ Mike Smooth. "I went to Junior High School 120 in the Bronx," continues Finesse, "Show went there too. I think he was a year ahead of me, and like, every school I went to, Mike was graduating my first year there. We lived in the same hood, same projects. His building was right in front of my building. So I used to see him on all types of different levels. Mike was a knockout artist. If he could’ve been a boxer, to me, he had to be one of the tops. I saw him knock a lot of dudes out. Straight punch a nigga, and knock him out. So, Mike was always like a big brother role. My first year of junior high school, him and his partner Rome, this kid he used to hang with, were graduating. When I left junior high school, I went to Park West. Mike didn’t go to Park West. I was in a whole class by myself. That’s where I met all of the Brooklyn and Manhattan niggas that I know, to this day. My first reputation as a rapper came from that school. But I was fucking up at Park West, because it was like too much freedom. I was cutting class and going home. So I wound up graduating from Morris High School. My first year there, Mike was graduating. By that time, during the Morris days, we were a group."

It was at high schools like Morris and Park West, where Lord Finesse honed his skills. "High school battles," explains Finesse, "whether in Park West, up in Walton, at DeWitt Clinton in the Bronx, I was there. I was everywhere, because my boys used to go to different high schools ampin’ me like: ‘Your alright, nigga from my hood—he’s the shit! Your man ain’t shit. Aight, I’m a bring Ness up here Wednesday morning. They would tell me and I would cut school Wednesday morning and go to their high school and battle people. That’s how I met A.G. I was in the yard at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. I’m in the schoolyard battling. Mind you, now I done ran through maybe six or seven cats, and they’re telling A.G., ‘Yo, there’s this kid out here, he’s rhyming, yo, and he’s going through everybody! A.G. came out, and he went for it! I respected him. I respected his skill level. Yo, it was crazy, to hear him first rhyme just blew my mind. I was like ‘Wow, this cat is dope."

After battling A.G., Finesse struck a deal with his grandmother. "I made a promise to my grandmother," explains Ness, "we had a deal. As long as I finished high school and got my diploma, she would knock me for anything I wanted to do after that. Especially when it came to music. We had that deal, and she actually paid for my first studio session. She was paying for my studio sessions while I was still in high school. She was ultimately behind me, and what I wanted to do, so once I got my diploma, summer school ’89, it was on. I gave up everything… jobs. Fuck a job. I just went ahead full steam. Block parties, rhyming, clubs. Wherever I had to go to get on, that’s where I was. Whoever I had to battle or get through to get props, that’s where I was at. That’s what it was about."

Besides battling and attending high school, Finesse also recorded his first demo. "I had a demo called Funky Dope Maneuver, recalls Finesse, "I sampled Cassanova Rud ‘funky dope maneuver’ and put it behind ‘Engine #9,’ which was a breakbeat, and rhymed off of that. That was my demo. I got signed to Zakia with that in ‘88, but they went under before anything really transpired. I was signed but I guess they didn’t have enough money to put me out, and have me as a full act under their roster. They released me at the beginning of 1989."

As unfortunate as it sounds, Zakia folding was one of the best things that could’ve happened to Lord Finesse. His demo eventually made its way to a much more legendary launching ground: Wild Pitch Records. "There was a DJ Word," recalls Finesse, "who, along with Guru, used to listen to demos up at Wild Pitch. They picked my demo out and brought it to Stu Fine, who was the owner. Stu was like, ‘I don’t know. Me, I just wanted to show people I was the nicest. At that time, I was going to different neighborhoods, different parties and different high schools, and I was battling people. So, making records was an accomplishment, but I wanted to be the best! Before I even got to make a record, I just told Stu, ‘Man, just put me in a seminar, I don’t give a fuck about this record shit. On May 5th 1989, Lord Finesse and DJ Mike Smooth were officially signed by an A&R at the time, DJ Word, to Wild Pitch Records. Stu made good on his word, and in July entered Finesse in the 1989 MC Battle for Supremacy at the New Music Seminar.

"I wanted to show Stu and the industry my capabilities," explains Ness in his biography. "The buzz started after I defeated Mikey D, who was the champion for the year before, IN THE FIRST ROUND." He continues, "Stu Fine had Primo in the crowd like, ‘Yo Premier, we just signed this new artist, what do think of him? Primo was sitting there watching me rhyme and he was like, ‘Wow—I want to work with him, shit, he’s dope! A round or two after flooring Mikey D, Premier and Stu Fine, Finesse himself was eliminated. "I wanted to win the whole thing, and when I didn’t win the whole thing, I was upset, but I understood that my mark was made just by beating the champion from the year before in the first round. The mark was set after that. I wanted to win, but after a while when I really looked at the outcome of everybody that had won it… I mean, where are they at now? What happened to them? Treach was in it the year after me. He got bumped in like the second or third round and look who he became: Naughty by Nature. I learned that it wasn’t if you won or not it’s what you did after that situation. So after that I went right to work on the Funky Technician album."

With Premier in one corner and Diamond and Show in the other, Lord Finesse and Mike Smooth started on their first album. "As soon as the seminar was over, we did ‘Baby You Nasty,’" remembers Finesse, "It got done quick." Released in the fall of 1989, "Baby You Nasty," set the tone for what was to follow. Finesse enlisted the help of A.G. along with some assistance from his neighbors in Forest. "A.G. was dating a girl that actually lived across the street from where I lived at. Cats had told me he was there, and I knew the girl and I knew her brother, so I went and knocked on the door. Pretty soon, we were in the hallway talking about it. I told him that he had to be on this album." Within five months, Finesse and the crew had knocked-out the entire LP. "The rhymes were already there. A lot of those rhymes were being written going to the studio," explains Finesse. "Like on the bus, going to the studio—So, it got done."

One night, during the recording of Funky Technician, an unsuspecting Primo made a routine call to Finesse’s crib. "Premier called my house," remembers Finesse, "trying to catch up with me, and my grandmother answered the phone. She was kind of tipsy that night. Preme was asking her, you know, and she was just like, ‘Premier, is my baby ever going to make any money? He’s so talented, and he tries so hard, and everybody loves him, but is he ever gonna make any money? She’s telling Premier this! You know, and she’s tipsy! And Preme was like ‘Naw… he’ll be okay, just give him a minute. That’s something that we still laugh about."

On February 16th 1990, the Funky Technician album was released on Wild Pitch. "I remember hearing it get played on the radio," recalls the then 20-year old Finesse, "I was bugging. 107.5 was the first to ever play my records. When that album came out they played a couple of cuts. They didn’t play one or two, they played like three or four cuts in one night. I’ll never forget, because I was chillin’ with Premier at his crib, and we kept buggin’ out. We were up at his crib, then we went downstairs and out and heard another cut. Then we came back upstairs and heard another cut. Hearing your shit on the radio, your first joint, is amazing.You’re sitting there like, ‘Wow, that’s… that’s ME!!"

With the airplay, came performances, the first with K-Solo. "That was the first show after the Funky Technician," remembers Finesse, "that was like the first show to kick off everything, and it was packed. It was a hot show. It was a real hot show. ‘Your Mom’s in My Business’ was out, and we were performing in a dark lunchroom. We were rhyming on a table and Redman was DJing for him!" Other legendary performances occurred at a Bronx nightclub called The Castle. "That was a historical club, a lot of people were in that club. I don’t want to say that was my house, because that was Kid Capri’s house, but that was where my whole reputation started from. That was where everything started from. That was The Castle every Thursday night. I even shot my video up in there, ‘Strickly for the Ladies.’ That’s also where A.G. battled DMX. He got it twisted in his biography on page 162, or something. I don’t know what the hell he was talking about in that book—him and A.G. actually battled. He said in his book that he had a show there, and that he was rocking. He said the crowd was all into him and that he was rocking so hard that Kid Capri called me and A.G. up to the stage and we wouldn’t go up on the stage. I don’t know where he got that story from. Anybody that was there saw him and A.G. battle each other. And I’m not mad at DMX, you know, you sold millions of records, you did your movie, but come on homes, don’t take our glory. Get the story right. I know you want every part of your life to be complete, but that part wasn’t complete. Anybody that was there could see that A.G. did him. A.G. won that. Mark my words."

In April of 1990, Lord Finesse began making mix tapes. "The album wasn’t bringing me any money, like that," explains Finesse. "Shows here and there was cool, but I was getting my money doing mix tapes. Figure I was getting $150 a master, and I was doing a mix tape every month and I had about a good ten or twelve spots that would buy my master. You add that up. It was like $1,500 to $1,800 a month, on top of parties. I had a little side hustle going on."

While Finesse hustled mix tapes, Mike returned to his nine to five. "When hip-hop got rough and the money slowed down, Mike always had a real job-- a good paying job. So when shit got tough that nigga just said, ‘I’m going to work, Ness I’ll see you later. I had to hustle. I did mix tapes, house parties. I did whatever I had to do to put money in my pocket. He had a real job, a nice five-figure job from back then, and he still has the same job, so imagine how much money he’s making now. That’s when me and Mike kind of, parted ways. No real differences, it was just that I went hard at what I was doing."

While Mike went back to work, Finesse built a serious rep as a mix tape DJ, eventually running into the mighty Buckwild. "I met Buckwild," remembers Ness, "because he was a mix tape DJ just like I was. We shared a lot of things in common." Buck and Finesse immediately became crew, and in Ness’ word’s, ‘Buckwild went on to be one of the biggest producers around.

In the summer of 1990, on a routine stop to Rock and Will’s on 125th Street, Finesse would discover a legend. "I discovered Big L," he begins, "during a visit to Rock and Will’s record store, where I normally came to distribute my mix tape masters. It was one of the original stores to distribute mix tapes in the late 80’s and early 90’s." He adds, "Everybody used to bring their mix tapes there: S&S, Kid Capri, Ron G. I met Big L during a ‘hard pack’ session, when all the mix tape DJ’s got together every Monday night to record a special type of tape. L, kind of got the word that I was going to be there, and he came down there and had his man introduce us, like, ‘Yo, my man is nice, he’s trying to get on. And I’m telling him, ‘Well, give my manager the number. What impressed me is that L went for broke, right there and then. He came up to me and said, ‘Look, I just want to rhyme for you, you like me, you help me get on.You don’t like me—you don’t even have to fuck with me no more, I won’t bother you again. What better deal is there than that? So I said, ‘Okay, go ahead, spit. When he finished spittin’, I was asking for his number!"

Just as Big L had made a lasting impression on Finesse in 1990, Finesse had apparently made a lasting impression on Ice T the year before at the New Music Seminar Battle for Supremacy. "When I lost I was upset," explains Finesse, "and I’ll never forget, I was introduced to Ice T by a friend of mine named Chilly D. He was like, ‘Man, you’re dope. I don’t know why you didn’t win the contest, but fuck it. If there’s anything I could even do for you, just give me a call. After keeping in contact for almost a year, a historic phone call was made. "I’ll never forget, I had put the Funky Technician album out and I wasn’t getting any money. I ain’t have no money. The album was doing alright, everybody knew who I was, people were talking about me and telling me how dope I am, but no money. He [Ice T] was just telling me, ‘Yo, I got a deal waiting for you worth $125,000. And I’m like, ‘Get the fuck out of here, for real? He said, ‘But I can’t break you out of that Wild Pitch contract, It’s just airtight, you can’t get out of that. So I said, ‘Just keep the money there, I’ll get out of it!"

On July 20th 1990, Finesse was released from Wild Pitch, sighting the fact that Stu Fine was, "unable to compete with marketing and promotions of other labels in the industry," and that it, "brought about disagreements and disputes which led to me being released. "The fact was," Finesse continues in his bio, "that I couldn’t stand around watching another artist with less potential and talent, live better and be more established than I was."

In December of 1990, Lord Finesse was signed to Rhyme Syndicate management and Giant/Warner Brothers Records. "I went from no money, to some money," explains Finesse, "From the hood with maybe two, three grand a month, to a budget of like 100 to 150 grand a month. I went from the first album probably not costing more than ten grand, to having $125 thousand to play with. I didn’t know how to act… I was a loose cannon. Any cat from the hood that goes from no money to some money is a loose cannon. Your going to get everything that you always wished for but never could afford. You’re a loose cannon. My house was looking like Macy’s, for real. I had mad leathers, ten pairs of kicks, and all types of jewels. Loose cannon. I acted up, and the focus wasn’t there like it was on the first album. I was more trying to get the album done so I could go to a party."

Besides flipping the script on Ness financially, Return of the Funky Man forced Finesse to switch up his entire approach to song-making: "Nobody taught me how to take your best rhymes and format them into 16 bars, make a tight hook, and do a song. Fuck, man, a verse for me was like 40 bars! I was trying to get everything off in that verse. Fuck 16 bars." Finesse struggled with the industry’s format until it was time to make 12-inches. "I had to make radio versions and video versions," he remembers, "then everything came in formats. The label was like, ‘Yo, your songs are too long. I had to cut five minutes to four minutes. I had to cut all the curses out. Then I learned the format… I definitely learned a lot during the course of Return of the Funky Man."

In August of 1991, Finesse finished his second album, Return of the Funky Man. On August 31st, he departed for Europe with Ice T, as part of the Rhyme Syndicate Original Gangster European Tour. It was Finesse’s first trip to Europe, and it opened in London on September 3rd 1991, and ended in London on October 5th 1991. In between, the Syndicate tour made stops in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, France, and Holland.

Return of the Funky Man was released in January of 1992 on Giant/Warner Brothers Records.

In March of the same year, Finesse booked three sold-out shows at the legendary Apollo Theatre. Also on the bill was Queen Latifah, Naughty by Nature and Pete Rock and CL Smooth. "The first two shows sold out so quick," remembers Ness, "that they had an additional show at 2 in the morning. That’s how big that was."

In May of 1992, Finesse, T-Ray and a then SEVENTEEN YEAR-OLD Big L entered Jazzy Jay’s legendary recording studio, and proceeded to make hip-hop history. The trio eventually emerged, having recorded the "Yes You May" remix, and helping to introduce hip-hop to a sound that would dominate for the next decade plus.

The first order of business was finding the right beat, which would be provided by a then relatively unknown producer/engineer/digger named Todd Ray (who later became renown for his production of (almost) the entire Artifacts Between a Rock and a Hard Place album and Double XX Posse’s "Not Gonna be Able to Do It," as well as countless rock records). But, T-Ray’s track was not even originally intended for Lord Finesse. "I had to beg him for that one," explains Ness, "Biz Markie was supposed to have that one." The begging worked, primarily because of the mutual respect the two already had for each other as beat-diggers. "I met T-Ray through producers that we used to dig with at the Rosevelt," remembers Finesse, "I think Percy P introduced us, but I’m not exactly sure. T-Ray was a digger just like me, and Show and Buck and Diamond. We’d catch him at the Rosevelt Convention. The Rosevelt was a record convention that they’d do in the early, early, nineties. This record convention was like the biggest in New York City at the time, and you could get a lot of rare gems. Everybody was there. From my crew, to Pete Rock, to Large Professor, to Q-Tip, to Da Beatminerz, shit, even PM Dawn was in there! Any producer that was somebody back in them days, especially on our level, was up in there, because that’s where you get everything at. We were spending like two or three grand in there, man! It was me, Buck, Show, Diamond, and EZ Elpee not only spending money, but getting there at like five in the morning, man. Imagine seeing your favorite producers up early at some convention, five in the morning! I guess that’s why our relationships are so tight. We’ve known each other since the early, early nineties."

Big L was the final piece of the remix’s puzzle. "L came around in the midst of me doing the second album," remembers Ness, "but I was just about done when I got up with him. The first thing I could get him on, I was trying to get him on, and the first thing happened to be the ‘Yes You May’ remix. Actually, I take that back. There were two things, but WARNER BROTHERS WASN’T HAVING IT. One was the Class Act soundtrack that I did ‘Set It Off Troop’ for, and the other was ‘You Know What I’m About,’ off of the Trespass soundtrack. They wouldn’t allow me to put him on either one of those songs because he wasn’t a Warner Brothers artist. They was really refusing to let me blow up somebody that wasn’t signed to them, but at the same time they weren’t trying to sign him. So it made my job harder, but I finally got to get him on the ‘Yes You May’ remix."

A shining example of ‘real shit,’ the "Yes You May" remix stands as a true testament to the legacy of, and the kinship between Lord Finesse and Big L. "Me and L was like Starsky and Hutch," remembers Finesse, "Wherever I went, he went. Whatever light that I was trying to get, he got. I wanted people to recognize who he was. Regardless of what you might think: "Yo, he sounds like you," or "yo, he sounds better than you." I didn’t care about none of that. My ego ain’t like that. My ego ain’t like so out there that I’m trying to suppress the nigga that’s rolling with me because I don’t want them to blow. If it was like that, I don’t think Diggin’ In The Crates would’ve ever existed. D.I.T.C. would’ve never been put together if we all had egos like that. A lot to do with my crew, in Diggin’ goes deeper than rapping. The things we do for each other, and how we support each other… there is a lot of behind the scenes support that goes on that’s not advertised and not supposed to be advertised. The love that we have for each other as individuals and as family goes way beyond rap. It goes way beyond rap. We do so many things with each other off camera, that it’s crazy. Especially me and L. We used to gamble a lot. We was gamble heads. Me and L used to gamble until like daybreak. Gamble. Shooting dice. What two rappers you know are going to be on the street corner in a gambling spot, gambling until five or six in the morning. Coming out with anywhere between thirty-five to five grand a piece!"

Finesse concludes: "I got so many memories in hip-hop, that if the shit were to end tomorrow, or today… I could live with that…and you can try to overlook me, and might not give me the credit that I think I deserve, or whatever. But, you can’t knock the mark that I made in this game. Period. You can’t. You can say whatever.You might overlook me, but real people know, ‘Naw, that nigga made a mark in the game. If you basing it on record sales, then I might not have made no mark record-wise. But lyrically, creatively, and talented-wise, c’mon, man, if I ain’t one of the top, man… get the fuck out of here!"
Elemental Magazine (2003)

AIGHT? Now its my turn.
Finesse also did work on Biggies album, 'Ready To Die". He did Big Poppa and Suicidal Thoughts. He just straight looped the Isley Brothers, Between the Sheets and Biggie came in and killed that shit. In 2001 he became part of Dr Dre's Aftermath production team besides Mel Man and the Doctor himself. He didnt want to sign with Aftermath, because he saw that other artists, such as King Tee's projects were gettin pushed back due to Dre's priorities. He didnt want his project to get stagnated while Dre did his own album, the canned Detox, or the Eminem joints. He wound up doing, The Message, on Dre's album Chronic 2001.

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Fluents Rare Gem...word, quite buttery

Cortex - Troupeau Bleu LP 1979


big ups to Haze and Lou for having me. Diggers what up. Since this is my first post let me tell you whats up. Im gonna be bringing you some flyness in the form of jazz, funk, disco, reggae, this, that, the 3rd, the whole works. Each week I'll be dropping a new gem for you to get down to, so that means every week your lazy ass has to check back to see what I added. It makes sense right. Im not a music expert but I'll break it down. Word, so let's start today's lesson with some French Jazz-Funk Flava with the group CORTEX.

Since I cant speak French, decyphering their biography isnt somethin im trying to do. Maybe one of you bi-lingual cats can translate some lyrics. What I do know is this shit is fresh. The album on the whole is so ill, in a way it's similar to that 75-79 jazz funk you're probably used to, has alot of those same funky elements...but it's mad original at the same time, as the production takes on an eerie quality. All the tracks are built around Alain Mion's Piano as the main weapon of choice, real heavy on the Rhodes. About half the tracks in fact feature Mion playing the rhodes piano. But besides that, what makes this album interesting is the blend of vocals over subliminal instrumentals. Mireille Dalbray laces the dream vocals that act as a crucial piece that completes the sound. She's not just singing, her voice is acting like any other instrument in the mix. She just floats over the tracks with a beautiful voice, and the end result is sexy and hypnotic goodness. kinda like that.

Cortex - Troupeau Bleu (title track)

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I would like to welcome my boy Fluent to the low end theory. Homes has a good knowledge of the more rare and slept on jams. Look out for the rare jem of the week. Stay tuned....

In the meantime some links for dat azz.

Fat Joe addressing 50 on k-Slay's Drama Hour. BEEF SON!

Rhymefest (He supposedly wrote Jesus Walks for Ms. West) Interview
Also the Rhymefest Jesus Walks.mp3 with him addressing the situation

Thats it fo now.

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Diamond D: The Best Producer on the Mic

In the next couple of days, im gonna focus on some of the cats from D.I.T.C. Im gonna start with Diamond D, casue i got "Stunts, Blunts and Hip Hop" on my turntables as I write this. Diamond D was doing a lot of prodcution work in the 90's but really didnt get noticed till his verse on "Showbiz", on ATCQ's excellent record, "The Low End Theory". Diamond had the rugged laid back flow that let it be known that he was a smooth, bad, motherfucker.

Lets start with homes career. Diamond met Jazzy Jay, Afrika Bambaataa's DJ/right hand man, and a legend in his own right, in 1985. Jay took Diamond under his wing and had a studio where Diamond started getting his weight up. Diamond then met up with DJ Mark the 45 King. Mark was doing big things at that point, like working with Madonna and shit, and was approcahed by a women with RPM managent (Russell Simmons producer management company or RUSH). Mark said he would sign, but they would have to sign Diamond too. This was homies break. He did more production work then did the ATCQ joint. A year later (1992), he dropped his debut LP "Stunts, Blunts, And Hip Hop" as Diamond D and the Pscychotic Neurotics. The album didnt sell crazy copies, but was hailed as an underground classic. Diamond D did almost all the prodcution himself on the album and it complimented his smooth laid back flow. Just dope breakbeats layered with rich, fat, basslines with some loops sprinkled on top of it. The prodcution on this album was uniformly soild, and the rhymes-though not complex, matched them to a tee. A must have for any hip hop head. Diamond then moved on to bigger projects, such as work for, KRS-One, House of Pain, The Pharcyde and more. He worked on the Fugees album, "The Score" and was featured on the track, "The Score". Homes won a grammy for this, but he is still bitter about that album because he was dicked out of money by Wyclef's shady, scumbag ass. Diamond said that Wyclef's bitch ass begged him not to clear the sample, and promised that if it came up they would split it 50/50. Diamond was like, yo u got a big budget- why not clear it? But he decided to listen to 'Clefs whiny manipulitive ass. When the Fugees blew up, Diamond was locked into a contract that said that there were no samples in it and instead of making hundreds of thousands of dollars (that album sold like 20 millon copies) he got a mesaly 80 g's and a Grammy. (So dont buy no Wyclef joints casue dude is a prick) Anyways, Diamond released another album called, "Hatred, Passions, And Infidelity". This album was aight. It had a lot of bigger named artists on it, but on a few tracks he was trying to do the whole crossover RnB/Pop bullshit which came out booty in my opinon. But never the less, it was still a decent album. It had some guest apperences by Phife Dog, Pete Rock, and DITC. Diamond did the prodcution on like 13 outta the 16 tracks which were pretty tight. He dropped another album a few years ago, "Grown Man Talk". I aint heard it, but from reviews on it that i saw, they said it was mediocore. I heard one track off it and it was rocking a played out JB's loop. But never the less, son is a legend. The best kept secret.

Sally Got a One Track Mind
When It Rains It Pores
The Light - Pharoahe Monch prod. by Diamond D

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Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Vibes of Roy Ayers

(Notice how much resemblance there is to Smif-N-Wessun's album cover for Dah Shinin'??!!!!)

Roy Ayers is a legendary musician, and probably is one of the best jazz vibraphonists around. During the 70's he helped pioneer jazz/funk fusion and recorded many classic albums. Many of which have been sampled umpteen times by Hip Hop's elite producers and beatmakers. Such illuminaries as Da Beatminerz and Pete Rock have sampled Ayers works, which in turn have become classics in their own right.

Listening to Ayer's works from the 70's you can't help but to think that he was vastly ahead of his time. He had a funky and oftentimes rough hard Hip Hop sound before Hip Hop even existed. You could even say he was one of the forefathers of Hip Hop. Listen to his catalogue and you won't be able to deny the previous statement. I suggest picking up some of his work if you haven't already, and especially if you make beats.

I have chosen 3 of Ayer's songs that I am currently feeling. All Three of them have been sampled before, so even if you haven't heard these specific tracks before you probably heard them by proxy through Hip Hop by way of sampling and The Low End Theory! ;-)

Step Into Our Life - Roy Ayers & Wayne Henderson
We Live In Brooklyn Baby

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I'm Kurious

Kurious Jorge was working as a foot messenger for Def Jam when he was discovered by Primeminister Pete Nice and Daddy Rich for his ill freestyle skills. He guested on "Three Blind Mice", then dropped a single called "Walk Like a Duck". The Puerto-Rican emcee then dropped his debut and only album, A Constipated Monkey, on Bobbito Garcia's and Pete Nice's short lived (aka Dj Cucumber Slice), Hooplah Records, (pre-Fondle em). The Beatnuts did some of the production and Lord Sear did the cuts. The banger of this joint is "Im Kurious". He didnt drop a second LP, but he guested on KMD's second album Black Bastards, and was part of the CM (Constipated Monkeys) crew. CM crew was composed of Kurious, KMD, Lord Sear, Earthquake, Bobbito, and MF Grimm. Definalty a rugged group of cats. If u see this album scoop it up. Its a classic.

Im Kurious
Top Notch ft. The Beatnuts
Stop Smoking that Shit - Kmd ft. CM Crew

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Yo Metal Fingers Lace The Beat With Fire Water.....


Mf Doom, aka Vik Vaughn, Zev Love X and a couple of other wierd ass aliases, is killin it. If u didnt read the interview in the first post, then u sleeping. The mp3s at the end of this post are some of his different projects and characters.

Doom started out in KMD with his brother Subroc (Rip). They worked with Mc Serch, of 3rd Bass fame, and did a cut called the Gasface. It was well recieved and then they dropped an album called Mr. Hood. I wasnt really feeling that joint that much, the production was tight, done by Doom. But the rhymes were real mediocore and weren't really catching. but then they came out with Black Bastards a few years later, well kinda.

Black Bastards was shelved because of the cover art. It had a pic of a black cartoon character being hung and I guess the label wasnt really feeling that too much. It got released later on by Fondle 'Em and Doom's Metal Fingers label. This was ill. This record was on a darker tip then Mr. Hood and had some real raw beats and ill lyrics. It was on some gritty New York type hip hop. And the rhymes were ten times better, but more violent and dark in some points. The beats were real tight. Lots of jazzy loops and breakbeats all over that joint. Towards the end of making that record though, Subroc got into a car accident and died.

Doom, took a lil time off, and came back out with Operation Doomsday. This album was straight fire. Not giving a rats ass 'bout clearing samples, he jacked a good chunk of Marvel Comics samples, Sade loops, even Beatles loops, and created the supervillian identity known as MF DOOM. This album was Mf Doom's proper debut. He came out and really made a big impact with this joint. His whole concept vibe and the villian idenity made waves throughout the indie scene. Nobody was doing shit like that. It was refreshing.

He did some other projects after that with Monster Island Czars, his crew. And the King Gheodrah album. I wasnt a big fan of the emcees on it, but the beats were butter. Doom has always been a good producer in my eyes. He dropped some instumental albums called Special Herbs that is just him on the beats. He also did an ep with MF Grim round the same time.

He then dropped the Vik Vaughn joint. Vik Vaughn is another identity within Doom's multiple personalitities. Viks more about the puss and the album is different then what Doom's other joints offer. It seems to be a little darker and more about relationships, then the super adventures of Mf Doom.

Last year he collabed with Madlib to release Madvillainy. Supposedly, a few tracks were made on an sp303 and done in a weekend. The rest were done on a sp1200. This got Dooms name out to a big audience. This album was marketed pretty decently compared to his ones before it. Stones Throw and the Madlib name, brought him to a larger audience. This is what really got him noticed. A tight album with some ill beats and some ill concepts. It's a tight joint though, so buy that shit or I'll hump your mother.

Most recently Doom dropped his newest album, MM Food. It's a good album with alot of instrumental tracks featuring him on the production. Count Bass D does the stand out track in my opinion, but Doom kills it. He then went on to do a track with De La Soul, and now homes is blowing up. Rumors are that he is working with Ghostface for a few joints and is maybe doing some beats on Ghost's new album. He might even work with Reakwon for Cuban Linx 2. So look out for homes gettin paid in the '05

Saliva-prod. by RJD2
Mic Sounds Right
Potholders-ft. Count Bass D

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Moods Of Marvin

As one of the first posts on The Low End Theory I decided I wanted to showcase an artist that is widely known. However, I wanted to share their lesser known, but nonetheless absolutely brilliant works. That artist is the late Marvin Gaye, and the selections I'm choosing to share are from his 1978 Motown album entitled "Here,My Dear."

"Here, My Dear" is an autobigraphical masterpiece that chronicles Marvin's failed marriage to Motown founder Berry Gordy's sister, Anna. The album explores everything from lust to love to disillusionment to anger to reconciliation to moving on and starting afresh. What I like most about this album is that Marvin didn't hold back anything. He expressed everything honestly and openly. The music itself is also very brilliant. The influences range from 60's love ballads, to funk, jazz, disco, and it's all blended together seamlessly.

I have chosen 3 of my favourite selections from "Here, My Dear" and made them available for download just below. They are in 128 mp3 format.

Is That Enough
Falling In Love Again

If you do not have this album in your collection I suggest getting it. Not much sampleable material on this album, but we'll have more of that later for all you Beatheadz in upcoming posts. But for now, just sit back and enjoy some great music.

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Yeah Bitches We Online

Welcome to the low end theory.
We are here to post ill beats, rhymes and other ish that will keep ur lazy ass busy while online.

In the meantime while we get our shit together,
please check out
MF DOOM article in WIRE
RZA and ODB's crazy ass at a talent show back in the day
peep odb beat boxing.

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