General Jimmy

Writer / DJ / PR Manager / Fat Bastard

Archive for the tag “Heavy D”

Five for the Funk – Big Daddy Kane

BDK

In two weeks time Liverpool is going to get schooled by the don. Big Daddy Kane is coming to town and you better believe it. Alongside the likes of Kool G Rap, Rakim, Slick Rick and Biz Markie, Kane is part of the pantheon of truly great late eighties solo rappers. Everything about him is iconic, from his ultimate braggadocio rhymes to the ridiculousness of his garbs, he had it going on.

Any rapper stunting owes him so much, Biggie’s avuncular arrogance, Kanye’s fashionista flyness, Jay-Z’s smooth swagger – Kane paved the way for all this and much more. In fact Jigga’s debt stretches further, with his early 90s pre rocafella days spent acting as an intermediary hype man for Kane at his shows. His first two albums are absolute classics, and there’s the fact that Rakim, RA FUCKING KIM, cooled the prospect of beef with him. You know when the God thinks twice about entering a battle with you, you’re pretty good.

So in honour of this epochal event, encased in the soon to open East Village Club, five for the funk delivers five bits of greatness from BDK. Large.

‘Smooth Operator’

Mary Jane Girls’ ‘All Night Long’ is one of the most sampled records in hip-hop history, everyone from LL Cool J, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Redman and Ice Cube being among the fifty people in total who have used the saccharine soul 80s classic. I’ve even built a modest dj career off playing it in 90% of my sets of the past five years. But few have done it as well as on Smooth Operator.

While primarily a record in the classic Big Daddy batting off all competitors mould, he does deliver a few bars implying his acumen with the females, but it’s not as much as the title would have you belive. It’s less of a response to the anti-male diatribe of the same name from Sade than you might initially think, particularly as alongside the MJ Girls there’s samples from two of Marvin Gaye’s sexjams (‘Lets get it on’ & ‘Sexual healing’). Instead it’s just Kane doing what he does best, holding court like the don he is.

‘Raw’

This is the ronseal of 80s hip-hop. Marley Marl’s splicing of James Brown and Bobby Byrd just about manages to avoid being dated and Kane just goes, as you’d expect, raw. He’s an absolute animal on the mic in this, just a relentless barrage of skill that is the calling card of one of the greatest. An absolute monument of the genre.

‘Don’t Curse’ (Heavy D ft Kool G Rap, Pete Rock, Cl Smooth, Grand Puba, Q-Tip & Big Daddy Kane)

As posse cuts go this is up there with the best of them. The roll call features people who earned their stripes repping verse after verse in the Juice Crew, Tribe Called Quest and Grand Nubian, all coming together to show that they don’t need to swear to keep it going. It was of course an answer to the proliferation of Parental Advisory stickers which were rampant in hip-hop in time. It’s not the greatest 8 bars from Kane in his career, but he’s still smooth as ever and the track and video are amazing. Heavy D also looks ridiculous in prison style pyjamas, what’s not to love about that?

‘Any type of Way’

What marks Kane out from some of his peers is how graciously he’s aged. No rapper can ever maintain a scintillating appeal, but some slip from world domination to head in hands moments quicker than most. I’m looking at you KRS and Rakim. Kane however, has gone down the Slick Rick route of touring off the back of a legendary status and the odd track since his heyday and this gem from 2003, produced by DJ Premier, proves his mettle.

He’s still nice on the mic but rather than being on that arrogant tip here he is slipping into the paternal figure of hip-hop a man of his status should do. And his voice fits Preemo’s as ever on point production perfectly. The two recently joined up again for a nike commercial with the brilliant 28 bars, which features the genius closing gambit “I went on 28 just to raise the bars”. Don’t doubt this an emcee still with it.

‘Ain’t no Half-Steppin’

Still the one. This is just a relentless surge of look at me I am boss; put-downs, big me-ups, the lot. From a lyrical point of view it’s hard to think of many songs that deliver an aura of greatness quite like this, and the calling card ‘I’m awesome’ records of rappers, be them Biggie’s ‘Unbelievable’, Jay-Z’s ‘So Ghetto’, Big L’s ‘Flamboyant’ and so on, all stand behind this. Everyone is a butter knife compared to Kane’s machete faced with this.

The video is gloriously lo-fi, a reminder of the lack of real money in hi-hop at the time, when you get the impression that the combined cost of the tracksuits worn by Kane and his dancers probably outweighs the overall budget. That’s not to say he isn’t looking hella fresh, with a chain that probably cost the GNP of an eastern European country and a general persona that is dripping swag. The iconic BDK tune.

For ticket info hit here.

Hall & Oates – Five for the Funk

Curve-ball to an extent for this week’s Five for the Funk – here’s five reasons why Hall & Oates are awesome in line with my two DJ gigs this weekend at Salt Dog Slims/Bar 81. Lambasted by the rock press at the time and still to this day as bastions of anti-cool and devoid of any traces of credibility, the duo had a handful of master-class records that more than made up for them not being the type of group you’d listen to their albums on repeat. And their tunes tear the roof off week in week out.

Feel the force of their song-writing genius without the need to lodge your tongue in your cheek with the below. And I don’t even have to mention the greatest fancy dress costume ever.


‘Kiss on my List’

A genuine gem of a record, lashings of cheesy vibes permeating every second but really it’s a great radio love song. One of the records that makes the duo really easy to lambast but when you think about it, also one of the reasons they’re also so endearing.


‘Rich Girl’

Prior to their 80s electro-funk reinvention, H&O didn’t really know where they stood in the pop landscape and consequently their efforts were quite far reaching and extremely hit and miss. One of the better jams from the seventies was this rocky ode to girls taking advantage of monetary assistance. Common themes in their records the dastardly ways of women.


‘Maneater’

Arguably the most recognisable and certainly the most commercially successful H&O record and all the better for the languid saxophone that kicks in, as worthy an addition to the 80s pop’s use of that instrument as George Michael’s ‘Careless Whisper’. It’s also warning the male sex about the predatory instincts of women; I was shit scared as a seven year old about actual women eating me as a consequence of this song. The truth, as Darryl and John opined, was much worse.


‘I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)’

Obvious but what a monster. Prince Paul lopped the groove to perfection on De la’s ‘Say No Go’ and whilst the use was celebrated by many as a victory for post-modernism and evidence of the producer’s wry irony, he contradicted this viewpoint in interviews – his reaction was really that he just liked the sound of it; evidence that the record was built with the dancefloor in mind and where it belongs. Also sampled by the likes of 2 Live Crew, Tech9ne, Heavy D and, er, Simply Red. Pop perfection.


‘You Make my Dreams’

Another record that everyone knows but for all the right reasons. This is as upbeat as it gets and the biggest H&O anthem, hands down. An unashamed floorfiller that is that right combination of being both a bit shit and awesome, which is Hall & Oates massive trademark.

Happy Friday everyone! I’ll be DJing at Salt Dogs from 10pm-3am tonight and tomorrow evening.

Nas – The Don (Video)

Still loving this tune. And now the video makes it even better. New York City!

Nas – The Don

Whoah! This is high octane brilliance and been everywhere recently. Nas may be turning into a lyrical Snoop circa early 2000s (shit album, killer singles), but both this and ‘Nasty’ are now showcasing his undoubted legendary status as pure raspy hip-hop hero. ’20 Years Looking 17′ is just one of the many quotables. Instant classic.

Be Inspired: “The Life of Heavy D” Documentary


Heavy D was found dead last year, there was a slew of tributes that poured in from the world of hip-hop, as well as a bevvy of song related puns across social networking. Standard response to any celebrity death then, you’d think. However what marked his untimely death (he was merely 44) in hip-hop circles was that it was a rare instance of someone within the genre dying from causes not hugely intertwined with the lyrical subject matter of guns and crime. A silver lining on the dark cloud of death perhaps, but one nevertheless to cling onto as the world mourned.

This documentary details the encouraging impact the rapper had others; even his final ever tweet to the world was ‘Be Inspired’, which in itself is indicative not just of his impact on the planet but the way the world has changed to embracing the power of social networking. Watch for an insight into a truly legendary voice who’s impact on the genre was immense, pushing the early ruminations of rnb and hip-hop with his smash hits with Aaron Hall of Guy to the way that one of his dancers inspired the hip-hop classic song to remember the dead.

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