General Jimmy

Writer / DJ / PR Manager / Fat Bastard

Archive for the tag “Slick Rick”

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.

‘The rap Generation Gap’ J-Zone – Ego Trip

“The music we grew up on will last forever for us to enjoy and get nostalgic over, but the circumstances that created it are long, long, long gone.”

Excellent article form j-live which analyses the way hip-hop means different things to different people of ages. I’ve never really got the likes of Trouble Funk, Treacherous Three and Kurtis Blow even though I love disco, and whilst getting my face melted by PE, gawping at Rakim or Kane’s lyrics or just basking in the eternal glory that is everything about Slick Rick, De la’s ‘3 Feet High’, NWA’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and nigh on everything done by Run DMC doesn’t go above very good in my eyes.

My generation of hip-hop is very much 1992+, and as well versed as I am in the music before then less and less of it hits me the way that the music form that period does. Likewise with everything after about 2002… you’d be completely right if you said the aforementioned Three Foot High or even Kanye’s ‘my dark twisted fantasy’ was more of an influential and worthier piece of art than say Black Moon’s ‘Enta Da Stage’, but I know which one I’d rather lash on.

Anyway; read what J-Live has to say. Essential reading for anyone digging hip-hop at any point.

Happy Birthday Slick Rick

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Oh lordy, I love Slick Rick! If your Rakims, KRSs, Biggies and Nas’ are the heavy hitters that everyone digs, Slick Rick is always my number one. Easily the greatest voice hip-hop has ever witnessed, he also possesses quite probably the most vivid imagination we’ve ever seen across any musical platform. In terms of lyrics and concepts, he is the Picasso of this here music, portraying gloriously panoramic visions that have spanned everything from cautionary tales for the youth devoid of bad language, right up to an analysis of why men love bumming women. Versatility and then some.

On here I’ve waxed lyrical enough times about the magic and magnificence of him, whether it’s digging great re-edits of his tracks, marvelling at him chilling with fellow hip-hop royalty or the plain absurdity of his outfits, he gets more props and stunts than Bruce Willis from me. But Ricky is 48 today, so it’s time to throw him even more love.

The way I’m going to do this is offer three unheralded gems from Rick, all alongside the above links, to show what a fantastically brilliant rapper he was capable of being. Drum roll…

Rick’s second album wasn’t as vaunted as his first but this lead single was up there with everything on Misadventures. Bolstered by his signature pared back storytelling vibe, the energy of the beat means he’s a little bit faster in his delivery than usual, squeezing the words into the bars, but not on some Bone Thugs or Das EFX’s rapido vibes, literally just a quick rick. Add the brilliant ‘La Di Da Di’ refrain of ‘I’m feeling Sad and blue’ cut up for the chorus and we’re talking Uncle Ricky gold.

The ability to combine the absurd and the macabre is pretty much what makes Rick the genius he is, his gentle humour imbued delivery capable of offsetting the sheer lunacy of his lyrics. This record, detailing his plans to murder a obese wife who no longer does it for him, is an emphatic example of that manner in which he delivers. An absolute classic of lyrical monstrosity.

The briefest of cameos from Ricky on Montell Jordan’s 1996 jam takes the record from decent R&B number to quirky track, and obviously the presence of all that gold in the video just makes it ten times better. Rick was adored on the west coast as well, his languid patter perfect for that sound and its shows up across a pantheon of the artists over there. Obviously the Snoop love is well known, as is Montell sampling Children’s Story on the immense ‘This is how we do it‘, but he had major love form the likes of Warren G and Too $hort (see main pic) as well. They knew what I knew.

Happy Birthday to The Ruler…

Slick Rick – Women Lose Weight (POOKY’S HAUNTED HOUSE EDIT)

Regular readers know how much love Ricky D gets round these parts, and usually any kind of edit that’s tasteful to the greatest voice and imagination music has ever witnessed gets a nod. This though is REALLY special, interweaving Lee Oskar’s Haunted house’ to Rick’s guest appearance on Morcheeba’s ‘Women Lose Weight’, taking the playful macabre twist of Morcheeba’s original into even gentler territory. The man behind the edit, Pooky, pretty much nails what Rick is about brilliantly, that cartoonish humor laden tour de force through darkness which makes him the greatest.

And if that wasn’t enough; here’s some more classic Rick manoeuvres.

Font 2012-13 Playlist

Last month I mentioned I was compiling a playlist for the Font and here is the final edit. There’s 150 tracks of pure aural goodness on the go, the thinking the same as last year in that it’s designed with a student friendly bar in mind. There’s a definite influence from Breaking Bad prevalent – as I’ve been a late comer to the series and completely engrossed by the music involved. Alongside that there’s everything from bass heavy hip-hop from Tyga and The Pack over to music raided from some of my favourite albums of the year so far – Jessie Ware, Frank Ocean, Justin Martin and Nas.

It’s also a bit more ‘current’ – the last one was much closer to the classic records that had been part of my DJ sets over the years whereas this is definitely more of a home listening experience with some slabs of bass music form Bondax, Disclosure and Last Japan all freshening up the student indie disco vibe, and things get a bit noisy towards the end as well. It’s tailored to fit a full day in the bar, so it’s a bit weighty to get stuck into but go for it anyway. Or just rock up to the gaffe and experience it in the environ with a pint of Liverpool Organic for yourself.

Hip-Hop Playing cards

Awesome shizzel. Mynority Classics created some stunning hip-hop playing cards, which had Slick Rick, Biggie Smalls, 45 King and Diamond D as the Kings, and the likes of Tupac, Big L, Public Enemy, Big Pun, J Dilla, the Wu-Tang Clan, and many more across the rest. Dig the video below.

Slick Rick Feat. Vis a Vis – Mistakes (Boulaone Remix)

Props to LaidBack radio for ending me to this nice joint of the greatest dropping science over a futuristic (for Ricky anyway) beat. Love to the ruler.

Slick Rick looking fresh

Another day, another Slick Rick post. This time we have our man Ricky wearing what can only be described as garments which make him look like a bottle of SUnny Delight. It’s an absurd look, but when he’s posing for photos with Common and PMD it still makes you smile.

Happy Birthday 2Pac

Today marks what would of been the 41st birthday for Tupac Shakur. As an actor, rapper and, originally with Digital Underground, a dancer, 2Pac as he later became known, was one of, if not the loudest, voices in hip-hop in the early to mid nineties. Everything he did, from arguably one of the greatest hip-hop based performances on celluloid of all time in Juice, up until his untimely death in 1996, screamed for attention. For better or worse he was an icon of the times, constantly provoking discussion and debate, love and hatred. He live, and died, by what he stood for.

Now now. We know his music has been overdone since his death. We know he wasn’t one of the most quotable emcees of his time. But I’m gonna stick my neck out here and say 2Pac was mad underrated. He’s done a few albums that stand up well, Makaveli, Thug Life and especially Me Against the World. Even the magnum opus on Death Row, All Eyez on Me, counts as something of a classic if you shredded it down a little bit. But becuase teengae fanboys revered him after he died (I’m gonna admit I was one circa 1997-2000) hiphop heads never give him his dues. So I’m gonna plead the case for his legacy to be re-appraised slightly. Through the power of five songs…

Seriously, is it possible to dislike this record? Shakur is just straight up clownin with the Digital Underground and singing about shagging loads of birds. But it’s playful misoygny (by Hip-Hop standards at least) and just loads of fun. Love, love, love it.

Yowzers. This is probably the most distilled record of hate ever made. It even trumps Bob Dylan. It’s venomous bile of a different kind, and pretty uncomfortable listening at times. It’s not the most skilful or important diss record ever (KRS stand up), but it is one of the best. Sadly indicative of a man about to be engulfed by the themes he rapped about, it’s nevertheless a fascinating piece of music.

“Before the BDP conflict with MC Shan, Around the time when Shante dissed the Real Roxxane”. So begins Nas on the final verse of his iller than ill ‘Represent’ track, painting a picture that is pure homage to the old school pioneers. One year later though and Pac went one further and delivered this classic tribute to the forefathers of hip-hop. Shakur knew his onions, and this is reverential to a point that his west coast partner Snoop never quite managed with Lodi Dodi and Vapors.

Pete Rock & Cl Smooth’s ‘TROY’ is the quintessential ‘dead homie’ record in hip-hop, but this languid effort from 2Pac’s Thug Life group is a worthy addition to the canon. Such was Shakur’s conviction to his cause that his body was the ultimate outlet for his branding of his ideas, quite literally, with his tattoos. Body art in music was certainly no new thing, but Shakur gave hip-hop it’s first real beyond the wax militant, worthy in dedication if not necessarily in cause to his Black Panther ancestry. Also if not in name but definitely in spirit, ‘Pain’ by 2Pac and Big Stretch, is probably the other timeless Thug Life record, lifted off the Above the Rim Soundtrack.

Still an absolute anthem! This is all about Dre in the last stand of g-funk, the final apocalyptic record he gave Suge and Death Row, but Shakur came out banging heads with a brutal call to arms verse that would characterise his violent, combustible and musically hit and miss stay on Death Row. This song and this video, which featured cameos from Chris Tucker and George Clinton with a brilliant nod to both The Warriors and Mad Max, should of started what was Death Row’s second golden age. Things sadly didn’t work out that way, but this is the sound of hip-hop taking over the world. That it didn’t quite happen for another four years is irrelevant, because this was the sonic boom bap that announced the music was going to top the charts across the planet.

That opening slavo, ‘Out on bail fresh out of jail, california dreamin’ is still up there in hip-=hop entrances. And one of the first records I truly, truly loved in the genre; if it had been a Soundgarden or Smashing Pumpkins song that had made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as a thirteen year old I might not be writing this blog today. And he did get that bomb beat from Dre and serenade the streets of LA.

SK-90’s HIP HOP video mixtape

Regular readers (are there any?) of this blog will know I like Slick Rick. In fact, they’ll know I love Slick Rick, adoring every honey-voiced bone in his body. So tip to get me excited is to start with Ricky D. If the end result is then 50 minutes of hip-hop mixed aurally AND visually, I’m practically turtle heading with excitement. Alongside Mr Walters, there’s Black Moon, Raekwon, Nas Big L and Redman, all before the twenty-minute mark. Stay on past that and you get Pete Rock & Cl Smooth, Jeru the Damaja, Showbiz & AG, Gang Starr Common, Mobb Deep and Biggie Smalls.

Amazing stuff.

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