Tag Archives: Version Excursion

Marley Marl – In Control Volume 2 [Unreleased demos]

Unreleased and unaccessible Hip-Hop gems have been as much a part of the aural history of Hip-Hop as the scratch itself. We had the Live Convention releases of T-Connection and Celebrity Club parties on Disco Wax Records way back in 1982, Music of Life in the UK released a few volumes of Zulu Nation jams like Cold Crush vs The Fantastic 5 in the early 90s, but these were jams, these were live parties. The world of collecting & dredging for these is next level.

In this post, I want to discuss unearthing previously unavailable jewels that have been buried away on dust covered tapes in shoe-boxes in attics, and lounging behind radiators for decades like the K-Def produced and long sought after Year of the Hip-Hop by LL Cool J. I want to talk about our collective adolescence and the hidden treasures we used to hear on the radio in weekly rotation as we fine-tuned the boxes, I want to talk about the Rap that never made it to the shelves of the record stores.

In 2001, DWGs Rare Dave created a mixtape compilation of hard-to-find Rap, and accurately titled it ‘Rare Frequencies’. The tracks were original full versions, demos and unreleased cuts that had been broadcast on Tim Westwoods Capital Rap Show for promotional purposes, rarely making their way to retail for one reason or another. Sometimes it was due to sample clearance, other times they just didnt make the grade cos they had unsuitable subject matter et cetera. For me, hearing Rare Frequencies was a tipping point, Hip-Hop and Rap radio already had a huge effect on me, affecting the way I listened to, enjoyed and collected Hip-Hop over the years. This was probably because the first time I EVER HEARD Hip-Hop was back in 81, when as kid across the street from where my Aunt lived had just come back from a holiday in NY, he was playing a tape on a ghettoblaster, on his doorstep, recorded from the radio. Since then Ive held on to all of my ferrics and chromes, sifting through my own archives in the attic at the family home, and as I continue to collect and trade, the over-all sound of a radio show, the compression, the strange hissy quality still provokes an indescribable energy in me, as well as a seemingly never-ending discovery of random rare Rap gems.

Anyone that can recall the spine-tingling sound of a Mr Magic WORLD PREMIERE, the sound of a DUB PLATE PRESSURE radio spot, or the sound of a CAPITAL RAP SHOW EXCLUSIVE knows exactly what I mean. Amongst dozens of other station IDs, these were the sounds that announced to the listener that they were about to witness something  special, something truly captivating, something that hadnt been heard before. Its these exclusives that I continue to fiend for today, I’ll be 43 in a fortnight, I have no shame.

Marley Marls In Control Volume 1 was such an iconic release, but when Volume 2 was released in 1991, there was something amiss. I clearly remember hearing it in my mates car for the 1st time that year, and thinking back to the Westwood plays from 1989; what had happened to this cut, to that cut, where was this that and the other. Where was the cut with Marley rhyming over that ‘Puppet’ beat? It seems that a few things had been omitted from the finished tape, things that I knew I’d heard, things that we knew we had on a D90 in the glove compartment, and knew that Westwood had been rockin…

Since then, it seems that there were at least three cuts that didnt make the grade for In Control Volume 2:

Unit3 – Here It Is [From an In Control with Clark Kent from 89]

Marley Marl –  No Bullshit [Original Version above, lifted from a Capital Rap Show cassette from 7th October 1989]

and Marley Marl featuring Rapataire – They Cant Get With Me [a Straight head-noddin banger that got unceremoniously dumped in favour of usage on Marleys remix of the 3rd Bass classic Product of the Environment], btw, who exactly are Rapataire and the ‘def coalition’ Unit3?

The track No Bullshit is a hidden highlight cos its Marley rhymin on the mic, somethin he didnt do that often. The demo version that Westwood played was being dropped with those ‘exclusive’ IDs back in October 1989, nearly 2 years ahead of the retail release. The questions remain, how many more are there sittin behind radiators, gathering dust in shoe-boxes with other cassettes and DATs etc? The odd thing about No Bullshit is that, in comparison to the version that ended up on the alblum, the original unreleased mix murders the finished version, IMO. As Marlon says himself, the ‘beat thats smooth’ makes it an entirely different song, even if the lyrics are the same, but maybe it was the amount of tracks that ended up on the 1991 release that dissuaded the ‘All-Star Engineer’ to go with the plodding and head-nodding pace of the slower paced cut.

There were 10 cuts on Vol1, and 20 cuts on Vol2 [including a few skit bits]. Maybe there was an issue with the ‘Im Your Puppet’ sample from the 1966 classic, who knows. Marley even teases us with a shard of that James & Bobby Purify track before switching up the pace to around 115 bpm, cos it’d been ‘jacked already’. Weird thing is, I dont recall it being used until after 1991 [The Hi-C track is a personal favourite but its been ‘jacked’ many times since].

Fingers crossed the good people at Diggers With Gratitude, Slice of Spice or one of the other ‘vinyl goodness’ labels will get their mucky paws on these exclusives, until then, im happy to take the dolby off and press play. As with alotta these things, the more knowledge is shared, the more we fiend, it transpires  that Rapataire had more than one cut, according to Chris [HDIC at DWG], as well as They Cant Get With Me, Rapa’ had another cut called Hip-Hop Science, was this another long lost Marley production? Is Marley worried that if he goes behind that radiator he’ll have another heart-attack? Will this Hip-Hop fiend ever be satisfied ? The questions remain…

Shouts to Palma, Beatlover and the rest of the DWG fiends…

London Posse Live in Dublin [1986] & more Deejay Mek treats…

Irelands 5 times DJ Championship winner Deejay Mek needs no intro to those that knows, he’s a monster behind the decks and relentless in his ability to nod heads on the regular. As well as being one of the finest scratch DJs still doin it live, he has 2 brand new mixes available to download, and as you can see, has the vintage Hip-Hop video collection on lock

As a close associate of the London Posse, Mek has the footage to make any UK Hip-Hop fanatic loose the plot/ their Burlington socks. The video above is a 5 minute clip of a lascivious Bionic [Jeff] and Sipho from London Posse on an old Dublin based magazine show called Megamix

As well as a brief interview with the presenter where they discuss the difference between Jamaican and American rap-singin , they drop a few tasty rhymes, Sipho rocks the Dallas theme a la ‘My Beatbox Reggae Style’ and the keener ones amongst you will notice that stand-up comedian Sean Hughes makes an appearance towards the end…

Deejay Mek – Hip-Hop Mix –  http://www.megaupload.com/?d=LFO0HX4R

Deejay Mek – Funk & Boogie Mix – http://www.megaupload.com/?d=12O5VD9K

Tracklisting for the mixes over at Meks Mixcloud page, and more info on London Posse here

Lord Finesse & K-Def [WFMU Mixes] – October 2011

Lord Finesse WFMU Mix

K-Def WFMU Mix


Noah Uman is not only a Hip-Hop historian, not only has he written liner notes for re-issue releases on Nature Sounds and Traffic Entertainment, he is the co-producer of the 2005 Run DMC re-issues and the presenter of the long running ‘Coffee Break For Heroes and Villains’ show on New Jersey free-form radio station WFMU.

I’d heard of WFMU years ago but didnt pay enough attention until I was finding myself proto-hacking it in order to record each of the Steinski Rough-Mix shows in 2007 [as they were broadcast and as I slept in my bed]. There was of course the beatbox themed special presented by Lewis Recording artist Edan back in 2002, but Noah himself has hosted shows with many noted Hip-Hop luminaries; Primo, Janette Beckman, Will C, Rack-Lo, 45 King and many many others.

He is taking some sort of time out from the show to move cross country but as a parting acknowledgement for his work, Hip-Hop super-producer K-Def and Diggin In The Crates legend Lord Finesse joined him in the studio for a bit of a send-off. The results are an enlightening look at battling in 2011, in typical good natured grown-folk fashion. They attempt to out do each other behind the Serato laden turntables, and even if these turntables are using decoded vinyl, it seems that the Funky Technician feels that it is important to keep up with technology, eff Paypal, it’s all about Squareup he informs, keep up !

It’s funny to hear Noah describing K-Def and Finesse ‘talking in code’ after the discussion [or lack of] regarding their breaks and who the performers are, Finesse claiming that Noah sounds ‘like a cop’ when he asks, ‘Can you name any of these records?’. The banter in the interviews is jokes too, but youll have to head to WFMU to enjoy that….

Not unlike the Finesse set from Crotona back in the Summer, he erm, keeps the crowd listening with shed-loads of good old music, they both drop some of their own works and some blends, but to me, the highlights were the NEVER HEARD BEFORE instrumentals and acapulcos…

Donate if you can, WFMU will always welcome a donation…

Steinski Version Excursion

As all you regular readers will know, one of the many things we like to highlight here on the BALLS are the origins of sample sources. We know that some folk dont appreciate letting breaks go, that’s a fair comment if you are DJing at Zulu nation B-Boy battles/ are a serious collector or you still soak the labels off your vinyl [can you soak the label off a Serato disc?]. Anyways, I very much doubt that the pioneering Mr Steve Stein is going to be on the phone complaining about us letting this one go.

Most of the time it’ll be a version excursion [as we know them], featuring the Rap song that utilised a break, then the break et cetera, our Mothers taught us well, our Mothers taught us to share and share alike. It’s mostly as simple as poppin a Youtube clip up and being done with it, but sometimes it’s more than just a musical issue…

The track above by Steinski & Double Dee ‘Hip-Hop is not Rap’, is a short singled out cut culled from an incredible live set by the pair, recorded back in January 2008 at the Irving Plaza in NY. The mix is called Who Owns Culture and the title is based on the 2005 Wired magazine article of the same name by writer and copywright activist Lawrence Lessig, author of this, which you need to read.

Until recently, I’d not heard the mix, but when I did get to listen to it, I instantly recognised a vocal that was also incorporated into the model Steinski mix, Nothing to Fear [one of the finest and most detailed mixes in mash-up/ megamix/ cut and paste history]. I had heard the same voice utilised and sprinkled over the top like an aural hot sauce on WOC, but it puzzled me every time, pondering its origins, which it transpires, are from 2002. Motherfucker !

Thanks to the good people at unheard78.blogspot.com, I’ve now learnt that the distinctive voice belongs to a playwright, poet, Hip-Hop purist, founder of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival and all-round outspoken good guy Danny Hoch. Fundamentally, it’s just another piece in the puzzle confirmed, thanks again to DT@Unheard. For the record, I watched the odd Def Comedy Jam, never Def Poetry Jam, seems there was somethin in it…

It seems that Danny Hoch has had a few run-ins with Hollywood and the industry in general, even going so far as getting readings for the Seinfeld show and poo-pooing their stereotypes in favour of raising awareness of racial oppression. Stay true to the game eh…

Give Mr Stein a shout if you wanna buy a copy of the alblum, im not sure if it’s available anywhere right now, but he’ll be more than happy to point you in the right direction if it is.

Head over to Unheard for a shed-load of Steinski doozies and a recent interview with the good man himself…

Warren Zevon – Werewolves Of London Version Excursion

No piano

OG

Roc Raida & X-Men on WNYU

Prodigy – The Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson EP [Reduced by HOTASBALLS] AKA Dunnthing for the Weekend

Prodigy – The Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson EP – [Reduced by HOTASBALLS]

Prodigy from Mobb Deeps’ first piece of branded promo came in the shape of an EP via the good people at Complex Magazine a few weeks back. This Reduced version-excursion of the highly anticipated release was created by ourselves out of sheer impatience, an unwilling to sift through songs, no other reason, dont get it twisted. We got nothin but love for Mobb shit, that why we made this, and the fact that the P is free once again after three years locked away, is good news for anyone that understands and appreciates ‘Top of the Line’ reality Rap.

Over the years, there have been shed-loads of full-length alblums that have utilised dialogue from movies, skits, sound-bites et cetera, but the only way the listener can truly enjoy the experience is NOT having to fassy around with fast-forward keys, click wheels and the like. Unfortunately, the segue material on this is a little ancillary for our tastes. We aint professin to be some big-time internets nor are we too big or too proud to hit rewind, but sometimes we just wanna hear things as they should be heard, one track after another, without too much interruption. Too much to ask? The aural impediments if you didnt know, are from the 97 movie, Hoodlum.

Musically the EP has some great moments on it, and lyrically, P is on fire at times too, on the whole, it’s an interesting return to form but lets face it, listening to this EP is a wind-up. Were not here to review the content of the EP, mainly cos its a feckin mixtape, an undersized mixtape for an artist that is evidently holding the finest Sid Roams and Alchemist productions back until the finished product drops.

We respected the sequence, but in addition to the tracks and our updated transitions, we decided, for ease of access, to drop the majority of the Larry Fishburne dialogue and just lace the tracks one after each other [with sprinkles of a few specially and specifically chosen sound-bites and sample sources of our own]. This is the result. To P, to Alan, Benny, Joey & Bravo, big respect is automatic…

Bonus Proclamations

Phillip Mlynar – Top 10 Prodigy Prison Rants

Gary Warnett – My Infamous Overflow

Hip-Hop Isnt Dead – Gut Reactions

Low Profile – Pay Ya Dues

The riff to this has been rattlin around my head for days now…

It’s a Low Profile clip from 1990 that features a malnourished DJ Aladdin. It’s an entertaining wee video with cameos from Ice-T and Ice Cube, as well as a very young and also rather slender Coolio. I always liked the theme of this track, pay your dues or you aint nothing. Shouts to Warlord, & Janis for the vid…

Below is a distorted MPG of the track and the alblums both the track and the break were originally released on [The JBs, possibly the tightest group in the history of Funk and Soul?] :

Low Profile – We’re in this Together [320]

JBs – Breakin Bread

Low Profile – Pay Ya Dues promo Video