In this series of posts leading up to the first release in the Golden Edits series I will be taking a look at some of the producers and MC’s that have inspired the forthcoming four track EP. Let us begin in the Bronx, the original home of hip hop and focus on one of my all time favourite producers, Mark the 45 King. Mark has had a long and varied career scoring number one hits along the way with both Eminem and Jay Z “Stan” and “Hard Knock Life” respectively. He is in my opinion one of the greatest hip hop producers of all time, maintaining a fastidious ability to spot a sample and loop it to perfection. Born in the Bronx in 1961 and scoring his first hit with The 900 Number it is around the time of this release in 1987 that I first started buying his productions. Lakim Shabazz and Chill Rob G two big names in the mid to late 80’s New York scene benefitted greatly from his early work and it is the Chill Rob G track ” Wild Pitch” that I have chosen to reinterpret for the track ” So Damn Fresh”. The 45 King takes the original horn sample from ” Books and Basketball ( Montage) by Billy Preston & Syreeta as the basis for his production.
Its a great lift, the drums drop out as the horn riff comes in leaving a lot of space for a hip hop producer to get busy in the space underneath.
Moving on from the musical content I then trawled my acapella collection and added in some big names on the mic. KRS One provides the intro and then it’s a a toe to toe to the end with Talib Kweli, Phoenix Orion and a few surprises thrown in to refresh that feeling of raw hip hop delivered with intent.
It’s enough to make you feel like you have just copped a Gemini mixer for your 18th birthday!
Back in 2000 myself and Steve Christian were asked to remix De La Soul’s “Oooh” featuring Redman. This was actually the only mix we completed that didn’t end up getting used. I managed to locate the original DAT tape which had the acapella upon it and from there set about a completely new interpretation. The beat for this was started in L.A on a newly purchased MPC 1000 . At the end of my three year stay in the city I decided to trawl through every thrift store within a 20 mile radius in search of records to sample. One of the records contained the loop for this remix, it was taken from a German jazz label called ECM, a source which had provided my drum machine with many a good sound over the years . “Swansong ( For a Nation)” which features on the first Rae & Christian album Northern Sulphuric Soul bears testament to the fruits available as the vocal samples were taken from an ECM track called ” Transformate, Transcend Tones and Images”.
De La Soul are one of the most influential and creative acts in hip hop history, if you add Redman to that mix then you know you are in for quite a ride.
Here is the original and yes that is Dave Chapelle as the doorman in the intro!
Welcome to my very first blog post folks. Over the coming weeks and months I will be distributing some fine freebies for the DJ and home listener alike. This will also be the destination that allows you to read sections from my forthcoming book which will be released in combination with my third solo album. The album which has been rather long in the making is on the home straight now after taking a back seat to Yesking and Rae & Christian projects . In the interim I have lived in Los Angeles for 3 years and now find myself back in London.
All of the travelling and moving about has been linked to my life’s passion, music. It started in Newcastle my hometown as evidenced in the attached photo, a snap which is most likely taken when I was 14 . It captures an early attempt at drumming, my tools are a boys brigade marching drum rescued from a dump and a snare that an old school friend had given me. Together with my lack of skill they made a nonsensical racket and it wasn’t long after an attempt to use the radiator as a cow bell that the noise was duly banned from the house.
Thank god for decks and samplers!