Today, Grandmaster D.ST is now known as DXT. But let’s go back in time. Grandmaster D.ST is the DJ who scratched the famous record sounds on Herbie Hancock’s Rockit (check out videos below). I’m presenting you with three of my favorite D.ST tracks here: Home Of Hip Hop, Megamix II: Why Is It Fresh, and Mean Machine.  I travelled to New York city looking for these records back in Summer 1985 with no luck. Then I went to London in December 1986 (already two years late after their initial release dates) and happened to find all three 12-inch records at HMV megastore on Oxford Street. Top notch tracks of their time; stellar production for electro hip hop; serious stuff.

DST 02

DST 03

Grandmaster D.ST – “(The Bronx) Home Of Hip Hop”…

Artist: Grandmaster D.ST
Title: (The Bronx) Home Of Hip Hop
Year: 1984
Label: Celluloid
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Grandsmaster D.ST – “(The Bronx) Home Of Hip Hop” (mp3)

 

Grandmaster D.ST – “Megamix II: Why Is It Fresh?”…

Artist: Grandmaster D.ST
Title: Megamix II: Why Is It Fresh?
Year: 1984
Label: Celluloid
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Grandsmaster D.ST – “Megamix II:  Why Is It Fresh?” (mp3)

 

Grandmaster D.ST – “Mean Machine”…

Artist: Grandmaster D.ST
Title: Mean Machine
Year: 1984
Label: Celluloid
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Grandsmaster D.ST – “Mean Machine” (mp3)

 

D.ST & Herbie Hancock – Rockit — two live performances and music video…

The live performance below is the ultimate. Imagine being a turntablelist  scratching on stage with Herbie Hancock performing THE most legendary electronic/electro-beat track of all time Rockit, surrounded by electronic synths, drums and instruments, robotic props and breakdancers! OH MY GOD!! Turntablelism’s first giant leap (from underground to sharing the big stage with the big leagues) started right here, ladies & gentlemen!!!

http://youtu.be/pERrVMbsCfg

We Want Some Pussy

Summer 1987, I had moved back to England to start grade-11 highschool. I went to Tower Records London which was a huge multi-level building by itself at the heart of Piccadilly Circus, London. Down in the huge basement was nothing else but 12-inch records of all genres — a heavenly section for disc-jockeys and music collectors. And that was where I’d finally found a copy of this limited edition release by The 2 Live Crew. I had been looking for this record since January 1987. As a matter of fact, I’d been looking for any 12-inch release of We Want Some Pussy since 1986. Sometime in early 1987, I  heard a remix of We Want Some Pussy at  the legendary Twilight Zone nightclub (located in the attic/roof above a coffee shop) on Bloor Street,  Toronto, Ontario; and since then I was unsuccessful in finding the 12-inch record …… until ….. of course … when I moved back to England more than six months later where I found the last remaining copy of the limited edition. I took the bus home to Rutland Court, Knightbrigde, opened the door to the flat, rushed to the stereo and put the needle to the record …. anxiously wanting to hear the track’s (Liberty City Long Hard) remix. And it sure did blow me away ………… so much better than the original or Classic Dance versions. Harder drum beats from Roland TR-909 (also more 909 wikipedia info here) drum-machine, killer bassline with nice dance/club melody, sampled rock-guitar stab-hits in various pitches/notes and other sweet elements floating on top.

The 2 Live Crew – “We Want Some Pussy” (Liberty City Long Hard Mix)…

Artist: The 2 Live Crew
Title: We Want Some Pussy (Liberty City Long Hard Mix)
Year: 1987
Label: Luke Skywalker Records
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

The 2 Live Crew – “We Want Some Pussy” (Liberty City Long Hard Mix) (mp3)

 

The 2 Live Crew – “We Want Some Pussy” (The Original Classic)…

Artist: The 2 Live Crew
Title: We Want Some Pussy (The Original Classic)
Year: 1987
Label: Luke Skywalker Records
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

The 2 Live Crew – “We Want Some Pussy” (The Original Classic) (mp3)

 

Tower Virgin record store london

Virgin record store, where Tower Records used to be in the same building in Piccadilly Circus, London.

This is one super sick track that defined the true meaning of techno-electro hiphop. Drum machine tight beats, rolling mechanical techno bassline, synth zip-zaps, reverse-then-slap-forward claps, synth pads, vocal erotic samples, synthetic scratching samples, really sweet processed orchestra stabs/hits, and serious rhymes. 808 Beats stands on its own plateau. Although The Unknown DJ raps about his 808 drum machine, but the drum machine sounds in this track aren’t from a Roland TR-808 at all …. not even close; but my best guess would be that they come from Oberheim DX or DMX.

The Unknown DJ – “808 Beats”…

Artist: The Unkown DJ
Title: 808 Beats
Year: 1984
Label: Techno Hop
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

The Unknown DJ – “808 Beats” (mp3)

 

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The original version of this track was released in 1986, which sounded musically OK, even though its production quality was lo-fi, but overall it lacked oomph and excitement. When 1987 came around, MARRS released it’s internationally mega smash-hit Pump Up The Volume which used the vocal sample/snippet “Pump up the volume” from Eric B. & Rakim‘s original version of I Know You Got Soul. Millions of people wondered who and from where did that sample come from, and, thus giving unprecedented exposure, attention and credit to Eric B. & Rakim. Because of MARRS, a new remix of I Know You Got Soul was just around the corner …. and here it is! This remix was in the top-10 British and European music charts and in the top-70 North American charts.

It should also be noted that it was ColdCut‘s smash-hit remix of Paid In Full (in late 1987) which brought really catapulted Eric B. & Rakim‘s to the top of the mainstream British and North American music charts. Read full article here.

Eric B & Rakim – “I Know You Got Soul” (The Double Trouble Remix)…

Artist: Eric B & Rakim
Title: I Know You Got Soul (The Double Trouble Remix)
Year: 1987
Label: 4th & Broadway
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Eric B & Rakim – I Know You Got Soul (The Double Trouble Remix) (mp3)

 

DJ Eric Barrier (left) and MC Rakim Allah (Right).

Captain Rock - Cosmic Blast 01

I’m a very huge fan of Captain Rock’s preschool hiphop. I have all of the very few 12-inch records he’d released between early and mid 80′s. What I love about this track is the hard-hitting, reverb-gated kick and snare from a drum-machine.  The synth bassline is very thick and stabby, punching it’s low-frequency melody on top of the kick/snare, thus  adding extra beef in-between and around the beats. There is also a cosmic and high-pitched syncopated synth element which serves as the main upper-layered second melody – super nice icing on the cake, driving the track along with the bassline underneath. The human-beatboxing is incredibly breathy, groovy and not over the top; there are no Fat-Boy-esquehee-haw, haw-hah” beatbox vocals.  It’s somewhat a futuristic-sounding hiphop. Really good production. No messing around, no bullshit.

I’ve managed to gather little information about him from another site:

His real name is Ronnie Green. Captain Rock was an underground fixture in the early 80′s. Captain Rock was produced by Aleem (Taharqa & Tunde-ra Aleem) on NIA. He appeared at the [Street Sounds] UK Fresh Fest 86 where he allegedly striped down to his thong on stage. Several of his tracks include “Captain Rock to the Future Shock”, “House of Rock”, and “Cosmic Glide”. Before being Captian Rock he was Dr Jecyll and Mr Hyde’s live dj from their period in the Harlem World Crew.  He was known as DJ Ronnie Green. The only record he wrote the lyrics for was “Cosmic Blast.” The Cosmic Crew didn’t exist longer than the time it took to make the record “Cosmic Blast”. They were The Aleems, Dr Jeckyll + Mr Hyde, Scratch Al-D and Marley Marl. He was a referee for NCAA Division 3 basketball in the late 80′s and early 90′s. He’s also run a youth program in New York City, for underprivileged kids. He still keeps in touch with several artists including Mr Hyde, Aleem Brothers and Marley Marl.

Captain Rock - Cosmic Blast 02 Captain Rock - Cosmic Blast 03

Captain Rock – “Cosmic Blast”…

Artist: Captain Rock
Title: Cosmic Blast
Year: 1984
Label: NIA Records
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Captain Rock – “Cosmic Crew” (mp3)

 

Captain Rock – “Cosmic Blast” (Dub)…

Artist: Captain Rock
Title: Cosmic Blast (Dub)
Year: 1984
Label: NIA Records
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Captain Rock – “Cosmic Crew” (Dub) (mp3)

 

Fat Boys

Beatbox Is Rockin is an amazing fast-paced oldschool electro dance hiphop track on the cutting-edge back in 1986 — A MASTERPIECE. It has all the elements to be electronic and rap: Pounding, dance break-beats from a drum machine; vocoder (either Roland or Sennheiser, pictures below); multi-layered one-shot synth stabs; sampled human beatbox snippets triggered from a sampler; and multi-tracks of real human beatbox. The Fat Boys are fondly regarded as a seminal part of early rap music recording history (click here read Fat Boys wikipedia).

Fat Boys – “Beatbox Is Rockin”…

Artist: Fat Boys
Title: Beatbox Is Rockin
Year: 1986
Label: Sutra Records
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Fat Boys – “Beatbox Is Rockin” (mp3)

 

Roland vocoder

Roland SVC-350 vocoder

Sennheiser vocoder

Sennheisser vocoder -- one of the best ever made!

Shango - Shango Message

I must be one of the very few bloggers who’s done a good-quality recording of this track and made available on the net. Shango is member of Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force and ZuluNation. In 1984 he released a killer solo album. The front-cover alone convinced me to buy it.  Once I got home and played the record, I was floored to how original all the tracks were. I’m talking about five long tracks with electric beats, cosmo funk, rap & singing vocals, synthesizers, drum machines, vocoders, deep basslines, laser beams and soul mania. You’re gonna love the synth hooks in Shango Message. Play this track nice and loud on beefy speakers.  Stand back, close your eyes and groove deep with it.

Shango – “Shango Message”…

Artist: Shango
Title: Shango Message
Year: 1984
Label: CellulOID
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Shango – “Shango Message” (mp3)

 

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