Like the name of the label suggests, ColdCut were ahead of their time. In Summer of 1987 when I moved back to England to start grade-11 highschool at ACS Hillingdon, on the very day my plane touched down at Heathrow airport, the first thing I did was go down to Our Price record store in Uxbridge, Buckinghamshire, and looked for hiphop records. Going through all the singles in the 12-inch section, I came across ColdCut’s Beats + Pieces …. there was something magical about this record when I touched it, even though I had no clue who ColdCut were and what they sounded like. I took the risk to invest and bought the record among others. Once I played the Beats + Pieces at home, I was BLOWN AWAY.  Just what I was looking for.  Something cutting-edge with samples and loops pieced and scratched together on top of a tight main beat/loop sampled from Led_Zeppelin‘s track Kashmir. Ever since that day, I’ve been a religious follower and fan of ColdCut.

Coldcut – “Beats + Pieces” (Mo’ Bass Remix)…

Artist: Coldcut
Title: Beats + Pieces
Year: 1987
Label: Ahead Of Our Time
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

ColdCut – “Beats + Pieces” (Mo’ Bass Remix) (mp3)

 

Coldcut vs. Eric B. Rakim — Not Paid Enough…

In 1987, Eric B. & Rakim were on a standstill and not going anywhere in the charts until ColdCut remixed their track Paid In Full which was absolutely incredible, filled with chopped samples that were pieced/scratched together ColdCut style. The most famous vocal used in that remix was from Ofra Haza‘s Yemenite Im Nin Alu track (the original LP version from her Fifty Gates Of Wisdom album, released in 1984), which then catapulted Ofra Haza back to the top-10 music charts followed by her smash-hit remix of Im Nin Alu in Summer 1988.

All in all, it was the doing and the genius of ColdCut to come up with such beautiful and timeless remix of Paid In Full …. bringing Eric B. Rakim to the top of the music charts and also making Ofra Haza one of the most internationally famous/successful singers in the world (she even did most of the vocal soundtracks for Steven Spielberg’s The Prince Of Egypt animated movie). At the end of the day, ColdCut never received as much credit as they deserved. In 1989, ColdCut released an album with an instrumental version Not Paid Enough.

I tip my hat for ColdCut.
They deserve a standing ovation.

Coldcut – “Not Paid Enough”…

Artist: Coldcut
Title: Not Paid Enough
Year: 1987
Label: Tommy Boy
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

ColdCut – “Not Paid Nough” (mp3)

 

Eric B. & Rakim – “Paid In Full”…

Artist: Eric B. & Rakim
Title: Paid In Full
Year: 1987
Label: 4th & Broadway
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Eric B. & Rakim – “Paid In Full” (mp3)

 

Ofra Haza – “Im Nin Alu” (1988 Remix) music video…

Ofra Haza – “Im Nin Alu” (Original version, 1984) music video..

Eric B. & Rakim – “Paid In Full” (The ColdCut Remix) music video…

http://youtu.be/wEkC5tIMj-M

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)

 

What a gem this track is. Summer 1988 …. What’s On Your Mind comes out …. one of my all-time favorite retro electropop tracks by Information Society. The Latin Rascals did killer job in editing the club-mix version, and by such editing (especially in the breakdown) was very difficult to do at that time when there was no Protools; the only digital-audio multitrack recording/editing that could be done at that time was on very expensive proprietary systems such as the Synclavier (also read my other blog post here) or Fairlight CMI. It’s amazing how this track still stands the test of time. Brilliant production nonetheless. A lot of gating and stuttering effects. Automation wizardry.

Information Society – “What’s On Your Mind” (Club Mix)…

Artist: Information Society
Title: What’s On Your Mind (Club Mix)
Year: 1988
Label: Tommy Boy
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Information Society – “What’s On Your Mind” (Club Mix) (mp3)

 

Information Society – “What’s On Your Mind” (What’s On Your Dub Mix)…

Artist: Information Society
Title: What’s On Your Mind (What’s On Your Dub Mix)
Year: 1988
Label: Tommy Boy
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Information Society – “What’s On Your Mind” (What’s On Your Dub Mix) (mp3)

 

Information Society – “What’s On Your Mind” (The 54 Mix)…

Artist: Information Society
Title: What’s On Your Mind (The 54 Mix)
Year: 1988
Label: Tommy Boy
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Information Society – “What’s On Your Mind” (The 54 Mix) (mp3)

 

Information Society – “What’s On Your Mind” (Pure Energy Mix)…

Artist: Information Society
Title: What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy Mix)
Year: 1988
Label: Tommy Boy
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Information Society – “What’s On Your Mind” (Pure Energy Mix) (mp3)

 

Information Society – “What’s On Your Mind” (Percapella)…

Artist: Information Society
Title: What’s On Your Mind (Percapella)
Year: 1988
Label: Tommy Boy
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Information Society – “What’s On Your Mind” (Percapella) (mp3)

 

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