I'll Steal Your Music Like I Stole Your Bike

I was checking out the very comprehensive Essential Elements blog, and they were offering up Ultramagnetic MC's "Critical Beatdown" for download (original and remastered). What ensued in the comments was a debate about downloading music for free vs. for pay. I had to chime in after reading a few things that just didn't sit right with me. Also, I couldn't help but notice that some of the comments in favor of downloading without compensating labels were almost inappropriately passionate, which to me sounds like they know it's not right. What do you think? Here's what went down (for some reason my comment, at the time pf this post, unexpectedly, was the last word):

Essential Elements Ultramagnetic downloading debate

UPDATE: Too bad- the comments were removed. So much for the debate. I thought I contributed a valuable comment based on my experiences in running and supporting an indie record label. We tend to hear artists bitching about labels, but trust me, running a label is no cake walk, on the psyche or the wallet.

How do I feel about people downloading mixshows and mixtapes? Same way I feel about people haveing recorded my radio show for years and years- it's great. Spread it around. None of them were available commercially, except on a very local level. It would be great to have classic mixshows available commercially for download, but it's a licensing/copyright nightmare. It'll never happen.


R.I.P. Tony D

I didn't know Tony well, but we recently reconnected. A legendary producer who spearheaded much of the 80's and 90's hip-hop coming out of Trenton as well as a voracious collector old vinyl, breaks and hip-hop, Tony was a true pioneer. I don't have the vinyl handy- but I have a copy of a break beat 12" Tony made which featured an instrumental that would later become the foundation to Naughty By Nature's O.P.P. He sued, and Naughty settled out of court. For those of you who are too young to remember or new to hip-hop, Tony gets maximum props for producing bonafide classics by Poor Righteous Teachers and YZ, among others. Some of you may have come across Tony on ebay as a dealer- he consistently has had great records for sale, and his knowledge was unparalleled. And above all else, Tony was good people.

Sad to see you go.


Go-Go Sample Help

So my man Dave Nada just sorted me out with a fat folder of some proper D.C. Go-Go. I checked him out djing in Miami and he went against the grain and played Go-Go instead of the usual Winter Music fair of house/electro/bmore. Cheers to that! Anyway, it got me thinking that some Go-Go samples from some very prominent hip-hop records (and one nostalgic R&B number) have eluded my memory. With your help, it's time to put an end to that. As Eli would say on Twitter, "Let's goooooooooo". Or as I might have said to Cosmo, "Let's go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go-go!"

The drum fill from "The New Style" and "Spread My Wings" (featuring Tito from The Fearless 4 and cuts by my main stain Clark Kent).

Ain't no bells in "Rock The Bells" but that Go-Go loop with the timbales is the illest. I know the record but just can't place it.

The drum fill that is repeatedly cut in on the original "Rock The Bells" may not even be from a Go-Go record, but I can't call it. Can you? I hope so.

Last up is one of my favorite Go-Go inspired hip-hop jams, "Is It Live" but I believe the drums are all programmed and played. In fact, I'm pretty sure the bells here are played live by my man Sam Sever. Do the knowledge. if I'm wrong, let me know somethin'.


Seriously? (Douche Alert)

I can't take it. First there was this:

And now this:

He is from NJ. Unlike Joaquin Phoenix, this guy is serious. Check out his myspace which gives out his email and number (732-552-2172). Let this clown know how you feel.

I wish Devious was out there so he could prank him every ten minutes for a month.


Is anyone out there? Whoever is, hear this: by the time the barometer hits 75, Konstant Kontact will be completely revived. The old posts will be fixed, and there will be a steady flow of new ones. In the spirit of staying fresh, I will be giving KK a facelift, but before I decide what to do visually, I wanted to reach out to any of you that are skilled in the design department. If you or someone you know would want to make KK look as good as it sounds, let me know. There is no money being made off of KK, but when the posts are regular, there is serious traffic, and your work will be seen by many.

I've enlisted the homeboy Oskar Mann of East Village Radio's NEVER NOT WORKING internet radio show (Friday nights at midnight) to help me with the immense task of digitizing cassettes, labeling files and reviving the blog. Thanks to him, we will be on point soon. If any of you have spoken to me at any time over the last year about contributing recordings to the cause, you will probably hear from Oskar in the near future. Incidentally, I was a guest on NEVER NOT WORKING this last Friday, and I had a great time on air with Dasez, whom I have known since 1990 (!). We chopped it up for a while, covering everything from Jay-Z's sandals to Russell Simmons' shaggy rug, and I really enjoyed being on the radio. It has been a while for me- the last time being Bobbito's farewell show on WKCR which was at least seven years ago.

Check it.

There was quite a buzz about the Stretch & Bobbito reunion concert and I think we both regret mentioning it without it being 100%. When we set out to organize it, we were both quite amped. By the end of the ordeal, we learned that rappers are still divas. We had a very respectable budget and despite offering very fair fees to the artists - in fact, Bobbito and I were going to get the least - we just couldn't please 'em. It was majorly disappointing, but it also made me look back on the KCR days, thankful that we never made money a part of the equation.

Still, Bobbito and I are talking about doing a multi-city reunion tour, hitting Asia, Europe and the USA. If any of you know of any promoters or clubs that you think would be right for this, let me know. No diva rappers!

I can't forget to mention Eclipse and Premier's 1 Year Anniversary party at APT two Mondays ago. They asked DJ Riz and me to play. I played a rather inspired 45 minutes that had Primo punching the wall, calling me an asshole (the highest compliment from him) and yelling at the crowd on the mic. It was an awesome night, all the more because some of my best dj friends (Riz, Eli Escobar, DJ AM) were there and we were all bugging hard off the music. Riz got on after me and utterly destroyed it. Whereas I got on and winged it, Riz showed up with a thought-out set that was really one of the smartest, most enjoyable and illuminating sets I have heard, ever. yes, like that. The next day, Eclipse, AM, Eli, Primo, Riz and I were emailing each other all day, still gassed over the night before. Science.


Wassup Wassup?

The server that hosts KK is kaput, perhaps permanently, so I have to scramble and get a new one. Not sure when we'll be good to go, or when I will post again, but in the meantime, let me know what you want to hear or what you want to hear about. Drop me an email- tell me something interesting, something funny. Whatever. By the time I am back, Obama will be our president elect, W will be out the door, and we will no longer have to endure the lies, hypocrisy, manipulations and ignorance of McCain and this wretched mammal, Palin.


Steady Bloggin'

I can't be referring to my blog, that's for sure. I know it's a song I've been singing for a while, but soon!

In the meantime, check out http://recogthereal.blogspot.com. Scroll down- there are many, many shows of mine as well as other mixtapes and radio shows, (many of which, incidentally, come straight from konstantkontact.)


Personal Shit: Where Is DJ Ev???

If anyone has any contact information on DJ Ev - and I'm talking about the original Ev, not any of the handful of new dudes that felt ok taking his name - please email me. Ev- I know you've checked this blog- get in touch man.

And, I gotta say what's up to ANTUAN!!!!


Who Has Cassettes?

In reading some of the comments, a number of you allude to the fact that you possess cassettes of recordings of my radio shows. I'll say it again- part of the incentive behind creating this blog in the first place was to try to find some of the more loyal original listeners from as far back as 1990 and get my hands on shows I am missing. Thus far I have been unable to find anyone who has tapes before '93. So again, if you know of anyone that has any KCR shows on tape,even a few, reach out to me. Even if you have ones from after '93, I would be interested in hearing what you have. There are some rather large gaps in my archive. In many instances, I have the freestyle sessions but not the entire shows. Just off the top of my head, I don't have the show the 1st time Ultra came up; or the show when Large Professor and Percee-P (as well as one of his many cousins) rhymed over Joe Tex "Papa Was Too". That was the time when Extra-P spit his verse from "Live at the Barbecue" and the whole time, live on air, he was sitting down reading them off a piece of paper. See, he JUST WROTE THEM at the studio. Which reminds me- video footage of this show just turned up including Extra-P and Percee rhyming. So ill. Another show that I had on DAT but can't find now is the legendary night that my man Lord Finesse and KRS-ONE (who bizarrely acted like he didn't know me the last time I saw him) were rhyming over beats being played from Finesse's SP-1200 plugged straight into the station's console. Sadly, I do not have a copy of the only appearance Biggie ever made at KCR. For those who remember that show, his demo was pitted against another demo by a group called The Bronx Zoo for the very short-lived demo battle segment (Bobbito's creation). The Bronx Zoo won, Biggie was upset, and Bobbito and I got to see all of our boys thanked prominently on the back of "Ready To Die". Now this kind of thing usually doesn't mean that much to me, but it would have been nice to get props on such a monumental piece of hip-hop history. Which reminds me, to date, Q-Tip still says Bob and I were contacted to be on the cover of "Midnight Marauders" but that call was never made homeboy. Again, that would have been nice, and appropriate, because Bobbito and I truly were the midnight marauders. Out of the thousands of hours we put in, very few took place before midnight.

Note: If you want to reach me personally, don't send me messages in the comments 'cause I'll have no way of replying. Use the email address at the top of the blog. Ok?


Ricky Powell @ MILK on Some New York Sh*t!

I was thrilled to participate in Ricky Powell's show "Illy Funksters" at MILK on June 3rd. I just assume everyone knows who Ricky is and the many hats he has worn. His main thing, of course, is photography, and this show, in conjunction with his latest book with the same name, is basically a retrospective, spanning the last three decades of NYC music, nightlife and street culture. The opening turned into a all-out party and the place was packed when I killed the music, 30 minutes over the cut-off time. More than anything it was great to see Ricky being celebrated, as well as having what seemed like a really, really fun time. It was such a rare treat to see so many faces that I haven't seen in a while, many of which I only know from clubs - you know, the people you say hi to and talk to for years without ever knowing their names. This was one of the most enjoyable times I've had djing in years. Ricky, as many of you know, is a huge fan of funky jazz, especially the organ variety, so at his request, I kept it funky for the first hour, playing some of the better known funk jazz joints:

Lonnie Smith Spinnin' Wheel
Grant Green Down Here On The Ground
Lou Donaldson Pot Belly
James Brown Untitled Instrumental
Kool & The Gang Dujii
Johnny Hammond Shifting Gears
Jimmy Smith Root Down
Funk Inc Kool Is Back
Jean Jaques Perrey E.V.A.
Herbie Hancock Fat Mama
Fred Wesley & The JB's Blow Your Head
24 Karat Black The 24 Karat Black
Quincy Jones Sanford and Son
Cymande Bra

But the combination of Red Bull + Vodka + images of RUN-DMC, Jam Master Jay, The Beasties, LL and others made something click in my brain, and this is what happened:

Run DMC Together Forever
Run DMC Slow and Low
Bizmarkie Biz Is Goin' Off
Nice & Smooth Gold
LL Cool J Bad
Boogie Boys You Ain't Fresh
MC EZ & Troupe Get Retarded
Latee This Cut's Got Flavor
Sweet T & Jazzy Joyce It's My Beat
MC Mitchski Brooklyn Blew Up The Bridge
MC Lyte Kick This One For Brooklyn
Positive K A Good Combination
Just-Ice Put The Record Back On
Eric B. & Rakim Move The Crowd
Special Ed Think About It
LL Cool J .357 Break It On Down
Marley Marl He Cuts so Fresh
Original Concept Knowledge Me Chant
Public Enemy Raise The Roof
Kool G Rap Riker's Island
Masters of Ceremony Keep On Movin'
Just-Ice Cold Gettin' Dumb 2
Run DMC Dumb Girl
Black Rock & Ron That's How I'm Livin'
Donald D Dope Jam
Masters of Ceremony Cracked Out
LL Rock The Bells (OG Version)
Dana Dane Nightmares
BDP South Bronx
MC Shan The Bridge
Slick Rick Lick The BAlls
Whodini Funky Beat
Bizmarkie Make The Music with Your Mouth Biz
Eric B. & Rakim Eric B. For President (Acapella)
Eric B. & Rakim I Know You Got Soul (45 King Remix)
Big Daddy Kane (Aint No Half Steppin' Remix)
Stezo It's My Turn
Stetsasonic Go Brooklyn
Stetsasonic Go Stetsa
Stetsasonic Sally
Antoinette I Got An Attitude
Salt N Pepa Everybody Get Up (Remix)
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five The Message
Spoonie G Love Rap Live
Run DMC Sucker MCs
Run DMC Peter Piper
Public Enemy Rebel Without A Pause
Public Enemy You're Gonna Get Yours
Public Enemy Don't Believe The Hype
LL Cool J The Boomin System
LL Cool J Eat 'Em Up Chill
Eric B. & Rakim I Ain't No Joke
Kid N Play Gettin' Funky
Beastie Boys Beastie Groove
Beastie Boys Brass Monkey
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five NY NY
Sugarhill Gang Apache
Run DMC It's Like That

Listen, I have NEVER heard some of these records on a sound system, and certainly never expected people to dance to them. Mighty Mitchski "Brooklyn Blew Up The Bridge", Donald D "Dope Jam", Kool G Rap "Riker's Island"? Dancing? What?!

I will post the recording some time this week.

If you didn't catch the show, you played yourself. But you can check out Ricky's books. They are worth every penny.

Classic Material, Live On Air

What up people? I know, I know, I know! All I can say is I have barely been home since the weather warmed up, making it impssible for me to post anything substantial. I want to talk about a few events I have done recently that were as good a time as any that I've had in all the years I have been djing. Some of these have been recorded and will be posted here some time in 2016, or maybe sooner. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I just have to say that I'm getting quite a few chuckles from Ice-T's hilarious online rant trashing Souljah Boy. It seems like a large waste of breathe but it is hilario.

In the meantime, the quickest thing I could do that requires the least amount of preparation is post some truly classic moments from the dusty studio at WKCR, mostly taking place in 1993.

Black Moon with Smiff-N-Wessun, Live on KCR, June 1993
Big L, Live on KCR, October 1993
Das Efx, Live on KCR, November 1993
Akinyele, Live on KCR, November 1993
Large Professor & O.C., Live on KCR, November 1993
Mobb Deep, Live on KCR, July 1994

November of 1993 was HECTIC.


Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo Yooooo!

Please hold tight, a I'm having some server issues. The links will be active again, as soon as my man Digital Shay lets me know what is the issue. I wish I could offer something in the meantime, but I am out of town with no access to anything relevant to the world of konstant kontact.

To keep you posted on the Stretch and Bob Anniversary Extravaganza, all I can say is that I truly wish that all of the artists we've been reaching out to would see this event as an extension of what we did on KCR, and not as just another opportunity to catch a check. We've had to push the date back twice already because of the unforeseen difficulty in finalizing the bill.

Yo Yo Yo's to Marcus Logan and Q-Tip whom I bumped into on Friday night; Dante Ross, Dart La, Marc Labelle and Pase Rock who came to check me at the Guggenheim Friday night but got caught in the museum's ultra-wack door situation; to my home girl Claw who is about to walk down the isle; to my man Emz and John Stanier who made it into the Guggenheim; and finally, a huge YO YO YO to my mango DJ Eclipse who has just put in 10 years on WNYU with his Halftime show.

Oh- and peep my headphones coming out in May, courtesy of WESC. There is the Stretch Pro, as well as the less chunky model for hitting the pavement of zoning out on the train/plain.

I'll be posting shows soon....



The Dumbest Shit I've Seen In A Long Time

So I'm surfing ebay, and I come across this listing for an external hard drive with what at first appears to contain my man DJ AM's music library, listed with DJ AM's name and likeness. Strange- I know my man Adam isn't handing out his library to strangers, and sure enough, he isn't. Peep the description. The seller claims that this particular drive USED to have AM's collection on it. Hmmm, does this really make the drive more desirable? Anyway, this particular drive was in fact never posessed by AM, and as far as I know, he doesn't even use an external drive when he djs. But suppose for an instance that he had indeed owned and used this drive, and you wanted to buy it. After it arrived at your house, would you plug it in, turn it on and watch it's blinking activity light flashing, imagining how amazing it must have been when attached to AM's computer, or Riz's, or Flex's? I don't care if the drive once had naked pictures of the Pope on it, it's still just a damn drive. WTF?


Tribeca Cassette Preservation Society

While we are in the middle of a presidential race, and you have all been giving your vote for whom you'd like to see at a Stretch & Bob reunion, I don't think I would be out of line nominating myself for President of the Tribeca Cassette Preservation Society. I've been traveling a bit and working on some other things, and honestly have not had time to post (and I realize that my last two posts were kind of cheap), but I have been steady digitizing cassettes. Shout out to Greg, who I met online, who was generous enough to trust me with one of the more impressive collections of 'KCR tapes. I'm serious people- you got tapes that are worth preserving, I'm the man you wanna get at. I have two set ups, each with two Tascam 322 decks that have simultaneous output on both sides. In other words, I can record 8 hours of music ever hour. Piece of cake.

Shows to post soon...


Artists You Want To See

I've done a quick tally of the artists you want to see at the Stretch & Bobbito reunion extravaganza, as well as the number of mentions they received. There weren't many surprises, but of course this was no kind of scientific poll. I mean, Jay-Z as well as some of our personal favorites didn't even get mentioned. On top of that, some I have never even heard of. This list will change, but for now, this is what it looks like.

Drum roll please....

Artifacts 20
Organized Konfusion 13
A Tribe Called Quest 12
Kurious 12
Natural Elements 8
Pete Rock & CL Smooth 8
Company Flow 8
Kool Keith 8
Godfather Don 7
KRS-One 6
Gang Starr 6
Large Professor 6
Souls of Mischief 6
Nas 6
Natural Resource 5
MF Doom 5
Beatnuts 5
RA The Rugged Man 5
Black Moon 5
Arsonists 5
Main Source 5
Craig G 4
OC 4
Supernatural 4
Lord Finesse 4
Siah and Yeshua 4
Redman 3
Pharcyde 3
Talib Kweli 3
Cenobites 3
De La Soul 2
Wu-Tang Clan 3
Tony Bones 2
Jeru The Damaja 2
Ak Skills 2
Al-Tariq 2
Boot Camp 2
Mr. Live 2
Cage 2
Necro 2
3rd Bass 2
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien 2
Brand Nubian 2
Royal Flush 2
Kool G Rap 2
Akinyele 2
Percee-P 2
Mos Def 2
DJ Riz 2
Hit Squad 2


Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Reunion Jump Off

Bobbito let the cat out of the bag already, so I'll just add on. For a little while now, we have been planning an event to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the last show we did together. It's kind of a dubious milestone but we couldn't do the 10th Anniversary of our first show, 'cause that passed 8 years ago. Maybe we could do a 20th, but that's in two years. Or, we could borrow from Eclipse's book and do an 18th Anniversary. Whatever; we both felt like the time had come to do something together, so the 10th Anniversary of our final show it is. But it won't be a celebration of going our own ways. No, no, no, kids. If I have any say in the matter, this will be a great night in the spirit of what went down at KCR, so expect the unexpected. We are working on getting the line-up finalized, which will include some groups that haven't performed together in ages. I soooo want to mention names, but I can't.

Being that the lineup has not been finalized, I'd love to know what artists YOU would love to see. We are only interested in involving artists that were integral to the show, so those that were already established before 1990 don't count, and artists that didn't emerge 'til after 1998 don't either. Feel free to comment.


Flyer Check

Not too long ago, I bumped into my old friend Alyasha, who I haven't seen in years. He handed me these two flyers, which took me back to some great times.

Big Dummies was at this junkyard/abandoned gas station on 2nd and B, which is now a really generic brick rental filled with NYU students and b-models. The party took place "indoors" if you could call it that, but there was a big outside area as well, and chicken, beer and blunts were the routine. This is one of those parties that a lot of people I bump into from back then seem to remember, though I don't- probably because I couldn't be too into a club that didn't have an ill sound system. Theirs was a pile of junk. Still, a good time.

The "I Love Beas" flyer was a benefit for everybody's friend Beasley, who was terminally ill. In a weird twist of fate, he passed away the night of the event. Peep the serious line-up. Beas (and of course Eli, who designed the flyers) was a big part of the aforementioned Trip at Mars, and this night had the Trip crew in full effect. A lot of people miss Beas deeply. I still got my laminate.


Right Place, Right Time, Part 1: Franky Jackson's Soul Kitchen

For reasons which I'll get to a little later in the year, I'm posting a bit of personal NYC nostalgia here. It's part of a bigger story which will be told on my blog over time, so for now it may seem a bit random, but it'll all make sense.

...I always thought that the reason I never made it to the LQ was because I was too young. The reality is that you could be as young as 15 or 16 up in there, but clubs were a few years off for me at that age. And I can't front, from what I knew of the LQ, I woulda been a little pet to go there especially with my penchant for getting mugged in the wrong part of town on a number of occasions as a young teen. (There was, of course, no internet, so if you wanted to learn about something, you had to go there in the flesh...it's bugged how technology has on the one hand brought people together but on the other, removed the element of old fashioned exploration.)

What I can shed light on, though, was Soul Kitchen, at which I was a regular from very early on. It was a part of my weekly routine - a home away from home where all the regulars knew each other. First off, I can't stress the importance of the party. It was THE place to be and while the music was focused, the crowd was a ridiculously colorful mix; one that you could only conjure in New York City, the New York City of then and not now. Soul Kitchen started out very small with a core group of friends and ended up snowballing into something bigger, picking up new people along the way, people that wanted to be a part of something that you really would not be able to find anywhere else. In the grand tradition of 70's and 80's clubs it would be typical to find artists, drug dealers, rap artists (LL was vexed one night because Jack insisted that LL pay the cover charge. So LL bounced and no one cared), models, actors, musicians, boosters, club rats, skaters, clothing designers, artists, music execs, dancers, djs, downtown girls, record diggers...

Brothers BBQ would be slammed with people- you couldn't move - and that's when it paid to know Frankie the DJ (he's one half of "Franky Jackson," the fictional proprietor of the establishment and party). Frankie would let friends congregate around him in the dj area behind ropes that were guarded by Evan who was paid with free 40s of malt. He was, and still is, a rabid collector of all kinds of music, and it was at Soul Kitchen that he would drop his latest aquisitions. It wasn't so much that if you aspired to be a hip-hop producer that you would go there. Soul Kitchen was where several very established producers would go, to enjoy the music and get inspiration, and maybe even catch a record to sample. But Frankie, like the original djs from the Bronx, would cover his labels so that no one could catch the titles of the songs and this on a few occasions had some heads a little perturbed. It was kind of a big tease in a way but Frankie was dropping serious dollars for these records at fairs, and wasn't tryin' to hear about producers making records off of his sweat. This was a smart move because even though Frankie was never a beat-maker his position at Soul Kitchen led Russell Simmons, who frequented the spot, to hire him to produce new Run-DMC material. Frankie looped up a Soul Kitchen staple, "You Can Have Watergate But Gimme Some Bucks And I'll Be Straight" by James Brown's Fred Wesley and The J.B.s, and "The Ave", the second song off of Run-DMC'S "Back From Hell" was born. Perhaps not a seminal moment for Run-DMC, who were struggling to remain relevant, but it showed the influence of the night.

Even though at the time other djs thought that the way Frankie would just play entire songs from top 'til they faded out was corny, in playing like that, Frankie killed two birds with one stone. Not only did he preserve the fidelity of these rare records but he also provided the crowd with a truly unique musical experience. It was refreshing to hear a song in its entirety, especially songs that were known, but only within a mixed and cut context. Records that were known for only a small break were given new life and to hear these songs amplified properly was great.

After Brothers BBQ, the party moved to Wetlands (now a bland condo) and S.O.B.'s but like all good things, faded out. But Franky Jacksons's Soul Kitchen has a permanent place in the pantheon of legendary and influential New York City parties.

For the record, the promoters who threw Soul Kitchen (Jack, Frankie and Chris) were not the same team that threw Pay Day, which preceded it. Pay Day was the creation of Patrick Moxey and Chuck Crook, and they had a great line up of dj's including Bobby Konders, Red Alert, Duke of Denmark, the Fascinating Force and others. While Pay Day was happening, Frankie Inglese held down Tuesdays at Nell's, and that night was THE place to be if you were down and could get in. If you weren't easy, Jessica would have you wait outside all night. It's the first place I heard "Set It Off," "Dominatrix," the dancehall monster "Ring The Alarm" and countless others.

This is where I crafted the skill of reading record labels in the dark, the whole time fronting like I wasn't, while the records were spinning. I can remember specifically the time when Frankie was handed a Def Jam envelope (how jealous was I?), removed two white-label promos, and threw on one, and then the other. It was Public Enemy's first single, which sampled the JB's "Blow Your Head". Frankie first threw on the B-side "Son of Public Enemy (Flavor Whop Version)" which featured Flavor Flav talking mad shit, and then Frankie eased in the A-side with a mean Chucky D..."What goes on...Well... I'm all in - put it up on the board, another rapper shot down from the mouth that roared, 1-2-3 down for the count the result of my lyrics - oh yes, no doubt". That was heaven.

The J.B.'s "You Can Have Watergate Just Gimme Some Bucks and I'll Be Straight"
Run-DMC "The Ave"

Soul Kitchen Staples:

Cymande "Bra"
The Mohawks "The Champ"
Joe Cocker "Woman To Woman"
The J.B.'s "Blow Your Head"

plus a complimentary bonus:

The J.B.'s "Blow Your Head (undubbed version)"

This was a massive Soul Kitchen tune, and played a big part in producers looking to Roy Ayers for samples:

Roy Ayers "Everybody Loves The Sunshine"

I brought Frankie these two 45's from Jamaica and he played them every week. No one in Manhattan was playing "No, No, No" but after Frankie did, a lot of djs followed suit.

White Mice "True Love""
Dawn Penn "No, No, No (You Don't Love Me)"


The Elusive "Something For The Radio" Loop

Since no one else has, I will shed light on the origin of the sampled loop for Biz Markie's "Something For The Radio" and settle this once and for all.

Back in 1989, I was at home watching a movie, and in typical fashion, I fell asleep. After snoozing for a while, I was suddenly jolted awake by what I heard. It was the drums, and then the bassline for Biz's "Something For The Radio." I was bugging- I rubbed my eyes, hit rewind, and watched it again to make sure.  That discovery put a smile on my face.  I haven't seen this scene since then but I rented the movie from Netflix to peep it again.  In addition to the Biz drums and bassline, it's pretty cool that lyrics from "Planet Rock" are invoked.  

As if it needs to be said, Marley is the man.

Oh yeah- the movie was Prince's "Under The Cherry Moon". (Excuse the watermark- I didn't feel like paying for the program.)  Watch the bassist's face.


If You Only Had Four Hands!

So you could give me four thumbs down...not even one post in October! Let's see, my birthday came, I traveled out West twice, re-did my music room, and organized thousands of lovely old school hip-hop music files (think of that as ammo).

Speaking of my birthday...my man Scottie B from Baltimore came up and we threw down a solid dose of dance floor heat. But at 3 a.m. with Shinehead's "Know How Fi Chat" still in my head from earlier that day, and still feeling the vapors from the PUMA Yo! MTV Raps party I did in Boston, I blacked out on some late 80's reggae and hip-hop. I couldn't get off the tables til they turned the lights on, and when they did, I had a smirk on my face 'cause there ain't nothin' like playing your favorite records on your favorite sound system on your birthday. And that's a word up.

Stretch's Bday Blackout


Blogging 101

I'm on the road again, but after reading your comments, I've decided to respond in the form of a post, rather than in the comments section to keep it simple.

Even though saying "what up" to an old friend in a post is as asinine as a friend sending you a message through myspace (when they have your three email addresses, you cell, your home phone number and home address), in this case I gotta make an exception. Actually wait, time to rewind, and talk about Dante Ross. Many of you know the deal, many don't- among other things, Dante was one of the most consistent, visionary and resourceful A&R/executive producers ever. If De La Soul, Brand Nubian, Grand Puba, Leaders Of The New School, Busta Rhymes, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, KMD, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Ol' Dirty Bastard or Everlast mean anything to you, next time you see Dante, give him a pound and tell him Stretch told ya. I can't imagine the list of artists that Dante wanted to sign but couldn't because of bidding wars that went the wrong way or other circumstances beyond his control. I know for sure that D intended to bring Cypress Hill to Elektra but it didn't happen for reasons unbeknownst to me. Maybe D will do a guest post here and kick the ballistics...??? He can tell you how he and Clark Kent had my back lovely when KRS's brother I.C.U. stepped to me at Soul Kitchen when it was at Wetlands. That was, ah, a slightly awkward situation- and the only time in my entire radio experience that someone wanted to settle a dispute with me by way of knuckles. It never went that way 'cause I.C.U. was just barking, and I don't think he wanted to have any part of Clark or Dante. Now if I can only find that "How I Could Just Kill A Man" demo D gave me. Oh yeah, Dante- "what up!"

Dante has a fresh NY-centric blog too: slamxhype.com/blogs/Dante. Check it out. Yo D, where is Unknown MC at??!!

Now, as far as whether old tapes can be digitized- the answer is...zzzzzz...YES you can. No way!!! Totally! But please stop asking me how. Ever heard of Google? Do some research people. If you get me your tapes, however--and I'm 100% serious about this--I will have them digitized, labeled and photographed and returned to you. The email to reach me about working this out is at the top of the blog.

Thanks for the tip on the OC demo people. I'll find something else. Any suggestions?

Someone asked about a "Step Up Front" remix. All I can come up with is that there was an alternate mix on the 12" but it wasn't a remix. I'm unaware of one, and rap nerds I know don't either.

Godfather Don demos- hell yeah. I never had them. That was all Bobbito. I'll get them from him.

And for those of you having trouble saving files, get your right-click skills up!

I appreciate the emails and comments about posting stuff about music I'm playing/feeling/making these days, but I wanted to keep this blog one-dimensional. Maybe I'll start another blog, after I finish knitting that purple parachute I've been working on with that lifetime supply of yarn I was always trying to give away on the radio.


It's A Demo, It's A Demo, It's A Demo, It's A Demo...Part 2

Demo time.

The Souls of Mischief demo that everyone was amped about was the undeniably classic "Cab Fare" which sampled the theme to Taxi but because of that, was a sample-clearing nightmare. But "Step To My Girl" was another gem that didn't make the album. It has a bitter-sweet, nostalgic vibe, and eptimomizes early Hiero, which was really unique from the start.

Souls of Mischief "Step To My Girl" (demo)

Here is KCR-superstar O.C.'s demo of "Step Into The Ozone" which got redone in a jazzier DITC feel for his classic and slept-on "Word Life" album. Both are dope, but I like the abstract feel that the demo has; I think it compliments the lyrics more.

O.C. "Step Into The O-Zone" (demo)

When Mobb Deep got their first deal at Island/4th & Broadway, it was off the strength of their demo, which they recorded as The Poetical Prophets. Like me, they were going through a transition in the name department. Hav and P were YOUNG here. You would NOT recognize them if I didn't tell you it was Mobb Deep. Their gimmick was that they were shorties smoking copious amounts of weed, drinking 40's and hittin' skins. Like the Souls of Mishchief, as soon as it came time to record their first album, they switched it up dramatically. In Mobb Deep's case, that also meant going through puberty, which meant they could finally at least attempt to be the grimeballs they purported to be on their demo. I've given the entire seven song demo to Prodigy on two occassions but both times it got jacked by someone. What I need is the post-4th & Broadway Mobb Deep demo "Paddy Shop" which is the one-song demo I brought to Loud Records to get them signed.

Poetical Prophets "Flavor For The Non-Believes" (demo)

What's In A Name (or Three)?: I'm On The Radio!

When I got on the radio, I didn't have a funky fresh dj name. I was just Adrian, or Adrian B. Zzzzzzz. Boooring. At the inception of the show, I was hanging out a lot with Claw and the graffiti legend SHARP whom I had met when I was in 6th grade through my older sister. SHARP had been calling me Skinny Bonz (among other more deprecating things). So I rolled with that, especially because SHARP was hip-hop royalty, having been one of the three artists to execute the Wild Style mural which became instantaneously iconic. Of course, after a few weeks, I realized that "Skinny Bonz" was not the move, especially since I was foolish enough to think that within time, I would develop a more muscular build. My main man Eli, founder of Zoo York, had been calling me Stretch, and in the dj-as-superhero/comic book character tradition, I added the "Armstrong". This particular show, which for some reason does not appear on the radio date log that Bobbito kept, is one of our earliest for sure (late 1990 most likely) because of the name confusion. Through the show, I'm refered to as DJ Adrian, Skinny Bonz and Stretch Armstrong. You'd think we would have worked that out before we got on the air, but at the time, we didn't believe that many people would be listening so it was not a big deal.

It's funny to hear how inexperienced we were. This is probably the most formal you'll ever hear Bobbito. He reads off the titles and labels of the records, and we even do a give-away of an album- on cassette no less. You'll hear radio drops from Erick Sermon, DMC, the comedian Doug E Doug, Jarobi and Busta as well as the aforementioned SHARP. These drops were all scrapped because they were pre-Stretch, and very early on I realized that without a producer, doing drops was going to be impossible, which worked out because not having them ended up differentiating what we did from others. We were still emulating radio as we knew it, rather than reinventing what it, which is what happened in time.

Funkmaster Flex, who had been djing on Kiss-FM, was our guest. Hot 97 hadn't gone hip-hop yet, and he was up at the show working his record "Fallen (And I Can' Get Up)" that he had put out with 9MM who had been a part of the Chuck Chillout's Deuces Wild crew. At the time, I wasn't doing much talking on the radio, and to my chagrin, listeners were understandably calling it The Bobbito Show. It was Flex that pulled me aside and told me that as the dj, I gotta talk more, otherwise I won't get credit for all the hard work I put and would be putting into the show. So I started talking (I sound mad awkward here...it's painful to listen to) and soon, I was a big blabbermouth. Yada yada yada.

Shout out to Claw, who was up at this show answering phones; to Flex for the words of wisdom; to Doug E Doug for the comedy; to Curious Jorge who was still a co-host; and to Sheets and Pillows. Some of you know about that.

Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito, WKCR, late '90 with Funkmaster Flex, part 1
Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito, WKCR, late '90 with Funkmaster Flex, part 2

Hip-Hop As A Hobby? Part One: Positive K

I first met Positive K in '92 when his independently released "Night Shift" (executive produced by Big Daddy Kane) came out. This had been the first offering from Pos since his stellar late 80's run with Frist Priority Records, where he played second fiddle to MC Lyte and Audio Two, but was clearly the best lyricist out of the camp. Most of the artists that came to the show in the early years were ust getting their start, and it was much less common for artists that had already had careers to pass through (though in the first month we did have The Jungle Brothers and 3rd Bass, and Ultramagnetic soon to follow). So naturally, we were amped to have Positive K as a guest on March 26th, 1992. He really murdered it that night. Sadly, I don't have the entire show, and it'd be great to hear the "interview" with Pos, but I do have the verses he kicked. I do remember, though, that Pos was one of the most laid back and friendly people I had met at the radio. It really seemed like he just didn't care- that he enjoyed rapping and bugging out, but wasn't really pressed about the music biz. He was non-chalant, and pretty much had a smile on his face the whole time. After "Night Shift" he entered into a commercially successful relationship with Island/4th & Broadway, and we all heard "I Got A Man" a million times. After that, I didn't know what had happened to him, that is until there was a Pos K sighting which provided a eureka moment. Ever wonder what DJ Polo was doing for G Rap if Dr. Butcher and Marley always did the cuts? Well, Pos K was seen with DJ Polo in a particularly notorious part of Queens where you can pay to play if you know what I mean. Then "Night Shift" made sense to me. Positive K didn't need to rap- it was just a hobby!

Gettin' Paid
Step Up Front
A Good Combination
I'm Not Having It
Night Shift
KCR Freestyle, 3.26.92
Grand Puba, Positive and L.G.

Lookin' For Me?

What up, what up what up? I know...I'm lame. I've been either out of town, sick, or my computers have been giving me grief. In fact, my head feels like it's about to fall off as I write this. It's been too long since I posted, but I'm thinking that the delay has had as much to do with my feelings about hip-hop, even though I blame it on circumstance. Doing this blog has been an interesting walk down memory lane, and has made me look back quite a bit. The real is that after 1995, when it was clear that the radio show that Bobbito and I did had turned into something meaningful to a lot of people, everything began to feel very routine, and hip-hop music started to become a case of diminishing returns for me. I have to admit that by 1997 I was kinda dreading it all, but didn't want to stop doing the radio because I still knew that at the end of the day, I was playing the best of what was out there, hopeful that things might change. There were some glimpses of excitement- but overall, my feeling never changed as much as I tried to make the best of the situation. When I finally left the radio (Hot 97, I had already stopped doing KCR) I was relieved, even though I wasn't given an opportunity to say goodbye, which was kind of insulting, considering the fact that most of the staple artists affiliated with the station got their start through my radio show on KCR. What was almost equally disappointing was seeing how little support I was given by these artists- not just while I was on the air, but when my show was taken off the air. It wasn't a big deal, because I was excited about turning a new page, but it just bugged me out how it happened with so little fanfare. Of course, it's entirely possible that by 2,000, what I was doing just paled in comparison to earlier times, and I wouldn't argue with that. So here I am, almost eight years later, waving the hip-hop nostalgia flag. I have mixed feeling about it. I'm as passionate about music as I ever have been, but my tastes are much more eclectic than many of you would expect. Still, when I listen to these old shows, I am reminded that hip-hop in New York from the 80's to the early 90's was simply the best shit ever.


Technical Difficulties

I'm in the process of switching konstant kontact over to konstantkontact.com but I'm obviously having some issues. Please bare with me.



90's Flashback with Funkmaster Flex

This is where Flex is at his best- playing joints from the 90's. He gets excited. Flex was a big supporter of what Bobbito and I were doing on Thursday nights in the early 90's. I think he gives us our propers somewhere in here, but that's beside the point. I remember thinking how downhill hip-hop had gone by '96. But how good does it sound compared to the graveyard of drivel it is now? Totally dude!

Oh, and what's up with the whitest dude ever doing all the voice over work for crossover urban stations? What is that about? This isn't moviefone, it's a hip-hop station!

Funkmaster Flex 90's Dedication, 07.04.07 Part 1
Funkmaster Flex 90's Dedication, 07.04.07 Part 2
Funkmaster Flex 90's Dedication, 07.04.07 Part 3
Funkmaster Flex 90's Dedication, 07.04.07 Part 4

Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito, 5 Year Anniverary on KCR

There was no party, no cake or candles, no all-star line-up of thankful artists (an oxymoron) or anything extra super-celebratory to usher in the 5th birthday of the radio show that Bobbito and I gave birth to (pause!) in the winter of 1990. True to the understated nature of KCR, it was a family affair- Stretch, Kool Bob Love, Detective Reef, Lord Sear and friends/guests MF Grimm and Kool G Rap. The static is thick on this recording, but deal with it. We had a great time that night. It felt good to have 5 years under our belts and to be on the radio with one of the greatest of all time and one of our idols. (Bob and I could agree on some things!)

Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito 5 Year Anniversary, KCR, 09.28.95 Part 1
Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito 5 Year Anniversary, KCR, 09.28.95 Part 2
Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito 5 Year Anniversary, KCR, 09.28.95 Part 3


From '93 'Til Infinty

What's sup kiddies? I had to dip out of town again, and the files that I wanted to post are too big to take with me and even attempt to post from a hotel room. Served up for your listening pleasure are parts 1 and 2 of a slamingo KCR episode from June 6th, 1993, a little more than 14 years ago. By this point in time, Black Moon had already come out as a new group to take seriously. I regret not having shown up to the video shoot for "Who Got The Props?", especially since they bigged up me (and Bob) at the end of the record. That bugged me out, for real- to hear my name on wax! (You laptop serato youngsters don't know how easy you have it.) Anyway, it would be cool to go to youtube on my new iphone and watch "Who Got The Props" with my cameo...but it just ain't so. So...on this show Black Moon was scheduled to come up, and they were bringing Smiff-M-Wessun who we hadn't known yet. But they left an indelible mark on my ears after ripping shit lovely that night. This had me amped. You'll also enjoy it when I threw on LL Cool J "Back Seat of My Jeep," probably to annoy Bobbito. There's another live appearance by a group named N-Tense of which I have no recollection. On Part 2, you hear a funny musical episode that was recorded in my bedroom on a hot summer day, featuring muddy, echoed-out vocals by Reef, Ghetto Communicator, Bonz Malone and Cage. 4, 5, 6 and Justice League was in effect, and the sound of the bong is real. And so is the static.

This was early enough in our radio "career" to actually worry about profanity. Haha- that's funny.

WKCR 89.9 FM, 06.10.93 Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Part 1
WKCR 89.9 FM, 06.10.93 Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Part 2


Thank You God (aka Bizmarkie & Redman Freestyle)

I was wondering how the hell I'd ever find this recording. I know some people that have it, but everybody has an excuse- "it's at my mom's house", "it's in the basement", "my landlord is holding it in lieu of rent"... So I was on my new laptop, importing itunes from another computer, and BAM! there it was. I have no clue how it got there, because I've never seen it as a file...but I'll take it. And to share my good fortune, I've decided to post it.

This recording of a rap show Springfirld, Queens was major for us when we started doing KCR. Biz was already an icon, and being from L.I., is probably the reason Redman got on stage. We'd play this cassette on the air frequently, despite the awful sound quality, and it was regularly requested. It's the first time most people heard Redman, and you could imagine the buzz it created for the young Reggie Noble. Red has often sited us playing this as his break- the reason he got on. That may or may not be true, but it definitely created a huge interest in him among the listeners. Biz is entertaining as usual, but because this is only audio, you don't get the full Biz experience. Redman, on the other hand, just destroys it.

Bizmarkie and Redman, Freestyle (circa 1990)

By the way, Redman and Tame are cousins, and at the end of the first verse of "Rated R", the b-side to Redman's first single, Redman says "What's the flavor Tame? (Fuck what you heard, this rated R)" at which point Tame starts popping shit. His vocal is low in the mix, but if you listen for it, it's easy to hear. Tame continues his amped rant at the end of the second verse. Peep it.

Redman, "Rated R" feat. Tame


I'm Back!

My humblest apology for being gone for so long. I was in Europe way longer than planned, the victim of a kidnapping. You'll have to use your imagination. But in the spirit of moving forward, I hereby admit, after all these years, that there is a serious resemblance between Humpty Hump and myself.

Much music to follow shortly.


Big Daddy Kane's Birthday, Brooklyn, Circa 1990.

I can't recall how this recording first got in our hands (maybe from Ill?) but this got significant burn on KCR. It's also what put Big Ill The Mack on the map as someone to look out for, not just for sounding next level, but for his not-so-thinly-veiled disses aimed directly at the man of the hour, Big Daddy Kane. You hear him slam the mic on the floor when he is done, and what had been a crowd making noise turned into a group of people dumbfounded with dropped jaws. Can you say awkward?

Before Ill wraps it up last, you get Special Ed, Bizmarkie, Smooth B, Masta Ace, Just-Ice, Lakim Shabbazz, Positive K, Scoob, Scrap, Markey Fresh, Fruikwan, Kane, Jay-Z and Jaz. Al Skratch was apparently not around. Perhaps he was with his "homies"...zzzz.

Kane's Birthday Freestyle with Special Ed, Bizmarkie, Smooth B, Masta Ace, Just-Ice, Lakim Shabbazz, Positive K, Scoob Lover, Scrap Lover, Markey Fresh, Fruikwan, Kane, Jay-Z, Jaz, and Big Ill

Men At Work

Ahhhh...whether it's 1987 or 2007, listening to a Marley Marl radio show remains one of life's simple pleasures. Here's a radio rip of "For Your Own Concern" by Big Daddy Kane, where he drops rhymes that make it on his first album. This is vintage '87 Marley Marl, using the same drum kit as "My Melody."

And from 1990, here is Kool G Rap's monster "Men At Work", given a simple but funky Marley Marl remix. It doesn't come close to the original album version, but it's still worthwhile.

Big Daddy Kane "For Your Own Concern"
Kool G Rap "Men At Work" (Marley Marl Remix)


Quincy Jones on KCR, 06.06.96

My man Diplo just hipped me to a video of Herbie Hancock in the studio showing Quincy Jones how he uses the Fairlight synthesizer and other super early sequencers and synths. I immediately went looking for the KCR show when Quincy was a guest in '96. He came up with the old homies from the Steve Rifkind Company (Steve, Jon, Modjoe...) and apparently they had been hitting some clubs, cause Q was lit, and honestly, seemed to have no clue why he was at a college radio station at 3 in the a.m. with a rag tag crew of deliquents. We opened the phone lines, some funny moments ensued, as did a few that were slightly awkward. But Quincy was a sport and stuck around for the long haul. I saw him a few weeks later at Spy Bar, went up to him and shook his hand and reminded him how we had met, while he looked at me like I was an alien. Enjoy.

Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito, WKCR 06.06.96 with guest Quincy Jones


Girls Of The World...

These songs would have made a nice mixtape; maybe they still would. Perhaps more timeless than the once required hip-house track or the dj's token scratch cut at the end of an album, the ode to a particular member of the female* sex was a lovely tradition enjoyed by adolescent boys and misogynistic men alike. Hell, even the ladies got in on it. One or two are love raps, but overall, this is where the ladies got ripped. I wonder how many of these were based on real women...that would be cold. I've rounded up most of the ones I could remember, and left out a few that just don't cut it.

Cold Crush Brothers "Yvette"
UTFO "Roxanne Roxanne"
Gucci Crew "Sally That Girl"
The Glamour Girls "Oh, Veronica"
Bad Boys "Veronica" (Beatbox Version)
Bad Boys feat. K-Love "Veronica"
MC Serch "Melissa"
T La Rock "Tudy Fruity Judy"
LL Cool J "Dear Yvette"
Stetsasonic "Faye"
Emanon "Susie"
Emanon "Susie" (Live)
Whistle "Barbara's Bedroom"
Just-Ice "Latoya"
MC Shan "Jane Stop This Crazy Thing"
The Jaz "Hawaiin Sophie"
Black, Rock and Ron "3 Brothers and Yvonne"
De La Soul "Jenifa Taught Me"
Stetsasonic "Speaking of A Girl Named Susy"
Slick Rick "Mona Lisa"
LL Cool J "Kanday"
Rakim "Mahogany"
LL Cool J "Fast Peg"
Stetsasonic "Sally"
A Tribe Called Quest "Bonita Applebum"
The Jungle Brothers "Belly Dancin' Dina"
Bizmarkie "A Thing Named Kim"
Bizmarkie "She's Not Just Another Woman (Monique)"
K-Solo "Renee"
Poor Righteous Teachers "Shakiyla" (LP version)
Poor Righteous Teachers "Shakiyla (JRH)"
Anntex "Understand Me Vanessa"
Nu-Sounds "Miss Jones"
Kurious "Nikole"
Diamond and The Psychotic Neurotics "Sally Got A One Track Mind"
Slick Rick "Venus"
Common "Heidi How"
Young Black Teenagers "To My Donna"
Too Short "Blow Job Betty"

*with EPMD being the exception:

EPMD "Jane"
EPMD "Jane 2"
EPMD "Jane 3"
EPMD "Who Killed Jane"
EPMD "Jane 5"
EPMD "Jane 6"

Thanks to Eli, Riz, Mike Bizzle and King Emz for helping out. They all love women very much. As do I.

Hurrica Gloria...Milky

This heat rock, like Gloria, is straight milk. Produced some time in '91 by E Double with verses by Gloria, Mr. Sermon and Reggie Noble aka Funk Doc, "Milky" was a bonafide KCR exclusive. There was never a master or even an acetate or DAT...strictly cassette, so what you hear here is pretty much as good as it ever sounded. What is totally bugged out about this post is that just a few days ago after I started lookng for a show that had "Milky" on it, Hurrican G herself hit me up on myspace for the 1st time ever, looking for a copy of it. That's like whoa...but milky. This is some funky shit, and why it didn't launch Gloria's career back then, I don't know. Maybe it was some baby-mama drama with Erick Sermon, but I can't call it.

Hurrican G feat. Erick Sermon and Redman, "Milky"


Played Like A Piano

So thinking of posse cuts, I was having a debate with myself as to whether "Piano" by Grandmaster Melle Mel and The Furious Five counted. I know- that IS a posse, but really, they are a rap group, right? So maybe it doesn't count. Still, this is rarely heard, and hard to find on vinyl. I only heard it on the radio once; Cold Crushin' Charlie Chase played it on WBLS in '91. I forget when his show was exactly, but I think it was briefly happening on Friday afternoons. There are some great punchlines dropped here (when I hear this song, I immediately turn 17 years younger and start acting out the parts) and Kid Capri provides the cuts lovely.

And while we are on the subject of getting played like a piano, let's not overlook King T's "Played Like A Piano" featuring Ice Cube and LA Breeze, over the Grover Washington, Jr. sample, one of the first records I ever got for free in the mail. You do NOT get records like this via UPS anymore, do you? Shit, I don't even answer the door when they ring.

Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five, "Piano"
King T feat. Ice Cube and LA Breeze, "Played Like A Piano"

DJ Ev & Stretch Armstrong, Back To Back

This mix TAPE that my man DJ Ev and I put together in '96 was a little ahead of its time. Why? Well let's see- great tunes that hadn't been released, exlusive verses from some heavies, no filler, great cuts, and a really crafty mix with all the right sprinkles and touches. It was pre-Pro-Tools (I think I was using Session 8 at the time to do my radio edits for Hot), and we made it on an ADAT with a sampler, doing punch-ins. On the real, Ev has always been one of the most gifted djs on the cut. Though it says that there is an Ev side and a Stretch side, that isn't really how it went down. We basically ran around town for a few days, collected the DATS, recorded some people and then spent a day and night in my home studio til it was done. I was never into making mix tapes or later, cds, and when I did, it was because someone like Ev was persistent enough to convince me. Later, I did some cds with Whoo Kid, but I saw where that was going pretty quickly. I just had no interest in being affiliated with music that I didn't like, and Whoo Kid, who wasn't even a dj, was all about the names, not the music. The first Murder Mixtape we did was ill, but the third was suspect. Anyway, back to DJ Ev- the first time I met Ev was at a party in Manhattan, and he was cutting up doubles bonkers with a lit cigarette in one hand. Talk about nonchalant. I think Ev remains less known than some other djs because people in the business always saw him as a serious threat. I mean, really- you ever notice how some of the nicest djs get overlooked and some real cornballs get serious shine? You know the drill.

DJ Ev & Stretch Armstrong "Back To Back" Side A
DJ Ev & Stretch Armstrong "Back To Back" Side B


Hey We Want Some Posse!

The Symphony, Live at the Barbeque, Buddy Remix, The Headbanger, Scenario, Flavor In Ya Ear Remix, Protect Ya Neck...
But what about..?

Kool G. Rap feat. Large Professor, Freddie Foxxx and Anton, "Money In The Bank"

This record makes me wanna pick up cars with my bare hands and throw them.

Ice Cube, MC Ren, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre, "The Grand Finale"

This record speaks for itself, except when Ice Cube says "cholestriol" instead of "cholesterol."

The Flavor Unit feat. Queen Latifah, 45 King, Apache, Double J and Lakim Shabazz "The Flavor Unit Assassination Squad"

Bobbito and I got hip to this record via the homie Tim Westwood in London who used to have what may have been the most progressive hip-hop show on earth in the late 80's. Because he was free to operate outside of the beef that had split NYC rap radio in the late 80's but also was very close to both Red and Marley (though closer to Marley who eventually would broadcast a version of In Control on his show in the UK), Tim would bless the airwaves with crazy exclusives and remixes, AND, influenced by his roots in 80's Jamaican and UK dancehall, was the first, and perhaps only, hip-hop personality to get all the hot emcees to re-record their hits with his name in them, sound-clash style. Many in the UK complained that Tim didn't support home-grown talent, but we sure didn't care, 'cause we'd frequently hear shit from his tapes first, sometimes to never be heard anywhere else. I'd have to confirm it with Aaron Fuchs, but I believe Tuff City only released this record after we played it on KCR from a cassette from Westwood's show. This record was HUGE for us in '90-'91.

LL Cool J feat. Bomb, Big Money Grip and Hi-C, "Farmer's Blvd"

I don't want to get Eli mad, so I gotta rep LL. But seriously, this posse cut takes me back to a time when a record could be fresh even if the emcees were suspect. Of course it helps to have the wrecker Marley Marl on the beats and DJ Clash on the SSL.

And How Could I Forget???!!! (Thanks Maniphest)

Nice-N-Smooth feat. Guru, Preacher Earl, Asu, Melo T and Bas Blasta, "Down The Line"

This joint was a favorite of mine when it came out. Bas, though never really making anything too incredible on his own, killed this record, and his performance may have been what got him his deal on RCA. My man Vic Padilla was lacing him with beats for his major label debut, and while the music was in there, I just didn't see Bas really doing it. Steve Stoute, who was running the show up there at the time, bet me that Bas would outsell Biggie. Three years later, at The Palladium, I collected my $150.

There are, of course, other posse cuts, perhaps more obscure, but these are the ones that stand out for me. And when I get my records out of the boxes they've been in for the last three years, I'll be able t do a lot more.


It's A Demo, It's A Demo, It's A Demo, It's A Demo.......

I have the Soulz of Mischief demo cassette, which I will attempt to digitize this week. But the show must go on... Here are three demos that are either better or as good as the records they were turned into. Maybe it's just a case of loving something and then being disappointed when hearing it changed, even if the sonic quality has been improved. Say what you want about the OG "It Ain't Hard To Tell" (I think this version is superior, and a hello to Zartek!) or "Wrong Side of the Tracks" (classic James Brown loop, Quincy Jones synth, and Lord Jamar on the hook? Ask me, this is just iller than the official release); but "Audience Pleasers" by Simply II Positive (Pharoah Monch and Prince Poetry, soon to become Organized Confusion) is not only waaaaaay better than the version that came out on the LP (sample issues)-- it's easily one of my favorite rap joints from 1990, hands down.

Nasty Nas, "It Ain't Hard To Tell" (cassette demo)
Artifacts, "Wrong Side Of The Tracks" (cassette demo feat. Lord Jamar)
Simply II Positive, "Audience Pleasers" (cassette demo)

Tame One: One of The Best, Ever

Let me keep it simple. Tame One is one of the best emcees ever. His flow and timing are perfect; his sense of humor and swagger, classic. Here are five radio segments from his first appearance in 1991 on WKCR's Stretch Armstong & Bobbito Show (dates to come...sorry) with his then-partner El from their group The Artifacts, which I felt didn't really represent fully what Tame was capable of. But when Tame and El came up to the show as That's Them (their pre-Artifacts name), they fucked everyone's heads up. But let's be clear: Tame was the main ingredient, and always stood out as a serious up-and-comer (pause). The lyrics from these freestyles are as embedded in my memory as any RUN-DMC or Rakim lyric. Straight up.

Tame One, 1st Appearance on KCR, Part 1
Tame One, 1st Appearance on KCR, Part 2
Tame One, 1st Appearance on KCR, Part 3
Tame One, 1st Appearance on KCR, Part 4
Tame One, 1st Appearance on KCR, Part 5

NERVOUS!!! Chuck Chillout, 98.7 Kiss, 08.29.86

Next up on the Slept On Hall of Fame is DJ Chuck Chillout. In terms of commercial rap radio in the 90's, heads tend to talk about the propmaster Red Alert and the grand incredible Marley Marl. But Chuck was holding shit down every weekend, and in addition to playing heat, came out with unforgettable slang on par with Red. His trademark was "nervous", which he used to describe the competition up the dile, wack records, ladies with bad breath, or anything less than fresh. And don't forget- Funk Flex was his protegee, Bronxwood Productions his vehicle, The Dismasters his group, and Kool Chip his MC. Though I did catch him playing MC Hammer "Turn This Mutha Out" (nervous!!!!); but in the grand scheme of things, that's irrelevant. Here's to you Chuck Chillout...and let's not forget to tell the new jacks to stop using your name. Enjoy the show.

Chuck Chillout, Kiss FM, 08.29.86


This Is How It Should Be Done: DJ Clark Kent, In Control WBLS

The first dj I ever met (and when I say dj, I mean ANYONE who ever played two records through a mixer) was Clark Kent, who, for me, will go down as dj idol, mentor and real friend. I'll drop some Clark Kent anecdotes in a later post, but in the meantime, I just had to drop this show for you super listeners. The tape that this file comes from used to sound a whole lot better, but it got played to death. This is 1989 and Clark sounds divine on the cut. And it wouldn't be a Clark Kent tape without Wrecks-N-Effect in the mix (I still wonder what that was about...) In the late 80's and heading into the early 90's, it was abundantly clear to me that THE dj that really mattered was Clark, the only other dj to bring it on that level being Kid Capri. To this day, no night has ever come close to what would go down at Mars on Tuesday nights at a party called Trip, where Clark would guest dj frequently and would have a packed second floor in the meat-packing dirstrict comkpletely and utterly mesmerized. I'll get into that later. For the record, if you are not Clark Kent from Brooklyn, who used to dj for Dana Dane, and later Biggie and Jay-Z, 1. you can't use the name Clark Kent and 2. you must stop using the word "Super" in from of your name... Oh, look how bored Clark looks playing with CD-Js in this picture. Haa!

WBLS, In Control with Super DJ Clark Kent

Looney X vs. Bugged X

I just got back from Winter Music Conference, where I had no access to the files. I wanted to put together a post on demos that were better than the records they turned into. What stands out in my memory are: Souls of Mischief and Simply II Positive, who, upon siging their deal with Hollywood Basic, dropped the old-school name and went with Organized Konfusion. Unfortunately, the SOM demo isn't where it's supposed to be, so give me a minute to find it. That demo and STP's are, to me, bonafide hip-hop classics, with songs that never made the album and re-recorded versions that were re-worked to avoid sample issues. If I can track down Nasty Nas's demo, which disappeared ages ago, or Biggie Smalls's (ditto), you'll have a piece of that soon.

In digging through the files, I did come across around twenty five MF Doom demos which he recorded at my house while resting there for a week or two in the mid to late 90's. Only one of these tracks, "The Elite Scooby Doo Shit" ever saw the light of day, and got a little burn on KCR, years before MF became one of the only real remaining dudes left in hip-hop. Listening to MF (formerly Zev Love X) made me think of my man Rhythm X, also known, amongst other names, as Kool Keith. So additonally, enjoy this Rhythm X promo from Chuck Chillout on KISS-FM, NYC circa 1987.

MF Doom "The Elite Scooby Doo Shit"
Kool Keith "Rhthm X Promo", Chuck Chillout, 1987


Reunited (Stretch & Kool Bob Love on the radio, briefly)

Here it is, fresh off Eclipse's 9 Year Anniversary on WNYU. Come to think of it, what's so particularly special about the 9 year mark? Isn't 10 the real jump-off?

Anyway, this was a lot of fun. It was a bit strange, feeling like I had stepped into the past a good 10 years or so, but bugging with Bob, and Serch, is something that doesn't happen every day.

Congrats E! I hope I behaved, and will be invited to the 18 Year Anniversary.


DJ Eclipse's WNYU 9 Year Anniversary Intro


Thanks SERCH!!!

So I was just on the radio in New York City again for DJ Eclipse's 9 Year Anniversary show on WNYU. In addition to Kool Bob Love showing up, to my surprise, my man MC Serch did as well. I have to get on a plane in a few minutes, so I'll keep ths brief for now, but let me just say that with these two chaps, it felt like it was 1990- the timing, the jokes, the fun. Safe to say, we could have taken up the whole show just talking smack, but there were beats and rhymes to be had kids!!! So we dipped, though I think Serch did spark the mic a bit. Thankfully, Bobbito did not. Incidentally, Serch was our guest on our second show ever on November 8, 1990! Additionally, Two Kings In A Cipher, fresh out of Howard University, showed up (do I have to explain?- just google it) and a live rhyme session ensued over old school break beats provided by yours truly (I wasn't even Stretch yet, haha!...DJ Adrian, Skinny Bonz, what's it gonna be???!!...whoa). Some very entertaining lines were spit and the energy was trumungous. The next day, as I sat at Def Jam, I played the tape over and over, just loud enough for anyone walking by to hear so I could explain that yes, finally, we were on the air. This tape will be posted...hmmm, just looked through the files...I take that back. I will have to find it, but I know it's here somewhere. In the meantime, get down with this- Serch a la 1986 doing his best Slick Rick/Dana Dane impression (but the flow is already impeccable). Shout to pioneer Tony D.

MC Serch "Melissa"

Aha! I found the freestyle (not the entire show unfortunately). I warned you about Bob's engineering prowess. This tape is mad distorted, the levels are bonkers, but it still sounds milk.

Two Kings In A Cipher & MC Serch on KCR, 1990