Monday, 4 August 2008
Random Rap (Part 1)
For regular users of online auction sites, both buyers and sellers, the tag 'Random Rap' has become, over the last few years, a very familiar phrase. For sellers, it can be used as attractive bait for deep pocketed internet diggers (!) who usually have no idea what they are buying. Add the name 'Paul C' to the equation and you're laughing. Some crazy prices have been reached for very average records simply because of this 'Random Rap' buying craze, a good recent example being the Keefy Keef 12" 'Three's Company' B/W 'Cause I'm Keefy Keef'. Now, when you actually break this record down there's nothing that 'random' about it at all. Keefy Keef is in fact Keith Murray and this just happens to be his first release before he changed his name. It's produced by Kurt Cazal who's a well established artist in his own right, producing many underground joints over the years and a former member of legendary Long Island group J.V.C. Force. The only thing that can be considered slightly random is the label, which was probably just a self funded type of set up, as are many similar underground releases. The actual music is O.K. but nothing that warrants the $1551.00 it fetched. In my opinion the Mr Melody record I posted up a couple of weeks ago is far better, is random in every sense of the word, and only cost me 49p from the very same auction site. If it had been labelled with the sub-title 'Random Rap', had previously appeared on a mix by DJ Ivory and was listed by a reputed seller like Tony D I'm sure it would have reached at least double figures. Don't get me wrong, I love the 'Hear No Evil' C.D.'s, and the like, but only wish I'd been buying as many new Hip Hop releases back in the late '80s as I was in the early to mid '90s. If I had been, I would probably own a lot of the records that are now commanding big figures today. Unfortunately I don't have a high powered job with wages to go and as of yet, have not won the lottery, so spending vast amounts of money on eBay is out of the question. And, due to demographics, the chances of turning up obscure Rap records from over 20 years ago in my home town is pretty slim to say the least! Occasionally though they do turn up, and sometimes in the most unlikely of places. Over the years I've pulled out an Old School Rap 12" from a box full of Classical albums, or found a nice Cold Chillin' release amongst some dead weight Easy Listening. Now that to me, really is random!
So, for this post I'm gonna flip the generally used definition and talk about my own idea of what random Rap is, as is in the sense, "how the hell did this particular record end up amongst a collection with no relation to it what so ever?". Why would a Spandau Ballet fan buy that one Ultramagnetic 12", or why did that Barry Manilow completest have a copy of 'Criminal Minded' at the back of their mid '70s fake snake-skin carry case?!!
I've pulled out ten of my favourites to get to started but will do a few more posts over the next couple of weeks. It just so happens that a lot of these records could be labelled 'Random Rap' anyway, but this post also doubles up as a little 'show-off' for some of by best bargain buys. Remember, I live in the South Coast of England, not the South Bronx, so finding records like these is not an every day occurrence!
The Younger Generation 'We Rap More Mellow' (1979 Brass Records U.S. 12")
Picked this up around 12 years ago at a village car boot-sale with Barry Styles and Super-T (aka The Sundragon), literally in the middle of nowhere. I was the last of us to go through a small box of Disco 12"s and pulled out this minty original U.S. pressing, still in shrink wrap with both the gold and blue stickers still intact, for £1. Don't know how the other two missed it, but I'm glad they did. Remember, this was before internet record selling had blown up so finding original Old School Rap records was like a dream. The randomness was not so much the collection it came from as finding it amongst a 30 something year old's Disco collection makes sense, it was more the boot-sale location that makes it a pretty amazing find.
Radiance (featuring DJ "R.C.") 'The Micstro' (1980 Ware Records U.S. 12")
Another Old School Rap 12", again pulled from a Disco collection at a countryside carboot-sale about 10 years ago. The guy I bought it from was obviously gay and as camp as you can get. I gave him the 50 pence and made off as quick as I could when he started trying to sell me the Hi-Energy Italian Disco records I had no interest in what so ever. Love this record even though the rapper babbles on about nothing in particular for just under ten minutes and with no real song structure (gotta love the early days of Rap on vinyl!). The A-Side 'This Is A Party' is a nice Boogie tune with a dope drum break on the intro and I think was re-issued a few years back.
Z-3 MC's 'Triple Threat' (1984 Beauty and The Beat U.S. 12")
Bought this off a bloke I've vaguely know most of my life. Amongst a box of pure junk he was selling at a boot sale was this classic, mid '80's heavy drum machine Rap 12" produced by Duke Bootie. I asked how much it was before being informed it was 'crap' and that I wouldn't like it. I assured him that I would like it and parted with the 50 pence asking price. Think he found it quite amusing that I was still into that old 'rapping stuff' and chuckled as I walked away with the record under my arm. Proof in the phrase 'one mans trash is another mans treasure'.
Seeborn and Puma 'They Call Me Puma' (1987 Select Records U.S. 12")
Finally picked up a copy of this about a year ago at my local booty from a house clearance bloke for 50p. Not one other Hip-Hop record amongst a box of your typical boot-sale crap - you know the sort of sh*t - Des O'Connor, Max Bygraves, Liberace, etc. How this ended up along side the old time crooners I'll never know, but who cares? I first heard this track on a DJ Yoda mixtape back in the late '90s and was amazed by the combination of Puma's aggressive delivery over a laid back and fairly comical beat. I'd love to hear Puma in full on battle mode as his presence on the mic is no less than ferocious. Not a particularly hard to find record online but it's always in demand and consistently sold for more than I could afford. 5o pence was perfect.
D. Moet and X-calibur 'Dance To Excalibur' (1988 EMF Records U.S. 12")
I've had a few copies of this over the years but the one I vividly remember buying was on a long days digging with Bobby Granite and Jubru. Turned up at an early morning boot-sale on a scorching summers day when the stalls were overflowing into the public parking area. Amongst a small bag of absolutely nothing I can remember was this late '80s gem. Three tracks in all, one of which you can forget about, but the other two, 'Dance To Excalibur' and 'Goodfoot' are everything you could want from Golden Era Hip-Hop. I play out 'Goodfoot' quite a bit but it's the hardcore A-side that I really prefer.
Izzy-Ice and DJ Majesty 'Funky Freestyle' (1988 Scottfree Records U.S. 12")
Of course, 'Funky Freestyle' is a fairly well know record now. Edan included it on his 'Sound Of The Funky Drummer' mix a few years back and after that the prices rocketed. I actually picked this up around 1995 from a charity shop in Epsom about a week after I'd bought the Jive issue of 'Soulman' (the A-side of this 12") from a Record shop literally right round the corner. True story. 'Funky Freestyle' only appears on this pre-Jive indie release and was another 50p job rescued from a box of the usual tripe. For those that don't know Izzy-Ice and DJ Majesty later went on to become 'Da King & I', one of my favourite early '90s Hip-Hop groups.
Unique 'Axe Maniac' (1989 New Day Records U.S. 12")
Another record that I've had a few copies of, all purchased for pence at car boot-sales. Luckily the last one I bought, about two years ago, is a completely flat copy. Apparently most of these 12"s were dished and therefore a bit of a nightmare to DJ with so it was nice to pick up 'usable' copy. Can't remember what else was in the box it came from, but I didn't buy anything so it's safe to say it was all sh*t. I actually prefer the A-Side 'Pure Dynamite' but I've uploaded the better known fast rap of 'Axe Maniac', an ode to Unique's DJ - Godfather D, who definitely gets brutal on the 1's and 2's.
Mink feat. 2wice The Trouble 'Hey! Hey! Can You Relate?' (1989 Fon U.K. 12")
One of the best finds at my local boot-sale turned up last summer - the original first pressing of this U.K. classic that was included on DJ Ivory's 'Hear No Evil Vol.2'. A few of my mates already had the Warp pressing from years back so I was familiar with the sleeve but I very nearly passed straight by this version. At first glance the artwork can easily be mistaken for some dodgy dance record and it was only after the seller told me it was three records for a pound that I went back through the pile and noticed it. Maybe this isn't such a random find amongst the rest of the dance 12"s he had, and the two other records I bought were D To The K's 'Hard But Live/Ease Up Your Mind' and MC Mello's 'Comin Correct/Bizzie Rhymin'. I had to include it in this post though, simply for the braggin' writes! I've uploaded the alternative version below which, for most part, omits the heavy 'Funky Nassau' drums but still hits hard.
MC's Logik 'Operate Logikally' (1989 Submission Records U.K. 12")
Another U.K. banger which I picked up literally a week or two after I first heard Aroe's 'Crown Jewels' CD. I already had quite a lot of the tracks on the mix but this was one I didn't know and definitely wanted to find. Turns out it's pretty easy to buy up online and a cheap one too. My copy however surfaced amongst a pile of crap at a dump (or 'Household Waste and Recycling Centre' as they are now known) not too far from home. Nice to have it as a Test Pressing too. Four tracks in all on the E.P. but I've uploaded the stand out cut which Aroe used.
Kaos and Mystro 'Timeless Insight Of Kaos (Re-Mix)' (1990 World One U.S. 12")
The last record amongst this first post, I picked up fairly recently. And this is definitely 'random' in the traditional sense of the Rap related term as well as where I got it from. Now I've found myself in some pretty strange places during my vinyl hunting missions, but none really compare to a warehouse in a Wildlife Rescue Centre. Not only that, but a Wildlife Rescue Centre located deep in hillbilly territory! A friend of a friend had taken an injured bird in and whilst waiting about noticed 'thousands' of records and books in a warehouse, all for sale to help fund the up keeping of the centre. So after eventually finding the place I managed to talk my way into to going through around two thousand records. The people running the place seemed to find it strange that I'd come down just to go through the records and not brought an injured animal with me! Anyway, after that initial visit I've been back regularly and over the last couple of years picked up some very nice vinyl. This however, is the only Hip-Hop record that I've found and although it's not particularly rare or in demand, in my opinion is pretty dope. Two tracks (plus a Remix and Instrumental) of early '90s Detroit Rap with heavy J.B. samples, conscious lyrics and fast, tight cuts. If you don't know this, check the download. If you like what you hear then go buy it - there's nearly always copies listed on eBay, and usually for no more than a few dollars.