Sunday, 26 April 2009

Severe Carnage ( Part One with DJ Mack)


Up until a very recent review by Rhyme Traveller on the Diggers With Gratitude website, very little information has been available on the world wide web about a U.K. Hip Hop 12" which for a number of years has been commanding big bucks when copies have appeared for sale on the internet or traded hands privately. 'The Struggle Continues' by South Coast crew Severe Carnage has consistently sold from anywhere between £50-£100 and holds a certain mystique when talked about amongst collectors. Now, I've been meaning to post this up for quite a while now but due to various computer problems I've not been able to do so. All my 'lost' files have now been retrieved so hopefully this write up will add on a little from where Rhyme Traveller first touched down...

The name Severe Carnage is probably not familiar with too many Hip Hop collectors, and maybe even a fairly new one to some of the most hardcore U.K. fanatics out there. The crew were originally based about 6 miles down the road from my home town in the sunny seaside location of Bognor Regis. Being a local lad I was fortunate enough to have known about them from years back and picked up a copy of their only 12" when it first got released. A Hip-Hop group from these parts actually having a record out was a pretty big deal so I made sure I bought it fresh off the press. At the time I was heavily into the fast hardcore U.K. sound so it definitely did not disappoint - in fact my original copy got played so much that it was pretty trashed by the time I found another one some years later at my local carboot sale. Anyway, enough about my personal relationship with the record, lets get down to some proper background information...

So, as stated, the crew were based in Bognor Regis and formed in the late '80s with the core members consisting of rappers Tiny Cee, MC Pryme and A.K.A. with producer/DJs Scape One and Mack One. The line up changed sporadically over the years with other members including DJ Trooper One,
DJ Shelly Mack and Millzee. Although 'The Struggle Continues' is the only release that made it on to vinyl a follow up E.P. entitled 'The Hunt' was recorded, mastered and sent to be pressed. Unfortunately the same week the masters were sent out, the pressing plant went bust and disappeared without trace, taking one of only two DAT copies with it. The other copy, according to Scape One and Mex (who both produced tracks on the E.P.), is most likely with a Studio Engineer named Simon Locke (I've tried tracking this guy down but with no luck. Apparently at the time, in the early '90s, he owned every record in the Sugarhill & Enjoy catalogues, collected percussion instruments from around the world, and had an amazing collection of original press photos for all the classic Funk groups - Kool & The Gang, The J.B.'s, The Meters, etc...He also used to produce a Funk/Breaks fanzine called 'Concrete Funk'. If anybody out there knows who I'm talking about and has contact details please get in touch).

Over the years I've become friends with various members of the group, mainly DJ Mack One who now DJ's and produces under the name
Beathoven and runs the highly acclaimed Puma Strut record label (responsible for dope releases from Phil Most The Soulman (Phil Most Chill), Presto, DJ Format, Bobby Boucher, and of course himself. I mentioned a while back that I wanted to write about the Severe Carnage record as there was very little info about it or the crew on the internet. Mack did some digging through old tapes, pulled out some flyers and chatted about the recording of 'The Struggle Continues', as well as his personal history within the South Coast Hip-Hop scene...


I was a little nutty mod boy around '83/'84 when I moved to Bognor from Kent - I'm originally from London. I don't remember being aware of Hip-Hop at that time although I do remember liking 'Rapture' by Blondie which was released in 1981. I had it on a compilation tape but had no idea or conception of what Hip-Hop was. 'Top Of The Pops' was pretty much the only TV programme showing music videos and probably only one, maybe two a week. So I hadn't seen anything - I was into The Specials, Selector, etc, and just getting into groups like The Who, The Yardbirds, The Kinks and James Brown - James Brown was mentioned in a book that I'd bought called 'Mods' and I remember buying an album of his and not liking it much! I think I needed the connection with Hip-Hop to get his music.

The first time I was ever aware of 'rap' was on a school trip to France. I heard this music coming from the back of the coach and my mind just flipped, it was like a switch going off in my brain. I had never heard anything like it - Deborah Harry rapping did not have the same effect on me! I went to the back of the coach where all the big, cool, hard guys from the year above were sitting, and started bugging them about what the music was. They were like, "f*ck off you little sh*t", but this didn't faze me, I kept hassling them the whole trip paying little attention to anything else. The kid with the tape ended up giving it to me just to shut me up and get rid of me. It was a dubbed copy of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five's 'Greatest Messages' so it must have been 1984. I didn't know anything about this music, I didn't know if it was made by black or white people, where it came from, nothing, I just knew I loved it. I also remember not knowing who Grandmaster Flash was or what he was doing as most of the tracks on that L.P. were replayed by studio musicians and the Furious Five were just doing what they would have done live, shouting out Flash's name. But instead of his cuts being live, horn stabs came in. I was really confused by this new music which I think added to the attraction of it. I wanted to find out more, a lot more.

When I got back to Bognor I wore the tape out and started to realise that whilst I had been into the Two Tone scene there had been another movement emerging which was the whole Hip-Hop / Casual thing. I noticed these kids who were a little bit older than me wearing tracksuit tops, trainers instead of D.M.'s or loafers, and Farah trousers and Lee cords instead of Stay Press. I started seeing more stuff on the T.V. - London All Star Breakers on Blue Peter stands out. I also saw some B-Boying at school and it all started to click into place. The music, breaking, graffiti...I was immediately hooked. No more Stay Press or Doc Martins for me! From then on it was strictly Adidas, Fila, LaCoste, Sergio Tachini, B-Boyin', Electro, Beat Street, Wild Style, Style Wars, etc. My world had changed completely and all this stuff was fresh, exciting and cool. Even though you could see bits and pieces on the telly the actual music was harder to hear and find. The Street Sounds Electro series was a lifeline for kids fiending for the latest beats, especially if you didn't live in the big cities.


The first time I realised there was a real local scene going on was when I took a visit to Bognor Boys Club where they had a back room with turntables set up and some lino laid out on the floor. I had been practicing breaking at home and in lunch breaks at school so when I saw the lino and heard the beats it was on! I was rocking all my fresh new moves and instantly got respect as I burnt a couple of the local Bognor boys - I was a Felpham lad see. This was the first time I ever saw live scratching and import 12"s as opposed to copied tapes and the Electro series. It was K.B. Scape (Scape One - Kurt Baggaley) and Pride (John Ide) on the turntables. I remember they were cutting up doubles of the Ultimate Breaks & Beats records and scratching the "aaaaaahhh, this stuff is really fresh" off of an original copy of Fab Five Freddy's "Change The Beat". I went to Our Price and ordered a copy the next day, which I still have. I would definitely give credit to those two guys for being very influential on the Bognor B-Boy scene. They were a couple of years older than me but I was now down with the local lads - B-Boying was my main thing at that time though. During this period I also met Krafty Kuts who I was later in a breaking crew with called 'The Infinite Force', along with Scape One and Pride. The one event that changed my emphasis from b-boying to DJing was going to both shows at UK Fresh '86...

Seeing DJ Cheese, Hitman Howie Tee, Hashim, DJ Yella, Grand Dragon K.D, Jazzy Jay, and Grandmaster Flash live on one big stage DJing for their respective groups/MCs blew my mind (Hip-Hop has done this several times to me over the years). It was definitely DJ Cheese who influenced me the most though. So I went out and bought a sh*tty belt drive turntable and a mixer with a tape deck and started cutting between one record deck and a pause button tape deck on my bedroom floor. I got water on the knee from doing this and my knee is still f*cked to this day because of it! I progressed to two turntables - still on the floor - and began to get a little rep. I started digging for breaks and bought a 4 Track porta-studio, which at the time was expensive and hard to get hold of. So I started making beats - looping stuff up on two channels, bouncing tracks and adding cuts, etc. I made tapes and they started getting about a bit, mix tapes and that. I was going to jams in Bognor, Worthing, Portsmouth, Brighton, etc, and meeting all the local Hip-Hop heads. Everyone knew each other and there was a lot of battle related rivalry going on. So by around '89 I knew all the Carnage boys...Tiny Cee (Lee Chapman, he was the group leader), then there was MC Pryme (Orson Bramley, who was second in command), A.K.A (Adam Boucher), DJ Shelley Mack, DJ Trooper One, K.B. Scape (beat programmer) and Millzee (an affiliate MC). Shelley Mack was the original DJ and Kurt was the man for drum programming - he had an 808 way back in the day, the first one I ever saw. He would re-program popular beats and set it up live so you could rhyme or cut over them. I have a tape of him programming all the beats from the 'Licenced To Ill' album and it's exact! Not the samples as samplers were financially out of everyone's reach at the time - these were just the drum machine beats. He did have one of those Casio sampling drum machines which had 0.1 seconds of sampling time or something daft like that, but because it was so short I remember those beats sounding really choppy.

I was digging for breaks at this point - nothing rare by today's standards but my whole thing has always been that it doesn't have to be rare, just original - stuff that hasn't to my knowledge been used before. The Carnage boys had heard some of my beats and wanted to do a new demo. They passed on a tape Kurt had done with basic beats and vocals which was perfect for me to lay down my loops and cuts over the top. I did the new tracks in one week and remember the crew being really happy with my choice of samples and cuts - from then on I was their main DJ/Producer. The next thing I knew Lee got some cash off his old man to go to Joe's Garage Studio in London for a day to record a white label 12". I had moved to Horsham by then and arrangements were made to pick me up on the way. I had all the records I used for the demo ready to go plus a few more in case we got the chance to do another beat. So we got to the studio and everything was cool - I had never been in a studio or touched a proper sampler before but we were ready to go. This is when things got a bit tricky for me. "Which track do you want to hook up first?". Lee was like, "No, we're not doing any of the tracks off the demo, we want something new and as fast as possible". This was the first I'd heard of it! I had all the samples and cuts from the demo tracks planned out and ready so we didn't waste any studio time. Fast rap (now know as Britcore) was all the rage and luckily I had the Curtis Mayfield 'Move On Up' drum break with me which had not been used before and was 136bpm, so I thought "you want fast, I'll give you fast, boys". I'm talking to the engineer, a cool guy with mad long dreads, and he's like "we can hook this up no problem". "808 kicks?" - no problem. I wanted something mad so we hooked up the screams from the beginning of 'If There's Hell Below" off the same Curtis album - I know that was slack but I was under pressure to deliver. I also had a Kool & The Gang LP with me so I hooked up a little guitar lick and the boys were digging it - mainly because it was 136bpm I think! They had their raps planned out and they dropped them pretty quickly so I left the room to do the cuts. Now I had proper scratch sentences worked out for the original tracks but because of the changes the track was too fast so nothing I had planned would fit. I had the new Public Enemy album with me so I just cut up Flavor Flav saying "Hit Me" for the chorus. So it's all sounding good and it's time to do the shout outs - it's funny 'cause if you listen closely you'll hear Lee shouts out 'Regis Windows' which was his Dad's double glazing company who fronted the money!

So that was the A-Side finished and we had about half an hour left to do the other cut. I had the Ike Turner album 'Funky Mule' (UK version of 'Black Man's Soul'), which was packed with unused breaks so I hooked that beat up in about 5 minutes and the boys did their rhymes. I had just enough time to do one scratch over it so I cut up a snare on top - I wish I hadn't done it now as it sounds wack and I go well out of time in places.

And that was it - all done. The record was pressed but we had no distribution, that was all done ourselves. I had 50 copies to sell and printed up some labels - most went to friends and I supplied the shops in Brighton. I put my phone number on the sticker and had hardcore U.K. Hip-Hop fans calling my Mum's house asking for DJ Mack One from Severe Carnage - she didn't know what they were going on about! It's pretty mad that it goes for good money now - I only have two copies left. I wish I had more! I reckon there's probably a whole stash of them locked away in a garage or loft somewhere in Bognor Regis!



DJ Beathoven Discography

Severe Carnage "The Struggle Continues" (1990 W/L U.K. 12")
Wilstyle Bob Nimble "80 Something Below" ("Seaside Capers" 1997 True Perspectives U.K. 12" E.P.)
Wilstyle Bob Nimble "The G.L.U.E. E.P." (1998 Under 5's U.K. 12")
Wilstyle Bob Nimble "The Unbrainwashed Follower" (1998 Under 5's U.K. 12")
Indian Ropeman "Sunshine Of Your Love (Wildtyle Bob's Dope Surprise Mix)" (1999 Skint Records U.K. 12")
Rec Rangers "Toot Toot, Beep Beep (Wildstyle Bob's Magneeto Mix)" (1999 Skint Records U.K. 12" T/P)
DJ Beathoven "The Funky Devastate Pt.1" (2000 Puma Strut U.K. 7")
DJ Beathoven "Raw Chile" (2002 Puma Strut U.K. 7")
Blake 9 & Pasha Da Emcee "Nah (Beathoven Remix)" (2003 Puma Strut U.K. CD track)
Presto & Lowd "Back In 92 (Beathoven Remix)" (2004 Kajmere Sound Recordings / Puma Strut U.S. 12")
Kidda feat. Psycho Les "V.I.P. (Beathoven Remix)" (2007 Kidda U.K. 12")
Parker ft. Rasco "Western Soul (Beathoven Remix)" (2008 Leisure Recordings U.K. 12")



You can catch Beathoven DJing at the next Positivity night on June the 5th at The Loft in Brighton alongside DJ Foly, DJ Southpaw and myself...

In next weeks post I'll be talking to Scape One (who is also still very musically active) about his roots in the South Coast Hip Hop scene as well as his involement with Severe Carnage...check back for more Severe Carnage demos and visual delights.


Severe Carnage "The Struggle Continues" (1990 W/L 12")





Severe Carnage "The Struggle Continues" (1989 Demo Version)




Severe Carnage / DJ Mack One "R U Ready" (1989 Demo)




Severe Carnage / DJ Mack One "Untitled" (1989 Demo)



28 comments:

Original said...

absolute quality Mr Krum - hardcore underground UK hip hop - thoroughly enjoyable read - looking fwd to part2!

MR KRUM said...

Cheers mate...I was hoping you'd appreciate it.

D

Adee said...

great post! I found the white label 12" in the basement of shepherds bush MVE years ago without knowing what it was. I was well chuffed when I first listened to it back home. Thanks for sharing the demos too!

DISORDA said...

Props, a wicked read. Big up Regis Windows!

Anonymous said...

Ha ha…!!!

Top post…!!!

One of my favourite records of all time. I well remember seeing Carnage live at the Zap Club in Brighton along with PHP aka Deliverance around 1990. I still listen to the live tape, as well as another studio track that samples Scum on the intro.

Big thanks for the demos original Struggle Continues brought a huge smile to my face!

Peace

"SOUTH COAST IS ROCKIN…"!!!

Waxer said...

Ylo Krum, that piece is one of the most interesting reads I've seen in recent years... such a niche record! I used to live in Petersfield, but all my family is from Pompey, so me and all the people I met in the late 80s on the South Coast were at the heart of the South Coasr scene, and I have a vague memory of going to a BMX mini ramp in Bognor and randomly met the Severe Carnage boys.

I don't have the 12 but I know the tune from tapes back then, it's a dope tune though and deserves all the kudos you gave it. I'd be interested in meeting up or exchanging ideas actually, I dunno if you know me but I run Disco Scratch, which is celebrating the UK Hip Hop experience, focusing on the early years, but also keeping current (with current tracks I am VERY SELECTIVE!!!)

I'd like to link to your site and let my subscibers know about your blog, great work! Anyway, I might be doing a jam in the late summer in Brighton for Disco Scratch and I'm looking for old UK acts to perform, so maybe you could let your connections know and I can make it happen? You can get me at waxer@discoscratch.co.uk peace!

Peter Tron said...

Classic stuff mate!

Thanks for taking the time out for this. [I think i've already posted, but never mind, it's all good...[.

Regards,

Baz.

Anonymous said...

Great Piece! It really brought back some memories. I was in my mid-teens in Chichester (a few miles from Bognor) when Severe Carnage were around. As Mack pointed out in the article there were some big rivalries at the time, notably with a crew from Chichester known as the Elite Posse which included MC Innovate, MC Inspire and Select One all which are mentioned on the Chi Boys Club flyer in the article. I believe MC A.K.A also used to be a member of Elite before joining Severe Carnage (I think that's why he introduces himself as "The Double Agent" in Back to Basics, the second track on the 12")

My own personal experience of Severe Carnage is having a run in with some their members at Barnham railway station. It's funny when I remember it now, but it was scary at the time. Anyway I lived to tell the tale :)

I managed to get hold of their record in Brighton. Must have been in the summer of 1991. The store was a pokey place in an upstairs room near The Lanes, can't remember the name. The only other place I saw it was a couple of years later in Camden. I never realised it was such rarity before reading this article. Glad I kept hold of it along with all my other Britcore 12"s. Hmmm...still looking out for The Bodysnatchers EP though!

Thanks again and keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Feature! i just want to let you all know two copies of the 12" on ebay!!! were be seeing ya soon, Sucker!!! peace

Anonymous said...

hi mack trooper one here thats put a smile on my face
hope you are well im still making beats

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is a message for macca, orson here aka Mc pryme...

can you get in touch please, im on facebook and myspace as transparent_sound...

i needs some cuts on my new solo album... or anybody else that reads this that has skillz....

Spyfire said...

Mr Krum
AKA here, good to see such a thorough little overview of the old days, can't believe you found that old flyer, I can still remember drawing that in my old bedroom.
All very accurate, I don't have any photos of the stuidio recording session itself, but I definitely have some photographs from when me, Cee and the others moved to Brighton and were then based out of there. I used to have a bag with loads of old tapes which I will try to dig up which had all of our demos in, from the stuff with macka, Mex, First Rate etc.
I used to be very good friends with Paul (Select One) and new Chris and Jamie (Inspire/Innovate) from school but was never in same group per se. Paul and I used to rap most weeks at Coach House or the Punch House, dependant on when Jim McGreal would let u get on the mics. I used to carry my mic around in my pocket most weekends just in case we'd get the chance to get up.
One of the things I would be really interested to see again is the S Project video, which was filmed and then sold after the old hip hop gigs at the Henty Arms in Ferring. That's where me and Whisk started rhyming, and where I saw most of the south coast b boys performing. PHP used to come from Brighton, Mex, Clever and Raise from Worthing, Carnage from Bognor, Me and Whisk from Chichester, and a bunch of DJs, Macka, Shelly, Butterfingers, Cut Laroc, Krafty Kuts, DJ Clever, Scape One, and a bunch of others. I think this was Martin (Krafty Kuts) parent's pub or something.
The producer of the video was from Worthing or Brighton, used to know Mex really well, but can't remember his name. I know they used to sell them from one of the record shops in Worthing around that time.
Big shout to all those MCs/DJs from those old days, and good job writing this stuff up Mr Krum.
Adam (MC AlsoKnownAs)

MR KRUM said...

Adam...how's it going?

Glad you're happy with the article. I tried phoning you to talk to you before writing it all. Rich Scott gave me your number and I left a message but I'm guessing it might have been an old one.

If you've still got a copy of 'The Hunt' on tape I'd really appreciate getting a copy off you.

Thanks for leaving the comments. Adds a bit more to it all.

Cheers - Darrell

Spyfire said...

Darrell,
Ah ok, yeah I have a new number.
Post your email and I will send it over.
Adam
Will see what I can find

MR KRUM said...

Adam...

Sorry for the late reply, been on holiday with the kids.

Drop me a line on...

just_darrell @ hotmail.com

Cheers - D

Darrell Painter said...

Darrell,

DP, here. Quality memory, fella. Brilliant stuff! One thing you left out......do you remember a tall, blonde, VERY skinny guy with glasses on the scene, around 89? Shelley brought him round to mine and Ant's place in Arundel Park and introduced him as "The Godfather of Bognor Hip Hop"? (We smoked alot of dope that night and ended up doing an impromptu Charleston in the front room when The Beatles "Honey Pie" came on)How ya doin' BTW? if Boucher reads this, get in touch, will you?!

MR KRUM said...

Darrell...how's it going? You still in Thialand?

I'm not sure who that guy is that you mentioned? Have to ask Macca.

If you want an email address for Boucher drop me a line and I'll pass it on...

just_darrell @ hotmail.com

Cheers - D

araon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tim said...

Absolutely fantastic post: really takes me back! I was with a crew called Nth Degree in Brighton at the time, and when we heard the Severe Carnage 12" it changed everything for us.

I'm sure I've got 'The Hunt' and some other stuff on tape somewhere, as well as a tape of Severe Carnage performing live at The Zap with PHP/Deliverance. I've got a bunch of the latter's stuff on tape (including the Alpha Charlie Echo EP and the track that opens with the Scum sample ["next time I'll f**kin' kill ya!"]). I'm living in London now, but will do my best to dig them out if anyone's interested. I've also got "The Struggle Continues" 12". I had no idea it was worth so much, but I'm not surprised that it is. Tiny Cee, MC Pryme, A.K.A., Scape One and Mack One were well ahead of their time--not just for South Coast hip-hop, but for the UK hip-hop scene in general.

In the old days I would have given anything for any tidbit of information about this mysterious crew from just along the south coast. Fantastic now to see pictures of Severe Carnage in the studio, and to hear the tale of how the record was put together.

Fond memories of those sessions at The Henty Arms too. I remember pitching up for the first time one day and thinking it was like the South Bronx had landed on the A27!

Keep up the good work!

Cheers

Tim (formerly Shinobi, Nth Degree)

Peter Tron said...

Tim,

hearing vintage PCP & sever carnage would be most welcome. I think I speak for the UK heads out there when I say this!

Peace,

Baz.

spencerchapman76 said...

this was my brother tiny c ,love this thanks ,R.I.P bro

spencerchapman76 said...

http://scapeone.bandcamp.com/album/severe-carnage-the-lost-tapes

spencerchapman76 said...

the last post i put up is "the lost tapes " from scapeone he found ,this is priceless

Anonymous said...

i've already commented on this fantastic post but...

...Spencer those Lost Tapes are gold dust to me. used to see these guys around town. dapper b-boys! they rocked it live! rip Tiny C

peace

Cut La Roc said...

Just found this blob post, excellent stuff

Lee (La Roc)

Cut La Roc said...

Blog*

sam somerville said...

Ha just seen a rare pic of my brother with hair on this blog :)

AKA Severe Carnage said...

First track in 20 years from MC AKA & DJ Shelley Mack from Severe Carnage. Produced by DJ RichTea - released yesterday

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFShKYQLA44&feature=youtu.be