Wednesday, January 2, 2008


by Luke Sick

I bought this record when I was a senior in high school. I drove down to Star records in San Jose in my sister's white VW Rabbit convertible, getting laughed at and 808 bass-ed the fuck out by what seemed like a tank division of Mazda and Nissan mini-trucks with 60-series tires, gold spoke wheels, Virgen de Guadalupe airbrush hoods, and hydraulics that always seemed to be creeping around patrolling Capitol and McKee in those days. I think MC Twist's "I Like It Loud" was the jam most of them were boomin'. I didn't give a fuck though, Cue's hadn't opened yet and I wasn't hip to Soul Disco (Bobby G's) in SF, so Star was the only vein I could cut to get spurts of raw hip hop lifeblood. I had to go, corny ass Rabbit or not. Shit, back then I would've walked through Nickerson Gardens with purple shoelaces on sippin' grape Crush in a Vikings Starter to get my records. It was that serious. The cover with the nerdy looking fat guy and the dark dude dressed in a teal sport-coat like Crockett from Miami Vice didn't throw me off, because back then (before the Melle Mel, Cool J, 50 Cent man-scaping image became a requirement) fools could look like scientific mutants and that almost insured the listener that they'd bring the unadulterated funk equation.

Bottom line, odd-looking people are funky and worth the most respect. Anybody, peeped the Propmaster Red Alert lately? While we're on radio hosts, Stretch Armstrong is a preying mantis humanoid motherfucker. You ever think maybe his boy Zev Love X has a decent reason for wearing the iron mask? And, I wasn't even gonna say Biz…but I did.

Large Professor's black-rimmed, general-issue "birth control" specs made him look like he should be bustin' raps with the Omega Mus, Booger Presley, and Lamar, but he was hardcore science, because his craft was honed as a pupil of a studio-rat "white guy who knew records and made dope beats" a.k.a. Paul "Inventor of the Chop" C and a legendary brother in his own right named CJ Moore at a little place in Jamaica, Queens called 1212.

We love everything that ever came out of 1212—from Mikey D. and L.A. Posse to Ultra's "Critical Beatdown" to Superlover Cee and Casanova Rud to Uptown's "Dope on Plastic" to Stezo's "Crazy Noise" to Percee P to Son of Bazerk—just to name a few. Those are the records we look for in the thrift stores and at record swaps. And hip hop music made since, inspired and influenced by the sound honed by Paul and CJ at 1212 and the way it was produced, is what we're mostly feeling.

Paul C

Paul C laid down Phase N' Rhythm's debut "Brainfood" b/w "Hyperactive" (sampling Tommy Roe's "Sweet Pea") single for the group's own label, Funky Tune Records (which would change to a production company when the duo got signed to a single deal at Tommy Boy). Paul's untimely murder at the age of 24 left his friends at 1212 confused and melancholy. Phase N' Rhythm vanished after CJ Moore "appeared on" (which back in those days could mean "mixed" or even "fully produced") their lone Tommy Boy single, "Swollen Pockets."

Phase N' Rhythm - Swollen Pockets / Hook-N-Sling
Label: Tommy Boy Music
Format: Vinyl, 12"
Released: 1990


Appearance - CJ Moore , Phase N' Rhythm
Producer - Phase N' Rhythm
Produced by The Immortal hands of Phase N' Rhythm for Funky Tune Productions
Mix chefs: Phase N' Rhythm and C.J. Moore at 1212 Kitchens

"Swollen Pockets" written by J. Jasmin, D. Rosser, Isaac Hayes, David Porter. Published by T-Boy Music / Funky Tune Publishing (ASCAP) / Promo Music (BMI)

"Hook-N-Sling" written by J. Jasmin, D. Rosser, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff. Published by T-Boy Music / Funky Tune Publishing (ASCAP) / Assorted Music (BMI)

In memory of Paul C.

A2. Swollen Pockets (Duck Sauce Instrumental) (3:24)
B1. Hook-N-Sling (1/2 Fried Chicken Vocal) (3:14)
B2. Hook-N-Sling (Soy Sauce Instrumental) (3:10)
B3. Hook-N-Sling (Chop Stick Apella) (2:36)

"Swollen Pockets" utilizes Sam & Dave's "Hold On, I'm Coming" (Atlantic, 1966), a song written by Stax songwriters Isaac Hayes and David Porter who are surprisingly, in a time of no sampling laws, credited as songwriters for "Swollen Pockets" but their publishing is not listed, so we can assume they never saw a dime from Tommy Boy. Eighties movies kids will probably recognize "Hold On, I'm Coming" from the opening car chase scene in "Blues Brothers." It blasts out of Elwood and Jake's police auction bought squad car's after-market 8-track player. It is also said that Sam & Dave were the group the Blues Brothers were based on. The "Immortal hands" of the "mix chefs" in 1212's "kitchen" attack the loop and chop it with so much velocity that you forget that Phase snatched his cable signal from "Plug Tunin'" and just rock to the beauty that comes from technological limitations in the hands of expert innovators. The great Golden Era theme of getting sweated for your flyness is given a fresh twist as Phase informs us that he's "chillin' in Green Acres" and the TDK in the deck must contain the latest mix down from 1212 because he's got the "sound system blastin' as usual."

Although the title would have us thinking different, Phase N' Rhythm's "Hook-N-Sling" does not use the famous New Orleans funkateer Eddie Bo's "Hook and Sling Pt. 1 and 2". Instead,"Hook-N-Sling" is concocted out of Wilson Pickett's "Get Me Back OnTime, Engine Number 9" written by Philly rock and soul gods Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff which makes sense that it was used by Brotherly Love hip-hoppers DJ Miz for "Ain't U Freshco?" and Cool C for "Get Loose Now," and more famously by LL Cool J in "The Bristol Hotel," and NWA in "Straight Outta Compton" as well as "Approach To Danger." But, put all those versions up against "Hook-N-Sling" and guess who gets "Engine 9" chuggin' down the track the hardest? 1212 wins every time. Rhythm "(Denny, you) do[es] the cuts and the scratches" throughout the 12" and the instrumentals and "Chop Stick Apella" are gems as well. As far as Phase goes, my dunny MC Conceit from SF, who just won the My Space/G-Unit Records rap video contest, says "dude was like Special Ed meets De La meets like JVC," and adds, "Ohh yeah let's not forget he's got a lil Chubb Rock in the last verse." However you trace the influences, the flow is best summed up by an acapella drop that occurs about 52 seconds into the onslaught (soon to be cut up in a Grand Invincible joint): "Lyrics get dropped like napalm!"

CJ Moore myspace:

Dave Tompkins Paul C article from Big Daddy: or


Jaz said...

Dope write up and thanks for the music, this was on the wants list.

Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you thank you. I had the cassette single back in the day when it first came out and have been dying to hear it again ever since. Now if I could only get a copy of the video!!