Thursday, August 27, 2009
Since I couldn't find it on Discogs (or anywhere really), I took to googling everyone listed on the label. First thing I found was I found was rapper S.C. Miles giving producer Ron B. a shout out on a page on his website. Well, I started this post about a year ago and I just checked the bookmark for S.C. Miles' website and the site no longer exists! Eventually I found Ron B.'s Myspace page and sent him a message to see if he would be down to enlighten me on the creation of this 12". In spite of not having logged into that page for months, I eventually did receive a response:
Sorry to just get back to you but I have been really busy workin and trying to make beats and be a dad but, YEAH!! thas sounds good to me!!! hit me with the questions and we can go from there....SNAFU is not together anymore but we still talk on the regular...just hit me up!!
I sent some questions and to this day have not received a reply. This was in January so I'm assuming Ron either forgot or is just too damn busy. He did up some new tracks on his page since I last checked it so at least he's still making beats. My main question was how did a rap group from NC drop a 12" on a Compton, CA label in 1995, on the cusp the full blown East vs. West era.
Further searching revealed the Compton connection: co-executive producer Scotty Spencer (aka Scotty D) is a LA hip hop LEGEND who apparently was the first person ever to play a young King Tee tracks by the likes of Mixmaster Spade and Uncle Jamm's Army. Damn, shit is all coming together! King Tee would later give Scotty a shout out on his Mixmaster Spade collab "Ya Better Bring a Gun". Scotty says he was the equivalent of Dapper Dan on the West Coast making custom sweatsuits for OG LA hip hop crews. Unfortunately there isn't a whole lot of info on the web regarding Scotty D, however that may all be changing with the release of the forthcoming documentary (put together by Lemonlime from the OG West Coast Crew) "How the West Was 1". Check the trailer:
So how did LA's Scotty D link up with North Cackalack's Snafu? Apparently that is a story for another time and place. It's good to know Ron B. is still making beats and Scotty D is still out there reppin' real hip hop.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
The end of last week I was housesitting. I decided to use it as an opportunity to get away from the computer. I've found just not using a computer for a few days can be pretty therapeutic for me. The problem was the house I was at didn't have cable. I brought over a few magazines, but after a while I didn't know what to do with myself. So I started looking at the books at the house. Big mistake.
I revisited the re/search books, Incredibly Strange Music vol. 1 and 2. It's been a long time since I thumbed through those books and I realized they still influence the aesthetic of what I am looking for in a record. The 2 interviews that kind of blew me away were Jello Biafra and the Cramps. A lot of the music Biafra mentions is just now getting reissued and despite the rise of the internet a lot of it seems just as obscure as when the book came out. The Cramps blew me away because they were in Sacramento the same time my folks got together. I wonder if my dad knew them/of them. The story of them driving from Sac to Memphis for the Sun going out of business sale blows me away. Here I am thinking it's a big deal to drive 45 minutes to look at some records.
Next up, the re/search books on zines. I read the interview with the girl who did thrift score and instantly wanted to move to Pittsburgh. There was another interview that compared Kent State university in the late 70's to Chico State though and that made me want to move back home.
The last yard sale in town was pretty good. Two older gay guys with about 5 crates of records. The sale started on Friday but didn't look very picked over. Mostly thrift staples like Babs and Bette Midler, but a decent amount of disco 12 inches too. I don't know much about disco so I just got the ones with sexiest song titles.
Then it was off to Red Bluff. This is the town where highway 99 turns into I-5. The end of the road. I guess around here it's best known for having redneck events like speedboat racing, monster trucks, and rodeos. That and for some reason Bob Dylan plays there every few years.
I was thinking I might find some decent country albums. Driving, listening to Eno, trying not to fall asleep, I discovered something. The road to Red Bluff is paved with junk. Well junk and fruit. It seemed every mile was a new gift shop/fruit stand/junk barn. Every crossroad had a yard sale sign. Unfortunately, it was already getting late in the morning and I was running out of gas. I tried to stay focused. I couldn't help stopping at what I can only describe as a junk compound. Several small rundown houses surrounding a huge makeshift flea market style maze of tables, clothing racks, bookshelves, boxes, and tarpaulins. I half expected Red Foxx or Lamont to come out to greet me. Unfortunately, there was no greeting committee because according to the signage this place was both “closed” and private property. They were however “accepting donations”. Wow, I've got to figure out when this place is “open.”
I couldn't find any of the other thrift stores that google told me were in Red Bluff. I also couldn't find the flea market. I saw a couple of antique shops, but from the outside they didn't look junky enough, so I just decide to head home. On my way out of town I saw this cool storage place where they let people sell things out of there storage units. There were about 5 people set up to sell stuff. Most had a handful of records. I found a clean mono pet sounds in one. I was scared the people were going to charge me a collectors price on it, so I grabbed a monkees album too. She asked me what I got and I told them beach boys and the monkees. The sellers all had a nostalgic laugh about those bands and charged me 2 bucks. Then they went on to tell me about how I missed the Micheal Jackson record that sold first thing.From there I stopped by the place I saw on the way into town that had homemade jerky. It turned out to be a restaurant. Two Buds Beans and BBQ. Four slow cook bbq's and smokers going in the parking lot. I got lunch. They served tea out of a pickle jar, which already had me sold on the place. UFC fighting on the big screen. Animal heads on the wall. Pulled pork sandwiches with mayonnaise. Red Bluff is alright. I just wish I gone last weekend so I could have seen the 4th of July riding lawnmower races.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Eons' 2¢: I was the assistant engineer on the Freak Brothers sessions in 2000. Brain and Extrakd came into the studio I worked at to lay down the basic tracks on 2" tape for their Ghost Dog inspired rap record. Brain was an old friend of the studio owner and she gave them a few days to do whatever the fuck they wanted. They repaid her by bringing in great found and triple digit bottles of wine. One night they had some rappers strike through: MD (aka Def Emcee X), Trunks and some other guy who's name I didn't catch when they all rolled in. Oh yeah and Smooth Triumph flaked! Haha! Anyway, it was late, I'd probably been at the studio for 12 hours at this point, taking notes on the track sheets, switching reels, patching, etc. The unnamed MC gets his turn and rips it. When I ask his name for the track sheet he says, "Messy Flesh". I was still asking myself "Did that guy really say his name was Messy Flesh?" while cleaning up after everyone had left. Glad Luke dug this one up because I had never heard it before.
2. Tekillya Sunrize
3. Triple Orgasm
4. Agunys Anthum
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
also i picked up this promising looking tape which didn't end up doing much for me.
here is the songs from this tape. Another rare demo from a forgotten Bay Area hip hop pioneer! The first song on side B wins for Smooth Triumph here, because it has traces of a Paris, the Black Panther of Hip Hop, influence, and I can never be mad at that. But be warned, Jerry has this to say about it:
Eons: damn is jayswift rocking pajama pants ala mc stinkweed? shout out to wee wee.
Hardcore Jerry responds: damn, you've got good eyes. i'd like to think he picked the pj pants for the photo cause they are good for crouching and would blend nice with the brick backdrop. this tape is signed (again!) by jayswift and money mike on the other side of the j-card. there is no contact info whatsoever. i can't figure out if that is a sign of lack of hustle or some sort of superhustle where dudes could just be "found."
smooth triumph's two cents:
I have a Jayswift 12" from '93 put out by Nu Deal Records. It's the second of the two that Jay and Nu Deal put out. Jay probably got signed to Nu Deal on the strength of that demo tape that Jerry found. Oh shit! I guess the label pressured him into dropping DJ Pep from the moniker, 'cause it didn't fit in with their LL Cool J marketing scheme. Ha! But that's pure conjecture. This 12" is called "What'cha Gonna Do" but the b-side, "Street Life," wins every time, so that's the only one I had Eons rip for y'all. Jayswift's from San Mateo right here on the West Bay Peninsula! And this is actually some pretty rare shit. The guy definitely gets props for getting two 12"s released out of San Mateo way back in the early nines; I'm sure shit was a bitch to pull off. I think this is the first rap 12" to come out of San Mateo ever, KegsOne at San Mateo Zoo could probably clear that up for me. Also makes me wonder if Jayswift and DJ Pep were at that contest at San Mateo City College I first saw Troop 187 (aka Cult of Isis) at. To reiterate Jerry's point though, one has to wonder about "Matty-Oh!'s" understanding of the slang term "bozack" back then. At the start of "Street Life" Jayswift says, "Pay attention while Jayswift drops the bozack," and then at the end of the track he says again, "pay attention when the niggas drop the bozack and I'm out, uh!" Which wouldn't be that necessarily off if it was a sex rhyme, but this rap is about "drug money and ridin' on gold ones." He shouts out DJ Pep at the end too to show that he's still down, and he also shouts out: "MJ behind the set, gettin' busy on the motherfuckin' tracks." MJ is none other than Mark Jarvis, the producer of these beats. If you are a serious Bay Area demo freak you know of Mark Jarvis' sound from when he co-produced the song "Triple Orgasm" with Ajent Orange and Kiilani for the Nitrous Ox demo recorded at the B-Street Recordings studio in San Mateo, I think. I am currently looking for that demo, if anybody has that shit, please upload it right here. That would be dope! Soon as I find that shit in the shed, y'all gotta hear it! Those dudes were from Pacifica, I think; I used to rock that tape a lot; "Tekillya Sunrize" was my gettin' fucked up soundtrack for many months during one of those years I can't remember. There was an emcee on there named Messy Flesh who Z-Man mentions as being "nice as hell" to this day. Ajent Orange, a dope emcee in his own right, is also an old friend of Z and me. His real name is Matt Chang, but he later morphed into the moniker Matth and did some of Anticon's iller shit, beatwise. I'mma call Z and find out what Matt's up to these days, haven't talked to him (Matt) in ages, but I bet he's still concocting dusted shit. And Jerry you're right, being able to just be "found" does = superhustle.
Jayswift "Street Life" (Street Mix) Nu Deal Records, 1993
So see: going junking and buying what you think is bullshit, reminds your friend of some similar bullshit which he re-examines and re-labels "rare" bullshit, and then he connects that rare bullshit to some nostalgia that inspires him to track down a long lost acquaintance to reveal yet another lost-in-obscurity dope as fuck Bay Area demo tape whose local roots trace back to the rare bullshit and original bullshit aforementioned. Kinda makes you rethink what you originally thought was bullshit, huh? And you're not the only one that thinks so...
Look what Jayswift's debut 12" from '92 is going for in euros at the record inspector. (Is that euros? What monetary symbol is that? What's that in dollars? I'm unworldly, help.)
And look at the this weird fucking place that'll sell you the record and a burned cdr of it for quite a pretty penny.
I think Matt Chang would agree with me on this one: Respect out to Jayswift a Bay Area trailblazer for the in the independent rap 12" frontier. We have to respect our predecessors no matter their EPMD-vernacular shortcomings, because we don't exist without guys like this. And big up to San Mateo for producing an intrepid soul such as his. The risk was his to take and he faced it like a G. Part of the forgotten impetus, our forefather.
But kids don't be fooled by those added expenses for easy access. Go junking and see what 50 cents gets you. It's hardly a risk; 50 cents isn't exactly putting your neck on the line. You can do it!
Eons says: Getting home and playing a record and finding out it's dope is the shit I live for, but sometimes you can find an almost equal exhilaration in staring stoned at the sleeves and labels of your finds on the car ride home, trying to find some hint of their dopeness or wackness, because the mystery is still there at that point and that's when my hopes are at their highest.
And our story today proves that even if you are disappointed at first: Disappointments can easily become gems, simply by what they lead you to. Well, sheeeeee-it! If junking isn't the only religion that continually pays off directly and increases your appreciation for the stuff you already have at the same time, I don't know what is. Like my sister always says, "What you appreciate appreciates." She's right y'all. You gotta believe.