Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I first started making visits out to the North Bay in 1993 after meeting a few writers who lived there. Everyone up there was heavy into the Vallejo sound that was coming out. Heads were bitter over 2Pac's involvement in a 1992 Marin City shooting that left a 6 year old boy dead so Pac got no play. And then you had Hiero coming out big and it seemed like a crossroads for a lot of kids. Do you stay pure and only rock the real, mob style Bay Rap? Or do you get down with this new less threatening sound? One thing everyone seemed to have in common in that neighborhood was the pride in their hometown heroes, 5150. I got a dub and eventually copped the tape. I didn't even know there was a vinyl version of any of these tracks until I stumbled upon this copy a few months back while digging in Santa Rosa.
"Dorothy" is the smooth, club track while "Games People Play" is a soulful, phoned-in-from-county reflection on the trials and tribulations of the dope game. But like most 12"'s, it's all about the B side. Cruising on an ominous bassline that sounds like it was lifted from a rejected Paris beat, "Back on Track" gets hyped with it's hook rippin' Ice-T, KRS and Ice Cube samples. Peep the dope piano solos! Whatever happened to that style? "Illegally Insane" is on some proto-hyphy shit with it's Bomb Squad on that dankweed production. Producer Klark Gable hooked up the boards nice but doesn't seem to be listed anywhere as doing anything post 5150. The group did reunite for 2002's "Back from the Asylum" album but I've never heard it. You could probably buy it with the money you're saving from finding these tracks here instead of buying the 12" off this guy. Speaking of Discogs, apparently this is 5150's second record. Anyone got a copy of that Con Artist 12"? I gotta hear "The Vigilante (Mind Over Matter) (Shit Hittin' The Fan Mix)"! 5150 (Illegally Insane) - Games People Play EP (Arrogant Records, 1992)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Drummer Idris Muhammad (aka Leo Morris) is probably best known to beatheads for his concoction of one of the illest breaks of all time, Bob James' "Nautilus". That and his contribution (along with fellow beat king Bernard "Pretty" Purdie) to Galt MacDermot's HAIR soundtrack. "There were certain guys who couldn't pick up on what I was into. And there were certain ones who did. The ones who did, I used - like Billy [Butler] and Idris." If you're a drum minded cat, flipping a sleeve over and spotting Idris' name typically results in that record coming home with you. When you start digging beats, you cut your teeth on CTI and Kudu releases and Idris slowly becomes and old friend who'll always drive you home when you've done a little too much. His 1974 debut Kudu release as leader, "Power of Soul", contains the epic "Loran's Dance" which while it has been sampled by the likes of DJ Shadow, Beastie Boys, Fatboy Slim(e), etc. ain't no drop the needle for 4 bars and jet track. In all it's glorious 10+ minutes, "Loran's Dance" is basically a live band playing a hip hop instrumental. Before Breakestra, before white dudes with dreads wanted to rap over a live band and before The Roots put that ridiculous notion into their heads, Idris was laying down the sound that would eventually be ringing in producers like Primo's ears at D&D in 95 (check Group Home's "Inna City Life").

Loran's Dance (Kudu, 1974)

Here are two 90's tracks from the Bay Area that both draw their
source material from "Loran's Dance":

First up is Various Blends with the title track to their 2nd single, "Krazee Madeo Stylez". Producer/MC Friz-B deftly lifts portions of Bob James' Rhodes intro to create a loop that is instantly recognizable as "Loran's Dance" yet manipulated enough to make you wonder just where the chop starts and stops. A great example of what we at ROBME like to call complex minimalism. Lyrically, Eb.F and Friz-B trade verses about their home town San Mateo, CA while both DJ Rasta Cue-Tip and DJ Apollo share time on the scratch. Oh from New Medina Project is working on a more in depth Various Blends piece that will be running here in the near future. Stay tuned.

Krazee Madeo Stylez (Baraka Foundation, 1999)

I never really knew very much about City Side Crew other than the obvious fact they were from the Bay and that they eventually released a 2nd 12" that I'm still looking for (is it as good as this one?). Both tracks on this record are dope, but for the sake of this post we'll focus on their ode to the best dankweed in the states, "Kali". While Various Blends pulled back on their copy of "Power of Soul" after a couple bars, City Side Crew was too busy prepping the blunt and didn't notice anything worthy of their sampler till the kali hit their systems about 7 minutes and some change into Idris' jam. Another great exercise in the K.I.S.S. aesthetic, the uncredited producer sticks to the loop and an 808 kit. Perfection.

Kali (Sound Judgment, 1996)

[RS link]

Sunday, December 21, 2008


After way too many headaches caused solely by constant fuck ups on the part of the pressing plant, the Grand Invincible "Purse Thieves" 12" is finally done! It contains 3 songs from last year's "Ask the Dust" album plus bonus instrumentals and an accapella. Remember when 12"'s had cool shit for the DJs??? All the tracks can be heard on our myspace page. We have a record release party in SF on January 23 at House of Shields. Strike through if you are in the area. We'll have limited versions of the 12 at the show. For those who can't wait or live out of town, I'm doing some direct mailorder and So Far West also has copies in stock. Anyone who can help with distro, get in touch! We should have em in all the local stores by the end of January. The 2nd album "Cold Hand in the Dice Game" has been mixed by the almighty Hiro Matsuo at the Cornerstore and is awaiting mastering. Expect it's release in early '09.

New mailorder link:


Saturday, December 20, 2008


1976 catalog found in a copy of the Michal Urbaniak Group's "The Beginning" 2xLP.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I ripped this tape awhile ago and lagged on putting it up here and then a few weeks ago I saw it up on blog I've been visiting called Recordz On Wheelz. Fuck it. This is my own rip plus I got the fresh cover and label scans. I don't think I really need to type any more about just how dope Rob One was with the conceptual mixtapes. He really kills it here with the porn theme by including photos of his historic meeting of 80's porn icon Keisha, strip club field recordings, stripper drops, various Keisha dialog, etc. I'm more of a Christy Canyon fan myself but regardless of who your favorite star was, Rob's tape will take you back to the days of giant VHS boxes and those huge plastic trays the tapes sat in. Back when if you wanted to get your nut off watching some porn you had to actually put in some work (steal, borrow or actually go to the adult bookstore to cop your shit), instead of logging on and jerking off. From breakbeats to porno, kids today have it too damn easy.
DJ Rob One Meats Keisha