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)