Shadez of Brooklyn: Change
From 12″ (Pandemonium, 199?). Also available on New York Reality Check Vol 1

Goddamn ya’ll – shit is real. Cocaine Blunts and Soul Sides have been eyeing each other since this audioblog thing jumped off. Nos would post some hot hip-hop joints, I’d follow, we’d have our little dance but now it’s time for the face off. Blunts vs. Soul takes over this week at both CB and SS. Our weapons of choice? Indie rap singles from the 1990s (that don’t suck).

Round One. SS throws a speed-knot, Constant Deviants’ “Catch a Speed-Knot”. CB comes back with Shadez of Brooklyn’s “Change”:By the mid 90s many of the big name NYC producers were side hustlin’ on on the indie tip. This is one of Mr. Walt of Da Beatminerz’ finest productions, and sadly, remains relegated to decade old Stretch & Bobbito dubs and the few heads who were smart/lucky enough to cop the 12″. Like East Flatbush’s “Tried By 12”, which Biggie made famous, this was one of those inescapable instrumentals – you may not know the song but you’ve heard the beat. I slept on this when it first dropped and instantaneously recognized the mellow piano loop when i dropped a needle on it in a dollar bin a few years ago. It’s interesting how the NYC indie movement put such an emphasis on production rather than lyrics, while, at the time, the East was known as the more “lyrical” coast. Maybe it was a purist/reactionary response towards the perceived focus of the “mainstream” focus on the MC rather than the DJ/production (that concept seems downright stupid these days), but for whatever reason, labels churned out these near perfect productions wasted by very competent but ultimately faceless and unmemorable MCs. I guess that’s why 12″s have instrumentals. And that’s probably also why you’ve never heard of Shadez of Brooklyn or so many of their peers since then.

The SS reply:

I always liked this single back in the day, putting it on my Headwarmers mixtape from 1996/7. Seriously, what’s not to like? Beatminerz production, Ahmad Jamal sample and lyrics about street life that are reflective rather than blindly celebratory. Proper.