Noz writes: In between saving the then fledgling Fugees from getting dropped from their label and becoming the choice producer to turn a once Nasty Nas dope again, Saalam Remi started this oft overlooked indie label. This is the B-Side to the “More & More” 12″ and features Major Stress (who I guess is just one MC) doing his best ODB impression on the hook with an ill narrative of, you guessed it, just another day in the ‘stuy. Remi, who’s probably better known for flipping 16 bit Metroid beats and replaying UBB breaks, takes a surprisingly traditional approach here, to much sucess. Norfside released (i think) four other records, ranging from the competent (ras-t’s “ill nig”) to utter garbage (stay away from that Lyve-N-Direct, which is some r&b lite steez), all produced by Remi. Major Stress also recorded another joint, entitled “Smokin’ & Fuckin'”, which i haven’t heard. But “A Day In The Stuy” is probably the hottest of their output.
Big shout out to Andrew for being so game to do this the past week. Cocaine Blunts and Soul Sides need to re-collabo in the future with a new concept…like “Best DJ Premier Productions With the Weakest Lyrics” or “Peanuts and Corn: The Early Years” or, well, you get the idea.
Nick Catchdubs gets in on the fun too with a few selections of his own. But yo, Nick – “as a subgenre, that’s never really been my thing – partially because I was a little too young to appreciate it during its heyday.” Dude, it was the NINETIES. You’re making me feel really old when you say you were too young for shit dropping in 1996.
Lowdown and Born Majestic trade verses over a Butta Fingaz (talk about your cliched circa 1996 underground hip hop names!) beat. And it’s about the 30th time that someone flipped that Musical Youth hook. But, goddamn, the beat bangs.
Soul Sides listens, learns, replies:
I hate that 1) I don’t have this and 2) it’s going for over $50 (provided, those are eBay prices but it’s not likely that I’ll stumble on this one randomly in the Bay Area. Good stuff, good stuff.
Day tres and Cocaine Blunts and I are still slugging it out. I hit CB with the ha ha and the hee hee in the form of Chicago’s Mental Giants and the slept-on “AK’s Groove.” CB’s coming with Scott Lark, representing one time for all the heads in NJ:You knew I had to represent for Trenton. Scott himself has an bizarre style that sounds a little like he’s constantly blowing his nose. It’s definitely an acquired taste, but I kinda feel it. It’s producer Tony D (who gained fame with late 80s productions by the likes of Poor Righteous Teachers and YZ) who steals the show with his infectious (proto Kanye? post RZA?) vocal loop and smooth as fuck bass line. Check out Scott’s Razzle Dazzle EP, for this joint and more of the same.
The SS reply:
Wasn’t Scott Lark like the only artist on Contract besides Wise Intelligent? What I remember most about him, besides his full artist name (Scott Lark Da Sensei) was dude’s voice. Really distinctive and nasal, kind of like Mos Def’s but taken to the nth degree. I just couldn’t have seen Lark ever breaking into the mainstream but then again, I hate Eminem’s voice and look how well he’s done.
Kaotic Style: Represent
From 12″ (Beat Scott, 1994)
Opening round was definitely cool. For the second day, I went to LA and brought back a sack of “Mescaline” from the Ill Brothers Project. Cocaine Blunts did it up NYC style with Kaotic Style and “Represent.” Noz sez:This is from the (debut) “Diamond In Da Ruff” EP released by later Nervous/Wreck signee Kaotic Style. This has always been one of those mystery records in my collection. For the longest time I thought “A Diamond In Da Ruff” was the artist and not the title, but I obviously got it twisted. Every track on this record features some ridiculous DITC style production, such as super heavy bass line on this, the standout banger. Kaotic spits almost MOP style angry mic swallowing lyrics and is augmented by a scratched in Jeru hook. A web search didn’t turn anything up on this dude, except the following bizarre approval courtesy of Heltah Skeltah’s Ruck – “all fat people shouldn’t rhyme except Kaotic Style”.
The SS reply:
What’s up with Ruck dissing fat rappers? Big Pun and Biggie’s ghosts should haunt dude like The Grudge. Cool track – didn’t remind me of MOP as much as Naughty By Nature – you can tell this was from 1994…cats aren’t trying to sound like Mobb Deep or Nas yet. And the hook? That shit is so early/mid-90s. They might as well be yelling “Catching Wreck!”
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.