The new old instrumental album/beat tape by Ill Tal is finally here via DJBooth.net! I first got the idea for the album while listening to Nas‘s recent track “Loco-motive“. At the end of the track, Nas proclaims it’s for hip-hop fans trapped in the 90′s. Don’t get me wrong – the song is hot but it’s not really reflective of the true 90′s/Golden Era sound.
I decided to make an instrumental album of 20 beats that really do sound like they were recorded between 1992-1995. The basslines are filtered, the sample rates are lo-fi, the drums are from dusty breaks, and the tracks are chock-full of rap quotables. I drew inspiration from the greats of the era – Pete Rock, Buckwild, Large Professor, Q-Tip, DJ Muggs, Da Beatminerz, The Beatnuts, and many more.
I’ve always admired the mentality of Jazz artists. They’ve never been afraid to experiment, especially when it comes to using new instruments, new sounds, and merging with genres. Hip-Hop was starting to explode in the early 1980′s and several Jazz artists decided to try their hand at hip-hop/jazz fusion. When most people think of the two genres together, Herbie Hancock‘s “Rockit” comes to mind, released in 1983. However, the Jazz collective Pieces of a Dream did it first with “Mt. Airy Groove” released in 1982.
Pieces of a Dream was produced by the oft-sampled saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. I was only a baby when the song was released, but I imagine the cut got heavy rotation from DJ’s at Hip-Hop parties back then. The irony of this song, is that it was sampled by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five for “It’s a Shame“. Why is that ironic? Peices of a Dream were trying to emulate the sound of groups like the Furious Five. The Furious Five probably had similiar sounding beats to “Mt. Airy Groove” already.
Check out the classic cut and next time someones references Herbie Hancock as the first to blend Jazz and Hip-Hop, pull out this track.
Every so often I like to post up some classic old school (pre-1986) joints to help educate the young-in’s on where it all started. This week’s cut comes from Fab 5 Freddy even though he’s not doing any of the rapping.
This single is confusing in itself as the song is sometimes titled “Change Le Beat” but my 12 inch is called “Une Sale Histoire (parts 1 & 2)“. If you listen to the entire song, you will notice the outro which has been cut up by every Hip-Hop DJ in existence – “Ahhh, this stuff is realllly fresh!“.
For those who don’t know, Fab 5 Freddy was an integral part of bringing Hip-Hop to the mainstream with such credits as the movie Wildstyle, Blondie’s “Rapture“, and being the original host of Yo! MTV Raps.
I can’t say enough about Funkmaster Wizard Wiz. He was a bugged out dude making a really bugged out type of Hip-Hop, especially for the mid-80′s. The single “Crack It Up” / “Can’t You Take a Hint?” was released in the mid-80′s during the crack epidemic that was sweeping inner cities of America, especially in New York City. So what does Funkmaster do? He makes a song about the pleasures of smoking crack. Yup – a pro-crack song.
I don’t have the history on the single, but there must have been some type of controversy because the version of the single I have over-dubs the words “don’t” in front of the “Crack it Up” chorus. However, a version does exist in all it’s pro-crack glory, advising you to “put it in a pipe, and smoke it“.
The B-Side, which I posted up here, is just as weird. Funkmaster is basically saying all the crazy things he would do, proving just how crazy he is. The “Bellevue Patient” in the song references a psychiatric hospital in New York City. The beat replays Barry White‘s “I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little Bit More“. This is one of the earliest uses of the song as a sample or possibly the first. Hopefully Funkmaster didn’t turn out to be a crack head.
I may have only been 2 years old when this single came out, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t appreciate it! You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know what you’re foundation is. Pumpkin was the self-proclaimed “King of the Beats” and produced a lot of singles during the old school era. Without shot-outs from the emcees, it would be rather difficult to tell the difference between producers at the time as most beats used the same drum machine.
This single on Profile records clocks in at a short (ha ha) 6:50 and features rhymes from Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde, Fresh 3 M.C.’s, Greg G. and Mr. Troy (of the Disco Four), George “Galaxy” Llado, and Fly Ty-rone. For the bonus point, Andre Harrell (of Uptown Records fame) was Dr. Jeckyll. Here Comes That Beat!