Friday, July 25, 2008

But if you can't say it all...

Stetsasonic - Just Say Stet
Stetsasonic - Bust That Groove

'Just Say Stet' has possibly the greatest intro to a rap track EVER - that wicked keyboard riff, Wise's beatbox skills, MC Delite's opening verse and then the most shit-kickingest 808 drum loop thunders in and we're away... Stetsasonic are in the house. Incredible stuff. I first heard 'Just Say Stet' on the Streetsounds Hip Hop Electro 11 compilation, where I used the love the way it mixed into 2 Live Crew's 'What I Like'. I must have listened to it a billion times.

If I was asked to stick a song in a time capsule to represent the old school hip-hop of the mid-1980s (the golden era for sure, fuck 1994) I'd definitely consider this. It's raw as hell and has everything I'd ever want in a track. Prince Paul (who would go on to become one of the most successful and inventive hip-hop producers of all time, working with the likes of De La Soul, 3rd Bass, Big Daddy Kane, Gravediggaz), shows off his finesse as a scratch DJ with some precise cuts, there's fat beatbox from Wise and then, of course, the brilliant tag team rhyming skills of the trio of MCs - Daddy-O, Delite and Frukwan/Fruitkwan.

I think the Stetsa MCs were the finest rapping ensemble to ever commit their raps to wax - sure, there's better MCs out there (but I would definitely have Daddy-O in my Top 10 - I love his rasping, throaty delivery), but as a team, they were second to none. For further proof of this, check 'Bust That Groove' for some awesome 'pass the mic' rhymes over another rocking beat. 'On Fire', the 1986 Tommy Boy album from which these tracks are taken, isn't their best - that award goes to 'In Full Gear', when they morphed into the "original hip-hop band" and Prince Paul really hit his production stride (more on that soon) - but if you want to know how proper, upfront, old school hip-hop was done, these two tracks are hard to beat. I've come over all Westwood. I feel for the guy - it is hard to be white middle-class and talk about hip-hop without sounding like a complete and utter tit.

Full Stetsasonic discography
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Friday, July 11, 2008

Nothing To See Here...

Chapterhouse - Die, Die, Die

...except, ironically, today for the first time in bloody ages, there is. Well, something to hear at least. For those of you who've been so kind as to query my whereabouts, I'm still here! Parenthood, as expected, has taken over my life. Well, that and a job that requires me to use my brain and my time for something other than writing lengthy pieces for this blog. I've contemplated retiring - there's a new generation of bloggers out there with the hunger I once had - but I still need an outlet to share the music I love, so I'm here to stay. For the time being it will be sporadic if at all, but I'm sure I'll be back on my game in the not too distant future. There's another podcast in the bag awaiting mixing and all that, which should go up fairly soon. Plus I have been making endless playlists for forthcoming podcasts, and have a few special guests lined up. Thank you to all the people who continue to send me music - I listen to as much of it as I can, and promise that some of it will feature on here at some point, even if it is just in the end of year 'Best of...' post. There's some incredible music out there at the moment, I just wish I had the time to write the words to do it justice.

So, while I'm here, please enjoy 11 crazy minutes of Sonic Youth-esque guitar histrionics, courtesy of Chapterhouse. 'Die, Die, Die' was originally available on a limited edition 12" which came free with the vinyl version of their tremendous debut album, 'Whirlpool'. It was also scheduled to appear on the recent CD reissue of 'Whirlpool', but was pulled at the last minute owing to time constraints. This is proof Chapterhouse weren't just a bunch of pretty, ineffectual M&S-jumper-wearing-namby-pamby-Home-Counties-boyz - they could properly rock the fuck out. This kind of thrash lunacy is probably the direction the band should have gone in, rather than all the ambient noodling and insipid dreampop of their second and final album 'Blood Music'. I had this one cued to post a while ago when my computer died, but then I thought it was rather apt to accompany this post. No idea why.

I'll be back...

Buy the 'Whirlpool' reissue from Amazon
Unofficial Chapterhouse website