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.

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