mercredi 6 avril 2016

Observatory Swivel Pack



Here's a little pack of various things from this San Diego crew, Observatory Swivel.
I must admit I'm a little bit confused with who was part of the group. The discogs page mentions MCs Mer Ka Ba and 10 19 (plus Deejay A La Fu on the turntables - love the name) but you can see it also mentions Rune Orfeus and Scribe Sayar as MCs and John Henry as a producer.
So not too sure who is who and who does what, but if you know hit me on the comment section.

Once again I've been introduced to this band through a mixtape. It was the great "Provoked" with its bouncy and hypnotic bassline and the tape was Detect's 1st Adventure -who happens to be this blog's first post
That tape was from 2001 and at the time this kind of 12'' was still pretty confidential so I was stoked when I stumbled upon a copy in a parisian shop back then. I like to think it was the actual copy Detect used for this very mixtape then get bored of and sold it to the shop. The kind of weird collector's chakra thing and all. I'm romantic like that. 
The EP was "It's All There In Black And White" and features 3 tracks, Provoked being the obvious highlight.

What you got on this pack is this EP, a cd compilation called Relocated Joints and a rip from my vinyl copy of Orfeus "Mithalaje" with instro and such (never found a rip of the 12'' so here you go).

I'm still looking for a little bit more of background about OS. I know Scribe Sayar has a bandcamp with more recent solo stuff also.





Orfeus - Mithalaje 12'' (1997)

Mithalaje
Mithalaje (Instrumental)
Mithalaje (Acapella)


Observatory Swivel - Relocated Joints (1999)

Metamorfeus
R.T.M. (Rapid Thought Movement)
Breaking Down The Barrier
Sojournal
Taicon Verse Chi
Mithalaje
What We Do ft. Rasputant
Completely Unresponsive ft. Hoodfox & Joosik Energetic
Session One ft. 10 19
Green Piece
Gahd
Orfeus, In Memory


Observatory Swivel - It's All There In Black And White EP (2000)

Provoked
Practise
Don't Call Me...

jeudi 10 mars 2016

Pseudzero - Westakoasta 05 / 06 / 07



Latest episodes of my mix series dedicated to the westcoast underground. enjoy!




Tracklist:

ANTIFICTION - #09 (2002)
PRIVATE SCHOOL - Typically All Over You (2007)
CONVENIENCE STORE - Just People (2007)
BLAK FOREST - Throw Em In The Sun (1997)
EVS - The Morning After (1999)




Tracklist:

Rob One's words of wisdom
CMA - The Best (1999)
THIRD DEGREE - Better Days (1997)
KANKICK ft. DROOP CAPONE - Finer Things (2001)
TWISTED MIND KINDS - I Feel You (1996)
CASUAL - Later On (Low Down Remix) (1994)
EMANON - Untitled (Separate Allocations) (unreleased, ?)
USEPHASAN - Fore The Lov (1998)
BAY AREA ART COLLECTIVE - Change (1998)
FUNDAMENTALS ft. THE ALL-SUN AVATARS - Dark Tower (1996)




Tracklist:

I SMOOTH 7 - Ghetto Life (1995)
THE GROUCH - The Afterlife (1995)
LOG CABIN - Erotica (Remix) (unreleased, circa 1995)
Outro

lundi 29 février 2016

Hen Boogie - Nobody Beats The Boog + 2005 Interview


I just found a copy of that mix-cd that I once had, then lost, then looked for with no luck for quite some time until yesterday. 

It's a special one because the guy selecting those tunes is DJ Hen Boogie, the DJ/ producer behind the short-lived San Jose duo The Dereliks that released very few materials that I cherish (the westcoast super-classic "Turn On The Wheel..." EP with the infamous 3-different hand-written back label, then a full album on cd a few years with older material- another one that should be on wax, just sayin, and a few month ago recently an EP with some demos on Chopped Herring).

It's special because yet it's another compilation of "breaks used in rap" I always came back to this particular one. There's ton of dope stuff in there, lots of stuff you probably never heard of, and he only uses super small parts of each record, which is at the same time fun (you'll find yourself hit the rewind button a lot, what's this one again.. c'mon, I know it!), frustrating (we want more!) and kind of overwhelming (needs multiple hearing to get the whole thing).

But yeah, I'm delighted I found it back and I wanted to share it with you. Hope you'll enjoy.



No tracklisting on this one.

---



I interviewed him through e-mail the same year that mix-cd was released (2005) for the french webzine (now defunct) hiphopcore.net. Here's a very slightly edited version:


Tell us about your very first contact with the hip hop world.

Wow, well I guess my first experience I remember other than hearing "Rapper's Delight" was the first record I bought with my own money which was "the Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel"  I purchased it just because I saw it was on the same label as the Sugar Hill Gang record.  I remember when I first heard it I thought that here was something wrong with the record because I had never heard scratching before (Laughing)

But I remember playing that song over and over again and wanting to figure out how it was done.

It's funny because as I say all of this I realize that I was crate digging back then as a kid.  You know?  Like checking out who was on what label and stuff.

What about your beginnings, Star Records, how you met Iz and decided to start the Dereliks?

That's pretty long one. (laughs)

Well I was djing and I just really got the bug to want to make the music I heard so I saved up my money and got a Roland 626.  back then the 808 Bass sound was the thing so I would try and run the Low Tom sound through the mixer and make these wack drum patterns.  But you couldn't tell me then that I wasn't about to blow up.

So I kind of just put the music making aspirations on hold and just kept spinning.  This one place I would buy records at all the time called Star records basically was the hub of hip hop for years.  I never expected or thought I would ever work there.  But it was one of the first DJ Counter models so you had to give utmost respect to the person working the DJ counter.  It was like they were the Guru of all music information, you know what I mean?

So one day I hear they are hiring and I came in and the owner loved me.  There I was thinking that it was because of my music knowledge but it was because I was a big guy and she thought I would look pretty scary behind the counter (Laughing)

Later I find out that it was actually a combination of the two.  You know what I knew and my stature.  Then I found out the person I was replacing was Peanut Butter Wolf.  He wasn't PB Wolf then but you know what I mean.

So as I am working there the experience is priceless you know what I mean?  I mean everyone came through.  Artists on labels, upcoming artists, you name it.  I was the "hip hop" guy there so I got to hang out with a lot of people I don't think I would have ever met. 

So while I was there I got back into making music by going to studios that had the equipment I couldn't afford and working with my good friend Ed Main on music.  It was a big progression from the old drum machine days but it still was missing something.

I always talked to a bunch of people and one day this dude came in who knew I was doing music said he knew of these two dudes who need music.  I met them and the other guy was ok but Iz had this rap he did, that coincidentally became our first song. That blew me away.  I felt bad but I got with Iz and said I could see working with him but I didn't see much of a future with the two of them as a group.  He actually had only started working with the dude maybe a month before that so he didn't feel very committed to staying with him.

So we kind of just looked at how we were as dudes and we realized that we didn't really fit in with what was going on at the time and we were cool with that so we were trying to come up with a word that said all of that.  So that's how we came up with the Dereliks.

So we just clicked right away.  It was weird because it just all came together like that you know?

As the Dereliks you released the infamous A Turn On The Wheel... EP which is now very sought after (I saw a copy reaching 110$ a few days ago on eBay). 
You released on a quite small label, Low Self Discipline, and I was wondering if the opportunity of signing with a bigger label didn't show up? Plus you had contact with people like Peanut Butter Wolf, etc..  
Same with Change For The Bus Ride Home album released on Sublevel... It's a classic to me and not too many people know about it.

Yeah it is a trip people want to pay that much for it. 

I don't know man I mean I'm torn because it's flattering but I just think people tend to try and capitalize on things when it's never the artist that gets the credit or compensation for it.  But man, I wish there was a record I wanted so bad to pay $100 for (laughing)

Anyways we put that out through this dude named Brandon who found out about us from a demo review from Bomb Hip Hop Magazine.  He was the A&R for some label and when they passed on us he basically quit and believed in it so much he wanted to put it out.  So basically what we set out to do was to put out a classic piece of material that would be a sought after item.  So to actually do what you set out to do means a lot. you know what I'm saying?  Especially since this music game is so hit or miss.

We definitely had labels approach us but we would have ended up like all those other groups that came out with one album got dropped and never heard of again.  I mean who knows maybe it would have blown on a whole other level but I like how we did it.  It just means more when you can accomplish your goals on you own you know?



What happened with Iz? What do you think of his new group Tha High? Is there any chance to see another Dereliks album one day?

I think Iz and I both just got worn down by it all.  We were doing a lot of big things but not getting paid for it.  We would pack a club to the point that they had to shut it down for fire hazard reasons with people waiting outside and get paid pizza.  We weren't very business savvy then.  It made us more artistic but made us more bitter at the end of the day.

I’m trying to see a situation that Iz and I could come together on but it just doesn’t seem possible.  I mean first and foremost there was a lot of stuff recorded in between this time and “A turn on the Wheel” that no one heard.  How could anyone understand where we would go unless you knew where we’ve been?

Me and Iz were like brothers.  While we were doing the music he was living in my mom’s house and he was like family.  But life went on.  I did my thing and Iz moved out and back to the old neighborhood and got with Tha High.  Traxamillion who did the beats for that album and also for Kaek da Sneak’s “Superhyphy” was part of our crew back in the day.  We were grooming these kids and they were pretty successful for what they did.  So it wasn’t like Iz just went off the deep end..he was just making neighborhood music.  That man has a daughter and had to feed her dude so I mean you gotta do what you gotta to put food on the table.  I don’t doubt he could still bring but there’s been a lot alof time and space between us so I just don’t see it happening again.

So I think Tha High was an expression of that.  It's like you find out that your girlfriend lied to you.  The one you love the most, you want to go out and just take it out on all the other females for being hurt by it all.  So personally I don't fault him at all for how he handled it.  My coping mechanism was to close off and just make thousands of songs and never let them be heard for years.  I just didn't think anyone deserved to hear it.  But I can say at least he never stopped which I can't say for me you know?  I mean I've been blessed that when I was ready to return hip hop welcomed me back way more than I ever expected, so I look forward to letting people hear what they should have heard long ago and what I am doing now.

In the same vein you did a bunch of shows with Blackalicious, Black Eyed Peas and De La Soul during the 90es, they all sound quite different now...
What do you think about it?

I hope I don't sound the same now that I did then (laughs). I mean there's always an element of the person's original form in what hey are currently but I mean as long as you don't get stuck in one state of mind I support it.  Stagnation is the worse thing someone could do to themselves.

That being said there's always something magical about someone's first piece of work you know?  It's when they are the hungriest and artistically free.  If you can maintain that attitude of doing your craft like no one is listening so you don’t cater to what ever you think people might want to hear it's always best.

But if you had told me that one day my kids would go nuts over a Black Eyed Peas song I'd laugh at you back then.   But they made their sound accessible to a wider audience and I can't fault them for that.  It may not be the route I would take intentionally but if it happened and I knew I was just being me and not formula based then I'd be able to live with myself with that type of success.  I mean look at Arrested development man.  Speech basically sent up a prayer over a dope beat and it blew.  So you can't ever really say.

Let's talk about records... What credits do you give to cratedigging as a producer and DJ? What's the highest price you put on a record? Any nice anecdotes about cratedigging?

Well definitely Peanut Butter Wolf because he put me on to Ultimate Beats and Breaks.  It was nonchalant but after he told me about those I knew all I had to do is find all the records that weren’t on there you know what I’m saying?  But other than that man I’ve gotten so many records just given to me for whatever reason from folks who were actually there.  It wasn’t like I went on a hunt for the samples they found me.  Most of the stuff I didn’t even realize I had until listening to other tracks on the records way later.  That’s how the FemaleFun project came about. 

The most I paid for a record was $75 for a Sun RA record.  The 12” of Nuclear War about 7 years ago.  But other than that I just don’t see putting a price on good music that high.  I mean some of the biggest sampled classics you can find in the dollar bin.  It kind of takes the fun out of it to pay all that money for something though.  It’s like cheating.  I’d rather tell a story about how I found this record or that piece.

I still defy anyone to name all of the samples on “A Turn On The Wheel” though.  That’s what’s been such a treat for me about it because most stuff on there no one knows where it came from.  I like to keep people guessing like that.  I did get a few offers of money to let folks know what the sources of some of the samples were.  (Laughs)  That between me and the records baby!

Can you tell us more about Nobody Beats The Boog?

Best way to describe it is me bragging about some records I have.  Not to be conceited but it’s all part of it.  It also serves as a primer to those who never heard the originals.  Most seasoned diggers would know a good majority of them but I know they don’t know them all. I put some extra goodies on there.  But I fully hoped and expected people to sample from it because I would rather hear some good music for a change. (Laughing)

It’s just a fun cd you know.  You can play it in the background or loud too.  I got a person who wrote me who said she uses it for her dance class that she teaches her kids and they love it.  Another person said it’s like a hip hop trivial pursuit game. 

It’s one aspect of me and definitely not the only one but it has opened a lot of doors for me definitely.  So thanks again to Peter and DJ Fisher for putting it out.

What advice would you give to young people that want to start a career in hip hop?

Keep your nose clean, never stop, and don’t burn bridges.

Thank you very much for your answers. Any last words?

Reputation is the cornerstone of success

mercredi 24 février 2016

Pseudzero - Westakoasta 03 / 04



Here we go again. Part 3 and 4 of my new mixtape series dedicated to the westcoast underground.
Don't hesitate to leave your comments, add the soundcloud and twitter.. I'd love to know what you think!

The intro of part 3 is a slight wink to the french rap heads... that Gato Barbieri sample sounds familiar or something?

Enjoy and spread the word. Stay tuned for the forthcoming part 5 & 6 also.




Tracklist:

ELEMENTS OF CHANGE - Echo (1992)
ATBAN KLANN - Adidas (unreleased mid 90es)
ASIA BORN - Send Them (1993)
THE WASCALS - The Dips (1994)
SAAFIR - Playa Hayta (1994)
ATBAN KLANN - Goin' For A Ride (unreleased mid 90es)
MUMS THE WORD ft. OF MEXICAN DESCENT - Opium Scorpion (2000)
SACH - Doin' The Most (2002)
Underground Is A Fad!





Tracklist:

L'RONEOUS DA VERSIFIER - Implosion (1998)
DILATED PEOPLES - Ruggedness (1997)
PLADO - Superstitious (1998)
BAY AREA ART COLLECTIVE - High Performance (1995)
RAS KASS - Conceited Bastard (1998)
SILENT LAMBS PROJECT - Comrade (1998)
ELLAY KHULE - Stamp Em Anthem (2006)
TONY DA SKITZO - Let's Drift (1998)
EXTRA PROLIFIC - Brown Sugar (1994)
S.I.N. - Power Of The P (unreleased)

lundi 15 février 2016

Pseudzero - Westakoasta 01 / 02


Westakoasta is my new series of short mixes documenting the westcoast underground rap music that I love and collect with passion for years.

I tried to to make it as much as easy to listen to possibly, which means short-span edits of songs (tons of editing actually), entertaining skits and such, sometimes borrowed, sometimes made with the help of my record collection.

Vinyls, tapes (yes!), cds, and of course digital were used there. Classics meets slept-on meets super obscure. Lots of posses and scenes are included, from San Diego up to Seattle.

There's no definite number of podcasts to come yet, but there's a nice batch coming up. The ultimate goal is to release a cd at some point, so that's why no dl for now.

Hope you'll enjoy listen to it as much as I enjoyed making it, discover new artists, rediscover some... Peace.

PS- These are parts I and II, stay tuned I'll add some more soon.




Tracklist:

FAT JACK & ABSTRACT RUDE - I'm Just Livin (2004)
EMANON - Emanon (2001)
ACEYALONE - Tweakendz (2004)
NINE:FIFTEEN - Spilt Milk (2003)
DROOP CAPONE - One Life (2003)
ZAIRE BLACK & JUNE22 - AD77 (1999)
KOOL KEITH & KUTMASTA KURT - Takin' It Back (2004)
Z-MAN - Going Hard (2010)
NEW MOON - Motionless (2002)
Support Local Hip Hop Skit





Tracklist:

10 BASS T - Open Your Eyes (1996)
WHITE MIC & AGENTSTRIKNINE ft. SELF JUPITER - That's Jupiter (2012)
HOBO JUNCTION ft. THE GROUCH - Three Niggas (2004)
AWOL ONE - Demolition (2001)
WEEKEND SCIENCE EXPERIMENT - The Caffiend (2001)
VOLUME 10 - Home Alone (1994)
BORED STIFF - Explainin' (1995)
VARIOUS BLENDS ft. RASCO - Chill As I Flex (1996)
BIG NOUS & D.A. - Where Ever We Go (1998)
The Requestline

vendredi 12 février 2016

Zest The Smoker - 2004 Interview


Kind of like the Mystery School throwback interview I published recently, here's one I did with Zest The Smoker 12 years ago back to the WCI days. I edited it and kept the interesting parts...

Zest is still one of the most underrated mc in my opinion, probably paying the price of being different and the opposite of your common catchy rapper. But treat yourself and go listen to / buy his last album to date (although it's 7 years old), Death... At 27, on his bandcamp... you won't regret.

(The non-italic stuff is what I added).


Hi Zest... Can you introduce yourself and tell us how did you get your name?

My uncle wuz a tagger back in the 80's before he started crippin'. I looked up to him like a big brother, he alwayz tagged "Zest!". He wuz known all over the walls at Andrew Hill High School, South Side San Jose. I started taggin' "Zest!!". When he started gangbangin', I took over the name, droppin the extra explanation mark that notched me as the second, to plane ol' Zest. 
In 1993, I wrote a song about smokin' mc's (My Old Nasty Habit), that's how I picked up the Smoke alias. It's kind of a curse as well as a blessing, becuz everywhere I go people wanna Smoke me out rather I feel like smokin or not.

Can you tell us about your very beginnings in hip hop... what was the westcoast scene looking like back then and how did you met Peanut Butter Wolf?

To tell you the truth I wasn't a full fledge B-Boy in the begining. I didn't really care for rap that much, all I listen to wuz Prince. But summer 1988 changed everything. Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Eric B. & Rakim, Sir Mixalot all dropped at the same time. It wuz Kane that made me really get into battle rappin', he wasn't screaming like most mc's did at the time, he wuz calm, laid back, and you heard everything he said. His style wuz real witty, he clowned Mutha Fuckas through the whole track, just demolishing mc's. And Rakim... Wuz just plain hardcore, I loved it! 
As far as the West Coast scene... There wasn't one (at least in San Jose, the desolate) unless you wuz Short, Mixalot, or Hammer, at that time they wuz at the top of they game, even Hammer wuz bustin kinda hard, I bumped that shit too. 
I met Wolf at his house downtown San Jose (yeah Wolf iz from the Zae), my boy Dj Stephan (Tapemasta Steph) introduced me and Dave (Dub) to Wolf at the same time, back in 1994. I didn't know shit about the guy, we were just freestylin' and Wolf recorded the session, and liked us. I didn't know he wuz into the business, until later.

Can you point your discography and tell a word about each record you released?

Actually nothin' has been released officially, I released two "Junk" tapes which I really enjoyed, and "3 Face the Shape Shifta" on cd. 
Not too much to say about em', the Junk tapes were a bunch of 4-track recordings, but the feeling wuz so raw I had to share it wit the world. "3 Face the Shape Shifta" wuz a little unoffficial cd release just to hold people off until I completed my full length. "Interruptions" wuz released without my consent on Stones Throw, my delivery didn't match up to what we did in preproduction. The prepro delivery wuz so slippery, and flowed with ease, besides a few mistakes and low quality, there is no comparison it wuz 100% better. "My Old Nasty Habit" didn't match the prepro either, but I still gave consent.

You're part of the Camp Crystal Lake collective. Can you introduce it and his members? Do you still have anything going on with it, any release? What about Isolated Wax?

Yeah, I create CCL back in 1996. It started with just me and Los the Jackal. I invited all of the homies, but everyone has their own idea off what thet wanna do. So there are only 3 official members left in the Camp, Me, Los, and Wolf Progress. We still gonna drop some shit, we actually have hella songs on file, but most wont see the light of day, becuz we're not all together like that anymore.
Isolated Wax are the homies that use to be from the Lake.

You're from San Jose. How is the local hip hop scene out there?

Sucks

Talkin about the westcoast scene, what are you thinking about it right now? The Shapeshifters? Living Legends? Afterlife?..

Never heard their material, but I heard some stuff from Afterlife, they got some heat, but some of those cats need to tone it down, and stop goofin' off. But that's just my opinion. I don't really get out much, so I can't comment on the west coast scene. But I can tell you I love the west coast up and down. I'm from Northern Cali, so I tend to lean toward Northern Cali mc's, not trying to compare, it's just we communicate different (not just slang) and have a different perspective on this hustle called life, so it's easier for me to relate to that.

Now about your work... What are your inspirations? Influences? In your bio your flow is defined as a 'rapid eye movement'... can you explain that?

I get inspired from hardcore shit, I hate most emcee's cuz they suck. I prefer to write sober. 
Rapid eye movement? Another way of explaining the subconcious effect my flow has on the listeners. People say shit like "Is he saying what I think he's saying"...Yep. I do shit you can zone out to, like being in a dream state, but it's actually the reality that lies beneath the lie.


mercredi 10 février 2016

Youth Internationals - Hip Hop Generation 12''


Let's take a step further down even more gouffresque territories.
This 12'' is the only record from this old crew including LA's Zaire Black and June 22.

I missed the original rip by Ghetto Tyylit and couldn't find any other way to listen to it.
I finally found a sealed copy in a small parisian record store at a low price last week.. No idea how this thing made its way to this shop but it seems it was patiently waiting for me all that time.

So here's my rip in case you're curious what it sounds like (it's fine, not too crazy but hey, at least you can listen to it now!). There's 2 prods by Natty Roots and a weird dub instrumental by June. Oh, and a couple of scratchable skits for the zionist enthusiasts.


Here

Hip Hop Generation
Somethin' To Remember
Usual Dubspects
7-R
Hip Hop Duberation
Somethin' To Dub
7-R Inst