I was gonna save this one to put in the Phill Most Chill autobiography, but since Random House hasn’t exactly been beating down my door with offers to publish my life story (dumb bastards) and my azz ain’t gettin’ no younger I figured what the hell, might as well tell the Baritone Tiplove story now. This is probably as good a time as any to let the world know the inside story on B-Tip since there’s recently been a new surge of interest in the group and their music. Besides, I’m growing old as hell and who knows, I could keel over and croak one day and no one would ever even know about this schitt. So here it is, uncut and unadulterated- put this in your time capsule, folks.
First of all, I guess some of y’all who are coming to this Phill Most / Soulman blog already know about me and my past endeavors and have at least heard of, if never actually HEARD Baritone Tiplove. But for those who may have no idea what I’m talking about, Baritone Tiplove was a rap concept I came up with back in 1987. I was working on demos for my Phill Most Chill songs, trying to improve my rhyming and beatmaking skills as well as upgrading my home recording equipment as best I could on my limited budget. At this time I had just gotten a decent job after being close to desolate for the last two years. So FINALLY I was able to buy some better gear after years of banging out toy beats on a Synsonic and I think a TR-505 drum machine, overdubbing vocals on two beat up cassette recorders. I copped one of those Tascam PortaOne 4 track recorders and was happy as a pig rolling around in a shitpool.
One of the features on the Tascam was a pitch control, which allowed me to slow or speed up whatever I recorded. So just messing around with it I saw that I could make my voice higher or lower with this pitch control thing. HMMMM… a light bulb went off. I always had a vivid imagination… waaaaay before I ever tried to really be a rapper I created a whole imaginary record label called Panther Records with imaginary rap groups and imaginary songs. Yep, some Mingering Mike-type schitt (but without the fully illustrated record jackets- I’d draw pics but I didn’t take it nearly as far as the Mingering one did). So now I’m thinking, “yo… I’m gonna come up with two characters, one with a deep voice and one with a high voice, and I’m gonna do some schitt that’s different from my Phill Most Chill stuff.” So that’s how the whole idea was born.
The deep voiced character would be Baritone The Microphone Champ- a big dude with a penchant for mayhem. The high voiced dude would be Tiplove MC Supreme- a little cocky cat with a big mouth, big ego and a flair for fashion. Both of these guys liked the ladies and liked to drink. In abundance. Plus you couldn’t tell them that they weren’t the nicest emcees that the good lord ever created. Now, at this time I was doing a lot of Phill Most Chill songs, and they were straight forward, no-nonsense hardcore Hip Hop at it’s grittiest. The Baritone Tiplove stuff was gonna be different- nothing serious, everything all about just being silly and having fun with it. All of the wild stuff that I wouldn’t do as Phill Most I could do as these characters. I had NO intention of making anything happen with Baritone Tip except for joking around with it and playing the songs for my crew to bug out to. A funny thing happened though- people were liking the Baritone Tip stuff more than the Phill Most stuff!
The first two songs I did were called “I Could Do This” and “Evil”. “I Could Do This” had Baritone and Tiplover pretty much just rhyming about runnin’ up in various females (“They open up the door / hello Tip / and from then on, it’s just like a porno flick”) over a chopped up Pointer Sisters “Yes We Can Can” beat, and “Evil” featured a James Brown “Get On The Good Foot” sample with the fellas trading rhymes about how nasty they were on the mic (“Don’t ever let me catch you bitin’ this / or I’ll rip out your pancreas / ‘cuz I’m Evil”). I did these songs right around the time that I did “That Girl” and not long after I recorded “On Tempo Jack”, all done in my crib using that same Casio RZ-1 sampler and the Tascam 4-track. Dudes were definitely into the Phill Most tunes, but I clearly noticed that they seemed to be enjoying the Baritone stuff a little more, sometimes even telling me, “man, that’s the stuff you need to be doing right there!” I was not having that, though… yeah, i did have fun doing the Baritone Tip songs, but it wasn’t serious at all, it was just something to clown around with. I wasn’t gonna really try to make any Baritone Tiplove records… was I?
Between 1988 and 1989 the whole In Effect Records / Phill Most Chill “On Tempo Jack” project didn’t materialize as planned, and my brother and his business partner got locked up- so that was the end of the whole do-it-yourself independent record company idea. So I had to come up with the next plan. As always, i just kept recording songs, and before you know it I had a full Phill Most Chill AND a full Baritone Tiplove album recorded. We tried to make it happen with the Phill Most Chill “From The Cradle Of Civilization” lp first, but it was not really all that well received by most people (myself included). So once again, people were hearing the Baritone Tiplove “Amazing Stories” demo and getting blown away! By this time I was pretty much agreeing that the BT joints were winning over the PMC material that I was doing at the time. So that became the focus, although how I was gonna perform this schitt live I had no idea.
Eventually a tape got into the hands of the good people at Tin Pan Apple Management. Tin Pan Apple, headed by Charlie Stetler (who you may also remember as Bleeker in the movie Krush Groove) was best known for managing The Fat Boys during their heyday. They loved the Baritone Tiplove tape (and probably envisioned another huge novelty rap success since their Fat Boys money must’ve been drying up by this time), so they offered to represent me and try to shop a deal to the majors. It’s hard for me to remember the timeline and exact details all these years after the fact, but from what I recall they got a lot of good feedback and some offers to sign Baritone Tip, but the deals weren’t good enough for them to get involved- remember, these cats were used to that Fat Boys dough, so although I probably would’ve been happy as hell with whatever was offered, it wasn’t on the level of what Tin Pan Apple needed to make it worthwhile to them.
Anyway, during this time I got to do some other projects through the Tin Pan connection, including working on a project for RCA with my man Soulson (who UK heads may remember being down with the Next Men a few years back) and the singer Anastacia back when she was on the come up (wowww… li’l mama had some pipes on her!). And get this- we recorded at the infamous D&D Studios, a couple of years BEFORE Primo and them made it the place to be in Hip Hop. So before Guru and Jeru and everybody else was rackin’ em up on the pool table across the hall, ya man Phill Most was servin’ ’em well and sinkin’ the 8-ball as well as spittin’ the hot 16’s at D& D. Schitt gets no realer than that, son!
Basically, though, I was still at square one with what i was trying to do with my music. People were saying my Phill Most Chill stuff was too “positive” sounding (they were probably right, in retrospect) and people dug the Baritone Tip joints but it still wasn’t happening. What’s the next move gonna be, Phill? A-ight dig this- right around this time the Ice Cube “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted” album came out, and it was pretty much killing everything else. Now remember, I’m the “positive” guy who by this time had stopped drinking and wildin’ out, was deeply on some afrocentric “respect your queen” type schitt (check the song I did, “Woman To Woman”, on the Jollirock The Black Prince 12″ from 1989 to see where my head was at… meh). And here we are hanging out one night with the crew, the Ice Cube album is blasting from somebody’s car, and all the females who are hanging out are singing along word for word with Cube- “bitch bitch bitch bitch ho bitch bitch bitch”- and loving every minute of it! “Well cotdamn”, I’m thinking…. “why am I wasting my time doing this positive schitt??? People don’t want no positive schitt, they want that FOUL schitt. A-ight, then… back to the drawing board.”
NEXT: LIVIN’ FOUL
(BTW, that freestyle isn’t reeeeally live… it’s one of those “live in the studio” recordings like the stuff record labels used to put out back in the 60’s and 70’s. But I think you probably guessed that anyway.)
What we have here today, homeboys and homegirls, is a clip from one of my favorite old school tapes, courtesy of the Fearless Four (Microphone Wizard DLB, Devastating Tito, Mighty Mike C and Great Peso, along with dj’s Master O.C. and Crazy Eddie). Now, back in the days I liked a lot of the Fearless’ records (“It’s Magic”, “Rockin’ It” and “Fearless Freestyle” were the joints) but I wasn’t feelin’ their live tapes as much as the ones with the Cold Crush, Fantastic Five, Force MCs, etc. Not until I peeped this one from 1985, which was a few years after the apex of their popularity but probably their peak as far as skills go. DLB was M.I.A. at this performance, but the rest of the crew, particularly Tito, more than made up for their leader’s absence. VERY next level for 1985- the rhyming is sharp and the turntable work is real innovative. And for those who thought that heavy duty cussin’ was invented by NWA or somebody- WRONG. A whole lot of stuff that you may have thought was first done by this or that rapper on this or that record was actually already being done on the street level years before the world at large knew anything about it. Of course, what else could it be?
A few years back I got a request from a homie at Power 106 in LA to hit them off with a mix. At the time I was pretty much done with the break mix game, but I said what the hell… one more for the road. I just so happened to have a bunch of records that had been recently sampled by various hip hop and r&b acts sitting by my tables, so why not hook up a little mix using some of these joints. Not even midway through putting the mix together (I don’t do no live mix schitt, almost all of my joints are productions) the computer I had at the time crashed, so I lost all of my man at Power 106’s contact info. Tried to find out who he was, where I could reach him, but to no avail (knowing me I probably didn’t try very hard). Well, if you’re out there and happen to see this post, my man, I did have every intention of sending you the mix and here’s the evidence. I only finished a little less than 20 minutes of it, though… here it is anyway.
You can probably tell this was done right around the time Beyonce‘s “Crazy In Love” and 50 Cent‘s “Get Rich Or Die Trying” came out, before everybody and they mama was up on the samples used. Your Soulman mix collection isn’t complete without this, so get your free download on. And LEAVE COMMENTS. I ain’t droppin’ this schitt much longer if I don’t get some more feedback…. schitt, it don’t got to be in english! Peace to all who do leave comments on the regular.
SOULMAN – Goin’ Back To Cali Power 106 Mix (unreleased) RE-UPPED
I just heard about the Big Daddy Kane’s recent performance in Philly… they say the brother tore it down so completely that when it was over the crowd kept chanting “we’re not worthy”… actually had Kane getting a little misty eyed over the fact that all these years later he can still get so much love from the people. Well, Big Daddy, you most definitely deserve it, son. Folks will always debate who’s the greatest rapper to ever touch a mic, but for me it’s got to be BDK. In his prime the man had NO weaknesses as far as I’m concerned. For right now I’ll leave the GOAT arguments alone, but instead will just hit you with a few Kane rarities that you may or may not already have- this stuff has probably already been circulating on the net, but if you DON’T already own this you most certainly can use it. It’s Big Daddy Kane…. of course you can use it.
BIG DADDY KANE – A Little Half Steppin’ RE-UPPED
BIG DADDY KANE & ANTOINETTE – Raw Attitude RE-UPPED
BIG DADDY KANE vs. JAZZ FRESH at The Rooftop NYC, 1987 RE-UPPED
BTW, I have some other BDK live stuff from back when he was Biz’s hype man, I just gotta dig that stuff out. If anybody out there has the OTHER Big Daddy Kane-Jazz Fresh battle tape, the one where they go at it in Philly, please hit me up and let me know what’s good. Trades or $$$, whatever’s clever.
Yo…. i know y’all checked the def short film on the life of Hip Hop pioneer Chief Rocker Busy Bee Starski that I posted a couple of months ago… did you know that said short film was done by Barry Michael Cooper? Yeah, THAT Barry Michael Cooper… the man behind flicks like New Jack City, Sugar Hill (that was my SCHITT, yo) and Above The Rim. My man was one of the first, if not THE first hip hop journalist back when he was puttin’ it down for the Village Voice (BTW, I just dug up some old issues from my vaults, so I will have some other Voice-related posts coming soon). BMC is still puttin’ it down… peep the 20 part web drama BLOOD ON THE WALL$ featuring appearances by a number of well-known faces, now running on the Baltimore Citypaper website. Here’s webisode 1… you can see the other parts at http://citypaper.com/digest.asp?id=13984 (they’re up to webisode 15 as of right now).
Big homie also is working with some Philly rap folks… keep an eye out for the upcoming The Hu$tle Diaries online documentary that deals with the real life trials and tribulations of an indy rap label in the 2000’s. You can check the trailer /video featuring Philly Swain here.
And just to keep things in the real schitt realm, here’s part 2 of that Busy Bee flick showin’ how homeboy gets down with the stickiest of the icky…
You should also google up my man BMC and read up on some of his true hollywood stories… the Oliver Stone encounter was truly an OH SNAP moment!
I’m not really a disco guy, but I can appreciate some of the stuff in almost any genre of music. I stumbled across a bunch of rare disco 12″s a few years back (my last big come up on the record diggin’ tip… i’ll probably never be into record hunting deep enough to find a motherload like that again). Most of the records I sold… like I said, I’m not a disco guy. I kept a couple of them, most notably the 1st record I play on this “A Whole New Way Of Walking” mix (actually I sold a test pressing of said record and kept the commercial copy). I did the mix I guess back in 2005 or 2006… disco, dance, boogie, modern soul, just plain ol’ R&B, etc…. some common stuff that I’ve always loved mixed in right alongside the raaaaare stuff. I was gonna put this out as part of my Stroman Fresh Baked Classics series of mix cds, but I decided that there were some things about this mix that I should’ve done differently and upon further review just chose not to put it on the market. Plus, does anybody even buy cds anymore? Your guess is as good as mine, probably even better. So here you go, free of charge… if you didn’t already cop this over at Soulstrut you can add it to your immense mp3 library now. More unreleased Soulman mixes will be coming soon, stay tuned.
PS: anybody who can name that first record I play on this mix will win a prize… anybody who can name EVERY record on this mix will win an even COOLER prize. Mr. Supreme-level contestants are not eligible.