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.
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