THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE MICROPHONE CHAMP AND MC SUPREME (AKA BARITONE TIPLOVE) PT. 1


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.)

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15 Comments

  1. Philly Phil, the king of old-man-raps! Nah just playing, keep em coming!

  2. No need to say you are playing, anonymous person… you are 100% right, I am INDEED the king of old man raps! I want that schitt written on my tombstone. Your only error was in forgetting the second L in my name. For that reason, and that reason alone, I hate your guts.

  3. yeeeah niceness!Thanks Phill for the bonus nuggets once again! And for the whole story behind Livin Foul – it’s a stupid dope LP. Great to hear more from those crazy alter egos of yours! All hell definitely broke loose on that LP.peace from across the lake!

  4. Priceless.Your Japanese friends making vinyl of this?” ”People don’t want no positive schitt, they want that FOUL schitt.” ”

  5. So 1987!! In the best way. Thanks for sharing, Soulman. But how bout the rest of the album? Shit is bangin! Funny how you pre-date Madlib with his Quasimoto pich-manipulated vocals by about 15 years, but while you went slow, he went high. Maybe DJ Screw and the rest of the cough syrup folks owe you a thank you as well!

  6. hey jbdown… it’s funny that you mentioned DJ Screw because although I doubt that BT really had any influence on that “screwed” sound, the Baritone Tiplove records actually did do pretty good for a minute in the Houston area. In fact, there was a cat from a Houston rap group called Royal Flush that was gonna be down with Baritone Tip for when we did live shows… I think he was gonna do the Baritone character if I remember correctly. BTW, any Houston rap heads out there ever heard of Royal Flush? I don’t even know if they ever ended up making any records or not, but they had some reeeeeal ill Geto Boys-inspired songs that truly gripped it on that other level. If anybody knows anything let me know. I still have their demo from 1991 misplaced somewhere… if I find it i’ll post it up one of these days.

  7. “Anonymous said… Priceless.Your Japanese friends making vinyl of this?”hmmm… could be! i am always getting offers to press this up or that up, so who knows. whoever hits me with the biggest $$$$$$$$ will be putting it out… i’d do it my damn self and just keep all the $$$$$$$$ but let’s face it… I’m a lazy bastid.

  8. sounds like the kinda thing those Gratitude guys would put out…

  9. would be too dope to have these tracks on some wax at some point…labmid is not even close to the BT levelpeace!

  10. I’ve got the 1988 Royal Flush album with ”Get From In Fronna Me” on it. That’s the real standout track.

  11. Hey Phill:You’re the man (or men, in this case). Thanks for sharing all these BT goodies and telling this crazy story. You even beat Del/Unicron to the bunch on schizo/alter-ego rap.Royal Flush had two DOPE LP’s. One on Rap-Al-Lot and one on Yo!. That collabo would have been hot and good for both Philly and Houston. To bad!Peace,Ed Catto

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