HIP HOP LESSONS 2009: MORE OLD SCHOOL TAPE HISTORY FOR Y’ALL

A schittload of old school tapes have flooded the internets since I first started dropping my Hip Hop Lessons for the holidays a few years back, so I wasn’t so sure that there was still a need for me to continue with it. But, as always, the people have spoken and informed me that the world is still in need of an education on the true meaning of Hip Hop. So here we go again-

COLD CRUSH BROTHERS vs. DOCTOR ROCK & THE FORCE MC’S One of the great battle tapes from Hip Hop’s early days, a battle that was really more like a sucker punch TKO. The CC4 had no idea that a battle was even taking place, so they did their normal show then bounced to go make another engagement later that night. After the Cold Crush was gone from the premises, the Force MC’s took the stage and proceeded to go at them with an unprecedented level of sheer disrespect, even beyond Kool Moe Dee vs. Busy Bee preportions. As legend has it, when the Cold Crush later got wind of what had gone down, they made a point of stepping to the Force HARD the next time their paths crossed- made them apologize and seriously warned them to never pull a stunt like that again. What surprised me when I read about this battle was that the Force MC’s really were not all that respected among the top groups of the day… I know they were from Staten Island, which at that time I guess was like being from Martha’s Vinyard as far as the hardcore Bronx dudes were concerned. But I’d heard so many tapes where the Force was rocking at shows with all the other groups and were killing it with the harmonies and routines, I just assumed that everybody respected them as being among the elite. Regardless, they most definitely made their mark in the streets with this battle- if you don’t already have it you certainly need it.


COLD CRUSH BROTHERS & TREACHEROUS THREE BOATRIDE TO BEAR MOUNTAIN, 1982I used to go to Bear Mountain (in Verplanck, NY) almost every summer when I was a teenager… a great place to see nature and all that schitt but also an ideal spot to bring a few cases of brew and find a secluded flat rock up in the hills where you could get busy with the fly girly of your choosing. Such fond memories. Anyway, it seems that some of the early Hip Hop legends also used to venture out to the Mountain- by boat, it would appear- and actually did shows during their fantastic voyage. This clip features LA Sunshine and Moe Dee of the Treach rockin’ the m-i-c along with Easy AD, JDL and GMC of the Cold Crush, with the highlight being Caz not only saying the original “Knucklehead Rap” but ALSO the rarely heard part two.

TREACHEROUS THREE FREESTYLING Yes, I know I post a lot of clips with the Treach rhyming… an indication of how much admiration I have for the group and their skills in their heyday. I was blown away by “New Rap Language” back in 1980 and just thought T3 had the best rhymes out of all the other groups runnin’ schitt in the early days. Most crews back then had one or maybe two emcees who were strong and then the rest of them were kinda nondescript, but all three of the Treacherous rappers were real nice IMO… super clear voices, style, intelligent well constructed lyrics, etc. For me, not much beats hearing Moe, LA and K rhyming to “Life On Mars”, “Truck Turner”, etc… RAW.


MASTERDON AND DEATH COMMITTEE (a.k.a. The Turn It Out Three), HARLEM WORLD 1982 – A couple of clips from one of my favorite old school tapes. Always love those Death Committee routines back when Boo-Ski was down with the crew. And BTW, for those who don’t know, in the Hip Hop world “def” was spelled D-E-A-T-H before Def Jam records hit the scene in ’84.


FEARLESS FOUR at HARLEM WORLD, 1982 – Since a few people requested more Fearless Four recently and my homeboy Oldskool4real said he hadn’t heard many tapes with the whole crew together, here’s a clip with DLB, Tito, Mike C and Peso passing the mic around during one of their shows at Harlem World sometime between the release of “It’s Magic” and “Rockin’ It”. Would’ve included more of their performance but IMO their harmonizing routines really were not their strongpoint so I cut those parts out… maybe I’ll drop the whole show some other time.
SOULSONIC FORCE & JAZZY JAY at the T-CONNECTION, 1980Love those Zulu Nation tapes- they’re always rocking some beats you don’t hear on anybody else’s tapes. This time I’m hearing stuff like Kenny Rogers‘ “Tulsa Turnaround” and “Funky Soul Shake” by E.T. White.

There you have it… as always, if you are looking for the full tapes and / or for other long lost old school live Hip Hop cassettes, hit up my brother Troy L. Smith over at the Old School Hip Hop forum (and Troy, if you want to feel free to leave your contact info in the comments or get in touch with me and I’ll put the info up right here). Class dismissed.

SEE YOU TOMORROW (MONTY STARK 1940 – 2009)

I’m not gonna make this post about how I copped my Stark Reality og vinyl or how much it’s selling for according to Popsike or any of that. I’m not gonna write a full fledged eulogy, either (but I will direct you to what Egon wrote on the Now Again Records site)… just a few words about the man Monty Stark. Although I only knew Monty personally from a few e-mails and posts on Soulstrut, MySpace, etc., it was clear to me that he was cool people. Just little stuff like his posting of the cover of my Archaeologists’ Classics Vol. 82 cassette – the one with the Stark Reality-bitten artwork- on the ‘Strut, his way of winking at me and saying “I see you, Soulman!” Putting the picture of my kids holding my copy of the Stark lp up on his site (Akilah and Khalil loved that). Hearing a beat I made using his “All You Need To Make Music” and giving it the thumbs up, even if he probably didn’t really get my “hiphopizationing” of his original tune. Cool people. So of course I’m sad to know that the world has lost not only a brilliant music man but also a very cool human being… I don’t know, maybe it’s me but it doesn’t seem like they make so many of those anymore. Anyway, I’m rockin’ “Comrades” right now as I type these words, and I’m feeling pretty good. “Friendship for life… see you tomorrow.” Word up. Thanks, Monty.