Listen: Mamma Gave Birth To The Soul Children / Queen Latifah & De La Soul
I was fortunate enough to meet Jon Baker, owner of Gee Street Records, through the Island UK office. Actually, Julian Palmer from 4th & Broadway in London had signed Stereo MC’s to a singles deal, and Jon, the ever ambitious yet courteous entrepreneur, bugged me incessantly to come over and see a rehearsal, guaranteeing their greatness.
I recall Jon having a picture perfect office setup, basically heaving with records and always jumping. I loved Gee Street. They had released some US hip hop and house independently prior to ultimately signing the deal with Island. On a previous trip, this guy fed my 7″ addiction with serious handfuls of each release. Generous wasn’t near a strong enough term. And his pressings were beauties, thick vinyl, top notch UK picture covers. Jon Baker always did these things classy.
Well last night, ‘Mamma Gave Birth To The Soul Children’ got stuck on repeat as I moved some big boxes around the house, a lucky break. It recalled the time he and Ziggy drove Corinne and I around Chelsea, blasting late night London pirate stations. Some of the stuff played would still rock up any world, and in the mix, on comes Jon’s Queen Latifah / De La Soul record. Kid in a candy shop, it couldn’t have been a better moment for him.
Back to that Stereo MC’s rehearsal. They were red hot, yeah, undeniable. Mission accomplished. We scheduled ‘Elevate My Mind’ as a US Island single immediately. It eventually climbed into the BILLBOARD Top 40, paving the way for a proper Stereo MC’s career run and a full Gee Street/Island label deal.