Archive for the ‘De La Soul’ Category

Queen Latifah & De La Soul

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

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.

Biz Markie

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Listen: Just A Friend / Biz Markie

A solid ten years before the turn of the century, Biz Markie’s ‘Just A Friend’ was a hit. A mainstream, BILLBOARD Top 100 hit, #9 to be exact.

This was 1989 into 1990, when Young MC’s ‘Bust A Move’ and Kool Moe Dee’s ‘Wild, Wild West’ were sharing slots on the US Pop charts with De La Soul’s ‘My Myself & I’ and A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘I Left My Wallet In El Segundo’. Biz Markie, with most of the Cold Chillin’ roster, fit right in.

Looking back nowadays, they collectively made up the sound of an era gone by, before most hip hop became major label controlled, processed and manufactured. And way before Biz Markie’s beat boxing went out of style.

De La Soul / Steely Dan

Friday, March 11th, 2011

delasoul, De La Soul, Steely DanBig Life, Tommy Boy

Listen: Eye Know / De La Soul
Eye Know / De La Soul

When I worked at Island in the late 80′s, the whole UK office were nuts about hip hop, most of them that is. When they’d visit New York for CMJ, or maybe it was called the New Music Seminar then, it would be straight to lower Broadway to buy sneaks and the East Village to see bands, all the while thinking they were steeped in hip hop culture. Pretty funny. Grass is always greener. I was just as guilty of acid house, or Brit pop as it cringingly got coined. De La Soul was top of the list for them all. They’d go on about De La this, De La that, like De La clothes and De La haircuts. It was a bit embarrassing. I suppose the lure of ghetto life was no different then than my attraction to it ten years earlier, whether it be Blaxploitation or funk. So fair enough.

steelypeg,  De La Soul, Steely DanBig Life, Tommy Boy

Listen: Peg / Steely Dan
Peg / Steely Dan

I tell you what, my effort to avoid them failed, and De La Soul became a bit of a guilty pleasure. A double pleasure really, as it got me to lower my guard against Steely Dan. During their heyday, I was way more interested in The Buzzcocks or The Heartbreakers than all their polish. Taste changes with age, mine widens in fact. Because of ‘Eye Know’ I suddenly realized my affection for the sampled hook from ‘Peg’.

And I found I do love a nice UK pressed Steely Dan 7″, especially the promos.