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Platinum Pyramids: Egyptian Lover Interview
04/18/2014, 1:53 PM
Filed under: Random | Tags: , ,

968-SS-EGYPT-1987

DJ, vocalist, and producer Greg Broussard literally started a movement in LA thirty years ago. With huge, bombastic beats and Jheri curls, he manifested his Egyptian Lover persona onto party records that defined him for decades. His pioneering history intermingles with characters like Ice-T and Dr. Dre, all of whom were young and using rap as springboards for eventual careers. He was amongst the first in the rap scene to start his own label, Egyptian Empire Records, in order to control his assets and career path. At the time, there was an opulence of open minds– and fun to be had– and Egyptian Lover supplied the score for it all, even encouraging interlopers through his inviting musical pallet.

He now gigs the world as a one man show, playing all vinyl, blasting 808 beats that thump hard as they did back then. These are records that were meant to be played loud and there’s a certain genuineness about hearing them on 10 x 10 speakers while your teeth and skull rattle. It’s timeless dance music without versifying complications– or as Egyptian Lover says, “Just get your freak on.” I caught Greg quickly to drop a little background as he heads to the South Bay Area to commemorate Record Store Day. Salute sir! – DM

In this age of MP3s, talk a bit about your obsession with vinyl and record collecting.

I started at a young age buying 45 singles of my favorite songs and then later on I started buying albums. My first 45 single was “A Letter to Myself” by The Chi-Lites in 1973. My first full album was The Best of Earth, Wind and Fire in November 1978. My first 12” single was Rapper’s Delight in 1979 and worth every penny of it. That’s when the bug hit me. 12” singles of everything that came out. I loved the long versions of songs that did not come on the radio. The instrumentals on the B-side, or whatever they put on the B side. I loved it!

Do you still collect?

Yes, that will always be my thing. I always find something I never seen before.

Tell people about the Radio Crew and Ice-T’s involvement. What do you think is its main legacy?

It was a once in a lifetime period in history. Ice T, The Glove and The Egyptian Lover. Playing records at that club was mind blowing. Then we made an album for the documentary and people to this day are still losing their minds from it. It has so many well programmed beats and scratching on it. We only pressed 25 copies so the bootlegs are out there! It was the beginning of a new era in music. Music to dance to.

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Stray Bullets
04/17/2014, 6:32 PM
Filed under: Interviews, Random | Tags: , ,

5_Records_Pharoahe_Monch

One of the most revered MCs to ever do it, Pharoahe is an intensely dense writer still delivering with such dexterity his nuanced lines beg re-listening. As the great music writer Dave Thompkins once said (and I’m completely paraphrasing, sorry Dave!) : “Monch raps like he’s in total control of every cell in his body.” I couldn’t agree more.

I spoke with Monch about records that inspired his own writing and have added to his already uncanny acumen. Check it out on Ego Trip HERE.



“Pray To Science They Don’t Pull Me Over”

bronson_kori

I believe I saw Bronson in SF around 2010 and have been a fan ever since, especially after hearing his mixtape (Bon Apetite…Bitch), Dr. Lecter, and his free internet release, Blue Chips Pt.I. Dude was intense and funny, made old WWF references, loved Kool G Rap, and talked about food. My story with the weedsmoking-gourmand is featured on the cover of the new Wax Po and Bronson was a great interview; super candid, hilarious, and grateful for the successes he’s had so far– he even addressed claims of him sounding derivative. We talked about hash, Wu-Tang, and plenty of food.

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One of my favorite later Bronson joints is on Blue Chips 2, as you hear below:

Action Bronson (production by Party Supplies)- “Midget Cough”


I learned from O-Dub that the sample source was some Filipino band called Joe Cruz and the Cruzettes. Hear the OG version below, with its slow groove that kind of oozes along. O-Dub’s response:

I don’t know very much about Joe Cruz except that he and the Cruzettes were largely a lounge act with heavy Brazilian/bossa influences. Most of their albums claim to have been recorded at different tourist hotels in the Philippines, including the one “Love Song” appears on (which is, by far, their most obscure LP from what I’ve seen).

Their version of “Love Song” came out in 1973 (supposedly) which would mean they were covering Lani Hall and not the other way around. It’s also notable that Hall’s album had a release in the Philippines.

Joe Cruz & The Cruzettes – “Love Song”


* Bronsolini Sketch by Kori Thompson

* Grab The New Issue of Wax Poetics HERE.



4 YEARS FOR 45 SESSIONS!
04/01/2014, 11:23 PM
Filed under: Random | Tags: ,

45th 45 Sessions @The Legionnaire Saloon, Oakland, CA

While parties brand themselves in order to branch-out to other cities, Platurn’s 45 Sessions was able to do the opposite– make OTHERS come to YOUR party. The roster has been thick through the years, Just Blaze, Nu-mark, J-Zone, Maseo (De La Soul), and Diamond D to name a few. As a past participant, I’m nothing short of honored to be a part of something that’s so intrinsically positive; good people, good 45s– what else could you ask for? Hats off to the 45 Sessions for turning the party out for 4 years. Dare I say, here’s to another 41 years?!?!

As fate would have it, Platurn just put down a killer set at the Boiler Room. Please take a look and listen to the dude behind the Sessions HERE! Congrats homie!



These Are The Breaks: J-Zone’s Top Ten Drum Breaks
03/10/2014, 2:54 PM
Filed under: Guest Spots, Tunes | Tags: ,

(J-Zone is back! Last time, he touched on his favorite 45s for a pre-45 Sessions blowout; this time, he zeroes in on his all-time choice breaks. His new release, Lunch Breaks, a sample-palette of live drums performed entirely by Jay himself launched last week, primed for drum-less MPCs everywhere. We’re always stoked to have Jay swing through these parts.- DM)

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Every hip-hop producer has their favorite drum breaks – until they start playing drums! I had this epiphany two years ago, when I picked up a pair of sticks and set out to learn a new instrument at the tender age of 34 and three quarters. When discovering the wide range of sounds a kit can make and the wide range of playing styles a drummer can use, you begin to hear breaks differently.

You also begin to realize how difficult some of these classics were to play. Nowadays, it’s no longer about which breaks are easiest to chop up, toss into the MPC and boom bap with, but which ones I like to emulate when I practice and mimic the recording of when I’m making my own breaks. So I’ve decided to mix it up and include both: a few choices from a production angle and a few from a (still learning to be a) drummer angle.

In celebration of the release of my ‘Lunch Breaks’ live drum package out now at The Drum Broker, I present my ten favorite drum breaks of all time.

10. Led Zepplin – “The Crunge”


Drummer: John Bonham

Ask anyone putting on a show in the drum section of a Guitar Center who they’d like to be for a day and the answer is probably John Bonham. The freakish Led Zepplin drummer has more Stans than any drummer in history, and although I have different heroes, I’d never front on Bonzo’s brilliance on the set. For fuck’s sake, the dude plays this groove in 9/8 with the pocket of a James Brown jam. And it was the driving force behind “The Magic Number.”

9. B.T. Express – “Energy Level”


Drummer: Leslie Ming

Although rap hasn’t been this fast in years, I’m shocked at how little this joint has been sampled (or if it’s been sampled at all). Leslie Ming is one of my favorite drummers. A session musician in New York throughout the ‘80s, Ming got his start with disco-funk outfit, B.T. Express, where he lit up the band’s Energy to Burn LP with rat-ta-tat-tat drumming from front to back. Accented, machine gun hi-hat marksmanship, syncopated kick-snare patterns and pure pocket make this a gem for b-boy circles and a dance floor smoker for those with soul.

8. Lonnie Smith – “Spinning Wheel”


Drummer: Joe Dukes

When Q-Tip de-virginized this record for sampling in 1990 for Tribe’s “Can I kick It?” he only scratched the surface. Organ trio jazz drummer, Joe Dukes, goes for his multiple times in the song, playing with grooves and giving producers a buffet of rudiments, licks and hits to fool with. One of the very first drum breaks I cut my sample chopping teeth to, there wasn’t one part I didn’t try to flip while learning to hook up drums. The classic Van Gelder Studios sound brings “Spinning Wheel” to life; it’s even more of a pleasure to listen to as an aspiring drummer.

7. Simtec & Wylie – “Socking Soul Power”


Drummer: Unknown

Those toms! The toms often play second fiddle in funk drumming and are tuned arbitrarily. But the way the drum set was miked, tuned and recorded gives the toms a bruising thump that nearly distorts the entire mix. This is just a raw, demo-like drum recording reminiscent of the great drum recordings of Chess Records.

6. Lee Moses – “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”


Drummer: Unknown

Sometimes it’s all about feel. I’m not sure who the drummer was on this twisted, mind-melting cover of the Motown classic, but it’s just the right mixture of a slightly ahead pocket, fills, jazz tuning and gritty recording gear that bring the song to life. The simple single stroke rolls on the toms for the breakdowns late in the song are gold. The feel and sound are insane enough on their own; the song doesn’t call for any fancy playing.

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Boom Zap
03/10/2014, 1:06 AM
Filed under: Tunes | Tags: , , ,

black-milk

Danny Brown & Black Milk : “Zap”


Admittedly I wasn’t hugely into Black Milk’s oeuvre but part of it, I came to realize, is how prolific dude’s been in the last few years. I spoke with him for the recent Wax Poetics and thought it was endearing that, to him, he finally “made it” when his parents came to one of his shows.

“My moms and pops were there! It was the first time after all these years that they saw me live. I knew right then and there this is what I’m meant for,” he said. While researching his work I re-listened to his Danny Brown collab, Black & Brown. As it now stands (and I consider myself a fan of Danny’s work) this album with Milk might be the only one where Brown’s abrassiveness doesn’t wear thin– don’t get me wrong, this Danny joint is still one of my favorite semi-recent rap songs. Peep the new Wax Po piece and here’s my favorite joint from the two; it thumps when the drums finally set in, and is such a hard, flashy moment in their young careers.



AUDIO II: Just For The Sake of It
03/10/2014, 12:09 AM
Filed under: Random | Tags: ,

age

One of our all-time favorite mixes is Age’s Audio, a blend of old soul, breaks, and rare cuts which continue to (no pun intended) age quite well years later. After all, it kicks off with Quinn Harris’ “All In The Soul” which is hardly a bad way to start any sequence of music.

Peep Audio II: Just For The Sake of It, the followup to its classic predecessor now finally available via New Medina Music. Highly recommended.




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