Anonymous Exuberance (part 1): The Numero Group is Killing It
03/19/2009, 10:04 AM
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By Nate LeBlanc

Chicago-based archival label The Numero Group has emerged as one of the most reliable record labels in the world in the past five years. This post will focus on their Eccentric Soul series, which is exactly what it sounds like; lovingly detailed reissues of below-the-radar soul sides that have never been widely available outside of their respective localities. My curiosity was initially piqued by their stark packaging (one picture on the front, a number, and a plain white back cover with no further info, track titles, or clues as to the contents) yet deterred by high price tags (generally $20 or so for CDs and around $25 for wax). However, now that I’ve had a taste, I feel like I’m addicted to these comps, scouring eBay for originals I can’t afford, re-reading liner notes, and finding things to like about the tracks that didn’t initially stand out. My personal history with the label goes a little something like this (hit it!):

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mighty mo: being without you
03/18/2009, 9:48 PM
Filed under: Tunes | Tags: ,

Maurice Williams is known for his one-hit “Stay“, which is said to be the shortest song ever to reach #1 on the charts. It reemerged again and was immortalized on this Swayze soundtrack decades later (don’t front like you don’t know.).

Snappy and gruff, “Being Without You” is a forgotten number from Maurice that’s not as known as it should be. In typical style, it’s a short, killer cut. Enjoy!


prolyphic beatmaker: interview with reanimator
03/18/2009, 9:31 PM
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2004’s Music To Slit Writs By showed a capable producer with nice sample selections, sequencing know-how, and solid overall song construction. The project (filled with touches of old-school rap) easily held up against other ballyhooed beat-tapes of ’04, but somehow slipped under the radar. Four years later, and with a new project, The Ugly Truth, having been out a while, NERDTORIOUS spoke to Reanimator about beatmaking, his history, and current well-kept career.

You sound has a lot of old school rap influences. Who are some of your all time favorite producers?
In no particular order…Marley Marl – I cringe at some of his scratching, but the production was always great. Bomb Squad – The true masters of piecing together lots of samples in an innovative way. Dr. Dre – Some people are surprised that I cite Dre as an influence, but his studio mixing skills and attention to getting timing right always seemed a step ahead of everyone else.

Give our readers some background on Music To Slit Wrists By. How long did it take to complete? What are you most proud of regarding that record?
Music To Slit Wrists By is a record that I originally released in 2002. I had about 2 years worth of songs that, over the course of a year, I pieced together to create this 80-minute mix of music. The thing that I’m probably most proud of is the fact that people enjoy it. I get comments from people who aren’t necessarily into hip-hop say how much they enjoy listening to it, which is nice.
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The Whatnauts vs. ultimate force
03/17/2009, 9:37 AM
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“Girls. I like ‘em fat, I like ‘em tall, some skinny, some small, I got to get to know them all…”

Besides the classy lyrics, you gotta love guys with an album cover like that (look at dude in the middle!). The song, “Girls”, was an inter-label collaboration between The Whatnauts and The Moments, both of whom recorded for Stang throughout the ‘70s. The song’s a silly (and kinda offensive) homage to women [“…lovely and good lookin’, the kind that does the best cookin’…”] but it’s goofy in an unintentional way and the production’s catchy. The banter between the groups make it even more fun.



Joseph Kirkland grabbed the record years later. Better known as Diamond D, he used it for a track he so originally also named, “Girls”. It’s off Ultimate Force’s lost full-length, I’m Not Playin’ (slated for 1990, released in ’07). Ultimate Force was Diamond D and MC Master Rob. But I’m Not Playin’ got shelved (along with Rob’s boooooring raps) when Diamond’s solo career took off. I’ve always dug Diamond D’s work, and this is an early cut of his. It has a melodic feel that D.I.T.C. would abandon on their later efforts for a much darker sound.


do you have to let it minger?
03/17/2009, 9:10 AM
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By Nate LeBlanc

As a child, shooting hoops in my driveway, I knew every angle off the backboard, every crack in the pavement, every boundary real and imagined. Though I had a group of neighborhood kids I regularly played with, I spent a lot of time shooting, dribbling, and daydreaming out there by myself. On the days when I had a particularly good day shooting, I felt like I could play with, and maybe even beat Michael Jordan. I’d practice last-second buzzer-beaters, high-arching shots over his outstretched fingers, and I could practically hear the applause when I, a short, chubby kid with minimal skills, improbably succeeded in beating the best to ever pick up a ball. I would relish the fantasy until the streetlights came on, take a long drink from the hose, and then go inside, eat dinner, and do my homework. What I didn’t do was spend the rest of those idyllic evenings stitching a crude replica of my imagined uniform, forging elaborate scorecards of the epic one-on-one battle, and recording my own Sportscenter-style highlight tapes documenting the historic event. If I had done all of that for about fifteen or twenty years, without telling anyone, all the while diligently shooting threes from the sidewalk and waiting for the moment when a wayward NBA scout came trolling for talent down Edenwood Drive, I might have been a sort of basketball version of Mingering Mike.

The strange saga of “Imaginary Soul Superstar” Mingering Mike, familiar to readers of Soulstrut and Wax Poetics but basically unheard of in the world at large, has gotten much more interesting in the past months with the release of a definitive book-length account of his career and the 45-only release of one of his few recordings.

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Victor Starks
03/15/2009, 11:27 PM
Filed under: Random, Tunes | Tags: , , ,

Got this in my email today. It’s a remix from GTA: Chinatown Wars. It’s always good to hear Ghost and DOOM spit together, even if the song isn’t exactly jaw-dropping. But they both deliver real well on this action-packed story rap. Plus, DOOM’s latest, BORN LIKE THIS (my favorite DOOM LP since Doomsday!), has me geeked.

HEAR Ghostface & DOOM: “Chinatown Wars (REMIX)”

American Original: Interview with Biz Markie
03/15/2009, 12:12 AM
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Foreword by Cutso

Hip-Hop does not create renaissance men (or women) anymore. And we can’t really count rappers who have dropped TJ Maxx-bound clothing lines, flavored beverages (soft and hard), TV shows, shoe horns, whatever side-hustles many rappers have undertaken to over-saturate the market on all fronts. Biz Markie did not rely on any of that.

In a time when Hip-Hop was young and cutting-edge, and before it lost grip of its roots, Biz Markie was an all-out entertainer: a successful hit maker both over and underground, an active DJ, a well-schooled record collector, and a mic-soaking beatboxer. He supposedly has an absurd toy collection, as he claims in the Hip-Hop factoid book Ego Trip’s Big Book of Rap Lists. He was also the comic relief character of one of the greatest posses the rap game has ever known: The Juice Crew.

Who could forget his earth-shattering rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” (in which he donned a Hendrix-style dashiki, blowout wig and lefty white Stratocaster) to open the festivities at the Tibetan Freedom Concert? The best part about that particular performance was his inability to play a single note on the guitar. Rather, he substituted shredding for belting “raow raows” belligerently . In that performance, the Biz kept true to the principles of his ground-breaking single “Make The Music With Your Mouth“.

His rendition of Elton John’s classic “Benny and the Jets” (recorded with his chums the Beastie Boys) is also a fine cut of pure, raw, off-the-cuff entertainment. He manages to pull off a gut-busting performance, without knowing a majority of the song’s lyrics.

Nowadays, he moonlights as a venue-packing DJ, and preserves the art of beatboxing as a segment host on Nick Jr.’s children’s show Yo Gabba Gabba, where he teaches viewers how to make music with THEIR mouths.

As the Hip-Hop game awaits its next true all-around entertainer, the Biz stands alone in his own class. With Biz Markie, it is ALWAYS that kind of party. Keep a close watch on your mashed potatoes…

“Lemme Tell You A Story Of My Situation…”

What was the first hip-hop related thing you ever did Biz?
Beatboxing. I mean, I was a kid and that was just the first thing I took up when it came to hip-hop. I didn’t think about, I just sorta did it, ya know?
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