Scoring a top ten hit single might seem like any recording artist's greatest fantasy come to life. However the reality is that a hit single can become a stigma for an artist, particularly if it is the only hit single that an artist scores in their career since it will relegate them to that "one hit wonder" pile. Such, unfortunately, was the case for late-80's rap star Young MC whose 1989 breakout crossover single "Bust A Move" was his only big hit - one that has been featured on VH1's "100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders." But even before that, eight years after his hit had topped the charts, Young MC himself seemed resigned to the fact that he was indeed already a one-hit wonder. That was in 1997 when he released the poorly received comeback-attempt album unapologetically entitled Return of the 1 Hit Wonder. Too bad since Young MC was a good rapper whose career deserved to go further than that one hit.
British by birth, Marvin Young was born in the Wimbledon suburb of South West London, England before his family crossed the Atlantic to where he would be raised in Queens, New York City. There he graduated from Hunter College, soon-after moving west across the States to attend the University of Southern California. It was at USC where he not only earned a bachelors degree in economics but also earned the friendship of two students with a bright music biz future ahead of them. Michael Ross and Matt Dike were the founders of the then fledgling Delicious Vinyl Records label. The meeting of these two and Young MC would be a most important one. Thanks to signing the unknown but soon to be hugely successful Young MC to their new upstart label as Delicious Vinyl's first artist - they made a grand entrance into the rap music business. The signing would also in turn launch the career of their next crossover pop rap artist Tone-Loc for whom Young MC co-write both the 1989 top-ten, Tone-Loc mega hit "Wild Thing" as well as Loc's hit "Funky Cold Medina" - both from Tone-Loc's debut hit album Loc-ed After Dark. Many have rightfully noted that Young had pershaps foolheartedly given away some of his best material to Tone-Loc.
Slimkid3 (aka Trevant "Tre" Hardson) is a founding member of seminal alternative hip-hop group The Pharcyde, as well as a solo performer and producer. He started his performing career as a member of Two for Two, a dance group best known for appearing on In Living Color. In 2002, Slimkid3 released Liberation, his first solo album after leaving The Pharcyde. Mark Potsic, a.k.a. DJ Nu-Mark, is a hip-hop producer, owner of Hot Plate Records, and member of Jurassic 5. He released his first solo album in 2004, an instrumental EP Blend Crafters. He has worked with J-Live, Aloe Blacc, Charles Bradley, and the Lonely Island. In 2014, he and Slimkid3 collaborated on their self-titled album, Slimkid3 & DJ Nu-Mark (Delicious Vinyl).
The dynamic duo recently did some record shopping at Amoeba Hollywood. In this "What's In My Bag?" episode Slimkid3 finds a few house and soul gems to add to his collection while Nu-Mark, the consumate record collector, digs up some funky breaks and world music collections. DJ Nu-Mark kicks things off on a hunch and picks up a copy of Jimmy McGriff's Flyin' Time. Slimkid3 follows that with Meshell Ndegeocello's latest release, Comet, Come To Me. From Snoop Dog and Dam-Funk's 7 Days of Funk project to house music singer Lisa Shaw, Slimkid and Nu-Mark dig deep!
Each person has their own personal way to judge and rate the music they love. For me the criteria for rating an LP an "Essential Record" includes two key qualities: first, it's an all killer, no filler album (no temptation to ever skip over any track); and secondly, it is such a quality release that it doesn't age one bit over time (the timeless factor). Sometimes an Essential Record gets even better over the years. Such is the case with The Pharcyde's remarkable 1992 debut album, Bizarre Ride II (Delicious Vinyl), which sounds even more amazing today than it did when I first heard it 22 years ago. I say this after playing the 57 minute record from start to finish twice in a row today, having not listened to it in a few years. Damn, that J-Swift-produced album is so incredibly good! It's packed with soul, passion, and richly varied but cohesive beats and flows - from jazzy to old school to next generation - with varying BPMs. But, most notably, the album was totally unlike anything else at the time.
In late 1992, the SoCal-based Delicious Vinyl record label released Bizarre Ride II within just a few weeks of fellow LA based hip-hop artist Dr. Dre's G-Funk classic, The Chronic. While the two landmark hip-hop releases may have been linked by timeline and geography, they could not have been further apart in sound and style. Even Bizarre Ride's wild, fun, cartoonish cover art set it apart as a record that did not take itself too seriously. The album effuses a feeling of nonstop fun all the way through, as proven by the numerous impromptu-sounding hilarious studio bits that were mixed in or left in the final recording, like at the end of "Ya Mama" where they are just riffing off of each other. Unique, too, is how many of the "skits" on Bizarre Ride sound like songs, such as the 2:10 long "Quinton's on the Way (Skit)" which is like a Louis Armstrong inspired jazz song that captures the guys having fun in the studio with their different sounding voices and tones perfectly in contrast with each other.
The name of Frank Nitt’s just released six-song EP on Delicious Vinyl, Jewels In My Backpack, is more than simply some catchy throwaway title. Rather, it accurately sums up the new recording's sound -- one that melds the smooth glossy production of Terrace Martin (Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Talib Kweli, etc.) with the raw & gritty yet instantly engaging Mid West flow of the longtime Detroit emcee, who is known to most rap fans for his membership in Frank-n-Dank and his longtime affiliation with the late great J-Dilla.
"I'm considered a backpack emcee, a grimy, underground emcee, while Terrace Martin, he does records with Snoop and people like DJ Quik, his is a much bigger, shinier sound," said the artist, who was born Frank Bush. "So Terrace kinda represents the jewels while I represent the backpack -- Jewels In My Backpack."
In fact, that theme of juxtaposing opposite components but somehow making them effectively co-exist in one recording is what Jewels is all about. Hence, the EP song titled "H.A.T.E." is balanced out by another titled "L.O.V.E." "This whole record is all about balance," stresses Frank. "Like, I got a song called "Go Girl" which is about strong empowered women, but I also have a song called "Psychedelic Freaky Girls," which is about, I guess, the opposite of that. So this record is very balanced." It also has a nice balance of guest contributors, including J. Black, Problem, Bad Lucc, Kurupt, and DJ Quik.