Fightin' Words is a long delayed release from East Coast rapper Diabolic which has been in the works for four years. Originally intended to come out on Viper Records, the album instead got released via the recently founded WarHorse Records. Mic collaborators include such hard hitters as Vinnie Paz, Apathy, and R.A. the Rugged Man, while production is handled in most part by DJ Premier.
Gang Starr "Just To Get A Rep" from the album Step Into The Arena (1991)
"Mad brothers know his name" are just a few of the well known (and oft quoted or sampled) Gang Starrlyrics rapped by the late great emcee of the legendary hip-hop duo GURU (Gifts Unlimited Rhymes Universal) over DJ Premier's killer track on "Just To Get A Rep." The song was released in February 1991 by Chrysalis/EMI as the lead single (with "Who's Gonna Take The Weight" on the filp side of the 12" single) from the duo's hip-hop classic full-lengthStep In The Arenathat was released a few weeks earlier. Like that album the single "Just To Get A Rep" remains a hip-hop classic. And now 23 full years later it is even clearer what an important role this particular song plays in its part of hip-hop's legacy, with each phrase and rhyme from the song known by heart by every true hip-hop fan and DJs/producers who like to take snippets of it and throw it in the mix. See full song lyrics listed below along with the videos for the other Step In The Arena album tracks as the mellow, chilled out "Lovesick" whose numerous samples include Digital Underground's best known song "The Humpty Dance," the heavily politicized "Who's Gonna Take The Weight?" (my personal fave album track with "Check The Technique" in close second), and the title track itself from the album Step In The Arena that while it was technically the group's second album it was their main introduction to most hip-hop audiences at the time.
Thanks again to Ray Ricky Rivera at the Hollywood Amoeba store for the latest top five chart of best selling new releases from the SoCal store with the brand new Murs & Fashawn collaboration, This Generation on Duck Down, in the number slot with a bullet since its release on Tuesday of this week. In fact to celebrate the new album on that very same day the duo did a live set (also a live webcast) on release day / Tuesday this week at the Hollywood Amoeba when a lot of fans bought the new album and helped them reach number show at the same store. That in-store concert was not just a celebration of their new release. It was also a Rock the Vote drive that Amoeblogger Billy Gil reviewed here yesterday in which he noted how Murs said to the packed crowd that “If you’re smart, you’ll be registered to vote and to get married by the time you leave here.” Check out the in-store/Rock The Vote/webcast concert video above.
DJ Woody is an amazingly gifted DJ who works in both audio and video formats - and expertly in each. The UK DJ, who came to fame as an accomplished battle DJ (ITF, DMC, Vestax), not only impressively utilizes the the video scratch/mix format in the hip-hop DJ turntable tradition but this this gifted guy manages to take it to a whole other next level. This skill he instantly demonstrates in his latest mind-blowing audio/video production above, Big Phat 90's Mixtape which is a pleasing flashback to the highlights (hip-hop and pop culture) of that bygone decade's years with many featured tracks from the first part of the decade - aka the latter half of hip-hop's much heralded Golden Era.
The instantly engaging, brand new, intricately assembled 45-minute, audio visual production is made in "video mixtape" format and, as such, is equally enjoyable to just listen to or watch and listen. Big Phat 90's Mixtape is also the 35 year DJ's salute to his favorite decade: the 1990's - hip-hop and beyond. Fresh back in the UK from some doing some gigs in Russia over the weekend I caught up with the British talent born Lee Woodbine to ask him a few questions on hip-hop in the 90's, and also what went into making this impressive video music mix.
It was on this date exactly two years ago (April 19, 2010) that hip-hop icon, emcee GURU of hip-hop golden era legendary duo Gang Starr (with DJ Premier) died succumbing to a year long battle with cancer combined with a serious heart attack from a month earlier. The name of the super-gifted and highly influential MC, born Keith Elam and who was only 43 when he passed in April 2010, appropriately stood for "Gifts UnlimitedRhymes Universal" which perfectly summed up the artist. GURU will always be remembered most for his Gang Starr recordings. Yes he did a lot of other work with artists over the years including the ambitious Jazzmatazz series with Branford Marsalis, Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers and Ronny Jordanbut it is his Gang Starr recordings/catalog that will forever remain in the hearts & heads of music fans and the general hip-hop consciousness.
There have been, over the years, countless club nights whose names have been taken directly from GURU lyrics, and/or Gang Starr song/album titles. Dave Paul of BOMB Hip Hoponce had a party called Step In The Arena. Additionally GURU's fondness for confrontational, battle style lyrics were tailor-made for DJs to utilize in battle scenarios. As UK DJ/producerPete Sasqwax so accurately noted today on this sad anniversary, "So many quotables & without him, how different DJ battles would've been over the years. I believe there was a significant period of time whereby it was mandatory to use a Guru dis in your DMC [DJ battle] routine otherwise you would automatically fail to progress." Above and below are videos to some of my personal all time fave Gang Starr cuts. Rest in peace GURU - your music keeps you alive forever!