General Jimmy

Writer / DJ / PR Manager / Fat Bastard

Archive for the tag “The Masque”

Five for the Funk – Big Daddy Kane

BDK

In two weeks time Liverpool is going to get schooled by the don. Big Daddy Kane is coming to town and you better believe it. Alongside the likes of Kool G Rap, Rakim, Slick Rick and Biz Markie, Kane is part of the pantheon of truly great late eighties solo rappers. Everything about him is iconic, from his ultimate braggadocio rhymes to the ridiculousness of his garbs, he had it going on.

Any rapper stunting owes him so much, Biggie’s avuncular arrogance, Kanye’s fashionista flyness, Jay-Z’s smooth swagger – Kane paved the way for all this and much more. In fact Jigga’s debt stretches further, with his early 90s pre rocafella days spent acting as an intermediary hype man for Kane at his shows. His first two albums are absolute classics, and there’s the fact that Rakim, RA FUCKING KIM, cooled the prospect of beef with him. You know when the God thinks twice about entering a battle with you, you’re pretty good.

So in honour of this epochal event, encased in the soon to open East Village Club, five for the funk delivers five bits of greatness from BDK. Large.

‘Smooth Operator’

Mary Jane Girls’ ‘All Night Long’ is one of the most sampled records in hip-hop history, everyone from LL Cool J, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Redman and Ice Cube being among the fifty people in total who have used the saccharine soul 80s classic. I’ve even built a modest dj career off playing it in 90% of my sets of the past five years. But few have done it as well as on Smooth Operator.

While primarily a record in the classic Big Daddy batting off all competitors mould, he does deliver a few bars implying his acumen with the females, but it’s not as much as the title would have you belive. It’s less of a response to the anti-male diatribe of the same name from Sade than you might initially think, particularly as alongside the MJ Girls there’s samples from two of Marvin Gaye’s sexjams (‘Lets get it on’ & ‘Sexual healing’). Instead it’s just Kane doing what he does best, holding court like the don he is.

‘Raw’

This is the ronseal of 80s hip-hop. Marley Marl’s splicing of James Brown and Bobby Byrd just about manages to avoid being dated and Kane just goes, as you’d expect, raw. He’s an absolute animal on the mic in this, just a relentless barrage of skill that is the calling card of one of the greatest. An absolute monument of the genre.

‘Don’t Curse’ (Heavy D ft Kool G Rap, Pete Rock, Cl Smooth, Grand Puba, Q-Tip & Big Daddy Kane)

As posse cuts go this is up there with the best of them. The roll call features people who earned their stripes repping verse after verse in the Juice Crew, Tribe Called Quest and Grand Nubian, all coming together to show that they don’t need to swear to keep it going. It was of course an answer to the proliferation of Parental Advisory stickers which were rampant in hip-hop in time. It’s not the greatest 8 bars from Kane in his career, but he’s still smooth as ever and the track and video are amazing. Heavy D also looks ridiculous in prison style pyjamas, what’s not to love about that?

‘Any type of Way’

What marks Kane out from some of his peers is how graciously he’s aged. No rapper can ever maintain a scintillating appeal, but some slip from world domination to head in hands moments quicker than most. I’m looking at you KRS and Rakim. Kane however, has gone down the Slick Rick route of touring off the back of a legendary status and the odd track since his heyday and this gem from 2003, produced by DJ Premier, proves his mettle.

He’s still nice on the mic but rather than being on that arrogant tip here he is slipping into the paternal figure of hip-hop a man of his status should do. And his voice fits Preemo’s as ever on point production perfectly. The two recently joined up again for a nike commercial with the brilliant 28 bars, which features the genius closing gambit “I went on 28 just to raise the bars”. Don’t doubt this an emcee still with it.

‘Ain’t no Half-Steppin’

Still the one. This is just a relentless surge of look at me I am boss; put-downs, big me-ups, the lot. From a lyrical point of view it’s hard to think of many songs that deliver an aura of greatness quite like this, and the calling card ‘I’m awesome’ records of rappers, be them Biggie’s ‘Unbelievable’, Jay-Z’s ‘So Ghetto’, Big L’s ‘Flamboyant’ and so on, all stand behind this. Everyone is a butter knife compared to Kane’s machete faced with this.

The video is gloriously lo-fi, a reminder of the lack of real money in hi-hop at the time, when you get the impression that the combined cost of the tracksuits worn by Kane and his dancers probably outweighs the overall budget. That’s not to say he isn’t looking hella fresh, with a chain that probably cost the GNP of an eastern European country and a general persona that is dripping swag. The iconic BDK tune.

For ticket info hit here.

BnB Interview: Russell Reid

“It was quite and open brief, so I started experimenting with gelling images of humans, animals and random objects together until they looked twisted and often quite disturbed. They loved the designs and the rest is history.”

As mentioned previously, I was going to be interviewing Russ Reid of Wasted Heroes ahead fo the #CircusX celebrations this weekend. The result was an insightful look into the world of club design. Hit the quote to head to the interview.

Wasted Heroes & Circus X

There’s an oft forgotten role in clubland. Whilst we move to the sounds of DJs, crowd around in clubs, and give our money to the promoters wily enough to orchestrate it all for us, one role is crucial in garnering our attention in the first place – the graphic designer. One of those who has had a particularly dynamic role in clubland is Russell Reid, who is undergoing something of a furtive period right now. As the lead designer for Circus for nigh on the entirety of their ten years, he’s been responsible for iconic designs such as the following masterpiece:

Russ has a three day epic weekend rolling up for his wares and club involvement, with Circus turning ten with two shows In London and Liverpool and him hosting Space’s El Salon for the We Love closing party on Sunday 30th September. Featuring at the shows are the likes of Seth Troxler, Maceo Plex, Bicep (who headline El Salon at Space), Sascha Dive, Yousef (obviously) and Riva Starr, whilst a gluttony of artists have been pcitured wearing Russ’ eye catching Circus X merchandise in recent months. One of them being a rather well know grinning superstar who appears at the top of this page.

I’ll be posting more details in the upcoming days on some interviews with Russ as well as one or two places you can win some of his clobber. However until then head over to the Wasted Heroes website and the Circus X merchandise mini-site if you want to get your hands on the clothing sooner.

Head here for full details for Circus London with Yousef, Riva Starr, Sascha Dive and more.

The Liverpool counterpart with Sasha, Seth Troxler, Maceo Plex, Yousef, Davide Squillace and Lewis Boardman is via this link.

Peep the below sampler for Yousef’s brand new album ‘A Product of Your Environment’.

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