Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Vancity Original & thoseMFs present... VANCITY GIANTS 2

Large up all the artists that submitted tracks and freestyles for volume 2 of our Vancity Giants series. A extra large shout out to Kai, Tre, Snak, SonReal and Hedspin for killing the "Vancity Touch" record! We'll see everybody at the release party at Bar None tomorrow night (Dec 20th) featuring the legend Kid Capri. For more info on the release party go HERE.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jay Swing - High Top Fades & Fat Gold Chains (Mixtape)

I set out to make a tape full of new shit, but for whatever reason this was the outcome. Fuck it, I like EPMD, Public Enemy, and Big Daddy Kane more than Drake, Rick Ross, and Juicy J. Don't get me wrong, when I'm drunk at the club there is nothing else I want to hear more than that new 2Chainz record, but for every other moment of my life I'm good with Eric B & Rakim.

I'd post the track list for this mix but I find that it is best served cold. No song titles, just a bunch of records that make me think of High Top Fades & Fat Gold Chains when I play them. The years covered are '87, '88, '89, '90, and '91. New Jacks be warned though, none of these songs come with a trendy dance attached to them but you can dance to all of them. Nothing but fast Rap (the beats, not the raps). Enjoy.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Classic Material: Kool G. Rap Live at Union Square (1989)

I never did quite make it to any shows at Union Square back in the day. Mostly because I was a kid and my parents didn't let me out of the house after dark, but I'm pretty sure not living anywhere close to NYC had something to do with it as well. It was cool though, because I always knew that one day I would be able to watch poor quality videos on my Commodore 64 of my favourite rappers tearing the house down. You may have seen the Tribe video already, but this is the first time I've seen the Kool Genius of Rap live at Union Square (complete with dancers and a super live crowd). Genius.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rap Treats #101: Slick Rick "Behind Bars" (Prince Paul Unreleased Original Version) + News Reports ('94 & '95)

Slick Rick is my hero. Seriously one of the artists who solidified my love of Hip-Hop. From his records with Doug E Fresh ("The Show" & "La-Di-Da-Di") to his ultra classic solo debut The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick it was clear that MC Ricky D was a cut above the rest when it came to story telling rap. Fuck it, when it came to rapping in general. When he caught the charges that landed him in jail I felt that shit. Everything that he recorded since couldn't compare to his original body of work. The free Slick Rick music was exactly what Rick wanted to put out, while the "Free Slick Rick" music was mostly the record labels versions of rushed music he recorded before he went to jail. "Behind Bars" was one of those songs. The world got the Warren G version of the record which was cool, but it has Def Jam's fingerprints all over it. This is the original version that Slick Rick and Prince Paul recorded that until recently could only be found in a pile of old reels that Paul had locked away. Big up Prince Paul for liberating the original version of "Behind Bars" (as well as a bunch of other treats from the early '90s that you can check HERE). To keep the whole Behind Bars theme going, above is a news piece that aired in 1994 about Rick's incarceration, and below similar piece that aired in '95. 
Long live The Ruler, you CRUMBS!!!

Slick Rick

Classic Material: N.W.A. - The World's Most Dangerous Group

This doc is worth every minute of the hour + of your life it will consume watching it. VH1's The World's Most Dangerous Group is the story of N.W.A. It's been around for a minute but if you haven't checked it then do so. Immediately!

Classic Material: Fresh Fest 1985 (Video Music Box)

This one came via Flipout, who is apparently too damn lazy to post anything on his own. Regardless, this shit is dope. Fresh Fest '85 covered by Video Music Box. For those that are unaware, this is the first arena tour that Hip-Hop ever saw. Classic as classic gets. 

Video: The Uncle Funky - Ricky Powell Documentary

Ricky Powell is that dude. From rolling with the Beastie Boys in the 80's and 90's, too being on hand to document the golden years of Hip-Hop through his photography, to bugging' out on his cult TV show Rollin With The Rickster, Ricky is Hip-Hop through and through. The Uncle Funky - Ricky Powell Documentary captures all that and then some. Dude is a character (For real, I've been to his crib, trippy. Another story for another day).

Commercial Rap: Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Ad

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Classic Material: Elektra Records Showcase (1990)

This is why I love the interweb. 

What we have here is footage of the Elektra Records "Hard To The Left" party that took place Dec 10th, 1990! The party features performance from the labels Hip-Hop roster including KMD, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Leaders of the New School, and Brand Nubian. This is an industry party by the looks of it because the audience seems too cool to let loose, plus ATCQ, De La Soul, Funk Flex, Nice & Smooth, Run DMC, and a bunch of other rappers are all in the building. Basically a NYC record label party from the golden era of Hip-Hop! Big up DJ Iran for bringing this to the surface.

Brand Nubian's set above, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Leaders Of The New School, and KMD's sets below.

(Super Ill) Rap Logo Poster

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Vancity Original & thoseMFs present... VANCITY GIANTS Mixtape

Vancity Original presents the Vancity Giants Mixtape featuring Vancouver's finest put together by thoseMFs - Kemo, Flipout & Jay Swing! Large up all the artists who hit us off with music for this tape, especially Checkmate & Concise, Kyprios, Moka Only, SonReal, Heatwave, LoMega, and Swollen Members for blessing us with freestyles. This tape is all about the artists and the music. Hit the Soundcloud link to stream or download the "one long track" version of the tape, or hit the link below for the "separate track" version of Vancity Giants. Either way, download that bitch and share!

Vancity Original & thoseMFs present...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Skratch Bastid & The Gaff - Soul Sisters Stand Up! (Mixtape)

This has been out for a little bit and on heavy rotation ever since it dropped. Skratch and The Gaff have out done themselves on this one. 100% female Funk, Soul, and R&B!

Skratch Bastid & The Gaff

Monday, July 16, 2012

Leaders Of The New School Reunite @ BK Hip-Hop Fest!

This is the greatest thing ever - a Leaders Of The New School reunion! I actually never thought I'd see the day, but it def brought a smile to my face (and a tear to Flipout's eye) to see Dinco D, Charlie Brown, and Busta Rhymes performing "Case Of The P.T.A." complete with the East Coast Stomp! On top of the L.O.N.S. reunion, Busta also brought out Phife & Q-Tip and for a "Scenario" performance with all 5 MC's. When was the last time that happened - the Arsenio Hall show back in '92?! (see video below)

Busta doesn't stop there as he also brings out M.O.P, Buckshot, Smif-N-Wessun, and Slick Rick!

NY77: The Coolest Year In Hell (Movie)

Here is another movie that I jacked from EgoTrip's site. Sorry, kind of addicted to their Saturday Movie Night series. This is a 2007 documentary on the rise of Hip-Hop, Disco, & Punk music in the coolest year in hell... aka NYC in 1977.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Rakim: The Definition of a Classic (Short Film)

Reebok and Complex have released this documentary on Rakim's legendary career. The film runs about 10 minutes and is worth every second of your life.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

J Dilla Vinyl Figure

I can't say Dilla changed my life, but he did make it a whole lot better.

I NEED this. Not sure where to cop it but it's J Dilla Foundation approved.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nardwuar vs. DJ Premier

Nardwuar is other. Primo too.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Michael Jackson x Biggie, Jay-Z, Heavy-D & LL Cool J

Still blows me away that Michael has been gone for 3 years.

Over his career MJ kept his work with rappers to a minimum. Only a select few shared a record with him, and with apologies to Eve ("Butterflies") and L.T.B. (the dude who raps on "Black Or White"), it is MJ's records with Biggie, Jay-Z, Heavy-D and LL Cool J that get the nominations for Best Rapper Appearance On A Michael Jackson Song award.*

Michael Jackson feat. BIGGIE

Michael Jackson feat. Jay-Z

Michael Jackson feat. Heavy D

Michael Jackson feat. LL Cool J
"Serious Effect" (Unreleased)

* may not be an actual award

Michael Jackson Dance Compilation Video + Oprah Appearance

The best. Ever.

Jay-Z & Kanye Perform "Ni**as In Paris" for People in London

This is crazy just to watch Beyonce go nuts and mosh with everybody in the audience.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Prince - The Glory Years (Documentary)

This is an unauthorized UK documentary about Prince in the '80's when he was making amazing music and whylin' the fuck out. The doc is about an hour and a half and worth every minute of you time. Egotrip gets props over here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

N.W.A. - The World's Most Dangerous Casting Call

Damn, I knew cutting off my jheri curls was going to come back to haunt me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dave Chappelle Live @ the Dallas House Of Blues (2012)

What do we have here? A brand new Dave Chappelle stand up?! Dope.
This was recorded June 18th, 2012 at the Dallas House Of Blues. Big up Cazzie for coming through like a champ with the audio after Live Nation shut down the YouTube link. Hit below for Chappelle, BITCHES!

Commercial Rap: Ice Cube's 900 Number (1990)

Ice Cube gets his 900 number on to promote his Amerikkka's Most Wanted LP. Only $2 per minute and kids, don't forget to get your parents permission before you call!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rap Treats #100: BIGGIE/Craig Mack - B.I.G. Mack Sampler ('94)

Rap Treat # 100. That's right.

We figured we'd have BIGGIE do the honours for number one hundid. This is the infamous B.I.G. Mack promo cassette that has 6 Craig Mack songs on side A and and 6 BIGGIE SMALLS songs side B. hands down b-side wins again! This was one of the first, if not the first, major promo campaigns that Bad Boy and shit was genius. This tape's gem is the original version of BIGGIE's "Me & My Bitch". Sample clearance issues is said to be the reason this version didn't make the final version of the album. I dig this one much better. It's the version BIGGIE and Puff intended the world to hear but never made it past the promo tape.

BIGGIE/Craig Mack
(Bad Boy Records)

Side A: Craig Mack

1. Project Funk Da World
2. Flava In Ya Ear
3. Real Raw
4. Mainline
5. Like D'atY'All
6. Shinka

Side B: The Notorious B.I.G.

7. Intro
8. Juicy
9. Things Done Changes
10. Ready To Die
11. The What
12. Me And My Bitch (Original Version)
13. Unbelievable

(Not So) Classic Material: Run DMC Performing at Wrestlemania 5

This falls into the WHAT THE FUCK category. I had no clue that the greatest Hip-Hop group in the history of music performed in the squared circle back at Wrestlemania 5 for a bunch of mullets and rednecks. What is even more amazing is that they performed a song called "Wrestlemania Rap". Again, WHAT THE FUCK?! "Wrestlemania Rap"?! I was half expecting the Hulkster to run down to the ring mid performance and give all three of them the LEG DROP OF DOOM for this shit. They even went so far as to cut a promo for the big show (below).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Classic Material: A Tribe Called Quest - Live in Paris (1990)

This came out in 1990 when Tribe put out a VHS tape called The Art Of Moving Butts In Europe. The video is Q-Tip, Phife, Ali Shaheed and Jarobi (who hadn't bounced yet) performing live in Paris making people move their butts. ATCQ runs through half of People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm before ending it off with a freestyle. This is dope as hell for any Tribe fan. Enjoy!

ATCQ's The Art Of Moving Butts In Europe Setlist

1. Intro

2. Pubic Enemy

3. Push It Along

4. Description Of A Fool

5. Youthful Expression

6. I Left My Wallet In El Segundo

7. Rhythm (Devoted To The Art Of Moving Butts)

8. Freestyle

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Questlove's Bonnaroo Superjam w/ D'Angelo (Full Performance)

Some epic shit went down this past weekend at Bonnaroo that was, well, epic!

Questlove held a Superjam after The Roots' show that not only included his Most Incredible Roots crew, but also members of Parliament/Funkadelic and The Time. As dope as that was, the epic status occurred when Questo said the following words... "I've been waiting 12 years to say this. Ladies and gentlemen, D'Angelo!"

For those not following along at home, it had been 12+ years since D'Angelo performed on American soil. The Bonnaroo Super Jam also marked the first time in over a decade that the Soulquarians performed together when D'Angelo, Questlove and James Posner reunited for the evening. No doubt the 4th member of the crew, the late J Dilla, was there in spirit and watching from above. With D'Angelo set to make his official return to the stage in the states next month (he's done a few shows in Europe recently), the crew stayed away from anything D'Angelo instead running through covers of Led Zeppelin, Ohio Players, Sly & The Family Stone, Curtis Mayfield, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and of course Funkadelic and The Time joints.

Check the video at the bottom for the finally of the Superjam to get a glimpse of what went down, and hit the link below to download the ENTIRE performance. Large up Okayplayer for the goods!

Bonnaroo (June 9th, 2012)

1. Questlove's Superjam - "Intro"
2. Jimi Hendrix - "Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)"
3. Ohio Players - "Pride And Vanity"
4. Ohio Players - "Players Balling (Players Doin’ Their Own Thing)"
5. Funkadelic - "Funky Dollar Bill"
6. Funkadelic - "Hit It And Quit It"
7. Led Zeppelin - "What Is And What Should Never Be"
8. Sly & The Family Stone - "Babies Making Babies"
9. Bootsy Collins - "Hollywood Squares"
10. Curtis Mayfield - "Mother’s Son"
11. Band of Gypsys - "Power of Soul"
12. The Beatles - "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window"
13. The Time - "My Summertime Thang"
14. Questlove's Superjam - "Jam" (including Ohio Players "Fire" and other teases)

Classic Material: De La Soul - 3 Feet High TV (1989)

This is a segment that aired on Super Channel back in '89 on De La Soul that features cameos by Prince Paul, Stetsasonic, Big Daddy Kane, DMC, KRS One, and the Kooooooooool DJ Red Alert. I love the interweb for this very reason because I had never seen this before today.

Classic Material: The Making of Kanye West's "Through The Wire"

Here is some classic footage of a not yet famous Kanye West making "Through The Wire". You'll notice some of the footage from the "Through The Wire" video, but the illness is watching 'Ye rifle through beats and rapping.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Freshest 'Live Set 2.0'

Our friends The Freshest, more specifically Marvel & Kutcorners, have just dropped the visuals for their latest creation 'Live Set 2.0' directed by Eighties Union. If you haven't seen the original we included it below. Freshness all around!

Classic Material: LL Cool J - 1987 Def Jam Tour

Not much to say here, other than this is DOPE AS FUCK!

Def Jam tour, 1987.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Classic Material: VH1's The Story of Yo! MTV Raps (Full Episode)

Here is VH1's documentary on the greatest Rap television show in the history of Rap television shows. Fresh, for 2012 you suckaaaaaaaaas!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Wire: The Musical

Holy Shit. Ahahahaha!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Classic Material: LL Cool J - Live at the Summit (1988)

I remember seeing this live on Much Music when it originally aired and I lost my shit. I was pissed that I didn't have a VHS tape to pop in the VCR and hit record that day, but this has stuck in my memory ever since. LL coming out of the giant boom box onstage was unforgettable. Same with his white track suit and fat gold chain. This is basically a LL Cool J special that ran on Much Music. It has an interview with Cool J but is mostly footage from his concert at The Summit in Houston, Texas. At the time, LL only had his Radio and Bigger & Deffer albums out so this is LL in his prime. Up top is the concert's intro and LL performing "Get Down" and "I Can't Live Without My Radio". Below LL tears through "Rock The Bells". This is the definition of Classic Material. Enjoy!

Commercial Rap: Michael Jackson x Pepsi (1984)

One of the all time greatest commercials. MJ slanging Pepsi at the height of his popularity. This also features a hella young Carlton of Fresh Prince of Bel Air fame as Lil MJ. He kills it too.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Classic Material: Run DMC - Tougher Than Leather (Full Movie)

Every Saturday night I gather up the kids, make a fresh batch of popcorn (with hot butter on it), and sit in front of the laptop and head over to EgoTrip for movie night. Then, I usually jack their movie night post for NationOfMillions because it's always dope as fuck. This weeks is the dopest.

When it came time for Run DMC to follow up THE GREATEST HIP-HOP ALBUM EVER MADE, Raising Hell, they decided to not only drop an album but also a movie to go with it. Chuck D often refers to Run DMC the "Beatles of Hip-Hop" and this movie was a page right out of the Fab 4's play book. Tougher Than Leather came out in 1988 to a lot of criticism and not much else. Rain Man it was not, but to me it didn't matter because my heroes were on the big screen. Not even bad acting, a bad plot, and a low budget was able to ruin this movie for me. On top of that, there are cameos by Slick Rick (performing "Treat Em Like A Prostitute"), and the Beastie Boys (performing "Desperado") which set off my 25 year quest to get my hands on a good copy of that record (still haven't found one). Check the video below to see what I am talking about. That cameo alone makes this film classic as fuck in my books. In fact, fuck Rain Man, Tougher Than Leather had my vote back in '88 for the Academy Award's Movie of the Year!

I suggest poppin' that popcorn (with the hot butter), sitting back, and just taking the movie in as it comes, but if you want a quick breakdown of what the flick is about this comes straight of the YouTube page...

"Legendary hip-hop group Run-D.M.C. stars in this cross between a blaxploitation film and a spaghetti western. They must find and punish the evil drug lord-record company executive who murdered their friend. Along the way, they encounter racist bikers, blonde bimbos, and the
Beastie Boys!"

Demos: Artifacts Demo Tape (1993)

Another demo tape from the archives. This one isn't hard to get your hands on, in fact it has been floating around blogland for some time now but since I'm on a quest to post every rap demo in existence it is time for this one to go up.

The Source's Unsigned Hype alumni first started buzzing in 1993. Fresh off their appearance on the Nubian Crackers record "Do You Wanna Hear It", Artifacts dropped their debut album Between A Rock and a Hard Place the following year. This is the demo tape that got them that deal. Everything on this tape are original versions of songs that made the album. The only record on this tape that didn't make the cut is the Lord Jamar produced "Check Da Fine Print" that features Brand Nubian. He also produced the original version of "Wrong Side Of The Tracks" which features a different beat (a James Brown loop), a different flow (same lyrics though), and Jamar on the hook (saying the same shit). As usual, the sound quality isn't the best but it is "Demo Tape Hi-Fi" which means it's about as good as music ripped off a cassette tape from the early '90's is going to get.


1. "Attack Of New Jerusalem"
2. "Check Da Fine Print" feat. Brand Nubian
3. "Flexi Wit Da Technique"
4. "Wrong Side Of The Tracks"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ice-T's Art Of Rap - Official Movie Trailer

The Original Gangster Ice-T has been deep in the rap game since the mid 80's. With classic after classic under his belt, he is one of the most respected rappers in the game by both fans and peers. With that said, not many people could pull off a film like Art Of Rap. It's full of all our heroes speaking on, well, the art of rapping. Chuck D, KRS One, Mos Def, Q-Tip, Common, Kanye West, Nas, Doug E Fresh, B-Real, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop, Ice Cube, Xzibit, Treach, Redman, Bun B, Afrika Bambaataa, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Marley Marl, Kool Keith, Melle Mel, Run DMC (and more) all make an appearance. On June 15th the Art Of Rap is coming to a theatre near you. This is is a first day, first screening appointment for me!

For bonus Art Of Rap, here is Smooth Da Hustler's title track to the film where he takes name dropping rappers to a whole new level. The song is no "Broken Language" but I get the concept.

Smooth Da Hustler

Classic Material: N.W.A. - Live in Concert (Video)

N.W.A. is on my list of artists that I'd give anything to have seen live, but due to all kinds of reasons that will never happen. A few years back we posted the audio of this show as Rap Treat #54, but this is a dvd rip of the Houston, Texas concert which means the audio came straight from the mixing board and is professionally shot and edited (at least to 1989 standards anyways). Unlike many artists from the late '80's N.W.A. was not known for their live show, but this concert does not disappoint. They have a dope stage set, their show is put together tight, they have mad hits to rock, and they have a couple dancers! I didn't really see that coming but then again having a couple of fly girls dancing on stage works for them. This is easily worth 25 minutes of your life, especially if you were never lucky enough to witness The World's Most Dangerous Band in concert before Ice Cube left and Eazy passed away.

You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nardwuar vs. Currency Pt 3

This is the 3rd time these two hook up, and the third time hilarity ensues.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Classic Material: Breakin' N Enterin' Documentary (1983)

I've yet to watch this, but just the subject matter was enough for it to find its way on to the pages of Nation Of Millions. This is a 1983 film about the early L.A. breakdancing and Hip-Hop scene. Get your popcorn (with hot butter), sit back and enjoy!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Co-Sign: Camp Lo & Ski Beats - Fort Apache EP (2012)

Camp Lo's Uptown Saturday Night album is one of my all time favourites. There is something about Camp Lo rappin' on Ski beats that just fits. It's a Snoop rappin' on Dr. Dre beats thing. A Guru on Primo beats... The Clipse on Pharrell's beats... Chuck D on Bomb Squad production... or anybody from Wu-Tang rappin' on a RZA beat thing. So this comes as a nice surprise... a new Camp Lo EP produced entirely by Ski Beats. Perfect.

Camp Lo & Ski Beats

Demos: D-Nice - "They Call Me D-Nice" (Demo)

"Takin' out you suckas and you don't know how I did it!"

Original material from former BDP/Flavor Unit member turned photographer/Roc Nation DJ D-Nice. This is the demo version of the ultra classic "Thery Call me D-Nice". That's right. Enjoy!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Beastie Boys' Rolling Stone Interviews On MCA

It's been almost 2 weeks since MCA's passing and Mike D and Ad Rock have broken their silence regarding their friend and bandmate. Both of them spoke to Rolling Stone about MCA, his role with the band, the Beastie Boys last recording session, and what kind of a person Adam Yauch was.

Ad Rock - "Yauch was in charge. He was smarter, more organized. In a group of friends, you all come up with stupid shit to do. But you never do it. With Yauch, it got done. He had that extra drive to see things through. We each had our roles. One of his was the make-it-happen person."

Read the whole Ad Rock interview HERE

Mike D - "We were playing around with this 808 drum machine. We had this beat, and Yauch said, "I'd like to hear what it would sound like backwards." Run from Run-D.M.C. was there, and he was like, "Man, this is crazy." But Yauch recorded this beat, bounced it to another tape, flipped it around – this is pre-digital sampling – and bounced it back to the multi-track tape. The reversed beat basically became "Paul Revere." Yauch saw this thing we couldn't see – and he killed it."

Read the whole Mike D interview HERE

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

KRS One's Boogie Down Production Stories

Boogie Down Production is one of my all time favourite groups. Vibe sat down with KRS One and had him break down his catalogue. These are basically BDP stories from the '80's. Rap nerd shit all day. Below is KRS' breakdown of how Criminal Minded came to be. You can check his stories about By All Means Necessary HERE, Ghetto Music HERE and Self Destruction HERE.

“Me and Scott La Rock (DJ and co-founder of Boogie Down Productions) started B Boy Records, which was a small little record company, with some other guys—Ray Wilson, Jack Allen and Bill Kamarra. That’s where we put out ‘South Bronx.’ Before all this, Scott Sterling (Scott La Rock) was my social worker and I was a homeless dude in the shelter. Me, Just-Ice, and ICU…we were all homeless b-boys who rapped and did graffiti. We were living in the streets day-to-day…all we had was hip-hop. We’d hang out at hip-hop spots, go to the train yards and tag, go to the park jams, battle each other…we were living it out completely. This was about 1985, and somehow, by the order of the universe, Scott becomes my social worker. He would ask me, ‘What is it that you want to do with your life?’ I would tell him I’m a MC and a philosopher [laughs]. But Scott really took that seriously and stayed on me. I did some rhymes for him about nuclear war and the world coming to an end and he loved it. But we didn’t always see eye-to-eye. We got into a lot of arguments.

But what’s crazy is Scott would invite me to a place called Broadway RT where he DJ’d every Friday and Saturday. That’s where my eyes opened up. I was on the guest list, had a drink ticket, walked in and the place was jammed. People were dancing and it was hip-hop to the maximum degree with the Adidas, bubble goose jackets, bamboo earrings, Cazal glasses and Kangols. And my corny, nerd social worker was the absolute coolest dude on Friday and Saturday nights! That blew my mind. Me and Scott formed the group Boogie Down Productions because with the way I rhymed we knew that nobody was going to sign us. We went around to everybody…RCA, Sony, Columbia…no one wanted to hear our records. So we became our own producers because we didn’t think we wasn’t going to make it as MC and DJ’s. That’s where the name Boogie Down Productions came from.

Flash forward. Boogie Down Productions’ career starts with a battle. A lot of people were saying we were going after Run-DMC. But let’s get this out of the way: Run-DMC was king during the time we were about to drop Criminal Minded! That needs to be said at the top of this interview. At that time Run and them weren’t king just because they were selling platinum records. They were king because of the way they presented hip-hop to hip-hop fans. It was the way that they dressed from the Adidas to the Godfather hats. It was the way that they rhymed. Everyone knew that Run-DMC with the great DJ Jam Master Jay were the ultimate hip-hop group from 1983 to 1987. In hip-hop you had to beat the guy on top. If you claimed you were the king, you had to be stomping crews out every week. And Run-DMC was killing them! Every week something was coming off those Run-DMC albums. And that’s when I came around in 1985. BDP wanted to prove we could be on top.

Now right around 1985 the crack cocaine scene was coming in. The West Coast had already had their share of it since ’82-’83, but it started getting into the East Coast on the street level. There was a group of people that felt like something should be said about the escalating violence; about how crack dealers were killing the weed dealers in the neighborhood. They were getting killed so that the crack dealers could move in. In a lot of cases, it was actually the cops that were working with the crack cocaine dealers killing off the Rastafarian dreads who would sell the herb in the ‘hood. Crack started destroying everything. At this time the MC was the person who spoke on behalf of our community. That was your job as a rapper. You didn’t think about making records. There were whole MC crews that never made records that influenced hip-hop greatly. Ask DMC who will tell you stories about sitting at the foot of Grandmaster Caz learning every cadence and move he made. This was a crazy time. You had Run-DMC, you had LL Cool J and Def Jam; and then you had another powerful clique on the rise—the Juice Crew. This was all happening as Boogie Down Productions was about to release Criminal Minded.

BDP wasn’t trying to be hard in a street sense. We were just taking our cue from the Black Panthers. Remember, they used to walk around with their guns out because it was legal before the Patriot Act. So on the cover of Criminal Minded you see me and Scott posing on the cover with guns. I even put the shotgun belt over my shoulder, which was a longtime symbol of revolution for the Mexicans, Native Americans, and for the Africans. The streets were bubbling. MC Shan from the Juice Crew disses LL and tells him that he bit his style and challenges him to a battle. This was huge! The Juice Crew was doing it big. Roxanne Shante just came off of battling UTFO. I finally had my demo of ‘Criminal Minded’ with Scott cutting up Trouble Funk. We also had ‘Elementary’ on there. Somehow we heard Mr. Magic (influential host of the legendary New York hip-hop radio show Rap Attack)—who was down with Marley and the Juice Crew—said we were wack. And we were like, ‘Wack???!!! Mr. Magic is wack! Shan is wack. Marley is wack!’ That’s when I picked a battle with Shan on ‘South Bronx.’ I mimicked his song the same way Roxanne did on ‘Roxanne, Roxanne.’ He answers me with ‘(South Bronx) Kill That Noise,’ which was a huge regional record as well. I then answered with ‘The Bridge Is Over.’ And I shut it down [laughs].

I was so happy to be making records. I’m still appreciative to MC Shan to this day. If it wasn’t for Shan there would be no KRS-One. BDP came out victorious, but we didn’t come out all the way victorious because the critics kept saying, ‘Well, all you guys are is a battle group…you’re not a real group like Run-DMC, the Fat Boys or like Whodini.’ And they were right. So I ran back and wrote songs that showed that we were here to stay…that we were capable of making an entire album. We did the [rock sound] like Run and them on ‘Dope Beat.’ We started making songs like ‘The P Is Free’ and ‘9mm Goes Bang,’ which talked about how the crack dealers were moving out the herb dealer. And we were breaking new ground by using dancehall reggae. Hip-hop had never heard anything like that before. Even Schoolly D was like, ‘Yo, that shit was cold.’ Even though he rhymed about street life, he was still a conscious street rapper like how NWA did it with ‘Express Yourself.’ Basically, BDP was all about realism. But on a conscious level.”