Friday, July 10, 2020

Swift Wizdom - Straight From NJ​.​.​. The EP - 2001

EP - 2015 - Central Wax 

Let's talk about this "Straight From NJ​.​.​."EP originally released in 2001 by the New Jersey-based MC Swift Wizdom and produced by Keith Dittmar a.k.a Keith Science and Dj Uncut Raw. 

The original 7-track EP was produced in 2000 and was released on CDr in 2001, followed by a reissue on vinyl (7 tracks + 1 bonus track) in 2015 on Central Wax Records, an independent label managed by Keith Science and his brother DJ Uncut Raw. Keith has been producing since 1993 and his first official release was Manchild 12" which came out in 1997.
Swift Wizdom is not alone on this EP, a few other emcees from New Jersey like L.Fleks, Afterbirth & Troop are also featuring on it. I 've recently talked with Keith and he gave me more info about all of them...

Keith Science :"Swift Wizdom was from Dover, New Jersey. His first appearance on a record was on the B-Side of Manchild’s "Got Away With Some Bullshit" vinyl single from 1997.
Swift and I met through a mutual friend who recognized both of our musical talents and was determined to get us together.  As soon as we met each other it was like magic. We had great musical chemistry right from the beginning and started recording right away.  Although our first official record didn’t come out until 1997, we had been recording together since we met in 1993."

Swift Wizdom - Photo courtesy of Keith Science

Keith Science : "L. Fleks was also from Dover, New Jersey... He was Swift Wizdom’s best friend and right hand man. They both started rhyming together when they were little kids in the 80’s."

Afterbirth was from Budd Lake, New Jersey... About halfway through the making of this EP, production had stalled for a number of reasons and it wasn’t clear if we would be finishing the project.  During this time, Afterbirth recorded his verse for "Call Me Evil" with DJ Uncut Raw.  Once Swift Wizdom and L. Fleks heard Afterbirth’s verse, they were inspired and had renewed interest in finishing the project.

Troop was from Dover, New Jersey.  Unfortunately I don’t have much information on him because he was only into music for a brief time and ultimately pursued other interests.

All scratches of the EP are by DJ Uncut Raw. DJ Uncut Raw is my youngest brother.  I got him into hip-hop at a young age and we both got into DJing together.  He was a much better DJ than me so I decided to just focus on production.  But he produces as well, and he produced "Call Me Evil" which in my opinion is the best track on the EP."

100 copies are still available in Keith Science's vault, so if you're still looking for a physical copy of this excellent EP, you can grab it via his Bandcamp

Documentary : Looking For The Perfect Beat 2020 Trailer

"Just to very clear, I am just a guy in a bedroom who dedicated 20 years going back and fourth to NYC to collect footage to one day make a film to look into the lives passions of the artists and now friends that inspired me within the realms of art music and life.  This is not a funded or sponsored film. Its a dude in working in a factory who believes in himself." -  Pritt Kalsi

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Atban Klann - Grass Roots - 2020

2xLP - 2020 - Back2DaSource Records

"Sup y'all ? We are very proud to announce we got The A.T.B.A.N. Klann in the house. The group was comprised of DJ Motiv8, Will1x (Will I Am), Apl De Ap and Mookie Mook. A.T.B.A.N stands for A Tribe Beyond A Nation. Their first album called Grass Roots was supposed to drop in 94 on Ruthless Records but was shelved at the Eazy-E's death and because of some label politics. So it was time to join forces with DJ Motiv8 in order to release this amazing album. Officially and for the first time pressed on Vinyl (2xLP Gatefold edition + Insert) and CDs. Analog mastering. 17 tracks of solid Conscious Jazzy Hip Hop Vibes, produced by DJ Motiv8 & Will I Am. Don't miss this Piece of Hip Hop History on Wax and CD" - Bee Lapointe (B2DS Records)

A1 - Open Your Mind 
A2 - Put On Your Adidas
A3 - Going For a Ride
A4 - Mountain Top
B1 - L.A Barrio Woman Beater
B2 - Lord Of The Fly's
B3 - No Sequel
B4 - Focus On You 
C1 - Quid Pro Quo
C2 - World's Gone Mad
C3 - Strollin 
C4 - This Is Dedicated
D1 - Let Me Get Down
D2 - Duet
D3 - Puddle Of H20
D4 - Rain On Me 
D5 - Eyougodah

DJ Motiv8, where did all the members of the group come from exactly ?

DJ Motiv8 : "I lived in downtown L.A. loft district, Will1x lived in Estrada Courts Projects across the river in East L.A. , Apl De Ap was from Las Feliz, and Mookie lived in San Gabriel Valley. Basically we all are from the Los Angeles area."

How did the connection happen between all the members ?

DJ Motiv8 : "My long time friend and Hip Hop Graffiti artist, O.G. Chino wanted to throw the first very Underground Hip Hop loft party in Downtown LA. We were hanging out one day. Chino told me about a kid he had met, and he wanted to introduce him to me to make beats for him. It was my first time making beats, and Chino said he wanted me to help mold the kid name Will1x. On the night of the party, I was in a circle of friends, I turned around, and there was Chino, Will1x and Apl. They were very young, about 16 years old at the time. I think I was 23. I appeared very bold to them Apl and Will, I could tell they were scared of my presence."

When did you form the group ?

DJ Motiv8 : "At first I didn't have my own equipment, so Will and I used to talk on the phone from time to time. He would kick his new rhymes to me. I was working on a project with some colleges kids making beats everyday until one day the project fell apart, so I took all the beats I had and gave them to Will to practice. He used to take my beats to Palisades High School, where he went to school with Redfoo, Evidence, Rocka and a few other heads. They would freestyle to my beats. "

In term of productions, what were your influences at that time ?

DJ Motiv8 : "My favorite producer at the time that I really admired was Mantronic. Before I got into making beats me and my friends bought all his records. His TR808, TR909, TR707 combo was the best beat making. As well Hank Shockley, the producer of Public Enemy, Marley Marl, Prince Paul, DJ Premier. We liked Dilla a lot as well, but back then he was so original with his beat making style, that we never tried to emulate his now signature sound. Today they call it Neo Soul."

How did you work together (You and Willonex) for the productions ? 

DJ Motiv8 : "At first it was just me making the beats with my Mothers old record collection. Over time, I started to teach Will how to use the Roland S 550 Sampler. How to arrange the samples, making proper looping samples, and Layer of drums. We eventually developed a system where I would prepare most of the music the night before our studio sessions. Have it all laid out while Will, Apl and Mookie wrote lyrics. Once they were done Will would then arrange the parts of the song to the verses."

Your Hip-Hop Music style was so different from the West Coast Hip-Hop in general at that time, what were the influences of the group ? 

DJ Motiv8 : "We were mostly influenced by Souls Of Mischief, Nas, Tribe, De La, Fugees, Divine Styler. EPMD I could name a bunch more. "

To be honest Ruthless Records didn’t really fit with your music style, how were you signed by this Record Label ?  

DJ Motiv8 : "The nephew of Jerry Heller introduced Will to Ruthless. Terry Heller used to go to Ballystix club every week. It was the club Brand of David Faustino "Bud Bundy" from Married With Children tv series. (Every week he had Freestyle contest and Will1x was winning every week. One day he battled this kid from NYC. It was like watching a boxing match. I remember me and Apl were jumping.  Dudes was giving Will "a run for his money". Pound for pound battle raps. (I forget that kids name, but eventually he too came to my loft.) Terry used to play our demos for Eazy almost everyday until one day he set up a meeting at Ruthless. I remember Eazy used to call my crib, and put us on speaker phone. Asking to play beats and kick raps, so Eazy could "Show Off" to his boys. He was excited about us because we were something different for him." 

It seems that the album « Grass Roots » was ready in 1992 but according to different magazine articles it was supposed to be released in 1995 . What happened with the album exactly ?

 DJ Motiv8 : "It was supposed to release in 1994. We started recording it 1992-93. We turned the album in to the label, but Ruthless was in the middle of signing distribution with Relativity Records. I think they didn't want to take on our project, but they did release 2 songs. In between this time we were doing shows, opening for other groups on Ruthless, including Bone Thugs and Harmony had just signed to Ruthless.. All I remember was being at a show in Northridge Cali, with Bone, ATBAN, and Blood Of Abraham. At the end of the show we were all parked near each other. As I pulled away I told Eazy, I will see you next week or so to talk about the release." Don't remember the exact words, but something like that." He was normal, nothing seemed to be wrong with him, that I could see.  After that when he past, so did our chances of releasing the album. They didn't get underground hip hop, they didn't understand our concept, so they dropped us."

A Tribe Beyond A NatioN , Why did you choose this group name ? 

DJ Motiv8 : "I did not choose this name. It came from Tribal Nation Dance Crew. Will, Apl, and Mookie were dancers when I met them. I was too busy in the music, and recording demos to concentrate of names.  Sounded cool to me. It could have literally been "Whatever". Will came up with the names. I'm not sure I liked it, but I had nothing better so A.T.B.A.N. KLANN "

What is the story of the group between the end with Ruthless Records and the first contract signed with Interscope Records ? 

DJ Motiv8 : "That was a blank period. I got very sick, and had to go to Emergency. I had internal bleeding. I was Hospitalized for about a month. I came out to a different world. I moved out of downtown L.A. after living there for 9 years. Everywhere I moved, I would always allow Will to use my MPC3000 to develop the new sound. Eventually Will and Apl decided to keep going with making new songs using the name Black Eyed Peas as the group name. Originally that name was the production team of me and Will1x."

Black Eyed Peas …. where does this name come from ? 

DJ Motiv8 : "The name originated from Will1x. One day he called me and said,"what do you think of the name, Black Eyed Peas ? as our production team name ?"  I told him, it sounds dope, but why ?Will explained that as a child thats all his grandmother ever cooked, and he did not like it, that's why he chose this name."

Could you give us more info about Taboo ? 

DJ Motiv8 : "I remember while working on Grassroots project, there were a bunch of heads at my loft. Taboo comes out of my bathroom with his Native American look, I said to Will,"Who is that guy ? I love his look, can we get him in the group ?" Will told me ,"No, he's just a dancer."
He was part of a group named Pablo. Mr Shaw, Eclypse and Taboo. Tab was very new at rapping, and I was very impatient many times with him. In the studio, I'm not a nice guy. I say it straight. If you suck, just get it right, was my way of thinking. Eventually he was able to relax, and we had some kool demos. After some time, Will and Apl asked Taboo to join the new group."

Mad Props to DJMotiv8, thanks for your time.
Big Up to Bee Lapointe, thanks for the connection.

500 copies pressed for each format. 
Order : Vinyl / CD / Bundle    

CD - 2020 - Back2DaSource Records

Credits : 
Analog Mastering : Dé L'Archiviste 
Graff & Handstyle titles : Sayd 
Design Lay Out : Peter Eeckelaert
Queen Fairy Logo : Col'Ame AKA Amandine Vandiest

Monday, July 6, 2020

Video : Manage - Talk On It - 2020

Here is the video of the first single drops by the London-based MC Manage from his self produced 8-track EP titled "The Scrap Book". It will be available on CD & Cassette on Revorg Records on Monday 13th July.

Video & Photography directed by Jack Diggs and Cuts done by Downstroke. 

Brooklyn Zoo - Masters Of Zooniverse - 1995

12" - 1995 - Brooblyn Zoo Records  

Here is an other classic wax ..."Masters Of Zooniverse" released by Brooklyn Zoo in 1995... This record was on heavy rotation when it came out... Brooklyn Zoo was a crew originally founded in the early 90s. In 1995 the crew consisted of Paulie Zance, Meknuklez, Rog-A-Rab (RIP), Phytrunka, Guddalo, Basha, Elite & Sire-Spit Fire.

Photo courtesy of Tony T

This wax is their third 12" released on Brooklyn Zoo Records and distributed by Cold Chillin', and composed of the tracks "Masters Of Zooniverse" & "Original Brooklyn Zoo", both tracks fully produced by Tony T for Jus Flava Production Inc.

On November 9th 1995, Brooklyn Zoo members were invited by Mister Cee on 91.5 Skillz FM New York for the promo of their 12", here is the interview from that show :

For the Story ... in 2015, Paulie Zance and Rog-A-Rab were convicted at trial in federal court in Brooklyn and faced mandatory minimum sentences of life in prison... Rog-A-Rab died of synthetic marijuana overdose in federal prison on February 28th 2016, he was 40 ...  R.I.P 

Album Review : Bomb Hip-Hop Compilation - 1994

LP - 1994 - Bomb Ent. / PGA Records