Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lower Level - Top Notch / Flavorable Fluids - 1995

Lower Level was a crew from Charlotte (NC) and consisted of 4 members : Joseph Caldwell a.k.a Jay Flav, Milton Smith a.k.a Money Milt, Willie McDuffy a.k.a Wil-Nice and Barry McDuffy a.k.a KHB. 
If you have to spend a lot of your money on a record it should be this one because technically it will never come out again due to lost Masters...
This wax came out in 1995 on Queen City Production Records and is composed of 2 very good tracks "Top Notch" and "Flavorable Fluids" which is certainly the best track of this 12", containing a sample of  Slippin' Into Darkness performed by Ramsey Lewis. 

Here is the short interview with Jay Flav from Lower Level done by Bob Lipitch courtesy of Chopped Herring Records for the release of The 5PL1T EP Vol 2 :

"Did you all grow up in Charlotte?

We all grew up in Charlotte myself, Wil & Barry grew up in Hidden Valley and Money Milt grew up in Earle Village. Milt was the only one that didn't  grow up with us, we met in another street capacity.

How did you end up recording at D&D Studios?

We were working with Mark Spark at D&D on the production side and stumbled on an engineer by the name of Joe Quinde....he was a beast at mixing. That was around the time we were working with a label out of Newark called Brick Boulevard  that had a production deal with Elektra Records. We were going to be the first act off that label, but when Busta left the Leaders of the New School, Elektra went on a all out campaign to promote The Coming album by Busta, so the label along with other groups on Elektra, such as 3 Boys from Newark [which had another NC native Omniscience] got dropped by Elektra. Unfortunately they let alot of good music go to waste.

What was the scene like in North Cackalacka back in the day? 

The scene in NC was crazy, we had mad talent with groups like SoHo (Southern Hospitality) my brothers they were dope, Omniscience the Funky One Liner, Ski Beats (produced Reasonable Doubts for Jay Z) and was also the founder of Original Flavas, Nasty Fruit. ....and many more. Dopeness brother!!! Alot of notable producers such as Fanatic, Mark Spark, Laquan, Skazz Daddy, Wil-Nice and many more....

Who did you look up to growing up?

Locally I looked up to all the cats on Payroll Records such as the Bizzy Boyz and Supreme Nyborn, nationally I looked up to Large Professor, KRS One, Cold Crush Brothers (Almighty K.G) my man, Big Daddy Kane who has been in NC for over 20 years and actually came to a couple studio sessions.

Did you do cats do the support slot  for acts touring down South from the North East?

We opened a lot of shows back in the days. NC was different than other parts of the south because we banged Hip Hop and artists would come down to perform and be amazed that we sounded professional and on the same level as they did. A lot of groups came to perform in NC and left with a new found respect for NC. Even recording at D&D, up north cats would come in the room spark up and pop their neck to the sounds, such as Guru, Sadat and many more."

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