Saturday, July 17, 2021

Example - Impulses - 1997


EP  - 1997 - Beat Fam Recordings 

Let's get back in 1997 with "Impulses", a 6-Track EP released by Example from Houston,Tx , a hip-hop duo consisted of Otha C Baker a.k.a DJ Cipher and Kevin Jackson a.k.a Kay. I tend to say that this little project is one of the best thing released by a group from Houston during the 90s, with K-Otix material of course. 

North Side

1. I.E. Intro (00:00)

2. 7*26*96 (1:18)

3. The Strive (4:31)

4. Slow Motion (8:21)

  South Side

5. Endless (12:43)

6. Recollect (18:34)

7. E.T.A. (22:24)

8. I.E. Outro (26:06)

According to a write-up about the group written by Gracie Chavez in 1997, Cipher began DJ-ing around 1986-87 when rap music was evolving. He showed up for an Open Turntable night at Reprogram, a hip-hop format originally held at Deep Phat, later based at Fitzgerald's.

Cipher, a Texas Southern University telecommunications major, was producing beats for different groups when he decided to do his own thing and arrange a production company, Beat Farm Fresh Produce. Cipher said that the name basically came from people thinking that Houston and Texas is "so country" the stereotype and production of beats lead to the earmarked name Beat Farm Recordings, his independent record label followed suit in 1996.
Cipher was also an indie label promoter and Hip-Hop DJ on KTSU 90.9 FM Radio's underground Flava, part of Kid's Jam show.
Cipher and Kay, a 24 year-old former Missouri Western Football player and hip-hop producer / rapper since 1991, met around 1994. They began producing together and in 1995 they formed Example. On May 31, 1997 they dropped "Impulses", their self-produced six-song debut EP which was really different from the typical Houston sound at the time.

Cipher (Example) - Photo courtesy of Cipher

Kay (Example) - Photo courtesy of Angela Tellez

Maybe some of you are curious and want more details about the cover of the EP. Well the original drawing used for the cover comes from an artist from H-town named Andre King better known as Dre at the time.

Cipher & Dre - Gavin Convention, New Orleans around 1995-1996

Original Drawing - Photo courtesy of Andre King

In a recent chat I had with him, Dre talked about the cover story and explained how his drawing became the official cover of the first Example's project. 

Andre King : "Cipher reached out and asked me if I had a concept for a title and cover for the project. I had been listening to a lot of Jazz at the time. I had noticed that quite a few of the albums had one word titles like Karma by Pharoah Sanders, Compulsion!!! by Andrew Hill just to name a few. Aja by Steely Dan was also in heavy rotation. So I knew the title had to be one word. I am a life long comic book reader. At the time I was heavy into the Flash, It was being written by Mark Waid and drawn by Humberto Ramos. They had introduced a character named Impulse. Impulse (Bartholomew Henry “Bart” Allen II) is the Flash’s grandson from the 30th century (it’s comics don’t think to hard). As his name states he was impulsive.  Sometimes decisions you make impulsively can have great outcomes, because you don’t hesitate.  Also you get the purest instinctual responses in the moment. I figured that would be a good a title for the first project. That’s where the title came from, Jazz records + Aja + Comic book = Impulses.  The picture that became the cover began as a simple crayon drawing of a black silhouette of person with red and yellow waves emanating from them. The red and yellow was for the Flash.  I gave it to Cipher as a super rough draft that he could get one of our real artist friends to redo much better,  Surprisingly he and Kay were cool with my drawing. He took it to Nick Cooper at the Sprawl House ( those that know… know).  Nick manipulated it on the computer and came up with the final Image.  My idea was always for it not to look like a rap record, but for it to have the feel of an old jazz record."

500 copies of this wax were pressed in 1997, it was also released on tape (around 50 copies). No need to say that an original vinyl copy is really hard to find nowadays... Hopefully Dope Folks Records did a repress in 2013... but to be honest, I'm not sure you'll find one for a good price ... good luck !

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