Mix Six: “Yo! Classic Rap”
Hiya, kids!Â Welcome back to another week of mixing fun.Â Sometime around 2000/2001, I was talking to a friend of mine who worked with me in radio, and we were daydreaming about radio formats we’d like to hear. I blurted out “Classic rap and new soul,” to which he said, “I like the classic rap part, but new soul? Why?” I told him the crossover was good because it would grab a larger audience who would like the melodic sounds of soul but still love the classic rap songs — some of which had very short shelf lives. Well, we were inexperienced, broke, and lacked contacts, so we never got face time with anyone who could make that format happen. But there are a number of stations now who do what we were thinking about all those years ago. Ah well, another million-dollar idea that made someone else millions of dollars. So, in honor of that, I’ll do half a mix of our dream format. Enjoy!
“Mama Said Knock You Out (Live),” L.L. Cool J (Download)
Damn!Â When I saw this performance on MTV Unplugged in 1991, I was just blown away.Â I mean, I’m not the biggest rap fan out there (indeed, my knowledge of the genre is pretty, pretty, pretty, slim), but no one can deny the sheer power of this version with a full band.Â I gotta say, it was tough to find this. I searched for an mp3 version but couldn’t find one. But after searching for the right software to do so, I was able to capture the audio from the video MTV streams on their site, and then clean it up with some audio software I use.Â It’s not the best quality, but it’s not bad.Â I just wish MTV would release this as a CD or download, ’cause I would pay to have a professionally mastered version of this performance.
“Cha Cha Cha,” MC Lyte (Download)
Here’s how naive I am: When this song came out, I looked at the cover and said to my brother who bought the LP for his DJ company, “McLight? Why would she call herself McLight?” My brother said, “Um, it’s Emcee Light.” Whoops! Too bad I never wrote anything for the film Superbad, ’cause I could have said: “Well, Dave/Jay/Conan, I got the idea for the name McLovin from an MC Lyte album…”
“Set Adrift on Memory Bliss,” P.M. Dawn (Download)
The first time I saw P.M. Dawn was the video for this song.Â My first thought was that the lead rapper was channeling Prince. When I saw his name (Prince Be), well, it all kind of fell into place. Finding the right hook for a song can be tough, so when the group sampled Spandau Ballet’s “True,” it proved to be pure super genius — especially in the video where Spandau Ballet’s lead singer made an appearance to sing along to his part.
“Tennessee,” Arrested Development (Download)
This may sound odd, but when I first started seeing this video, I thought the group was kind of pompous.Â And once I got over my issues, I started to really fall in love with this song — especially the line “Why does it have to be so damn tough.” What can I say, 1992 wasn’t the easiest year for me.
“Get Ur Freak On,” Missy Elliott (Download)
And the “Innovation in Rap” award goes to … Missy Elliott.Â The loop created for this song was just so freakin’ great that I really don’t know what else to say about this other than it’s brilliant.
“The Humpty Dance,” Digital Underground (Download)
My friend Melissa told me how she went to see the Underground in concert and Shock G/Humpty pulled up on stage. She was all a-twitter until he started saying: “Yo, fat girl! C’mere, are you ticklish? Yeah, I called you fat.” The audience erupted into howls of laughter and cheers.Â She said she’s never been so embarassed. However, she still loves this song (and so do I), but it’s gotta sting a little bit when that line come up