As part of their REWIND series for rap tunes that deserved but never got visual treatment, director Court Dunn’s Restless Films crew has provided a surprisingly Brady Bunch-y visual treatment for Sai’s early-‘00s tune “Together (Dear Black America)”.
Saigon’s new album The Greatest Story Never Told (which doesn’t include this tune) drops on February 15th on Suburban Noize Records.
I’ve been on a bit of a Monkees kick recently. The other day I was listening to Headquarters album—something I’ve not put on in years and years—and within seconds of the track “Zilch” starting, Tara and I looked at one another like “Hey, this is where the sample from “Mistadobalina” comes from!”
“Zilch” is a nonsensical, dada fugue composed and performed by all four Monekees. It begins with Peter Tork saying “Mr. Dobolina, Mr. Bob Dobolina. Mr. Dobolina, Mr. Bob Dobolina,” etc., before Davy Jones comes in with “Zilch. China clipper calling Alameda. China clipper calling Alameda,” etc., before Micky Dolenz comes in with “Zilch. Never mind the furthermore, the plea is self defense. Never mind the furthermore, the plea is self defense,” (which is a line from Oklahoma) and Mike finally joins in with “Zilch. It is of my opinion that the people are intending. It is of my opinion that the people are intending,” etc. Ultimately the four repeat these lines faster and faster until they break up in laughter.
The Monkees would sometimes sing “Zilch” as they entered a public performance. It was also used in one episode where they’re being interrogated by a police sergeant and a bit of “Zilch” is what they respond with.
Below, the video for Del tha Funkee Homosapien’s hip-hop classic, “Mistadobalina”:
The other samples used by Del tha Funkee Homosapien in “Mistadobalina” are “Pin the Tail on the Funky” by Parliament and James Brown’s “Stone To The Bone.”
“Zilch” is also referenced in the film Honeymoon in Vegas when “Bob Dobalina” is paged over a PA system.
The Clash, Futura 2000, Fab 5 Freddy and Dondi White recording The Escapades at Electric Lady Studio. Photo by Bob Gruen.
New York City graffiti legend Futura 2000 is one of the immortals, a spray can slinging Jesse James. Starting out in the 70s thru the 80s and beyond, Futura’s subway and wall murals are distinctive for their tight clean lines and wild but precise abstract lettering. They jumped out with a stunning clarity. He and Dondi White were the kings of Krylon.
When The Clash arrived in New York in 1981 to do their series of gigs at Bonds, they embraced the hip hop scene much in the same way they had absorbed reggae into their music. Joe, Mick, Paul and Topper hooked up with some of the major forces in rap and graffiti, including Futura. At the time Mr. 2000 knew nothing about The Clash but accepted their invitation to join them on stage and paint graffiti backdrops as the band played. He eventually joined them on tour.
During their 2 1/2 week residency at Bonds, The Clash took some time off to go into Electric Lady Studio with Futura, Fab Five Freddy and Dondi. As The Clash layed down rhythm tracks for “The Escapades of Futura 2000,” Fab, Dondi and Strummer sang background while Futura did his best to compress the history of graffiti into a 6 minute rap. His rapping skills leave alot to be desired; off the rhythm and with lyrics that are rudimentary at best. However, his mission statement and celebration of street art makes up in solidarity what it lacks in dexterity. “Escapades Of Futura 2000” may not endure as a rap classic, but it was one vital element in the hybridization of punk and Black street culture. White/Black, we were all living in the ghetto, whether it be a council flat, the Lower East Side or the South Bronx. We were united by poverty, anger, music and art and looking for a riot of our own.
The coming together of the uptown rap scene with the downtown punks was the beginning of a melding of musical movements that had previously just observed each other from a distance. Uptown and downtown innovators started collaborating in New York and on an international scale. Bands like The Beastie Boys, Gang Of Four, Rip Rig Panic, The Slits, Bush Tetras, Liquid Liquid and PIL fell under the influence of dub, reggae, funk and disco. Even college kids like Talking Heads got into the action. Suddenly The Clash were being played in the discos and white hipsters were dancing to Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa at the Mudd Club.
The quintessential and most seamless marriage of punk to reggae and funk to hardcore was by a former jazz band from Washington D.C.: Bad Brains. The Damned had turned The Clash onto the Brains and were invited by the band to be an opening act at Bonds. The Clash/Bad Brains double bill was one of those seminal moments when the music really came together, in theory and action, and for those in the audience who were open to it (sadly, not many were) there was the realization that punk was more than a fashion statement or hip stance. It was part of a struggle that reached way beyond white suburbia or the enclaves of pale-skinned rock and rollers in Alphabet City. The White Riot was Black as well. And the beat was everything, the common ground, the heart. And it belonged to everyone. A riot of your own might give you a momentary sense of empowerment, but it won’t win the big battles. When punk met rap, the seeds of a cultural revolution began. We just didn’t follow through. As the 80s and 90s rolled around, music became commodified once again along racial lines, urban or classic, hip hop or punk, rap or hardcore. And New York City has never been as musically segregated as it is today.
Here’s a video mashup of “Escapades Of Futura 2000” with excerpts from Manfred Kirchheimer’s Stations Of The Elevated. The Clash are rocking it as Futura invokes the gods of Rustoleum in his mission to change the world.
After 30 years of pioneering the UK dub scene, with forays into industrial music, and collaborating with artists like the eternally youthful Lee “Scratch” Perry and Skip McDonald, producer and founder of On-U Sound records, Adrian Sherwood, shows no signs of losing his passion. The man is still on a mission to reggaefy the planet.
To mark the label’s 30th anniversary in 2011, we will be reissuing a number of classic On-U Sound albums, a selection of new releases, renewed live activity and the release of an extensive box-set. The year of celebration begins in early March with the release of a new African Head Charge album and 3 classic reissues – New Age Steppers debut, Creation Rebel’s highly influential Starship Africa and African Head Charge’s hard-to-find Off The Beaten Track.
The plan will then be to release further new albums and classic reissues throughout 2011. The new releases planned include a collection of contemporary remixes of Lee Perry’s On-U Sound output, the long-awaited On-U produced Little Axe album and a New Age Steppers long-player – their first since Foundation Steppers in 1983 – featuring vocal contributions from the late Ari Up and Mark Stewart amongst others. Details of further new releases will be announced shortly.
Amongst the classic reissues are albums from some of the label’s most acclaimed artists including Lee Perry, Dub Syndicate, Bim Sherman, Tackhead, Little Annie and Singers & Players. There are also plans for a deluxe box-set which will include extensive sleeve-notes from Adrian Sherwood, rare and un-released tracks from the archive, a collection of classic tracks and a selection of some of Adrian’s finest remixes.
In this interview with Zwarte Jas, Adrian discusses his upcoming projects and the reggae/punk/rap connection and its political relevance in Britain.
The brief clips of Lee Perry performing demand to be seen in full. So far, I’m coming up snake eyes.
Just when you start to think it’s really and truly dead, along comes something to renew your hope in the everlasting glory of ass-kicking epic balls-to-the-wall rock and roll. In this case, it ain’t some new fucking band out of England, Brooklyn or Montreal. It’s two cats who’ve been around for over a decade, two cats that most rock purists would never acknowledge as being rock and rollers. Well, fuck that. These performances by Eminem and Lil Wayne on tonight’s SNL are as punk and hardass as anything I’ve heard since The Clash, The Pistols and Bad Brains.
There’s a passion here that recalls the urgency, anger and intensity of ‘London Calling’ and ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’. This is what Vernon Reid and The Black Rock Coalition had in mind 25 years ago.
Yeah, it’s a little slick. Yeah, they’re millionaires. I don’t give a shit. The ENERGY is there. As Lester Bangs said, “rock ‘n’ roll is an attitude, it’s not a musical form of a strict sort.” Strictly speaking, this is rock and roll.
To call any one event in Los Angeles “party of the year” might be stretching it a bit. But what certainly looks to be the party of the month, is coming up soon with Cornerstone Research Collective’s fundraiser for MAPS and psychedelic chemist Sasha Shulgin’s medical bills on December 11th at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
With a formidable line-up including Madlib, J-Rocc, Flying Lotus and (former Dangerous Minds contributor) Elvin Estela AKA DJ Nobody, this bash for a good cause featuring LA’s hottest underground musical talent simply can’t be beat. This party is going to be a monster.
Where: The Historic Masonic Lodge, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 600 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90038
When: Saturday Decemenber 11th, 9p.m. to 3a.m. Free parking on site. $25 in advance, $35 on the door. Get tickets here before they all sell out.
Over at the Village Voice website hip hop and rap aficionado Phillip Mlynar has put together a top ten list of some of the worst singing ever committed to disc by rappers. See and hear the whole list here.
In the first audio clip, Biz Markie and The Beastie Boys maul Elton John’s ‘Bennie And The Jets’.
The team’s attempt to tackle the Elton John number “Bennie And The Jets” originally appeared as a free flexi-disc with Grand Royal magazine back in the mid-‘90s. Brilliantly, at times it sounds like Biz has no idea what the original lyrics are, so instead he falls back on slurring syllables together as he blunders through the track.
In the next clip, Ol’ Dirty Bastard tears into The Foundations’ ‘Build Be Up’ with all the style of a pit bull attacking a chunk of raw meat.
Most of these flyers were designed by Buddy Esquire and Phase 2. Drawn by hand and using Letraset, Xerox, Exacto knives, graph paper, stencils etc. these are artifacts of the days before Microsoft Word and Adobe photoshop, real cut and paste. Old skool.
You can check out more of these groovy nuggets of hip hop history at Toledo Hip Hop
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
I'll repeat that: We're not necessarily endorsing everything you'll find here, we're merely saying "Here it is." We think human beings are very strange and often totally hilarious. We enjoy weird and inexplicable things very much. We believe things have to change and change swiftly. It's got to be about the common good or it's no good at all. We like to get suggestions of fun/serious things from our good-looking, high IQ readers. We are your favorite distraction.