LA hip hop and electro music pioneer, Egyptian Lover released some of the earliest rap LPs but is more widely known for his twelve inch singles, particularly 1984’s “Egypt, Egypt” which was a hugely influential track.
Currently Egyptian Lover is still releasing music, but also making available to fans hand-drawn art covers for his singles. The graffiti style decorations touch on the themes of the Lover’s biggest hits.
He’s selling the pieces for $150 each, which is not bad for original outsider art from a hip hop luminary. Some of the original 40 pieces on offer have sold, but many are still available. You can contact Egyptian Lover through his Facebook page.
An amusing side effect of rapid technological change is nostalgia for dying and dead formats. It’s not a universal phenomenon—nobody’s misting up over DAT tapes—but it’s certainly prevalent. For my part, I abidingly LOVE vinyl records. But it ain’t 1997 anymore, and lossless digital boasts a demonstrably better frequency range and less harmonic distortion than vinyl, period—that those distortions may sound pleasing doesn’t make them not distortions. For every delusional LP junkie who holds vinyl to be a superior sound reproduction format, there’s also an even MORE delusional record-head who insists that the scratches, pops, and hiss of a beat-ass record actually sound good. That’s freakin’ NUTS—that’s just a consequence of the media’s physicality, if musicians wanted hiss and pops they’d have recorded them and baked them into the mix, and that to me is the end of the discussion unless you want to bring up Christian Marclay. But those flaws that obscure the message the medium is intended to deliver are exactly the things we seem to miss when progress obsoletes a familiar media format.
VHS tape is an apt case in point. For folks like me who are of let’s just say “a certain age,” nth-generation VHS dubs were the lingua franca of video sharing. The distortions that came with multiply dubbing that format were amazing. Colors would sometimes fade, sometimes drastically oversaturate, sound would unpredictably wobble and drop, the tape itself could stretch in spots causing playback to weirdly slow down for just a second, pausing for a long time could cause the play heads in the tape decks to rub the magnetic oxides off the mylar tape… It was kind of a shit medium, optical video media was MILES better and high def digital better still, but since those distinctive distortions were the haze through which I first saw weirdo touchstones like mondo documentaries and the oeuvre of John Waters, I kind of love them. I don’t love them to the point where a transparently exploitative contrivance like “Videotape Store Day” could ever make off with an assload of my money for movies I’ve already seen, but still, I love them.
A recent example of VHS love gone wonderfully right is videographer Zev Deans’ new ‘80s inspired infomercial for hip hop/electro pioneer The Egyptian Lover, who’s releasing a box set with the self-explanatory title 1983-1988 next month on Stone’s Throw. The video is a dead-on accurate throwback/homage to the era when ads for albums ran on TV with tremendous frequency. Typically these would be thrown-together compilations of whatever could be licensed—classics of the form include “Hey Love” and “Freedom Rock,” or best-ofs for fading fogey country singers like Boxcar Willie and Slim Whitman. The Egyptian Lover video nods to all the foregoing with lashings of degraded VHS distortion, and to boot it throws in a period-appropriate satire of psychic hotlines that features L.A. synth musician/spectacle purveyor Geneva Jacuzzi, herself no stranger to throwback video. There are other bonuses for trainspotters as well, and videographer Deans offered this:
Egyptian Lover is a legend, and for this project, I wanted it to feel like we were digging up a relic from Los Angeles in 1984. Most of this was shot in the back of Good Fred’s LaRutan Barber Shop, and legend has it that Jheri Curl was first bottled and sold at this location. Back in the day, Egyptian Lover’s Egyptian Empire Records office was on the second floor, with the entire 1st floor warehouse used as a dance floor for parties and record storage. You can still see the Giant mural of Egyptian Lover from the street on W54th street!
It’s the first Notes column of the new year, and it’s time for a little bit of self-promotion!
When I first joined the DM crew I remember talking to Richard Metzger (he;‘s not just bigger than Jesus, you know, he’s bigger than God!) about self-promotion on the site. I explained that the British people are actually pretty shit at promoting themselves, and he agreed. Not that I’m British, mind you. But it’s just one of those things that Americans do so much better than Europeans: selling yourselves, without coming across like utter cocks. Most of the time, anyway.
One of the points of starting this NFTN column was to have a little corner of the site all to myself, where I could talk about the more niche stuff I am interested in, but also to show off some of the stuff I do beyond blogging for Dangerous Minds. And I do a lot. Film-making, event organising, writing, djing, and, first and foremost, making music.
So anyway, enough beating around the bush.
I’ve just released my latest single, remixes of a hip-house cover of Missy Elliot’s “Work It”, which is available to buy now, exclusively, from Juno Download.
The release contains six remixes, with the lead-off track being a rework by the legendary founder of electro music on the West Coast, Egyptian Lover. I gotta admit, I was pretty stoked when he said he liked my track enough to remix it, but that was nothing compared to how I felt when I heard it. It’s classic Egypt, a straight-up electro-funk bomb, and I am honored to release it. In fact, it made my year.
That’s not to knock any of the other artists who provided remixes, oh no siree. This release is really strong from start to finish. Additional mixes are supplied by upcoming legend Hard Ton, who turn in an Italian piano-house version that would have rocked the original acid raves at Shoom, Berlin based Electrosexual, who comes on strong with a percussive industrial mix, and rising star Ynfynyt Scroll, who turns in a mix half-way between southern hip-hop and Jersey club banger.
There’s also a remix by the mysterious new act Cunt Traxxx, in a “vogue house” style, but you’ll be hearing more about them right here in the very near future. For now, here are the tracks for your earholes:
If you want to purchase any of the “Work It” remixes, hop over here.
The original version of “Work It” is available on my mixtape AKA, which came out last year. You can hear it, and download the whole tape for free, at my Bandcamp page.
And here’s a video I put together for the track, featuring footage from our annual Vogue Brawl party, where only the most fabulous and fierce survive, and everybody is made to werrrk it…
Like I mentioned in the article, Egyptian Lover is a bona fide legend, a pioneer of both Hip-hop culture on America’s West Coast, and the TR-808 drum machine (the foundation stone of rap, electro and house music - in fact, it’s an integral part of all electronic music.) If you are in anyway interested in dance music culture and it’s history, then Egyptian Lover, or Greg Broussard to his friends, should loom very large on your radar.
Which is why I am absolutely BLOWN AWAY to announce that Egyptian Lover has produced a remix for my next single. That release is an acid-vogue version of Missy Elliot’s “Work It” that I have performed in my live sets for a long time, and included on my AKA album earlier this year (available to hear and as a free download here).
I still need to pinch myself form time to time to prove that no, I am not dreaming, I really do have a remix from Egyptian Lover. This guy has been a huge influence on my own music and djing, so to actually have him creating a beat and rapping on my track is… hard to describe.
As we say over here, I’m chuffed.
I sent Greg a few quick questions to answer, via email:
Do you still have the first 808 you bought? If so, does it still work?
Yes I still have the first one I ever bought and 5 more. I absolutely love the sound of it. I even bring one on the road with me to play at all my shows.
Are there any good 808 substitutes (for people who can’t afford the real thing)?
What are your top 3 808-based tracks of all time?
The 808 is still going strong to this very day. Who are your favorite modern producers, or djs?
Not too many, I’m old school 100% but I like AUX88, Jimmy Edgar, Jamie Jones, Dam Funk, just to name a few.
You seem to be touring non-stop. How is that going?
It’s a great life when you can see the world, DJ, and get paid for it!!!
What are your favorite places to play?
Paris, London, all of Germany and Barcelona are my favorites
What’s coming up in the near future for the Egyyptian Lover?
A new album 1984 and a big surprise with Stones Throw Records.
Have you ever been to Egypt?
Never been to Egypt but I plan on it very very soon!!!
Now THAT would be a gig to see - Egyptian Lover rocking the pyramids of Giza with his trusty 808. Or maybe on a boat down the Nile on the way to his house. I’ll do a fuller interview with Greg when 1984 is ready to drop, but in the meantime, here is the Egyptian Lover’s remix of “Work It”:
The full download release of Work It is coming on the 17th of September through Juno, and I will be uploading more of the remixes (from Hard Ton, Electrosexual, Ynfynyt Scroll and Cunt Traxxx) to my Soundcloud page over the coming weeks.
There’s always music and news updates available at www.niallism.com, and if you’re on Facebook, you can find me here.
As he mentioned, Egyptian Lover’s album 1984 will be coming out later this year on Stones Throw Records. You can keep up to date with Egyptian Lover, and his tour schedule, via Twitter and MySpace.
Today is the eighth of the eighth, the official day to celebrate all things to do with the Roland TR-808 drum machine. And what better way to spend the day than with LA’s own king of the beats, and undisputed pioneer of both the 808 and hip-hop music, the Egyptian Lover.
This in-depth interview, by Redefine Hip-Hop for Fifth Element Online, stretches to 25 minutes over two parts, and covers everything you could possibly want to know about Egyptian Lover, aka Greg Broussard. From the origins of his moniker, to his introduction to the 808, from some of his most memorable productions to his extensive djing background, this covers all bases.
The 808 is a staple of modern music making, as influential a sound source as anything produced by Moog or Arp. I fuckin’ love it, as my Bang The Box mix from a few months back proves. There’s just nothing that compares to those massive kick drums, those sharp snares and that iconic, ringing cowbell. As Greg states in the interview, the 808 is never going to go away, and even Madonna has name dropped the 808 recently, in an attempt to gain some cred.
Of course, Egyptian Lover beat Madonna to rapping about an 808 by almost 30 years, and the great news is that he hasn’t stopped rocking. He’s still touring, and playing to more people than ever, all over the globe, as successive generations get turned on to the 808 sound. He’s a real dj’s dj too, mixing and scratching with original vinyl over his trusty 808’s live rhythms, and of course it wouldn’t be an Egyptian Lover show if he didn’t take to the microphone to deliver his classic raps. Check the 70 minute live recording from last year, after the jump. That, brostep kids, is a REAL dj.
The Egyptian Lover is a legend set in stone!
After the jump, part two of the Egyptian Lover interview, and a live set recorded in Athens last October…