Happy Anniversary

So yesterday was my 3 year wedding anniversary with my wife. I’m a very happy and lucky man, and I’m thankful every day. We were out at dinner last night reminiscing about the good times and particularly about our wedding day, and we got to talking about the special wedding mix CD that we made to commemorate the occasion. It’s a mix that we gave out to all the people that attended, and is just a cross section of records that we love. We both picked out the songs – although she had more of a hand in the choices than I did – and we both completed the mix together. So this is a joint thing, crafted with love. She suggested that I put the mix up for others to enjoy…

We started the mix with the East Of Underground version of “I Love You For All Seasons” which was actually the song that we had our first dance to. Most people probably know the original version by DC soul trio The Fuzz. But my wife fell head over heels by the rare EOU version and so that’s the one we used. Truth be told, I didn’t have the original vinyl when we made the mix, but I ponied up a couple months later for a copy – which cost me a cold $1000+. But you got to pay to play, man hahah… At first she wasn’t very happy over the fact that I had spent so much money on a record – not to mention a record that I already had on CD and on reissue. Thankfully she understood the sentimental significance of me owning the OG. I think all the bosses out there understand the deal. Nevertheless, here’s the mix. I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it!

Sydney & Cosmo: Love, Life & Music – 2007

East Of Underground “I Love You For All Seasons”
The Dramatics “Whacha See Is Whacha Get”
Detroit Emeralds “Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)”
Funk Factory “Rien Ne Va Plus”
Quincy Jones “Body Heat”
Bootsy Collins “I’d Rather Be With You”
D’Angelo “Lady”
Raphael Saadiq “Still Ray”
Robin Thicke “Lost Without You”
Zapp “Computer Love”
Chris Brown “Yo (Excuse Me Miss” (Black Chiney Remix)
The Gap Band “Yearning For Your Love”
Donny Hathaway “Love, Love, Love”
Shuggie Otis “Island Letter”
A Tribe Called Quest “Bonita Applebum” (Hootie Mix)
Earth, Wind & Fire “Devotion” (Live Version)
Rick James “Moon Child”
Stevie Wonder “As”
Bill Withers “Lovely Day”
Taana Gardner “Heartbeat”
De La Soul “Buddy” (Native Tongues Remix)
The Isley Brothers “For The Love Of You”
One Way “Cutie Pie”
Tom Tom Club “Genius Of Love”
James Brown “That’s My Desire”

Happy anniversary, hon! You’re the best! – XOXO, C!

Viva The Remedy

Last night I went to check my homie Rich Medina at Le Poisson Rouge which is the brand new home of his long-running night with DJ Akalepse. Anyone who goes out in NY knows that Wednesday’s at APT was always the jumpoff, and now that APT is closed it’s a good thing that Rich and the crew have a new home. Lil Ricky’s is an all-time classic party and a New York institution, so long live Wednesday nights. Which brings me to the next point – me and Rich are spinning this Friday at Deity in Brooklyn. For those that don’t know, Deity is one of the best spots in Brooklyn and it’s also my local watering hole so I’m fully down with it.

The fact of the matter is I’m pretty hyped about this. You see me and Rich go back a long time, probably going on 15 years at this point easy. I remember the first time I met the dude, back when he was still working “on the plantation” as he would call it, he used to come into Armand’s Records where I worked and cop vinyl from me. Here’s this tall lanky motherfucker with a high-top fade coming in buying indie hip-hop. A couple snaps back and forth and we were friends instantly.

In 1997 I started a new party with my dude Jack Boogie and my best friend Rahnon and it was an immediate success. I used to bring in my friends and local DJs as well as some bigger named DJs to do guest spots on Monday nights. Rich was one of the first and most frequent. By this time he already kind of started to develop a distinctive sound as a DJ. About a year into doing the party, I was in a car accident that almost ended my life. While many of my so-called friends took this time to either distance themselves from me or to find an opportunity to use my misfortune to their benefit, Rich stepped up to bat. While I was hospitalized Rich took over The Remedy’s operations and DJing and kept it afloat. All without paying himself a dime. Him and Rahnon held it down and so later on that year, when I was able to return to work, I was returning to a lively scene that was better than ever. But the story doesn’t end there…

After I returned and for the next several years with me and Rich as partners in this music thing, we really changed the game. I can say that right now and with all humility that I can muster say that we were doing things and had a scene that was unlike anything that had come before. Our roots planted firmly in hip-hop and funk but we were really all over the map. Anything was game and our people were extremely loyal. Before we knew it we had a monster on our hands, basically the illest party that I could have imagined.

Rich cutting up doubles of D.I.T.C. while Kurupt freestyled on the mic. Me playing Gary Numan “Cars” while Andre 3000 and Big Boi danced alongside some of Philly’s finest dancers. Rich DJing for Slum Village while they performed right on the dancefloor for my birthday party, me and Baatin (RIP) sharing wine from a jug that he brought for the occasion. Me beatboxing on the mic while Goldie played dubplates in a surprise set, later on watching a pre-solo career Justin Timberlake dance to doubles of James Brown “Mind Power.” Rich being the very first person up in the clubs that I saw that would have the whole room of hip-hop heads rocking to a 12 minute Fela Kuti jam – yeah, it all went down there in Philadelphia, at Fluid “University,” at The Remedy, with me a Rich. And ask anyone who knows about that last hour of the night – that pretty much made people want to switch careers straight up.

So yeah, out of the 90s and into the 00s we went and eventually Rich and I broke off into our own directions and the party ended around the time I moved to New York (and ended up helping start yet another legendary party, The Rub.) But although we both have garnered our own levels of success there’s so much that is lent to that extremely pivotal era of my career, those several years where we went all out every Monday night in Philly. And remaining friends for so long we’ve always talked about making another run at this grand old RX215 thing. So this Friday at Deity in Brooklyn, it’s going down. Hope you can make it – we fin to get it cracking up in there.

A few years ago me and Rich did a one-off at Fluid and it proved to be an amazing time. My homies over at The Fader magazine decided to ask me a few questions about the night, it’s history and whatnot, the music, and they still have that interview up on their site. That’s where I got all these photos from. Anyway, check the article out here: Doing It Well.

Also, I found this article that the homie Bobbito wrote about The Remedy back in 2001. Granted he’s the homie and he spun at the spot a few times so it might be a little biased, but nah man fisk that this is the real haha. But for real though it’s kind of a glowing and apt description of the energy. It’s from his “Foglights in the Front” column, originally published on 360hiphop.com on March 16th, 2001.

“Sick of the bullshit? Your favorite hip-hop purist provides the Remedy while waxing poetic about the charms of Illadelph.

By Bobbito

Let me say that Illadelph has it going on, to the pumpkin-pie-delicious-smell level. I’ve been one of the rotating guest DJs along with Cash Money (the hip-hop relevant one) at Club Fluid on 4th Street off of South Street. The jam is called the Remedy with resident DJs Cosmo and Big Rich Medina, and has been going down funk-hard on Monday nights for the last three years. It is, without question, a hip-hop paradise, the dopest continuous weekly hip-hop (the cultural reference, not the abused meaning) jam in the United States that I’ve been to since Payday’s in New York back in 1988-9. It took them a second, early on, to clear out the radio-programmed club clientele but since then the place is chock full of HEADS, female and male, who shit, wipe, and dental floss hip-hop.

The crowd wants to hear album cuts, early releases, indies, old school, and originals; Anything that remotely fits into the realm of what hip-hop should be, they slurp up like spaghetti pasta. What separates it from everything else is that people don’t just stand and bop their heads like all the younger “I’m-down-with-the-underground-so-I-don’t-dance” kids of the home hip-hop development generation. People move to rhythm in Philly, with their mind, neck, heart, knee joints, and toes. I can spin in Europe a thousand times and get the same amount of people to get on the dancefloor and move to unfamiliar music (in fact, the more obscure you go, the more the crowd responds). For that, Europe’s hip-hop community gets mad love. They revere a DJ’s ability to select. Stateside, most club-goers think you’re a jukebox in the DJ booth, only playing mundane requests from radio and video playlists they’re familiar with.

New York is no longer the home of hip-hop. It’s home now is much more personalized, residing only in the hearts that know. Philly, or more specifically the constituents of Remedy, are all as open-minded as Europeans crowds. But I’m more satisfied, more rewarded when I spin there as opposed to Europe. People in Philly not only dance, they dance really well. And respectfully. And together. Normally, if I start spinning breaks at a spot, the b-boys in the room take over the dancefloor, demanding so much room for their circle that it kills the vibe for the other dancers who just simply enjoy dancing to breaks. At Remedy, the breakers share floor space with everyone. And in the circle, everyone else joins in: Capeira dancers, ex-house music dancers and just straight up nasty hip-hop dancers (yes, people forget, but you don’t have to be a b-boy/b-girl to dance to hip hop and be nice with yours. It’s supposed to be interpretative). I also like that the nicest breaker I’ve seen out of Philly is a women named Jewel. It’s by no means a male dominated community as it is in most locales.

The other thing that separates Remedy from so many spots, at least here in New York, is the sound system. New York clubs have horrible sound in general. Club Fluid’s has clarity, depth and power. You will feel the funk down to your marrow. If you live in New York, Jerusalem, Delaware or Southeastern Pennsylvania, make the trip Monday nights. If you are visiting Illadelph from out of town, make sure your travel itinerary includes a Monday night stay. Big Rich Medina and DJ Cosmo will make it worth your while, I promise. I’ve spun there almost 10 times now in the past three years and there has never been an off night. It’s on like that (Ha-hot music, the hot music). To my DJ brethren, just imagine spinning at a club and playing JVC Force “Strong Island” and the crowd not only stays on the dance floor but knows the words. Or as KRS-One said, ” I know a few understand what I’m talking about.

Peace and Blessings,

Bobbito aka Cucumber Slice”

I’ll leave it with some music – I posted this up back in February but I figured that it’s probably a good time to repost it. It took place at The Remedy some time back in 1998 or maybe 1999. This snippet is recorded live from the club with DJ Jazzy Jeff on the wheels with Black Thought, Common, Rehani and more spitting freestyles over “Love Rap” and “Mardi Gras. This is the way that it used to go down, son.

DJ Jazzy Jeff, Cosmo Baker & Rich Medina “Live @ The Remedy, 1998 Pt. 3, feat. Common, Black Thought, Rehani, Rasheed, Dice Raw, Scratch & more…”

Happy Birthday Biggie Smalls

Happy Birthday to Christopher Wallace, better known as The Notorious B.I.G., and always known to me simply as Biggie Smalls. My favorite rapper of all time. And if you don’t think he’s the greatest rapper of all time, stop smoking that shit.

I remember the first time I heard Biggie rap – I had just come home from buying the latest Heavy D & The Boyz record “Blue Funk” (A criminally underrated album by the way.) So I listened to the whole thing, and finally got to the last song on the album, the posse cut “A Buncha Ni66as” and heard this dude flow for the first time. He bodied the cut, even using the funny noise gimmick “Eeehhh” in his flow back then. But listening to the dude, you knew you were listening to greatness.

Heavy D & The Boyz “A Buncha Niggas feat. 3rd Eye, Rob-O, Guru, The Notorious B.I.G. & Busta Rhymes” (Uptown, 1992)

Over the course of the next couple years it was like every time you heard him drop a guest verse, whether it be on a Super Cat record or on a Mary J. Blige record, you knew you were listening to history being made. I’m a Philly dude, I’m not a native New Yorker, but listening to dude rap he was our champion doing it right before our eyes. Biggie Smalls songs were leaked all over mixtapes that we use to bring down from Harlem, and your man was a problem. Then the Big Mack promo dropped, complete in the old school styrofoam hamburger containers, and it was a wrap – nothing could stop Biggie. That was a mad exciting time for me and for everyone around me at the time, and for music in general. Of course he released 2 classic albums and changed rap history and will always be remember as one of – if not the – greatest rappers of all time (thank you Canibus for your one contribution to rap in your paltry career, the “March 9th” line.) But when I think of Biggie I always think of those early years. It was so exciting, and had so much electricity and promise. Miss that dude. There will never be another.

I did this remix a couple of years ago. Of course the original (both the original and the original remix) versions by Lord Finesse are classics. But I wanted to just do a little 21st Century update for the clubs, using the Flaming Arrow flip, and I had to painstakingly add in the samples from Doug E. Fresh and from The Last Poets as well. I always get a good reaction to this when I play it out. Hope you enjoy it.

01 Party And Bullshit (Cosmo Baker Remix) by cosmobaker

Breakbeat Tuesday – But What About Boston

So I been on the run a bit this week – I just got back from Boston where I did a Sheen Bros show with my partner in crime 4th Pyramid and the man who holds it all together, the illustrious Tamir Z. Brown. It was great and I got the chance to rock with my homies from up in Boston, the one and only Kon as well as 7L & DJ Beyonder – collectively known as The BladeRunners. I’m going back up to Boston on Saturday to rock out with 7L again so it should be dope.

I forgot to drop this week’s Breakbeat Tuesday so I’m gonna send this one out to Boston. I was actually trying to think of an artist that had a breakbeat that was a Boston native. I swear, the only thing that I could think of was Aerosmith “Walk This Way” and I am NOT about to get all up here on this site and talk about freaking Aerosmith and Walk This Way, son… Although this is a pretty dope video of them, with a fresh break at the front and Joe Perry going all in on the talk box circa 1977.

So I just decided to think out the box a little bit. This here is a song by Hamilton Bohannon, a drummer, songwriter and producer from Georgia. You probably know him from his biggest hit “Let’s Start The Dance” which is like a 13 minute percussive disco stomper that just basically murders every dancefloor dead. Bohannon was born and raised in Georgia and, after getting a job as Stevie Wonder’s tour drummer, settled in Detroit to work as a drummer and producer for Motown. After they relocated to Los Angeles, Bohannon stayed behind and released his first record, 1973’s “Stop & Go” on Dakar Records, based out of Chicago. So how does that tie in with Boston?

The Stop & Go record became really popular after it was sampled for Boston rapper Ed O.G. & Da Bulldogs (or should that be B.U.L.L.D.O.G.S. – Black United Leaders Living Directly On Groovin’ Sounds) for 1991’s “I Got To Have It. The amazing Awesome 2 aka Teddy Tedd & Special K as well as Joe Mansfield from The Vinyl Reanimators all have production credit for the song so I’m not sure who actually mined the sample. But it’s dope not hype it’s dope… I actually bought a copy of the vinyl about 10 years about from Tony Triple Double and Diplo (yeah, Diplo was way into old records before he became a club and techno superstar DJ. He still is though quiet as kept.) So yeah, there you go. In a roundabout way I guess this Bohannon record does rep Boston in a sense. At least it does in my Private Mind Garden. And yeah, I know it’s not a “breakbeat” per se but whatever dude…

Bohannon “Singing A Song For My Mother” (Dakar, 1973)

Bonus beats from my homie DJ Deep Sang out of Washington DC. There’s obviously been a brand new disco movement happening for a few years now and Deep Sang, along with his partner Meistro, have holding it down in DC for a minute. These dudes are dudes, know their music, and are awesome DJs. Deep Sang hit me off with this really tasteful and useful edit of Bohannon’s “Let’s Start The Dance” a few years ago and it’s always gone over well with my dancefoors. You can check more about Deep Sang and his crew and how they hold it down in DC – shout to Dirty Bombs and also my man DJ Stylus as well. Now here’s the music!

Bohannon “Let’s Start The Dance” (Deep Sang’s Edit) (CDR, 2008)

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  • Cosmo Baker’s Top Ten Records Of May

    DJ Stuart "Re-Work V2"
    Wet "All The Ways" (Branchez Remix)
    De La Soul "Beautiful Night"
    Phife "Nutshell"
    With You "Ghost" feat. Vince Staples (Major Lazer Remix)
    Tall Black Guy "The Heart Of The Town"
    KRNE "I'll Be Good"
    Hoodboi "Closer"
    Drake "With You" Feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR
    Christopher Cross "Ride Like The Wind" (Joey Negro Dub Disco Mix)

    BAKERS DOZEN BONUS

    Club Cheval "Discipline"
    Mura Masa "What If I Go"
    Kate Bush "Why Should I Love You?"

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