The above clip is from “Downtown Calling” a brand new film chronicling the pocket of time and creativity that has pretty much directly effected every facet of pop culture in the world in the 21st Century. Like everything. So basically everyone and everything else can sit the fuck down cause this is where it’s at. The film is so crazy good and that’s not colored by the fact that my longtime friend Ben Velez produced it and my other friend Shan Boogie directed it. But big up to my friends. Congratulations, dudes.
Here’s some Youtube and WMD goodies to get you in the mood. First one is by Konk which actually was the band my homie Jonny Sender was in back in the day. Jonny and I used to DJ together at Den Of Thieves on Houston back in the early to mid 90s. Great dude, great DJ. Just don’t ask him about the night he cleared our dancefloor with a Kiss record. Quickest club mass-exodus ever…
Next up is the seminal group Liquid Liquid helmed by NY’s own Sal Principato. You can catch Sal still spinning around NY, most notably at subMercer (one of my favorite spots in NY, that just happens to have a new blog up.) Anyway, everyone knows “Cavern” which I posted because of the really cool animated video (the only one ever done by 99 Records) from 1983. But I wanted to post another song that doesn’t get as much love as it should. I chose “Bell Head” and I got my copy of this back in the day when my mom’s friend Phil dropped off a bunch of his old records to my crib cause he heard I was getting into DJing. Thanks Phil. Here’s the video, and the WMD because the video is a live “teaser” or something.
And of course history changed when “Uptown” came “Downtown” in the form of hip-hop music. So much has been waxed poetic about this over the years so I’m just going to leave you with this crazy footage of one of the greatest rap groups of all time, the almighty Cold Crush Brothers. I never saw this footage before but it’s pretty ill. Anyone who wants to doubt the genius of these dudes needs to fall back right now.
Shout out to DJ Charlie Chase. I really need to step my game up and start wearing fingerless leather spike-embedded gloves when I DJ. Cats these days got NO sense of style…
So you might have wondered why I’m not updating much this month. First of all around my birthday I took a little time off. Also I’ve been spending time between hanging with my family, and working on a few projects. But the main reason is because the new site cosmobaker.com version 2.0 is about to launch, like probably in about 2 to 3 weeks. So I’ve been getting the content for the new site ready. Thanks for your loyalty and patience and I promise the new format is going to blow your minds.
Speaking of projects, here’s one that we just completed. For the July 9th’s Skratch Bastid Presents: Let’s Build party at The Drake in Toronto, I flew in early to send a couple days practicing routines with Bastid for the show. During one of our sessions him and I were playing the new Cam’ron & Vado heatrock “Speakin’ In Tongues” and I started chopping up different parts of the beat, flipping it inna dancehall stylee. We threw Cutty Ranks’ immortal “Limb By Limb” acapella over top of it and it and, as Bastid puts it, “instantly smoke filled the room and an airhorn sounded from the distance. Magical.” We performed it live at the show to a great response. Here is a studio remix of the cut, so that you can mash up the party wherever you play it, be it desktop, poolside or club. Check it:
Please feel free to VOTE for this track on HYPEM, post to your Twitter, or share on your Facebook page. All the love is much appreciated for sure… and that’s no lie! And for good measure, here’s some great Cutty Ranks yourtube videos… The man was always one of my favorites.
Big shout out to Skratch Bastid and Mike D for having me up, and shout to the folks at WeSC for helping make it happen (and for the nice headphones.) Also thanks as well to Andre and the Drake Hotel crew for consistently having great events in a comfortable room in a big city. That’s how it’s done. Check the photos here.
This is a quick and incomplete update as I’ve been running around and had one of the busiest weekends in a while. But, I try not to neglect the scheduled Breakbeat Tuesday cause I know a lot of folks check for it on a regular basis. Well, this week we’re starting the first ever guest appearance of Breakbeat Tuesday – something that a lot of people have asked about doing and I have a lineup of writers in the cue. With no further hesitation, it is my honour, as an honourary Canadian, to present the first extra special guest – Skratch Bastid. The Bastid is a good homie, and for my money, one of the best DJs in the word, no question.
When he got with me to collaborate on a 4 turntable project in his Toronto home I jumped at the chance. Working on a whole bunch of of tightly scripted routines we’re fin to take the 2X4 game to the next level for the one night only appearance, this Friday at The Drake in T-Dot. That also is going to be my birthday so you know it’s going to be fun for me no matter what. So when he said he wanted to contribute a BBT in conjunction with the Friday show we’re doing together, it made perfect sense. So here you are, the first ever guest, Breakbeat Tuesday, as told to you by the one and only… Skratch Bastid:
These are 3 songs that I think have perfect breakbeats. My favorite types of breakbeats are ones that leave a lot of options for a DJ to cut doubles of them. Beats that become a song themselves inside of their original composition. I think that’s what makes the concept of breaking and sampling so interesting: a certain part of the record can spawn whole new songs or ideas when rearranged. Long breaks that have simple yet interesting changes provide a lot of choices for DJs that want to create something new out of an existing song. Of course, it’s always a trip to hear bugged out moments of greatness on unsuspecting records, but there’s more value in a break that you can enjoy for more than 5 seconds. Songs that are actually dope in their entirety and that a listener can enjoy from front to back, but which a DJ can rearrange the best parts of to make their own on-the-fly edit of the song.
Most of the songs on the Ultimate Breaks & Beats series fall into that category, and one of my favorites off of those records is “Funky Music Is The Thing” by The Dynamic Corvettes (Abet, 1975). Released on 7″ in 2 parts, it’s a Sly & The Family Stone-ish ode to good music, punctuated by horns, vocal harmonies, and a heavy beat. The b-side opens up into a big 30 second break half way through the side, drums pounding, fuzz guitar wailing, and the greatest cowbell player known to man doing their thing. Heavy. A lot of fun to loop. Steinski, Twin Hype & JVC Force all had fun with it, but from a production tip you gotta love how the king Mantronix freaked it and recreated it on Just-Ice’s “Cold Getting Dumb”. Here’s an extended mp3 of Parts 1 & 2 pieced together.
A similar break is Booker T & The MGs’ “Grab Bag”, off their album “Universal Language”. The band behind the bulk of Stax’s early success. Without question one of the best rhythm sections ever. This album kind of sucks, though. When I first started buying records, I skipped through this album quickly and passed over this track entirely. Not long ago, my homie Birdapres sat me down to listen to this track and I was shocked to hear this. Pretty much the saving grace of the album. This is a really dope beat to break. The guitar/bass melody lead-in into the drums lends itself to different patterns. You can hear it in the chorus of Big Daddy Kane’s “Set It Off.”
The last record contains one of those breaks that is satirically long. Compared to your average song, you could say that the above two breaks pretty lengthy. It’s a lot to ask the band to shut up for more than a few bars to let the drums go for dolo. It’s gotta stay interesting somehow. But by the time the disco era hit, it would seem that fans/dancers were a little more accustom to hearing beats and grooves on their own and in a more drawn out arrangement. What happens in the last 4:30 of The New York Community Choir’s “Express Yourself” 12″ takes the length of a ‘break’ to a whole ‘nother level. The bass and singing fade out and the drums ride out solo into one of the tightest ‘straight-ahead’ disco breaks I’ve ever heard. It speaks for itself, and takes it’s time while doing so. Listen.
Enjoy! Try them out. Get busy. Shouts out to Cosmo for setting off the nerdery and for the guest spot. I’m out. -Skratch Bastid
Thanks, Bastid for doing that for the site and thanks to everyone who took the time to read that. One of the things about the whole BBT thing on this site is emphasizing the personal connection and significance of these records, so it’s nice and refreshing to get someone else’s perspective. And don’t forget that me and Skratch Bastid will be performing our 2X4 set at The Drake this coming Friday, which is also my birthday, so even if you have to steal a car to get there, you better be in the house.
On a terrible note, our friend Rendell Miller AKA DJ Randy Flash, was shot in a senseless act of violence and succumbed to his injuries on Monday night. He leaves behind him a tremendous amount of family and friends that will miss him terribly. I said that he was too good for this world, and the world suffers for his absence. I’m trying not to think about the absolutely mind-boggling senselessness behind the act that took him away from those who loved him. It’s better to think about what he contributed to this world through his kinship with people, his energy, generosity, spirt, gentle nature and love for music.
I first moved to New York in 1994 and then moved back to Philly in 1996, proving well the old saying that “One doesn’t leave New York, they just fail.” I really didn’t know what I was doing with my life and was quite despondent about things. With no real prospects, I applied for a job at Sound Of Market on 11th and Market. Randy was the guy who “showed me the ropes” and got me situated in my new life. By the end of that first day on the job, I was truly able to say to myself “This guy is my friend.” And that is the kind of person he was. He will sincerely be missed by his family, friends and the entire community of Philadelphia. Also, peace to DJ Lee Jones who has really taken upon himself so many of the responsibilites of rallying the people to commemorate our friend. Lee is a true mentch. There will be a memorial benefit for Randy next Thursday so please try to come through and spread some love. A viewing will begin at 9 a.m. Monday, July 26, at Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church, 1008 N. 48th St., where a funeral service will follow at 10.
This one is for Randy… Be well my dude, and we will see you when we get there.
DJ Stuart "Re-Work V2"
Wet "All The Ways" (Branchez Remix)
De La Soul "Beautiful Night"
With You "Ghost" feat. Vince Staples (Major Lazer Remix)
Tall Black Guy "The Heart Of The Town"
KRNE "I'll Be Good"
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?"