Mobb Deep Live in London – 29 July 2004

img164RRR celebrate the talents of people while they are still with us, but regrettably on this occasion, our hearts are still heavy after learning about the recent passing of Albert Johnson, BKA Prodigy from Mobb Deep, FKA Poetical Prophets. Today, we want to celebrate both Prodigy and Havoc, by sharing a live set from July 2004 that as far as we can tell hasn’t been shared before. This recording of the London performance is as rare as hens in Huaraches.

Mobb Deep - Live in London - 29 July 2004 Review

In 1991, in an issue of The Source magazine, I read the Unsigned Hype blurb about the two young MCs from Queens, and I’ve followed their movements ever since. I wasnt a huge fan of the first LP but their vivid trife life expressions were often the soundtrack to a late night creep during the 90s, and beyond. I usually listened on cassette, and in 2017, I still feel a sense of satisfaction and pride, walking tall when sportin my Murder Muzik promo t-shirt.

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Many have talked about the talents of Prodigy and Havoc, but not many can say theyve witnessed the energy of a live Mobb Deep set. Myself ? I cant either, I wasnt at this show, but I distinctly remember my old mate Miles [MURDER DOG] Dunbar talking about this 2004 set from The Forum [The old Town & Country Club in Kentish Town, North London]. He described it as if he had witnessed Jesus pulling turnaround jump-shots on stage in a Celtics jersey. As I was a regular contributor for Hip-Hop Connection at the time, I urged and pleaded him to write a review of the show. As you’ll hear on the tape, it was gnarly show, full of true fans, and of course, filled to the rafters with the North London equivilant of ‘killers and the 100$ billers’.

I have included his review of the show which [anyone worth their weight in anecdotal Rap allegories will recall] was the one when the stage got rushed by huge swathes of the audience, arguably several times over. On the tape, you’ll hear Alan the Chemist and Big Noyd on stage, and the photos in the review are courtesy of the long-established and all round nice guy Mr Paul Hampartsoumian. Paul was the in-house photographer for HHC, capturing the majority of live Rap sets the city had on offer throughout the 90s and onwards. As you can see, Paul had the vision to catch a perfectly composed pic of the stage, full rush. Big respect is automatic.

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‘For real niggas who ain’t got no feelings’, this one is for you. Thug-hugs from RRR.

Max LX & Dave VJ – KISS FM 4 August 1993

MAX & DAVE KISS FM 1993 TDK MA-X 90 TAPE [MR LAWSON] - Copy

UK Rap & Hip-Hop radio was presented by a myriad of DJs that blessed the airwaves over the years; Mike Allen, Tim Westwood, Big Ted, Richie Rich, Dave Pearce, Dan Greenpeace & Kish, Stu Allen, Leaky Fresh, 279 & Shortee Blitz, and more.

This tape comes from ex-Hardrock Soul Movement members Max LX & Dave VJ from Summer 1993. They presented a show on KISS FM in London during the 90s, it was broadcast mid-week and plugged a gap for the fiends that tuned into random Rap radio shows each week to get their fix.

This show doesnt feature any guests and has no exclusives, but that’s how it was back then, you tuned in, soaked up the vibes and you heard what you heard. Sometimes, like this tape, it was just good music. Sometimes I listen back to these shows and hear outfits I’d forgotten about, like UK artists like Unanimous Decision and Krispy 3, and it’s a guarantee that listening back, you’ll be noddin ya head to jams you’d forgotten about too, I know I did. This show is mostly made us of US acts and is a snapshot of the time. Keep an ear out for the weekly Rap report with Billboard writer Havelock Nelson, as well as a nutty sounding Hijack ID at the very end, as well as silly ads with VO’s from Harry Enfield/ Ade Edmondsen and the suitably and typically disinterested John Peel. Big shouts to Mr Lawson for the tape !!

Krispy 3 – Back It Up
Tim Dog ID
London Posse ID
Akinyele – Bags Packed
Mic Break

Ads:
Mutiny
Nat West
Sony Tape [Harry Enfield]
Tribe Night-Out Comp

DJ Pogo Mix:
Big Daddy Kane – How U Get A Record Deal [Blend]
Cypress Hill – Insane In The Brain
Digable Planets – Where I’m From Inst / Cuts
MC Lyte – Ruffneck
BIG – Party & Bullshit [Rmx]
Diamond D – Best Kept Secret [45 King Rmx]
Jamalski ID
Mic Break
Kam – Still Got Love 4 Um
The New Test-Da-Ment – Balimbo

Ads:
Mutiny
YOP [Ade Edmondsen/ John Peel]

Rap Report with Havelock Nelson [Billboard]
Buju Banton – Make My Day [Troopa’s Jeep Mix]
Super Lover Cee & Casanova Rud – Come & Get Me While I’m Hot
Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth ID
Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth – Death Becomes You

Ads:
Chocolate Chinas Club
YOP [Ade Edmondsen/ John Peel]
Speak Out Against Racism w/ Gabrielle
Perfect Pizza

KRS-One ID
Ice Cube ID
Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth ID
The Whooliganz – Put Your Handz Up
Unanimous Decision – It Ain’t Clever
Incognito – Still A Friend Of Mine
Dr. Dre – Puffin’ On Blunts…
Darkman – What’s Not Yours
Ultramagnetic MC’s – Two Brothers With Checks
Gig Guide [Onyx/ Grand Puba]
Hijack ID
Font La Roy & Darkman – Back To The Lab
Outro

Flavor Flav [MC DJ Flavor] – Party in my Pants [Unreleased]

 

Before Public Enemy released a single, before they created Yo!, before the viking hats, before Rush Management, before they were inducted in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, and before they were even called Public Enemy, they were part of a rag-tag soundsystem of friends called Spectrum City. SC, starting in a youth centre in the 70s as a bunch of like-minded Rap fans that were learning how to DJ, made it to radio in the pursuit of nothing more than having fun and keeping themselves entertained.

Spectrum City business card

One of the things I enjoy most about listening through old tapes and old vintage radio shows is the unexpected discoveries of antiquities like this. This clip, from WBAU outta Long Island, NY, as well as the WBAU clips on this YT playlist, are unreleased, unheard and unavailable to anyone that wasnt tuning in to these shows regularly at the time, 1981 [Remember these broadcasts precede the first Public Enemy releases under their original moniker Spectrum City, which was 3 years later as the artist formerly known as MC Chuckie D explains in this clip].

MC Flavor [Flav] expounds his opinions regarding females. Sadly, he’s a tad misogynistic with lines like ‘Lets talk about the ugly ones that think they look good, their face is so ugly it looks like it was bashed up by wood’.

It’s unbelievably and disgustingly sexist, but thoroughly entertaining, and catchy as all hell. It was gaffled from a Youtube clip of WBAU material, not from my personal collection this time. I just wanted to highlight what PE were doing in their embryonic days on this iconic radio show.

The ‘Party in my Pants’ sample is from this

These shows were generously shared on YT, and to most might be ‘out-dated like the running man’ but they serve as the ‘Dawn of the Def’, a snapshot of Def Jam before DJ RR had stepped inside NYU dorm room #712. They are priceless artifacts that feature the raw talent that of the DJs, producers & artists, and all involved in creating one of the most important and iconic groups in Rap history; The Bomb Squad, Doctor Dre’s Operating Room, the Mr Bill Show [Bill Stephney], the Townhouse 3 [Son of Bazerk] and of course, the MC Flavor Show [ Flavor Flavs own regular late night platform].

Westwood – Kool G Rap [Live to London] October 1991

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This post is dedicated to the haters, to the surprising number of people that cuss Tim Westwood on the socials; for his choices of career path, his presentation style, for his passion, for his involvement in creating a culture and a soundtrack for a generation or two, yeh, this ones’ for you smart-mouth ! My Mum always taught me, ‘If you dont have anything nice to say about someone, say nothin’.

I’m amazed at how many people from my generation want to put Tim down, so many people are still sippin on that Haterade and riffin, when they could be a positive force. RRR post these shows for those that enjoyed the broadcasts at the time, for those of us that were travelling to jams and carryin on in the back of the car en route to a jam of their own. It’s for those that blasted these iconic tunes on the radio, the first time round, as the musical accompaniment to our weekends ! These shows are for the people that kept hold of those tapes and pop in an old dusty one when the mood takes them. We also care about the yoot dem, so we share these as a form of education for those younger generations that wanna discover the Hip-Hop that marketing men and women the world over talk about.

This is for those that even performed with Westwood at Live to London jams, it’s for those that just seem to enjoy drama these days, and for some reason, seem to use the cultural banner of Hip-Hop as a crutch. Yo, that crutch has been kicked from under you, you farcical fool. Hip-Hop and Rap in their purist form are not about histrionics, incongruous gossip or bitchmove drama, it’s all about Peace, UNITY, Love and Havin Fun !!!!!

Therefore, if you dont like Westwood, then you probably shouldnt be listening to this. Because that would make you a hypocrite. For the rest of us with a less blinkered attitude, it’s a different story, this is one of the freshest dopest Live to London sets that RRR has ever laid ears on, enjoy…..

As well as broadcasting the sounds of Hip-Hop since the mid-80s, Tim Westwood was always hugely in favour of bringing the party ‘To the Streets’ and by the time October 1991 rolled around, the Big Dawg of British Rap radio had already been playing club sets for years and was ‘guaranteed to rock a party’. This tape [from the days of The Arch in Vauxhall, and The Slammer in Gravesend, two UK venues synonymous with Westwood and the Rap club circuit of the period] was generously supplied by ex-label and industry head, Mr Lawson, and is proof of such. The Live to London sessions started on the Capital Rap Show around the late 80s and continued for years, with Tim creating a direct platform for American artists to perform in front of British audiences for the first time, in London and across the UK, promoting their releases, and their identity. These sessions went live to air on 95.8 FM for segments of each Live to London Capital Radio broadcast, the actual parties ‘rocked on’ until 5am.

This session starts with bangers, goes into some Hip-Pop in the form of O.P.P. and Fu-Schnickens, before launching into an underrated Ragga set. Tim was a huge proponent of Ragga and Dancehall, dropped it in virtually every set, and probably does to this day. He naturally played the prevailing ‘riddims’ of the time, but listen out for the ‘dub-plate specials’ he was blessed with by artists like Cutty Ranks, Mad Cobra, Daddy Meeky & Little Meeky and Daddy Woody. Advocating Tims position and confirming that ‘Westwood, He Run The Road’ on one selection. The iconic and faultless ‘Yush’ promo by Mad Cobra kicks off the Ragga section of the set. Remember, these promos and ‘dub-plates’ were never released to anyone other than Tim, on albums, CDs, anywhere. He talks more about them in the clip below too. Towards the end of the set you can warm to the intimidating menace of Kool G Rap live on stage, performing a short-set to promote a full concert at Hammersmith Palais. He spits a few bars over Peter Piper & Paul C beats and the tape ultimately comes to a close with some more ’91 classics.

Tims delivery on the mic is absurdly entertaining throughout this tape, most notably as he proudly announces Juice Crew Manager Fly Ty is in the building. His delivery of shout-outs to people from other sound-systems is also golden, as is the moment that he jumps to Ice Cubes defence during Fuck Compton. As well as seminal lines like ‘As the Countdown Continues’, ‘Kicking the Vibes Downtown’ and how he describes his set as ‘The Peoples Choice’. The terms for the different people in the dance are gems too: Brixton-ites, Ghetto-ites, and Punany Mechanics for starters.

If you want to catch some immediate throwback goosebumps, go to 57:57 to hear Tim drop the classic Poison by Kool G Rap and then the Live to London anthem, Letter To The Better by Master Ace. DJ Polo and G Rap are wandering around this South London dance, and informed over the mic to ‘Leave the Skins Alone’. More than once. The ‘Original Marley Marl Armshouse Lick’ is dedicated to DJ Polo, affirming its place as a bonafide Live to London anthem. Tim then tells Polo ‘God Damn I Told You’ as the whistle posse blow feverishly and the crowd screams along, fundamentally, this tape wholly captures the energy of those parties. Again, big thanks to Mr Lawson.

Leaders of the New School – Case of the P.T.A.
Tim Dog – Fuck Compton
Pete Rock & CL Smooth – The Creator
Pete Rock & CL Smooth – The Creator [Slide to the Side]
Naughty by Nature – O.P.P.
Nice & Smooth – Hip-Hop Junkies
Fu-Schnickens – Ring The Alarm
*Mad Cobra – Yush Dubplate [Yush]
*Cutty Ranks – Retreat Dubplate
Daddy Woody – Rammer Jammer [Rammer Jammer]
Mad Cobra – Unknown [Rammer Jammer]
Unknown – Unknown [Rammer Jammer]
Risto Benji – Passport Buddy [Passport Buddy]
Mad Cobra – Unknown [Gundelero]
*Daddy Meeky & Little Meeky – Tim Westwood ‘He Run The Road’ Dubplate
Unknown – Special Guest [Gundelero]
Capleton – Special Guest [Organizer]
Johnny P – Honour & Respect
Burro Banton – Boom Wah Dis [Street Sweeper]
Poison Chang – Visa Body
Unknown – Body Workshop ?
Unknown – Unknown
Unknown – Length & Strength [Piranha]
Pan Head – Gun Man Tune [Soap]
Tenor Saw – Ring The Alarm [Stalag]
*Reggie Stepper – Cu-Oonuh Dubplate [Stalag]
Kool G Rap – Poison
Kool G Rap – Road to The Riches
Ace & Action – Letter To The Better
Kool G Rap – Live
EPMD feat. LL Cool J – Rampage
Brand Nubian – Slow Down
UMCs – One to Grow On