Marley Marl – Unreleased

Marley Marl’s In Control Volume 1 was such an iconic release, introducing the talents of the Juice Crew members like Big Daddy Kane, Masta Ace & Kool G Rap amongst others to a world of new listeners. But when Volume 2 was released in 1991, there was something amiss. I remember hearing it in my mates car for the 1st time that year, and thinking back to the Tim Westwood plays on the Capital Rap Show in London, from 2 years previous. Where was the cut with Marley rhyming over the ‘Im Your Puppet’ break? What had happened to this track and that track? It seems that a few things had been omitted from the finished 1991 Cold Chillin alblum, things that I knew I’d heard, things that we knew we had on a D90 in the glove compartment.

Marley Marl

The track No Bullshit is a true gem cos Marley rhymes throughout the entire track, somethin he didnt do that often. And the odd thing about No Bullshit is that, in comparison to the version that ended up on the alblum, the original unreleased mix murders the finished version. As Marlon says himself, the ‘beat thats smooth’ makes it an entirely different song, and even if some of the lyrics are mostly the same, some of them are kinda malicious, and didnt appear on the finished LP, and possibly for good reason.

Marley, intriguingly cusses Mr Magic, the same person that put him on in the industry and made him his right hand man on the Rap Attack. Maybe guilt was the motivation for the switch up and thats why this version never made it #justsayin Maybe the hyped up sound on the finished No BS was just more appropriate in 91. Have a close listen to what Marley says about ‘Business & pleasure’ and how Magic mighta got the two mixed up, its the only segment of the 2 versions that feature alternate lyrics. The flow on this version is controlled, smooth and confident, compared to faster needier rhyming on the Vol2 version, where he almost sounds like he’s gettin his flare on.

There were 10 cuts on Vol1, and 20 cuts on Vol2 [including a few skit bits]. Maybe there was an issue with the ‘Im Your Puppet’ sample from the 1966 James & Bobby Purify classic, who knows. On the 1991 version made available to the public, Marley even teases us with a shard of that track before switching up the pace to around 115 bpm, cos it’d been ‘jacked already’.

The 2 other bangers by the self-appointed Super-Producer are by a little known Rapper by the name of Rapataire, called They Cant Get With Me, who incidentally had another unreleased cut called Hip-Hop Science. The other is an uptempo track also from 1989, recorded off a Clark Kent In Control broadcast [with bonus De La Soul], by a group referring to themselves as Unit3. Very little is known about them.

The questions remain, how many more of these gems are gathering dust on reels, in shoe-boxes or behind radiators ?

Marley, just bless us with some more Hot Chillin already !

Stu Allan – Bus Diss 28 April 1989

Stu Allan - Bus Diss 28 April 1989 tape

Stu Allans’ Bus Diss show on Piccadilly Radio in Manchester was a life-line to locals in the North of England. This tape may be short at 40 mins but there are some great bits of music from Gang Starr, Public Enemy, Cookie Crew and Sweet Tee as well as some classic shouts to the provincial graff crews of the time. There are some not so dope tracks like D-Mob, please ignore these anomalies. Trumungous shouts to Lee from Runcorn [NB: Sadly, the rest of this tape was filled with tracks by The Mighty Diamonds].

DJ Red Alert Goes Berserk Full 3 Hour Show – 98.7 Kiss FM April 1989

DJ Red Alert - ZULU

This is an extremely rare full 3 Hour DJ Red Alert Goes Berserk show from 25 years ago this week, one of the legendary Saturday night mastermixes on 98.7 Kiss FM from April 1989. Its Kool DJ Red Alert with co-presenters Diane King and Jeff Foxx. When the pioneers talk about the golden area of Rap on the radio, Mr Magic and Kool DJ Red Alert are arguably the first names on peoples lips. Take a nostalgic aural trip back a quarter of a century, to one of the most iconic DJs and shows in the ancestry of Hip-Hop and Rap on the airwaves.

DJ Red Alert - WRKS Kiss FM 22 April 1989 Tape 1

DJ Red Alert - WRKS Kiss FM 22 April 1989 Tape 2

As well as archetypal Rap classics from the Jungle Brothers, the Juice Crew, MC Sugar Ray & Stranger D, Chubb Rock and alot more great music, keep an ear out for the plentiful Kiss FM & Red Alert ‘station identification’ drops from Chris Rock, Super DJ Clark Kent, the Shirt Kings, the Violators crew and Black Rock N Ron. And ads for Coors Light, White Castle as well as a McDonalds Scrabble Competition, who knew the two would go hand in hand ?!  Harlems own led the way with an animated on-air persona and an added authenticity and passion to play the sound of an aspirational late-80s New York. The Propmaster gave dozens of the artists we know today a first rung on the ladder. On this tape, Q-Tip appears alongside Reds nephews Mike Gee & Afrika and cousin Sammy B on the JBs ‘In Time’. Putting people on was a standard, but not restricted to his family.

Apologies in advance, both tapes have been remastered and compressed to sound punchier, but they are 25 years old and both were a bit wacky in terms of quality to begin with. There are accidental record button moments, the bugged out sounds of the tape chewing, more than once, but thankfully it all sounds exactly the same way it did 25 years ago. Make a statement and play this out the window on a sunny afternoon, alternatively, play it at any club, disco, lounge, house basement or block party, car stereo, stoop, or at any other social gathering.

Nerd-note: Red Alert talks about clubbing in London with the Jungle Brothers, 45 King, Shante, Kane and others over the Easter period in the weeks previous to this broadcast. Evidently, this was the period when the JBs and others were doing shows in the UK, and when Simon Harris presented and recorded the Hustlers Convention LP with DJ Mark the 45 King etc.

Huge props to the Propmaster.

Photos and cutting from a Hannah Ford interview and article in Soul Underground magazine from the same month.

Photo Courtesy of Oliver Lim ©

Red Alert - Soul Underground Article

Westwood/ Dave Pearce/ Stu Allan – March 1989 [Pause Mix Tape]

Westwood & Dave Pearce - March 1989 Pause Tape J-Card - Copy

For the last day of March, here’s something a little left. This is a pause tape, for those unaware, a pause tape is like a tangible ‘vintage’ version of Soundcloud, and something that was created when the middle-agers of 2014 were young, and probably while they did their homework. Way back when, before hashtags and laughing gas, the working class youth of the 70s, 80 and 90s had string, sticks, cassettes and magazines to keep them occupied. Across the UK, we also had the radio, we’d tune in to specific shows, patiently hovering over the play and record, waiting to unleash the pause button like an impatient butchers blade. We’d tune in to hear the music we wanted to hear, while enduring the sounds being broadcast that we werent so keen on. Resigned to the fact that we’d have to wait another 20 minutes to hear something interesting and before we could release the pause button again, we’d then capture the sounds to replay in the playground or behind the bike sheds the next day. When Rap radio appeared in the late 80s across Britain, the game done changed. When we werent outdoors playing football, discovering spin the bottle or stealing BMXs, we’d be at home, taping specific styles within the genre, avoiding the burgeoning sound of poppy crap Rap. If you had a 90 minute cassette, you could create the soundtrack for the Summer, or at least a trip to the local forest park. The other bonus was gettin to know the lyrics way ahead of owning the record. If you remembered and could any part of the raps months later when a pal owned and played the 12″, you had preeminence amongst plebians, even though you may have still been in your teens.

Westwood & Dave Pearce - March 1989 Pause Tape  TAPE

The tapes were shared across peer groups, names and styles were forged and standards of quality control werent cemented. They usually had launch parties outside local swimming pools, or when the dogs were taken on a ‘long walk’ for Mum & Dad. And usually got played on ghetto-blasters or re-played while huddling round Sony Walkmans with built-in speakers, temporarily ‘borrowed’ from someones Dad. We patiently created personalised compilations of lovingly edited music and sounds from a variety of sources; radio broadcasts, movie dialogue, random soundbites, comedy and cartoons.

This tape was made for a friend in 1989, its stitched together from bits of Dave Pearce on GLR [Greater London Radio] and Tim Westwood radio shows from Capital circa March 1989. There are also some segments of a Manchester radio show with presenter Stu Allan. Featured on this tape are a phone call from WNYUs P-Fine, keeping the transatlantic listeners in tune with all the hot talk of the time [Twitter aint got nothing on phone calls with week old gossip]. Also on the tape are the winning DMC UK Championships session from Cutmaster Swift and DJ KCJ dropping an 83-84 themed mini-mix. East-Londons Overlord X drops into the studio on Side B and rocks up a rage with a live version of Rough in Hackney and there’s another live set, this time from Salt n Pepa, also from Manchester. Lookout for the Slayer ‘Version Excursion’ on the ‘Break to the Beat Competition’ [a highlight], and congrats to Steve H for the winning entry. Get your spits ready for Rapline competition, the subject tonight is the Tyson/ Bruno fight.

The original tapes were sent to me in 1989, by a ‘graff writer pen-pal’ by the name of Lyrical from Manchester in England, they worked in radio in Manchester in later years by all accounts. If anyone knows were this person is today, dont hesitate to get in touch.