“Bran Flakes, Bran Buds, All Bran, Sultana Bran – buy two, get one free”
As the summer of 1988 approached, I was racking up the hours in my part-time job at the local L&N supermarket. A non-exam year (5th – doss central) meant that I worked as often as possible. The music in the shop was played over a PA system which was located in the manager’s office. Cassettes were the format of choice and one day I brought in a taped copy of the latest Stylus Music CD, Hip Hop And Rapping In The House. “20 Non Stop Hip Hop House & House Hits” was a real treat for the shoppers and amazingly, around 45 or 50 minutes of it aired before the stop button was unceremoniously pressed. While the compilation played, I swept floors and unloaded pallets with a previously unseen energy.
The compilation was advertised on television with the accompanying VHS tape making the local video libraries, most notably Whitty’s in Mary Street. Only four of its 14 tracks are included on the audio releases – check it out and be treated to long-forgotten anomalies like Stetsasonic’s A.F.R.I.C.A and Surf MCs Surf Or Die. CDs were still somewhat of an afterthought and the booklet reflects this – containing no photographs – unlike the rather lavish gatefold sleeve of the vinyl version. Sleeve notes are by James Horrocks who would later be involved with React. The Hip Hop & House Speak section is very informative:
Illin: Having a party
Bussing: Pumping up the volume
Dissing: Cussing and insulting
“1988 is on course to witness the rap ‘n’ house revolution – a dance floor domination of the mundane British music scene. Already the def beats, tuff rhymes, pumping bass and insistent rhythms of house ‘n’ hip hop have filtered on to the nation’s airwaves, creating an aural assault on the top 40 chart.”
The tunes: the big spring hits are here: Coldcut featuring Yazz & The Plastic Population – Doctorin’ The House, Bomb The Bass – Beat Dis, Beatmasters featuring Cookie Crew – Rok Da House, Fat Boys & Beach Boys – Wipeout. Beat Dis and Rok Da House appear in long form, which is most welcome especially Extended Dis. We get two from Paid In Full, the hip hop album of the year and still one of my desert island discs. Move The Crowd is immense, a rap like no other, freeform ecstasy while Eric B Is President is still storming even when drastically shorn at 2:40. There’s also the welcome return of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five on Gold. Little Gee says “This is when Flash got more interesting as he was learning new scratches such as the Transformer. He used a device called Flashformer which gave his cuts a unique sound. In practice it was tricky to use but allowed cleaner and faster cuts compared to the crossfaders at the time.”
“Two big things like basket balls, down below was like Niagara Falls.”
The genius that is Get Down, the first single by the late, great Derek B. We go across the Atlantic for Dane Dane’s crucial Cinderella Dane Dane and Kool Moo Dee’s hilarious Go See The Doctor. The staying power of the Class of ’86 is demonstrated by the inclusion of The Real Roxanne with Hitman Howie Tee – Bang Zoom (Let’s Go Go), Whistle – (Not Serious) Just Buggin’, Doug E Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew – The Show, Club Nouveau – Lean On Me (Edit). Going even further back is Unity (Part 1), the smoking collaboration between Afrika Bambaataa and James Brown. To the present, a top jam: Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock’s frantic It Takes Two, all time party classic. Teddy Riley, uncredited producer.
Toi Jackson is currently the assistant director at Samaritan Village, a drug treatment program located in Jamaica Queens NY. In 1987 she was known as Sweet Tee and signed to Profile Records. The catchy I Got Da Feelin’ reached #31 on the UK charts, a rocking and rolling slice of freshly delivered hip hop. Another rap attack on the same label is Spyder-D’s class action How Ya Like Me Now, with DJ Doc. Get on up and pile up with The Cookie Crew and their superbly empowering Females, funky to the max. Scratches by DJ Dazzle and Mastermix. “I liked this song. Ut reminds me of being at school in the cafeteria and kids would have a dance off or a rap off. This was a tight jam.” (Carolyn)
Eric B. & Rakim – Move The Crowd
Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock – It Takes Two
Cookie Crew – Females
Lest we forget
Sweet Tee – I Got Da Feelin’
This is on my list of CDs that I’m looking out for a cheap copy of, glad to hear it’s as interesting as I expected it to be!
Cheers Andy, nearly all those late 80s dance comps have something to recommend them. K-Tel’s Hip House – The Deepest Beats In Town (coming 23 June) is an excellent summation of late ’88 / early ’89 7″ singles from the scene.