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Gumsole Beatdowns #2: Kool & The Gang X Spinna & Premier

DJ Spinna has got beats. Fresh beats*. It’s a shame this production wunderkind of Jigmastas (and Stevie Wonder tribute parties) infamy doesn’t get his proper due. The above clip of him in the studio with Ski (of Camp Lo and early Roc-a-Fella infamy, not a bad producer himself) and the homie Sucio Smash chopping up Kool & The Gang’s “Summer Madness” inspired me to write another Gumsoles. [Props to High Water Music]


Most people nowadays will know Kool & the Gang for their Pop/Crossover hits like “Celebrate” and “Ladies Night” That’s all well and good but if you’re a little savvier with your music history you will note that Kool & the Gang started with traditional Jazz leanings before delving knee deep into R&B and Funk before getting their Disco on.

Being that the group’s main players—brothers Robert “Kool” Bell (bass) and Ronald Bell (tenor sax) as well as George Brown (drums), Robert Mickens (trumpet), Dennis Thomas (alto sax), Charles Smith (guitar, RIP) and Rick Westfield (keys)—were all accomplished musicians, it’s no wonder their catalog has been picked clean by scavenging Hip-Hop producers.

The song in question here (directly below), “Summer Madness,” stems from their R&B/Funk days, though they retained their sophisticated Jazz sensibilities. The instrumental tracks sweeping synthesizer and haunting melody was first heard on Kool & The Gang’s Light of Worlds (De-Lite, 1974) album.

That said, I wanted to share some of my fav “Summer Madness” flips, for the uninitiated. No one tell Premo I dropped dime please, thanks.

Gang Starr “DJ Premier in Deep Concentration”

“Summer Madness” forms the musical landscape for Premier to cut, scratch and transform with finesse, and all that mess. Word to Biz Markie and Cool V.

Pete Rock f/ Jim Jones & Max B “We Roll”

Ahh, feel the wave; when Jones and Max were best of buddies and making surprisingly good music. Pete Rock chops up “Summer Madness’” synth to the point where they’re almost recognizable, Max drops a catchy hook and Jones fills in adequately on the rhymes.

Da Bush Babees f/ Mos Def “The Love Song”

You really can’t lose early Mos Def teaming with late 90’s, underground Hip-Hop torchbearers teaming up over a Posdnous (De La Soul-did I really have to add that detail?) produced track.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (pre-Bel Air) “Summertime”

Enough of a classic that younger heads will think it’s the original.


Gumsole Beatdowns #1: Notorious B.I.G. X Al Green

*I’ll get around to posting that Spinna story from the late, great Scratch Magazine, one day.

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Freshness, Gumsole Beatdowns, Hip-Hop, Music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

St. Patrick’s Day Special: “Jump Around (Remix)” & “Syndication'”

Fine Malt Lyrics, no guitars

Fine Malt Lyrics, no guitars

While I was an Editor-at-Large at Scratch Magazine, the crew (peace to Jerry, Jesús, R. Dot, Lizz, Tony G, O-Dub, Brian C, Dalmar & Killah Kaity) dropped an ill The 25 Greatest Hip-Hop Remixes package. I believe P.E.’s “Shut Em Down (Remix)” was numero uno. The point of this story is that Pete Rock, who produced the aforementioned remix, could have easily taken up half the list, but one particular song that I felt had to make the cut was House of Pain’s “Jump Around (Remix).”

You can tell the Chocolate Boy Wonder was in his “Pete and those horns” era when he flipped Everlast, Danny Boy and Lethal’s biggest hit and gave it an extra jolt. The other point of this story is that back in like 7th or 8th grade, being that I was one of the few Black kids in a predominantly white school, me and the small crew of fellow “urban” students where the de facto Hip-Hop experts. This esteemed position in the class hierarchy tasked us with constantly explaining to our classmates why Vanilla Ice was garbage and why it behooved them to seek out pale MCs like MC Serch and Everlast instead.

Everlast got much love for rolling with Ice-T’s Rhyme Syndicate crew and was the talk of the hood when Video Music Box played his “Syndication'” video from the Rhyme Syndicate Coming Through album. Lately, rather than rhyming over James Brown loops, Everlast has been running around with a guitar and channeling Johnny Cash, but that’s neither here nor there.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Fab 5 Freddy Set the Record Straight (On MC Serch & Illmatic) [via Combat Jack]

March 17, 2009 Posted by | Freshness, Hip-Hop | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment