Sunday, June 05, 2005

Steady Bootleggin' Merges With A Tribute To Ignorance

In my continuing efforts to rid myself of all things Blogger (aka the easy-to-use but exceptionally ugly blog tool), I'm merging my audio blog into my main site. If you just want to see new Bootleggin' posts, then use this address:

or click the Steady Bootleggin' link in the sidebar of

Otherwise, posts will be visable on the main page with everything else.

The other major change will be the introduction of a permanent Bootleggin' archive of the songs, which means that ater a couple of weeks at high quality MP3, the tracks will replaced with lo-fi, 64 kpbs versions for future reference.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Ced-Gee Special Part 5 - B-side Wins Again

"Travelling At The Speed of Thought" is hardly the most essential of Ultra tracks. Despite the fact that three different versions of the song were released (the original Rolling Stones-based take, the dancefloor-aimed LP remix and the Hip House remixes that wasted space on the "Chorus Line" single).

Once again, the b-side saves the day with the bass heavy, Apache-obliterating sequel to "Ego Trippin' (MC's Ultra)". Showcasing Keith and Ced's early Shout Rap delivery, the lyrics still demonstrate just how far ahead of their time these guys were in terms of vocab, flow and content. Some off-key singing finishes thing up (a preview of Funk Your Head Up's R&B excusions, perhaps?)

Ultramagnetic MC's - "M.C.'s Ultra (Part II)" (B-side of Travelling At The Speed of Thought 12", Next Plateau, 1987)

Also, stop by A Tribute To Ignorance to check the new improved layout.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Ced-Gee Special Part 4 - A Tale of Two Ced's

The story behind MF911, which they helpfully included on the back of the album, is actually more entertaining than much of the album. Originally calling themselves Philly Boy Productions, they changed their name to Mega Force 911 after Chuck D suggested the name "911" when they met him backstage (they also mention "This was before his album came out with the single 911 Is A Joke", just in case we thought that song was directed at them?). After a few ups and downs, they finally gave the music game one more shot in the summer of 1992, and decided to try and track down Ced-Gee, who they considered "the best on the music scene".

After getting Ced on the phone, they decided to make a twelve-hour car trek from Detroit to visit New York, where they were greeted by Tim Dog and finally met their idol, the Delta Force himself. The next day they were invited to the Ultra Lab to work on some tracks, and by the end of the year Ced had gotten them a deal on Next Plateau (possibly as leverage to get Ultra's off).

The group consisted of Anthony "Mad" Singleton and Ced "Rat" Chubb, with their brothers Tim the Terrible and Mainy Main serving as weed carriers. Ced-Gee and Charlie Beats co-produced most of the songs with the group, and once again Ced reheats the old trusty break from "The Mexican" on "Get Open". The standout for me is "My Turn", which features a dope Ultra reworking of The Whole Darn Family. Lyrically, MF911 come-off like a cross between Tim Dog and Ced-Gee, which is not suprising since their album could have been billed as 'The Baby Ultramagnetic" in much the same way as Poison Clan were the "Baby 2 Live Crew" and Too Much Trouble were the "Baby Geto Boys". While that would have been great news in 1988, Ultra weren't that great by '93, so a low-budget version was hardly going to set the world on fire. If you see the album in your local dollar bin, give it a listen but don't expect too much.

MF911 -
"My Turn" (Idol * The Bloodsport, Next Plateau, 1993)

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Ced-Gee Special Part 3 - Ruffs and Rares

There won't be any tracks from Criminal Minded or Critical Beatdown during Ced-Gee Month, since I'm assuming that anyone with even a passing interest in hip-hop music already owns both of these milestones (in my opinion, they stand as the two greatest albums ever made).

Around 1994, Tuff City began releasing old Ultramagnetic demos and songs that never made the albums, with The Basement Tapes being the first and easily the best of the series. Kool Keith claimed these were unauthorised bootlegs that Ced had sold for some quick cash, while Tuff City countered that all the members of the group had cashed cheques from these albums. Whatever the case, the first volume was pretty dope, and included some vintage Ultra moments such as "Brainiac" and "Smack My Bitch Up".

The best cut, "You're Not That Large" was meant to appear but was removed at the last minute, and was later included on the "I'm Fuckin' Flippin'" 12" (I think it made the CD version though). As Ced explains on the intro, part of the song drops out due to "technical difficulties", but the track would have been worthy of inclusion on their debut had that mishap not occured. Keith goes for self over a scorching Olympic Runners loop, reminding us of just how advanced he was at the time in terms of flow and technique.

"Delta Force" seems to be an alternative version of "Ced-Gee (Delta Force One)". Here we find Ced carrying a bit of a chip on his shoulder, as he's out to prove that he's more than "just a back-up" to all those doubters who thought he was there to "play the back spot". It's fair to say that not everyone's a fan of Ced's vocals, but I thought he held his own until The Four Horsemen, when he adopted a style which sounded like a retarded android who'd smoked embalming fluid.

Ultramagnetic MC's - You're Not That Large (b-side of I'm Fuckin' Flippin' 12", Tuff City, 1994)

Ultramagnetic MC's - Delta Force (Mo Love's Basement Tapes LP, Ol' Skool Flava, 1996)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Ced-Gee Special Part 2 - Cold Slammin'

Ultramagnetic weren't exactly known for their guest appearance's. In fact, prior to parting ways, the crew's vocal cameo's extended only to Ultra fam member Tim Dog's Penicilian On Wax, a Raw Breed track (Kool Keith is related to one of the MC's), that "Free South Africa" record and this song.

I'm not sure what led to this collaberation, but Ced-Gee and Kool Keith recorded a track with Dutch group King Bee in 1991. Rude Boy Remington mentions being an "Amstradamian" at some point in his verse, indicating that perhaps these guys carried weed for Ultra during their European tour. But due to the availability of quality smoke over there, I wouldn't have thought that weed carriers would have been a necessary consideration, since you can just order hash from it's many "coffee houses".

Either way, Ced and Keith lay it down in their classic trademark style, while their new-found Euro pals do there best Ultra impersonations with amusing results. Producer, DJ and MC, Allstar Fresh, also scratches in Keith's "I'm the king bee" line from "Break North" to further cement himself to the Bronx Bombers' jocks. Not that I can blame him - I would have gladly carried some hydro for Ultra before they dropped Funk Your Head Up. Allstar also placed second in the 1988 DMC's, and these days can be found producing and playing House music under the name of DJ Guan.

King Bee featuring Ultramagnetic MC's - "Cold Slammin' [Hypo Mix]"(Torso, 1991)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Ced-Gee Special Part 1 - The 900 Number Remix

Once again, it's a new month and I hardly scratched the surface of "Live Rap on Wax", mainly because my record collection is in a constant state of chaos and I don't have the time to search through it properly. Look for more additions in the near future.

Moving on, the month of May will see Steady Bootleggin' focusing on the work of super producer Ced-Gee. In addition to highlighting some of his lesser-known beats, I'll also spotlight a couple of forgotten vocal appearences from Delta Force-One.

DJ Mark The 45 King's certifiable classic party-starter, "The 900 Number" seems to get brought back every few years in one way or another (I predict that the guy who did "Crazy In Love" and "Get Right" will flip it for some singin' broad in a minute), but the original EP release on Tuff City was blessed with three dope Ced-Gee remixes which don't seem to get much shine.

The truth of the matter is that "900 Number" never really needed to be remixed, since it's addictive simplicity is the source of it's universal and timeless appeal, but you really can't lose with Ced's hyped-up, Bronx-flavoured rendition. The first version featured the Lakim Shabazz vocals, but since there's so much going on with the backing track, the two instrumental versions proved to be far more effective to display the added drum fills and soundbites from classic Ultramagnetic tracks.

DJ Mark The 45 King - "The 900 Number [Ced-Gee Remix #3]" (Tuff City, 1991)

Friday, April 29, 2005

"Throwing up your hands - that better be a peace sign!" Live Rap on Wax Part 7 - Lord Finesse

As far as I'm concerned, Lord Finesse doesn't get nearly enough credit for his contributions to rap. He elevated the punchline-heavy style that so many kids use today to previously unheard-of levels, paving the way for guys like Mad Skillz, Chino XL and Ras Kass. Here's the set he performed at Tramps in New York for the D.I.T.C. memorial concert for Big L. With Roc Raida on the decks and A.G. on back-ups, Finesse hits us with certified dope cuts like "You Know What I'm About", "Yes, You May (Remix)" and an ill version of "Baby, You Nasty" with this extra horn hit that wins. Ignoring the crowd's various song requests, the Funkyman also caters to the broads with a couple of his skin-pulling specials.

This was released on a three-LP/two CD set on Japanese label P-Vine records, and features sets from Show & AG, Diamond D, O.C. and the whole crew. Look out for it, it still pops up from time to time.

Lord Finesse - "Live At Tramps, NY" (P-Vine, 1999)

I've also dropped a new feature over at A Tribute To Ignorance if you need something to read.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Fear of a Blog Planet and other bad plays on words

Yesterday I noticed that Steady Bootleggin' got a mention in the Village Voice's "Blog Rock" column, which I guess ranks somewhere between getting linked by Soul Sides and getting mentioned in "real" print (which may also be happening in the near future but more on that when it drops). In actual fact, that shit's only up for a day and only got me a handful of extra visitors, but nevertheless, I'm in good company.

Monday, April 25, 2005

They Used To Do It Out In The Park Part 6 - Kurious Jorge

Kurious and a bunch of guys who aren't the CM Mob.

Following on from the Brick City Kids set at Rocksteady Anniversary '94, Kurious Jorge and the CM Mob rolled through to tear shit up. With Kadi ("the man with the yellow hat"), The Omen and Lord Sear on deck, the Magician has no shortage of back-ups available and proceeds to perform half of the Constipated Monkey album.

Kurious Jorge - "Live" (Rocksteady Anniversary Volume 1, 1994)