Category Archives: Cassetricity

Reviving the lost art of the mixtape

The King Of Pop Passes Away

One of the biggest, if not the biggest, entertainers the world has ever known has passed away. Michael Jackson died yesterday after going into cardiac arrest in his home in Beverly Hills.

The details surrounding his tragic death are still very unclear and it could be weeks until enough information is gathered to make sense of everything.

Undoubtedly, the amount of press coverage will be phenomenal. People everywhere are stunned and saddened by the news. Celebrities are remembering him and their condolences are travelling across the internet in a steady stream of tributes. Everyone from Dionne Warwick and Tina Turner to Arnold Schwarzenegger and P Diddy have spoken about their sadness and what Michael Jackson meant to them.

My hope is that the media and the press are kind to Michael in his death. He was, without a doubt, a very troubled man who had a lot of personal problems. But from what I have read, the people who were closest to him, while acknowledging his eccentricities, have all pointed out that they never saw him engage in any inappropriate behaviour nor was he ever found guilty of any accusations or allegations.

I would like to share with you some of my memories of Michael Jackson as I was growing up.

I remember seeing footage of Michael from the early 1970s performing with his brothers as the Jackson 5. His style and ability were years beyond his age. The only other person that I had ever seen dance like him was James Brown and Michael was one quarter of his age when he was doing it.

I remember hearing ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ and ‘Rock With You’ on the radio all of the time after the release of ‘Off The Wall’ in 1979. It was Michael’s first real taste of super stardom and an indicator of things to come.

I remember hearing the first single from ‘Thriller’, ‘The Girl Is Mine’ with Paul McCartney, released about a month before the album. It was very different from the songs I knew on ‘Off The Wall’. Critics and the media hated it. The song made everyone wonder what the album was going to be like and whether it could live up to the success of it’s predecessor. It did. Little did anyone know at the time what was about to be unleashed on the world in the form of the next single; ‘Billie Jean’.

I remember seeing Michael perform on a Motown TV special in March of 1983. It changed absolutely everything in the world of music. He sang ‘Billie Jean’ and danced in a way that no one had ever seen before. He performed the ‘moonwalk’ for the first time, appearing to glide, not across the stage but above the stage. My family and I watched in total astonishment. After that, the song ‘Billie Jean’ was on the radio constantly. Every single person I knew bought a copy of ‘Thriller’. My brother and I both had a copy on cassette and we played them continuously for over one year. My father bought it. My aunts and uncles bought it. My friends all bought it. Even people who thought they were too cool for Michael Jackson, had a copy of it somewhere in their collection. 1983 was THE year of Michael Jackson.

I remember cycling to my grandparent’s house during the summer of 1983 to watch MTV. I had developed a real passion for New Wave music and couldn’t get enough of all the music videos. Despite a strictly white (and predominantly English) play list during the first two years, MTV did an about face and aired ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Beat It’ numerous times a day throughout the sping and summer of that year. The songs opened the door for other black artists and MTV broadened it’s musical horizons.

I remember seeing the video for ‘Thriller’ for the first time on MTV at the end of 1983. The fourteen minute video had a world premiere like no other before it. The video was played at the top of the hour, every single hour, for the last few weeks of the year. It was like nothing neither I or anyone else had ever seen before. At the time, it was the most expensive video ever made (costing about $500,000.00) and contained nearly ten minutes of the best dancing in the world. And, of course, it had lots of zombies.

I remember Michael Jackson being EVERYWHERE in 1984. He was a guest on the song ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ by Rockwell. He released the album ‘Victory’ with his brothers and embarked on a tour across the States, playing a lot of the songs from Thriller as well as the classic Jacksons songs. He won eight Grammys for ‘Thriller’. He co-wrote and sang on the single ‘We Are The World’ for famine relief in Africa. He made TV commercials for Pepsi. He sang on Paul McCartney’s song ‘Say Say Say’. He was the biggest star in the entire world.

For four or five years as I began to discover the world of music, I listened to everything I could find (or hear) – from my father’s Soul records to Classic Rock stations on the radio to Pop music and New Wave on MTV. Nothing was disregarded. Everything deserved at least one listen. And Michael Jackson was at the forefront of all these genres and my musical tastes. During the time in my life I fell in love with music, he was the undisputed King of Pop.

This is how I will remember Michael Jackson.

RIP Michael.

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Run Kub Run

42.195 kilometers or (26.22 miles) 26 miles 385 yards. That is the distance I will run on 27 October when I compete in my first marathon in Dublin.

People say that the hardest part of a marathon is getting to the Start line and I think I may agree with that. I took the decision to run the Dublin marathon last New Year’s Eve and during the last ten months I have experienced a lot of ups and downs. Trials and tribulations. Challenges and achievements. Setbacks and breakthroughs.

As the race draws closer, I find myself hoping for a good time, wondering what it will feel like and worrying about whether I have properly prepared. However, I’m sure that once I cross the Start line and take my first step all of my thoughts will turn to surviving the race and making it to the Finish line. No matter what. The race will be be extremely hard but the suffering will be optional.

The history of the marathon traces all the way back to the legend of a Greek messenger. His name and the exact story differ between sources. One story claims that Pheidippides was sent from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon. After arriving and proclaiming victory, he dropped dead. Another story claims that Pheidippides was sent as a messenger who ran from Athens to Sparta and back (240 kilometers) to ask for help during the Greco-Persian Wars.

Irregardless of the myth, the first marathon was run as part of the 1896 Olympics in Greece. A selection race wsa run prior to the Olympics and the winning time was 3 hours 18 minutes. The Olympic marathon race was run in 2 hours 58 minutes 50 seconds.

The distance was 40 kilometers and it varied by several kilometers until 1924 when it was fixed at 42.195.

More than 800 marathons are run all over the world each year. The World Record was just set on 28 September in Berlin by Haile Gebrselassie from Ethiopia in a time of 2 hours 3 minutes and 59 seconds. The next two fastest times ever recorded were by Kenyans Paul Tergat (2 hours 4 minutes 55 seconds) and Sammy Korir (2 hours 4 minutes 56 seconds) during the same race! What is even more interesting is that the previous fastest three times were all set in London this year on 13 April. The slowest marathon ever run is 4 days 2 hours 47 minutes 17 seconds by Bob Wieland. Incredibly Bob ran with his arms, after losing his legs in the Vietnam War. He averaged one mile an hour.

Twenty-seven people have run a marathon on each of the seven continents. In 2006, Sam Thompson and Dean Karnazes each ran the equivalent distances of 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days in 50 different States. Richard Worley ran a marathon every weekend for 159 weekends in a row. In 2007, Larry Macon ran 93 marathons. Horst Preisler of Germany has run more than 1150 marathons in his lifetime.

In the coming days I will be training, resting and thinking about what lies ahead. What I have to do is pretty simple – just get to the finish. No matter what happens or what difficulties I face along the way. In the words of Dwight D Eisenhower, “What matters is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

You can check out some of the tunes that I will be listening to during my preparation.

00:00:01 Born To Run ~ Bruce Springsteen
00:00:02 Always On The Run ~ Lenny Kravitz
00:00:03 (I’m A) Road Runner ~ Jr Walker & The All-Stars
00:00:04 Move Your Feet ~ Junior Senior
00:00:05 Marathon Runner ~ Aural Exciters
00:00:06 Runnin’ ~ Slope
00:00:07 Run On ~ Moby
00:00:08 Flash ~ Queen
00:00:09 Up The Hill And Down The Slope ~ The Loft
00:00:10 Come On Feet ~ Pete And The Pirates
00:00:11 Road Runner ~ Bo Diddley
00:00:12 Feeling Fine ~ Sharpshooters
00:00:13 The Long Run ~ The Eagles
00:00:14 King Of The Road ~ REM
00:00:15 Mr Success ~ Frank Sinatra

Keep on runnin’…

The Way Of The Dragon

 

Lee’s father forced him to move back to America when he was 19 after getting into a fight and severely injuring his opponent. Upon returning to the States, he moved to Seattle and began teaching martial arts. He modified what he had learned and improvised techniques in an effort to develop his own system with an emphasis on practicality, flexibility, speed and efficiency.

By 1965, he originated Jeet Kune Do whose symbols indicated that ‘using no way as the way’ and ‘having no limitation as a limitation’. He threw out the formalised approaches that he felt held back the traditional styles of martial arts. He adopted and emphasized ‘the style of no style’. He lived his life and taught his students how to exist outside of parameters and boundaries.

Lee met and taught several famous people in his studios, including:
Kareem Abdul-Jabar
Steve McQueen
James Coburn
Roman Polanski
Chuck Norris

Physical Abilities
Lee’s philosophy and exceptional training program meant that he was able to achieve a phenomenal level of fitness and perform exceptional physical feats, which included:

* Achieving striking speeds of five hundredths of a second from three feet away with his hands down by his side.

* Lifting a dime off a person’s open palm and leaving a penny behind before they could close their hand.

* Performing push-ups using only his thumbs.

* Performing up to 50 repetitions of one arm chin-ups.

* Throwing a grain of rice in the air and then catching it in mid-flight with a pair of chop sticks.

* Thrusting his fingers through unopened steel cans of Coca-Cola.

Acting
Lee began acting (if you can call it that) at the age of only three months and continued throughout his entire life. He died shortly after filming completed for ‘Enter The Dragon’.

Here is a list of his film credits:

Childhood
1940 – Golden Gate Girl
1946 – The Beginning Of A Boy
1946 – The Birth Of Mankind
1946 – My Son, Ah Cheun
1958 – It’s Father’s Fault
1958 – The Orphan

Adulthood
1969 – Marlowe
1971 – The Big Boss / Fists Of Fury (US)
1971 – Fists Of Fury / The Chinese Connection (US)
1972 – Way Of The Dragon / Return Of The Dragon (US)
1972 – Game Of Death (completed and released after his death)
1973 – Enter The Dragon

Philosophy
Lee was believed to have more than 2500 books in his personal library and his eclectic philosophy was a result of borrowing something from everything that he read or studied. Ultimately, he believed that any knowledge led to self-knowledge and that each person had a chosen method of self-expression based on their knowledge.

Quotability
“A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard.”

“A glass that is half empty is better than a fully broken glass.”

“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”

“Balance your thoughts with action. If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

“Cease negative mental chattering. If you think a thing is impossible, you will make it impossible. Pessimism blunts the tools you need to succeed.”

“Don’t fear failure. Not failure but low aim is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”

“If you always put a limit on everything you do, it will spread into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus and you must not stay there. You must go beyond them.”

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

“Know the difference between a catastrophe and an inconvenience. To realise that something is just an unpleasantness is part of coming into your own, part of waking up.”

“Optimism is a faith that leads to success.”

“Simplicity is the key to brilliance.”

“Take inventory of everyone with whom you have contact.”

“To be perfectly frank, I really do not. I believe in sleeping.”
– When asked if he believed in God.

“To me, the function and duty of a quality human is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential.”

“Use only that which works and take it from any place you can find it.”

“We all have time to spend or waste and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever.”

“We are always in the process of becoming and nothing is fixed.”

“What you habitually think largely determines what you will ultimately become.”

“Your best move is the one you regret not doing.”

Music
Kick or chop here to listen to the Bruce Lee mix.

01. Bruce Lee Speaks (Part 1) :: Bruce Lee
02. The Dragon :: Homeless Balloon
03. Bruce Lee :: Underworld
04. Bruce Lee Speaks (Part 2) :: Bruce Lee
05. Kung Fu Fighting :: Karl Douglas
06. Martial Beat Arts :: The Quiet ft DJ Silent
07. Bruce Lee Speaks (Part 3) :: Bruce Lee
08. China :: Red Rockers
09. Karate Stance :: The Combovers
10. Bruce Lee Speaks (Part 4) :: Bruce Lee

Martial Arts
Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco in 1940 and grew up in Hong Kong. He was introduced to martial arts by his father and began formal training at the age of 13. He excelled in Wing Chung Gung Fu and was eventually trained privately for several years by his master, who greatly influenced him. In addition to studying Gung Fu, he also boxed and became a champion at the age of 18, beating many of the best amateur fighters his age in Hong Kong. Lee’s brother, Peter, was a champion fencer and Bruce learned the techniques of the sport from him. This wide range of influences and abilities helped Lee formulate his own style of Kung Fu later in life.

MTV – Day One

Date: 01 August 1981
Time: 00:01 EST
Place: New York City, NY
Purpose: To play music videos (no, really it was).
Slogan: “I want my MTV!”
VJs: Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, JJ Jackson and Martha Quinn

With the words, “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll”, a crunchy guitar riff and footage of the Apollo 11 moon landing (with the US flag replaced by an MTV flag, of course), MTV was born.

Even though only a few thousand people from a single cable channel system in New Jersey saw the initial transmissions, a revolution was started.

The format when MTV began was modeled after a Top 40 radio station. But instead of DJs (disc jockeys), MTV had VJs (video jockeys). The original five eventually became superstar celebrities and were, collectively, the face of the station.

Most of the early videos were very crude and usually consisted of either promotional footage or concert footage of the band. But that didn’t matter. Now you could SEE the music as well as HEAR the music.

Rock, Alternative and New Wave were the flavour of the day. A lot of the bands that made this kind of music and, indeed, some of the biggest bands of the 1980s can attribute their success directly to the amount of airplay they received on MTV in the early part of the decade. But when the president of CBS Records complained about the lack of black artists being played, especially his heavy hitter Michael Jackson, things began to change.

‘Billie Jean’ was the first video by a black artist to be shown and by the end of 1983, when the 14 minute epic ‘Thriller’ was released the entire format was changed from Rock to Pop and R&B.

For the next five years MTV ruled the airwaves. Everyone had it. Everyone wanted more. And everyone talked about the bands being played. It was a great time to be a kid in the ‘know’ and a music fan.

In 1984 the MTV Video Music Awards started. 1986 saw the introduction of the Alternative show ‘120 Minutes’. ‘Headbangers Ball’ started in 1987 and ‘Yo! MTV Raps’ in 1988.

The early 1990s saw the beginning of other shows such as, ‘MTV News’, ‘Club MTV’, ‘Remote Control’, ‘MTV Unplugged’ and ‘Liquid Television’.

Unfortunately, all of these conventional shows, as good as they were, began to take away from the time that videos could be shown. And the demise of the station began.

By the mid-1990s nearly all of the programming was non-music or reality based. MTV still carries on today but now they have had to start several other channels (MTV2, MTV Tr3s, MTV Hits, MTV Jams and mtvU) in order to show any music at all.

But fear not! I am going to take you all the way back to the beginning. This mix includes some of the songs that were played on MTV on 01 August 1981. I must admit a few tears were shed in compiling and mixing this set and lots of memories came flooding back. I hope that you enjoy listening to it as much as I did creating it.

Shout at the top of your lungs ‘I want my MTV!’ to hear the mix.
Click on each of the track names to see the video.

01. Video Killed The Radio Star – The Buggles
02. You Better Run – Pat Benatar
03. You Better You Bet – The Who
04. We Don’t Talk Anymore – Cliff Richard
05. Brass In Pocket – The Pretenders
06. Take It On The Run – REO Speedwagon
07. Just Between You & Me – April Wine
08. In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins
09. I Wanna Be A Lifeguard – Blotto
10. Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello
11. Tusk – Fleetwood Mac
12. Rapture – Blondie
13. Ashes To Ashes – David Bowie
14. Once In A Lifetime – Talking Heads
15. Cruel To Be Kind – Nick Lowe
16. Kiss On My List – Hall & Oates
17. Da Ya Think I’m Sexy – Rod Stewart
18. While You See A Chance – Steve Winwood

Video Killed The Radio Star
This was the beginning. Ground zero. The video that started it all. At 00:01 on 01 August 1981, MTV aired this video and ushered in a new era in music. Ironically, it was also the one millionth video that MTV played nearly twenty years later on 27 February 2000.

The tune was originally released on the LP ‘The Age Of Plastic’ in September 1979 and it became the first Number 1 song for the Island label in the UK.

The band featured Trevor Horn, who had previously been in Yes and would go on to be a highly respected producer, working with numerous Dance acts in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

You Better Run – Pat Benatar
This was the second video that MTV ever played and it highlights their early fondness for Rock music.

The song is from Benatar’s second album titled ‘Crimes Of Passion’, which featured her biggest single, ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’. The album spent more than 90 weeks in the Billboard Album charts, including a month at Number 2, and earned her a Grammy for ‘Best Female Rock Vocal Performance’.

You Better You Bet
This song is from ‘Face Dances’ and was the Who’s last crack into the Billboard Top 20 singles.

The video was shot in black and white for ‘artistic’ reasons and featured the band performing on stage.

We Don’t Talk Anymore – Cliff Richard
This song marked a big comeback for Cliff Richard and was his biggest selling single worldwide. The single was released just before his 40th birthday and before the announcement that he was to receive the OBE for services to music.

It was Number 1 for four weeks in the UK in August of 1979, Number 1 in Germany for five weeks and peaked at Number 7 in the Billboard Singles chart in America.

Brass In Pocket – The Pretenders
This was the breakthrough hit for Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders, even though Hynde didn’t like the song after it was recorded and didn’t want to release it.

The title was lifted from an expression that Hynde overheard someone from a support band say one day when he was trying to find his money.

The video was cheesy enough and featured Hynde as a waitress serving ‘specials’ to three gentlemen (the rest of the band) in a cafe.

Take It On The Run – REO Speedwagon
The band who took their name from a flatbed truck, used the initials (REO) of the founder of Oldsmobile and are renowned for their ‘power’ ballads also got a shout out on the first day that MTV hit the airwaves.

‘Take It On The Run’ was from the album ‘Hi Infidelity’ that spent three months at Number 1 in 1980 and 1981.

Just Between You And Me – April Wine
This tune was played on MTV’s first day of broadcasting and owns the distinction of being the first video by a Canadian band to be played. It was also the first video that the station repeated (most likely when they ran out of videos to show).

In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins
Released in January of 1981, ‘In The Air Tonight’ was Phil Collins’ first solo single. It was atmospheric. It was menacing. And it was big.

The song was an instant hit. It has been used in numerous advertisements through the years as well as featuring in the pilot episode of ‘Miami Vice’.

I Wanna Be A Lifeguard – Blotto
These guys were quirky. Really quirky. They were:
Broadway Blotto
Sergeant Blotto
Bowtie Blotto
Cheese BlottoLee Harvey Blotto

There was also (at different times throughout the years)
Bert Blotto
Johnny Blotto
Bluto Blotto
Scott Blott (the only one without an ‘o’)
Chevrolet Blotto
Blanche Blotto
Clyde Blotto
Hammerhead Blotto
Ink Blotto
Juan Pablo Blotto

They formed in Albany, New York and always did their best to combine music and humor. Not always in equal parts though.

The band rose from the ashes of what was the Star Spangled Washboard Band, a post-hippie, comedy jug band.

They were New Wave. They played and released comical songs. They made a video for this track and MTV loved it, putting into heavy rotation for months after bringing music to the world of television.

Despite some exposure and recognition from the song on MTV, they broke up in 1984 and, thankfully, only ever recorded enough music to fill one CD. It’s called ‘Collected Works’.

Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello
The song that almost got away.

During the recording of ‘Armed Forces’, this song almost got dropped from the album but was rescued after the keyboardist wrote the piano part, which he based loosely on ‘Dancing Queen’ by Abba.

Good thing too. The song went all the way to Number 2 in the UK charts.

Tusk – Fleetwood Mac
This album, ‘Tusk’, was the quirky follow-up to the massive LP ‘Rumors’. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham had discovered ‘New Wave’ music and he convinced the band to be a bit more experimental with their music. He was also allowed to use more creativity in his writing, which resulted in the twenty song double album.

But the critics didn’t like it and neither did the fans. Where ‘Rumours’ had managed to sell over 30 million albums worldwide, ‘Tusk’ could only manage four million. The label saw it as a failure and blamed Buckingham. The band, however, blamed a major radio station for playing the album in it’s entirety prior to the release and allowing people to copy it. Indeed, home taping was killing music.

Rapture – Blondie
‘Rapture’ was a New Wave pop song that featured a Rap section released by Blondie at the beginning of 1981.

It was the third song to feature Rap and place in the charts but it was the first to go all the way to Number 1. Previously, ‘Rapper’s Delight’ by The Sugarhill Gang and ‘The Breaks’ by Kurtis Blow were the first Rap songs to have some commercial success.

After this single, Blondie took a break but the record made strong headway into the world of Hip Hop. Grand Master Flash used pieces of it in his classic single ‘The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel’ and it has been sampled or used as the basis for several other tracks.

Ashes To Ahes – David Bowie
‘Ashes To Ashes’ was a song about space men becoming junkies written in the style of a nursery rhyme. Due to the lyrical content, it is believed to reference Bowie’s previous work including, ‘Space Oddity’ and the album ‘Low’. In his own words, the song “wrapped up the seventies really well.”

The video was one of the most expensive at the time, costing over 250,00 pounds to make. It featured solarised shots, black-and-white shots and Bowie in a Pierrot costume, which made the clip one of the most iconic of the early 1980s.

Once In A Lifetime – Talking Heads
This track was released in October 1980 on the album ‘Remain In Light’. It was written by David Byrne and Brian Eno after they heard a preacher speaking on the radio while driving through New York. It’s a song believed to be about a middle age crisis and the inevitable sacrifice of youthful ideals and dreams for more conventional success.

The video features Byrne dancing and moving like a marionette, flinging his arms and tapping his head. It was choreographed by Toni Basil (of the hit song ‘Mickey’ fame) and inspired by footage of people suffering from epilepsy.

The video is another that was on heavy rotation for many months on MTV and was also on exhibition in the New York Museum of Modern Art for a period of time.

Cruel To Be Kind – Nick Lowe
Nick Lowe doesn’t mind change.

He was once referred to as ‘Basher‘ because of his rough and ready aesthetic and approach to production.

He began his recording career in the mid 1960s playing Country and Blues Rock. Then he switched to ironic Pop and animated Rock in the mid 1970s.

This track was released in 1979 – the same year that he married Carlene Carter (daughter of June Carter Cash and stepdaughter of Johnny Cash). It was part of another transition into more mainstream Pop music.

Then he became a millionaire in the 1990s. ‘(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding’ was covered on the soundtrack to ‘The Bodyguard’. The album sold 15 million copies and since Lowe wrote that song, he received a lot of money in royalties.

In his own words, Lowe said that his greatest fear was, “sticking with what you did when you were famous”. In an effort to avoid that, he continues recording today and still incorporates different kinds of music into his sound.

Kiss On My List – Hall & Oates
Daryl Hall and John Oates began their recording career in 1972 with the album ‘Whole Oats’. It flopped. So did their second and third albums. The problem was they couldn’t settle on a particular style or sound and jumped from Folk to Soul to Rock to Pop and back again.

However, the song ‘She’s Gone’ did appear on their second album and, despite any real sales, received a lot of airplay on the radio.

Their fourth, self-titled album contained ‘Sara Smile’ and that was a Top Ten hit for them. Things began to change and they had more hits in the following two years.

Then, in 1978 they hit a wall. They struggled for two years with producers and musicians who didn’t understand their musical tastes and visions. So, they ditched LA, moved to New York, started producing their own records and recorded the album ‘Voices’ in Electric Lady Studios. It was a massive hit.

‘Kiss On My List’ went all the way to Number 1 in April of 1981 and they never looked back from there. By 1984, the Recording Industry Association Of America declared them as “the most successful duo in the history of recorded music”.

Da Ya Think I’m Sexy – Rod Stewart
In the late 1970s, everyone jumped on the Disco bandwagon. Even Rod Stewart. But not without controversy.

His Disco song ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy’ angered Brazilian musician Jorge Ben because he claimed that it was derived from his song ‘Taj Mahal‘. He filed a lawsuit and Stewart agreed to donate all the royalties from the song to the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Stewart was also slated by the Rock press for ‘selling out’ and betraying his Blues-oriented Rock roots. But the song was a huge hit. It spent one week at Number 1 in the UK and four weeks at the top spot in the Billboard charts in America. And MTV played the video more than most others in the early days.

While You See A Chance – Steve Winwood
The 1980 album ‘Arc Of A Diver’ produced this breakthrough hit song for Steve Winwood and made him a successful, viable solo artist.

It was another heavily played video that reflected MTV’s early affinity to Rock and Pop music.

Yo! Kub Raps

Memba them good ol’ Yo! raps…  

01. Weak Become Heroes $ The Streets
02. Still A G Thang $ Snoop Dogg
03. My Name Is (Explicit Version) $ Eminem
04. Can It All Be So Simple $ Wu-Tang Clan
05. 21 Questions $ 50 Cent
06. Accordion (Fourtet Mix) $ Madvillain
07. It Was A Good Day $ Ice Cube
08. That’s The Joint $ Funky 4 + 1
09. Straight Out Of The Jungle $ Jungle Brothers
10. Montego Slay $ People Under The Stairs
11. Life’s A B***** $ Nas
12. Coming Of Age $ Jay-Z
13. Hate It Or Love It $ The Game ft 50 Cent
14. Pop Shots $ Ol’ Dirty Bastard
15. Hypnotize $ Notorious BIG
16. Pop Goes The Weasel $ 3rd Bass
17. Fight The Power $ Public Enemy
18. Touch The Sky $ Kanye West
19. Baby Got Back $ Sir Mix-A-Lot
20. More Bounce To The Ounce $ Zapp
21. Small Talk At 125th & Lenox $ Gil Scott-Heron

Weak Become Heroes $ The Streets
This track is from the 2002 album ‘Original Pirate Material’ and is sung / rapped by a twenty-something white kid named Mike Skinner from Birmingham who sings / raps with a ‘mockney’ accent.

The album blends Electronica, UK Garage and Hip Hop with Skinner’s take on what-was-then modern day living and clubbing. Even the Rock and Indie peeps liked it.

Even though it really should not work, it does. Who says white men can’t rap?

Still A G Thang $ Snoop Dogg
Some things you may not have known about Snoop:

* Snoop was nicknamed Snoopy by his mother.
* He was born in Long Beach, CA.
* He was playing the piano at the age of five.
* He began rapping when he was in the sixth grade.
* He was a member of the Crips.
* His cousin is Nate Dogg and his best friend is Warren G.
* He was discovered by Dr Dre when he heard a mixtape with En Vogue’s ‘Hold On’ that was rapped over by Snoop.
* He was taught how to structure lyrics and separate his songs into verses, hooks and choruses by The DOC from NWA.
* ‘Snoop Speak’ was based on words in the song ‘Double Dutch Bus’ by Frankie Smith.

Izzle kizzle, fo’ schizzle. My nizzle, what you sizzle?

Fo’ schizzle bizzle, my nizzle…

My Name Is (Explicit Version) $ Eminem
Dr Dre produced this song and the album ‘The Slim Shady LP’ in 1999. He wanted to use the Labi Siffre song ‘I Got The…’ as the basis for the rhythm of ‘My Name Is’ but Siffre refused when he heard the lyrical content.

He felt that Eminem was taking the easy way out and attacking the usual scapegoats in his rhymes. Eminem took the criticism on board and rewrote the lyrics. Siffre cleared the sample.

A ‘clean’ version was released as a single and on subsequent compilations and this explicit version was the one contained on the album. It was Eminem’s first major success and helped him establish his unique style.

Can It All Be So Simple $ Wu Tang Clan
Witty Unpredictable Talent And Natural Game…

This is the third single lifted from ‘Enter The Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers)’ and is considered a classic by most fans of the group.

It features Raekwon and Ghostface discussing the hardships of growing up in New York in the 1980s and rapping over a sample of ‘The Way We Were’ by Gladys Knight & The Pips.

21 Questions $ 50 Cent
Even the toughest of rappers have a soft side. It seems.

Here is an apparent conversation that took place between Fiddy and Dre in the studio during the recording of ‘Get Rich Or Die Tryin’:

Dre: “How you gonna be gangsta this and that and then put this sappy love song on?”
Fiddy: “I’m two people. I’ve always had to be two people since I was a kid to get by. To me that’s not diversity, that’s necessity.”

I’m sure both Fiddys were delighted with this song. It was Number 1 in nearly every Singles chart in America and placed in Singles charts in sixteen other countries.

Accordion (Fourtet Mix) $ Madvillain
MF Doom and Madlib are Madvillain and they take a very unique approach to Hip Hop. They write short songs with obscure lyrics that contain few choruses and are generally ‘unfriendly’ to radio stations.

Foutret got their hands on this track and made it slightly more melodic. All the other awkwardness remains.

It Was A Good Day $ Ice Cube
Ice Cube was born O’Shea Jackson and began his career as a founding member of NWA, one of the groups that helped originate Gangsta Rap.

In 1992 he converted to Islam and slowly began to drift away from hardcore Rap and focused more on acting.

That same year he released ‘The Predator’, which contained this song. The album was recorded during the height of the LA riots and went straight to Number 1 in both the Pop and R&B Album charts. It was the first album to ever reach the top spot in both charts.

The track contains a sample of ‘Footsteps In The Dark’ by the Isley Brothers and was written as a reflection on the good times that he had during his rise to fame and wealth.

Despite being his biggest, most successful song, he lost a lot of credibility and his audience began to diminish after this song and album.

That’s The Joint $ Funky 4 + 1
They formed in 1979 and were the first Hip Hop / Rap group from The Bronx, New York.

They featured a female MC, Sha Rock.

After the success of ‘Rappin’ And Rockin’ The House’, when most of the group were only 17, they released this track on Sugarhill Records in 1980.

They were also the first Hip Hop group to appear on national television when they were guests on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 1981.

Unfortunately, differences with the record label led them to split and quickly disappear into obscurity.

Sugarhill Gang may have followed and been bigger and better. But these guys were first. And first is forever.

Straight Out Of The Jungle $ Jungle Brothers
The Jungle Brothers were first off the mark with a couple of things.

They pioneered the fusion of Jazz and Hip Hop that later went on to form the basis of Drum ‘n’ Bass.

They were also the first Hip Hop artists to use a House music producer (Todd Terry) on their debut album ‘Straight Out Of The Jungle’.Their first few albums received critical acclaim but didn’t sell very many copies and were largely ignored by Hip Hop audiences. However, without them and their music, one could argue there would be no De La Soul or A Tribe Called
Quest.

Montego Slay $ People Under The Stairs
Thes One met Double K in Los Angeles, they formed People Under The Stairs (or PUTS) and quickly started recording their first album, ‘The Next Step’.

They recorded it themselves and had to sell it on the street from backpacks until it was eventually released in 1998.

The head of OM Records, Chris Smith, heard it, gave them a deal and two years later they released ‘Question In The Form Of An Answer’.

The second album received a warm welcome and they began touring more intensely. Two years later they released OST, which provided twenty little gems, including this track.

Thes One described it as, “An album made up of old records and personal experiences. No more, no less.” Check it.

Life’s A B***** $ Nas
This tune is lifted from his first album, ‘Illmatic’, which features Pete Rock, Q-Tip and DJ Premier (among others).

On this laid-back, jazzy track, AZ raps with Nas and his father, Olu Dara, plays the cornet. It samples ‘Yearning For Your Love’ by The Gap Band and ‘Black Frost’ by Grover Washington Jr.

Seven years after it’s release, the album was certified platinum and was still selling over three thousand copies a week.

Coming Of Age $ Jay-Z
‘Reasonable Doubt’ is Jay-Z’s (Sean Carter’s) debut album and is considered, by some, to be his crowning achievement.

It has been classified as ‘Mafioso Rap’ because of the strong references to crime throughout all of the songs.

Production was handled by DJ Premier, Clark Kent and Ski. Kent worked on this track that contains a sample of ‘Inside You’ by Eddie Henderson.

‘Coming Of Age’, like all the tracks on the album, feature what have been called Carter’s “effortless, unaffected cool, disarming honesty and acrobatic rhymes.”

Pop Shots $ Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Enough Said.

Hypnotize $ Notorious BIG
‘Hypnotize’ was released in April of 1997, after Biggie Smalls had been killed. The song had been a huge hit on the radio and when the single was finally released, it went straight to Number 2 in the charts. A week later, it was Number 1.

Biggie became the fifth artist to have a Number 1 single in the charts posthumously. The track was also nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 1988 Grammy Awards.

Pop Goes The Weasel $ 3rd Bass
This track was released in 1991, brought on by the success of white artists bringing Rap into the mainstream.

Ironically, the success of the song was due to the criticism of such white artists, in particular Vanilla Ice. The track attacks the artists for being culture thieves and watering down the sound of rap in order to make it more accessible to the mainstream audience.

‘Pop Goes The Weasel’ features elements of a JB’s song and a Stevie Wonder song as well as sampling ‘Eminience Front’ by the Who and ‘Sledgehammer’ by Peter Gabriel.

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Fight The Power $ Public Enemy
Chuck D. Flava Flav. PE.

This track is considered by most to be PE’s defining song. Their anthem. It is also one of the most popular and influential Hip Hop songs of all time. It’s from the album ‘Fear Of A Black Planet’ and features in Spike Lee’s joint ‘Do The Right Thing’.

The classic lines from the song are:

Elvis was a hero to most But he never meant sh*t to me
You see, straight-up racist that sucker was simple and plain
Mother**** him and John Wayne

Yo! Bum Rush The Show.

Touch The Sky $ Kanye West
When you cross the sharpest dressed man in Hip Hop with the flyest brother in Soul, how could you NOT have a massive hit and sell millions of records?

From West’s second album, ‘Late Registration’, that Rolling Stone called, “an undeniable triumph” and Spin magazine described as, “ornate and bloated just like West’s ego”, comes ‘Touch The Sky’.

The song samples ‘Superfly’ by Curtis Mayfield and features Lupe Fiasco. The video is a short movie about Evel Kanyevel and his attempt to fly a small rocket across the Snake River Canyon.
Not bad for someone who dropped out of Chicago State University.

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Baby Got Back $ Sir Mix-A-Lot
The original Bumpasauraus who hails from Seattle, Washington and introduced the world of Hip Hop to deep bass.

This track was his biggest. It won him fame and a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance in 1993. However, following this success he struggled to try and repeat it. Eventually, he fell out with his record label and disappeared for several years.

During the break, he apparently collaborated with The Presidents Of The United States but nothing was ever released.

Recently, he has been featuring as a guest on tracks for several artists, including Nas in 2007 with ‘Where Are They Now’.

More Bounce To The Ounce $ Zapp
Zapp were five brothers who formed a Soul and Funk band in 1978. This track highlights their style, hand-clapping drum beats and the use of a talk box.

The band only had a couple of hits but have influenced numerous artists in West Coast Hip Hop and G-Funk (Gangsta Funk).

Small Talk At 125th & Lenox $ Gil Scott-Heron
The Black Arrow is back on djkub.com with another insightful, articulate, no-nonsense poem that spoke to the political consciousness of those in the know in the early 1970s.

Twelvety

The very first step in trying to get a gig is to record a demo. Since I decided a few weeks ago that I would like a gig, I had to record a demo.

The last time I recorded a demo was 2003. And I agonised over it. I sat in front of my computer every night for weeks. I chose tunes then deleted them. I mixed songs and then scrapped them. I bought CDs, listened to them and then put them aside. I thought. I contemplated. I agonised. I just couldn’t decide what to include and what to exclude.

Fortunately, this time is different. This demo I put together in only three nights.

First, I heard about the Bernard Shaw pub from my flatmate and a colleague in work. Let’s call them John A. and Claire C. No. Wait. That’s a bit too obvious. I’ll refer to them as J. Agnew and C. Carroll. Anyway, they both know Trevor who runs both the Bernard Shaw and Bodytonic. Both suggested that I drop into the pub on a Sunday and have a look / listen. So I did.

Step One
After having a quick chat with the barman, I took a flyer and went on my way. The name of the game on Sundays in the Bernard Shaw is Twelve. Now, one thing I have learned (from a lot of my past mistakes) is that the simple approach is the best. So I read the flyer. Then I went home and opened my CD box. I chose one to two tracks that fell into each of the genres listed on the flyer. In about thirty minutes, I had twelve tracks. No agony. No indecision.

Step Two
The next night I put the tracks into a cohesive, interesting order. I stuck to the basics again by moving through genres and styles while keeping a steady pace with the tempo. I even figured out how to mix three dance tracks very quickly that convincingly displayed my style and taste in House music.

Step Three
I recorded the mix on the third night in several steps
1. I  recorded the mix using Traktor DJ
2. I exported the recorded file to a WAV file
3. I marked each of the tracks on the WAV file and saved them as individual files using Cool Edit 2000
4. I imported the individual files into iTunes, set the gap between songs to 0 seconds and burnt the mix to CD
5. Then I converted the WAV to an mp3 file using the free software CD-DA Extractor
6. I uploaded the mp3 file to http://www.kub.podomatic.com.

And that’s it. My second demo – sorted. I have since been in touch with Trevor and he has asked me to contact his friend, who runs a night called Stereotonic. So we will see what happens and how things go.

In the meantime, you can listen to the mix here.

The track listing is:

0.1 But Officer * Sonny Knight
0.2 Fifth Circuit Rapture * Harvey Lindo
0.3 Clapz (Slope Remix) * Studio R ft Mocky
0.4 It’s Gonna Be A Mess (Part II) –
    The Mighty Dogcatchers
-.- Interlude One
0.5 Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Main Mix) –
    Kwamey & Franky Boissy
0.6 Mushrooms (Salt Orchestra Out There Mix) –
    Marshall Jefferson vs Nossa Heads
0.7 Diggin’ It Out – Lawnchair Generals
0.8 Percumantics #11 – Bob Ashcroft
0.9 Slow Hot Wind – Block 16
1.0 Ceremony – New Order
1.1 Pogo – Digitalism
-.- Interlude Two
1.2 I Love Music – O’Jays

Drum ‘n’ Bass 1ne

Drum ‘n’ Bass started as a tangent of the UK rave scene in the early 1990s and is electronic music characterised by two unique elements. First are the fast tempo, broken beat drums, largely programmed by the use of a Roland 808 drum machine with the dial set to about 160 – 180 bpms. The second are the gut-wrenching, chest-pounding sub bass lines that are usually sampled or created by the use of a synthesizer and looped.

The genre began as and remains an underground phenomenon, although a couple of tracks did make an impression on the charts during it’s peak. As an ever changing style of music, it reflects the many and different elements in it’s roots from ragga, dancehall, electro, funk and hip hop through house, jazz, reggae and rock to techno and trance.

These diverse influences helped shape the style that covers the entire spectrum of sounds from heavy, hardcore, industrial electronic music all the way through to the jazz-influenced use of acoustic instruments.

Drum ‘n’ Bass is probably best listened to and experienced in a club. However, that is not where I first heard the music. When I arrived in Dublin, fresh-faced and innocent, in 1997 I wandered into Tower Records on Wicklow Street for the first time and came across a compilation called ‘Earth II’.

Packaged in a copper coloured box and curated by LTJ Bukem (Danny Williamson) it intrigued me. I listened to it and was blown away. The jazzy atmospheric electronic music blended perfectly with the heavy drum beats. This was some dope shit and nothing like what I had been listening to in America.

I worked hard and saved my punts for about two months so that I could by the CD. ‘Earth II’ was the very first album that I bought in Dublin and I spent many months and lots more money on the output of Good Looking Records.

This mix is my take on the genre. There are some obvious tunes and some not-so-obvious that may or may not really be Drum ‘n’ Bass. But the intention was to push the boundaries a bit and create an interesting listen.

Drum ‘n’ Bass 1ne

01. Fictions // Rollercone
02. The Sun Rising (Tom’s Drum & Bass Mix) // The Beloved
03. A Festa // Truby Trio
04. Sweet Sunshine // Ils And Solo
05. Nightlines (Original Mix) // Alexkid
06. Rainfall // LTJ Bukem
07. Heroes // Roni Size Reprazent
08. Sugar Is Sweeter (Drum ‘n’ Bass Mix) // CJ Bolland
09. Distorted Reality // Bjorn
10. Inner City Life (Album Version) // Goldie

Things kick off with an excerpt of Roni Size’s ‘Heroes’, serving as an introduction
01. The first full track in the mix is ‘Fictions’ by Rollercone, which is the first track on ‘Earth II’ and seemed like the best place to start.

 

02. The Beloved’s track ‘The Sun Rising’, released originally in 1989, got a loving re-work several years later by Tom Middleton and has appeared on more compilations than you could shake a stick at.
03. ‘A Festa’ by Truby Trio is a song released on the Compost label that reflects the group’s love of Downtempo, Breakbeat and Bossa Nova music.

04. Ils And Solo recorded several tracks for Good Looking Records in the mid 1990s. ‘Sweet Sunshine’ is a perfect example of Intelligent Drum ‘n’ Bass and appears on ‘Points In Time 004’.

05. Alexkid is a French knob twiddler with a love for all things dance-y. ‘Nightlines’ is from his album ‘Bienvenida’ but I came across it on ‘Cafe del Mar Chillhouse Mix 3’. It is a really unique tune that connects the dots between Deep House and Drum ‘n’ Bass. All in less than seven minutes.

06. No Drum ‘n’ Bass mix would be complete without an LTJ tune. I chose ‘Rainfall’ in an effort to shy away from the obvious. But believe me it was tough. There were about another two dozen other songs I would have loved to include by him.

07. ‘Heroes’ is one of the biggest Drum ‘n’ Bass songs ever recorded. Full stop. A stone cold classic.

08. Is it House or is it Drum ‘n’ Bass? Is it both? Who cares? It’s a fucking great song. CJ Bolland does his best Alexkid impersonation by combining Deep House and Drum ‘n’ Bass to perfection with ‘Sugar Is Sweeter (Drum ‘n’ Bass Mix)’.

09. Bjorn recorded and released a handful of 12″ singles on Good Looking Records and Cookin’ Records. ‘Distorted Reality’ can be found on ‘Earth III’ and is a tune that HAS to be heard LOUD.

10. Released in 1994 ‘Inner City Life’ is the biggest selling and probably most recognizable Drum ‘n’ Bass song ever recorded. The song has sold over 15,000 copies on vinyl alone. The album, ‘Timeless’ is the considered the best Drum ‘n’ Bass album of all time. Both have made Goldie famous and a bit of a household name for a couple of years.

And that’s it. There you have it. Drum ‘n’ Bass 1ne. Enjoy…