To my barely teen self, Tim Dog’s Fuck Compton, along with NWA and Boss’s “I Don’t Give a Fuck,” was part of a spate of rap releases that straddled the line between fascinating and frightening. I was fairly oblivious to the nitty-gritty of the East Coast – West Coast rap beef, but being from the northeast I just reflexively threw my lot in with the East Coast. Here Tim Dog menacingly threatens NWA and anyone in their orbit. To my mind at the time, anyone willing to call out NWA must be a real badass.
And that is the sticking point — at that time. Listening to it now it comes across as cartoon goonery over ESG and James Brown samples. On one hand he calls them out for fighting for gang turf but then he quickly goes to the other hand threatening to beat and rob them for being from the West Coast. If it wasn’t for the call to arms I don’t think Tim Dog’s flow or technique would have him stand out from his peers.
I point out the cartoon aspect of the song not because he was likely exaggerating or speaking from a persona, many rappers do that, but because at the time I fully believed that what was presented on the song was who he was. It probably helped that I was very young and from the suburbs but I was effectively conned. I bring this up because I hadn’t given Tim Dog much though until I read that he was on the lam, accused of being a con man and possibly faking his own death. Turns out he did pass away but the accusations appear to be real. One ironic aspect is that one of his cons was promoting an all male “Chocolate Thunder” stripper tour — the b-side here is Wild in the Penile where Tim Dog breaks down his time in jail where he makes it clear he is not down for any gay shit. Anyway, the thread I’m trying to tie here is that I was fully willing to believe that he was a true goon who shouldn’t be messed with, I was willing to be hoodwinked into believing his story. I wasn’t alone judging by the amount of controversy and press Fuck Compton generated. Tim Dog apparently had gift of getting people to believe his version of reality.
A while back I wrote up the Evelyn Thomas single, High Energy. While digging in Philly last weekend I came across an alternate cover. It isn’t a record that is necessary to have doubles of, so it went back into the bin after a snapped the photo. This one is a bit more descriptive and a bit cheesier. I do like how the logo of the record company made it onto the billboards.
I often overlook dollar bins but there can be records in there that are worth the digging. DMC Limited was a DJ subscription service where dance singles and mixes were sent out to DJs. The DMC records have been largely relegated to the ignominy of the land of dollar recs. For a dollar or two you can get three or four house singles on one record. I’ve been able to come across some really random tracks on the DMC records too, like a medley of the songs from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. There are also DMC records that are side long mixes by DJs for, I guess, a DJ to take a pee break during their set.
The second side of the December ’91 release, “Paradise Peaks ’91″ mixed by Steve Anderson, is one that is right in my wheelhouse. A mix that features Little Louie Vega, and Joey Negro is going in the correct direction from jump. The A side I’m a little less enthusiastic about but it is a snapshot of the time.
The DMC subscription service was started by Tony Prince, who is on of those Forrest Gump type guys in the music industry who has been around for everything and met everyone. He started off in a band in the early 1960′s to then move onto being a pirate radio Dj, tv presenter and running a label. In the early 1980′s he played DJ mixes on his radio show and started the subscription service in 1983. He started Mixmag at that time also. Clearly the dude had some passion and energy. DMC is still going strong and Prince is still up on the latest in music.
Emerging as one of the threads out of disco’s unraveling, the sub-genre HI-NRG began to be established in the early 80′s. Along with pushing up the tempo, producers began “Euro-fying” post-disco singles with a strong four on the floor approach, much like Freestyle producers were adding some Latin edge at the same time in NYC. Noted Northern Soul DJ Ian Levine found himself as the resident DJ in the London gay club Heaven. Heaven had, among other draws, an absolutely massive sound system. Levine began mixing in up-tempo Soul singles into his sets. The crowd’s reaction along with other up-tempo cuts pushed Levine into producing.
By 1983 HI-NRG charts were appearing and apparently Levine moved to capitalize on the genre that he had a hand in creating. Reaching back into his soul background, Levine recruited Evelyn Thomas to lay vocals on this chart-referencing single. Released on a London record shop’s label and licensed to a mom-pop-and-son label in the US, the song was a hit in the gay disco scene. The US issue of the single also has a light touch remix by Victor Flores. The song itself stands as a pretty solid summation of the HI-NRG sound and you can easily hear the genre’s basis as one of the threads that make up the soon emerging Euro-disco and House.
Kool Rock Jay & DJ Slice were a duo out of Fresno and before they became a bit militant with It’s a Black Thing they debuted with this 1986 single on Erika Records / Jam City Records. Check It Out wears the period on its sleeve with style echos of Rakim. The flip is DJ Slice’s showcase and again the era is all over it- from the Planet Rock, Funkadelic, Wild Sugar, and The Smurf samples, to the cuts. I copped it because it is a pretty good taste of mid-80′s hip-hop. Fun Fact: they were later produced by Lionel ‘The Super Duper Dope Hook Man’ Bea. Clearly a man with a humble ego.