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First Priority Music Family Part One: Kings Of Swing – Strategy (Virgin, Bumrush 1990)

by Travis on August 22, 2006

Our spotlight gets shown on one of the more slept on labels & extended fam’s of the late 80′s-early 90′s, the First Priority Music label for the next handful of posts. They were THE crew after the Juice Crew disbanded in the late 80′s, yet they don’t recieve much recoginition in the grand scheme of things in the history of the hip hop culture. The FPM family consisted of; Audio Two (brothers Milk Dee & Gizmo), MC Lyte, Alliance, Michie Mee, Kings Of Swing, Positive K, Barsha, and one of two in house producers (Milk Dee was the other) King of Chill. The label was lead by Lyte’s, Milk’s & Giz’s father, Nat Robinson who, if I remember right, started up the label to help Milk further his hip hop career.

As noted, much of the production on many of the albums was handled by either Audio Two or King of Chill and consisted of the “bare bones” approach so highly popular during the day. It was great “boom bap” music of the time. The label never garnished any high record sales, except with maybe Lyte’s releases (gold on the first two releases ?), but still mark one of the greatest labels in the “golden age” of hip hop. They are still in business and I was suprised to see they had the R&B sensation from a few years ago, Eamon.

Here’s a little re-post in case anyone missed it the first time. I must also give MAJOR props to Moves on the cocaine blunts boards, if it wasn’t for him, a few of these albums wouldn’t be avaliable to me and it’s helped quench my thirst for this early FPM music

The First Priority Music Family : Basement Flavor (First Priority Music 1990)

1 Alliance -Get On Down (3:48) Producer – The King Of Chill
2 Audio Two- Many Styles (4:55) Producer – Audio Two
3 MC Lyte & Positive K- I’m Not Havin’ It (3:29) Producer – Audio Two
4 Michee Mee & LA Luv- Victory Is Calling (5:29) Featuring -MC Lyte Producer – Beat Factory
5 MC Lyte- Survival Of The Fittest (3:58) Producer -The King Of Chill
6 Positive K- Tramp (3:22) Featuring – Milk Dee Producer – Audio Two
7 Audio Two- Peer Pressure (4:06) Producer – Audio Two
8 Michie Mee & LA Luv- On This Mic (5:42) Producer – Beat Factory
9 Alliance- Kibbles And Bits (4:24) Producer – Alliance
10 Positive K- Impulse On Three (4:35) Featuring – Barsha Producer – Audio Two
11 Soulshock- Break The Limits (4:54) Featuring – See-Que Producer – Solid Productions

Kings Of Swing - Strategy

The first legit post of this series see’s the Kings of Swing’s album “Strategy” which was released in 1990. The Kings of Swing consisted of Sugar Kay, Mike Master & Cocoa Chanelle. Despite the horrible looking R&B/New Jack Swing looking cover the album contains some rather nice tracks. The album was produced by the two in house producers, Milk and King of Chill, and has some rather funky breaks used, something that seemed more diverse than some other FPM family releases. Two Minutes of Funk is just that, two minutes of funk and uses a loop that Marley Marl dug up on LL’s To Da Break Of Dawn. Betty Boop has a funky guitar loop conjured up by King Of Chill. On the next track, Nod Your Head To This uses a loop that would later be used by DJ Muggs on Cypress Hill’s Real Estate track from their self-titled debut. The cut also contains some crazy DJ work.

One of the odd things about the group then, and even now, is the fact the female, Cocoa Chanelle, was the groups DJ and a damn good one at that. This album contains lots of cuts and scratching from the female DJ and even has two DJ cuts on here. From what I read, she is now a DJ on one of the NY radio stations.

While they are not the greatest MC’s, they are able enough not to distract from the overall product and let’s face it, lyricism wasn’t at an all time during this time period for the most part. I’m sure overrating this because of the old school mode I’ve been in lately, but this is one of the better albums of 1990 (I always thought 90′ was the most over hyped of the so-called “Golden Years”), defintely give it a listen if you at all into the older stuff.


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