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Hip Hop 101: Nas – "Where Are They Now" Remixes: The 80's Remix (Part One)

by Travis on March 14, 2007

(EDIT: The 80′s is being split into two parts. It would be just to long for one post. Part two of the 80′s is coming tomorrow. I used some albumbase links, because this turned into a bigger project than I planned on tonight, but honestly, I put enough work on the other stuff, I don’t feel bad about using a few links that aren’t mine, but I credited where I got them. Thanks to for the great info to help fill in my missing knowledge and for the great interviews. View that site, it’s a treasure chest of old school hip hop)

Not to long ago, I was lurking in a Hip-Hop forum. I don’t remember which one honestly but there was a youngster that was commenting that he didn’t know who half of the artists that are on Nas’ remixes for “Where Are They Now” were. For someone such as myself that is in their late twenty’s or early thirty’s and have been into hip hop since at least their teens, there shouldn’t be anyone unheard of. When doing research for this post, I even had to go through and correct some of the lyrics found on a site because they were obviously transcribed by someone that wasn’t familiar with Silk Tymes Leather or the Educated Rapper and Doctor Ice of UTFO. If you are younger than say 25 then you might have a reason for not knowing who a few of those MC’s are, but there is always room to learn your history.

I must admit, I was kind of disappointed when I first heard Nas’ “Where Are They Now?” joint on his Hip Hop Is Dead LP. Anyone that is a “hip hop head” should know what Dres of Black Sheep had been up to, or EPMD, or a handful of MC’s that were named on the song. In my opinion if you are doing music, you should at least be some sort of a fan of the music you are doing. I realize Nas is a busy man and the such, but I know for a fact that Masta Ace is still a fan of the music and is up on the newest releases. Maybe that’s too much to ask for, but I was kind of disappointed by his apparent lack of knowledge.

Nas “Where Are They Now” (Hip Hop Is Dead, 2006)

Redhead Kingpin, Tim Dog, have you seen ‘em?
Kwame, King Tee or King Sun
Super Lover Cee, Casanova Rud Antoinette, Rob Base never showin up
You see Black Sheep, Group Home, Busy Bee?

Ask Ill and Al Skratch, (Where My Homiiies?)
Leave it to y’all, these niggaz left for dead
Last week my man swore he saw Special Ed Rap is like a ghost town, real mystic
Like these folks never existed
They the reason that rap became addictive

Play they CD or wax and get lifted

I recommend when your kid turn ten
Let him hear Spice 1, made plenty noise
Positive K, Father
MC, the Skinny Boys
Where are they now?

(HEY!! Where are, where are they nooooooow, huuuhhhhhooohhhh HEY!)
Where are they now? (HEY! Hit me! Where are they nooooooow?) (“HIT MEH!!”)
See I remember them forever

The original Spinderella Lakim Shabazz, 9 MM Fu-Schnickens, Buckshot,
Finesse, an
d Sequence Who was a (Rappin’ Duke?) Da-ha!
Silk Tymes Leather was cute

Body & Soul was Dee from Pump It Up’s group
aktown 357, J.J. Fad too had pop hits and gold ropes
Where my man Young MC and Tone Loc?

Kris Kross, the BO$$, Divine Styler Def Jef of course let’s break it down ta
Mic Geronimo, Pharcyde and Coolio I heard Craig Mack back in the studio
Have you seen these lost MC’s?
Funky Four Plus One, Force M.D.’s Miss Melody,
I hope she packin’ a bankroll

As well as educated rap for Ice and Kangol
Shante, she from around my way yo
EPMD, K-Solo, where are they now?
(HEY!! Where are, where are they nooooooow, huuuhhhhhooohhhh HEY!)
Where are they
now? (HEY! Hit me! Where are they nooooooow?) (“HIT MEH!!”)

[Nas - Outro]
First off this ain’t no diss record
This for some of my homies that were misrepresented…

Legends of the game, y’know? What up to Moe Dee the legend? Rest in peace Cowboy!
Yeah, all the
rappers…male, female, DJ’s, e’rybody!
Rest in peace Jam-Master Jay, the whole crew, word up… Juice Crew All-Stars, MC Shan, Tragedy, Craig G… Yeah nigga, yeah nigga… Shan whaddup baby?< /span> Where are they now?

I forgave Nas’ when he dropped the three remixes in two days, the 80′s remix, the 90′s remix and the west coast remix. They came out of no where and the who’s who from the back of milk carton appeared on them. It was amazing to some of us 70′s/early 80′s kids. It’s not that the remixes were on some next shit, it was just cool to hear MC’s like Breeze, Doctor Ice, Grandmaster Caz, Redhead Kingpin, and others spit. It’s great that Nas was able to get these cats together and re-introduce them to the present day Hip Hop crowd.

I’ve always felt Hip Hop never really gave the proper due to it’s founding fathers. A lot of these youngin’s don’t know their history. If it wasn’t for artists like Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Kool Herc, or even Run DMC, hip hop wouldn’t be where it’s at today. They deserve our respect and remembrance as we forge on in this art form. It’s for this reason, I decided to do a little Hip Hop 101 for some those in need of it. For some of my vets, this won’t be anything new, but for some of you that haven’t been into Hip Hop for more than ten years, here is a chance to get your learn on. I ain’t mad at anyone who don’t know these cats, but I think if you truly want to represent the culture, you gotta learn.

The first remix that we’ll highlight is the 80′s remix, which includes some of founding fathers of Hip Hop…the next two days, we’ll cover the other two joints…enjoy!

80′s Remix Featuring: MC Shan, Rahiem (Furious Five), Doctor Ice (UTFO), Kangol (UTFO), Kool Moe Dee, Sha Rock (Funky Four +1), Tito (Fearless Four), Grandmaster Caz (Cold Crush Brothers), Lique (Isis of X Clan), Dana Dane, Pebblee Poo & Just-Ice.

Samples: James Brown’s “Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved”

MC Shan

Down By Law, (Cold Chillin’ 1987)
Born To Be Wild, (Cold Chillin’ 1988)
Play It Again Shan, (Cold Chillin’ 1989
Best Of Cold Chillin’ (Landspeed 2001) (Greatest Hits of sorts)

MC Shan could arguably be crowned as one of the leaders of “The Next School”, the group of MC’s and groups that lead Hip Hop from the “Yes Yes Y’all” days of the early 80′s “Old School” to the Golden Age of the the late 80′s of the “Next School”. Hailing from the legendary Queensbridge projects, he lived the B-Boy persona to the hilt, with the kangols, big dookie ropes, and his trademark Puma sneakers and sweatsuits. He would be the leader of the early Juice Crew All-Stars, a loosely collection of artists centered around Marley Marl and the antagonist of many a battle. Shan would tangle with KRS-One in the infamous Bronx/Queensbridge battles, a battle on wax that still stands as one of the best in Hip-Hop. Shan dropped “Kill That Noise”, as a response to BDP’s “South Bronx”. This in return would lead to “The Bridge Is Over”, in which KRS went for the throat. Before it was all said and done though, Roxanne Shante, Poet, & Just-Ice would be involved in one way or another. Shan would also go after LL Cool J in 1985, with “Beat Biter” in which he accuses of LL of stealing a beat for “Rock The Bells”.

Shan would drop three albums in his career. His debut album Down By Law is kind of an underrated classic. Produced strictly by Marley, it contain that bare bones beats that were the norm in those days. They might sound dated to some of the younger generation. Shan’s second album, Born To Be Wild, has more of that classic Marley sound, although it was largely slept on since it came out in the incredible 1988 year. In 1990, Shan dropped Play It Again Shan, which he produced himself, without the assistance of Marley. It’s no surprise that this is the weakest out of his catalog. Shan’s other claim to fame is writing and producing the dancehall version of Vanilla Ice in Snow and his album 12 Inches Of Snow, which Shan owed 66% of the publishing rights to, so needless to say, he made a fair chunk of change off of that.

After battling some drug problems throughout the 90′s, MC Shan & Shante have came back in the past couple years, trying to restart the “Juice Crew” name with a slew of new MC’s. I haven’t heard what happened since then, but needless to say I think it’s a bad idea.

Great MC Shan Interview

Rahiem of the Furious Five
Discography As Part of GMF & THE FURIOUS FIVE

He also appeared on the Juice OST with the track “Does Your Man Know About Me?”

Rahiem was knee deep in all the beginnings of Hip Hop. He saw it all and was a part of all the Block parties, all the jams in the parks, all the jams in the event centers. The man is a icon in the culture.

Rahiem was a part of possibly one of the most important groups in Hip Hop history, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. He was originally was a part of the Funky 4, then in 1978 went on to become the fifth member of the original Furious Five.

Furious Five consisted of Melle Mel, Cowboy (RIP), Kid Creole, Rahiem, and Scorpio.

In 1979, the crew dropped “Superrappin’” on Enjoy records, only to be beat out by Sugarhill’s “Rapper’s Delight” as the first rap on record. In 1980, they would sign to Sugarhill Record’s and drop classic singles such as “The Message”, “White Lines”, “New York, New York”, and “Adventures On The Wheel”, they would also drop an LP in ’82 called The Message. The single “The Message” made noise, which was only Melle Mel and Duke Bootee, there was enough internal strife in which Melle, Scorpio and Cowboy went one way while Flash, Creole (who was Mel’s brother ironically) and Rahiem went the other.

The group would reunite and drop On The Strength in 1988. Then in ’89 to drop an LP entitled Piano which didn’t gather much attention and was minus Flash.

Excellent Interview With Rahiem

Doctor Ice & Kangol Of U.T.F.O

U.T.F.O. (Untouchable Force Organization) consisted of Doctor Ice, The Educated Rapper, The Kangol Kid & Mixmaster Ice

U.T.F.O. (Select, 1985)
Skeezer Pleezer (Select, 1986)

Lethal (Select, 1987)
Doin’ It (Select, 1989)
Bag It & Bone It (Jive, 1991)

Doctor Ice Solo Discography:
The Mic Stalker (Jive, 1989)
Rely On Selph (Wrap, 1994)

The group started off as dancers for Whodini (hmm, should have used that one for one of the trivia questions) in 1983, they would go on to form UTFO and drop the single “Roxanne, Roxanne” on Select Records in 1984. “Roxanne, Roxanne” would be the start of the “answer back record”. The single produced the most answer back responses of all time in Hip Hop as it spawned many many songs answering the group back and would also produced Roxanne named female MC’s in Roxanne Shante and The Real Roxanne who would go on to also be signed by Select Records.

The group would still be intertwined in the “costume” era of the early Hip Hop days, with each member having their own gimmick. Doctor Ice was the “Hip-Hop Physician”, Mixmaster Ice had a ninja thing going on, The Educated Rapper had the educated Suit & Tie thing going on and Kangol Kid was, yup you guessed it, dressed down with Kangol brand clothing.

The self titled first album was probably their most successful, but they always seemed to try new things when the other NY groups stayed to more traditional type Hip Hop. Their first two albums were produced by the Force MD’s. Their third LP Lethal seemed to have a gangsta overtone to it, which only Just Ice and Schoolly were coming that way at the time. They did an anti-drug track “Lethal” with metal group Anthrax, before Public Enemy would do it in ’91. They also had the privilege to appear on most of the popular Hip Hop tours at the time, such as Fresh Fest.

Doctor Ice would release the solo opus, Mic Stalker, which in all honesty, I enjoyed more than any of the group efforts. It’s a hodge podge of styles, everything the reggae styles of “Feelin Irie”, to the R&B crooning of “Love Jones” & “True Confessions”, Miami bass of “Bass Up, Bass Down”, and some gangsta stylings of “Nobody Move”. It was a personal favorite of mine that year. I was totally unaware of his sophomore release Rely on Selph that dropped on Wrap in 1994 until last year. It’s nothing special, but if you are a fan of the UTFO group, you might as well track it down.

Fan Site with more UTFO info

Kool Moe Dee

Solo Discogra

Kool Moe Dee (S/T) (Jive, 1986)
How You Like Me Now (Jive, 1987
Knowledge Is King (Jive, 1989)
Funke Funke Wisdom (Jive, 1991)
Greatest Hits (Jive, 1993)

rlude (Wrap, 1994) *Never Heard This One*

Treacherous Three Consisted of L.A. Sunshine, Kool Moe Dee, Spoonie G, who would be replaced by Special K in 1980 , & DJ Easy Lee

The Treacherous Three (Sugarhill Records, 1984)
Old School Flava (Wrap, 1994)
Turn It Up (Sequel Records, 2000)

Kool Moe Dee along with his fellow Treacherous Three MC’s were some of first MC’s from the Old School to get deep with their lyrics and they also came faster with their lyrics, something that MC’s like Rakim, Kane, LL and others can be traced back to. They went beyond the call & response routines that a lot of the groups of the era were using, this is evident on their single “The New Rap Language” in 1980. Spoonie G left the group in to pursue a solo career and Special K joined. In ’81 they would drop one of my personal favorite old school tracks “Heartbeat” (you’ve all heard this sampled in many many many hip hop records). In ’82 they jumped from Enjoy Records to the label that was running shit at the time, Sugarhill, that’s when they would release their first Sugarhill record, “Whip It”. Sugarhill would drop a five track “LP” in 1984, which was more or less a collection of some of their previous singles. In 1985, they would release “Gotta Rock” b/w “Turn It Up”. The first was an attack on the “New School” acts that were busting on the scene “You can make fresh records, but you still can’t rap” ( Moe Dee would rap. It was the B-side that would result in Moe Dee going solo. It’s also know that Special K and LA Sunshine wasn’t feeling the contract with Sugarhill. It was that fact combined with “Turn It Up,” blowing up that same summer as “La Di Da Di” by Doug E Fresh & MC Ricky D was blowing up, prompted Moe Dee decided to do a solo album and his solo career took off.

His first single “Go See The Doctor” produced by future New Jack Swing guru, Teddy Riley, took off. His self titled solo debut made a splash for Jive/RCA. The very solid debut album would lead into his most popular LP of his career, How Do You Like Me Now, which would produced the hits with the title track and “Wild Wild West”. It was about this time him and LL Cool J would compete in one of the greatest battles on wax that Hip Hop has ever seen.

Instead of highlighting this myself, I believe there is someone who has more of a detailed view and a better vantage point of the whole beef, a reader sent this excellent coverage and opinion of the Kool Moe Dee Vs. LL Cool J Battle……all credit and props for this goes to Kevin:

In regards to HipHop, as far as I’m concerned there were always two types of HipHop fans:

1. Those that were just following HipHop through buying records and listening to the radio, but were too young to go to and hang out at the HipHop spots, like Latin Quarters, Rooftop, Bentley’s, Roxy, Danceteria, Union Square etc….and only went to the concerts

2. Those who following HipHop though buying records and listening to the radio, and were old enough to hang out at the all the HipHop spots as well as go to the concerts

Now here is these points have on the Kool Moe Dee vs. LL Cool J rivalry because, Moe Dee may not have been popular amongst those young record buying HipHop fans, but definitely had some support from those older HipHop fans that were hanging out in the HipHop spots especially as he was still rocking at those spots, which in turn has an effect on your outlook on how the battle came about as well as it’s outcome and the full insight in regards to their rival


When Moe Dee and the HIPHOP CATS were pushing and anticipating for a live battle between these 2, LL KEPT DUCKING AND RUNNING FROM Moe Dee…….and there are incidents to prove it

Now lets, review the Moe Dee vs. LL battle more carefully shall we………Now readers, make sure you’ve got a cup of tea and biscuits in your hand for the following info. Now here info about incidents that happen OUTSIDE their battle records that were made, which related to their beef:

Just so you know, the beef between LL and Moe Dee had been brewing for a period of time, since the mid-80′s. Moe Dee always suspecting that, LL was letting fame get to his head with a cocky attitude as if those that came before didn’t matter (that’s what Moe Dee and others had beef with Run)

Especially with LL spitting lines like “greatest rapper in the history of rap itself” etc, then with Moe Dee feeling like LL took his style, and at the same time abruptly brushing off rappers that came before him, was definitely adding logs on the fire of their beef

But here was one incident, which was the straw that broke the camels back for Moe Dee in their beef:

One show night in Boston, LL missed his plane and the show’s promoter asked if Rakim and Moe Dee could just go up onstage and rhyme for a while and hold the crowd over with some impromptu freestyle. They agreed, and within 15 minutes along with Grandmaster Dee cutting, Rakim, Jalil, Extacy, Mike C and Kool Moe Dee absolutely wrecking the crowd. Once word got to them that LL was in the house and ready to rock the stage they finally shut it down. Just seconds after the MC’s shut it down, whilst still on stage and LL took the stage walked over to a speaker and stood over all the MC’s that just saved the show, and began to explain to the crowd why he got on last, and why his name is the biggest name on the marquee. He ranted on in an extreme condescending manner about how his sales showed how he’s a bigger star than those MC’s that were on the stage and how he’s the bigger & better MC than the rest of them.

Now it’s known about the order of their records between 1987-1989; How You Like Me Now, Jack The Ripper, Let’s Go, and once these records were out, cats where just anticipating the moment when these two will nail their battle in the coffin and would just get on stage…….and as these two had a habit of meeting each other on stage that moment was so close you could taste and touch it.

So let’s list some of the incidents of their meetings which sparked the fire of their battle when it was on from 1987-1989:

One night at the Apollo, LL was there, and he performed Jack The Ripper….people thought Moe Dee wasn’t there, so LL acted and fronted like he was calling him out, and like if Moe was there then he would bring it to Moe…but while LL was performing, and face emerges from the crowd, a spot light is on that person, it turns out to be Kool Moe Dee, the crowd was like “OH SHIT THERE GONNA GET ON NOW” AND GOES NUTS….as Moe starts making his way to the stage, LL got nervous, and just rapped up his show, and quickly stormed of the stage…….once Moe got on the stage, LL was gone but the chanting MOE Dee’s name from the time he made his way to the stage and even when he was still on stage.

Another incident at the Apollo, what happened was the Dj played LL’s jack the ripper, and LL was expected to come out, Kool Moe Dee came out instead and snatched the record of the decks, the crowd went wild, and the DJ played an instrumental, and Kool Moe Dee just ripped LL a new asshole in a freestyle, and told the crowd LL’s day was coming, and people in the crowd were saying the same thing as well as saying I HOPE LL COMES OUT whilst in the frenzy Moe Dee just put them in….

There battle created so much buzz and a live battle was so anticipated that Arsenio Hall, even offered to let these host and put on their live battle on his show, but LL brushed it off by saying that he’d rather settle it in a boxing ring.

But here is one of the final incident, which was the nail in the coffin of their beef in 80′s…..this incident took place in late 88 or early 89 in Texas. Moe Dee was doing a show in …..LL shows up during his show and starts blowing kisses to the crowd….Moe Dee tries to step to him for a battle, but LL escapes into the crowd…but Moe Dee spots LL in the crowd and puts the spotlight on him challenging LL to a live battle, but LL refuses again….so Moe does a freestyle dissing LL even dropping the verbal “LL’s” on him gets the crowd to BOO LL outta the arena. Moe Dee acknowledged to the crowd the battle was done and dropped/slammed the mic down.

Now of course all of these incidents were before 1990-1991 where there were further answer records to their 80’s records; To The Break Of Dawn and Death Blow.

(trav’s note: the audio he sent me gave me chills up & down my spine)

Moe Dee’s third album was possibly(?, I don’t have the numbers to back this claim up) his best selling album. Knowledge Is King produced the singles “They Want Money”, produced by Teddy Riley and “I Go To Work”, both of which garnered a lot of play on “Yo! MTV Raps” back in the day. His fourth album Funke Funke Wisdom was more Afrocentric in nature, but also had four cuts produced by Teddy Riley as well. It was kind of brushed over by the hip hop heads of the time, with the Westcoast Gangsta rap starting to kick into full gear by this time. It did produce one of my favorite Moe Dee tracks in “Rise & Shine” a posse cuts of sorts with Chuck D and KRS-One.

By the time the early 90′s rolled around and got going, the G-Funk era and the “New School” was in full swing. The artists/groups like Run DMC, LL Cool J, Doug E Fresh, & Eric B & Rakim, that Moe Dee went after in “Gotta Rock” were now being overtaken by groups like Brand Nubian, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and of course the gangsta rhymes of Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Geto Boys and the whole “Reality Rap” movement of the time. Moe Dee would drop Interlude, which sheepishly, I’ve never heard, but I think I’m probably not alone in that matter. He would also regroup with LA Sunshine and Special K and drop a couple albums, that the new rap listener would not receive well. Time had passed by Moe Dee, but he is still demands respect as a Hip Hop pioneer.

Great Moe Dee Interview

The Treacherous Three w/ Spoonie G Live at The Harlem World In 1982
**Link Is From Memoryman on the Wu-Tang Corp Forum, my file was corrupt for some reason, so much thanks and credit goes out to the forum and memoryman**

Sha Rock of Funky Four Plus One More

Original Funky Four Line Up: Sha Rock, Keith Keith, KK Rockwell, & Rahiem (of Furious Five Fame) with two DJ’s, DJ Breakout and Baron

In 1978, Rahiem went on the Furious Five and Sha Rock would leave and Lil’ Rodney C and Jazzy Jeff (not THAT Jazzy Jeff) would join. Soon after Sha Rock would rejoin the crew.

Funky Four + 1 were a ground breaking crew, along with Sha Rock. Sha Rock is often credited as the first female MC. There were none before her. Since she was the first female, they would also be the first mixed gender group. They were also the first group to appear on national TV when they appeared on “Saturday Night Live” in 1980 when they performed (another of my old school favorites) “That’s The Joint”. The crew would later dissolve with members going their own ways. Sha Rock would join another female MC, Lisa Lee to form US Girls. Lil Rodney C & KK Rockwell would form Double Trouble.

Sha Rock Myspace

CRAZY INTERVIEW with Sha Rock, one of the few you’ll ever find

Interview with Lil Rodney C of Funky Four + 1

Funky Four + 1 – That’s The Joint.… Not sure honestly what this is. I wanted to post “That’s The Joint”, but couldn’t find my track for it. So I looked on albumbase thinking someone might have posted the 12 inch, and found this rather large .rar file (101mb). So honestly, I’m not sure what it is. I won’t be able to download it until tomorrow at work. None the less, it’s supposed to be the Funky Four + 1

Breakout, Barren & Whiz Kid With Funky 4+1 & Harmonizing 4 MCs @ T-Connection 1980
there are other crews on this as well, such as Treacherous Three. **Link Is From Memoryman on the Wu-Tang Corp Forum, my file was corrupt for some reason, so much thanks and credit goes out to the forum and memoryman**

Tito Of Fearless Four

Fearless Four were: Microphone Wizard D.L.B., Mighty Mike C, The Great Peso, The Devastating Tito, and DJ’s OC and Krazy Eddie.


Fearless Four were best known for their single “Rockin’ It” which used a Kraftwerk break and became one of the most well known songs from the era. As most groups of the era, which got their break on either Sugarhill or Enjoy, with the latter being the case for Fearless Four. They were also the first hip hop group to be signed to a MAJOR label, Elektra. The group also consisted of Puerto Rican descent, which Tito was. This is a very important aspect that is over looked in today’s Hip Hop, that the Puerto Ricans and the Latin influence was their from the beginning. They would drop an EP on Elektra in ’83 titled Problems Of The World, which was in the same vein as Furious’ Five’s “The Message”, but dealt with other problems such as child abuse and other issues plaguing the inner cities at the time. They would go on to release a few more 12′s in the 80′s. They would make a reappearance on De La Soul’s Clear Lake Audiotorium EP on the track “Stix & Stonz”. Tito is still very much in the game. He has also been in videos for Cormega & Kool G Rap, worked with Fat Joe & The Terror Squad and is planning on releasing his own album, “Ghetto Life: The Album”.

Tito Myspace

Mike C of the Fearless Four Interview
DLB of the Fearless Four Interview

Part Two of the 80′s coming tomorrow

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