When you’ve been around for over a year and a half (which is 25 years in bloggers years), you can get away with posting up a re-run every so often. This week has been craaazy, school, work, bomb threats at work (long story), computer issues, internet issues, and I added a second job (bartending for catering company) has left me with a crunch with time. Hopefully the second job will enable me to finally hook up high speed internet at my apartment and then a lot of this will be a none issue.
Anyway, I’m going to re-use a previous post to back up this next Greatest Hits collection I have for my second favorite “Posse” of all time (after the Juice Crew), the First Priority Music family, which consisted of Audio Two, MC Lyte, Alliance, Barsha, Michie Mee, Kings Of Swing and Positive K. 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 available to me and it’s helped quench my thirst for this early FPM music.
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.
AUDIO TWO – I Don’t Care The Album & What More Can I Say
Part two of our First Priority Music Family series leads us to who I orginally wanted to lead off with, Audio Two. Audio Two were composed of Milk Dee on vocals and Giz as the DJ. As mentioned before, the two were brothers and sons of label head, Nat Robinson. Despite that MC Lyte seemed to be the top seller (I don’t have the actual numbers, just guessing) on the label, Audio Two seemed to be the the crown princes of the label. This is was only natural since Giz and Milk were Nat Robinson’s natural son’s while Lyte was only a half sibling of the two. They dropped a hip hop classic in “Top Billin” (my personal favorite all -time favorite hip hop single) in 87′ and then their debut album “What More Can I Say” in 88′. It garned enough attention to put them up amoung top releases of one of the best hip hop years ever. In 1990 they dropped their somewhat underrated album “I Don’t Care: The Album”.
I’ve read a lot of bad press on this album. I think it was actually TO bragadocious for people. The album got slammed for being “to one dimensional” (go figure, now it’s okay). It also caught flack for some of the lyrics on “Whatcha’ Lookin’ At?” which contained some so called “bigotary” lyrics, with his “gay mutha’s should get punched in the face” line along with a few other questionable lines. As a naive high school senior, I loved it. Not saying it was right, but it added to the albums attractiveness. As far as lyrics, there is nothing ground breaking. It’s either party starters or Milk bragging how bad he is. To me hip hop is built on that though, people forget that. Yeah, it’s fine to grow, but like the
roots of a tree, the roots of hip hop also hold the art form into the ground firmly and thats what Audio Two did. It’s in your face bragging rhymes. Tracks like “Milk Does The Body Good (remix)” are straight badass lyrics. While it’s true Milks lyrics are not deep or politicaly correct, but to me, this is the stuff that drew me to hip hop in the first place. They are one of the first artists to dis MC Hammer on “Start It Up Y’all” with his “(Pos K & others)So what’s up with Hammer? Yo Hammer can’t rhyme and 357 is a bunch of Ho’s”. Straight in your face lyrics and hard core beats. Don’t expect to be blown away by lyrics.
Beat wise, it’s all done by Milk. It’s a bit more musical that “What More Can I Say”, but that ain’t sayin’ much. Lot’s of familar breaks (familar because of Milk and the other old school cats) and some hard drums. Milk seemed to still favor the 808 approach to things that had started to pass by NY by this time. There is nothing mind blowing as far as beats go, but for a simpler time, this music was great. I remember playing this a lot on the way to my senior year in high school (yeah I’m dating myself) and knowing just about all the words. This is a classic to me, fuck everyone else….
Alliance - We Could Get Used To This (First Priority Music, 1988)
1 Bustin’ Loose (3:58) 2 We Could Get Used To This (4:48) 3 I, Alliance (3:49) 4 Fish Heads (2:55) 5 Your Idol (3:07) 6 Down To Earth (3:15) 7 Just Another Message (3:04) 8 Ready Set (4:08) 9 I’ve Found (2:13) 10 Pure Skill (3:37) 11 Extensions (0:41) 12 Leeches (3:01) 13 Still You Sleep (3:04)
Part three of our FPM family takes to the 1988 album from the Alliance. The Alliance were made up of King Of Chill, K-Swift and DJ Skill. They were also among the first to drop albums on the label, right after Audio Two and MC Lyte. King of Chill would become one of the main producers at the label.
I honestly don’t know shit about the group for the most part and was only introduced recently to the album by Moves from the Cocaine Blunts board. I’ve only gone through the ablum 2-3 times real well, but it’s in typical FPM fashion, a definete must for any fan of the label.
Michie Mee & LA Luv – Jamacian Funk, Canadian Style (First Priority Music, 1991)
1. Prelude No. 1 2. Jamaican Funk Canadian Style 3. Kotch 4. Insecure Luva 5. Prelude No. 2 6. If Only They Knew 7. Prelude No. 3 8. All Night Stand 9. We’ve Arrived In America 10. L.A. Luv De Bout 11. You’re Feisty 12. A Portion From Up North 13. Canada Large 14. Get It Together (Bonus Track) 15. Jamacian Funk (Bonus Track)
Part four of the series is another album I know very little about. While looking for an album cover and some info on Michie, I found out she was the first female Canadian hip hop artist signed to an american label. The album itself is a weird mix of raggae and hip hop, which was abundant in the early 90′s with the dancehall craze taking off. She has a done some acting in recent years. You can learn more about her here http://www.myspace.com/michiemee2007
Then of course you had the first two MC Lyte albums that were heavily First Priority influenced with either King of Chill or Milk D doing the production on them
WYDU PResents The First Priority Music Family’s Greatest Hits (For all those out there unfamiliar with the Crew, here is a sampler of their music)
1. Audio Two – Top Billin
2. Positive K & MC Lyte – I’m Not Havin’ It
3. Alliance – Bustin’ Loose
4. Audio Two – On The Road
5. Kings Of Swing – Strategy
6. Audio Two – I Don’t Care
7. Michie Mee & DJ LA Luv – Jamican Funk Candian Style
8. Barsha – Knockin’ Hineys
9. MC Lyte – Cha Cha Cha
10. Kings Of Swing – Two Minutes Of Funk
11. Alliance – We Could Get Used To This
12. Positive K & Barsha – Tramp
13. Barsha – B.A.R.
14. Alliance – Get On Down
15. Kings Of Swing – Nod Your Head To This
16. Audio Two – Milk Does The Body Good
17. MC Lyte – Lyte As A Rock
18. Audio Two – The Questions
19. Alliance – Kibble and Bits
20. Audio Two, MC Lyte, & Positive K – Start It Up
21. Positive K & Barsha – Impulse On Three