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Click HERE's 100 Greatest Obscure Tracks: Part Eight

by Travis on April 1, 2008

April 1st, you know what that means. Being the practical joker that I am, I was going to start this Philaflava Obscure post off with “Ice Ice Baby”, “U Can’t Touch This”, “Knockin’ Boots” and other radio jams from yesteryear, but luckily for you all, I’m too lazy to do that. But be on the look out for the other jokesters out there. Apparently the blogosphere is full of them. The scary thing, the internet is even more full of gullible people out there.

Planet Asia – Full Course Meal
Private Investigators – Mash Up The Mic (Remix)

Rahsheed – Industrypartybumrusha
Ras Kass – Music Business feat. Xzibit
Real Live – The Turnaround (Remix) feat. Tragedy and Capone
Saafir – Light Sleeper (OG Mix)
Sadat X – Escape From New York feat. Pete Rock & Deda
Sadat X – Lump Lump (Nubian Remix) feat. Grand Puba & Lord Jamar
Sham and The Professor So-Low-Ist (Kenny Dope Remix)

Shorty Long- Shorty Doing His Own Thang

Link For All Tracks

Planet Asia – Full Course Meal (Special vinyl pressing, only 500 Copies, 2004)

What an interesting track. Where should I start. First off, the first time I had ever heard of Planet Asia was on Peanut Butter Wolf’s “My Vinyl Weighs A Ton” LP on the “In Your Area” track in 1998, which I went bonkers over. I thought Asia was such a dope MC on that track and I was fiendin’ for more from him. Then came the “Last Stand” album and the Cali Agent project and the anticipation quickly turned to disappointment. I just found both projects rather boring, needless to say, I haven’t really bothered with much of his material since then. So when I saw this track, I was unfamiliar with it. Never even heard of it. When I obtained these joints, I was playing through the tracks and this beat came on. I went rushing to my computer (yeah, real b-boys listen to their shit on the computer….yeah right) to see who the hell it was. To my surprise it was Planet Asia. The beat is fuckin’ redunkalious…..and I’m talking crazy. Who did the beat you ask? The Chocolate Boy Wonder himself, Pete Rock. In all honesty, it almost sounds like Pete is trying his best Primo imitation, but damn it sounds so damn good. Horns, lots of horns. It’s really incredible joint. And you know what? Planet Asia sounds good once again. Give the cat some decent beats and he brings back that hype that I heard from him the first time I listened to him. As far as I know, this was a promo piece that was only sold on, when they still sold physical pieces. From what I remember, they did that with a couple Pete Rock joints in 2004. Only 500 copies reportedly, it’d be a nice piece to have.

Private Investigators – Mash Up The Mic (remix) (Virgin, found on a “Mash Up The Mic” 12 inch ?, 1993)

I’m never hidden the fact that I liked Dave Guppy aka Redhead Kingpin as a solo artist (well there was the F.B.I., but they don’t really count). When it came time to check out the Private Investigators, Redhead’s crew he started after his “Album With No Name” LP. I was never really crazy about the crew’s effort “Re-Act Like You Know” though. Not that it’s bad, just kind of boring. The remix for the single “Mash Up The Mic” is proper, much more interesting than the original. It takes an keyboard sample and interlopes an ill Milk Dee vocal sample over it and tops it off with some bangin’ drums. This is what a remix should be, better than the original.

Rasheed aka Maylay Sparks – Industrypartybumrusha (Not sure of the label, found on the 12inch “Never Put U Down” b/w “Industrypartybumrusha”, 1997)

“Industrypartybumrusha” definitely fits the label of obscure. I remember hearing this on a mixtape I picked up back in the day and loved it. Unfortunately, that tape would meet an early death after being accidentally knocked out the car and then ran over in the parking lot. I then would forget all about this joint. I still don’t much about, but the dude Rasheed would later become Maylay Sparks, who I think was part of the Philly group Ill Advised. The joint is laced up nicely beat wise, with a mellow smoothed out beat. Maylay Sparks is a dope MC as well. I was always hoping for a full length release from the cat.

Ras Kass – Music Of The Business feat. Xzibit (Never officially released, can be found on “On The Run” DJ Lt Dan mixtape, 2003)

This cut is one of many unreleased gems mentioned in The Source’s “Fat Tape” section back in the day. It was supposed to be on Rassassination but got cut for some unknown reason. I would imagine that the label pulled the plug on the track since Ras breaks down the industry and exposes it as the corporate evil it truly is. Sure the rap game = crack game theme has been done before, but Ras delves deeper than any other rapper had at the time and shows why he’s one of the nicest MC’s to ever touch a mic. The beat on here is melancholy and goes with the industry rule #4080 lyrics perfectly. It’s a shame this didn’t make the lp cause it would been one of the best tracks on there by far. Either way it’s fucked up that Ras would drop a cut like this and then get caught in the industry trap himself years later.

Real Live – The Turnaround Thug Remix ft Tragedy & Capone (Big Beat, found on the promo 12 inch “Real Live”, 1996)

Slow dramatic strings, a perfectly balanced bass, tight drums, and shimmering cymbals are normally the property of an R and B song, but K-Def’s genius has integrated these cornerstones of the softer genre into a really great rap song. 1993 to 1997 was the era of the thug in rap music. Tragedy and Capone are the perfect side dish to Larry-O’s baritone kingpin tales. Keeping in line with the storyline that Larry-O presents throughout the duo’s album, the song isn’t explosive but rather a slick and effective track that properly represents Larry-O’s modus operandi- make the right moves and don’t attract the attention of the wrong crowd and you’ll accumulate riches and respect. Though the trio never became household names, if one were to judge by the way people still check for Larry-O, Trag, and Capone more than ten years after their climax it’s safe to say they a
re still rich in respect. This remix was not as popular as the remix to “Real Live Shit” with Cappadonna, Ghost and Killah Sin was and part of the reason for that is the fact that this is found only on the promo version of the 12-inch single and was released in very limited qualities. The 12-inch goes for as much as thirty dollars on eBay and European cats don’t have a problem charging thirty-five dollars or more in their record shops.

Saafir – LightSleeper (OG Mix) (Never officially released, pre 1994)

Talking to my boy Eric from When They Reminisce, he thinks Saafir is the save all of the era back then. While I can’t say I totally agree, he has caused me to pull out my copy of “Boxcar Sessions” that I kind of slept on myself (see Planet Asia and insert Saafir’s appearance on Casual’s “Fear Itself” LP for the PBW album). The album is better than I originally gave it credit for. This was supposedly the orginal version for “Light Sleeper”, which has seen its way on a past edition of my WYDU Classics. The differences between the OG version and the album version are rather subtle and that makes it difficult to pick a favorite between the two. I think personally I am leaning toward this OG version as he uses a more orthodox key sample, but keeps the dope scratching and vocal sample. His delivery is also slight different, as it’s more rapid fire on the album version. Either way, you can’t go wrong with the MC with one of the dopest voices ever to be heard in hip hop.

Sadat X – Escape From New York feat Pete Rock & Deda (Loud, from the “Wild Cowboys” LP, 1996)

I won’t call it that rare, but a dope song. Another Pete Rock banger, this can be found on Sadat’s debut solo joint “Wild Cowboys”.

Sadat X – Lump Lump Nubian Remix feat Grand Puba & Lord Jamar (Loud, from the “Lump Lump” 12 inch, 1996)

Ahhh, now this is what I’m talking about. “Lump Lump” is my favorite song from the “Wild Cowboys” LP, and one of my favorite all time beats. Buckwild just laced up Sadat on this track. It’s classic, no arguing about it. It wouldn’t be until the rise of the internet that I would hear this remix after reading about in hip hop magazines as the reunion of Brand Nubian. Beatwise, this doesn’t change a lot. The only thing real noticeably music wise is the hook sounds a bit different. Lyrically, it’s all new verses from Grand Puba, Lord Jamar and Sadat X. Excellent choice.

Sham & The Professor – So-Low-Ist Kenny Dope Remix (Freeze Records, found on the “So-Low-Ist” 12 inch, 1993)

Kenny Dope is kind of a forgotten legend. He laced up the remix for Sham & The Professor’s “So-Low-Ist” nicely with hard drums and keys that put it right up there with the classic material that wa being released in ’93. As far Sham & The Professor, I’m not overly familiar with them, other they are from Chi-Town (I think). They released a decent album in 1995 called “Split Personalities” that is worth tracking down.

Shorty – Shorty Doin’ His Own Thang (Long Shorr Records, on the 12 inch “Shorty’z Doin’ His Own Thang” b/w “My Peoplez”, 1994)

Lord Finesse was on fire in the early 90′s. He would always be involved with some hardcore shit. “Shorty’z Doin’ His Own Thang” has popped up on numerous Lord Finesse compilations over the years, but it’s still a fairly rare track. Shorty Long had some buzz after being discovered by Lord Finesse, but never released much that I know of. This joint was his main “claim to fame” and is produced by the Lord himself. Classic mid 90′s NY shit right here.

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