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Archive for May, 2009

M.A.D.D Intalec – "Flowers In the Attic"


-M.A.D.D Intalec – “Flowers In the Attic”

In part, this post is to pimp Club Month over at my Baltimore music site 41Yo.Com where you’ll get early and mid-90s Baltimore Club records every day in May, but also because resting between a beats-only version of Kool Breez’s version of “Get That Ho!” and a Side A-ending shout-out track “Breez’s Verbals” is a pretty ridiculous rap track called “Flowers In the Attic” by a Baltimore group called M.A.D.D Intalec, who where Isikar (David Ross) and Marc Wigg (Marcus Wigfall). Nothing super special, but a particularly nimble and spacey 90s rap track that you’ll end up listening to on-loop for hours.

The porous borders between Club music and hip-hop are clear if you spend anytime with Baltimore music, but I don’t know of another release, outside of the Club/hip-hop hybrids of the past few years, that makes the connection so clear, aggressively clear even. Like, even if the audience for Club and rap crosses over (and it did and does), singles like this one are to be played at the Club and there just isn’t going to be a time or context really ever, where “Flowers in the Attic” could drop and it would make any sense.

And so, the record’s mainly a reminder of DJ Kool Breez’s talent as both a Club pioneer (solo and along with DJ Big Red as 2 Whyte Kidz), and a beatmaker that laced a lot of Baltimore with boom-bap during the 90s–and still does to this day. Check out Kool Breez on MySpace and his YouTube Channel where he highlights breaks and beats and his insane record collection.

Club DJs talk about the importance of this hard-to-explain, know-it-when-you-hear-it “fucked-up” sound that Club music “needs” to move it beyond the really, not that hard to rip-off formula, and so, that same raw, from the record warmth and handmade, intangible feel found on “Flowers In the Attic” is all over “Get That Ho!”, the very alive 808s shaking around in the background, the fucked-up half-squonks of horns, the Big Daddy Kane sample…you get the picture.

The other point of course, is that in 1995 or so–when this record came out–Club music and hip-hop were made with the same equipment in the same ways: chopping samples, sequencing, all that good stuff. Any Club guys still doing it today constantly praise the digital age because it’s alleviated the hours wasted when their ASR-10 overheated and shut-down and they had to re-do a beat, and saved them hundreds of dollars in electric bills spent running the thing for days straight until the track’s completed.

Computers, programs, even Serato’s made it easier on Club DJs and set-up a whole new roadmap for getting to that “fucked-up” sound. They now find ways to force the human element through clean, digital equipment–by making even more insane build-ups, incorporating of what’s basically glitch music in the genre, focusing even harder on structure, melody, and chants, and generally just finding some weird way around Fruity Loops and Pro Tools “sound” to get the drums bigger and badder and ready to ruin your speakers.

Maybe it’s all this Asher Roth nonsense, but white people’s contributions to hip-hop’s on the brain, which is always a weird issue. One doesn’t want to be obnoxiously revisionist or try to drum-up some sense that whitey’s role in this hip-hop shit’s more crucial than others’, but it’s just as crucial in many ways and it’s glossed-over or forgotten in Club music especially.

Partially, it’s glossed-over because well, there’s barely any Baltimore Club history that’s not been eaten-up or forgotten about by out-of-towners and relative n00bs unfortunately given the airtime or magazine space to mouth-off about its “origins” but also because the involvement of a bunch of people from the county (both black and white) and a whole bunch of white hip-hop kids onto Schooly D and Prince Paul as much as Luke and uh, Frankie Knuckles records doesn’t fit in with the “music of the ghetto” gimmick overused when it comes to discussing Club.

If media outlets paid closer attention, they’d note that the issue many had with the recent “hipster” interest in Club is not that its white people spinning and making the music and white people dancing, but that’s it’s exclusively white people. Less the involvement of white people than the absence of black people. DJ Equalizer, Scottie B, Kool Breez and Big Red (2 Whyte Kidz), DJ Excel, and lots of others were either originators or second-wavers that played a big part in the development of the music and all of them are still working today.

Not that any of those guys are receiving less credit than black Club producers, it’s more interesting as a part of the history kinda put to the side because it doesn’t jibe with how the shit’s being sold these days, much the same way the intangible influence of hip-hop on Club–and not just Booty rap but like traditionalist “four elements” type shit–is shoved to the side because it seriously starts to confuse and muddle categorical thinking that keeps regionalism and weirdo-ism at bay.

Written by Brandon

May 2nd, 2009 at 1:05 pm