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Archive for the ‘Scottie B’ Category

City Paper Noise: My Crew Be Unruly 2


Some of my scatter-shot thoughts on the “My Crew Be Unruly 2″ show along with some very awesome photos from Josh Sisk are up on City Paper’s Noise blog. My words or the photos (or these or these or these) though, don’t really do the event justice at all and it’s totally the sort of thing that I’d encourage any and everybody to come on down to Baltimore to check out. Seriously, if it happens next year–and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t–you can stay with me or my parents or my grandparents or some shit. Also cop the MCBU LP when it’s out in a few weeks!

“With the Artscape DJ Culture stage relegated to some Wind-Up Space shows last Friday and Saturday night-a kind of cruel and confusing shift, given that July is the one year anniversary of K-Swift’s death and club’s massive global growth over the past year-My Crew Be Unruly 2, the second edition of what better become an annual event from now until the end of time, felt even more essential. That it was even bigger and badder than last year’s, even more vital in its delightfully sloppy mixture of any and everybody, wasn’t lost on those attending. Be it it Paradox regulars or goofy kids that don’t normally set foot in the club, an unspoken “this is something special,” got passed all around and rattled between the walls of “the ‘Dox” two Fridays ago.”

Written by Brandon

July 31st, 2009 at 9:33 pm

City Paper: "Bigger Than Baltimore" (Bmore, Philly, & Jersey Club)

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So, my real big article on Club music’s different strains in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New Jersey is up over at City Paper. It’s part of the yearly “Big Music Thing” and I’m really psyched to have gotten so much space to try to figure out the “differences” between each city’s version of Club music. Thanks to Michael Byrne, City Paper’s Music Editor for thinking of me to do this and Arts Editor Bret McCabe for some crucial help on this thing. Also, Sasha Frere-Jones’ quick excoriation of each city’s Club sound was the starting point for this article.

And big thanks to all the people I interviewed, DJ Booman and Jimmy Jones, Scottie B, Emynd, DJ Sega, and DJ Tameil. Sega and Tameil even drove down to Baltimore together to talk to me which was beyond helpful. I hope I did everybody well in this thing:

“Club Music is the new hip-hop!” Philadelphia’s DJ Sega howls his mini-manifesto in Rod Lee’s Club Kingz record store in downtown Baltimore, then laughs. “I wanna get a shirt made that say that shit.” DJ Tameil, of Newark, N.J.’s Brick City Bandits, grins in agreement.

Give it a few years, maybe a generation, and Baltimore club may become the “new hip-hop.” Right now, the city’s homegrown dance music claims a Billboard-charting jam from one of its OG producers, steady interest by music fans worldwide, and burgeoning, autonomous scenes nearby. It’s called “Brick City club” in Newark, “party music” in Philadelphia. To Doo Dew Kidz vocalist Jimmy Jones, however, it’s just called club. “Keep it as ‘club,’” he says. “It don’t make sense to call it ‘Baltimore club’ or anything else. It’s club.”

Scottie B, co-founder of Unruly Records and one of the city’s most fervent club ambassadors, is wry about the name tiff. “You know when people get mad, though?” he asks. “When you brand something that’s already something and brand it something else. Tameil’s branded it through his name–he’s bigger than Brick City. [Philly] started calling it ‘party music’ because New York’s first, Philly’s second, Baltimore’s third, and you can’t go up the chain. Philly’s not gonna call anything Baltimore something.” Fair enough.”

Written by Brandon

July 15th, 2009 at 11:06 pm

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

Dance History Lesson: "I Wonder" (Scottie B Remix)

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As “spastic” or “hurried” as Baltimore Club can be, it still generally conforms to some kind of dance music structure (build-up, a breakdown, call and response, you know the deal) and it no doubt, does a whole lot within that structure (fart sounds, out of nowhere like sub-break beats, some Klaus Schulze-level of transcendent synth line) but Scottie B’s remix of Kanye West’s “I Wonder” from DJ Benzi, Kanye West, Plain Pat, George Bush, your mom, and Rue Mclanahan present The Sky High Mixtape does whatever it wants. Even someone with ears totally accustomed to Baltimore Club will have a hard time making sense of or predicting where this one’s headed.

A few moments in, that classic “Bmore club” breaks drops and proceeds to shuffle under the whole track, but those opening moments, it’s just a synth fart, clap, and Kanye’s vocals, slowed down, making room for a quick stab of drum or keyboards between Kanye’s already super-emphasized vocals. Scottie basically turns the track into Run DMC’s “It’s Like That” then gets bored, speeds up the Labi Siffre hook, slows it back down to normal speed, punctuates it with those “It’s Like That” stabs, and finally uses the “I wonder” part as a temporary typical club hook. The way he subtly shifts the Siffre sample makes it sound, if not for the deliberately slow piano of the original (“My Song”), barely even manipulated. But that piano dances all over the track–at least for the 40 seconds or so that it’s a part of the song–and Scottie’s speeding it up makes the track into some keyboard on “Piano”-setting Freestyle or pop House track production flourish.

And then, the energy halts for a clearly digitized, skipping loop of “you”–one can easily see that part of a second of the loop bouncing wavering back and forth in some sound editing program getting a little longer each time–and we’re out of the 80s of Run DMC and Freestyle signifiers and onto something newer, weirder, and crazier. The “you” sample’s smooshed into glitchy, CD skip modernism and stretched back out for one last affecting, sincere “for you…” before it finally like, truly drops.

The “you” fades into the background as a monster bridge builds up, falls out, and comes back to meet-up with Kanye’s goofball come-on of “How many ladies in the house?” lyric which here, turns into a typical DJ shout-out–Scottie makes Kanye the hype-man on his own song. The track ends with a super manipulated version of the Kanye vocal (or just some other dude saying “House”?), chanted like shouting-out the genre of music this really is, can be enough of a hook in and of itself.

Scottie probably didn’t sit down to give you a party music history lesson–and last time I over-speculated Scottie himself was nice enough to bring me back down to earth–but dude’s been doing it for a long time and it’s more like, all of these genres and sub-genres and signifiers and tricks of the trade rush around in his head when makes a track. And nonetheless, there’s a sense of time traveling here.

A mini-history itself’s contained within “It’s Like That” (which reemerged as an unfortunate but important remix by DJ Jason Nevins), those house pianos, that vocal looping, the jarring hyperspace warp into the 2000s through those obviously digital glitches, it’s everything that’s been going on since the 80s transferred through a Baltimore Club (a genre based in Miami Bass, Detroit Techno, and Chicago House) remix of a rapper that’s trying his own brand of party-rap retro-futurism lately. Time traveling too though, in the sense that Joseph mentions here (“distorting time”) which is something that electronic and especially dance music does particularly well, changing up, shifting, turning back on itself, until you don’t know if the song’s been playing for three minutes or three hours.

Written by Brandon

January 13th, 2009 at 7:11 am

M.I.A Just Want To Take Your Money: Scottie B’s ‘Paper Planes’ Remix


-‘Paper Planes’ (Scottie B Remix) off Homeland Security Remixes.

-‘Bmore Club Slam’ by Scottie B and Wale off Wale’s Mixtape About Nothing.

On her own type of cultural imperialism, M.I.A’s grabbed this and that from the Baltimore Club scene recently. Blaq Starr provided some production on ‘Kala’, has gone on tour with her, and Starr’s protégé Rye-Rye, a teenage girl from Baltimore has joined her on-stage and appears on another ‘Paper Planes’ remix. With all that in mind, it’s hard not to read Baltimore Club legend Scottie B’s remix of M.I.A’s ‘Paper Planes’ as a little contemptuous. He speeds her vocals up into an even more annoying nag or slows them down into a blurry drag, and punctuates it all with a persistent vocal chopped and reorganized to say “…why can’t you see?/M.I.A just want to take your money.”

Scottie B’s been a DJ since the late 80s, involved in Baltimore Club since its inception and still co-owns/runs ‘Unruly Records’. His style is decidedly throwback, almost all classic club-breaks and tons of House and Hip-House signifiers which he consistently finds new ways to flip and fuck around with; he’s both a hardcore protector of the scene and open-minded celebrator of out-of-town “BMore club” love. He’s bitter enough—see that shirt above—but he always goes out of his way to state that support for the music is important no matter what or where it comes from.

And so, he’s rightly jumped on the Baltimore Club remix trend, sending out remixes for hipster darlings like M.I.A, Santogold, and Wale, but sending them out as uncompromising all-out Baltimore Club jams. There’s no compromise here. Only the real thing. ‘Paper Planes’ gets the same destruction and then, rehabilitation as any other song ripe with samples would receive on its way through the Scottie B, Baltimore Club assembly line. When even people from Baltimore call Spank Rock or Diplo “Baltimore Club” and tell you how “crazy” it was when M.I.A brought out “this little black girl Rye-Rye”, this is important.

Rather than outwardly complain, Scottie takes the opportunity to do the music he’s known for more than two decades right. One of the best aspects of the remix is the way he grabs the original ‘Paper Planes’ gun-shots and uses them for rat-a-tat percussion- the way it’s used on a song like say, ‘Safe’ by KW Griff (which can be found, amongst other places, on Rod Lee ‘Vol. 5’, a nationally distributed Baltimore Club mix/album). Scottie B spins samples from ‘Paper Planes in all directions, speeding them up and slowing them down and sticking a layer a classic house kick-drum and rumbling bass under it all. Loud enough, it makes you feel kind of woozy and sorta makes the original version feel like a waste of time.

And of course, there’s those vocal edits, “all I wanna do is take your money” and “MIA just want to take your money”. It could just be Scottie B doing what he does or it’s some not-too subtle address of the London/Sri-Lankan’s questionable interest in Baltimore music and this whole half-contemptible (not totally contemptible, mind you) hipster trend that’s got everybody upset or at least, thinking.

Contrast it with ‘Bmore Club Slam’ off Wale’s new mixtape. It’s a song that Wale said he commissioned from Scottie, a symbolic connection between the DC rapper and Baltimore Clubbers. It’s not a remix so it’s a little different, but it’s interesting that Wale’s basically allowed to run circles around Scottie’s beat and do whatever he wants

Written by Brandon

June 5th, 2008 at 9:46 pm