Posts Tagged ‘leaders of the new school’

510 Studios: The Terrordome That Inspired A Nation Of Millions

Friday, July 5th, 2013


Listening to Roc Marciano’s recent appearance on the Combat Jack Show, I was pleasantly surprised to hear mention of the legendary 510 Studios, a Hempstead, Long Island-based recording space that was founded by Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Hank Shocklee and frequented during its day by such hip-hop luminaries as Leaders of the New School and Mobb Deep, as well as several other local artists, including Son of Bazerk, Sugar Bear, Kings of Pressure and Underground Brigade. Apparently, during this time Roc would also hang out there recording demos. I’d heard the place’s name brought up in interviews before, but after this latest reference, I decided to dig a little deeper. I was further surprised to see that despite the prestige of its founders and clientele, the studio is almost totally forgotten online. The only substantial source I could find on its history is the video below, a trailer for an “upcoming documentary” directed by Earl Holder, CEO of Peripheral Enterprises and the man behind Synthetic Substitution: The Life Story Of Melvin Bliss — not to be confused with Earle Holder, chief mastering engineer for Public Enemy and owner of Atlanta-based HDQTRZ Master Studios.

Seeing that the video was uploaded back in October 2010 and that the film still isn’t listed on IMDB (or mentioned anywhere else on the web for that matter), I wondered if it had ever been released or even finished. So I contacted Earl, who was kind enough to inform me that he had indeed “completed the documentary in April of this year, just before Public Enemy got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” All he’s waiting on now is a score, hopefully to be provided by Bomb Squad producers Eric Sadler and Paul “Omari” Shabazz. When a release date is set, we at TROY will surely be among the first to let you know, but until then the best we can do is enjoy the trailer and continue to ensure that 510 Studios’ legacy is preserved through our appreciation for the music that was created there.

One last note: though the studios have long since closed, the building itself remains standing. As a matter of fact, I work not far from there. The picture up top was taken during my lunch break.

-Samuel Diamond

Live Performance Videos Pt. 1

Friday, September 17th, 2010
“One of the great things about rap groups that were actually signed to major or semi-major labels is that they were occasionally given a chance to prove themselves as live artists”.
Well that is a quoted sentence our former blogger Thun wrote in the thread made by himself on T.R.O.Y. forum, reminding us of how great these live act are.
Thanks to konaube, tomekelu and especially one big thanks to Edy K for ripping and sharing that awesome yo mtv raps material!

DJ Skipmode & The Illvibe Collective “The Best Of The Native Tongues Mixtape v1”

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

If I had any DJing abilities, this is exactly the kind of mix I’d love to make. But since I don’t, may I present to you… DJ Skipmode & The Illvibe Collective “The Best Of The Native Tongues Mixtape v1.” It’s a perfect mix from beginning to end, covering all the bases from the Native Tongues posse. The mix was labeled as 2004, but I can’t find any information about it. If you know anything about this one, please leave me a comment. And if you like to make a donation to DJ Skipmode (and get a free cd) hit him up HERE. Or if you’re in the Philly area and want to connect with The Illvibe Collective, go HERE.

Here is a brief bio about The Illvibe Collective, taken from their blog:
“Since its founding in 2000, ILLVIBE COLLECTIVE has been solidifying its eminence as Philadelphias most prolific, well-respected DJ crew. An amalgam of partyrockers and turntablists extraordinaire whose combined experience totals over a half-century, this five-man family, comprised of Statik, Panek, Phillee Blunt, Lil Dave and Skipmode, has been making an indelible mark on the Illadelph music scene, both individually and as a team. Pick your poison: dance floors, mix tapes or radio airwaves, and its guaranteed that ILLVIBE COLLECTIVE will rock em well — with their loyal, worldwide following as co-signers.”

01 Queen Latifah-Mama Gave Birth To The Soul Children

02 Queen Latifah-Dance For ME
03 Monie Love-Monie In The Middle
04 Leaders Of The New School-International Zone Coaster
05 De La Soul-A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays
06 NERD-She Wants To Move (Native Tongues Remix)
07 Jungle Brothers-I’ll House You
08 Queen Latifah-Come Into My House
09 Dee Lite-Groove Is In The Heart
10 A Tribe Called Quest-Sucka Nigga
11 Common-Stolen Moments 3
12 De La Soul-Stakes Is High
13 Da Bush Babees-We Run Things
14 A Tribe Called Quest-Electric Relaxation (Remix)
15 Jungle Brothers feat. Q-Tip-On The Road (Remix)
16 Black Sheep-Have You U N E Pull (Remix)
17 Leaders Of The New School-What’s Next (Remix)
18 De La Soul-En Focus
19 A Tribe Called Quest-Steve Biko
20 Jungle Brothers-How You Want It We Got It
21 Black Sheep-Gimme Tha Finga
22 A Tribe Called Quest-Everything Is Fair
23 Common-Soul By The Pound
24 De La Soul feat. ATCQ, Queen Latifah & Monie Love-Buddy (Native Tongue Decision)
25 Leaders Of The New School-Case Of The PTA
26 Monie Love-It’s A Shame
27 De La Soul-I Am I Be
28 A Tribe Called Quest-Push It Along
29 Queen Latifah-Wrath Of My Madness
30 De La Soul-Afro Connections At A Hi 5
31 A Tribe Called Quest-Buggin’ Out
32 Busta Rhymes feat. Q-Tip-The Illvibe (Skipmode Remix)
33 De La Soul-Area
34 Jungle Brothers-Straight Out The Jungle
35 De La Soul feat. Jeff-Macdaddy On The Left
36 DJ Skipmode & The Illvibe Collective-Skit 5


Rap All Stars – Freestyle Live @ Yo! MTV Raps (Spring Break 1992)

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Live Music: Brand New Heavies

Vocals: Dinco D, B-Real, Salt, Dres, Treach, Phife Dawg, Ed Lover, Busta Rhymes, & Q-Tip (Native Tongues)

Download MP3 (Exclusively @ T.R.O.Y.)

Fun Trivia: Greg Nice can been seen with a Grayson & Jasun “Get Bizzy” T-Shirt.


— Thomas V

Say What, Say What? Dante Ross

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Note: Say What, Say What? is a new feature here at T.R.O.Y., where we will take notable net-savvy hip-hoppers to task for their brazen statements and/or WTF moments. We don’t dis nobody to be somebody, we just like to spark debates to keep the readers chatting.

Philaflava: Alright, check this shit out, T.R.O.Y. readers. Dante Ross, A&R extraordinaire and one third of the production team Stimulated Dummies recently did an interview with the homey Robbie at Unkut, which by the way I suggest you check out if you haven’t already.

Thun: It’s a great three-part interview, as is par for the course at Unkut. Dante The Scrub (sweating profusely) is one of hip-hop’s greatest internet interview subjects. His anecdotes are hilarious and he’s not afraid to mix it up with former members of Hard 2 Obtain in the comments sections of interviews that mention his name only minutes after his Blackberry receives the Google alert notification. More importantly, judging by this picture he is either channeling Copywrite or finally staking his claim to being the undisputed father of Scott Storch’s distinctive brand of d-bag swagger.

Philaflava: One of his responses in this interview kinda threw me a bit because if I’m reading this right Dante actually thinks T.I.M.E. is bad record. Now, I don’t know about him, but most of the hip-hop world out there considers this to be the best L.O.N.S. album and many even label it a classic. How on earth could he possibly think this was bad? Say what, say what?

Thun: Let the record show that the man behind Everlast’s enduring reign on Billboard had the following to say about the album that had “Spontaneous” and “A Quarter To Cutthroat”:

So what happened there? I thought the brass as Elektra pulled Busta aside and said, ‘We’re gonna make you a solo artist.’

That never happened, that’s all bullshit. Let me tell you what happened, ‘cos I was there. When Leaders of the New School turned in their second album it was bad – from me to you, it wasn’t a good record. I tried to change the record, make it better. They went back in the studio, had to do it again … when we went to make the second Leaders of the New School record I had Q-Tip ready to help me make the whole record with them, like the way he did for Mobb Deep’s album. None of them dude’s were with it except Bus … I’m gonna be honest with you, making that record – when they turned it in the first time, and I knew it was wack and I sent back in … I knew the record was bad, that when they turned it in the second time I couldn’t make it no better – they would not let me.”

Philaflava: We’re not done yet folks. A while back Dante said something similar about another album, it was Del’s No Need For Alarm. I’ll put my personal opinion aside because I am one of those who actually consider this a classic, but surely there can’t be any Del fans out there who dislike this album. Dante you truly believe both these albums were weak? Say what, say what?

Thun: He also once claimed that he hated the drums on K.M.D.’s first record, but lo and behold the brothers Dumile weren’t trying to hear his input. He kinda sorta has a point, because the drums are hardly the strongest aspect of the record. But are we to blindly accept that any record untouched by Dante is somehow less of a classic than it could have been with more of his knob fiddling? No Need For Alarm, Mr. Hood, T.I.M.E. – these may be records with flaws, but are they garbage? Really? According to what rubric? Is the technician’s nitpicking really relevant to the fan’s taste? Is hip hop reducible to studio algorithms?

Philaflava: I’m asking the readers of T.R.O.Y. to lend your thoughts and for the man himself, Dante Ross to respond. Let’s just hope he was misquoted.

ADDED: There’s a poll in the sidebar. Vote.

Tri-Pack Wafer: Abstract Tribe Unique, Leaders Of The New School, Yaaggfu Front

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
I hope one of his peoples could hook him up with a tri-pack/ That’s three different flavors/ Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry wafers” — MF Doom, “Kookies”
Abstract Tribe Unique, Leaders Of The New School, and Yaggfu Front Look Towards The Future
When I listen to Yaggu Front‘s “Future Shock,” I am reminded of Bruce McCall‘s irreverent and visually arresting presentation from May 2008 titled “Nostalgia for a future that never happened.” In this talk (embedded below) the sardonic illustrator and author (known primarily for his many well-received New Yorker covers) discusses his revulsion/fascination with commercial art from the mid-twentieth century that forecasts the arrival of a post-WWII high-tech utopia. You know, hilariously innaccurate and vaguely disturbing visions of flying cars, silver jumpsuits, and robot maids by ’87 at the latest. McCall skewers his own source materials by redrawing them in a manner that mocks their naive hubris, implicit jingoism, and subtle creepiness while celebrating their imaginative beauty.

Whether by design or accident, Yaggfu’s “Future Shock” also makes me laugh. The deceptively simple, sarcastic lyrics successfully contrast hokey visions of futuristic bliss with the massively disappointing, increasingly hectic realities of modernity. The emcees pull this off so well in fact that I feel emboldened enough to violate the rules of valid criticism. For this review, I am embracing the fallacious yet attractive notion that in any given rap song, sample usage can be regarded as an ideologically-driven decision that mirrors the messages found in the lyrics.

Yaggfu Front – Future Shock
I want to believe. C’mon, the twinkling pianos, the unusually warm and fuzzy orchestral horns – this has to be an intentional, mock Twilight Zone-ish ironic commentary on white-dominated retro-future aesthetics, right? With a few knowing jabs at mid-’80s rap culture and its distinct brand of robotic groupthink and unapologetic fetishism of the latest cars and couture thrown in for balance? The Puma tracksuit as space attire? The 808 as automaton musician? No?

Ok, maybe I’m reaching. But the one discernible message of “Future Shock” I am certain is not a product of wishful thinking is the idea that the heralded future (actually, the present) is still an uncertain, unkind place for the poor and unlucky. For many, this does not constitute a profound revelation. But if Yaggfu are, on some level, poking fun at the upbeat prognostication of The Jetsons by positing wonders like online billing and laser eye surgery as vicious signifiers of perpetual inequity, the song can be viewed as poignant as well. Even more so when race is considered; the post WWII technocratic wonderlands of magical highways and sprawling, mechanized exurbs were not meant to include minorities. Robert Moses was pretty adamant about that.
Afro-Futurists admire artists like Deltron, Dr. Octagon, and Andre 3000 for their neo Parliament-Funkadelic extravagance. Their spacey, scatalogical vaunts and costumed antics are interpreted as signifiers of a forward-thinking movement in the direction of transcendent liberation. The mind-forged manacles and alienation that are the legacy of slavery are figuratively broken by the embrace of the type of technological ingenuity that fueled the careers of Lee “Scratch” Perry and Afrika Bambataa, among others. These are compelling concepts and we should not dismiss these artists as mere daydreamers, but rap’s exploration of the future is hardly limited to artless garish solo artist indulgence in cosmic tropes with little to no discretion.
Leaders Of The New School – The End Is Near
Like Yaggfu Front, Leaders Of The New School and Abstract Tribe Unique view the future as a mixed bag at best, with most of the spoils going to the same undeserving heirs who seem to maintain an indefinite stranglehold on wealth. On “The End Is Near” the four future-conscious Public Enemy disciples from the rougher side of Robert Moses’ Long Island futureworld impress with a dizzying display of vocal styles. While the normally boisterous Yaggfu Front calmly recite their lines to describe nanotech drudgery, the Leaders are besides themselves with pre-millenial tension. Dinco D spits out non-sequiters just like Uniblab while Charlie Brown is damned near hysterical, carrying on about a coming apocalypse. Busta is surprisingly the voice of reason in this instance. His style on “The End Is Near” (click here for demo version plus other LONS gems) is frenetic even for him but he delivers a sober meditation on the issues of artistic integrity facing the hip hop genre as it morphs into a full-fledged power industry.
Abstract Tribe Unique – Torn
This is also the main topic of Abstract Tribe Unique’s “Torn.” “Torn” sounds like urgent panic; the hi/low-tech, dusty-but-digital organ sample jettisons Abstract Rude’s robust preacherly style towards the firmament. But Abstract Rude’s presentation is ultimately very down-to-earth despite his penchant for mystical medicine show theatrics. “Torn” tackles the subject of the future with skill and gracel Abstract rude examines the arrival of the new generation of rappers reared on information overload and bemoans the glacial pace of progress but retains a sense of hope for the dawn of a new consciousness. Flying cars or not. — Thun

L.O.N.S. And The Crisis Of Time, Part 1

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

“Too Much On Mind”
“Just When You Thought It Was Safe”
“Teachers, Don’t Teach Us Nonsense”
“Where Do We Go From Here”
In the past critics have reduced L.O.N.S.’s debut A Future Without A Past (Elektra, 1991) to the sum of Charlie Brown’s shrieks, Busta’s growls, and Dinco’s non-sequiters. But are their exuberant Cold-Crush-like deliveries, which admittedly sustain a jovial mood, consistently matched with a carefree tone? Does showmanship soften the urgency of their message? Years later, I find it difficult to listen to Future and hear only frivolity. While some songs (“Feminine Fatt” springs to mind) celebrate youthful caprice, many defy this trend, even as raucous choruses and ad-libs give way to hilarity.
On Future, the interplay between song structure, vocal styling, and lyrical content is enticingly complex. “Case of the P.T.A.” and “The International Zone Coaster” present the what of delinquency and truancy and mostly leave it at that. Yet the similarly rambunctious “Teachers, Don’t Teach Us Nonsense,” hints at the why behind rebellion. Namely, a festering resentment for miseducation coupled with a tangible anxiety for a future of rapidly disintegrating options.
But let’s backtrack. The who and where are also important.
The group’s families all emigrated from NYC to Long Island’s “Black Belt.” They settled in the hamlet of Uniondale where low-rise, single family dwellings rest on tree-lined streets. By many accounts, however, the Black Belt’s idyll was quickly marred by soaring living expenses, declining wages, an influx of lower-income residents, white flight, housing segregation, and a gradual decline in the quality of government services, particularly in the area of education. While Busta credits the relative ease of life in this town as a catalyst for creativity and ambition the stage was set for the Leaders to address issues of concern to the larger black collectve.
Luckily, L.O.N.S. rested one town away from Public Enemy. After honing dance and rap routines in the schoolyard at their junior high school they became the unofficial studio apprentices of The Bomb Squad‘s Eric “Vietnam” Sadler. They sat in on sessions at the “Spectrum City” studio in neighboring Hempstead, learning recording and production techniques and receiving a strict but caring education in conceptualizing and structuring songs. The grueling in-studio baptism of fire that Busta recounts fondly as a formative experience may have included instruction in black power ideologies, or even just the incorporation of protest into music.
I feel such speculation is safe because the structure of their early music reflects an ethos of unity and progression. During their 1993 interview on British radio show “Max N’ Dave,” their vocal synchronicity (which they demonstrate on-air in the course of unscripted conversation) is explicitly linked to a program of communal uplift. Just as they were mentored and constructively critiqued by PE, they consciously viewed their ascent in the music industry as a means to provide mentorship and employment to their fellow Uniondale brethren.
Their commitment to this ethos is evident in their frequent inclusion of Geranimo (later of Rumpletilskinz fame) in early press appearances and performances but also throughout the lyrics of their first album. On “Too Much On My Mind” Charlie Brown laments “minimum wage in the age of the future” while Dinco D relates that $99.95 will not buy “fresh.” These grievances point to the looming possibility of downward mobility, a figurative castration for the children of hard-working immigrants. Such inner-ring suburban concerns are not petty. On “Teachers, Don’t Teach Us Nonsene” they rage against an educational system that fails to prepare them for a 21st century where retail employment will not cover one’s daily needs.
A Future Without A Past is the story of a collective, a culture, and a rap group struggling for recognition and inclusion while resisting assimilation as time advances unabated.“Transformers” insists that the failure to increase future earning potential through the pursuit of unerring perfection leaves one susceptible to peer pressure. “Just When You Thought You Were Safe” is a stern warning that real dangers are already steadily encroaching on their Long Island bubble, while “Where Do We Go From Here” see L.O.N.S. plotting the next steps to ensure longevity in a crassly profit-obsessed industry. The long-term effectiveness of the L.O.N.S. credo is questionable given the group’s dissolution but the attempt to incorporate it into the music is apparent even where shouting and silly noises dominate.

Leaders Of The New School – Non-Album Tracks

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Leaders Of The New School – Non-Album Tracks Volume 1
1. International Zone Coaster (SD50s Remix)
2. Case Of The PTA (Remix)
3. Sobb Story (Remix)
4. Mt. Airy Groove
5. Scenario
6. Scenario (Remix)
7. Scenario (7 MCs Mix)
8. Scenario (Young Nation Mix)
9. Scenario Demo #1
10. Scenario Demo #2
11. Rub Off The Wax w/ Powerule

Leaders Of The New School – Non-Album Tracks Volume 2
1. Can’t Get Any Harder w/ James Brown
2. Shining Star
3. What’s Next (Large Professor Remix)
4. Classic Material (Diamond D Remix)
5. Spontaneous (Remix)
6. Bass Is Loaded (Live)
7. L.O.N.S. Promo (Interview)
8. East Coast Stomp Fever (Interview)
9. Beatbox Session
10. Freestyle w/ Kurious Jorge
11. Scenario Juggle (DJ Eclipse)


International Zone Coaster (SD50s Remix)

Mt. Airy Groove

Can’t Get Any Harder

Shining Star

Beatbox Session

–Roy Johnson

Fifty Remixes You Need To Hear (1-10)

Monday, January 5th, 2009

This is a RAP NERD VOLTRON in full effect, duns amd dun-ettes. The entire T.R.O.Y. regular staff (Admiral, Blockhead, Philaflava, Roy Johnson, Schenactady Fan, Thun, ThomasV, Verge) put our heads together to come up with a list of Fifty Remixes that YOU need to hear as soon as humanly possible! Take note that this is not a list of the “best” remixes ever (though many are contenders) or even our very “favorites,” (though some qualify) but simply a list of fifty great remixes (interpreted somewhat loosely to include songs that are essentially remakes or sequels) that we think you’ll enjoy. We tried to leave out extremely obvious picks (“Scenario” 7 MCs Remix, “I Got’Cha Opin”, and the like) but we also kept the list fairly accessible and mostly confined to crews that were signed and put out actual albums. We’ll be bringing you ten picks every morning this week, so join the T.R.O.Y. Movement and spread the word via Twitter, Facebook, Digg, the message boards and blogs you frequent, text messages, and what have you. Enjoy, and be sure to leave some (hopefully not hateful) feedback.
1. Eric B. & Rakim “Microphone Fiend” (45 King Remix)

2. Leaders Of The New School “International Zone Coaster” (SD50s Remix)

This one is a pure adrenaline rush, and it’s easily one of our favorite L.O.N.S. tracks. Produced by Dante Ross of the SD50s.
3. Slick Rick “It’s A Boy” (Large Pro Remix)

Quite possibly the dopest remix that the Large Professor has ever produced, and that’s saying something. Extra P utilized an incredible Cal Tjader sample for this one. Check out out 2CD set of Cal Tjader samples.

4. Artifacts “Ultimate” (Showbiz Remix)

5. De La Soul “Breakadawn” (De La Remix)

A slammin’ remix that doesn’t get mentioned too often. While it’s hard to outdo the original, this one definitely comes close. That “Dawn Brings Smoke” beat is outstanding.
6. 3rd Bass “Product Of The Environment” (Marley Marl Remix)

7. Organized Konfusion “Stress” (Extra P Remix)

8. Das Efx “Microphone Master” (Domecracker Remix)

9. Da King & I “Tears” (Darp Vibe)

10. MOP “Rugged Neva Smoove” (Premier Remix)

Here are all 10 of them in one file:

Tune in tomorrow morning for selections 11-20.

Double Down

Monday, October 20th, 2008

On T.R.O.Y. you’re going to see an abundance of mixes. All of which should be downloaded so do yourself a favor and cop an external hard drive because we haven’t even got started yet.

All the contributors have been lacing you daily and I realize it can get overwhelming, but I promise you there is nothing worse than when you realize you should have downloaded something to only find an expired link. I’m debuting my first personal mix for the blog today. I’m not sure how frequent these mixes will be but I promise you when they’re posted they’ll be carefully sequence and contain some of the highest quality (CDQ) around. Each mix will contain 11 tracks that I hope will be your soundtrack while you’re on the iron horse, on the way home from work or parlayin’ at home.

Download, burn or throw ’em into your iPOD but more importantly enjoy them!


Double Down Vol. 1

01. Finsta Bundy – So Much On My Mind
02. Hard 2 Obtain – Local Hero
03. Kurious – Baby Bust It feat. M.F. Grimm
04. Ak Skils – Check Da Flava
05. Ground Floor – Dig On That feat. Lord Finesse
06. Pudgee Tha Phat Bastard – Doin’ M.C.’s Sumn Terrible feat. F.M. & Snaggletooth
07. Trends of Culture – Old Habits
08. Brand Nubian – Steal Ya Ho (Remix)
09. KMD – Sounded Like A Roc
10. Pete Nice & Daddy Rich – Kick The Bobo (Beatnuts Remix)
11. Leaders of The New School – Spontaneous (Remix) feat. Rumpletilskinz

And if you ask why the name Double Down, well…