I wanted badly to have the instrumental track of Pharoahe Monch's "Simon Says" featured in a playlist that I've put together for an upcoming project. As monstrous as the vocal version of this rap track is, the instrumental–much to my surprise–was somewhat on the...repetitive side. If I was gonna use it, the track was gonna need some variations in its sound. So, I imported the track into Garage Band™, grabbed all of my Godzilla and related Toho film soundtracks, and worked a wee bit of magic; my first proper remix, made especially for hip-hop and kaiju film soundtrack lovers like me (and you).
I'm certain that I'm not the only one who's still sad about the passing of Prince. I wanted to post one of his videos, but I elected to go another route: the very fitting and fantastic hit cover of "I Feel For You" by his dear friend Chaka Khan, posted here with Prince Rogers Nelson firmly mind. Still so hard to believe he's gone.
Um, no. #LateAprilFool's #youvebeenpunked #sorry #hahaha
Despite being a big fan of Marvel's Blade films – the first two – (as mentioned here) I was never sure that I'd make an actual Blade piece for my Marvel Blaxploitation series. As inspiration would have it, though, a vague poster concept hit from out the blue yesterday afternoon, and this morning I have a finished piece that I like quite a bit.
Can't wait to see what it looks like on paper.
Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers, one of the stars of the 1984 cult hit Breakin', has never received the recognition he deserves for a great number of things, among them being credit for actually being the man who taught Michael Jackson to moonwalk. In addition to that fairly seismic slight, Chambers also never really got the credit he deserved for being a major style icon for kids across the planet in the 1980s. But his pop art Godzilla muscle shirt, Banzai headband, camouflage khakis, and white Nike high-tops set a trailblazing fashion trend for many others to follow. In addition to his mind-blowing dance moves on screen in Breakin', it was his very unique sense of style, coupled with serious skinny kid swag, that left a deep impression whose echoes still reverberate in the present. And if there's any justice in the world, somebody (me) will attempt to right at least one of the great wrongs of pop culture history, and post to their blog a retrospective tribute to the cross-cultural fashion sense in 1984 of the legendary Boogaloo Shrimp.
Did this post get you hyped up for more? Well, click here to learn how Boogaloo Shrimp met and mentored MJ, the reasons why he has a ton of fans in Asia, and much more in a very revealing 2008 interview.
Remarkably, despite its assumed importance in hip-hop culture, not very many record covers from hip-hop's golden age featured graffiti art. Those that did, though, offered fans of this art form living beyond New York's five boroughs some jaw-dropping glimpses into the amazing aerosol and pen & ink art being committed to the pages of black books, and to the surfaces of trains and walls during the early days of hip-hop. Ranked here for your perusing pleasure are 10 of the freshest and flyest and dopest and illest examples of "graff" on record covers.
10. Sleeping Bag Records' Greatest Mixers Collection (LP)
Cover art by Gnome & Gemini/Gem7, 1985
09. Rock Steady Crew - Uprock (12" Single)
Cover art by Doze, 1984
08. B-Girls Live And Kickin' (LP)
Cover art by Akiem Irish, 1987
07. Rap's New Generation (LP)
Cover art by David Sims (Dawud Anyabwile), 1988
06. Mantronix - Needle to the Groove (12" Single)
Cover art by Gnome & Gemini/Gem7, 1985
05. Just-Ice - Back to the Old School (LP)
Cover art by Gnome & Gemini/Gem7, 1986
04. Kickin' Live Productions - The Brothers (12" Single)
Cover art by Akiem Irish, 1987
03. Jellybean - Wotupski!?! (LP)
Cover art by Seen, 1984
02. Wild Style Original Soundtrack (LP)
Cover art by Zephyr, Revolt & Sharp, 1983
01. Rammellzee vs. K-Rob - Beat Bop (12" Single)
Cover art by Jean Michel Basquiat aka SAMO, 1983
Finding yourself disagreeing with the order of these rankings? Some classical-leaning graffiti heads will probably balk at my pick for the #1 spot. Puh-leeze do feel free, though, to post your thoughts in the comments box and let St. Paco know how you would have ranked these classics. Or feel free to drop a line simply stating that this is really just the illest list ever (because it really, really is). Haha.
By Paco D. Taylor
It's pretty astounding to think that the violent, sexy, and sexually violent Parasite Dolls OVA (original video anime) was released way back in 2003. What's astounding about it? Well, for 13 astounding years now, fans of Kazushi Miyakoda's electronica-powered soundtrack for this anime have been left pretty much in the dark regarding the identity of the vocalist whose soulful, high-octane soprano is heard on "Get On the Beat," the anime's pulsating opening theme, and "Off," its brooding closing song.
That's right, for 13 astounding years.
But then, we should factor in the big, fat, relevant fact that J-pop recording artist Crystal Kay (born 1986) was just a sweet, 16-year-old girl when the very mature-themed Parasite Dolls was released. Easy logic suggests that it was for a calculated reason – possibly a scandal dodging one – that the then-high school student's name was withheld from the anime's closing credits and substituted with a curiosity sparking question mark.
The same pseudo-pseudonym was also used in place of a vocalist credit on the liner notes and packaging for the Parasite Dolls soundtrack, as well as on the CD single release for "Get On the Beat." And because of that, from the time of their release in 2003 up to the present, fans of the two tracks that boast Kay's quite distinctive vocal talents have somehow remained pretty clueless.
Another factor in the confusion, though, is the name Michaelson that appears in the closing credits after the perplexing question mark. One of the main characters in the three-episode anime is Sergeant Reiko Michaelson, a tough as nails detective on the A.D. Police force. But hers is not really the name of the singer featured on "Get On the Beat" and "Off." Nonetheless, on Last.FM, YouTube and other streaming media outposts, the two-dimensional cartoon character still gets credit for vocal performances by the living and breathing Crystal Kay.
When Parasite Dolls was released in 2003, the R&B and J-pop singer had two moderately successful albums notched on her belt. Both were released by Kay’s longtime label Epic Records, the very label that licensed "Get On the Beat" and "Off" to the Parasite Dolls soundtrack. That same year in Japan, Kay charted her first hit album with Almost Seventeen, but it would still be a few more years before her chart topping reach extended to the eardrums of J-pop fans outside Japan. Perhaps another factor that contributed to the astounding lack of recognition of her vocals on the Parasite Dolls soundtrack.
As was apparent at the time, the OVA that inspired Kazushi Miyakoda's compositions, including those with Kay, were not intended for the 'Fullmetal Alchemist' generation. But today, seeing as how this very mature J-pop star is now 'Almost Thirty', it's time to clue in the CK fans about these hidden gems in Crystal Kay's discography. J-pop music bloggers may also want to consider including the "Get On the Beat/Off" CD single as a soundtrack-related addendum to their CK music lists. But maybe after treating themselves to repeat listens first.
My Cooley High/blaxploitation-infused article "Godzilla vs. Pooter: A Tribute to American International Pictures" was featured in issue #110 of G-Fan magazine (which boasts a gorgeous cover painting by artist Bob Eggleton). If you're lucky, you may still be able to snag a minty fresh copy from your local comic book shop. If not, the ever reliable Oldies.com still has 'em in stock. Updated: You can also order your copy direct from the publisher who, amazingly, offers cheaper shipping rates than Oldies.com–even with it comin' from Canada.