Twenty-Five Years Ago

The Not-So-Dope Shit

On this date, twenty-five years ago, I released my first "rap tape" curiously titled Aegri Somnia: A Sick Man's Dreams, and in hindsight; I should have just stopped there and found a new hobby. As I write this piece, I'm playing the cassette in the background and I'm torn between cringing to death and laughing my ass off because it's so incredibly and undeniably terrible. I don't recall how many copies of this I made and passed out, but holy shit; this is the kind of thing that I should've never let anybody hear. I was fourteen at the time, and prior to this I was recording my own talk show/comedy tapes which usually consisted of me doing various voices and playing sound effects. I had a dual cassette boombox with a built in mic, and that along with a kiddie record player and a Casio MT-500 keyboard completed my very first studio installation. Although I was well into hip-hop at the time, I never fancied myself as a rapper or an emcee, let alone a DJ or a producer. If anything, and I say this very delicately, it wasn't until I started listening to the Dr. Demento Show in 1988 that I took any interest in writing rhymes and rapping, however I had no rhythm, no delivery, no sense of timing, and no concept of production outside of pressing a record button. For as terrible as this first project was, it was what set me off on this musical journey that I still travel today.

I have to wonder how different my life would be if I never made this tape or the two or three dozen that followed. Where would I be right now? Would I still possess this burning passion for sound? Would there even be an Aloha Miscreant? Regardless of all of the possible scenarios, I'm so incredibly grateful that I immersed my life in music and stayed home on Friday and Saturday nights writing wack-ass rhymes and looking for sounds to sample.

Here's to another twenty-five years of drums, synthesizers, obnoxious rhymes, scratches, guitar riffs, jam sessions, blown amps, records, turntables, cassettes, beatboxes, and everything else that makes my heart go boom!

DJ's 50 Greatest Bits Vol. 4 (circa 1991)

Wick wick wack....

Although this record was intended for scratching, to call this a battle record would be completely inappropriate as there are none of the common elements that you find with modern battle/scratch vinyl (beats, locked grooves, ahh & fresh samples, etc.). I picked this up at Uncle Sam's Records in 1991, and whereas it did have a label, it was promptly covered with the Hello/Miscreants sticker so unfortunately, I'm not sure who this was released by, but I can tell you that, even in '91, these samples were pretty dated. Nonetheless, I used this record quite frequently back in the days, and despite heavy use and gigging, it's still in pretty decent shape. Both tracks weigh in at just under five minutes with about 25 samples per side, and although the samples are pretty ancient, they do capture a moment of the time that some of us refer to as "the old school".

Personally ripped from vinyl @320kbps

(11mb via Zippyshare)

Edit: Turns out this was the fourth (and last) installment of the DJ's 50 Greatest Bits collection:

The Lost Tapes: Lawn Care Man

In today's installment of the ongoing Lost Tapes Series, we're trucking back to 1997 to a cheesy little ditty about the guys that keep our yards looking nice and trimmed. Around this time, I tried my hand at commercial/residential landscaping and after a few hot summer days, I quickly realized that it wasn't for me. Besides that sweltering heat, the guy that I worked for was a real sleazebag and tried to impress me by flirting with all of the housewifes while we were cutting their yard. Some of the women would play along for a few minutes before you could see that they were becoming genuinely uncomfortable with the conversation. Others would shoot him down immediately and leave him and his crushed ego at the door. As awkward as it was, he would do this to every female client, and suffice to say; I was never impressed. To further show his class (or complete lack thereof), if nobody was home at the house we were cutting, he and the other two guys would strip down to their drawers and hop in the pool like they owned the place. Back then, it seemed a little comical, if not a bit punky, but as a grown-up; I would be completely appalled if I saw my landscapers swimming in my pool in their underwear. Anyways, Lawn Care Man is something of an homage to those that cut the grass, pull the weeds, and hit on the wealthy wives of Broward County businessmen.

DJ Uncle Al - Mix It Up 12'' (1994)

Don't stop it, work it, shake it...Let's rock it, shake it, work it

Twenty years later, and despite the unfortunate death of DJ Uncle Al, this track still spits hot fire and will almost guarantee a packed dancefloor when played at the right venue at the right time!

Personally ripped from vinyl @ 320kbps

Mix It Up (R&B Radio Version)
Mix It Up (R&B Extended Version)
Mix It Up (Acapella Version)
Mix It Up (Miami Extended Version)
Mix It Up (DJ Version)
Mix It Up (Miami Version)

(60mb via Zippyshare)

Gershon Kingsley - Ghostly Sounds (1975)

This is the type of shit that nightmares are made of.

When I first got into scratching, I practiced almost exclusively with these dime-a-dozen Halloween/sound effect records because, despite being horribly cheesy, they always had interesting elements to work with. Over the years, I've thinned out my record collection, including most of my sound effects albums, however I held on to a few including this terrifying piece from 1975 perfectly titled; Ghostly Sounds. It's definitely not the best spooky record ever made, but the fact that it was produced by electronic music pioneer Gershon Kingsley makes it somewhat interesting. 

Personally ripped from vinyl @ 320kbps

Ghostly Sounds
The Ghosts From Outer Space

(55mb via Zippyshare)

U.T.I. - I'm Finished/Heat 12'' (1997)

Coming down on the mic, as hard as a hammer.

There were undoubtedly hundreds of thousands of drum and bass singles that were pressed in the late 90's, and what may have been a banger in your part of the world may have been totally slept on here in the South Florida, or vice versa. Most of my initial knowledge of drum and bass was by way of this cool cat named Herbie that worked at the DJ Store in Fort Lauderdale. He introduced me to some amazing shit, which introduced me to some other amazing shit, and so on and so forth. On this fine day, one of the random twelve-inches he suggested was U.T.I.'s I'm Finished, backed with Heat on the b-side. I had never heard of this track, nor the artist, but the second I previewed I'm Finished, it struck that unexplainable nerve and immediately became a mainstay in my drum and bass sets between 1998 and 1999. Old-school hip-hop heads will immediately recognize the Uptown It's My Turn sample, and in hindsight, that's probably what attracted me to this track, as well as other songs of this era that sampled classic hip-hop joints. Take a little stroll down memory lane at 320kbps and get ready to jump-up and throw down!

I'm Finished

(29mb via Zippyshare)