Mental Combat 908
Monday, 12 May 2008
Now you have to understand that prior to the immediacy of the internet age, going to your specialist record store was a big deal. It was the only place that you could hear new music before anyone else. Long before message boards and net forums took over. So anyway, I remember the time when this EP came out the box, was placed on the turntable and we all had a listen to it. All 10 copies sold by the time the 11 minute-long song was up. It was just one of those tracks that made you fascinated. So what was the deal- Well it was a story about Siah, Yeshua and Ken Boogaloo taking a journey through some fantastical world, but not only were the lyrics descriptive and engaging, the beat kept changing to suit the new environment they were venturing through. Naturally the original vinyl is now worth a bit, with popsike.com registering the highest sale as $163USD. Well now kids there’s method to the madness and I’m pleased to announce that the EP plus about 14 other tracks culled from other 12 Inch singles, demos and radio appearances have now all been collected for The Visualz Anthology (Traffik/Shogun). And what a solid effort they’ve gone to with this release. There’s a 24-page booklet of the duo’s history to scan through while you enjoy the music. One of the best re-issues of the year. I can’t believe it’s been 12 years since I snapped up the original vinyl.
If you grew up in the 80s listening to this music you would instantly nod with approval if the name Rakim was mentioned. Without doubt he was one of the most formidable MCs to have touch a mic. He wrote memorable line after line and some of his early songs like Eric B S President, Paid In Full and Follow The Leader were entirely quotable and became classic tracks no matter where you went in the world. After he left Eric B’s partnership he dropped a solo album many years later in 1997 The 18th Letter then The Master in 1999 but then he kind of disappeared. Dr Dre signed him to Aftermath then dropped him and even DJ Premier said he wanted to do an album for him, but that never happened. Then in 2006 he did a pro-graffiti track with Talib Kweli for Marc Ecko’s video game Getting Up and a year later a track for Nike’s Air Force One sneaker. His third solo album The Seventh Seal is due later this year after a nine-year gap and fingers crossed it’ll be worth it. In the meantime there’s a new double disc release The Archive: Live, Lost & Found (Streetcore/Shogun) that includes four new tracks, plus 18 tracks taken from a live show at B.B. King’s Blues Club in New York, on 25 November, 2006. The second disc is a DVD that is basically a well edited and professionally shot visual version of the concert tracks. Just wish that his DJ would’ve shut his gob during the show. Annoying and incessant.