Song of the day: 3/7/14

Godfather Don
7 Degrees of Elevation by Godfather Don
(the big orange “Download” button is what you should press to download the song)

Nowadays, former rap nerds tend to hide their pasts. The word “backpacker” gets thrown around like a badge of shame for kids everywhere who were just that: kids. In the mid/late 90’s, the indie rap craze took off and that eventually led to the indie rap explosion of the early 2000’s , which led to it’s inevitable backlash a few years later. That’s how music works. To this day, I can guarantee that whatever genre is popular now (is it Trap? I have no clue), it will not only be scoffed at in 3 years but the people who used to champion it will play down their former love of it immensely when it comes up in conversations. Like I said, that’s how music works. I’m not pointing fingers. I’ve been there. There is so much old rap I used to worship that , if I hear now, I get embarrassed I ever knew the words to it. However, with all that said, there are always gems within each genre that never sour.
If you’re a indie rap aficionado, you’re aware of Godfather Don. He’s one of those super underground legends that just never seemed to get his shit together at the right time. In 1991, he released an album called “Hazardous” that, let’s be honest, wasn’t very good. Sure, revisionist rap fans will speak a different story cause , to them, if it’s old and rare, it’s automatically a jewel. But, fuck that. I was around when it dropped, I bought it and I bumped it. It was pretty wack. That said, you could see the talent.

A few years later, he re-emerged but this time behind the boards. He made a bunch of awesome beats on the Ultramagnetic Mc’s album “The Four horsemen” and even kicked a rhyme on there that showed some improvement.

Around that time, he started popping up regularly on the stretch and Bobbito radio show.

Not just as a guest but Bobbito would play his demo tracks with some regularity. It was then that a young me got obsessed with Godfather Don. The First track I had heard was called “Slave of NY”. It was clear he had evolved as an artist and found his voice.

Not only that, but his beats…man…his fucking beats were insane. Every week or two, Bobbito would play another demo song and I’d feverishly rush to record it off the radio. The song above, “7 Degrees of Elevation” , was my all time favorite. With it’s hazy, drugged out jazz loop over a classic drum break, Don just goes off. He certainly was a rapper who would often put the flow ahead of his lyrics (at least in a “the flow sounds tight but do the words mean anything?” kinda way) but his word association flow and run on sentences worked for me. To this day, I can’t say many people have or can rap like Don was doing in the mid-90’s.
While the songs made at that time were not available to anyone who didn’t record radio shows, he did release an amazing record with Kool Keith under the group name “The Cenobites”. This Ep is pretty much a classic to anyone who was listening to that kinda rap during that time.

After those demo’s and the Cenobites, Don had a decent run of 12” records on Hydra Records and even a full length (which, in my opinion, was not his best work)

Luckily for us nerds out there, the bulk of those old demo songs got released a decade or so later.
If you’re into this song I posted, I’d suggest tracking down his compilation “The 90’s sessions” cause it’s got tons of great stuff on it.
So, yeah, enjoy these songs but , most of all, embrace your rap nerd side. There’s no shame in it. Trust me, it could have been way worse. Imagine how Hanson fans feel?

Song of the Day 1/5/12

Slave of New York By Godfather Don
Not to sound like your grandfather but there was a time before the internet was what it is now. Back then, there were certain songs everyone was tracking down. Sort of like a golden goose everyone was trying to catch. Mostly they would be rare remix’s or demo’s that could only be found in the possession of someone like Bobitto or Kevin Beacham.
Any hip hop nerd , from that era, worth his weight in over dubbed cassette tapes was constantly seeking leads, trading tapes with strangers from other states and tuning into obscure radio shows with hopes of finding that next lost jewel. As a religious listener to the Stretch and Bobitto show , I always stayed up as late as I could thursday nights with my cassette recorder on pause waiting to catch what might be the best song I had never heard.
When I think of that era, this song jumps to mind. Not cause it’s the best song in the world (it’s a really dope song but let’s not get crazy) but cause it was always been one of those lost tracks that no one had a decent copy of. I had a shitty 4th generation copy of it I taped off the radio for years that I ran into the ground.

Flash to over a decade later and this kind of thing no longer exists. Searching for a song like this might take about 5 minutes tops through google, depending on if the links are still working. In a way, it’s okay cause it’s good music that people have every right to hear, but I do miss the time when a person had to do a little foot work to acquire something most would be too lazy to seek out.

Godfather Don is one of those rappers from that era that, if you know about him, you love him. He never released any big songs on a commercial level and his most notable work (to the public) most likely came making the beats for other rappers. To obsessive fans like myself though, this dude has classics. This is just one of them. I suggest to all nerd rap aficionado’s out there to go cop his “90’s sessions” album. I’m pretty sure it’s available on I-tunes and about half of it is incredible.

Song of the day 2/1/10


Slaves By Godfather Don and Kool Keith

One of my favorite rare Cenobites songs. I had this on a dusty 3rd generation cassette that i had re-dubbed over and over on different stop tape mixes. Stretch and Bob played it only a few times. I was very happy to see it got a release on the “Demented thoughts EP” (one leg up records) over ten years after i had originally heard it. memories…