The spiritual successors of the Wu-Tang Sword Style…

Bandcamp does a drop on the new breed of Wu-inspired emcees. Here are a couple you might’ve heard on one of my monthly mixes…

Supreme Cerebral

Prior to his rise an MC, Supreme Cerebral was a talented college football player with dreams of an NFL contract. But after an injury put an end to his pigskin aspirations, he decided to pursue music. The New York-born, Cali-raised artist has adopted both Ghostface’s cadence and his fondness for abstract imagery, as well as the poetic license of Raekwon—which makes sense; when asked what Wu album impacted him most, he states, “It’s a toss-up between Supreme Clientele and Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.” His track with Ralphiie Reese and Eloh Kush titled “All” is the perfect showcase for that reverence. When Cerebral spits, “Venomous dialect / The Wallys is violet / Acquired the flyest / Suede Bali the side shit / Battle designers / Paid thousands of dollars / Rambling nonsense / Now they channel our concepts / Conscious context,” he both shows respect to the Wu in his freewheeling imagery, and knowledge of their tropes with his reference to Wallabees. He even closes the verse by claiming the trio are the “Wu revision.”

Eloh Kush

Eloh Kush grew up in a hip-hop family. His older brothers John Robinson (aka Lil Sci) and ID4Windz made up two-thirds of the late 1990s rap trio Scienz of Life. The group’s involvement in Dr. Malachi “Dwight” York’s Nuwaubian Nation—a religious group incorporating Islam, Kemetism, Judaism, and Native American belief systems—clearly rubbed off on the MC; his songs reference teachings from the ancient Egyptians and Hebrews, amont other esoteric topics. As he puts it, “I was taught to seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave, so I travel through many schools of thought.”

The New Brunswick, New Jersey MC—or “versifier,” as he likes to call himself—started out rapping in a crew known as Angelz Inc. more than a decade ago, but he’s mainly focused on solo material for the last few years. Kush is on the verge of dropping a collaborative project with the Supreme Cerebral titled Clarks Connoisseurs, referring to the footwear Raekwon and Ghostface popularized on Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. It’s an homage to Wu-Tang’s dynamic duo by some of the sharpest swordsmen in the game today.

Wu Tang Clan Vs. ATCQ – A Clan Called Wu

A couple of classic albums that just recently celebrated their 25 year anniversaries gets the blends treatment by DJ Filthy Rich…

November 9, 1993 will forever go down as one of the greatest days in hip hop history. Two of the genre’s most revered albums dropped on the same day: Wu-Tang Clan’s debut ‘Enter The 36 Chambers’, & A Tribe Called Quest’s third LP ‘Midnight Marauders’. I remember riding my bike to the mall, with money I had earned from my after-school job. I had anticipated this day for awhile, and saved up in advance to pick up both CD’s (at that age $40 felt like $500). For the months that followed, both albums fought for playing time on my single-disc CD player. One moment, I was transported to the boulevard of Linden, and the next to the rugged streets of Shaolin. Those albums stayed in my rotation forever (literally).

To mark the 25th anniversary of both LP’s, I thought it might be a good idea to try and take the vocals from Wu-Tang’s album, and blend them over the instrumentals from Midnight Marauders. I wasn’t sure it would work at first, but as is usually the case, inspiration hit at midnight when I was trying to sleep (the coincidence of the timing is not lost on me). A couple of hours later, I managed to pair up every single Wu-Tang vocal with a suitable beat from MM.

The intent was not to improve on the originals in any way….that would be impossible, as I consider them both to be perfect bodies of work. Rather, it was about orchestrating a fun concept, and putting a totally new spin on these well-worn classics. The contrast of Wu’s gritty street raps over Tribe’s jazzy production works in a pleasantly unexpected way. Now, I present to you my personal tribute to these legendary groups: A Clan Called Wu “Enter The Marauders”. -DJ Filthy Rich

“And he disrespected the Wu Tang Clan”…

Part of the Martin Shkreli juror transcripts. Some funny stuff in here…

The Court: Juror Number 59, come on up.

Juror No. 59: Your Honor, totally he is guilty and in no way can I let him slide out of anything because —

The Court: Okay. Is that your attitude toward anyone charged with a crime who has not been proven guilty?

Juror No. 59: It’s my attitude toward his entire demeanor, what he has done to people.

The Court: All right. We are going to excuse you, sir.

Juror No. 59: And he disrespected the Wu-Tang Clan.

“In the studio the night that Raekwon and Inspectah Deck dropped they verses for “C.R.E.A.M.” it was just that feeling of, ‘I don’t think they understand what they just did.’ The next day on the boat, I saw Raekwon early in the morning and told him, ‘You understand you just made a classic last night, right?’ He laughed at me, but I just knew that record was it. That record was gonna change everybody’s life. It was just one of those”

Via

The years 2013 and 2014 mark notable anniversaries for a lot of classic albums in Hip Hop, including the 20-year old birthdays for Nas’ Illmatic, OutKast’s Southerplayalisticadillacmuzik, and Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Former Loud Records A&R Schott Free is one man who played a large part in a few of those releases, as well as others that came before and after, such as Mobb Deep’s 1995 album The Infamous. In order to get an accurate view of such a golden era it’s a good idea to go right to a person who actually lived through it and ask someone like Schott for their own enduring stories of the time, to help give a little perspective on all the exciting events that seemed to be happening every day back then. As Schott himself says, “There are so many memories. Every group has memories.”

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, but based on the Rap albums that came out in the early ‘90s, maybe that would be more than fine, according to how Schott tells it. Here are six memorable stories from Schott Free and Matty C’s run at Loud Records.

Jay Z & Notorious B.I.G. Almost Joined Loud Records

A lot of A&Rs would be content with having worked with Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Big Pun, and still others. But even with a track record like Schott Free’s, he can still remember the one that got away:

“With me and Matty C, there was probably only one time that we had ever brought something to Loud, and we really wanted to sign it and get on it, and Steve Rifkind told us that we could not. That was in ‘94, ‘95, with Jay Z. As the story goes, we just started messing with him because of a rhyme we had heard him kick at Big Daddy Kane’s birthday party. He hit Damon Dash, and Dash hit us with a demo. He had a record on there called “Reach The Top,” produced by Clark Kent, which was crazy. We wanted to come with that and put that out first. Steve said that someone told him not to do the deal for whatever reason. I don’t really know the specifics. From my standpoint of it all, I think they came to the table at that point maybe more gangsta than the record business was ready for. I always said that if Jay Z were to sign to Loud, we would’ve monopolized everything. You take Jay Z off the Def Jam roster and put him on Loud with Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep, Big Pun, all around the same time…and let’s not forget, Notorious B.I.G. was on the cusp when Puffy went to Uptown Records. Uptown started Bad Boy Records, and B.I.G. was on the cusp of, “I’m either gonna follow Puff, or I’m gonna go some place else.” And remember that Matty had brought B.I.G. to that situation, so B.I.G. also could’ve been a member of Loud.”

Schott Free Recalls The Night Wu-Tang Clan Recorded “C.R.E.A.M.”

Very rarely does someone get to see history being made right in front of them, and when it happens, even more rarely do they know it right at that exact moment. But just like he used his foresight to know the groups that he worked with would be big hits, he also knew at what points groups like Wu-Tang took things to the next level:

“In the studio the night that Raekwon and Inspectah Deck dropped they verses for “C.R.E.A.M.” it was just that feeling of, ‘I don’t think they understand what they just did.’ The next day on the boat, I saw Raekwon early in the morning and told him, ‘You understand you just made a classic last night, right?’ He laughed at me, but I just knew that record was it. That record was gonna change everybody’s life. It was just one of those. I waited to the end of the session to make sure I got my copy. I was like, ‘Yo, I can’t leave here without a copy of this right here.’ They weren’t big on letting people walk out the studio with copies of anything, but I was adamant about getting my copy of “C.R.E.A.M.” That’ll always stand out to me.”

A Look At The Rollercoaster Recording Of Mobb Deep’s “Hell On Earth”

Many listeners can’t get enough of Mobb Deep’s gritty, uncompromising portrayal of a city life that includes drugs, money, sex, and murder. Unfortunately, those life and death stories were sometimes inspired by real life events, like the untimely passing of a friend:

“The Mobb…there’s a thousand stories. When we did the Hell on Earth album, we basically had a loft on top of Studio 54, if you could imagine having a loft for an entire winter, recording. We had a shower up in there and everything, so that was really a fun time. It was really an organic record. But we lost Twin; we lost Scarface during the recording of that record. It was just a basic weed run. Guys in the studio, and a bunch of them decide to jump in the car and go uptown to go get weed. Godfather’s driving, and the car flips over, and Scarface broke his neck because the car flipped over and his neck twisted. I think about that session, like, ‘I shouldn’t have let them go,’ or ‘I shoulda went myself.’ All that kinda stuff that comes back to you. Days and moments in that time and era, I can remember a lot of it…a lot of that stuff.”

Schott Free On The Sample Behind Mobb Deep’s “Right Back At You”

The main A&Rs, Schott Free and Matty C, weren’t always behind the scenes. Schott got a production credit, on the track “Right Back At You,” on Mobb Deep’s album The Infamous:

“Basically I contributed the Les McCann loop that you hear, from a song called “Benjamin,” which was a loop that a few years prior to that I had found that I always wanted to use on something. So the story goes with that particular record, we were in Battery studios in New York, and Havoc had those drums up playing for a while. I had just come from the house—going to Matty C’s house—maybe afterwards or before that. For whatever reason I had a bunch of records under my arm that I had with the idea that I was gonna go to Matt’s house and jack up a couple of ‘em. And when Havoc had those drums playing, I just knew that loop would fit. So he just threw it on the turntable, and it just fit. We just took it and ran with it.”

How Big Pun Almost Didn’t Break Out On Loud Records

It might be impossible for some to imagine New York Hip Hop without the contributions of Big Pun, which include the platinum-certified Capital Punishment LP. But that hypothetical situation was almost a reality:

“After The Infamous LP, we had solidified that Loud records…we knew what the hell we were doing. Punisher, I’m proud of him for being the first Latino rapper to reach platinum success. The only thing that we ever stuttered or teetered on was the fact that he was such a big dude. You’re coming in, and you’re thinking about marketing and stuff like that. But what we always thought about was the fact that we watched B.I.G. do it, and just like B.I.G. Pun was a charismatic big dude. I got memories with Pun— just how he loved to eat. His wife would cook and just bring rice, peas, and beans. The chick would just come through the studio. We would eat right while he was laying verses. It was so everyday. It was everyday could be a story.”

Schott Free Still Has A Copy Of Jay Z’s 1994 Demo

If you can’t get enough of those old NYC Boom Bap records, you’re in luck: there’s still more out there.

“If you follow me on Instagram, every Throwback Thursday I try to throw up something to let the fans know what was what. Yesterday I actually found a promo, the “Survival Of The Fittest” remix, featuring Crystal Johnson. I had put that up, and Havoc actually signed it pretty recently when he was over here. But other things I have…I have a picture on my wall of Prodigy drawn by Havoc, sketched with a pencil on the back of a notebook pad. It’s kinda special to me. I have Jay-Z’s demo that he gave me back in ’94, and there are plenty of songs on there that people never heard before. It’s basketball season right now, and he got a ill basketball song on there. I need to get a lot of stuff off that tape before it pops. He signed that for me. There’s a ton of shit in this basement, or The Igloo, as we call it…cassettes of old demos. I used to have an old cassette with RZA and Ol’ Dirty on there. It’s called “Rugged And Raw.” If I still have it, that’s probably the only copy of that record, period. There’s a lot of that, like I said. Sometimes I just like to go through cassettes and see what pops up on there. I find all kind of stuff from that era, demos, records that got recorded and got scrapped, and all that type of thing.”