Part 2 (Cont.)
There was no doubting that the product coming out since The Straight Up Society and DWC birthed many local acts was littered with all manner of skills at infant stages, and the 90’s saw an amazing period of incredibly inspiring formation and growth, but as the scene grew to that still non-commercially-viable-but-large-enough-to-sustain-itself point at the beginning of the 2000’s, and the crowds were inflating, support was growing and rappers and DJ’s were plenty, unfortunately to me, it seemed a sense of good enough’s, good enough mentality crept in with it.
Our localized version of the artform was still being defined and refined, and to rest on our laurels and throw support to anything and everything because it was a local product was off the mark as far as I could gauge. It was definitely time to shake things up a bit.
The crew itself took a few turns and roundabouts in the early phase of planning and recording too which for better or worse was what it was. Cuts and plenty of them was as equal piece to the pie as anything in my eyes and finding the right hand to control the zhigga zhiggas was integral. J-Red had been on a couple tours with us holding down the deck duties and was super sharp on the blade. He was most definitely shaping to be the finest in his craft at the time and was a natural fit to handle that side of it. With our cut selections and direction he was the perfect foil for the role.
The other main change was the omission and what became departure of one of the crew’s initial members, Rob Nat. Rob was and still is the rap encyclopedia, check www.unkut.com for the proof. He was also renowned for his stage antics from visual hypeness, drunken debauched-ness to un-rivaled freestyles & off the dome battle raps (well before the 8-Milers). He brought elements to the L.C show that set us apart, but lacing an album and the album I wanted to deliver he had to come with a pro booth side too, as we all did. Rob had just become a parent and I think he and I both sensed the level of commitment from all involved to allow this to be what was envisioned may’ve been a stretch for him. Once the ball began rolling we decided to put a self imposed release date or at least have it complete by December of 02. Timing is everything as they say and unfortunately our time was now and although he stepped in the booth on a couple of occasions early in the recording phase, we both discussed his input and decided to keep our direction minus the Natruler on the Mic. He did co-produce two joints off the LP and continued to give input. The major positive to come from his departure was his inevitable move into what I believed to be his true calling, writing and documenting. Robs still Unkut/L.C fam to this day.
With the line up set, more direction started to appear instantly. Id been working away for the last year on some pre production, I started to tweak a couple of oldies and dug like a maniac to get started on the newies. The entire albums production was handled using the old trusted Akai s1000 and midi cubase all sequenced on an Atari ST1000. This was the style of production I had learnt from my mentor Prowla and production partner, Jase whilst working on my 12”s along with the many other projects that were laced in the Nuffsaid studios in Richmond, it worked for me so there was no point learning new ways while I was trying to still get my head around the new recording format.
The basis of the albums track selection started to map itself out too, we all had some pre-writtens that would form the nucleus of the LP, the idea was then to fill it with the missing ingredients. We weren’t about to attempt to re-invent the wheel, sticking to the classic album format was a given, so battle (already had a handle on it), sex, street & DJ homages were on the agenda. I started to accumulate a good chunk of production by now to start throwing around ideas and options to write too or match up existing verses. Things tended to start motoring along fairly quickly now as we started to come up with complete tracks ready for recording.
The three of us were fairly well accomplished emcees by the time we kicked off the recording phase, we were no doubt still developing and improving but had enough experience under our belt to hit the booth running. We had the mutual understanding that this had to be above anything wed done before. The emphasis was to blow anything else local out the water and keep on par with our favourites from anywhere in the world. It was time to really live up to our name.
To be continued…