PUBLISHED: 24 Jan 2010 SHORT URL: http://timprint.co.uk/s/4/ COMMENTS: 10 RSS

TOP BILLIN’

I got hooked on hip hop around 1983 when I was 14 and I don't think I'll ever get over my addiction. My teenage years coincided with the most creative and exciting period in Hip Hop's history, the Golden Age*. I still love discovering new music now but that raw excitement, when everything seems brand new is hard to recapture at 40. Taking trips to Groove in London or Spin Inn in Manchester and finding a fresh delivery of import 12's had just arrived was the best feeling ever, iTunes just isn't doing it for me. I loved the whole culture from the start, breaking, graffitti, DJing, what I loved most though is the words, the weird slang, the coded messages and all those amazing rhyme patterns. I couldn't get enough.

In 1988 at Blackpool college I formed Imperial Groove* with my good friend Jonny. We bought a 4 track recorder and started bashing out songs. We had a few played on local radio and got close to having a 12" released, nothing ever came of it though. In 1991 I finished college and moved back to the Midlands while Jonny stayed in Blackpool and formed Funky Fresh Few with Damon (dsc) and James (Moody J). The name is a tribute to the old school, Treacherous Three, Fearless Four etc. I did some tracks with them occassionally but again nothing ever got released.

I stopped writing for a while but FFF carried on and eventually signed to Mark Rae's Grand Central records in Manchester. They released an EP, some 12"s and dropped an absolute classic with Afu Ra. Around 2001 they signed a 3 album deal and Damon called to see if I wanted to write something for the album. Shit yeah! FFF was now Damon and Glen (osc). They sent me some instrumentals and I started writing. The album came out in 2002, it's called 'Stealing'. My track, which got released as a 12" single, is called '24/7'.

Stealing album cover 24/7 12

All the music was produced in Damon's home studio in Blackpool, the album has a mixture of MCs from the US & UK. The US MCs were recorded at the legendary D&D Studio in New York, my vocals were recorded in Damon's bathroom with curtains hung around for soundproofing…

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I'm really happy with how it turned out, I like my track and there's some amazing stuff on the rest of the album. I especially like the Sage tracks. I know they pressed a few thousand copies on Vinyl and CD but I'm not really sure how many it sold. Grand Central went out of business* in 2006. I was happy to make a couple of hundred quid in royalties and even happier walking in to a record shop and seeing it sat in the racks next to all my heroes.

I love the fact that I'm on a record with Craig G who was on the Symphony with Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap and one of my all time favourite MCs Masta Ace. I like being on a record with Q Ball and Curt Cazzal from JVC Force who made Strong Island, one of the biggest anthems of the Golden Age.

stealing_label_blur_780

Mostly I'm just happy that I'm out there on vinyl, a proper double LP and a proper 12". There's something about vinyl that feels permanent. Once your record's out on vinyl you're a part of hip hop history, a part of the culture, it will always be there for the collectors to find, and that's pretty good feeling.

Thanks to Jonny (Take), Damon (dsc), Glenn (osc), Alex (Time) & James (Moody J) for creating a hotbed of 80s and 90's New York Boom Bap in sunny Blackpool. Good Times.

Download a zip file (47Mb) of the full album Stealing by Funky Fresh Few

Download a compilation zip file (54Mb) of some of the classic hip hop mentioned above. If you like any of it. Go cop it!

10 COMMENTS

JayDub
12.25pm 26 Jan 2010

Truth from the Wigster!

I know, I was here.

JayDub

Stuart Maynard-Keene
12.50pm 26 Jan 2010

I didn’t know you hid such a talent wig! ;-) Minus the talent we seem to have followed similar paths in taste.

Even though I was about 10 I have vivid memories of going to East Park in Wolverhampton and seeing Goldie throw up something, being amazed at Hanifa Queen and her break dancing skills at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and each and every Electro Street Sounds Album. I’m not sure whether its the issue of age but everything seemed so much better then!

+1 on Masta Ace too!

P.S. Love the site!

JayDub
12.56pm 26 Jan 2010

Saw Masta Ace in Leeds last month, with Ed.O.G… nice

Adam Wiggall
1.17pm 26 Jan 2010

Tim,

Excellent piece, and may I say a beautiful presentation?

Keep this kind of stuff coming.

Tim Print
3.17pm 26 Jan 2010

@Adam Cheers Adam, I’ve started work on my next post. I’ll try and keep it going.

@Stu If you grew up on Streetsounds we’re definitely on the same path.

@jaydub None of it would have happened without you. Really wish I could of made the Masta Ace gig.

Jamie Bridle
8.12pm 4 Feb 2010

Tim, love the site and the backstory. The track is class, loving the vibe, very mellow which suits me seeing as I’m more of a Jurassic 5 sort of guy! :) Hip Hop sort of missed me by slightly, but I was and still am a big electro fan, so I guess I was on the sideline. I have the Roots and Ty in my archive so its not all bad! I have vivid memories of Cleveland City Records in Wolverhampton and hanging around there all day on a Saturday, nodding your head as if you knew the next track being queued up (we didn’t - just in case you wondered). Anyway, I’m off to do a turtle whilst listening to The Smurf… word!

JayDub
8.28pm 4 Feb 2010

Jamie, go to the iTunes store and search for ‘street sounds nu electro’ ENJOY!

Tim Print
10.15pm 4 Feb 2010

Cheers Jamie, glad you like it. Street Sounds Electro albums were the best. I was never going to win any Breaking battles though.

JayDub
10.17pm 4 Feb 2010

You broke your arm?

Stuart Maynard-Keene
10.29pm 4 Feb 2010

I’ve been looking for digital versions of Street Sounds for years. Guess I should have opened my eyes ;-)

I'll never pass this on to anyone else, promise.