Emynd’s Corner: Dubs From The Blowed
Eastside Badstads – “Spit It Out”
NGA Fish f/ Ellay Khule – “Aqua Boogie”
Medusa – “Pimp My Lyrics“
While the Project Blowed massive managed to release a handful of good to great albums, the vast recorded output of the collective existed on cassette only dub, distributed hand to hand by a loose network of local and international tape traders. As interest increased, sound quality deteroriated. While some of these tapes have been properly archived, many more remain lost to dusty shoeboxes. Long time friend of the site, tape trader and Philadelphia hipster DJ hero Emynd of Crossfaded Bacon has decided to crack open these shoeboxes to bless us with a few Good Life rarities. Hopefully this will become a reoccurring series, depending on whether or not Emynd can find time for Ellay Khule in his busy schedule of international jetsetting and playing extended edits of “I Like To Move, It Move It.” Hit the jump for his commentary.
If you didn’t live in Cali at the time, it wasn’t easy being a fan of the Good Life. Not only did our favorite rappers sound like they were “making monster noises” (as one friend of mine once described a Self Jupiter verse), but if you weren’t within a 6 or 7 hour drive to Leimert Park, the only way you were gonna get any “new” material was to get a long-awaited dubbed tape in the mail. While vinyl is often regarded as the medium most closely associated with “REAL HIP-HOP,” before anyone knew what an MP3 was, the home of “Real Underground Rap” was undoubtedly the dubbed tape. Long before sites like this one were even imagined, patient and passionate dorks dissatisfied with the NYC rap aesthetic music took it upon themselves to unearth and then share these rarities with like-minded dorks across the globe.
I was simply a footnote in the tape trading scene, but somehow I found myself lucky enough to befriend several of the more important Blowed traders (namely, my dude Axiom in San Jose, and Pedestrian from Anticon before Anticon existed) which meant I got a shitload of rare tapes without having to give back much in return just because these dudes liked me (nh). Over the years, I even brushed shoulders with some of the absolute legends of the game (shouts to Joaquin, and Omid who Pedestrian recently informed was hilariously referred to as “the leak” by many Blowedians) while doing my fair share of Blowed public service for THE CAUSE, sharing meticulously crafted mixtapes of my favorite songs with folks as far away as Hawaii and Finland.
I’ve recently begun ripping some of my old tapes in an effort to preserve some of these rare moments. While ripping these songs, I re-discovered how much I really love this music. For all intents and purposes, this music fundamentally taught me how to listen to rap music. With its insistence that “styling” was as important as substance when rapping, I learned to listen to HOW a rapper was rapping as opposed to just what he was saying. In an effort to contribute SOME SHIT to SOME SHIT YOU NEVER HEARD WEEK, I’ve posted some of my favorite Blowed songs here that, to my knowledge, are not available on any officially released media nor anywhere else on the internet. Hope you enjoy them half as much as I do.
The Eastside Badstads “Spit It Out,” is one of the most complete songs
despite probably because of its simplicity. While it’s not rare for Blowed songs to feature virtuosic rapping and stylistic innovation, it is indeed rare for these songs to actually feel like cohesive songs. This song is the most complete Blowed song I’ve ever heard not made by a member of Freestyle Fellowship. The beat is hard as hell and Pharoah Monch’s classic “spit it out” line from “Bring It On” makes for a great chorus. Shit, there’s even an intro! Also, whoever mixed the vocals on this song was wise enough to keep the Badstads adlibs low enough in the mix to not muddle their chops. But really, while the Blowed is most often praised because of their left-field, forward-thinking approach to rap, I’ve always felt that their eccentric, experimental approach was most effective when it was toned down and tailored into a more easily consumable song like this one. When it comes down to it, this song is just a hard ass beat with some hard ass rapping.
The second song is NGAFSH’s “Aqua Boogie” featuring two exceptionally clean verses by Fish and a hilarious closing verse by the Rifleman, Ellay Khule. Fish and Khule are my two favorite rappers to come from the Blowed and it has a lot to do with their strict rhythmic sense. While so many Blowedians often found their styles falling into muddled sloppiness, Fish and Khule were always spitting with an impressive range of rhythmic precision. This song is a perfect example of that… and it’s funny as hell.
The third song is Medusa’s particularly affecting “Pimp My Lyrics.” Medusa is in interesting artist in the context of the Blowed because her styles clearly come from traditional Soul and the Blues while so many other Blowed artists have a lot more in common with rapid fire be-bop horn players or scatological (what up, jbbest!) vocalese jazz artists like Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross. Medusa’s existence in this scene clearly speaks to the diversity of styles appreciated at the Blowed. Again, it’s no coincidence that I like this song so much for much the same reason I like the Badstads song: it’s a fully realized song with good production and a solid conceptual arc.
 Underground West Coast Rap was strangely popular in Finland at the time. The Living Legends and folks as random as Eclipse 427 would regularly perform out there.
 Which probably accounts for why I find rappers like Drake and Lupe Fiasco absolutely unbearable but rappers like Twista compelling as hell
 This isn’t meant to be a point of criticism because the improvisational, inventive nature of most of these songs is often what makes them most exciting.