Archive for September, 2014

19. Peter King – Step on the Gas

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Back to England for this one. Released on Fasion Records in 1985, it shows how quickly trends moved between Jamaica and the UK, with the top riddims from Jamaica being quickly versioned in the UK to tear up dances on both sides of the Atlantic.

John Eden and Paul Meme featured this track in their excellent UK vs. JA Lyric Maker mix. Paul Meme also wrote about the record in a Pitchfork overview of the fastchat mini-genre:

Peter King: “Step on the Gas” 12″ [Fashion; 1985]
Peter King is widely regarded as being the first UK fast chat MC, but he only appears on a handful of records. The fast chat MCs had something of an obsession with cars (see also Asher Senator’s fantastic “The Original Car Style”) and many of them were, supposedly, merciless second-hand car salesmen. But this record vaporizes all those clichés. One of two 1985 Fashion releases using a re-built, industrial strength, hyper-muscular Sleng Teng (check out the dub of Andrew Paul’s utterly amazing “Who’s Gonna Make the Dance Ram” for further evidence of the incredible heaviosity coming out of UK studios at the time)– Peter King is on devastating form, deploying his rough London accent to tell a remarkably tall story about being chased by the cops in a car full of fast chat stars. And the chorus is so utterly yet inexplicably hooky, too– “step on gas KICK down the accelera – tor”. Love it. –Paul Meme

Jahtari has a bit more on Peter King:

Peter King started off MCing in 1981 as a 19 year old youth at the legendary UK soundsystem Saxon. In those early days he was sparring with the Saxon MC Papa Levy and one of Peter’s first tunes was “Ganja Business A Money Business”. Peter’s
device was that lyrics, instead of just being endless but sensless rhymes, should tell a story even for people to identify with. Peter King is famous and known as the originater of a style – the fast chat style.

In ’82 he was the first MC to do that style with the tune called “Me Neat, Me Sweet”. After mashing it up on Saxon with this tune artists like Smiley Culture, Asher Senator, Tippa Irie or Papa Levy soon adopted the fast chat, wich was getting big all over and quickly spread to Jamaica and influenced jamaican DJ’s a lot. This style is the precursor of today’s drum and bass MCing as well.

There’s also a good interview on Small Axe with Peter King talking about fastchat.

Not much more to add really, except that the dub version includes an overdub of the James Bond theme tune.

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Vocal:

Version:

Dub:

18. Sugar Minott – Jammin in the Street

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Sugar Minott was one of the first DJs to have a Sleng Teng vocal released, appearing on King Jammy’s 1985 Sleng Teng Extravaganza pt. 2 with Jam in the Street. The version here, also from 1985, is on Minott’s own Black Roots label. In 1986 he released an album of the same name on the Wackies label, featuring a different version of the title track that departs entirely from the two Sleng Teng cuts.

The vocal cut starts with a bizarre WWII intro with machine gun effects – in this telling, the war seems to start ten years later, “September 1948, Germans recruit their armies”. The machine gun effects and screams continue through out the song, over the same lyrics as on the original Jammy’s version, with Sugar singing about rude boys fighting police in the streets and hoping that the police don’t search his house and find his big bag of weed.

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On the dub side, we get the same “September 1948” intro, and “duggu duggu” machine gun effects interspersed throughout the song, and the odd dive-bombing impression. For me, the original Jammy’s version works better with the harsh picture of ghetto warfare depicted in the lyrics – the WWII sound effects make it all sound a bit cheesy. Still a decent version though, and in any case Sugar Minott is a fantastic singer.

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