Monday, January 12, 2009

Old School Mondays:: Mantronix

Ooooh Mantronik, you do have style. That made no sense really, but I look at that album cover to the left and think "Why did I buy that album?". I still don't really know, but I do know why I'm featuring him on today's OSM. I little while ago, the song Over 30 from KRS' collab album with Marley Marl came on the iPod shuffle, and it so happens that he mentions yer man Mantronik:

Before "The Chronic" I was Stetsasonic
Old school, true school, oh yes sir I'm it!
1985 bumpin Mantronix
1995 gettin slammed with Onyx

Upon further reflection, I think that is why I bought Mantronix' 1990 effort, This Should Move Ya, because I'd heard his name a few times in hip hop circles, and I'd heard it was a super-producer of some kind. As it turns out, those creds were built on his early work when Mantronix consisted of DJ Kurtis Mantonik (who was apparently a Jamaican-Canadian émigré to NY, according to Wiki), and the cleverly named MC Tee. The duo's early work certainly had some electro\club music influence, but it still retained a heavy, old school hip hop vibe with lots of chunky drum machines and Tee's staccato flow. The album I bought was the first without MC Tee and features and MC named Bryce Luvah as well as some female singers singing over some swinging R&B; club jams. I remember listening to the tape the first time and going "Hmmmm, this is, ahhh, groovy". And groovy was not what 1989 Shane was looking for.

That being said, I must've enjoyed some of the groovy jams, because I remember it getting some airplay in my Sports walkman. I know I was into Just Adjustin' My Mic, but I think I also gave some play to the infectious kickdrums of the radio-friendly Got To Have Your Love. In fact the instrumental jams, like Get Stupid Part IV and King Of The Beats Lesson #1 are likely the best thing on this album, so Mantronik should've stuck to that steez I think. As things got progressively clubbier after this album and he kind of disappeared (well from my consciousness anyway).

So anyway, you get those two jams, but I figured you needed something else to go with them, and why not start at the start with some songs from Mantronix's debut (or at least a deluxe re-release of their debut that I came across). Fresh Is The Word was the group's first big jam, so we'll go with the '12 kick & clap-heavy version of this old school gem (plus the Beasties sampled the line "for the Blacks, Puerto Ricans, and the White people too..." from this song on Jimmy James, so the Ack shall enjoy it). Needle To The Groove is another older school treat, you can never have too much computer voice! Beck certainly agrees with that (have a listen, you'll figure that out). And for those who want to dance, enjoy the club mix of Bassline.

So there you go, Mantronix for all those like me who remember hearing his name all the time but aren't sure exactly where he fit into hip hop's past.


Mantronix - Got to Have Your Love

Mantronix - Bassline

Posted at 12:00 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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