I’ve listened to the legendary Critical Beatdown a few times in the last few days, and since it is so amazing, and there is so much awesome in this post (Tim Dog, The ’89 NBA All-Star Rap done by Ced & Keith!), I figured I couldn’t top it, so I’d re-up it. It was originally posted March 1st, 2010 (Olympic Gold Medal Hockey game reference, topical!), but the MC’s Ultra never get old, so enjoy!
I kind of wish I had something Canada-related to post on this Monday after the Vancouver Olympics, where we finished with a record number of Gold Medals, and an upstanding young man from the other side of Halifax Harbour scored a dramatic, Gold Medal goal to cap off the event in style. However, I had this Ultramagnetic MC’s post lined up since last week for a couple reasons (not that I would need any reason to post on Critical Beatdown, and in fact I’m sure I’ve done a similar post in the past, but I care not):
1. Somehow I came across this awesome “Oral History” of Ultra, that accompanied the 2004 re-issue of the groups magnum opus. It might just be me, but I love reading this stuff about how albums and songs come together - and I love it even more when it’s about classic hip hop albums, because the stories are always great. Like this for example:
Ced Gee: After the album, we did the Chorus Line. That was when Tim Dog joined. Tim was living with me and my family, and he kept saying he could rhyme. He got on the Chorus Line because Keith had a boy who wanted to get on there too, so Paul and I said, ‘Whoever’s got the best rhymes gets it’. And Tim beat him up. That was the start of him.
Grrrrrrrr and gold. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that there’s a quote from Guru in that article, and with him being in a coma right now after suffering a heart attack, it only seems right to send some get well soon wishes his way.
2. Look at the bottom of this page. Last week Ack found that video - the 1989 NBA All-Star Rap, which is Ced Gee and Kool Keith doing a rappin’ intro for every player in the ’89 All-Star game. And it’s twice as good as you think it will be. For example,
From the east here’s Barkley, strong and cocky, power-forward, aiming for, a slam, so watch out man, don’t dare jump cause he’ll break your hand, cause he’s an all-star
Amazing, and it gets better from there. No idea why I hadn’t heard this before, but to make up for that, I’ve not only posted the video, but I’ve made it into an mp3 as well. You’re welcome.
As for Critical Beatdown itself, it’s simply one of my favorite hip hop albums ever. I obtained my cassette copy in a way that the whippersnappers of today likely cannot relate to: when I was in Jr. High, I scanned the liner notes of It Takes a Nation of Millions to look for groups mentioned that I’d never heard of, and the one that stuck with me was Ultramagnetic. The next time my Dad went to the US, I gave him a list of names, and one of the tapes he brought back was Critical Beatdown. I’m guessing he brought back some other crap too, but I cannot remember them. I played the hell out of CB though, and have loved it since.
So anyway, here’s the bottom line, Ultramagnetic = awesome. No matter what you think of Kool Keith, Ultra remains awesome. If you’ve never heard this album in full, go find it - I’ve been pumping the re-issued version today, and it never gets old. Here’s a couple songs, the 12″ version of Ego Trippin’, and Travelling At The Speed Of Thought, because it has a nutty video I had also never seen before. Enjoy.
VIDEO:: NBA All-Star Rap 1989