Thursday, April 08, 2010

TRIBUTE: MALCOLM MCLAREN,
1946 - 2010

malcolm mclaren,world famous

Malcolm McLaren, a British-born music industry impresario, has just died, as documented in the New York Times- http://tinyurl.com/yhlyffh.

In mainstream pop culture, McLaren is most famous (or infamous?) for his managing and promotion of the pioneering Sex Pistols punk-rock band during their meteoric rise and fall during the 1970's. At the beginning of the Reagan era, however, he found himself dabbling in another underground music culture with roots in New York City--hip-hop.

The CD Buffalo Gals: Back to Skool compiles virtually all of the hip-hop related recordings that McClaren had a hand in producing, primarily with the World Famous Supreme Team: According to McLaren, they were a duo of part-time 3-card-Monte hustlers who caught his attention in Times Square, who happened to also host a community-access radio show in New York City where they showcased early hip-hop records, and eventually their collaborations with McLaren.

"Buffalo Girls", "She's Looking Like a Hobo", "Hey DJ" and several more good-times party songs all show up on the CD (largely culled from 12-inch recordings, as most of the material never surfaced on a proper album). Recorded before sampling technology had become common, the original songs feature mostly live instrumentation from session musicians, that still holds up to today's standards. Lyrically, the rhymes are much more simplistic compared to today, and may come across to contemporary listeners as quaint: "Two buffalo gals going 'round the outside, 'round the outside, 'round the outside" (as voiced by McLaren himself), but their work was also free of profanity and gangster themes. The Supreme Team never hit the mainstream, but was an important outfit to know in the pre-Run-DMC era of hip-hop. Also collected with the archival songs are new cover recordings, including legendary hip-hop musicians like De La Soul, Rakim and KRS-One.

Interspersed between all the songs are interviews with McLaren himself, where he candidly talks about his encounters with hip-hop's early figures and his attempts to help the music get a foothold in the industry; frequently being scolded by industry gatekeepers, A&R reps from pop, rock and even soul divisions of the establishment labels turned a blind eye, clearly not knowing what they were missing.

Between the old and new songs, this is the definitive compilation/tribute to an unlikely early champion of hip-hop music. May he rest in peace.

Buffalo Gals @ Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/ykklu9z

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

actually the supreme team and run dmc were contemporarys, she's looking like a hobo and do ya like scratchin, double dutch 12 inch ep and run dmc's it's like that sucker mc's 12 inch were out at the same time back in late 1982 here in nyc, when sucker mc's took a foot hold as the choice song on the run dmc it's like that sucker mc's 12 inch, world famous released buffalo girls/hobo scratch spring 1983, both run dmc and world famous were getting commercial radio play on nyc radio, and not just relegated to specialty/mix slots. by 1984 run dmc released their first full lenght self titled lp, by march 1984 nyc radio began to play a album cut that was released soon afther as a 12 inch single titled rock box, by late spring of 1984 world famous releases a ep containing tracks like do yo like scratchin, world famous, buffalo girls in stereo, then they release a 12inch single titled "hey dj" I'm saying this because it was 1984 that's when run dmc really began to garner mainstream attention, that was due in part to the kurtis blow produced track rock box with the guitar riffs, kurtis said he wanted to see if they could reach a rock audience, but at that sametime run dmc and world famous songs were getting regular nyc radio play along side songs like thriller etc at that time, kiss fm in nyc was the only commercial radio station in the usa that had rap music in it's regular rotation at the time, it's alittle sad that world famous was not regarded more, but nyc knows them quite well, and remembers when run dmc and world famous were putting out hot songs simultaneously, from late 1982-1984.