The sixth installment of I Used to Love H.E.R. is a perfect example of why I love doing this feature. Conrad Standish of Devastations comes out of nowhere and surprised the hell out of me with his selection: Funk Your Head Up by Ultramagnetic MC’s, who are best known for their classic debut Critical Beatdown. Kool Keith’s influence knows no bounds.
[mp3] Devastations | Sex & Mayhem
The band is wrapping up a US tour w/The Drones.
11/10: Vancouver, CANADA – Media Club; 11/11: Seattle, WA – Crocodile Club; 11/12: Portland, OR – Doug Fir; 11/14: San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill; 11/15: Los Angeles, CA – Club NME @ Spaceland; 11/17: San Diego, CA – Casbah.
12/10: London, UNITED KINGDOM – Luminaire (w/ Damien Jurado); 12/12: Brussels, BELGIUM – Botanique; 12/13: Gronigen, NETHERLANDS – Vera; 12/14: Tilburg, NETHERLANDS – Cul De Sac; 12/15: Den Haag, NETHERLANDS – State X New Forms Festival; 12/17: Munich, GERMANY – Atomic Cafe; 12/18: Cologne, GERMANY – Prime Club; 12/19: Hamburg, GERMANY – Moltow; 12/20: Berlin, GERMANY – Magnet; 12/21: Dresden, GERMANY – Star Club.
Funk Your Head Up (Polygram Records, 1992)
“Rappers know I’m cool, rappers know I’m Keith, like Charlie Brown – good grief” – Kool Keith, on Pluckin’ Cards
“Thus, I was hooked onto Ultramagnetic MC’s second, and completely overlooked, album, Funk Your Head Up.
“At the time I was a 15-year-old bonghead, avoiding high school as often as possible, taking acid a little too often for a growing mind and staring into MC Escher prints for far too long. No, MC Escher is not an MC.
“Kool Keith is like the MC Escher of rappers. The guys’ complexity and sci-fi-deranged stream-of-consciousness raps were something I hadn’t really encountered before. I had always been a big hip-hop follower (you know, being pubescent, white and middle class). BDP, Schooly D, EPMD, Public Enemy were mainstays, but upon hearing Keith start kickin’ it, they all seemed like rank amateurs. Songs like Pluckin’ Cards, Funk Radio, Message From The Boss and Bust The Facts blew my mind six ways to Sunday. The production was so fucking funky, the rapping was totally off the hook, and better yet, they seemed to eschew the whole guns’n’bitches mentality of many of the other rappers of the time, which even I was getting a little bored by at that point. I think this was around 1992 or so.
“I got into their first record, Critical Beatdown after this, which I still love, but for me the one is still Funk Your Head Up. It’s fucking impossible to get now. I only had it on a dubbed cassette. If I ever turn into one of those bored rock stars with a record label (fingers crossed!), this will be the first thing I re-issue.
“Kool Conrad Standish/Devs x”
[mp3] Ultramagnetic MC’s | Pluckin’ Cards
Previously on I Used to Love H.E.R.:
The Gray Kid (Black Moon – Enta Da Stage) || Sarah Daly of Scanners (Run-DMC – Tougher Than Leather) || Pigeon John (De La Soul – De La Soul is Dead) || Joel Hatstat of Cinemechanica (Digital Underground – Sex Packets) || G. Love (Eric B. & Rakim – Paid In Full) || An introduction