Yesterday in Part One of Jamille Records, we discussed Milwaukee's Hip Hop largely unknown Hip Hop history and gave some insight into Jamille Records with label owner, Darrell D. Here in Part Two, I've put together a breakdown of every record the label has released thus far!!
Ill Chief Rockers
The one Milwaukee based record I was familiar with already was the Ill Chief Rockers “Jealous” b/w “I Gotta Rock And I’m Gonna Hit You With It”. Chicago Hip Hop Radio Show Legend, JP Chill, referenced it in his Caught In The Middle Interview in ’95. It always intrigued me, based on the b-side title alone. I assumed it was a rare Chicago record. I never heard it until very recently. I absolutely love this record. It’s pure mid 80s gold.
Let’s start by saying, the oddly dramatic and rather long, but entertaining introduction which leads into a drum machine roll, doesn’t seem to even hint at the tempo that the song finally settles into. From that, right off the bat, you know you are dealing with some interesting characters. Kid Crab, who handled the opening words, also delivers the first verse. He is sort of a combination of LL Cool J’s intensity and structure and Funkmaster Wizard Wiz’s oddball mentality. He maintains superb use of vocabulary and a rather impressive application of Multi-Syllabic rhyming, particularly for the time. Strickey Luv is slightly more relaxed, but similar in writing style. He definitely drops a steady stream of excellent punchlines. Though only two verses long, the song clocks in over 8 minutes. Even minus the minute+ long intro, there is still a lot of rapping and I love it! I think I need to transcribe these lyrics, just for the fun of it! Although, the b-side is the winner here, “Jealous” is still the joint. It’s more uptempo and reminds me of the Skinny Boys for some reason, just a bit more raw. The MCs rock back and forth, aggressively, staying completely on target to the subject…jealousy.
Ill Chief Rockers-I Gotta Rock And I'm Gonna Hit You With It
Kid Crab went on to do a solo record in ‘89 with his crew, GFC. “Lamont Is The Baddest” opens with some drums so heavy they are slightly distorted and drop into a spacey interpolation of some Barry White, real grimy. Great rhyme schemes and lines, particularly when he speaks with pride on his intelligence, “Your jealous because I’m smarter and was always/Studied my books, while you were roaming hallways/Now I get paid, I can get what I wanna/You got your GED? See my Diploma/Never employed, but you wanna retire/I’m nothing like you, my IQ is much higher/Don’t try to out smart me, don’t you ever forget /This college student is brewing, but you didn’t graduate yet”. You have to listen to the way he accentuates certain words to fully appreciate the technique used here.
This is a shortened version from the original 12” and it fades out just as it feels like he might be going into a classic verse with his opening, “You suckers in Bru we’ll never get what you want/Cause you look up to the suckers from New York…I Don’t/They out to estimate us and under-rate us/and perpetrate us, They think they made us and they hate us…”
“That’s What I’m Screaming” picks up the pace and gives some of his history in the game. He addresses all the locals who had rumors and negative things to say about him. His delivery is different here than on his other tracks, it’s less playful and also a bit more brash. Suggesting he was probably speaking on actual events and his frustration was real. That doesn’t prevent him from making you crack a smile with lines like, “You must be crazy, you and me aren’t even in the same boat/I’m smoother than the surface of a rain coat/You could never be as def as I am/Only one out of fifty songs you make is a jam”
Two-Tone have dropped two releases on the label. The backbone of the group is DJ Mike T, who later became significantly more known as the DJ for Comptons Most Wanted.
The Two-Tone story is an interesting one. They were discovered performing at Afro-Fest in ’86 by a Radio DJ from Dallas, Alvin John Waples. He in turn pitched them to Stevie Wonder who was looking for a rap group to groom. Two years later, they were on a mission out in Cali to work on an album, produced by The Cold Crush Brothers. There are a lot of great names involved in this story and definitely needing of some more investigation, so stay tuned.
As for the records, they both contain tracks recorded between ’86-’89 that never got released until now.
“Jazz It Up” samples some Average White Band supported by some Mike T scratch work while the two MCs drop science on the histories and inter-mingling of Jazz and Hip Hop. “Time To Rhyme” is an excellently programmed Roland TR-808 beat with the two MCs, D.E. Fresh and Ricky S dropping freestyle lyrics. They also reveal the meaning behind the group name with lines such as, “We came here tonight to rap on the mic/We are the two MCs that are Black & White”, “You must be blind if you can not see/That there are two different color rappers on this stage/rocking people of every race and age”, and “I’m down with Two-Tone/The Integrated rappers on the microphone.”
“We Are Two-Tone” B/W “Mike T Is Dope”, is one of two Jamille releases I haven’t been able to get my hands on. The A-Side is a good freestyle joint that showcases their back & forth rhyme style. The B-side is what grabbed my attention. As suggested, it is an ode to Mike T’s DJ skills, over some Bob James “Nautilus”. The MCs play tribute to his scratch work with great lines such as “You sucker jocks go on tour and don’t cut one time, Mike T throws down a scratch every time I rhyme”. Mike T takes each chorus to unleash an arsenal of cuts.
Jamille Records provides some history on Speech of Arrested Development, previously known as Peechy. An early group project of his was A-Tack “A-Tack On The Wax”. It was originally released on Rainbow Records in ’86. It’s completely in line with a ’86 Hip Hop record with raw drum machine production, abrasive scratching, rudimentary, but charming keyboard work, and “big word” inspired rhyming w/a touch of ridiculous-ness. This is definitely a fun record and shows love to the DJ.
Peechy a.k.a Speech also provided the production for the crew Midi who dropped a 12” in ’87 on Buy My Records with two tracks, “Kool Is Chillen” b/w “Bru City”. Rugged and bugged out voices, hard hitting drum machine beats & high-pitched girls on the hook = WIN. “Bru City” is an early Milwaukee rap anthem and really has that Midwest rap feel to it. This is the style of Hip Hop that was popular even in Waukegan, the slow tempo sparse drum beats and dramatic lo-fi keyboards.
MC Richie Rich & Scratch
MC Richie Rich & Scratch are the lone 90s release on the label. The two selections on this 7” were originally released in ’91 on a Full Length Cassette and some limited Test Pressing vinyl. “Pull The Trigger” is a posse cut with Strickey Luv (Ill Chief Rockers) and some early Rock La Flow representation. Strickey Luv is sounding really confident on this and you can easily recognize him, moreso than in Ill Chief Rockers, from his later work on Tommy Boy Records and with EMC. He’s kicking battle rhymes, but still kicks some science, “Never sounding wack to ya/Pass the blunt and I pass it right back ta ya/Cause while you kill braincells, pain swells and all that/…what kind of lifestyle you call that?”
Rock La Flow proves that his superior flow has been in tact even before the Flowgram Sessions. He kills it here with a steady stream of swift flows and witty lines. The third verse is Scratch who kicks it the must gutter. He drops the type of one-liners that were popular for the time. He’s not as natural an MC as the other two, but what he lacks in flow, he replaces with attitude. There are only three verses so it seems Richie Rich isn’t actually on this track. Richie Rich goes for self on “Here’s A Little Story” and has a strong Slick Rick influence. He proceeds to drop some stories of the pursuit of the ladies and their pursuit of him. When questioned on his fashion sense, he drops this gem, “I never wear a Kangol because my hair stays brushed/I never wear Ballys because my Nikes cost much”.
Richie Rich & Scratch featuring Strickey Luv & Rock La Flow-Pull The Trigger
The only non-Milwaukee related release on the label, is also the only 12” single. It’s a limited pressing of Run-DMC’s “Black History” b/w “Slow & Low”. “Black History” was a cassette only release that came packaged inside a Johnson & Johnson Jeri Curl Kit in ’85… Yep, you read that right. ☺ It’s 13+ minutes of culturally achievements. For those in the know, Run-DMC are responsible for writing the lyrics to the Beastie Boys track “Slow & Low”. This is the Run-DMC demo version of that track which is a interesting take on the song.
Although all of these Jamille releases are excellent and collectable in their own right, it doesn’t cancel out the hunt for the originals. These 7” versions often are not the full length and don’t include some of the instrumentals, dubs, and b-sides the originals have. Good look finding any of them though…
Jamille Records is keeping it pretty low-key. Basically, they are somewhat quietly releasing some amazing records that are special treats to those lucky enough to discover…like myself and now YOU! Many of there are already out of print and the others, more than likely, are soon to follow. Don’t miss out on these key pieces to Midwest/Milwaukee/80s & 90s Hip Hop the second time around!!
001-Run-DMC-Black History b/w Slow & Ill 12” (Clear Vinyl, 200 Copies) [SOLD OUT]
002-A-Tack A-tack On The Wax b/w Dub 7” (Clear Blue Vinyl, 100 Copies) [SOLD OUT]
003-Midi “Kool Is Chillen” b/w “Bru City” 7”(Clear Red Vinyl, 200 Copies)
004-Kid Crab & G.F.C “Lamont Is The Baddest” b/w “That’s What I’m Screamin” 7” (100 Copies)
005-Two-Tone “We Are Two-Tone” b/w “Mike T Is Dope” 7 (Clear Green Vinyl, 100 Copies)* [SOLD OUT]
006-MC Richie Rich & Scratch “Pull The Trigger” b/w “Here’s A Little Story” 7” (100 Copies) [SOLD OUT]
007-Ill Chief Rockers “Jealous” b/w “I Gotta Rock” (Clear Orange Vinyl, 100 Copies)
008-Two-Tone “Jazz It Up” B/w “Time To Rhyme” 7” (Clear Vinyl, 100 Copies)
*#s 97-100 were pressed on Clear Blue Vinyl