Growing up in the 80s I was definitely more of a Popper than a get-on-the-floor Breakdancer, so I needed my Electro music to set the soundtrack. Right around ’84 LA was becoming the Electro capitol and at the forefront of it all was Egyptian Lover.
His songs were provocative, robotic, melodic, smooth, and hard-hitting, complimentary of the Roland TR-808. He is also the first artist I can recall who really embodied the one-man band concept, as he represented lovely as a DJ, MC, and Producer. You would think that would be enough for him to have to think about, but he also went against the grain of shopping his music to A&Rs and started his own labels; Freak Beat and then Egyptian Empire. Without a doubt, there were always indie labels since the beginning, but I’m hard-pressed to find an example of another indie label in the 80s that was owned and operated by an artist that enjoyed a successful run as a full-fledged label; putting out that artist’s music, as well as several other artists as well.
Besides his own career, Egyptian Empire is most notable for launching the career of Rodney O & Joe Cooley. Most of their other releases were one-offs with artists, but they produced some great material and also left a lot of mystery, such as; who these groups were and did they have other unreleased material? Among those groups are The Lover II (a.k.a Lil Egypt), His Majesti (mentors of mine), Te & Joezee, Get Large Posse, 2:O’Clock, and Jamie Jupitor, who tours with Egyptian Lover to this day.
Egypitan Lover disappeared from the scene in the mid 90s, but returned in 2006 with “Platinum Pyramids” which continues in classic Electro fashion. He’s currently at work on his latest album, “1984”, which he previews a few tracks from at the end of the interview!! There is no question that the Egyptian Lover continues to be a master of all of his crafts and is loyal to the 80s Electro aesthetics that made him the West Coast Hip Hop Legend that he is today!
I have had a list of interview questions prepared for Egyptian Lover for years, hoping the opportunity would come. Our West Coast Video Mastermind, Adam Stanzak (of Oh Boys Films) was able to catch up with him at a picnic and get the full story!
Part 1: Here we discuss how he transitioned from making mixtapes in High School to becoming a Key part of Uncle Jamm’s Army and LA's #1 DJ, his influences, where his name originated from, how Ice T was always asking to get on the mic early on, why he started his own labels, his touring history, what to expect at an Egyptian Lover live show, and a brief history of all the artists on Egyptian Empire!
Part 2: Here we discuss his unreleased music, the reason for his hiatus in the 90s, his studio set up and how he still gets the “Analog Sound”, how he first discovered the Roland TR-808, the Breakin’ N Enterin’ Documentary, the importance of KDAY Radio and Greg Mack and his upcoming “1984” album, including a sneak listen to some tracks!
Here are a few Egyptian Lover classics to get you in the right frame of mind:
Radio Crew-Egyptian Lovers Theme (from the Breakin' N Enterin' Documentary 1983)
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Radio-Crew-Egyptian-Lovers-Theme.mp3|titles=Radio Crew - Egyptian Lovers Theme]
Uncle Jamm's Army-Yes Yes Yes (Freak Beat Records 1984)
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/04-Uncle-Jams-Army.mp3|titles=04 Uncle Jam's Army]
Egyptian Lover-Egypt, Egypt (Freak Beat 12" 1984)
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Egyptian-Lover-Egypt-Egypt.mp3|titles=Egyptian Lover-Egypt Egypt]
Egyptian Lover-What Is A DJ If He Can't Scratch (Freak Beat 12" 1984)
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Egyptian-Lover-What-Is-A-DJ-If-He-Cant-Scratch.mp3|titles=Egyptian Lover-What Is A DJ If He Cant Scratch]
Egyptian Lover-The 808 ("Platinum Pyramids" Album 2006)
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/10-the-808.mp3|titles=10 the 808]
That should hold you over as we get ready for the new album, “1984“. In the meantime, you can pick up “Platinum Pyramids” NOW! Plus check out his Remix for Stones Throw artist James Pants, “Cosmic Rapp” [Egyptian Lover Remix]:
This also inspired me to work on a special Egyptian Empire Label blog that will focus on the previous mentioned “One-Off” artists! Look for that real soon…