Here’s the latest edition to my ongoing Artist Profiles on the impressive B-Boy Records line-up of the mid/late 80s, which was filled with many artists with limited release who then disappeared off the scene.
The Busy Boys (also listed as Buzy Boys on one 12”) actually got their label start with Bee Pee Records. In Chicago, the college station 89.3 FM* was supportive of their “Immaculate” single. Which also featured the tracks “Stop Jocking Me” and “B-Stro Relase It”.
The discography is a bit of a mystery, their first two records don’t have release years on them and the online listed dates seem to early to be incorrect. “Funky Fresh Xmas” is listed as ’84. And “Stop Jockin Me” is listed as ’85. However, based on the production style, those years seem to be a questionable. I always thought they were more likely from circa 1987…maybe 1986.
I remember the first time I heard The Busy Boys I bugged out. The MC, The Devastating Krush Money a.k.a Kid Krush Ski, had a unique voice and wild delivery. His bizarre exaggerations and oddball humor, was entertaining, but might lead you to discredit his raw skills. However, If you listen closely you can hear his gift for weaving words together.
“Stop Jockin Me” is an uptempo joint that allows Krush to show off his swift flow and is a solid track. However, although it is the lead song here, it’s probably the least interesting on the 12”. Not because it isn’t a good track, but the other two just have more definitive character. I do love that suggests, “I make 10 Gs a night and that’s minimum wage!” He ends the track with a nice Fast Talk style that might make Kool Moe Dee do a double take.
“B-Stro Release It” is a dedication to his DJ, who is well worthy of the all the praise. It is certainly a fair argument to make that DJ B-Stro is the star of this single. No doubt, Krush shows some skills, but his shining moment is on their next release. On this 12”, B-Stro is displaying some rather complicated and advanced scratch techniques. I’m willing to go as far as to say his cuts were probably as good as just about anyone at the time. As expected, those skills are best showcased here on this track for the time, but even better developed and elevated on the following single.
“Immaculate” has a slow stripped-down beat with some minimal keyboard work that has this creepin’ feeling that reminds me of Snuffaluffaguss for some odd reason…ha. Krush’s flamboyant, but “hardcore” delivery is so over the top it is nearly comical, which may be intentional as he does claim, “I have the sense of humor of Mr. Richard Pryor”. However, he flexes his best skills of the 12” on the 2nd verse of this track, “I’m not intimidated by no suckers, I’m ignoring em/I am a soldier, stand tall, just like Napoleon/ Got the capability to rock the auditorium/ Collecting ovations in the over-packed Emporium/Rapper of the century, known in penitentiaries/You wanna battle, then sign the form of entry…”
All in all, a good offering for debut single, but nothing to lead me to be prepared for what would follow.
What is most impressive about the Busy Boys is the huge growth in skills from their previous single to their next and unfortunate last. I’m convinced that a Busy Boys album circa ’88 would have been pure raw underground Hip Hop gold! The production is great, the cuts are ridiculous, and the rhyming is phenomenal!!
This three-song single was also released on the Bee Pee label first, but picked up by B Boy Records. You might almost miss out on all this greatness if you don’t get past the first song.
“Renita” is an excellent example of the attempts of Indie Labels/Artists to struggle for hit records, while abandoning all their finest skill sets in the process. Of course, one fairly common tactic for fishing for success was the “girl song”. On “Renita” you have the crew passing a cold 40 Oz to Krush so he going spill his heart to some Roland TR-808 kicks and snares and shiny keyboards over a lover he lost 4 years ago…on the anniversary of the break-up to make it all the more “emotional”. It’s honestly not a bad track and probably better than a lot of the other “girl songs” of the time. It’s just not a good reflection of where his skills were.
Not a problem, because that is 150% rectified on the following tracks; “That’s The Flavor” and “Classical”. The Devastating Krush Money had grown into his voice, mastered his flow and delivery, plus his lyrical content had increased dramatically. Considering the competition of ’88, people might think I’m tripping, but I maintain my claim that these are two of my favorite lyrical tracks of the year. In terms of technique and content, there are only a few MCs who deserve more and/or comparable praise; Rakim, KRS One, Slick Rick, Kool G Rap, MC Shan, Super Lover Cee, and Big Daddy Kane are those who immediately come to mind. However, if these tracks are any indication of his true skill level, then had the Busy Boys released more music this year, The Devastating Krush Money could have easily been placed in that same class of lyricists. Bold statement. Yes, I know, but I’m sticking with it.
There is just no complete way of expressing the way I feel about these two songs. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if an investigation suggested they were two of the most played songs on my IPOD. Even my Ex-girlfriend is aware of it, previously leading to this comment when “Classical” came on in the car, “Uh oh, here goes your song”. I recognize that to really mean, “Oh great, you are going to tune me out for the next few minutes while lost in your rapping world”…ha. I didn’t even dignify that with a response, I was already rhyming along-side with The Devastating Krush Money, like I was rocking at a sold out show at the Latin Quarters.
“That’s The Flavor” is more of the all-out lyrical assault track. There’s several quick little phrases that are poised with such elegance and the title’s pre-suggested flavor; “Most definitely, you know who I be/The Devastating Krush Money, consult your problems to me” (as if to suggest there isn’t anything that he can’t handle). He continues with, “I’m the Ambassador, master of a massacre”, which just flows of the tongue so perfectly and it immediately follows with a crushing punchline that is sure to offend all those it is intended for and more.
It’s also packed with great visuals; “First you must focus your attention to the 40 Oz, Spliff in my hand, I’m about to smoke this/I’m iller than, I’m doper than dope/A Raw dog line of coke/95% of those who smoke coke choke” or “My flavor’s so good a n****a won’t miss salt/I got the power to bumrush Al Capone’s vault.”
The third verse comes in magnificently with, “The lyrical pro, professor, my lyrics you will cherish/All on the tip will soon perish/I’m here to do damage, also to ruin careers/smoke a blunt and drink a couple of beers”. However, it’s the follow-up line that exists as one my favorite lines of all time, “I have a tendency to drink a pint of Hennessey/Whip out the Uzi and crash the Russian Embassy”. That is just great on so many levels. First the rhyme scheme is superb. Secondly, it’s just an ill visual. Thirdly, the use of the word “tendency” suggests that it something that has done at least more than once…as if doing it one time wasn’t crazy enough!
“Classical” is great proof that they knew how to balance the high level lyricism and rigorous scratching with good song-making. The backing track is built from Funk Inc “Kool Is Back” & James Brown “Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved”. The way B-stro freaks the James Brown on the hooks is precise, stylistic, and all-around masterful. The Roland TR-808 is programmed nicely with the obligatory heavy Kick Drum, but supported by Snares that are accented so much they hit nearly as hard as the Bass. The Devastating Krush Money describes the scenario perfectly in his opening verse, “Krush’ll create another hip hop journal/My throat is like a towering inferno/My concept builds around my cold crush formula/I’m marvelous jack, believe me I’m warning ya/Popularity proves apparently I’m smooth/Aggressive and Defest, immediately you will be moved/The all dope sounds of the man James Brown/With the 808 kicking and humming in the background/Of Course, you know I got to keep it rational/It’s not distorted or wack, it’s more professional…”
Every moment is packed with elegance, finesse, ruggedness, and a flow that is exact and pristine. The intensity maintains until the very end of the track where he expresses with a mixture of confidence and anticipation, “Symbolizing a king, ruler of my disciples/ Some will carry pistols, most will carry rifles/Trigger happy, in fact, violent, I will prove that/I’m warning you B, one hellafied New Jack/Mutilating, terminating, and sucker N****as keep debating/And those participating, bring it on, I’m waiting!”
That also left me waiting for more also, but nothing more was to come from the Busy Boys. I’m at least hoping that somewhere locked away in a vault is some unreleased Busy Boys, circa ’88 material. After years of searching I finally have a lead on their where-abouts and I’m in the process of trying to secure a interview to get the rest of the story!!!
BONUS JOINT: I didn’t hear “Funky Fresh Xmas” until many, many years later. It has gotta be one of the hardest and strangest Christmas songs out there. Keyboards are wailing out Christmas tunes, B-Stro is scratching like a maniac, and The Devastating Krush Money is wilding out! The way he ends his chorus with the intensity of a battle rhyme while delivering “Go purchase a GIFT!!!”, is so bizarre that it catches me off guard nearly every time I hear it...ha. The lyrics switch back n forth from Holiday cheer to Purely Hardcore at a frantic pace. People are advised, “You don’t have to give me nothing, I’m not giving you JACK!” Not long after he suggests, “Christmas is for giving and sharing/Love thy neighbor and please start caring/About the day that Christ was born/And stop praising the man with the tail and the horns.” Later on he receives a ring for a X-mas present that he is quite content with until he’s informed by his girlfriend that it’s a proposal and invitation for them to get married, which “Puts Krush in a state of shock/I jumped and said ‘Oh no we’re not!’ “ Later on, he delivers perhaps my favorite line of the track as he is warmed by the Holiday Season to abandon some of his regular hardcore actitivities, “With Holidays around the corner I turn a new leaf/I have to take a short vacation from knocking out teeth.” He also flexes his multi-languages by throwing in some Spanish for additional style. This song is just all around fun…
*89.3 FM is the station where I eventually got my start in radio for my Time Travel Radio Show. It was a key resource for helping people in Chicago discover and experience Underground Hip Hop thru out the 80s and 90s.
UPDATE 2-20-13: I recently have interviewed the Busy Boys!! I'll be posting up the interview soon, but in the meantime, be aware they have recently reconnected to make new music and will be dropping soon, titled "Life After B Boy". Album Cover below: