Thursday, August 03, 2006
The Best Of Both Worlds, part 7: Rod Lee
A more detailed examination of the music discussed in my Baltimore City Paper article about the crossover between Baltimore club music and hip hop.
Rod Lee is obviously a hugely important figure in both Bmore club and local hip hop. He's had the clubs on smash since the mid-late 90's, and ever since 2000 when he started doing songs with Tim Trees and Pork Chop, he's been making hits for every other rapper and R&B singer in Baltimore and jump-starting the careers of folks like Bossman and Paula Campbell. A couple years ago, it was common to say that a local artist couldn't get a song on 92Q without a beat from Rod Lee, and while that's no longer as true, which is generally to the benefit of the scene's diversity, he's still running shit. The latest single on the radio that he produced is Cooli Hi's "Take Down (Unruly's Harm Squad Mix)", which is featured on the City Paper's Big Music Thing
This article was the 2nd time I tried to get an interview with Rod, and unfortunately he's the only guy I didn't get to talk to. I called a couple times, and when I got him on the line he kinda blew me off and told me to call back the next week, which happened to be after my deadline. I've heard that he's been kinda press-shy since a couple publications aired out some of his personal business. But I dunno, maybe he was just busy, so I won't hold it against him, because I'm still a real big fan of his music. And he's still killing it on the club tip, with last year's Vol. 5: The Official and the reissue of Operation: Start-Up. This year, Morphius is reissuing the rest of his older albums, including my personal favorites Operation: Not Done Yet and Vol. 3: The Pressure. And he's got a new album coming out, but I have no idea what it's called; Morphius says it's called The Referee, the insert in the Supa DJ Big L CD says it's called The Game, and in SPIN last year he said it's called The Producer, so who knows.
Little Clayway f/ Rod Lee - "Call Me Clayway" (mp3)
I remember the first time I got the sense that Rod was kind of a big deal around here beyond just the club tracks was about 4 years ago when Clayway was on Rap Attack around the time this song came out, and they were acting all like "damn, you got a beat from Rod Lee? You must have a big budget." You can see the video for the song here.
Nature's Problem - "Shake It Shorty" (mp3)
Another one from back in '02, couldn't go 5 minutes without hearing this or "Whoa Now" on the radio that summer. Nature's Problem was Huli Shallone's group back in the day before he went solo, one of these days I'm gonna do a post about their old albums.
Tyree Colion - "Big Pimpin'" (mp3)
Shout out to Tyree, I don't know what the latest on his legal situation is but I hope things work out for him. This is a track from The Problem and the Solution, I remember hearing another Tyree/Rod Lee collabo on the radio last year, and I've heard differing reports on whether Rod produced Tyree's big hit "Bass Drop" but I have no idea if he did or not.
Scola f/ Rod Lee - “Turn It Down" (mp3)
Scola, aka Ruscola, the 5th member of Dru Hill, came back on the solo tip with this joint pretty recently. This is the original version, but there's also a remix with Bossman and Dollars from N.E.K. out there, and lately I've been hearing another version with some live drums on there.
Also in this series:
The Best Of Both Worlds, part 1: The "Think" Break
The Best Of Both Worlds, part 2: Blaq Starr
The Best Of Both Worlds, part 3: Dukeyman
The Best Of Both Worlds, part 4: DJ Ron Rico
The Best Of Both Worlds, part 5: DJ Booman
The Best Of Both Worlds, part 6: Nigga Say What a.k.a. Say Wut
The Best Of Both Worlds, part 8: Debonair Samir