Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Rod Lee - Vol. 2: Operation Not Done Yet (Club Kingz/Morphius Urban)

In 2005, after Morphius released Rod Lee's first nationally distributed album, Vol. 5: The Official, and brought both himself and Baltimore club music unprecedented national attention, they announced plans to reissue the first 4 volumes in the same series that had been previously available only locally. And they did re-release the first, Operation: Start-Up, later that year, and I believe I got a press kit that stated the other three would be out in 2006. But that year came and went, and Rod Lee's next album of new material, last year's The Producer, came out on Unruly Records, leading me to wonder if he wasn't working with Morphius anymore and the other albums would remain out of print.

So I was a little surprised to see Operation Not Done Yet, with the new reissue artwork, on the shelf at the Sound Garden recently (there is an error on the new version's tracklisting, where the song "Best Friend" by the R&B singer Property is listed as being a song called "Property" by Best Friend). The page for it on the Morphius website, which has been up for a long time and has an mp3 of the awesome "Mind Ya Biznezz (RMX)", still says 'Not Yet Available,' but hey, it's at least in some stores now even if you can't buy it online yet. I've still got a copy of the original 2002 version of the CD (Vol. 3 is the only one in the series that I've never been able to find), and it's maybe my favorite of Rod's albums, just a great selection from one of my favorite eras of Baltimore club, 75% Rod Lee's own tracks, with a few others by DJ Technics, K.W. Griff and Dukeyman. Rod's MySpace page features the cover of his next album of new material, Vol 7: Club Armageddon, so I guess that's coming soon. And I'm still waiting for his new Club Kingz record store on Park Avenue to open, I keep passing by there and as far as I can tell it's not open for business yet, anyone know for sure?

Dukeyman - "Rock Wilder" (mp3)
This is a track that I've always been vaguely fascinated by, because so often Baltimore club tracks sample the most obvious hook from a popular song, but now and then, a producer grabs some seemingly random little snatch of a song and loops it in an intriguing way. In this case, Dukeyman took the very beginning of "Let's Get It," the Diddy/G-Dep/Black Rob song that was out at the time, where Black Rob says the name of the track's producer, Rockwilder, in a real weird mumbly way, an Al Green sample comes in, and then there's a big thick organ line. It's a totally strange, counterintuitive choice to sample that moment, of all the different parts of that song, for a dance track, but Dukeyman makes it work.

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