Thursday, November 09, 2006

Basement Crates: Discovery 9

Lakim Shabazz: Getting Fierce (Tuff City, 1988)
There's a theory that we are so inundated with media, so flooded with outlets and opportunites to hear and experience stuff that, very soon, everyone that isn't The Beatles or Elvis will, if they're lucky, have their catalogue boiled down to one song. With footsoldiers like Lakim Shabazz, of course, this all happened years ago.

The title track of his debut album, Pure Righteousness is the only time you ever tend to hear his voice anymore and that's a fairly rare occurence as Shabazz's moment in the sunshine was a pretty brief one.

I bought this album 18 years ago - that's a bit of a shocker to start with - in the HMV shop in Guildford. I had just started working there and found this amid the piles of Godfathers' singles and early acid house gear - of which more later. There wasn't much hip hop to be had in the autumn of 1988, at least, not in Surrey, so we were glad of what we could get, be it My Philosophy or, y'know, the She Rockers.

Anway, listening to Getting Fierce, you're reminded of how Lakim did himself few favours by setting out his style at pretty much the exact point where Big Daddy Kane meets Rakim, but you're also reminded how raw and basic hip hop was. 45 King runs one loop, one brass sample, one vocal sample and a couple of drum sounds (seemingly pilfered from Funky Drummer) under La and that's it. No backing vocals, no scratching, no replayed, um, "licks".

Lakim barely registers on the internet these days - though You Tube has a couple (thanks Steve) and La's not released a record under his own name for sixteen years. I just hope he's out there somewhere, looking after his kids, arguing with the missus, driving a station wagon and trying to make it to the gym, but more often making it to the sofa.

Wherever he is I hope he's still laughing his ass off about the time he wrote a rhyme called The Posse Is Large while wearing a dashiki 'n' kufi combo and pulling a fantastic I'm-A-Serious-Guy face.

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