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Discussion in 'Music' started by Maximus Meridius, Mar 5, 2019.
Mantronix was an influential 1980s hip hop and electro funk music group from New York City. The band was formed by DJ Kurtis Mantronik (Kurtis el Khaleel) and rapper MC Tee (Touré Embden). The group is primarily remembered for its pioneering blend of old school hip hop, electronic, and club music. They underwent several genre and line-up changes during its seven-year existence between 1984–91, and released five albums beginning with their 1985 debut Mantronix: The Album.
Kurtis Mantronik (Kurtis el Khaleel), a Jamaican-Canadian émigré, began experimenting with electro music in the early 1980s, inspired by early electro tracks like "Riot in Lagos" (1980) by Yellow Magic Orchestra's Ryuichi Sakamoto. In 1984, while working as the in-store DJ for Downtown Records in Manhattan, Kurtis Mantronik met MC Tee, a Haitian-born, Flatbush, Brooklyn-based rapper (and regular record store customer). The duo soon made a demo, "Fresh Is The Word," and eventually signed with William Socolov's Sleeping Bag Records.
Mantronix's debut single, "Fresh Is the Word," was a club hit in 1985, reaching #16 on Billboard Magazine's Hot Dance Singles Sales chart, and was featured on Mantronix: The Album which was released the same year.
Mantronix's efforts on Mantronix: the Album and its effect on early hip hop and electronic music is perhaps best summed up by music critic Omar Willey's observation in 2000:
“ Featuring "Fresh Is the Word" and the new tracks "Bassline" and "Electro Mega-Mix," Mantronix defined the new sound of electro-funk. Mantronik used a polyrhythmic style, similar to West African log drumming, but instead of acoustic drums, the rhythm would be carried by the combination of electronic drums, synthesizer, vocoder and/or synthesized voice over a bass line completely played on the synth. No samples of James Brown here. This was truly electronic music: spare, funky and immensely danceable, an homage and simultaneous extension of old-school hip hop's electronic template that had started with "Planet Rock" in 1982. The feeling of Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, Kraftwerk and Neu all combined in Mantronik's music. It was a neat tie between old-school and new jack, and Mantronix had the field to themselves. ”
The influence of Mantronix: The Album is seen among other artists through the sampling of "Needle to the Groove" by Beck in the single "Where It's At" from the 1996 album, Odelay ("we've got two turntables and a microphone..."), as well as, "Fresh Is The Word" by the Beastie Boys in the single "Jimmy James" from the 1992 album, Check Your Head ("for all the Blacks, Puerto Ricans, and the White people too...") The Beastie Boys later sampled "Bassline" for the song "3 the Hard Way" on their 2004 album To the 5 Boroughs.
Mantronix's second album, Music Madness, was released in 1986. While MC Tee's rhyming style on the album continued in the traditional b-boy fashion of the times, Mantronik's club-oriented production and mixing in Music Madness tended to attract more electronic dance music and electro funk aficionados than hardcore hip-hop fans. During this period, while Mantronix was signed to Sleeping Bag Records, Mantronik was employed by the label in their A&R Department, while also producing other artists and groups, including Just-Ice, T La Rock, Nocera, and Joyce Sims.
Mantronix signed with Capitol Records in 1987, in what was one of the first 7-figure deals for a hip-hop group, and released In Full Effect in 1988, which, according to the liner notes, was the first album to be mastered from DAT instead of reel-to-reel tape. The album continued in and expanded on the hip-hop/electro funk/dance music vein of its predecessor, eventually reaching No. 18 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, Mantronix's highest showing for an album. In Full Effect marked the last Mantronix album with rapper MC Tee, who left the group to enlist in the United States Air Force.
Mantronix's 1988 track "King of the Beats" was one of the first songs to sample the Amen break. "King of the Beats" itself became one of the most sampled songs in music history, having been sampled more than 200 times, rivaling that of "Amen, Brother" itself.
Following the departure of MC Tee, rapper Bryce "Luvah" Wilson and Mantronik's cousin, D.J. D., joined the group. Mantronik met Wilson, a fellow Sleeping Bag Records label mate, while doing production work for Wilson's aborted solo project.
The album spawned two top-10 hits on the British singles chart, "Got to Have Your Love" at No. 4, and "Take Your Time (featuring vocalist Wondress)" at No. 10. In the United States, the album reached No. 61 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
In a 1991 interview, Kurtis Mantronik commented on the commercial success of "Got to Have Your Love":
“ When I did "Got To Have Your Love", I did it for a reason. I did it because I wanted to get a song on the radio. ”
That is the same Bryce Wilson who would go on to do Groove Theory....
A few Joyce Sims joints he produced...
This might be more of a freestyle record
This was a Top 10 R&B joint
Oh **** I'm hype for this
That soft pink matter
Cotton candy, Majin Buu oh, oh, oh
These have become damn near nightly listens
About to work backwards and see what gems y'all have putting up.
Ciara's new album is eh. Starts off decent falls off fast. I love her voice on the first song; it sounds so sweet.
IS IT JUST INNNN FAAAAA TUUUUUU AAAAA SSSHHHHHH UUUU NNNNN
I've never been a big Ciara fan. Voice is weak, she'll have a couple joints on her albums though
Really enjoying Ari Lennox album
Always loved that break at :17 or so.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Wonder
Love this song.
A music god
He just threw Mike a classic record. It was too easy for him.
This song reminds me of the movie Spawn.