I’M INTERCONTINENTAL WHEN I EAT FRENCH TOAST

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Rap, like all music, knows no bounds. The Sugarhill Gang scored a world-wide success in 1979 with “Rapper’s Delight” (climbing into the Billboard Top 10 in the UK) and soon after that electro-funk became an underground phenomena at choice clubs in Europe. From the beginning, as quickly as new sounds were created they were to be heard overseas, remixed, returned, and again recycled by their native tongues. French-Algerian Bernard Zekri (below left) who would throw a succession of transcontinental boomerangs with pioneering rap legends Afrika Bambaataa (below right) and Fab 5 Freddy to further spread the seed of hip hop.

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Zekri was an aspiring epicurean journalist who while moonlighting as a waiter in midtown Manhattan came to know Bam and some of his Bronx based B-Boys. As a result of their meeting, he organized the first European hip hop tour, “New York City Rap Tour”, which was sponsored by the French radio station Europe1 and featured a gang of old school legends. Teddy Esposito, Artistic Director for French American Celluloid Records at that time, caught the event:

“I was watching the television and there was an announcer who said, “Here it is, from the U.S.A., a new style, it’s super!” “Here are guys who are making music with their records, who rhyme on top of music, and others who spin on their heads.” There was DST on the turntables, Bambaataa doing the beatbox. The Rock Steady Crew (Crazy Legs, Ken Swift, Take 1, Mr. Freeze, Frosty Freeze) break-dancing. There was Fab 5 Freddy and Phase 2 on the microphone and Futura 2000, Phase 2, and Dondi who were painting on panels at the scene. … That concert completely transformed me. I was already passionate because I had been collecting records for two years. But, when I saw the enormous energy of that whole group of guys, I said “That’s me.”

Hmmm, Foreboding…

The collaboration of these 3 disparate forces (Celluloid, Zekri, and The Pioneers) would go on to create many important rap records of that era. Here are 2 of them:

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TIME ZONE- “The Wildstyle” (Celluloid, 1983)

BEESIDE- “Change the Beat [Female Version]” (Celluloid, 1982)

The music on “Wildstyle”, is credited to a German band called Wunderverke. Here is a picture of them in the studio.

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Based on a poorly translated anecdote on the bands site (see above) of the songs recording, it seems as though the track was recorded at the band’s studio in Germany and received a luke warm reception that night from Afrika Bambaataa who took the tapes back to NYC where they were then overdubbed with a vocal track that features Beeside, Zekri’s girlfriend at the time, among others. The track credits Bam and Zekri with the production. It’s interesting to note that the track seems to have featured some sort of an electronic instrument of the band’s own invention. Check it out:

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Here is a historical excerpt from the band’s google-translated website that refers to the devices inception:

“…. the Mr. Franz Knüttel would have been continuously frustrated. As hobby Drummer it always came after one hour of continuous whirling because of lack of concentration from the clock. Thus the question emerged, why there is actually still no machine, to which solch´menschiche weaknesses do not wear anything and which swots precisely nonstop. Answer: Because it is not yet invented!

Ergo had Tüftler Knüttel only unity in the head:

The construction of a all-electronic, pre-programmable Schlagzeugs.” [OH WORD!!!]

I posted the B-Side of “Change The Beat” (Sans Fab 5 Freddy). It again features vocals by Beeside and coming in at under 3:30 it maintains its cute nature without me wondering: “What is she F@$%in’ saying anyway?” Material, a Bill Laswell production, provides the music. Like “The Wildstyle”, it also credits Zekri as a producer.

Stay tuned for more toast…


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3 Comments

  1. chrissy
    Posted January 2, 2007 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Hi Wesley,

    Happy New Year! I liked your toast :))AND “The Wildstyle” by Time Zone. Unfortunately I could not download BEESIDE- “Change the Beat [Female Version]” because the page does not seem to exist, can you re-upload it please?

    Many thanks,
    Chrissy

  2. Posted January 2, 2007 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Chrissy,
    The link is fixed…Bon Apetit!

  3. chrissy
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Great, thanks a lot Wesley!


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