KD-046/KD-049 Mad Lion x4 45 Power Pack
Hip-hop’s Jamaican roots reach back to the moment JA expat Clive “Kool Herc” Campbell dropped a few break laden big tunes in his Morris Heights, BX high rise’s community room back in the summer of ’73. But as formal fusions of rap and dancehall go few recordings have set NYC’s streets alight like those that commenced in 1993 via Boogie Down Productions t’cha in residence KRS-One and his gruff-voiced bad man discovery Mad Lion. A gun-talk anthem equally infectious as reckless, “Shoot to Kill” set the template for this inspired team, Lion roaring affections to his firearms in a Mary J. Blige cadence over BDP’s “Black Cop” instrumental. Its KRS-produced ’94 follow-up “Take It Easy” was more slyly menacing, Lion’s rude bwoy stance abetted by ghostly chorus vocals digitally darting around a Yami Bolo sample freed from its original Stalag rhythm. “Double Trouble” and “Carpenter” were similarly bad to di bone, while “Real Lover” (another Mary homage) found Lion briefly breaking from the glock talk, going Uptown (Records) in a rub-a-dub style. Taken together these tracks remain vital – both as everlasting party grooves and documents of a standard setting era for dancehall’s boom-baptism.