Growing up in Tel-Aviv I got all my Hip-Hop knowledge, and listened to some of my earliest rap music, through my older brother. My older brother Anton would bring in some of the newest albums from the United States. Some of these albums had such amazing covers wetting my appetite further to pop in the tape. One example is 2 Live Crew’s magnum opus As Nasty As They Wanna Be, where I was blown away by the four group members looking at us waist up on the front cover. Hovering over each member are scantily clad black women wearing bikinis, note the second from the left with no top!, showing us exactly what we’re getting into. I knew that these guys were cool and their sound was gonna be some next level shit. This was running through my mind in Israel, listening to 2 Live Crew during the First Gulf War, Far Out!!! It’s different hearing the song “Me So Horney” with my brother right before the alarms went off, under the threat that at any time we would have to run to our sealed room and put on our gas masks. Oh, the good ol’ days.
After moving to the United States and relocating to New Haven, Connecticut in 1992 my influences began to steadily change. by the time I reached High School, and through my experiences, my crew of hardcore listeners each opened my mind to new music and sounds. Each member of my crew had his own specialty of the house when it came to the influences and types of music I heard. My boy Dan would drop the old school gems and re-educate me on the fast rap and old school stylings of Rakim, Steezo, Kool G Rap, Masta Ace, and the mythical murderer Big Daddy Kane. My boy Jared would hook me up with the most obscure and bizarre music that seemed to be from the nether regions of outer space. He schooled me on the sounds of such groups as Orb, Orbital, the insanely fascinating drones of Portishead, and Massive Attack, and of course everyone’s favorite Aphex Twin. My older brother still hooked me up, but there was an even distribution.
My boy Paul is the one who would school me on the old school, but he ushered me into the underground with such hits as Company Flow, and all the up and comers. Another great plus is the fact that we both went to the same College, Purchase College, until we were dejected in the middle of our Junior year. However, towards the end of my Freshman year and my sophomore year, I would always mozzie on down to Paul’s room and he would say….”Hey, I got a new album so listen, light it up, and relax cause it’s a two-man listening party.
You can see by the lovely facade that Purchase College (Or Poor-choice as the T-shirts read) somewhat resembles a prison, so we needed to veer far away from this under siege mentality.
One day, I walked into Paul’s room and it was another listening party. Enthusiastically I asked, what’s on the menu? After a short pause, as Paul never answers redundant questions, he turned with a smile and said, “Spontaneous.” He meant the we were about to embark on a journey through the slept on masterpiece by Spontaneous titled, Spur of the Moment Musik. The “K” gave it an extra crisp pronunciation because once you start, you can’t escape the excellence.
Originally from Chicago, MC Spontaneous paid his dues in Los Angeles’s underground hip-hop scene. This scene is very important due to the many independent performers coming from these venues and into the spotlight. He was signed to the indie label Goodvibe Recordings, which included such underground luminaries as Slum Village, Bahamadia, CHOPS, and Declaime’s alter ego known as Dudley Perkins. But, it was Spontaneous who blew it all away with the release of his full length album in the dawn of the new millennium, 2000.
The album’s introduction sounds like a collective chanting atop a mountain, calling for the man, the myth as they chant “Spontaneous.” He also penetrates their chants with his own bravado telling the listener, while using a beat sampling Georges Bizet’s Habenera From Carmen, in his high-pitched voice that “Everywhere I go I bust…….Mics! Hush Hush Hmmm, quiet in my room before I turn your style into dust.” Hence we have begun with the “Spontaneous Anthem.”
and then we hear the announcement of the coming of the album and this new breed of MC, unknown to us in the lower regions of earth-land. “And now ladies and gentlemen” as we hear the announcer ready us for the next move, and then it hits hard like a nail in the coffin. It goes right into the next track, the titles track, “Spur of the Moment” where he uses a futuristic sounding sample of Beethoven’s opening to his 5th Symphony. The chutzpah of this guy likening himself to the masters of orchestras past, but not that distant from modern-day overtures. For example, if you read the RZA’s rationale for hiding the new Wu-Tang album, while waiting for a high bidder to shell out the millions for posterity’s sake. But, the RZA pointed out that he wanted to raise the caliber of the music by selling it as a bona-fide masterpiece.
Spur of the Moment Musik is an interesting title as it seems like the sheer antithesis of the entire album. Listening to its entirety it feels that this was all planned, constructed, and put together in such a crafted fashion that there are few weak links of music. This is further solidified with the fact that Spontaneous produced all the music, so all the future outer scope beeps all came from his brain matter. On fine example is the track “Touch This” where it starts with these beeps, as he changes the tempo back and forth, while rapping on the faulty and fraudulent posturing by the new crop of wannabe rappers, a la 2000.
He says it all with the hook by warning all these rappers that they don’t even exist on his plane of existence. He weaves you into his dissing factory by side lining this pedestrians saying “Get up out my face baby you can’t touch this, cause this shit is hip-hop, I don’t know what your shit is.” and then he makes it more clear by saying, “Get up out my face baby you can’t touch this, if your shit’s hip-hop than I’m on some other shit.” Stay on earth for amateur hour because Spontaneous is holding open mic nights in the Milky Way.
He is far from bashful and full of confidence when proclaiming his supremacy over the wack MC’s in the game. Tracks like “Disco Technology” and “Next School MCs” are great tirades on his true devotion to the craft while using the traditional rhyme scheme of braggadocio and boasting.
Another interesting feat of the album is the multifaceted use of various MCs spanning the human map. There are MCs from the West coast, in the form of Tash from the Liks and Xzibit, East Coast Mc’s like the pioneer Kurtis Blow and Rock from the Heltah Skeltah crew, as well as Saukrates from Canada. Regardless of the mixed backgrounds each track with them is stellar in its own way. One fine example is the track with Xzibit and Saukrates titled “Reprezen’n.” The track begins with an eerie awakening while we weave through Saukrates and his rhymes, then Spontaneous gives a preview to his lyrics while gliding into the one word chorus, and then Spontaneous comes hard with his opening slavo….”Walk in the present with a rapper from the future, High off oxygen stoned like medusa, hand of engineers, writers, and producers, Spur of the moment hit you with shit you ain’t used to.” Quite an overview as this is only the third track on the album.
Another interesting segment is his “Mama Why They Try Da Mick Me” skit (and note that it’s spelled Mick, but he says mock), which leads into the next track with Rock.
He goes through his chorus to the next track “Quiet On Da Set” (Oh the good old days where this was always dis) asking the laughing crowd, “Why are they mocking me?” Interestingly enough he would know about these impromptu performances in the various clubs, coffee shops, and other venues for the underground hip-hop artists in California. He probably got plenty of grief as the crowds would chat during his early sets. However, on the album he extols himself while holding the power over the crowd.
“Ain’t nobody talking when I’m talking see” he screams with his high frequency decibels.
The album is another example of the lost ark of gems in the realm of rap music. There are plenty more, and the introduction was laid out in order to show that influences were, and remain, very important. Although the way people speak to each other about new rap releases is in the virtual world. The nostalgia of hitting up a record store with friends, spinning and testing records for hours, while debating with friends and strangers about the new and unheard unknowns, or as Donald Rumsfeld said, the known unknown MC’s of the underground.
Just like the swivel over Spontaneous’s face on the cover, we are taken for a twist and turn through the mind of Spontaneous and Spur of the Moment Musik.
And an extra shout out to my boys – Paul, Dan, Jared, Drew, and of course Paul. Holler…..
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