Classic record labels: Wild Pitch Records

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Wild Pitch Records
Original contact info:
333 East 43rd Street
New York, NY
10017
212-687 1817

Created in 1985 by Stu Fine, Wild Pitch was a label that guaranteed a rugged underground sound from every album & 12″ single released. It boasted a classic artist roster of Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth, Gang Starr, Chill Rob G & Main Source. Around 1991 the label was boosted by securing a distribution deal with EMI & they went on to add The UMC’s, Ultramagnetic MC’s, The Coup, Hard Knocks, Superlover Cee & Casanova Rud & O.C.

The majority of the 12″ singles are now collectors items. As for the albums, Lord Finesse’s “Funky Technician”(1990) & Gang Starr’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy”(1989), as sparse sounding as they are, are must haves for anyone who loves hip hop from the 89/90 era. It’s “Breaking Atoms”(1991) by Main Source that is probably the most sought after & talked about album released by Wild Pitch. It was full of hard beats, jazzy samples, each track has a diversity to it & showcases Large Professor’s production skills to the maximum.

Back to the 12” singles, the Flavor Unit’s Chill Rob G had the B-Side of his New York radio hit “Court Is In Session”, “Let The Words Flow” sampled without permission. In 1989, the acapella version of his song was sampled illegally by the German pop-dance crew “Snap!” in their hit record “The Power”. The song gained popularity in Europe & Snap! recruited former US soldier Durron Butler/Turbo B to record a new version of the song, rather than continue lip-syncing the original Chill Rob G lyrics because Arista records (Snap!’s label) could not use them, due to copyright. It was this version that was subsequently used and promoted as Snap!’s official version. Chill Rob G responded by recording his own version “The Power” using an almost identical music backing to what Snap! had used, which Wild Pitch released in 1990.

The ’91 distribution deal with EMI was expected to catapult Wild Pitch into the big time of Hip Hop, but it never really materialized. Even with signing legends Ultramagnetic MC’s & Superlover Cee & Casanova Rud in ’93, the label seemed to lose the popularity that it had when it was independent. Little success came from acts like female rapper N-Tyce, Hard Knocks, Brokin English Klik, Street Military & the underrated Oakland based group The Coup. The UMC’s went through a dramatic transformation from the almost hippy like first album image, to a hardcore style on the second album. It’s rumored that EMI put Wild Pitch under heavy pressure to put their music out in a certain way & have control over artistic impression of their acts.

Things began to look up in ’94 when MC Serch brought O.C. to the attention of Wild Pitch. He was signed up & released the classic single “Time’s Up”, followed by an underground classic album “Word…Life”. Also that year Main Source released their second album “Fuck What You Think”, minus Large Professor (who had gone solo), but with Mikey D on vocals instead. The album was eventually shelved when the group broke up not long after the release.

With less artists & less releases coming out, EMI ended the distribution deal & Wild Pitch as a label was no more. The label’s back catalogue was eventually acquired by Jay Faires, who tried to reactivate it as part of his short-lived JCOR Entertainment label. Faires re-released some of the label’s catalogue on April 22, 2008, through Fontana Distribution as the majority of its albums had been released in the early 1990’s and was out of print, just as were the 12″ singles.
(Rich Unique)

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Wild Pitch Records Hip Hop 12″ & album discography @ Discogs here

Classic record labels: Fresh Records

Fresh Records
Original contact info:
1974 Broadway
New York, NY 10023
USA

Founded in 1985 by Wiliam Socolov, the now out of business Fresh Records was a New York City based independent record label that was operational from 1985 to 1992. The label was a subsidiary of Sleeping Bag Records that focused on hip hop, as opposed to house music. The artist roster included EPMD, Nice & Smooth, Just-Ice, Stezo, T La Rock & house music producer Todd Terry.

One of the most memorable things about the releases was that side A & B was replaced by X & Y.

Producer Mantronik, in addition to being the musician of the hip-hop duo Mantronix (signed to the parent label, Sleeping Bag Records), did A&R for both labels. Strange that Cash Money & Marvelous were signed to Sleeping Bag, being as they were a hip hop act. MC EZ, who went on to rename himself Craig Mack made his debut on Fresh. EPMD’s track “Please Listen To My Demo” from their 2nd album Unfinished Business, describes the story of the duo signing for the label.

After both Fresh & Sleeping Bag closed in 1991, the back catalogue remained dormant for several years. 1996 saw the catalogue get purchased by Warlock Records who have re-released its titles with the Fresh and Sleeping Bag Records logos alongside the Warlock Records badge. However, the rights of the EPMD albums Strictly Business and Unfinished Business, and Nice & Smooth’s self-titled album were acquired by Priority/EMI Records shortly after Sleeping Bag ceased operations.

2006 saw the Traffic Entertainment Group release new versions of the classic albums in Fresh’s catalogue with their original artwork intact. Traffic have also acquired the rights to many other back catalogues of defunct old hip hop labels.

In the 1990s, the building in Manhattan Broadway, where Fresh and Sleeping Bag Records was located in was torn down to make way for a luxury apartment building that still stands now. Nevertheless, the yellow & black labelled vinyl still remains a part of hip hop history.
(Rich Unique)

Fresh Records discography at Discogs here

Black Pegasus Music


Black Pegasus Music

Black Pegasus Music is an up and coming independent Chicago based record label, founded by DJ and Producer Marc Davis.

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Chicago veteran record collector, DJ, producer and owner of independent record label Black Pegasus Music has been involved in the music industry for over two decades. Marc first got his start as an admirer of the DJ culture in the early 80’s listening and watching neighborhood legends Chico Frye, Steve “Silk” Hurley, and Eric “E.T.” Taylor. This gave Marc the confidence to get his own set of turntables and start shopping for records at Imports and Loop Record’s. Marc became a heavyweight in collecting records purchasing soulful disco, electronica, Jazz, rare funk, afro beat, latin and Brazilian records. This is right around the time Marc linked up with child hood friend Dion Wilson pka NO ID (JayZ, Common, Kanye West Fame) and started practicing his DJ skills and getting his first look into music production. No ID schooled Marc in the art of sampling rare grooves and obscure drum breaks.

Since then Marc has been off to the races recording on various record labels such as Robbins Entertainment/BMG (Savior), Oxygen Music Works/Pinacle (Toot Toot), Skint Records/Sony (Toot Toot), Launch Pad/Topplers (I am the One). He has recorded with a slew of artists from Kool Keith (Ultramagnetic/Dr. Octagon fame) to Roz Nash of Groove Collective. His music has been remixed by the likes of Kurtis Mantronix, Ashley Beedle’s Xpress 3, Fat Boy slim, to Albert Cabrera’s Latin Rascals.

As a mobile DJ, Marc has been able to perform gigs both domestically and internationally. He has played in Cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco, Los Angelos , London, Nottingham, Wales, Birmingham, Dresden, Berlin, Hamburg, Paris, Zurich, Geneva, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Helsinki, Stockholm, Gotenburg, Copenhagen, Oslo, and others.

In 2006 Marc created Black Pegasus record label. Black Pegasus is an eclectic imprint releasing underground hip hop, soulful disco, afro & brazilian beats. The first release was a self produced funky House single Trust In Me/Mechanical Melody. The record was well received in European and USA clubs but because of lack luster distribution the potential was not maximized.

In 2010 Marc closed a worldwide distribution deal with Cross Talk and began releasing underground hip hop through Black Pegasus. The next 4 releases included UltraMagnetic Foundation “Ultra Laboratory Stories LP,” East Of The Rock “Galaxy Rays Ep”, Fully G “There She Goes Again “single, MF 911 “The Ruckus EP”
(Marc Davis bio courtesy of the Black Pegasus Music blogspot)

Discography:
Marc Davis – Trust In Me (12″ BP01) 2006
East Of The Rock – Galaxy Rays EP (EP BP-02) 2010
Fully G – There She Goes Again (12″ BP-03) 2011
Ultramagnetic Foundation – Ultra Laboratory Stories (CD BPCD-04) 2010
Ultramagnetic Foundation – Ultra Laboratory Stories (2xLP, Album BPLP01) 2010




Next move for Marc is to oversee a vinyl release by “MF911”. Back in 1993 the crew released their promo LP “Idol The Bloodsport” on Next Plateau Records. More than half of the LP tracks were produced by Ced Gee. With the integration of Next Plateau to Mercury a couple of good tracks recorded in ’95/’96 got lost.

Now Black Pegasus Music will make them available and you should really check “The Rukus EP” out. Coming soon!

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Track list:
A1: Come On
A2: Indian Tents
A3: We Bring The Rukus
A4: Real Live Shit
A5: Last Man Standing
B1: The Burner
B2: 45’s & 38’s
B3: Fairplay
B4: The Rukus
B5: 1970

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Visit the Black Pegasus Music blogspot here
Visit Black Pegasus Music @ YouTube here
Peep out the Ultramagnetic Foundation album review here

Classic label profile: Cold Chillin’ Records

Cold Chillin’ Records.

Cold Chillin’ Records was a record label that released some timeless classics & in the “golden age” of Hip Hop from the late 80’s to the early 90’s. This producer-and-crew label founded by manager Tyrone Williams and run by Len Fichtelberg saw most of the label’s releases from members of the “Juice Crew”, a group of artists centred around producer Marley Marl.

Not all the crew members got deals with the label such as Craig G who signed to Atlantic. Artists who were signed & who to this day remain as Hip Hop legends are Big Daddy Kane, Kool G. Rap, Roxanne Shante, Master Ace & Biz Markie. Other artists include Biz Markie’s cousin Grand Imperial Diamond Shell & The Genius, better known as The GZA from Wu-Tang Clan.

Initially, Cold Chillin’ was a subsidiary of Prism Records (founded by Fichtelberg in 1979), but label head Tyrone Williams and Fichtelberg decided to merge their companies and Prism became Cold Chillin’ Records. In 1988 it signed a 5 year distribution deal with Warner Bros. Records which ran for its full duration & Prism closed in ’89. When Kool G. Rap & D.J. Polo’s third album, “Live And Let Die” was rejected by Warner Bros. by parent company Time Warner, Cold Chillin’ opted to distribute the album independently.

Their short-lived distribution deal with the Epic Street division of Epic Records saw Cold Chillin’ only get two albums by the label, Kool G Rap’s “4,5,6” (1995) & Grand Daddy I.U’s “Lead Pipe” (1994).

Cold Chillin’ also formed a sub-label named “Livin’ Large”, which released Roxanne Shanté’s and YZ’s second albums along with several titles by other artists including Big Daddy Kane’s dancers Scoob & Scrap. These were distributed by former Warner Bros. subsidiary Tommy Boy Records as part of its deal with Warner & Epic Records.

After it’s closure in 1998 the rights to the Cold Chillin’ catalogue (including the Prism catalogue) were granted to LandSpeed Records. 2006 saw LandSpeed reactivate Cold Chillin’ & they started releasing new versions of the classic albums in Cold Chillin’s catalogue with their original artwork to preserve history.

The Pink & Light Blue labels along with the original Prism artwork will have it’s legacy forever imbedded in the world of Hip Hop & always remind all of the golden era in which it existed.
(Rich Unique)

Cold Chillin’ album discography

1987

M.C. Shan—Down by Law

1988

Big Daddy Kane—Long Live the Kane
MC Shan—Born to be Wild
Biz Markie—Goin’ Off
Marley Marl—In Control Volume 1

1989

Big Daddy Kane—It’s a Big Daddy Thing
Kool G Rap & DJ Polo—Road to the Riches
Roxanne Shanté—Bad Sister
Biz Markie—The Biz Never Sleeps

1990

Grand Daddy I.U.—Smooth Assassin
Master Ace—Take a Look Around
2 Deep—Honey, That’s Show Biz
Kool G Rap & DJ Polo—Wanted: Dead or Alive
Big Daddy Kane—Taste of Chocolate
M.C. Shan—Play it Again, Shan

1991

Big Daddy Kane—Prince of Darkness
Kid Capri—The Tape
Diamond Shell—The Grand Imperial Diamond Shell
Biz Markie—I Need a Haircut
Marley Marl—In Control, Volume 2: For Your Steering Pleasure
The Genius—Words from the Genius

1992

Kool G Rap & DJ Polo—Live and Let Die
Roxanne Shanté—The Bitch is Back (released on Livin’ Large)
Nubian M.O.B. – Nubian M.O.B.

1993

Big Daddy Kane—Looks Like a Job For…
Biz Markie—All Samples Cleared!
TBTBT—Too Bad to Be True
YZ—The Ghetto’s Been Good to Me (released on Livin’ Large)
T.C.F. Crew—Come & Play with Me

1994

Grand Daddy I.U.—Lead Pipe
King Sun—Strictly Ghetto (released on Livin’ Large)

1995

Kool G Rap—4,5,6