Cold Crush Brothers...32nd anniversary (My hip hop summer pt.2)
The Cold Crush Brothers' 32nd anniversary event held at the Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem* happened the other weekend. This was the second event of my "hip hop summer holiday!" (The first being the Crotona Park Tools of War True School jam.)
|Cold Crush 32nd Anniversary show|
|JDL, Easy AD and Grandmaster Caz, left to right (DJ Tony Tone out of shot)|
This media of this event was tightly controlled to protect the Cold Crush's copyrights. As Caz says, "We do this for a living!" So I respected that and didn't film the main show. But I did take some pictures and put together a stop-motion video of DJ Jazzy Jay below.
For a taste of the Cold Crush stage show during its 80s heyday check out this TV clip from BBC's "Beat This: Hip Hop History."
Nuff respect The Cold Crush were influential to rap stars like Doug e Fresh, Run DMC, Big Daddy Kane and others. Tonight, DMC (aka Daryl McDaniels of Run DMC) strolled in wearing white on white adidas shelltoes without an entourage. When he heard Bambaataa was in the house DMC told a story of listening to tapes of the parties when he was a kid in Queens and freaking out over the echo chamber sounds effects - "Deeeeee Jaaaaaay Afrikaa...kaaa Bambaataa...aataa..." Look at him now. Rap grand pupa!
As they warmed up the crowd the Cold Crush told stories about their history and how they concocted their routines. Little did I know the U.K.'s David Essex had a role to play in this!
|DMC of Run DMC|
Big Daddy Kane still looked dapper in his Cazals as he shouted out Cold Crush and rocked three of his biggest joints (Set It Off, RAW, Smooth Operator) much to the crowd's approval. D-Nice from BDP (Boogie Down Productions) stood in the wings as Kane talked about going to a cocktail party that afternoon with D-Nice...even the Big Daddy thought that was partying too hard...cocktails at 5pm!
|Big Daddy Kane settles in|
I went to snap pics of Bambaataa, Universal Zulu Nation founder and leader. As I got a dope pose of Bam' in his sci-fi shades, Ice T rolled in. I let my shutter go wild getting photos of Ice T and Afrika Bambaata conversing. Weessssside!
|Ice T (left) and Afrika Bambaataa (center,) Universal Zulu Nation|
Other hip hop founding fathers in the house were DJs Jazzy Jay, Grand Wizzard Theodore (inventor of scratching) and I even saw one of the Fearless Four in full on branded t-shirt. From the 80s DJ Red Alert (98.7 Kiss FM) was in the house and from the 90s was DJ Scratch (EPMD.)
|DJ Red Alert and DJ Jazzy Jay|
|DJ Scratch and DJ Grand Wizzard Theodore|
This was a not-to-be missed event, although it has to be said, sometimes the documenting of this historic event kept the paying fans from getting the best view. For me, there hasn't been a place where so many hip hop heroes have congregated since the New Music Seminar events in the late 80s.
Big shout to Dr. Shaka Zulu of the Zulu Nation, Mrs. Grandmaster Caz, of the Hip Hop and "Mr. Afroman" who showed me love.
* Not to be confused with the National Museum of Hip Hop!
Back story The Cold Crush story is a classic tale of recognized, but unrewarded, heroes of hip hop. In the early days Cold Crush were courted by record labels, but fought hard to avoid shady record label people (Tribe Called Quest's rule #4080.) Big shout out to Sylvia Robinson of Sugar Hill Records.
Other more respectable deals from Def Jam and others came knocking, but the commercials weren't quite right. In the meantime, ever-evolving rap was changing. Sampling was beginning to be frowned upon by the Cold Crush's record label which seems to be the death nail in Cold Crush's ambitions to benefit from the rap phenomenon they helped create.
Hip hop history If you don't know the Cold Crush you should check out some of their tunes. They were pioneers of showmanship, some of which was captured in the classic film, Wild Style, and the BBC documentary video above.
My favorite tune in my collection is "Fresh, Wild, Fly and Bold" on Profile Records. The beats, the horns and cabasa percussion!