I have been meaning to finish up this blog post for some time, and with the recent tragic news concerning Guru, I wanted to get this out today. Listen to the MP3s, leave a comment if you are so inclined and send some positive vibes Guru’s way.
I have two college friends to thank for my introduction to the Brand New Heavies and specifically, the landmark album, Heavy Rhyme Experience Vol. 1. It was the summer of 1993 and I dropped in on Billy Ray and Brownie’s Brighton Bachelor Pad and was greeted by B. Ray, “Yo, check this out. Hip-hop backed by a live band.” At the time this was revolutionary. He threw on the disk, and I was instantly hooked. I think the first cut he played for me was The Pharcyde’s“Soul Flower”. To say it moved me is an understatement. After leaving their apartment, I made my way to Newbury Comics in two shakes of a rabbit’s tail and had that disk in my Discman before you could say “Boo”. To rap and hip-hop fans, the album now holds legendary status. It features a who’s who of golden-age underground rappers, backed by the tightest, funkiest, band around – The Brand New Heavies. Since this release, there have of course been additional live band/hip-hop collaborations, but nothing like Heavy Rhyme Vol.1. It’s now been 18 years since the release, and all I have to say is, can we PLEASE have a Vol.2?
Brand New Heavies featuring Gang Starr | It’s Getting Hectic
Brand New Heavies featuring The Pharcyde | Soul Flower