Monday, December 12, 2005

Best MC Behind the Boards: Lord Finesse

Gaining pounds

Illegal "On Da Mic (Feat. AG and Lord Finesse)"
from The Untold Truth, 1993
DJ Cam: "Broadcasting Live (Lord Finesse Remix)"
from Abstract Manifesto, 1996
Peanut Butter Wolf: "Run the Line (Remix)"
from Definition of Ill, 2004 1998 (thx, Tired & Broke)

When the subject of "Best Producer on the Mic" comes up, names like Diamond D, RZA, and Large Pro tend to dominate the number one spot (no ghostwriters allowed...Dr. Dre, Pete Rock, and Kanye are automatically disqualified). Flip it around, and you've got a new list: The Best MC Behind the Boards. Producers who are primarily MCs that get busy with the SP are many, but few have become equally known for their production work. Lord Finesse's legacy is now equal parts memorable basslines and punchlines thanks to his work in and out of the DITC crew.

It's no secret that the funky technician laced the end tracks for both "Ready To Die" and "The Chronic 2000," or that practically half of Big L's "Lifestylez..." was his production work. But looking at it in retrospective, it's pretty amazing, particularly since the bulk of his production resume consists of one-off remixes for a ton of underground acts (see the discography).

Manifest Destiny serves up three lesser-heard Lord Finesse productions that represent the scope of his work. First up is the piece he did for kiddie-gangstaz Illegal. Rolling thick bassine, check. Fly horns sprinkled on the chorus, check. DITC ally on the guest spot? Check.

How great is Finesse's production work? Great enough to make even French rappers Channel Live sound nice. DJ Cam enlisted the work of the Bronx architect on his "Broadcasting Live" joint.

Finally, the Lord Finesse sticks to his audio blueprint on the remix of Peanut Butter Wolf's "Run the Line." I'll be the first to admit that I'm a rap nostalgist to the core, but this formula is essential DITC and rarely gets tired, even 10 years after its apex in the hip-hop soundscape.

Extrablogicular Reading
Lord Finesse's own production credits page
Diggin in the Japanese Crates: Vinyl Addicts incredible post about Japanese DITC exclusives

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Technical Difficulties

Please pardon the broken links everywhere while my audio and graphic server is undergoing a domain name change. Back in effect shortly...