Time Travel Flashback: AMC Blend Remixes
Early on in doing the show I had the urge to create original content for the show. The show first hit the airwaves on 4/20/95 and it just so happens that ’95 is also the year I produced my last beat. I had become uninspired in one sense and on the other hand I was working with and “sort of” managing Jel’s career and he had quickly become a master of the SP-1200 so I just left all the producing to him and I was fine with that.
I hadn’t yet made that official transition to being a DJ yet either, but I had many years of experience dabbling with it, about a decade worth to be precise. Still, I was using my DJ brain by working closely with then Time Travel resident record spinner, DJ Spank a.k.a Frankie, to put together ideas of mixes for the show.
DJ Spank was a guy from out my way in North Chicago/Waukegan. I was good-friends with his then-girlfriend Brigette ak.a Da Brig, as I liked to call her. She had let me know that Spank had been working in the basement and building his skills and thought I would be a good mentor of sorts to him and suggested I check him out as a possible DJ for the show because DeeJay Bird had recently stopped spinning and the DJ for my crew, Savage Intellect, DJ Dread, had only done a few on-sir sessions, I don’t remember why he stopped. I knew I could have reached out to one of the popular DJs in the city and had a well-known name there, but that’s not the direction I wanted to go. I liked the idea of bringing in an underdog and unknown DJ and letting him get his shine. It would work well for him and it was good for the show, especially if it was recognized that Time Travel is where he got one his early recognizable gigs from, which may or may not have occurred. In any event, it was also convenient having him living so close since I loved to do theme shows and that allowed us to get together and work out ideas fairly easy. In the end, DJ Spank was a great choice. He had a great attitude, was always fun, doing solid DJ work, and was part of some early classic moments on the show.
I said that to say this, in order to plan for the live mix portion of the show I would mess around on the turntables to figure what were the best songs for DJ Spank to add that next week and give him my thoughts and let him build from there. In doing that, I started getting more turntable practice and when in search for original content for the show I thought about doing blend remixes.
Either the first or second one was a remix for DJ Mark The 45 King’s “900 Number” acapella with YZ. I had it on this tape from when it originally dropped, but it only had the acapella and not an actual song version, so for all those years I had never heard it to music. I figured other people might have thought the same thing, so I decided that would be a great piece to start with. DJ Spank and I got together in his basement and spent a few hours piecing this remix together. It was fun and inspirational and so I wanted to do more.
I’m not sure if the T La Rock “Runaway [Time Travel Blend Mix]” came before or after the “900 Number” one. I sort of feel like I did this one with DJ Dread, which would suggest it was done first, but it’s possible I did it with DJ Spank. In either case, one of the hottest underground records of the time was Erule’s “Listen Up” b/w “Synopsis”. “Listen Up” was so powerful I felt the flipside was getting overlooked. Furthermore, most of the talk was about the lyricism, which Erule definitely deserved, but it seemed to also overshadow the excellent production by King Born, so I decided to use the “Synopsis” instrumental for this. It gives “Runaway” a completely different feel. I’m not mad at it today, but I probably wouldn’t do it the same in hindsight. Regardless, it’s got a cool feel to it and features some nice scratch work from either DJ Dread or Spank, I’m leaning more towards Dread now that I hear the cuts again…I guess it could have been Jel also…I think a simple, I just don’t know, is in order…
When Uptown dropped his Tommy Boy 12” in 1989 I was very impressed with it. Particularly the A-Side, “Dope On Plastic”. The rhyming was great and the beat was rugged, courtesy Dante Ross and, Tommy Boy labelmate, CJ Moore of Black By Demand*. As for the B-side, “It’s My Turn”, the rhyming was still on point, but I wasn’t as moved by the beat. When looking for the next project I remade that discovery and wanted to create something that would be more in line with the hardcore essence of “Dope On Plastic”, but still capture that musical element they were going for in the original “It’s My Turn”. I remember trying a few beats, but it wasn’t long before I found the PERFECT match. At this time, Showbiz was one of my favorite producers without a doubt. His drums were the illest and he had this vibe that was gutter raw, but also showcased his appreciation for the musicality of Jazz. Words can’t explain the audible delight when I first blended the “It’s My Turn” acapella with the Showbiz produced, Maestro Fresh Wes “Bring It On Remix”, my brain nearly melted! If you listen closely to the breakdowns and arrangement of the beat and how well it fits the lyrics it almost seems as if the beat was made with the Uptown song in mind. It’s virtually perfect**.
I think these are the only three in the “Time Travel Blend Mix” catalog. The next step was connecting with JEL to do exclusive remixes, which we will explore those in an upcoming addition to our “Time Travel Flashback” Series...
Written By Kevin Beacham aka AMC The Dimensional Doorman
*When I interview DJ Stitches of Class A Felony. He claimed he was heavily involved but un-credited for this Uptown 12”, for production and the scratches. Not exactly sure what he contributed, I should follow up with him on that.
*Admittedly, my amateur scratches in the beginning or nowhere near perfect. I was really just cutting it in to drop it in on time. On don’t think I intended to leave that, but after it blended so well I decided not even to try it again…
- hip hop