Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Mr Freeze - How Many DJ's

Mr Freeze - How Many DJ's (Joker Records, 1998)

Mr Freeze was a one off alias used by Bizzy B & Pugwash AKA The Dream Team for this release on their own Joker Records in 1998. The name was part of a series of pseudonyms which played off the name of the label as they were based on villains from Batman with other examples being The Riddler, The Penguin and The Scarecrow.

'How Many DJ's' exemplifies their hip-hop heavy production style, starting off with the synth from the beginning of The Fearless Four's 'Rockin It', a track whose backing was performed by Pumpkin. He was replaying the main riff from 'Man Machine' by Kraftwerk as The Fearless Four's Devastating Tito recalls in this interview:

"He listened to Machine Man which was more electronic and he turned it in to the piano sound... So he kept that riff going and it was almost like infectious!."

Kraftwerk were a huge influence on early hip-hop and electro artists with another well known example being Africa Bambaataa and The Soulsonic Force's 'Planet Rock' which borrows the melody from 'Trans-Europe Express'. As Carl Craig said regarding Kraftwerk: "They were so stiff, they were funky". The 'Rockin It' riff has also been used by several other hip-hop artists including MC Lyte on 'Cha Cha Cha' and Jay-Z's Foxy Brown featuring 'Sunshine'.

Bizzy B & Pugwash also sample KRS-One's "How many MCs must get dissed" line from Boogie Down Production's 'My Philosophy', replacing "MCs" with "DJs". At the time their tunes were not getting a huge amount of support from the big DJs so this may be a pointed reference to the lack of play they were receiving. The drop brings in a typically bouncy jump-up bassline over a basic two-step beat for a tune which sums up Joker's philosophy as stated by Pugwash to Knowledge Magazine in 1997: "I used to go out raving all the time and loved jumping about, so now I like to make tunes to make people bruck out and have a good time".

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