Wednesday, 18 September 2013

B-Jam - Funkula


B-Jam - Funkula (DJ Friendly Mix) (No Smoking Records, 1996)

Marley Marl, along with K-Def, produced the vast majority of the first two albums by Lords of the Underground, a trio from Newark, New Jersey consisting of rappers Mr Funke and DoItAll Dupré alongside DJ Lord Jazz. They released two classic albums in the early to mid-nineties - Here Come The Lords (1993) and Keepers Of The Funk (1994). The second of these LPs featured 'Tic Toc' which is the source of the "Ultrafunkula" vocal used on this track by Joe and Tobie Brodie with assistance from Al Massive AKA Alan Clark of Elementz Of Noize.

The original mix came out in 1995 but my preferred version of the tune is the 'DJ Friendly Mix' from the following year. It's not wildly different, but as the name suggests is designed with DJs in mind and starts with a great cut-up of the Think break punctuated by parts of the "Well, I be the funk-ular, ultra-funk-ular, gamma-funk-ular" vocals which are great to cut to when in the mix. This leads into the replayed g-funk melody from Warren G's 'So Many Ways' which opened the original before dropping the stabby reversed bassline. What really makes the track for me though is the sumptuous mid-section which brings in a xylophone melody and double bass that sound like they may have come from 'Tic Toc' but with added strings - a minute of pure bliss. It's possible B-Jam sampled whatever it is Marly Marl used to create that beat but I've yet to find the source, so if anyone has any ideas please let me know (he also used it on World Renown's 'Come Take A Ride'). A great hip-hop sampling jump-up tune given extra depth by that gorgeous breakdown.

There is a fantastic DJ Hype remix of 'Funkula' while the original probably inspired Armand Van Helden's 'Ultrafunkula', which funnily enough Hype's Ganja Kru also remixed. You can hear the original mix of 'Funkula' in this set by Randall from Dreamscape 19 on the 27th May 1995:


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