RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Thursday, August 30

EWA100 - #21. The Juice Crew - The Symphony (Part 1)

21. The Juice Crew - The Symphony (Part 1) (Cold Chillin'. 1988. From Marley Marl's LP In Control: Volume 1)

Raven Mack: This is the greatest posse track ever, in fact probaby why that term even started to exist. And fuck it, Juice Crew is the greatest rap crew ever. Big Daddy Kane is a hall of famer. Kool G. Rap, even though he's never had commercial success of extraordinary status, is pretty much considered one of the greatest lyrical MCs ever. Masta Ace gave birth to three-quarters of the underground MCs there are. And even Craig G remains a legend to this day when it comes to freestyle super destructibility. And anyone who hates Biz Markie hates floppy-eared puppy dogs playing with cherub children of all colors in a lush field full of hundred-dollar-bill trees.
That being said, this song for me is like those old parades the Russians used to have through those Tetris buildings of all their military strength. You see, the Russians never used all that weaponry, but they had it and liked to flaunt it once every so often. "The Symphony" is that flaunting of power, because The Juice Crew was a ridiculous collection of ass-kicking talent. Marley Marl had assembled the motherfuckin' team - so much so that to this day dork whiteboys like myself still regard them as THE motherfuckin' team of all-time.
Which really makes me wonder what kind of stupid shithead MC Shan must've been, because around the same time of this record was when KRS was molesting Shan with the battle raptures. You would think if the Juice Crew was an unbreakable bond of a crew, then KRS would've felt the fury of Kane/Biz/Craig G/Kool G/Ace all at once. But he never did. Which just goes to show how great The Juice Crew was, because when they had a chance to trim the fat by letting it melt in hellfire, they left Shan hanging.
Of note is the fact that I can only assume there is a second part to this song, and that I've never bothered to hear it. I'm sure it's out there on seventeen thousand rap nerd blogs (oldschool88thru91onlyb-sidesthabest.blogspot.com), but I don't need to seek it out. I'm already straight with this.

Mike Dikk: Raven’s write-up reminds me of a personal story that is at most, very loosely related to "The Symphony", but since I very vaguely remember this song when it came out, and I didn’t really start listening to it until several years later, I have nothing really notable that directly relates to it, so I’m going the abstract route.
It may seem stupid to people not into sports, but I feel very lucky that I got to see the greatest athlete of my generation in real time, and not just a part of some sepia toned highlight film. Of course I’m talking about Michael Jordan. Basketball has never been my favorite sport, but all of the other great defining athletes are more or less dudes that played sports before my time. Sure, Barry Sanders was easily the best running back I’ve personally ever seen play the game of football, but I’m sure some old codger would tell you how O.J., or Jim Brown, or fucking Larry Csonka was so much better than Sanders. The same goes if you mention Montana or Marino. Some wrinkly fuck will crawl out of his coffin to bring up some QB from the '50s who played without a helmet and one-and-a-half legs and still managed to throw 600 yards per game. Baseball is even worse, so I won’t even get into that. However, you can’t really argue with Michael Jordan as the best basketball player ever. I think sometimes people may bring up Magic Johnson, but I got to see him play too, and as long as you aren’t judging by nerd stats over pure athleticism and entertainment value, then Jordan wins out.
This story isn’t about Jordan anyway. It’s about how annoying it got to like the Chicago Bulls in the late '80s/early '90s. It was annoying, because EVERYONE I knew liked the Chicago Bulls. I don’t think there was a kid in my school that strayed from that path. I got sick of being on the same side with everyone else during the '90/'91 season, so I switched my allegiance over to the Golden State Warriors.
It may seem like an odd choice to you in retrospect, but this was the season of Run TMC: Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin. They were the best looking triple threat on paper and absolutely explosive on offense. If you follow the NBA, you’d know Run TMC quickly disbanded when Richmond went on to play for the Sacramento Kings the next year. That one season though, I was all about Run TMC and I swore to myself they were the best thing going on in basketball and fuck Michael Jordan. They would eventually lose in the West semifinals to the cocksucker Lakers, but to me, The G. State Warriors 1990 squad was the best non-Michael Jordan-related squad in basketball history.
Realistically, I’m sure the Juice Crew Squad was slightly better at rapping than Run TMC was at playing basketball, but in my eyes they are equal. Of course Kane, G. Rap, and Ace would represent RUN TMC. Marley was the Don Nelson and I guess Craig G. was Sarunas Marciullionis, i.e, the talented guy everyone forgets about. Thankfully, Shan and Biz weren’t on this track because I can’t think of Warriors comparisons for them. I guess Shan would be Tom Tolbert because he sucks, and Biz would be World B. Free because that’s a funny name and Biz is a funny dude. We would have to overlook the fact that World B. Free was on the ’80 Warriors and not the ’90 Warriors though.

Download: The Juice Crew - The Symphony

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