At the age of 4 ULMAR ROBERT a.k.a. KAY LC/KLC moved from Surinam to The Netherlands (1974). After living in Rotterdam and The Hague for 3 years bags got packed again and K and his fam moved back to Surinam. Already at a very early age music proved to be a great influence, being it listening to his parents' soul records, dancing or "Kawina drumming" (Surinam folk music). When 10 years old he felt attracted to a kind of punk movement that was happening in Surinam at that point. This cultural outburst was more a fashion statement then a political movement; peeps walked around with safetypins through their cheeks and buttons on their denim coats. Another trademark were the dancing contests on disco beats and James Brown grooves (Punks on disco...mmm...interesting!). In 1983 K witnessed a guy doing electric boogie on tv, getting ill to the electro beats of Herbie Hancock's "Rockit". This bugged him out. Knowing he was going to move from Surinam's capital Paramaribo back to the Netherlands again soon, K felt he was going to miss out on a whole other fresh movement. Within a few months he was again living in The Netherlands, more specificly the city of Domburg in the Zeeland provence.
Luckily the hip hop virus wasn't only spreading slowly in Surinam but as it turned out in The Netherlands aswell. K came in contact with 2 breakdancers through one of his cousins. Soon after, the breakdance crew "ELECTRONIC ROCKERS" (E.R.) was a fact. Through competing in various battles they met likeminded peeps and made new friends...the E.R. soon expanded to 10 members.
As seen so often in Dutch hip hop history, K had a go at basically every element of the hip hop culture; b-boying, graffiti, human beatbox, dj-ing and rapping. As it slowly turned out he had the gift of gab and specialized in rapping.
K showing off his graffiti exploits (1986)
Around 1986 b-boying had slowly faded from the Dutch hip hop scene. E.R. had seized to exist but a few members founded a new group called PLEASURE POSSE (P.P.). Next to K (who at that point in time took upon himself the stagename MC COOL C) the group consisted off DJ TYRONE and rapper JAREL. K learned a lot from JAREL who was an older guy with good control over the English language and who already had some splendid MC-skills. Also K memorized and learned English vocabulary and pronounciation by listening to rap tapes (The Furious Five !) when biking 10 miles from his hometown Domburg to his school in Middelburg. At DJ TYRONE's crib the first tracks got layed down with nothing more than 2 turntables, a taperecorder and a mic. DJ TYRONE turned out to be an excellent DJ who created some nice mixes aswell. Some shows got done, often backed up with dancer MARLON who was also known for his great Michael Jackson impersonations and robotic dancing at that time. Check the 1988 P.P. demotrack "On the mic with ease" here:
DJ Tyrone & MC Cool C (PLEASURE POSSE 1988)
The P.P. had personal changes early 1989; DJ TYRONE quit and sold his turntables to JAREL who then became the crew's dj. New members were found in rapper AK7 and producer RICK DANGEROUS. As a new 4 man group the P.P. also started to use the name PRYME RHYME NETWORK (P.R.N.) K's skills improved rapidly. His big influences were Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Jungle Brothers, D.O.C., A.T.C.Q. and KRS-1. He stopped rapping in a LL Cool J kinda way and developed his own trademark smooth rapstyle. When taken notice to the fact that there was a USA rapper called COOL C, K changed his artistname to KLC/KAY LC (KOOL LYRICAL COMMANDER). There ofcourse were Dutch influences aswell; especially Moonrunners (check my Moonrunners blogtopic yo!!), Beatmasters and Extince. K recalls biking long distances just to catch shows by Moonrunners and 24K. This group 24K (again; check the blogtopic on 24K!) and D.A.M.N. also became a big inspiration because in 1989/90 these groups got airplay and even had albums out on wax in The Netherlands.
Ulmar soon connected with rappers, dj's and producers from Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Rotterdam being the city where he often went...buying records, visiting shows and eventually hookin' up with guys from the infamous BAD BOYS POSSE (see Moonrunners blogtopic). Further more his friend JEAN (a graffiti pioneer and one of the first Bad Boys members) introduced him to the Amsterdam hip hop scene. Eventually a 1989 P.R.N. demotape ended up in the hands of rapjournalist/radiohost KEES DE KONING who played the track "Full metall lyricz" on his rapshow Warjournal.
Kay performing "Full metall lyricx" live
In 1989 K moved from Domburg to Rotterdam. Here he intensified his contacts with producers and rappers like A.C. TUNE, ELVIS and KRIMO. As a result his involvement with P.R.N. gradually faded. Without him knowing one of his friends had sent a P.R.N. demotape to recordcompany DJAX. DJAX at that time was writing Dutch rap history with their releases of albums by 24K and Dope Posse. DJAX C.E.O. SASKIA SLEEGERS was immediately interested in signing K as the label's latest rap artist. First scheduled release was "Full metall lyricz" as a 12" but due to problems with the recording studio and an impatient K this record never saw the light of day. Instead a 9 track mini-album called "Hard 2 handle" was recorded in july 1991 at Le Roy Studio in Amsterdam. They ran into difficulties when trying to convert RICK DANGEROUS' Amiga beats in the studio. SASKIA SLEEGERS therefore brought in producer DYLAN HERMELYN (a.k.a. MASTER O.C.), who she knew from the techno musicscene. Some guest vocals on the album got layed down by AK7, JEAN, FRED BOMBER and ELVIS (of DOPE SYNDICATE fame...). Also DJ WAN-2 of 24K did some cuts. The album dropped and the track "Leavin" prooved to be a smart choice for a cd-single release. This unconventional track wasn't an uptempo brag & boast track but a slow loverap that got K some radio and even tv airplay. This specific track and his natural laid back rhymestyle set a new standard within Dutch rap. Also a selfconscious state of mind got displayed...no imitating U.S. rappers.
On that note; I recommand anyone to hunt down the 1992 "Leavin" cd-single because it also holds the amazing track "Beyond 2000" with DJ JEFF on cuts!
"Hard 2 handle" CD/LP advertisement"
"Leavin" performed live on Dutch television 1992
Having a made name within the Dutch rapping scene, Ulmar performed at many of the rap-events (B-boy Extravaganza, Flavor of the month, Party groove etc. etc.) that were held in these glory years of hip hop in the Netherlands. Amongst rappers EXTINCE, SKATE and RINGO, K suplied vocals for DJ KNOWHOW's demotape "Knowhow boostin' mc's". The track "Sunshine" can be downloaded here:
Eventually house music pushed rap heavily to the background in years to come. It became increasingly harder for Dutch ("hardcore") rappers to get released and rap-events got organised less and less. Nevertheless Ulmar kept writing and recording tracks. Unfortunately DJAX Records made it clear they were only interested in releasing Dutch language rap at that point and also a short fling with the Dutch department of JIVE/ZOMBA Records turned out to be fruitless.
It took no less then 5 years before new music by K got released. Not taking in regard here some guestraps he did in 1994 for a clubrecord by EVELINE & THE GROOVE MOVEMENT. A new generation of rappers was given a chance to put stuff out through the labels BLUE FUNK, CMC and SOUL RELATION. All 3 labels were pretty much connected to BRAIN BUSBY and RENE PHILLIPS (a.k.a. rapper CMC or D-Rock). A compilation album from 1997 called "This is what you want" held a track by K (using the name KAY L) called "One flow" which today is looked upon as a classic. The track got produced by A.C. TUNE. Allthough a hammer of a track, K never has performed it live.
Studiowork with producer A.C. Tune 1996
1998; rapping in the Dutch language reached a new artistic peak, mainly due to the rapper EXTINCE. K had great respect for EXTINCE as he thought that this was the only Dutch language rapper that actually had flow and feel in his delivery, contrast to most other Dutch language rappers at that time. Around this time K wrote and recorded aprox. 10 tracks using the Dutch language. Beats were mainly provided by A.C. TUNE and RHYMEO ILL. The first track that got finished was "Ideale man", using a looped beat taken of the track "Ma dukes" by O.C.. Radiohost and raplabel owner KEES DE KONING liked the track and wanted to use it for a compilation album called "Alle 13 dope", an album with the intention to show Dutch language rapping had reached new hights. Due to fear of copyright hassle concerning the O.C. beat; the track "Ideale man" had to be re-recorded quickly with an alternate beat. K states the track lost a lot of funkyness due to this rushjob. Still; the track made it onto the album (Ulmar using the artistname KEEYEL).
Another track called "Stille aanbidder" was planned to get launched through KEES DE KONING but never surfaced.
Through the PARTYGROOVE parties held in Delft city, K got acqainted with rapper REDZONE (who at that time was working on a demo with KRIMO). They joined forces and recorded some tracks together (REDZONE using the artistname DON RAMON). The collaboration stopped when REDZONE moved to the U.S.A..
Cover of compilation album "Alle 13 dope" (1998) which
holds Ulmar's first release of a Dutch language track.
Amongst the 10 recorded tracks was a funny gimmick track called "Geef me dat ding" that K recorded with female Dutch rapper SCISSORS. The track was based on a Kaseko-style (Surinam traditional dancemusic) track from 1975 called "Blanke meid" by Surinam singer MIGHTY BOTAI. It was befriended rapper ELVIS (E-LIFE) who pushed K into releasing it. BRAIN BUSBY of CMC/SOUL RELATION also saw the commercial potential and in 2001 the track got released as a cd-single on EDEL Records. A video even got shot on the beach of Isla Margarita near Venezuela. The track eventually reached no. 35 of the Dutch "Top 40" music saleslist.
Performing "Geef me dat ding" (Megafestatie Utrecht 2001)
Thanks to the modest succes of "Geef me dat ding" two more tracks were planned to be released through EDEL Records, being "Pluk de dag" and "Stille aanbidder". But things turned sour when K was asked to change his lyrics on "Pluk de dag". Industry rule 4080.......(can you dig!).
In 2003, again K featured on a compilation album called "Rhymetime 2 - Zonder pardon" and again with Dutch language rapping. Two of his earlier tracks got picked that he had recorded with REDZONE a.k.a. DON RAMON being "Een, twee" and "Pluk de dag".
Untill 2008 a period followed that showed lack of belief and ambition when it comes to recording new tracks. It took a guy called VINCE who needed a rapper for his schoolproject (studio engineering). K was prepared to lay down some raps to one of the beats VINCE had made, but only in English. They re-recorded an old track from 1997 called "Ups and downs" with an alternate beat and shifted lyrics. The track turned out nice and Ulmar felt motivated again to record tracks in English for one final album to close his rap-career. At first mainly the beats by VINCE got used but the collaboration came to a hold when it became increasingly harder to get studio access.
At the verge of throwing the towell when it comes to involvement in the hip hop scene, K met a dj/producer from the city of Delft at a party at the "Hip hop huis" in Rotterdam. DCREAL67 was a hip hop veteran himself (with rapper ROXY D he formed the hardcore rapgroup BHS in the very early nineties), he made the kind of beats that made K decide to have another go at making tracks. Hard work in the studio paid out and in 2010 the 12" record "Upset with the threat" dropped through DCREAL's own recordlabel "Rhythmic Combat Records". On the lyrical tip K analyses the decay of Dutch society over a sinister beat ("A killer Black Moon-sample forms a hook that sticks in your brain" according to NYC's indie Hip Hop-connaisseur ED CATTO). On the record's b-side track "Love Bandit", K brags 'n' boasts a little about his sexual adventures over a chopped breakbeat by DCREAL67.
The record was well recieved within the Dutch hardcore hip hop crowd and even sold across the borders. It's still for sale and you can check it through this website:
KAY LC & DCREAL67 ready to bumrush
upon wack hip hop in 2012!!!
At the moment recordings are still made in DCREAL67's "Combatlab" for what should turn out to be the crown on Ulmar's rapcareer: another full album showcasing this mc's full potential. Expected to hit the streets in 2011, am I the only one holding his breath?!?!