maandag 21 februari 2011

FUNKY TRIBE ; we don't have one DJ but two!

This topic could not have been made without the help of DJ AUTOMATIC....thanx bro!

Around 1985/86 a young Otto van den Toorn started DJ'ing, influenced by a DJ who went to the same school as he did. This DJ was Ramon Voorn, younger brother of Orlando Voorn a.k.a. DJ FIX (check previous topic on this blog). Ramon was known as DJ BLACK BASS and Otto took the name DJ AUTOMATIC T. They both at first joined the group BORN FREE MC but AUTOMATIC soon left to replace DJ ALIEN of the notorious Rotterdam rapgroup MOONRUNNERS in 1989. When rappers BLONNIE B and KAY BLACK left the MOONRUNNERS in 1990, one of the rappers to replace them was COLT45. After the unfortunate breakup of the MOONRUNNERS later that year, AUTOMATIC T and COLT45 decided to continue performing and making tracks together. AUTOMATIC T proved to be a talented upcomming producer using the infamous Roland TR808 (the ultimate booom computer), a Casio SK1 sampling keyboard and a Tascam 4 track. With uptempo hardcore raptracks (Colt45 mastered the English language as he spend part of his childhood in New York) they performed around the country as duo COLD 45 AUTOMATIC at youthcentres, small rap venues etc. etc. This was all love, no pay steez....sleeping at the homes of friends....just having a good time. AUTOMATIC was worried lots of times for COLT45 not showing up at the shows. COLT45 had the habit of travelling by railway without actually getting a ticket so he often got into fights with the transit autorities.

In 1990 the idea came, after a brainstorm with rapjournalist KEES DE KONING (later CEO of Dutch recordlabel Top Notch), to form a loose collective of rap acts that could be booked for shows. Involved artists were COLD 45 AUTOMATIC, DJ BLACK BASS, female rapper LJ FRESH, SOUL PATROL (being MC RIV MASTER) and duo 2 BROTHERZ IN BIZNIZ (DJ FIX & MC TEN) and this collective was named FUNKY TRIBE. It was around this time that a demo tape was recorded aswell.

First Funky Tribe demotape, A-side

First Funky Tribe demotape, B-side

The track "Gangster groove" as heard on this demotape, with vocals by LJ FRESH, was later that year released on vinyl through a small Belgium label but this time with vocals by COLT45 (raps) and RIV MASTER (singing and raps).

Grab a rip of the 12" here:

After a while a few artists left the collective and the maintaining acts joined forces to form a group, keeping the name FUNKY TRIBE. Consisting now of DJ AUTOMATIC, DJ BLACK BASS, COLT45 and RIV MASTER, the group expanded with 2 female dancers being DEF and LOOSE to hype up their live shows.
Check this tv item that was broadcasted by VPRO on Dutch national television in 1990:

Colt45, Riv Master, Def & Loose doing
the typical hip hop dancing for that time

Automatic - Riv Master - Def - Colt45 - Loose

Def - Automatic - Riv Master

The crew performed a lot of shows and built a huge name in the still small Dutch rap scene. The early use of DAT-tapes had a big impact on the sound of the shows.....meaning the sound of the tracks (treble, bass) would blow away that of the other groups and destroyed some P.A.-systems here and there. Automatic T was big on the use of new technical gear (he actually did reviews of hardware for musicproducers for a famous Dutch musicmagazine at that time).
To experience the full energy of a FUNKY TRIBE show I've uploaded a 25 minutes live recording. This was part of a show done in Amsterdam in 1990. As always the show started of with a spacey intro before the roof got tore off. Songs to be heard are "I just laugh when you say your style is hardcore", "Serious", "Do it", "Stage maniac", "Funky Tribe is an original thing" and "Boing boom tschak".

Grab the recording here:

The Tribe's energetic shows and booming sound got them a record deal with BOUDISQUE Records. For their first 12" record the Tribe recorded the tracks "88 keys" and "Metaphore mountain". Unfortunately, as so often was the case with early Dutch rap groups, the tracks never hit vinyl because of recordlabel bullshit politics. Fact was that RIV MASTER was also member of early house group QUADROPHONIA and signed to Belgium recordlabel ARS which didn't give RIV MASTER permission to record for other labels.

The unreleased tracks can be downloaded here:

Colt45 - Black Bass - Riv Master - Automatic

Around 1991 house music took over in Holland and pushed rap to the background. The Tribe slowly dissolved and was over by 1992. Only COLT45 continued to make noise in the rap scene (later on using the new moniker ROWDY). RIV MASTER, AUTOMATIC and BLACK BASS started travelling through Europe bringing the new house/techno sound to the audiences as DJ's. BLACK BASS quit soon after, and AUTOMATIC and RIV released some house music productions using aliases like SOUL PATROL, ORION, SUPERMATIC, SONIC WARRIOR, WARP FACTOR 1, EUROMASTERS, UNLIMITED SOUL etc. AUTOMATIC especially gained recognition for his remixes of 2 UNLIMITED tracks.

SUPERMATIC - "Bumrush the sound"
DJ AUTOMATIC with rapper MC MD (1991)

RIV MASTER has since built a big career as house dj LUCIEN FOORT while AUTOMATIC now composes music for both television and radio commercials, computer games and short film. But don't think the love for hip hop has 2007 he produced the track "Attack on Alpha" for Dutch rapper MARSHAL BLUEBERRY and when a dope old school rap act is performing again in Holland you might spot AUTOMATIC walking around with a big ass photocamera or even being the dj for some NY rap legend:

T La Rock feat. DJ Automatic on wheels (Amsterdam 2007)

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