Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ultramagnetic MCs - Critical Beatdown (1988) (320)

We had some Large Professor big-ups earlier, so I figured props were due to his mentor, Paul C. This guy was one of the first to take sampling into the way we think of it today, innovating the "chop" and the "pan" and perfecting drum isolation in the late 80s. These days, folks make a lot of Dilla/Paul C comparisons, and I can't say I don't hear it. If your into the technology side of sampling, I suggest checking out David Tompkins' extensive history of Paul C and the exact techniques and gear that he hooked up, as well as about his work with Organized Konfusion, Large Professor, and, most famously, Ultramagnetic MCs.

Ultramagnetic MCs are fronted by crazy-ass Kool Keith, who was reported institutionalized shortly after the release of the group's debut, Critical Beatdown. I think that was just a rumor, but the whole group just rap beautifully about some random shit. More important is the production by Paul C and group member Ced Gee. Paul C's funky James Brown sample feature, "Give The Drummer Some", is seen as a turning point for mixing many samples smoothly and simultaneously. It is hard to believe it was only 1988 when this was released. The last six songs are bonus tracks that came out on the 2004 CD re-release. Enjoy!


1. Watch Me Now
2. Ease Back
3. Ego Trippin' (MC's Ultra Remix)
4. Moe Luv's Theme
5. Kool Keith Housing Things
6. Travelling At The Speed of Thought (Remix)
7. Feelin' it
8. One Minute Less
9. Ain't It Good To You
10. Funky (Remix)
11. Give The Drummer Some
12. Break North
13. Critical Beatdown
14. When I Burn
15. Ced-Gee (Delta Force One)
17. Bait
18. A Chorus Line
19. Travelling At The Speed of Thought
20. Ego Trippin'
21. Mentally Mad

Next Plateau Records, 1988
Produced by Paul C, Ced Gee and TR Love



  1. thanks for this album. love it !

  2. I had the misfortune of buying this CD after hearing Keith's "Dr. Octagonecologyst" first. The Ultramagnetics had plenty of mike skills. But compared to Kool Keith rapping about putting cockroaches down peoples' throats and sewing their rectums shut over Dan the Automater's spooky beats and DJ Q-Bert's insane scratching, they can't help appearing faded. So the Ultramagnetics took their place on a dusty shelf, and years later I still can't get over Dr. Octagon's creepy first appearance. Like the Wu's 36 Chambers it continues to haunt, its powers undiminished.