19/04/2009

True stylin'...

When I recently checked my e-mails, I had a discogs order waiting in my inbox for a copy of the recent Crown Jewels mix CD. The buyer noted, that he had to buy it for memories' sake. Apparently, the CD included a track he'd done with a friend when they were kids, which made me prick my ears. It turned out to be DEAN MOODIE aka. DE. VEX, the rapper from TRUE STYLE. A crew that released the very dope CODE OF CONDUCT E.P. on the LIBERTY GROOVES label in 91, and then seemed to vanish from the scene.




TRUE STYLE - CRITICAL TIMIN' - 1991 - LIBERTY GROOVES









According to DE. VEX, TRUE STYLE were going to release another record on KOLD SWEAT in 1992 titled the 'JUDGEMENT DAY E.P.', which unfortunately was never recorded properly, and after all, never saw the light of day. Nevertheless, DE. VEX was kind enough to send over rough demo/ practice versions of the tracks and allowed me to put them on here.

Very little did I know about the group for too long. Googles and enquiries on different forums led to next to no results. A good opportunity to ask DE. VEX some questions which he thankfully agreed to answer:


Who were True Style?

"The group consisted of around 9 or 10 MCs and 4 DJs(!) with Mark doing most of the production on the tracks!
Only myself and Mark got to release any music at the time. Some of the crew came through on the UK Jungle scene a little later."



Where were you from?

"We were all from South London."


When did you start out together?

"I got introduced to Mark through a friend in 1990. He was looking for MCs and DJs into Hip Hop in the area. We werent looking for record deals, just to make music and keep out of trouble!"


Were any of the group members in other groups before/after True Style?

"Yeh we all were but my memory is a bit hazy on names and stuff."


How did the deal with Liberty Grooves come about?

"The Liberty deal was just a bit luck for me at the time. I got introduced to Jonny when he used to sell import Hip Hop to people direct. He lived about 20 minutes down the road from me and when I bought a couple of records from him we just kind of hi it off' you know; we loved collecting records and stuff. He had released the Original Break record with Whirlwind (Rhyme Traveller) and he asked me if I wanted to be on the labels next release. I jumped at the chance but Mark wasnt so keen! They never got on (Mark knew him from school I think)."


What were your influences at the time?

"Well the whole UK rap scene at the time was an influence for me! I loved all the groups around back then (89-92).
Also myself, Mark and jonny were well into breakbeats; when we put the Code of Conduct EP together we tried to pack as many samples in as we could just for the fun of it (some known some not) and, cos we had access to a huge library of breaks we didnt have to bury the breaks behind a drum machine.
When we put that record together I wanted that whole James Brown intro on Critical Timin and the Rusty Bryant sample we used for it, to be given as a song in itself (Rustys Break No.1) so it could be appreciated; sampled again, whatever. Jonny was a bit worried about getting sued or whatever, I just thought fuck it!"


TRUE STYLE - RUSTY'S BREAK NO.1 - 1991 - LIBERTY GROOVES








"Me and Mark were well into Kung Fu films aswell, so we used the Enter the Dragon samples on 002 theme for abit of a laugh. Mark just put an old tape recorder up to the tv speaker to record the samples off the film (thats why it sounds so dirty and rough) we just did that song for a laugh!"


TRUE STYLE - 002 THEME - 1991 - LIBERTY GROOVES









Did you do live shows back then?

"Yeh, but none worth bragging about!!"


How you got connected with Shogun MC?

"I met Shogun in Mi Price Records in Croydon. I was dancing around in the shop (I think it was to a Digital Underground song!) hence the shout-out at the end of his record 'keep dancing my brother'!
We got talking, he was going up to Birmingham to record his record and needed a DJ so I introduced him to Mark, but Mark couldnt do it cos of college, so he recorded the record with no cuts. We stayed good friends."


SHOGUN MC - THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES - 1989 - BLUE CHIP REC.









What was the status of the Kold Sweat release and why didn't it happen in the end?

"We just became too busy with studying for exams and boring shit like that - it just kinda fell through."


Were there other projects planned?

"Me and Shogun planned to release some stuff together. He was going to emcee on the Judgement day EP (Eradicate the Enemy) but it never happened! Mark went on to do some records with other emcees under another name."


What are you up to now? Are you still making music?

"Mark is still doing various stuff-under various names! I see him every now and again.
Im busy looking after my 18 month old daughter!."



DE. VEX breaks down the tracklist of the unreleased JUDGEMENT DAY E.P.:

'WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD'







[download]
"The track is about religion, and how wars are started because of it. There are a couple of verses missing on this one. It samples the theme music to Dirty Harry and other bits from the film, and the arcade game Altered Beast!"


'ERADICATE THE ENEMY WITHIN'







[download]
"Its about the state of the UK at the time in 1992! Mark put this one together and asked me to put some lyrics down on it cos another one of the guys found the beat too quick. I thought the beats were tough on this one so I hastly wrote down the rhymes and recorded it! We both liked it so thought we would put it on the EP once I had tidied it up."


'HYBRID!'







[download]
"A bit of a heavy one lyric wise-its all about animal experimentation, gene manipulation, GM crops, BSE and nightmare stuff like that. All that shit was getting us a bit paranoid at the time! We used a live drummer on this one!"


'JUDGEMENT DAY PT. 1'







[download]
"Just emceeing on this one! I wanted to rhyme over the B.BOY anthem - APACHE! Plus, it was to say that True Style were back!"


'JUDGEMENT DAY PT. 2'







[download]
"Mark's version."


'MARK II THEME'







[download]
"We thought we needed a mellow track to round off the EP!"


Many thanks to DE. VEX for taking the time to answer these questions and sharing the demos. Big up!