Once upon a time in Martinlaakso two friends heard a hiphop beat. KRD (King Rhyme Dealer) and MC Reel were friends since the age of three and they grew up in a concrete house in the suburban area of Vantaa, Finland. KRD had already heard the "Whistle/Just Buggin" -song on the radio, so he bought the Run-DMC "Raising Hell" -album after the band had played on a TV -show. Then in 1987 the hiphop beats hit the streets heavily. Public Enemy and Eric B. & Rakim were the most played tapes on the boombox. In 1988 MC Reel visited New York and heard a kid rapping and dancing on the street live to a drumbeat. He brought back couple of fresh tapes including the essential "La di da di" by MC Ricky D (Slick Rick). The summers were hot and bombs were dropped on Martinlaakso with spraycans. At the same time on the other side of Vantaa, in Koivukylä, Maniac James started to dig rap with his friends. The boys started to breakdance together aswell. These same steps to hip hop were taken by several other kids at the same time in the capital area, but hip hop was still marginal as a youth culture and basicly all of it happened in the underground.
"ALL RIGHT, THIS IS A DOPEJAM..."
KRD had a video camera with wich he shot short movies in the bomb shelter under MC Reel"s home. The boys made a scene in wich they both rapped on a Public Enemy beat. This song was "Dopejam" and soon a group was formed: U.Z.I (Ugly Zombie Intruders) together with the DJ Kinky P/ Chief P. The band made songs by copying beats one after the other on tape, and another recorder was then recording the beats and liveraps. First tapes were: "3 fellaz" - 18 songs, "Mixtape" - 6 songs and "2nd Moon" - 14 songs. First music video was "On a Mission" in 1990 produced by KRD. First live performances happened in 1991 in a nearby bomb shelter as a group called "Funny Vibes", as in the song by the Living Colour. Sampling as a technique was still unknown for the boys. Al l the music was made by hand from reel to reel.
CHIEF O"NEILS FAVOURITES
The things started to gain momentum and the group was focusing more on hiphop music. DJ Kinky P / Chief P had a country record where a song "Chief O"Neils Favourites" catched the eye of the group and the abbreviation CNF was founded. Main reason for these three letters was that at the time all the graffiti and rap groups had three letter names in the Helsinki region; B.O.W, T.O.A, D.T.B, F.T.C etc. Another reason for the name was that it was easy to make rhimes with. Sooner or later Community Neglects the Facts was
chosen as a group name after KRD"s suggestion.
AND THEN THERE WAS SAMPLING...
The utilizition of the latest computer technology in the form of an Amiga 500 with a selfmade 8-bit sampling card and the purchase of a 4-track Tascam portasturio pushed the musical productivity to the fullest in 1991. "Ultimate Challenge" - near 8 minutes of beats by Def Jef mixed with Barbara Streisand "Memories" was the first song made with this new technology. Basicly all the tracks at that time were made by MC Reel just because he had the equipment. Reel spent most of his free time by recording music from the library albums and sampling and making songs late in the evening every day. The songs were recorded in stereo and then the raps were recorded on the two remaining tracks. KRD mixed the tracks live onto a C-cassette. A plenty of songs were made at that time, like five tracks in an evening or so. The songs were collected into cassette albums and sold in hiphop jams in Helsinki and in CNF concerts. "CNF demo 1992" - 3 songs. "Scene 357" -24 songs and the zenith of the period "Pro Players" 21- songs featuring Mr. Rag and Maniac James. CNF performed in various HipHop joints in Vantaa and Helsinki; Vernissa, Botta & Berlin, KY, Planet FunFun and in several restaurants in the area. CNF also did several intoxicated performances in big private parties. Mostly CNF performed without a DJ but in a couple of songs DJ JTP laid the scratches.
COLLABORATIONS AND SIDESTEPS IN THE EARLY 90"S
CNF made music far from the Hiphop establishment of the times and from the beginning CNF was eager to collaborate with fellow hiphoppers. This led to an 1991 collabo with MC Reels schoolmates DJ Slow and Mr.Rag with a CNF remix of one the early DJ Slow tracks. DJ Slow remixed then one of the CNF tracks. Techno beats invaded Finland at the time and CNF was in the frontline. MC Reels classmate Juke (Jussi Mäkelä), started to make Amiga laided techno with breakbeats 1991 and the MC"s did the raps. The collaboration lasted for two years and the group performed at the top notch raves at the time, for example Atlantis 1992. Through this collaboration the MC"s got aquainted with MC Maniac James who performed similar music with his own group Local Maniacs. The friendship led to collaboration on a Song "Bad wit a gat" in Local Maniac CD -album "No Mercy" in 1992. Later in 1999 Maniac James joined the CNF as a third MC. In 1993 Mc Reel and KRD featured in Brownsand Brothers -cassette album by DJ Slow and Mr Rag.
THESE ARE THE BREAKS
After the "Pro Players" - cassette album CNF was loosing focus and direction. It led into musical disagreement between MC Reel and KRD. Both of them did a couple of solo tracks and a few collaborations, but in 1993 both of them had to do service in the Finnish military and the CNF as a band was
laid to rest. During the exodus both KRD and MC Reel remained interested in music but their life situation lead the two friends apart.
MC Maniac James used to perform with his homeboys in the Koivukylä region of Vantaa and practised breakdancing frequently with his friends. In the beginnig of 1990"s he started to perform with his friends SQ2 and Psyclone and soon after this Psyclone, Maniac James, DJ Kane and the Psychedelic Dancers regrouped in 1991 as Local Maniacs. They performed in several raves and concerts around Finland. Their recorded their first album in 1992 "No Mercy" and "Trouble wit da Mind" in 1995. In 1994 Maniac James and DJ Kane represented Finland together with DJ Slow and Mr.Rag in Technics DJ Championships in London. In 1996 Local Maniacs performed on an album "Party Inside" produced by Spinefarm Record. After the group quit in 1997 Maniac James hosted his own radio show "Sunday Chill" for one semester.
DEMO & THE WEEKEND
The tragic and violent death of a close friend of KRD and MC Reel brought them together again. They decided to buy a sampler Yamaha SU-700 and rented a studio in the center of Helsinki. MC Reel bought a bunch of studio equipment and a new computer so the things started to happen. Soon after this Maniac James joined the band as the third MC. The first demo - 6 songs was recorded in the beginning of year 2000. The tragic deaths of our friends led to the song "Gone" which was the peak of our first demo. The first performance after six years was in June 2000 in the first Finnish Rap Masters. Later that year CNF performed in several small clubs and recorded the first "real" homecook EP "The Weekend" - 8 songs. DJ Tommy Deks performed on the record. 2000 - 2001 was hectic time in Finnish rap circles, and CNF was chosen to perform on Street Vibes vol.1 -album published by Warner in Finland in 2001. The song was "Insanity taking control" -featuring Dream from Nuera. After this CNF was asked to perform in several underground mix CD"s all over Finland.
CNF continued to push tracks and both MC Reel and KRD laid the beats. The self produced EP "Gateway Product" - 8 songs was released in 2002. Old friend from Local Maniacs, DJ Kane joined the band as a DJ and scratched on the album. Also friends from the beginning of 1990"s NuEra featured in the song "Everybody" together with MC Johanna - Miss J. Other friends from the Local Maniacs era, Robbyn Rhodes, remixed the track "Druncazfuc". The track is included in the Gateway Product -album. Later 2002 the MC"s started to make songs with a live band and performed together in November in Pasila. The collaboration is still on and the band practises every week. The live band consists of: Teuvo Merkkiniemi (guitar), Jaakko Mölsä (percussions), Jaakko Törrönen (bass), Teo Virtanen (drums), Olli Salminen (keyboards). CNF performed together in; Makasiinit, Vanha Ylioppilastalo, Stella Star Club, Semifinal, Waiski and in many other dubious locations. In 2002 CNF produced another EP "The Facts Remain" - 7 songs - featuring old Finnish Hiphop heads B.O.W, Freak MC, Mr. Rag and Duke D. DJ Kane was still on the wheels fo steel but in the beginnig of 2002 a real finnish old school underground master DJ BassTone joined CNF as a DJ in charge. DJ BassTone performed together with CNF several times. The song "3 MC"s was included into the Suomi HipHop 3 -compillation by Open Records. This was the first time CNF was printed on vinyl so the album has been frequently scratched ever since. The song "Gone" was picked into a Romanian underground compilation "World wide hip hop konnexxxtionz vol.1
ABOVE THE UNDERGROUND
After one and a half years of struggles, the latest self produced album ”Above the Overground” was released in March 2004. It contained 11 new tracks and was the way forward for the whole CNF posse. DJ BassTone and DJ Mista-S performed the scratches on the album. DJ BassTone left the group in 2003 and DJ Mista-S is now the latest CNF DJ. The collaboration with a finnish drum&bass maestro Furi Anga led into a song ”Chemical” on the Above the Underground album. The live band performs on the track ”Insanity” on this album. At the same time CNF released their own website at www.cnf.fi.
SAME BUT DIFFERENT
A lot of stress, hard work and coffee cups/beer mugs later, CNF came up with a new self published album "Same but different" in May 2006. It contained 10 banging tracks. The album featured Mista-S on the turntables, and the usual suspects Lare on guitar and Saara on vocals as became the habit during the latest CNF albums. The album contains the special Dj BassTone remix of the "Watch me now" -song from the previous album. ”Same but different” was the first album that was published straight away through the CNF website as MP3 version as well as on CD. At the same time the whole recorded catalogue since 1999 became available to the public through CNF media page.
JAMES BROWN IS ALIVE
The live band created a live version-EP of CNF songs in 2007 called ”James Brown is alive!”. The record was influenced by the good old mighty 70’s funk group Average White Band and of course the godfather of funk James Brown. The versions of funk classics were run through the obvious CNFalienation, before it was recorded and mixed straight down. After further mixing the Funk was ready to hit the spot. CD’s were circulated among friends, but the whole album was later released through CNF website in June 2008. The title became more interesting as James Brown passed away while the record was being made.
CNF - live was T.Merkkiniemi (guitar), T.Sebastian (drums), J.Mölsä (percussions), J.Törrönen (bass) and O.Salminen (keyboards)
After James Brown was recorded, CNF guitarist T.Merkkiniemi dissappeard on a world tour. The CNF live band created couple of new songs but after the crew came toghether in 2007 the band desided to put the instruments to rest for a while. Reel, KRD and Maniac James started to record sampled songs again and throuh September 2007 to May 2008 ”Evil English” was created. The self published EP consisted of nine banging joints including a remake of the song ”Nobody waits” by Track’n’Field originally from their album ”Marathon” published in 2006 by Nine2Five recordings. Evil English also included first three solo songs by each MC called ”IXIST”. Each version was a song about the same subject but with a different beat in the same BPM.
No feats, no cheats . . .Next on the agenda was a full length album. Through the 2008-2010 CNF dug the crates and used the Ableton Live-software instead of the trusty old Yamaha SU-700.
The soundscape in the ”Galaxy Warriorz” –album is wider and more tracks equal more banging joints. Strictly 90´s HipHop (Pang Pang) meets some Drum´N´Bass (Heavy Jungle), and even more sinister sounds (Someone´s In Here Again) was brought in from Furianga, the same dude who collaborated with CNF in the album ”Above The Overground” 2004. From the Intro to the last song named 38 (because of the 8 bars the three mc´s each spit) album got the highest thumbs up from the fans and spawned some new connections (Pang Pang was used in a basketball video etc.). Every MC stepped up a notch in their writing skills and new sound card and microphone brought the extra shiznit. A new comrade Tim-O behind the mixing board laced the album with best sounds as fit for a masterpiece.
Troubled times spawn the best rhimes and beats. This theory was put to test in the making of ”Audioautizm”. KRD´s troubled times lashed him in to a beast with the Live and the lyrics followed in line. As a singularity the unit called CNF started the next record immediately after the ”Galaxy Warriorz”. From the end of the year 2010 to the 2012 CNF set a task to make an album which was set to please mainly the three bobbing heads present. . .themselves. But as always, the original sound that cannot be duplicated and CNF delighted the fans with new favorites for a trip abroad (Nuttin Like It) or the first music video (Old School VHS). These, plus the ruff cuts like “Put That Shit Back On” and “Boogie Down Homie” knocked the subwoofers and speakers around the globe. Even the watered down hiphop got it´s share on the album (Talk To Me). Just when you thought, that the boys couldn´t deliver hotter album than ”Galaxy Warriorz”, in came the ”Audioautizm” and blew your socks off. DJ BassTone handled majority of the scratching duties, except in ”Merry Men” where KRD and MC REEL were on the wheels of steel. . .simultaneously. Tim-O did additional mixing on the album and delivered a remix for the song ”Galaxy Warriorz”.
FACEBIZAAK, YOUTUBE CNFISM AND NEW LIVE
Spring 2012 brought new outgoing flow to CNF story. The band established a facebook page, a youtube channel and KRD produced a series of movies that told the story of the band since 1988 - 2012. KRD also produced a new musicvideo ”Encycolopedia”, CNF hit from ”Galaxy Warriorz” album.
ANTIDOTE TO BULLSHIT
After the three mc´s got around and made "Vaccines" (the last song on the Antidote to Bullshit -album), the working schedules and familylife sucked all the energy and time from the group. As a mutual decision, the boy decided to meet once a week still, but no in the studio, but in a gym lifting weights. After a period of time doing this, the hunger for the dope rhimes and beats struck like an a-bomb and the next albums first steps were made. KRD´s new beats "These Boyz Legendary", "Shrapnel" and "Evil Man" made the mc´s pen´s smoke as they carved some more dope ass shit and the momentum didn´t slow down. MC Reel called in some new beats from his connections (Sivullinen & Leo Mokkala) and just like that, CNF Sound was ushered in to this millenium. "Uncut", "Hellsinki Syndrome" and the revisioned "Boogie Down Homie" (which got also a great video, featuring CNF Sonz, Julius and Mikael dueling with lightsabers...) made the album sound more universal than ever and even the song "Flesh", which had been a nightmare to mix, found it´s way back to life by an awesome mixing done by MC Reel. In the August of 2015 CNF - Antodote to Bullshit was released on Soundcloud for free and the physical copies of the album were delivered only to core fans. It is an album with no fillers, strictly bangers and with it´s 29 minutes running time, it´s a fresh glimpse of the collective mind of CNF which has no boundaries. In the midst of all of this, CNF recorded a radioprogram called "Räppiklassikot" (Rap Classics), that focused on Run-DMC classic Raising Hell.
Back on the basics and back witta new album! After the last album a live show was planned, but the time constraints (again...) derailing the plan, KRD focused on making beats. The title track "Spectacular" hits like ton of bricks with a RZA -sampled chorus and the next track "Violence" shares a light on some real events in the former lives of CNF MC's. New writing technique showed a delightful way to do a track, with a collective effort, that is "That´s Enough". Funky bassline brings the listener to a beat party as the beat booms through the woofers hard. After the Beasties, no one has ripped a track in the old school style, like the CNF boys do on the "Dope Rhimes", and no one will. Pure MC craftmanship at it's finest. MC Reel resurrected two older tracks also with new sounds and they are bangin! "Time" is a song about the undefeated effects of father time and "No Glory" is a satirical tale of morbid need for a media attention. KRD flipped a Death metal band Abhorrences (Abhorrence was one of the first Death metal bands in Finland and some guys are from the same block than KRD & MC Reel. Band later dispanded, at from it´s ashes rose Amorphis, but has since come back and is doing shows!) track "Caught In A Vortex" in to a booming sonic bomb with a warning, not to get caught in drugs, booze or the nerve wrecking work life...French songwriter Jocelyn Hache collaborated with the band to create a hybrid with vocals & rapping called "Closer", with a soothing beat, that is very different from KRD´s usual boom bap style and it showcases the sonic pathways the CNF always explores...With all the recording and personal lives, CNF had (finally) time to do a follow up to their radioshow, Räppiklassikot (Rap classics). This time the beer fueled MC's and some special quests took time to appreciate the EPMD masterpiece, Strictly Business. Few new ideas brewing and already the theme for the next (10th!) album being decided, KRD has already at least three new banging beats just waiting to be brought to life!
CNF saga never stops...
Album number 11 was released in september 2019! Although the boys thought first, that they were going to do a photshoot for album n.10 , KRD calculated the albums just prior the session and noticed, damn, this is number 11. Awesome album, awesome cover art, again a true pleasure to create, except KRD thinks everything should be done like 1992, WAY FASTER :).
NEED kicks in the jams with this really bizarre KRD beat with 808´s and odd samples. MC´s upgrade their pen game in this one, a proper banga for an album opener. For this album, KRD had a vision for a solo song for each of the MC´s and ManiacSuperIllJames busts through the door without any indications of slowing things down, Juggernaut James just demolishes the track and leaves the listeners wondering, where the fuck are they gonna go next? Well, the stadium anthem People Keep On shows such strength of the wall of sound that there is no other option, but to bow down for the CNF altar. Familiar sample with a boomin beat and a wicked chorus makes this one a memorable entry for the catalogue. Hey, what is this? Can be heard from a loads of mouths, when hearing the album and the song with the same title too. In this homage for the band´s favorite bands/tracks/verses, CNF created a vortex of rhymes complimenting KRD´s simple, but hypnotic beat. Last part of the song pats the boys in their own backs with lyrics celebrating the ten previous records and the incredible songs they withhold. MC Reel Iz All About Biziness is MC Reel´s vision of an edit style MC and the second solo track gets the head scratching going even stronger with the listener. The dopeness of the beat and the Reel´s always off kilter/no holds barred style gives another good kick to the nads in the sonical form.
ADJUST3D starts the "side B" and it is a third entry for the CNF´s Adjusted trilogy. Nice 303 and a breakbeat mash lets loose a volley of dope lyrics hitting the eardrums with a video for the song for the eyes to catch with the vocals too. Rhimeclip To The UZI has a vocal sample from an older CNF tape song circa 1993 and it sounds off the alarm, some hardcore shit is on its way. Sound effects boost the lyrics to another level. Third solo track gets KRD off the hinges as he vents his feelings in the Lord Levitator (gets motley witta cru) song. Cool beat with a proper MC gorilla showing his dominance. No Stoppin tells a tale for a regular happenings in CNF liveshows, before, during, after. Really smooth roller beat with a catchy hook gives the listener a feel of cool sailings, but the lyrics state otherwise. We will close the album with Saturday Night, another beer/vodka fueled merry-go-around and as the beat keeps evolving to a louder for each breaks, so does the drunkedness in the rhymes.
Bonus tracks include a remix and a totally new song. Today, is a collabo track with Bowen & Bowen (England/USA combination of a band) with a production from Passionhifi. Nice stroll down the memory lane as the MC´s reminisce about the hip hop and how it has (d)evolved. For you beerheads, we got a nice little treat KRD & REEL found last summer, while browsing the hard drives, Kill Em All (India revisited). It has nice Bollywood vibe, but with a breakbeat mash, just to get those beer events more elevated.
It took it´s sweet time again, but this is a bangin joint, a sawed off sonical shotgun with both barrels cocked, BOOM!
This project got started, when KRD was listening Tim Dog while working and still after almost 30 years, loving the first two albums. As Tim was an MC with pretty straight up lyrics with a punch and KRD decided, that the band should pick few, for choruses on our future songs. All loved the idea and came up with four samples.
These four vocal samples created the choruses for all Hydra songs. Then the band picked up beats at the CNF studio for this project and found four beats from an old SU-700 sampler zip disks and decided what song links to what chorus. After that, the band decided the topics for the songs and had a brief brake and wrote some lyrics!
Then the Covid-19 pandemia hit and the project got changed once more. All CNF MCs bought similar mics and recorded lyrics privately from home (except Reel of course, who has the studio ) with the new, shiny microphones. CNF decided to do this projects in a reversed order as we usually do and record the lyrics in seclusion and this was a fun experience!Also, it is nice to see, that the Finnish-Danish connection works, because we got this great painted album cover picture done by our friend Bjarke Bruun!
Hydra songs one by one:
Good 2 Go
Good 2 Go is like part II to our song, Is This The End (2008) from our Evil English EP (how fitting!). The song is about the world today, the impossibly funny men in power and horrible things occurring every day just to create profit. I think the lyrics laid for this song are among the best we have written in few years, it is nice to be able to touch painful subjects, but still come off not preachy, but just an observative spectator. Beat is a banga too, and that helps obviously, nice vocal sound, a really dope song with a deeper meaning.
Strange times we are living and the humanity is Good2Go. That is the starting point behind this trippy rap song from our new record. When we started the HYDRA project in the CNF studio (@MCReel's home) and tossed the ideas for it, I think that the best thing behind it was to dedicate the EP to the late and great MC Tim Dog that have influenced all of us and have been "present" in the CNF sound for decades. We selected four beats from the KRD's endless arsenal of inspiration and then created the backstory for the rhimes. Because of the Covid19 outbreak we purchased the same (Yeti Blue) mics and recorded the raps in our home studios. I made my studio in to my sauna because it was the most quiet place in my home and it worked out perfectly.
It was me. I had a vision for the content of the song. Escalation. War. Disaster. World, what ever you have it, throw it at me. Negativism follows just seeing it happening. We must be active, kick yourself awake and do something. It’s up to us. It’s the CNF waking you up. I see the TV, I see the footage, but I am not good2go yet. Get organized, act now! I think this song represents the feeling of being paralyzed, being afraid, not able to move. If we feel, then we have still a connection. If we have connection, there is hope. It ain’t over until it’s over! For this song I created a new style. It’s me in renaissance mode. Reel reinvented 2020. Cool!!!
We all just get so lit by the sounds i cook up in the lab. We are guilty. We are high as fuck. We are the crackheads for the boom bap of the early nineties. We DO get high, on my own supply and i´ll keep being the chef for our crew from here till infinity. Another banger with the greatest dog, Tim doing the hook duties for us, so just skippidi ski and come get high with us if this is also your drug of choice!
This is our "Dusted part 2" song. We made the the original Dusted song in 2001 for the album "Gateway Product" and we also had a great LIVE BAND version for it (check our cnf.fi pages). So this is the sequel for that and the simple idea is to be naturally stoned from the fatty-boom-rap-beats that CNF makes. And of course Tim Dog's chorus line are the cherry on top. This is my favorite track because KRD's beat is sooooo groovy! And it brings me waywayback to the different world that we used to live in..
We are so old that we repeat ourselves in 20 year cycles. Dusted song was created when this millennium was in baby mode. Now we are 20 year old university student exploring what the world has to offer. This song is my personal favorite, I really like our flow and my style is psychedelic as ever. I feel free. I feel like partying with the ScoobyDoo. Tim Dog is there to support our journey towards bottom..or up…it’s the Bottoms-Up Anthem! KRD’s beat are just on point. Foreverteen. CNF party breaker, rump shaker, whateveryouhavetaker. Dusted number 2020!!!
I see myself as a madman like Frankenstein when i´m building something new sounds with my Ableton Live! -program. I love that program, because it opened so many possibilities comparing to the sampler era sounds. This beat was still made with the SU-700 -sampler, but the professor mode was no less then, there was less tricks and the sounds were more rugged and unpolished, but, that´s the way (aha, aha) i like it. With upgraded computer now, it´s like the professor has a new dungeon with more powerful tools to grave dig the sound cemetery and keep those abominations haunting your soundscape. I never know, are the beats solid when i start to craft them, but when i just feel them come alive with bolts of lightning and thundering bass and i do my madman giggling when i have screamed "It´s alive!"
"The devil made him and there is no undo / Déjà vu / This madman’s souls overdue". My story is about a rapper that have sold his soul to the devil to overcome success in his music career. Inspiration for this came from the (un)famous blues guitarist Robert Johnson that have done exactly that and there are a documentary from him in Netflix.
I see CNF in the alley-cat-mode. Whispering is sometimes is stronger style than yelling. We are the cooky-cooks of the hip-hop world. KRD brings the beat, Tim Dog=God tells it like it is. Hear us tell it like it is. I like my style here, flow and tricks. I would like to try this song live. Yamaha SU-700 talking to you and I got four of those bastards. It’s like we own the sounds. Street Wise CNF!!!
Not New Ta This feat Chorus1986 & DJ Logout
The bassline is wicked, the beat is kicking, we have a dope feature on this from Chorus1986 (UK), ill scratches from the DJ Logout and the godfather Tim blessing us with the awesome chorus, so we are going out witta bang! The last track from the HYDRA EP is an international gathering and it shows the positive side of a global pandemic, artists collaborating via internet and creating something so volatile, that your speakers might catch a flame...this was a fun project to do in a bad circumstances, but i hope ya´ll enjoyed the songs, we sure as hickidi heck did!
"Let it GO, let us IN, Here comes the crazy FINNs ..with the international gathering". Tim Dog is the god and this is the fat-boom-beat that can break ya neck if you are not careful. Featuring the man from UK: Chorus1986 and also a great DJ Logout. The track is the old dogs anthem for the future, where hip-hop is universal and CNF are above the overground doing whatever we like to do, without any pressure to fit in any trendy genre molds. 30 years in this rap thang gives you some freedom to be yourself and that is what we definitely are.
I am so happy we have Chorus1986 and DJ Logout on this track. To have international connection and a real Hip Hop DJ on a CNF track is like a dream come true. It’s Tim Dog talking to us and telling us to move. ”Hip Hop is universal, this is a future rap”. I think it’s been a hard year for the world, so we need the HYDRA EP from CNF. It’s the testimony of not giving up and being creative together. For the EP we reinvented ourselves, upgraded our production, bought new microphones, got new connections and made some great music. And we had a wonderful CD cover art from Denmark (huge thanks Bjarke Bruun aka MC Meller). It all shows our love for the music. love for the hip hop. It all belongs to us all.
Well, that was a fun album to do in a pandemic...but seriously, we took the bull by the balls and just cranked out one of our best albums!
The dire situation forced us to create a new way of doing the songs with the HYDRA EP, and it meant similar mic´s / Ableton Live for all of us. I create the beat, we focus on the topic and i lay down the first verses and use Google drive to distribute the project. Then James/Reel adds his stuff and i´ll do the final structure and MC Reel mixes it and we have a banger. This is how we did the whole (community) -album and we actually needed only 4-5 months for recording the whole album, which for us is "da lightspeed" compared to the old way of working from the studio, and i like it.
I had done the beats for the album during the pandemic beginning/a bit earlier, but as i carved the Clobal remixes, i found an extra gear in my production (and some beers might have been involved ;) ) and released the clutch and actually almost remade the whole album beats wise. And i´m so thankful that i did, cos the new beats are so much more live and energetic and have more changes in them, that we lucked out there.
We needed an Intro and i had a hankering of making one, since we hadn´t had one in ages. As i found the beat and the sample i started to listen our old cassettes and found the perfect sample for the intro, and it´s from our gig from Vernissa (1992) and this is where we met James for the first time and became friends. DJ Mista S then added more of our verbal jousts in there and it became live. I´m waiting to be behind the curtain on backstage and hear this starting to boom from the PA and getting the nervous adrenaline filled jitters, because i know we are going to rip some shit up!
Bring the Set
This one had a different title (a working one) and i really didn´t know what to do for the chorus. James rapped his verses in and said "I just tried something for the bridges, delete em if they are not good" and PRESTO! We had a slightly different freaking awesome structure in the song and his verses gave me the chorus too, nice one Juggy James! This whole song started when i listened a certain live show and thought how dope the bassist in the band was. And as he unleashed hell on his bass solo(!) i knew i had to sample that and tweak it to match the beat and this might be my favorite song on the album, defo in the top 3.
Is again Juggernaut delivering such dope lines i just have to make a chorus out of em, check the voice dammit! This was an interesting one. I just had the loop and thought nothing much from it. It wasn´t even supposed to be on the album, but i listened it one time on the backround and made the changes (almost directly the structure you hear on the album) and immediatley the rhimes started to come out and i had to start writing right then and there. I suggested that we ditch a song we never got around working further than the title and the topic and i rapped my verses in this. Then both of the lads laid in theirs and started to sound REALLY good. Mista S laid some scratches in and MC Reel mixed it and the first version sounded so chaotic, that it was the only time i vitoed, that it needs to be toned down and the version Reel delivered next, is the one on the album and oh.my.God. This is again on my top 3 and it became instantly a part of our live show. A metallic beat over this smooth 70´s sample which has acoustic/bass on it and the vocal effect, muaaa, a chef´s kiss!
Imma Let It Flow (feat. Mr Rag)
I can see a pattern here, it´s James in the chorus again, BUT from our tape from 1993 this time! This song just fucking moves man, it has such an energy to it, that i knew we had to have a fourth mc to rock with us. We have had few candidates we had asked to come to join in a song with us, but these have been the "that sounds great, send me the beat! and never hear from again" -guys, so we reached out for our Brownsand Brother Mr Rag. Me and MC Reel were featured on their awesome tape in the mid nineties. We came to find out, that he had taken a 16 year hiatus from rapping, but we was like, no sweat, you got the skills man! And the skills he has, darnation he rocks hard! I love the 16´s we all bust about the culture, it instantly reminds me of my graffiti days, when i spit "Running through the woods in the darkness, magic markers with sharpness, hip hop sparked this fire in my soul", when we ran from the rent-a-cops while tagging the Martsari water tower (alledgely) and had to flee through the pitch black forrest in a knee deep snow, ah the memories (alledgely) :).
The Funkiest Finns
The Funkiest Finn was a moniker MC Reel used on that Brownsand Brothers tape we just talked about on the previous track. I just felt/feel that we truly are the funkiest. No one rocks as hard or has this kind of songs than us. No one ventures so deep in the soundscapes and no one has the durability than us. This is actually the remix of the original version, because i felt, that it needed a different beat. The OG version is still good, it´s in the bonus track section. It is interesting, that the vocal takes are the same in both songs, but as the beat flows diffrently, the songs sound completely different, it is odd, but funke.
I Swim In Concrete
We all have our own worlds where we venture while we are sleeping and i thought it would be an interesting take, to hear six different versions (2x8 bars of rhimes from each mc) for the subject at hand. This is a beat, that rocks in a twisted way, like your dreams do sometimes and i think all of us brought our A -game by delivering some vivid imagery via rhimes how we all see things in the other realm. Creating the video for this was freaky, because the images people have made/drawn/envisioned seemed sometimes to be pretty ghoulish and nightmarish, but we didn´t just touch those subjects, but more, like meeting dead relatives/friends and having a conversation with them, or when it just gets so odd, you are facinated by the sights.
Alpha To Omega (feat. Chorus)
One of our plugs from abroad is Chorus from UK, who was featured on the HYDRA EP. We can rely on him EVERYTIME we need a dope feat and he was on point with the Alpha banger. This might be the only older beats that survived the purge, while i got better with the Ableton Live! and found better breakbeats. But this one still utilizes the good ol breakbeat and some otherworldly sounds that create the sonic boom we usually do and the 8 bar verses keep it moving like a bullet from a gun. Keep your eyes on Chorus, we are about to do few songs for his solo stuff, but on that he needs to get his ass to the booth and send me some verses..CHORUS! ;)
First one was so good, we had to do a sequel. The beat i created sounded so like the old Cypress Hill and i loved it immediately. As the beat kept playing in the backround, the first verse just popped in to my old nuggin and it was off to the races. It was an easy sell for the lads, because we all love some tong twista rhimes and it was a good writing excercise with the free flowing form, a break from the norm. Listen to MC Reel´s rhymes, or a better idea, watch the youtube lyric video, because he GOES OFF on the track. Altough neither will be in the live shows in the near future (see tong twista rhimes :)), i love to listen both of em, because they make me remember writing the rhimes and spittin them on the track and kicking myself when fumbling on the last verse and having to do the take again and again...resilience.
One For The Culture (feat. Mr Rag)
As we enter the jazz odyssey part of the record, we get another dope 16 bars from Mr Rag. We all appreciate the culture of hiphop, that has given us so much, that this smooth jazzy track is dedicated to our love for hiphop. It was nice to create something smoother for a change, altough the harder, boom bap is THE thing for me. This song elevates the album and it´s gives all the "smokers" something to blaze to and sit comfy in their sofa while getting baked. And for the sequencing, Maniac James had a great idea, that this song and the next should be back-2-back, cos they sound like they are counter pieces for each other, and shit, it really works!
The timing for the song was so unfortunate. I literally had this beat ready for two years and it all started from that Asher Roth sample, "Razor Ramon flow, oh so sharp", that i had stuck in my had in a loop while i was at the gym. That means, that i have to create a song from it and saw it was done. We did the song as usual, and got it mixed and as we released it, Scott Hall (wrestler, who´s one character was Razor Ramon, one of my favorite characters ever in wrestling) died the same day. It is now a dedication for him and his skills on the mic (promos) and in the ring, supposed to the original idea, that it was just about dope rhimes and a tight delivery. The song is another jazzy one and it lets you do a smooth cruise and close your eyes and just enjoy the whole shabang, either baked or just on a Friday beer tip or just cruising in your sweet ride (but keep your eyes open then ;) ).
In The Place To Be
Well, talking about dead people, the band that´s one of my all time favs, quit few years ago, because the main member of the band passed away. I have had few things to sample from the band years prior, but this sample really kicked in the BPM´s up and as i found a matching beat (from another great band i enjoy), and they welled together like bb & j and created a "fast paced sock it to your mouth" -sandwich of some proper early nineties rap. These 16´s were maybe the easiest to write for the album and i think were the easiest to record also (least takes), which is weird, because the tempo is well over 100bpm´s...for the chorus and the beginning, i sampled 1992 CNF from the tapes, because why not, we are dope as fuck!
as for the remixes
The Funkiest Finns (Dark Riders OG Mix)
As i told before, this is the OG version for the song. MC Reel´s last mix made the song better and it bounced back to the album, as it was previously just dropped from it, as the remix was the better. But it is so weird, that when i listen to it, i could swear, the rhimes have been laced again for this song, it sounds different. But as i made both of the songs, i know they are the same takes. This again shows, how the music itself can make your brain listen certain things differently, but it´s cool, becaus it makes this song feel more of a completely new song, than a remix.
Imma Let It Flow (feat. Mr Rag) (DJ Mista S remix)
Our DJ asked if he could remix a song, while we were at his studio talking about the album and the scratches we hoped he would lace down and like we are going to say no. He has had so good ear for music (well, he´s with us, so yeah :) ) for years and it´s kept him as a popular DJ for loads of clubs/festivals etc. He made the song more bouncy and club like and it´s great to have a different kind of a remix and not just a re-hashed version from it.
This album was fun to create and it has rejuvenated our working ethic tremendously, so be on the lookout for the CNF Live Shows coming up and the HYDRA EP remixes are already done and mixed and yours truly has already started crafting the NEXT album and if this one is a banger, wait for what we have instored for the next one, BOOM!
- KRD da Levitator