Download SAC Lunch (right click and select “Save Link As…” or “Save Target As…”), or listen here:
01. Starving Artists Crew – Promo CD Intro
02. Starving Artists Crew – Motivate
03. Tekay One – SAC Lunch Break
04. Starving Artists Crew – Organic Chemistry
05. Starving Artists Crew – Ill Na Na
06. Starving Artists Crew – Kick Clap
07. Starving Artists Crew – Up Pops The SAC
08. Eduardo Scizzahandz – SAC Lunch Break
09. Starving Artists Crew – Promo CD Freestyle
10. Starving Artists Crew – Artistry Original
11. Starving Artists Crew – Five Day Trippin’
All throughout 2002 and 2003, I was helping SP with the post-production and mix down for the songs on the Starving Artists Crew’s “Up Pops The SAC” album. The album was picked up by P-Vine Records for distribution in Japan and was released in 2003. In 2004, Fat Beats Records picked up the album for distribution in the USA and the rest of the world. For more on the Starving Artists Crew, check out my “Old School Hip Hop“, “Cultural Vibe 2003“, “SP – Movin’ Along“, and “Starving Artists Crew – Efil4cas” posts!
A couple weeks before the Fat Beats release of “Up Pops The SAC”, we got a request from Ethan at Fat Beats to do a promo CD. In about a week’s time, I threw the “SAC Lunch” mix together, enlisting the help of all of the DJ’s and MC’s who appeared on the album.
My inspiration for the mix came from my fond memories of the old Mantronix albums and how there was always a megamix on them. It had been a while since I had heard a Rap group do any sort of megamix, so I felt that someone should try and bring back this “lost art of the album megamix”. Of course, I couldn’t possibly match the skill and technique of the Mantronix megamixes, because they had Chep Nunez and Omar Santana to do tape edits of their songs! (For more information on Chep Nunez, Omar Santana, tape editing, and a bunch of other stuff, check out my “Sandcastles” post).
My goal for this promo mix was to do something so creative and energetic/fast-paced that it would get people excited to check out the album (and ultimately buy it). I wanted the megamix to show the quality of the music and types of rapping that could be expected on the album (i.e., “if you love the megamix, then you’re definitely gonna love the album!”).
Not only did I want to highlight some of the new songs from the album, but I also wanted to include older Starving Artists Crew songs that people were already be familiar with. And since I had access to the original source materials and tracked sessions, I was able to have a lot of fun with the megamix and use a lot of the outtakes and background vocals. I was also able to use the acapellas from the album and drop in the same old school Rap instrumentals that I used during our live-show routines. I put in new/exclusive Starving Artists Crew instrumentals, DJ scratch interludes (contributed by myself, Tekay One, and Eduardo Scizzahandz), and exclusive Starving Artists Crew freestyles to make the megamix something truly unique and stand on its own (outside of the main album).
To this day, I still feel that “Up Pops The SAC” is, without a doubt, the best Rap album to have come out of Michigan. Ever. I have yet to hear anything past or present that comes close to what was done on that album. The Starving Artists Crew was unique in and of itself because it was comprised of a loose-knit group of a dozen or so music-nerd friends, all hailing from various cities throughout Southeastern Michigan and Mid-Michigan, coming together because of the commonalities and musical interests that we all shared.
“Up Pops The SAC” was the perfect summertime album. The album itself was unique because of how musically dense and sample-heavy each and every song was (we may been amateur beat diggers back then, but that was a lot more than everyone else was/is in Michigan), plus the hundreds of individual scratches and vocal sample drops littered throughout each song (contributed by myself, Tekay One, Eduardo Scizzahandz, and Josh Dunn), plus the lyrical content of the three main MC’s (four, if you include Massey Love a.k.a. Eduardo Scizzahandz), plus the incorporation of old school Rap styles (there was a lot of interplay, group shouts, and bar-for-bar exchanges going on), plus how the styles of rapping varied from song to song, plus how the songs on the album were pieced together in a somewhat nonstop-continuous mix (a la Public Enemy’s “It Takes A Nation Of Millions” album), plus how each MC had his own solo/interlude song on the album (a la Leader’s Of The New School’s “A Future Without A Past“), plus all of the musical interludes (a la Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s “Mecca & The Soul Brother“), plus the outtake interludes (a la Diamond D’s “Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop“), plus how a lot of the song’s instrumentals would just play and ride out for awhile after the last verse/chorus (a la A Tribe Called Quest’s “Peoples’ Instinctive Travels & The Paths Of Rhythm“), etc.
Since the early 2000’s, the problem that I have had with a most Rap albums is that they have 50 different producers doing the tracks. There is no consistency or cohesiveness between the songs on their album. It sounds like you’re listening to a compilation of songs from 15 different albums, instead of 15 songs from one complete, fully-realized album. And that’s another thing that made “Up Pops The SAC” unique: With the exception of one of the solo rap interludes, all of the songs on “Up Pops The SAC” sound like they belong on the album.
Even when an outside producer supplied a beat for the album (e.g., Thes One from People Under The Stairs), it sounded like a “Starving Artists Crew beat”. And when the Starving Artists Crew went to Japan in 2004 (see my “Old School Hip Hop” post for more information about the tour), Nujabes (RIP) gave us a beat that totally sounded like something that we would’ve made for ourselves. Unfortunately, we never got the chance to record it for him, but the instrumental did end up getting used on his posthumous album “Spiritual State“…