Northside Festival has ended

Ultramagnetic MC's

Bronx rap group Ultramagnetic MC’s were in operation for two years before their 1986 single “Ego Trippin’” got them the world’s notice. It was the first hip-hop song to sample the drum break from Melvin Bliss’ “Synthetic Substitution,” a seminal snippet of music that would later be used in both Naughty by Nature’s “O.P.P.” and Wu-Tang’s “Bring Da Ruckus” (among many others). Just one instance in which listening to the group’s 1988 masterpiece Critical Beatdown can make you feel like you’re getting up to speed on a decade of hip-hop that would follow it. Ced Gee, the group’s main production force, pioneered the technique of “chopping” samples, or rearranging bits of music to suit an entirely new context. It’s now a basic component of music-making across all genres. What is referred to as “the golden era of sampling,” a free-for-all that preceded freer litigation, is largely defined by the Ced Gee’s work (his work with Boogie Down Productions included). But the quality of the rappers involved shouldn’t be overshadowed by the importance of the group’s influential sound. Kool Keith, obviously went on to a critically adored solo career, but the whole of Critical Beatdown, as well as 1992′s slightly overshadowed follow-up Funk Your Head Up are stone classics of the genre. Despite some unofficial singles, Ultramagnetic MC’s were on extended hiatus from 1992 to 2007, when Keith and Gee again joined original members Moe Love and TR Love. Their last live performance was in 2011, tapped by the obviously influenced trip-hop legends Portishead for a spot on their All Tomorrow’s Parties bill in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Northside couldn’t be happier to welcome them back to New York City.

My Artists Sessions

Sunday, June 17

8:00pm EDT