What do Patrick Ewing, Rumeal Robinson, and Wayne Marshall have in common? They all went to high school at Cambridge Rindge and Latin, and they were all born in Jamaica -- except for the Wayne Marshall who submits the following "imaginary archaeology" of a mysterious recording by Dr. J; he does share his name, however, with a Jamaican singer and has written extensively about reggae (and hip-hop, reggaeton, and global club music) at his blog, wayne&wax. Follow him at @wayneandwax.

On one very merry late 70s Christmas morning, a young Markie D, yet to rise to local stardom as one of Boston's several answers to Doug E. Fresh, found in his stocking a cassette boasting amazing contents: basketball "SUPER THINK" according to Julius Erving. Released by the suspicious but nonetheless seemingly credible TROLL ASSOCIATES, Dr. J's informational and inspirational spoken-word performance had a reportedly noticeable effect on Markie's ability to penetrate the perimeter. But when those dividends dried up around the same time hip-hop came to town, the tape was -- somewhat ceremoniously -- taped over, scotch guarding the knocked-out knockout tabs that tell cassette-players to keep their heads to themselves. (As noted clearly on the cassette, duplication was prohibited, but the word was mum on overdubbing.) For several years the tape played host to the latest greatest raps one could catch on the airwaves, or copy via visiting cousins from New York.

Eventually, it served as the eye-popping receptacle of 9 minutes of beatbox fury, bragadocious cautionary tales, and reverb freakouts, carefully packed and mailed to DJ Magnus, whose "Lecco's Lemmas" radio show on WMBR (and later WZBC) was fast becoming the primary platform for the Bean's aspiring rap talents, including a young, recently-relocated-to-Brooklyn M.C. Keithy E (aka, the late, great Guru of Gang Starr).

The broadcast of these 9 minutes may have warped more minds than the TROLL ASSOCIATES' original and perhaps even taught more listeners the proper method for driving the lane despite that the wisdom of Dr. J had by this point been encrypted into a series of throat clicks, pursed-lip bass bombs, and allusions to famous German automatons counting in Spanish. Recently rediscovered by vinyl librarian Pacey Foster, Boston's premiere hip-hop historian and assistant professor of management, now you too can learn how to dunk like Dr. J, or at least maybe rock the bells like Markie D.

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At 9/16/2010 12:54 AM, Blogger mark.brklyn said...


Remembering the first time i heard guru and premier on Medgar Evers college radio back in the day. Way back in the day. I want to hear this tape. Where is the audio? No more mister nice guy was good, but step in to the arena was a sound track while watching for Marc Jackson, and Mase and jason "the shotgun" williams, and rod strickland at the cage. come on bring me back to the day.

At 9/16/2010 3:40 PM, Blogger mark.brklyn said...

Thanks for link. It was just an image before. Step in the arena it is not. It reminds me of how i drive to the hoop. awkward and stumbling.


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