No act was more synonymous with the burgeoning downtown NY music scene of the early 80s than Mantronix. The duo of DJ/producer Kurtis Mantronik and rapper MC Tee won club kids over with their 808 beats, esoteric scratching and synthetic sound. With "Fresh Is The Word" they distilled the electro of "Planet Rock" and lyrical agility of Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five. Their independently released Mantronix: The Album came out in 1985 on Arthur Russell and William Socolov's Sleeping Bag Records. At the same time Mantronik was performing A&R duties for the label and producing artists like T La Rock, Just-Ice and Tricky Tee. With King Of The Beats: Anthology 1985 - 1988 Traffic has done the hard work of compiling some of the best material that Kurtis Mantronik produced before moving away from hip hop. The Mantronik sound of this period was heavy on the drum machine with samples used more as accents than anything else. The drum programming behind T La Rock's "Bass Machine" sounds like the blue print for southern hip hop. Mantronix's music has been sampled by artists as diverse as the Beastie Boys, De La Soul, The Prodigy, and Beck. And you know that all that they were after were the drums.
- Music Label: Traffic Entertainment Group 2012
reviewed by The Voice 08/2012
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