MC Tunes vs 808 State – The Only Rhyme That Bites [MUSIC VAULT]

Been thinking to re-start this “feature” on Cheese on Toast; revisiting discs in my record collection and ranting a little bit about them – and why I own them.

Sometimes the selection will be random, or other times prompted by something. This first new addition to the MUSIC VAULT feature is simply pulled at random from my 12″ collection.

MC Tunes vs 808 State
ZTT Records

This was the debut single from Manchester rapper MC Tunes; produced in collaboration with the awesome 808 State, released in 1990 on the ZTT (Zang Tuum Tumb). ZTT had signed 808 State off the back of the independent success of their Quadrastate EP (which contained the original mix of their now-classic Pacific State) – they brokered the deal though a guy called Ron Atkinson, who had a record shop called in Manchester called Music Mania. They re-released Pacific and it got to No.7 in the charts. ZTT co-founder described 808 State as “A fusing of deep experimental urge with a ferocious, philosophical desire to dance… 808 State were like the missing link between Cabaret Voltaire and Aphex Twin.”

And at the time of signing 808 State they were working on a demo of this song with Manchester luminary and promotor MC Tunes – ZTT heard it and decided they’d put it out, and it broke the UK top ten – as did the follow up single with 808 State – Tunes Splits The Atom. An album followed The North At Its Heights (ZTT 3).

But MC Tunes and ZTT were to part ways when the label decided not to release a sophomore album by him; it was at a time when rap could have still been considered embryonic, and as MC Tunes recalls,

“I was saying how rap was going to be around in 10 and 20 years time and that it was the new rock’n’roll, but they just couldn’t see it,” he says. “They thought it was going to go the way of Showaddywaddy or glam rock…”

If only Showaddywaddy had taken the same trajectory that rap music has…

The single opens with a voice-over “the one’s who brought you…” as the bird chirpy refrain from Pacific State plays, “bring you something different” before a tribal ping-pong-like rhythm percusses under synth lines while MC Tunes deftly delivers a ferocious rap over the proto-rave pulse and bassline that bubbles and massive orchestral break downs that were designed to be truly massive on the dance floor. This tune still kicks arse 22 years later!

T for Terminator / U for Undertaker / N iniolator / E for Educator / S for Sadistic.

The back cover of the 12″ features the lyrics arranged in a decreasing spiral and looks freaking awesome.

Check out the music video here (which is a slightly different, and, in my opinion, inferior mix / arrangement of the song)

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