house of phat beats. 23 april 1998.
91.7fm kvrx austin.
featuring special guests: 5th platoon (nyc).
And so we begin.
I recently revived an old cassette deck I have that’s been collecting dust for a few years with the intent of uploading a bunch of old House of Phat Beats and Dolla Holla Show tape archives from my Hip-Hop radio days when I lived in Austin in the mid-to-late ’90s. For those who don’t know, the House of Phat Beats was a Hip-Hop radio show I did with my ace homie Red Koolaid aka Kari Orr aka k.orr from 1994-1999 on KVRX 91.7fm UT Student Radio in Austin.
I’m starting with this episode from April 1998, because I (along with friends Empanadamn, Smellsmore, DJ Jester the Filipino Fist, P-Love + wife and baby), recently had dinner with Neil Armstrong from the legendary 5th Platoon DJ crew here in Brooklyn (where I now live). We had a pretty good conversation that night catching up on old times, reminiscing about older Hip-Hop days and how the music game has changed. So this show was fresh on my mind.
The homies Brent aka Empanadamn, Jonathan aka J.Lee and Jef Cox aka Cashless, brought the 5th Platoon DJ crew down to Austin from New York to perform at a UT Concert Music Committee / ACME Think Tank event called 4Play featuring Ras Kass, K-Otix and M’Phatigo on the UT campus, as well as for a DMC Southwest Regional competition that took place that same week. We were fortunate enough to have them come by the House of Phat Beats (and the Dolla Holla Show the next day).
We were big fans of the 5th Platoon, so we were geeked to have 6 members of the crew all at once: Roli Rho, Kuttin Kandi, DoBoy, Vinroc, Neil Armstrong and Daddy Dog. We were all broke as a joke in those days, so that was no small feat. Hat tip to Brent, Jonathan and Jef for putting in the hard work that made this happen.
A couple of notes:
- Our shows were pretty fucking raw and unpolished, which was by design. It’s sometimes hard for me listening to these shows because of how rough around the edges they are, but this was the style of the times, and I’d argue it was part of our charm. This was a non-commercial station, so we often fought with failing/sketchy equipment. But it didn’t matter, because our philosophy was to do these shows by any means necessary. We improvised a lot. Anybody who’s done low-budget college/community radio knows the struggle all too well.
- The technical aspects of this show were pretty chaotic, considering we had the turntables for them set up in the office on the other side of a windowless wall adjacent to the control room, so I couldn’t see them at all while I was manning the controls. This was not a typical setup for us (I think we only did that one other time in the show’s history), so it was definitely a challenge. All things considered, I’m impressed we pulled it off.
- KVRX’s Local Live crew actually recorded the DJ exhibitions to DAT with the intent of possibly including it on one of their Local Live compilations they were putting out at the time, but that never happened. To my chagrin, they only recorded the audio from the turntables and didn’t capture any of our airbreaks and introductions, so it sounded kind of weird. Somewhere in my storage, I still have this DAT tho. Gonna try and rescue that at some point. Shout out to the Local Live team that night anyway, because without their help with the setup, the 5th Platoon performance couldn’t have happened.
- This was recorded in the control room on a janky cassette deck, so pardon the quality. Also, there’s a short gap during one of the DJ sets because that’s when we had to flip over the tape we were recording on.
- It was a two-hour show, but we recorded on a 74-minute cassette, so we missed the beginning and end of the show, including the part where the homie M’Phatigo aka Livewire aka The Big Wheel aka Big Remy Love made an appearance and featured tracks from the EP he recorded with my ace homie Jason Dozier aka DJ JD. I’m super bummed about that. It’s possible there’s a tape somewhere in my storage that has the tail end of the show recorded on it. It’s also very possible that we didn’t record the tail end of the show at all. *shrug*
- The show also features a cameo from the homie Maxxx Julian. Just to put that era into perspective, he brought in a CD from Mystik Journeymen, and we thought it was pretty weird that they had a CD out. Those were tape and vinyl days on the underground. CDs were some next level pro shit. That’s pretty hilarious in retrospect. This was before CD burners were affordable and common. These were also still the very early days of the Internet, as far as the general public was concerned.
- Our show aired during what the FCC calls “Safe Harbor,” which according to the station’s interpretation (based on what the FCC calls “community standards”) allowed us to play cuss words on the air — which we did gladly and prolifically.
- I forgot to add Neil’s name on the cassette when I labeled this way back in when. My bad. Neil was definitely there tho. Sorry, homie.
- We all sound mad young. It’s weird.
Here’s the full playlist, with the parts that actually got recorded highlighted in bold.
playlist 23 april 1998
Master P » Bounce Dat Ass
Hobo Junction » Nite and Day
Xperado f/O.C. » Watch Ya Step
KRS-One » Knowledge Reigns Supreme
Rahsheed/Ill Advised » 184.108.40.206.
Gangstarr » N.Y. Straight Talk
Mystik Journeymen » Nigen Slump (Culture vs. Industry)
Goodie Mob » They Don’t Dance No Mo’ (rmx)
Young Bleed f/C-Loc/Master P » Keep It Real
X-Clan » Heed the Word of the Brother
- 5th Platoon DJ live exhibitions…
- Roli Rho set
- Kuttin’ Kandi set
- Daddy Dog set
- Neil Armstrong set
- Vinroc set
- DoBoy set
Big Punisher f/Black Thought » Super Lyrical
Dilated Peoples » Work the Angles
L-Fudge » A Conversation with Hip-Hop
Ras Kass » The Music of Business
Witchdoctor » Ancient Sahore
- words from M'Phatigo aka Livewire (houston,tx)
M'Phatigo/DJ JD » Xit From Suckaville
M'Phatigo/DJ JD » Space City
Blackalicious » Touch the Stars
Aceyalone » ?
So yeah, here we are — the first of what I hope to be many time capsules that I get to post online from this really special time in my young life. Stay tuned.