Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"I kept thinking this clown was hard, but apparently he just kept rapping about food.” (The original 'HOT POTATO')



Above: NOT Flav OR 'HOT POTATO' (random internet image)


I watched Krush Groove recently and wanted to know more about this film (for one: why?) and discovered this great story on Wikipedia:

During an interview to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the film, Russell Simmons reflected on the legacy of Krush Grove and its position in hip-hop culture history. The film, Simmons said, is still recognizable not only for having brought together so many Def Jam stars at the time, but for also introducing new talent, such as LL Cool J. Cool J was so persistent during filming, showing up to shooting locations and performing freestyles, that producers ended up putting him in the final cut. This backdoor auditioning process became a staple of the production. “Other cats weren’t so lucky,” Simmons said. “We had this one cat who tried to be like LL, and we just couldn’t understand what his gig was. Dude was a total clown. He was wearing a clock around his neck way before Flav. Neon jumpsuits, everything. Of course our whole thing was black leather and adidas. That was the thing in rap at that time. He came in speaking some sort of pigeon English and just kept groping our female set workers. We called him ‘Hands’ at first cause we didn’t know what else to call him.” Simmons went out to explain that, after some time, they crew realized ‘Hands’ was actually speaking siSwati, a sister tongue to siZulu. “That’s when we called in Afrika Bambaataa, you know, cause this is ’84, right. The Zulu Nation was hot at that time, working that African infusion into everything, breakbeats, graffiti, peace in communities. We thought Afrika could translate. Nah, son. Ends up that dude doesn’t know a word of zulu.” As former crew members tells it, the rapper referred to himself as ‘Lishisa Lizambane’, siSwati for ‘Hot Potato’. Run of Run-DMC recalls “We didn’t know how he got to the Bronx, but apparently cat was from Africa. Like real Africa. As in, middle-of-nowhere Swaziland Africa.” ‘Hot Potato’ was a self-dubbed name, due to his penchant for passing himself around amongst ladies, not unlike the action of a real hot potato. As for his freestyles, Simmons claims he “had no idea what was happening, cause it was all jumbled up siSwati and English. He wouldn’t perform without a stick in his hand, occasionally made bird whistles, and randomly did high leg kicks for no reason. I remember thinking he was rappin’ about police, police, police. Come to find out, he just kept using this word ‘liphalishi’ which is some sort of a staple meal where he comes from. I kept thinking this clown was hard, but apparently he just kept rapping about food.” Due to the absurd nature of this unknown, producers couldn’t justify including one his performances in the final cut, out of fear of alienating their core audience. “We actually tried to film him in a scene once,” remembers Kurtis Blow, “but he kept putting his mug all up on Sheila E.” After filming, ‘Hot Potato’ was never seen from him again, although speculation is that he returned to native Swaziland. “Thats unfortunate,” says Simmons, “cause once Public Enemy came out we realized just how ahead of the game ‘Hands’... excuse me... ‘Hot Potato’ really was.”

4 comments:

I.M.A. Pelican said...

Great story.
If there was only more rap about food!!!! The Fat Boys had some pretty good gluttonous raps. But fast food rap cold be sort of sad in these organic days.

I.M.A. Pelican said...

"could"
cold fiood
food

Saman BB said...

Need raps about food? how about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mm.._Food

genius.

vampire with nautical themes said...

Weird. I just watched Krush Groove.

I remember renting this video about 20 years ago called Du-beat-ee-oo based on its cover which was a drawing of this guy screaming that was kinda gary panter-ish. That movie was weird but I was just reminded of it by reading this. You should see it, it's a real mess.

Shay