I started listening to rap/hip-hop music in the early 80s, shortly after my older brothers introduced my twin and I to the New York birthed art form. Those early 80s were great times for young black and brown women and men who witnessed the early stages of a culture that has grown exponentially since then. Rap was mesmerizing, and that’s exactly what it was for me before I was even a teenager.
Steady B’s classic “What’s My Name” was one of the first rap recordings that turned me into a big fan and addict of rhythms and sounds that have their roots in the musicality of the African diaspora. I had the album, a 78 inch vinyl, that I played on a daily basis for months. Steady B is one of those lyrical legends that you hear about on the underground and early rap scene. He established himself early on with this second project.
Steady B is a Philadelphia native who is a pioneer of the early rap sound that Philadelphia is known for.
My favorite track on the album is the title track, “What’s My Name.” He rhymes “Steady B yeah you got it right/The MC, master of the ceremony tonight.” With passion and a beat that will quickly make your head nod, the track takes you to a place where purists of rap have sought quality lyricism and beats that give an emcee’s rhyme the power that they need. “What’s My Name” reminds me of Nas’ classic “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” – lyrical prowess that you can only get from those who have proven themselves, and show a natural talent at rhyming and emceeing.
Steady B wrote and recorded “I’ll Take Your Radio.” An early diss track that was aimed at LL Cool J. This track helped put him on the map and solidify him as an emcee to be reckoned with.
“What’s My Name is the quintessential rap album that “rap heads” love, and once they re-examine it, they give it its just props. Every beat on the album is done well and the scratching by DJ Tat Money is exactly what you’re looking for in an early rap album. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s early sound come out of this Philadelphia tradition of precise rap lyrics and cutting and scratching that is superb.
“Use Me” is my second favorite track on the album. It’s a smooth rap track that has a sample in it from an early R&B song. It’s probably one of the earliest rap tracks that featured a sample from
an R&B song. DJ Tat Money’s best scratching is found in this song. I can listen to this track over and over.
“Funky Drummer” is another pounding track with Steady B flowing over live drums. This was a great idea. Live drums and a rapper go together well if it’s done right. Steady B had no problem making it work!
When I want to go to a quality rap album that takes me back to the music I fell in love with as a child, “What’s My Name” is an album that I can go to and be satisfied. I recommend this album to any youth who wants to find the best in early rap music. For upcoming lyricists and rappers, Steady B can be a guiding force showing you how it’s supposed to be done. I would say the same for DJ Tat Money. He’s a deejay who is masterful and talented at what he does. “What’s My Name” will show you that.
Long live Rap and the culture we call Hip-Hop