August 08, 2022

MC Shan "Down By Law" (August 8, 1987)

There was a time when the Juice Crew were running things, and truly believed that nobody could compete with them. MC Shan embodied that belief, with his braggadocio rhymes and "battle anybody" attitude. Overflowing with confidence, Shan has been a well-rounded emcee since he first showed up on wax in 1985, coming correct whether he was story telling, free styling, or kicking some of the most impressive extended metaphors in Hip Hop history. Shan's bio shares, "MC Shan, Shawn Moltke, is one of the freshest, most intelligent and coolest rap stylists and innovators to "rock the mic viciously" in recent memory. His professional character is partly one of pure virtuosity, and partly one of exciting showmanship. His debut album on Cold Chillin' Records, Down By Law, surpassed the 150,000 unit mark last summer with virtually no airplay. Ever since going out on the road with Roxanne Shante in 1985, without benefit of a record, the word on the street has been that MC Shan is a serious performer who can fire up basic human instincts, like humor, romantic sentiment, and a strong desire for something essentially hip and physically intoxicating. Over the past couple of years, he has unleashed a torrential outpouring of fresh def jams, including "The Marley Scratch," "The Bridge," and the preachy but funny anti-crack rap, "Jane, Stop This Crazy Thing," all produced by main Homeboy, and blood cousin, Marlon "Marley Marl" Williams. His 12-inch "The Bridge," a tribute to the Queensbridge Projects in Queens, NY, was the subject of a hilarious answer record called "The Bridge Is Over." Prior to signing with Cold Chillin', MC Shan built a following with releases on Nia, MCA and Bridge Records. Cont'd below + revisit Down By Law...

For some background story, the 1990 press bio also shares: "In 1983, Shan was a devilishly wicked street brat, with a big chip on his shoulder, and a series of misdemeanors longer than a New York City crosstown block. "I was a hood," he says today. "I was lucky I didn't have a police record. One time I was so young when I stole a car that, the cops refused to believe that I did it. I never committed any felonies." Our juvenile delinquent's salvation and ascent up the ladder of stardom began on a Brooklyn street on Halloween night, 1983, when rap manager Tyrone Williams, now Chairman of Cold Chillin' Records, caught him breaking into his car." It also says that while Williams didn't turn him over to the police, he did kick Shan's ass, understandably. For an artist that is considered one Nas' earliest influences, Shan also had Suede Puma designed after him, a "Rap Quotes" sign in Queensbridge, a double-disc reissue of Down By Law, as well as a highly publicized interview on Noreaga and DJ EFN's acclaimed podcast, Drink Champs. In the interview, MC Shan went deep into his feelings on the culture, his come-up, successes, failures and of course, his beef with KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions. The showman is still very much inside of Shan as he took over the interview and really gave us a look at the man and the artist. You can watch that interview HERE, plus dig in the archives for more interviews/content from MC Shan, a true pioneer!