As you might be aware, legendary impresario and cultural activist Malcolm Mclaren passed away about a week and a half ago. It’s a little late, but I wanted to add my own little tribute here, because besides his cred as the Man at the Crossroads of punk, he had a brief but fruitful involvement with hip hop, producing some classic material with The World’s Famous Supreme Team, who were rocking WHBI in New York from 1979 through the early 80s.
That’s Mclaren’s voice you hear on “Buffalo Gals” — “round the outside, and dosy-doh your partners!” (see above) — irreverently appropriating the American blackface traditional, hip hop style (and notably later referenced by Eminem on “Without Me”). That and the tune “Hey DJ”, especially, continue to reverberate through hip hop culture, so what was essentially a dalliance became a mainstay.
Here’s a tribute mix by the legendary DJ Premier, which draws heavily upon the Buffalo Gals Back 2 Skool anniversary tribute record (1998) and in addition to a slew of Mclaren-shepherded tunes, contains recordings of Mclaren describing his encounter with hip hop. Check it out!
Rest in peace.
Another piece of Mclaren obscura related to subjects familiar to the Bunker’s readers is the fact that the original script for his autobiographically derived and never-realised movie project, Fashion Beast, was written no less a figure than Alan Moore. It’s available here, with more info here. There’s a pretty good obit on Mclaren at the Telegraph.