Words By Jason Hortillas
Purple Karl Kani denim. Snap back Miami Hurricane caps. Bugs Bunny bootleg tees. In ’92 that was my attire which complimented my crush for T-Boz from TLC – and no, not the post-divorce, Mack 10 version to follow.
Around that time is when I first heard of “Soul Clap” on Red Alert’s show on 98.7FM in New York. Riding in mom dukes Plymouth Voyager, we got gassed on Friday nights because Red would always play fresh off the presses exclusives. Long before Flex dropped the bombs, the Red Alert siren blasted throughout the Tri-state. The siren was louder, abrasive, a little annoying and was more sinister – it really was an “alert” to take listen. My eardrums seem to be delighted by horn loops which seems to simplify the definition of early of the Golden Era sound (Can you say T.R.O.Y.?)
“Soul Clap,” was full of catch phrases from the initial Chuck D “Hit the drum and get wicked,” vocal sample and the infamous, “Clap you hands to the beat box.” Even today you drop the needle on this and b-boys know this shit word by word as they hit the dance floor. The video is also representative of a time when the “cameo” was more love of the fam, rather than a co-sign.
It’s evident in seeing cats such as Diamond D, Fat Joe, & Greg Nice participating in the video and not montage shots in two second bursts. Although short in stature, A.G. which stands for Andre the Giant, lived up to his name as his delivery was much bigger and abrasive, complimenting Show’s melodic production on the track. The lyrics are not comparative to some five mic, rather cig rating but the song in its entirety will remain one of the best ever.
This was one of the first bright lights of the D.I.T.C. Crew and who knows who far they would have cemented themselves in Golden Era lore with out it. Remember this was pre Big L and O.C. and right before Fat Joe came out. But for joints like “Put It On,” “Time’s Up” and “Flow Joe” – that’s a story for another day.