Beat Street - the movie that exposed hip hop and all of the four elements to a worldwide audience. Altough everything about it is a bit too watered down, too mainstream-friendly, too cheezy ... it is still a nice movie. Just think of all the memorable scenes: The Us Girls performing at the house party. Afrika Bambaataa or Melle Mel performing live. And of course the two famous battles, representing some of the finest moments of breaking history ever transferred to celluloid, with the Rock Steady Crew and the New York City Breakers battling at The Roxy's and in the subway.
And let's not forget about the groundbreaking soundtrack, including a great cross section of hip hop, electro funk and even a hint of freestyle. Something seemed to be missing, though. Anyone remember the audition scene? Among others, there was a young and charming Brenda Starr singing this little tune:
It's a trademark Arthur Baker production called "Vicious Beat". Unfortunately, it never made it on the O.S.T. and it has never been released. You can hear that the vocals are still a bit raw ... bear in mind that Brenda Starr was only 18 at this point, a year before her solo career took off. But that's not saying anything against it - it has an immediate quality, an aura of youthful energy that some of her polished later output is lacking.
Vicious beat created quite a buzz among hip hop heads. It remains one of hip hop's unsolved mysteries and you still see people asking about it and trying to hunt it down. Most likely, it is still buried somewhere in Arthur Baker's vaults, and we can only hope that one day the World Spirit will correct this unforgiveable blunder and it will be unearthed to everyone's delight.
So while we're waiting till doomsday, here's a little surprise to pass the time:
It's a reconstruction of "Vicious Beat", done by some Swedish DJ whose name I cannot recall. Brenda Starr's vocals are missing of course and the sound cannot be compared to what Arthur Baker would have made of it ... still, it's a nice song worth checking out. Feel free to download it here.
Oh, and I should tell you I feel another remix/reconstruction of "Vicious Beat" coming in the near future ... by yours truly. Stay tuned!