4/10/21

Hardcore - We Got It All / The Power of Rhyme


Who is Hardcore? Aside from the rap act with maybe the least googleable name ever, it's hard to say, as Hardcore apparently only released two singles, neither of which lists any writing credits. The closest you'll find to one of those is on the second single (to be covered further in another post), which cites Chris Nicholson and Brian Birthwright as its producers. Brian Birthwright, aka Double B, would later become a member of Resident Alien and is referred to here in the song, "We Got It All," as the DJ. Listen close and you will also catch the name of the group's MC, Cooley High. Whether or not Cooley is Chris Nicholson is unclear. Unfortunately, the name Cooley High is not on the label of either single, and there does not appear to be any other information about him readily available. At any rate, Cooley is almost undoubtedly from around the way as he shouts out "the ville," and both of the singles involved Long Island legends. Case in point: We Got It All / The Power of Rhyme was produced and mixed by none other than Prince Paul.

Notably, this single, released in 1987 on Priority imprint NuBeat Records, actually pre-dates Plug-Tunin', making it possibly Prince Paul's first production credit apart from his work with Stetsasonic. As for the sound of that production, it's certainly more closely identifiable with Paul's work from Stet — heavy basslines, loud snares and a kind of electro feel to it — than with De La. (In fact, at the end of the single Cooley shouts out Stet along with Paul. He also name-drops Rakim for that matter.) The B-Side, "Power of the Rhyme" is similarly straightforward and true to the name Hardcore. Nevertheless, both songs bang in their own right and showcase Prince Paul as a young producer who was more than capable of making a dope record or two. As for Cooley, he sounds here no less capable as a rapper, which only adds further mystery to the question at the start of this post. 

Who is Hardcore? Tough call. But in 1987, at least according to this single, they had it all.

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