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  1. #1
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    The Bridge Wars - alternative narrative

    Evening All,

    Whilst prepping a recent radio show I got to thinking on this subject and whilst I am biased (as a big MC Shan fan) I started to conclude that BDP did not necessarily win this conflict. Certainly the narrative made this statement but I started to wonder whether this was simply the result of 'who shouts the loudest' because when I examine the parameters I come out with a different result. I'm fully expecting anger and people calling me out but these are my thoughts:

    1. The battle - who won?

    Well of course the two never actually battled. In contrast to Busy Bee vs Kool Moe Dee or Shante vs Fruitkwan, this real-life battle never happened (I'm disregarding that recent spat as it was years later and neither were at their prime - yep I'll concede that Shan looked like a twat but given KRS one's more recent views, they both did!). Anyway, that aside they didn't actually battle....it was a war of records.....OK then

    2. The war of records

    So in 86/87 you had 'The Bridge' and 'Kill That Noise' vs 'South Bronx' and The Bridge Is Over' (I am ignoring all the other associated records). Pound for pound they were all dope. To me, the best of the lot was The Bridge as it was so groundbreaking compared to other records of that era and year however they are all brilliant records and I'm sure we all have different views here.

    Some would argue that because 'The Bridge Is Over' came last and Shan didn't reply then that was the winner. However this isn't strictly true. He didn't immediately reply most likely for two reasons a) he was warned not to by Fly Ty (some say) a bit like LL Cool J a la 'Beat Biter' and b) he was going through drug problems at the time which delayed the release of his second LP (along with the fact that the label wanted to get other records out like Kane's LP). However he did eventually reply with a huge, brilliant record 'Juice Crew Law' (and of course BDP had 'I'm Still No. 1' at a similar time), but ultimately following through 'the record for record' or 'who made the last killer blow' narrative leads us to the same conclusion as above.....it was kind of a tie really.... so of course the KRS 1 fans will say that he had longevity and financial success while Shan's career was cut short....

    3. Longevity and finance

    OK so in a hip hop sense KRS 1's career spanned the 90s as well whereas Shan appeared to fall off in the 90s. Yes 'Play It Again Shan' was weak (Fly Ty's attempt to turn him into the Fresh Prince was clearly a failure and Shan is of course responsible here) but this falling off wasn't due to the Bridge Wars, it was just a crap record (bar a few tracks). However of course Shan's story didn't stop here....while he was making those records with Livin' Large, MC Shan moved into production (plus a few rhymes) and that spawned Snow. Hate him or hate him, Snow was a massive worldwide sensation (no 1 in 5 countries I believe) and again if we are looking at success not just through the lense of hardcore hip hop of a certain genre then MC Shan eclipsed KRS 1 in terms of record sales and financial rewards with Snow. I don't ever remember seeing KRS 1 rapping on a number 1 hit! But some might say that this was not 'real' hip hop so maybe we concede a tie on that one as well!

    So my conclusion is that both artists won. KRS 1 launched a very successful career off the 'battle' while MC Shan released a plethora a great records in the hip hop genre (not as many as KRS 1) but then went on to have worldwide success. Both artists held their own on the records released in the battle itself. It is probably why they toured together during that period and could hold the stage back to back with their Bridge War era tracks.....

    Please don't be too hard on me.....just my thoughts........lol
    Marching across this war-torn land, Liberty Grooves is here to bruise the bland...

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  2. #2
    I listened to your Bridge Wars show the other day, I really enjoyed it. I'd never heard the Butchy-B track so that was cool.

    As for who won the war, for me its BDP/KRS as its all about those first four tracks: The Bridge/South Bronx/Kill That Noise/The Bridge is over.
    I love all four tracks but the two BDP tracks for me were like nothing I'd ever heard.
    I still remember the night after John Peel played South Bronx being in the park with my friends listening to it. The combo of that beat (the guitar and the stabs) and KRS with his off-beat/on-beat flow really impacted on me, as I say I still remember that night in the park, I can remember where I was standing, it was like a real moment. And the same with The Bride is Over, Peel played it and at school the next day before class about 4 of my friends and I stood around talking about the track, again I can even remember where we were standing and how the conversation went.
    Most of the time I cant remember what I did yesterday or what day of the week it is, but I remember the impact those two tracks had.

    Shame Shan didnt have a recording career like KRS did, but I guess the Snow royalty checks Kept Shan in good living for a while.

  3. #3
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    You should check DJ Vlad videos with MC Shan, he talks about all that era, he said Marley told him not to reply.
    He talks also about smoking cocaine etc..

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by babylonbwoy View Post
    You should check DJ Vlad videos with MC Shan, he talks about all that era, he said Marley told him not to reply.
    He talks also about smoking cocaine etc..
    Yea I have - they are good arenít they and yea he does confirm a lot of the stuff Iíve said
    Marching across this war-torn land, Liberty Grooves is here to bruise the bland...

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois parker View Post
    I listened to your Bridge Wars show the other day, I really enjoyed it. I'd never heard the Butchy-B track so that was cool.

    As for who won the war, for me its BDP/KRS as its all about those first four tracks: The Bridge/South Bronx/Kill That Noise/The Bridge is over.
    I love all four tracks but the two BDP tracks for me were like nothing I'd ever heard.
    I still remember the night after John Peel played South Bronx being in the park with my friends listening to it. The combo of that beat (the guitar and the stabs) and KRS with his off-beat/on-beat flow really impacted on me, as I say I still remember that night in the park, I can remember where I was standing, it was like a real moment. And the same with The Bride is Over, Peel played it and at school the next day before class about 4 of my friends and I stood around talking about the track, again I can even remember where we were standing and how the conversation went.
    Most of the time I cant remember what I did yesterday or what day of the week it is, but I remember the impact those two tracks had.

    Shame Shan didnt have a recording career like KRS did, but I guess the Snow royalty checks Kept Shan in good living for a while.
    Thx for your reply fella.... I canít argue with you but in a way Iím the same but opposite - when I first heard Ďthe bridgeí in groove I was blown away - had always stuck with me since so when itís came along (much as I love south bronx and bridge is over) they couldnít topple Ďthe bridgeí for me. So subjectively Iíd put Shan as the winner however our views are subjective. What Iím saying is nothing beyond peopleís subjective opinions is definitive enough. They never actually battled and both of them had lucrative careers after!

  6. #6
    Im trying(and failing) to remember who long after The Bridge did South Bronx come out? was its a few weeks/months or longer, anyone remember?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois parker View Post
    Im trying(and failing) to remember who long after The Bridge did South Bronx come out? was its a few weeks/months or longer, anyone remember?
    It was a matter of months.....Beat Biter/Bridge came out early in the year around the same time as stuff like Ultimate 3 live/Grandmaster Flash The source whilst South Bronx came out at the tail end of the year.
    Marching across this war-torn land, Liberty Grooves is here to bruise the bland...

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  8. #8
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    Shan lost the battle but Shante won the Bridge War for the Juice Crew with Have A Nice Day.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BB View Post
    Shan lost the battle but Shante won the Bridge War for the Juice Crew with Have A Nice Day.

    Written by Big Daddy Kane...

    4:32


  10. #10
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    BDP won. we can prefer the different tracks, but if we take ourselves back to that time BDP won.
    aka DJ JUST-1............. "So what you on, huh, dope or dog food?"

 

 

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