#65 - Egyptian Lover
Egyptian Lover (Greg Broussard) is internationally recognized as a pioneer of West Coast hip hop and helped bring electro rap to the masses, while influencing many DJs and MCs in his wake since the early ‘80s. The first West Coast rapper/producer to achieve international success, Egyptian Lover paved the way for the early West Coast hip hop pioneers like Dr Dre, Eazy E, Rodney O, Snoop Dogg, King Tee among others. For EPM’s 65th podcast Mr. Lover brings us the Egyptian funk via this live set recorded from the STEREOLIZE Electro Bass Festival, Paris 2004. Featuring hits such as ‘Freak-A-Holic’, ‘Egypt, Egypt’, ‘The Lover’ and ‘My House (On The Nile)’ we capture a true electro legend during his first ever European tour!
One of the most innovative producers of the old-school/electro era, Egyptian Lover's Greg Broussard recorded a parade of singles during the mid 80s that proved influential for decades. Influenced himself by Kraftwerk/hip-hop soundclashes like Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" and Man Parrish's "Hip-Hop Be Bop (Don't Stop)," as well as the extroverted black-lover soul of Prince and Zapp, Broussard began recording from his Los Angeles base in 1983.
In the early days of hip hop, albums were rare, so most of The Egyptian Lover's successful recordings were 12" singles. He would eventually release some of the earliest rap LPs, which was especially unique for being west-coast based, but they were less popular than his singles. But on the strength of containing an alternate mix of his most popular single "Egypt, Egypt", 1984's On the Nile was moderately successful. After a break in the early 1990s, Egyptian Lover returned in 1994 with "Back from the Tomb". His last full-length album in over ten years. Since then he has made "Platinum Pyramids" and "Electro Pharaoh" (Digital MP3) and new album “1984".
The new albums Egyptian Lover "Anthology" (Stones Throw Records) and Egyptian Lover "1984" (Egyptian Empire Records) are coming soon.
Egyptian Lover plays Bloc 13-15 March
Q&A with Egyptian Lover
1. This live set was recorded ten years ago during your first ever European Tour in Paris. Any special memories from that time?
Yes, my first trip to play in Europe will always be a fond memory in my heart. I loved the people and so many fans came to see me. It was a new beginning for me. People seeing me play for the first time, It was like starting all over again. The greeting I received was very genuine and I really appreciated it. I told myself right then and there “I need to play more in Europe” and I have ever since.
2. What drew you initially to Egyptian imagery? When did you first start to think about incorporating those sounds into hip hop?
I was drawn to it when King Tut’s mask, sarcophagus and artifacts toured the U.S. and I fantasized about being a boy King like him and run my own Empire.
3. What were the parties like that sound tracked your youth?
Back in the day in the late 70s and early 80s the DJ’s played funk and soul. Rick James, Prince, Bar Kays, Funkadelic, One Way, Confunkshun, and I loved the music. I started making mix tapes for the people at my school and made a lot of money doing it. I started rapping on these tapes and sales went through the roof. There weren’t many rap songs at the time, just Rapper’s Delight and Super Rhymes. So I emulated their style and made my own rap for the tapes. The DJ’s were cool but didn’t mix enough for me. I wanted to hear that song mixed to death. Make it sound different than I heard it before. DJ Make Me Dance! So I started DJing my lunch dances and people where loving what I did. So I continued and learned more every dance I played.
4. What was your role in hip hop crew Uncle Jamm’s Army?
I was the main DJ and the one who talked them into going into the studio to make a record. I came up with and drew the record label “Freak Beat” and wrote and produced the first two songs. It was always a dream of mine to make a record. Uncle Jamm’s Army was the power behind it. They were so big and being with them made me big. Uncle Jamm ran L.A.
5. As a pioneer of the sounds that influenced West Coast hip-hop are there any current LA based producers that you follow?
No new producers. I’m old school. I like the old sounds and old ways of recording. I would say Brian Ellis, Dam Funk, and a few others are starting to do good things on the west coast. Bringing that ‘Funk’ sound back is catching on and the music is nice.
6. If money were no object what would happen in the ‘ultimate’ Egyptian Lover live show?
A huge stage with Egyptian artifacts everywhere. Sphinx, Pyramids, Bellydancers, and my band playing everything live with all my original equipment (808’s, Jupiter 8’s vocoders) and me and Jamie Jupiter rocking the mics hyping the crowd. Along with lazers and videos playing in the background.
7. Any production / release plans for 2015?
Two releases coming this year. Anthology on Stones Throw records and a new album entitled ‘1984’ on Egyptian Empire Records.
8. You are playing the Bloc Weekender this March. What can we expect in your new live show?
I will be doing my Evolution of Egyptian Lover show where I start out as a DJ and mix the records like crazy and go into my 808 and then Jamie Jupiter and I will perform my original songs and do our old school dance moves.
9. The Tr-808 drum machine is an integral part of your sound. Can you recall the first time you got your hands on one?
In the beginning when Afrika Islam told me what it was. I bought one that day and programmed it like a mad man and played it at an Uncle Jamm’s Army Dance and blew 10,000 party people minds away. People were screaming and asking what record was playing. It was crazy!
10. Have you actually been to Egypt?
I have never been to Egypt but I plan to go very soon and shoot my album cover and video.