So a longtime Herring customer, Shaun out in CA hits me up about a year ago and says “Bob, I just ran into Ras from the VB’s at a radio station in Cali and I mentioned the label to him”. “Big Up” I said. Then I said “What’s his email???”. From there we spent the year working towards a project which involved them getting the old studio reels transferred. The journey took several twists and turns along the way but finally 7 banging-ass demos from 92-94 were retrieved from the original sources. Before you peep the snippets, here’s a short interview with Eb.F aka Ras-Cue:
How did you cats meet?
Each of us were born in different cities: Rasco is from Cleveland, Friz-B is from Oakland and I was born in LA. We all end up in San Mateo , CA when we were 10 and I was the last one to arrive. I went to Elementary school with Friz-B and then went to High school with Rasco in San Mateo. I was sort of the glue that brought us all together. We were all good in sports. I was All-County Football, Rasco was the same in Basketball and Friz in Baseball. Friz could of went the farthest. Major League teams were looking at him. He was a good Pitcher.
What are your earliest memories of the culture?
We were all into NY Hip-Hop. From hearing Sugarhill Gang on the radio in 1980 to started deejaying in 83′. Friz was the first to have equipment so I started deejaying with him. Rasco was probably the biggest Hip-Hop head of all of us and we all use to dance. Friz use to Break, I use to Pop and Rasco was the original Various Blends dancer. We use to watch music videos from NY to learn dances, buy 12′ inches and spin on JVC turntables and a Realistic mixer.
Were you influenced by any local acts?
We loved our local artists! Too Short was the first to kind of break through!! WE USE TO BUMP HIS SHIT!! But We also looked up to local deejays like Michael Erickson, Cameron Paul and others…
When did you begin recording?
We started recording in 1987-88. It was Friz, Myself and the original VB member “Tabu Zo”. Rasco didn’t join the group til 90-91. Friz and I were the deejay/producers. We were writing raps for other people and rapping within ourselves but NEVER on the mic!! Back then, you had to have “the voice” and we were told by everyone that we didn’t have the voice to rap. So we started producing and the first person that kind of worked with us was Doc Ice from UTFO. Darryl Pollard (Super Bowl Cornerback for the SF 49ers) was our first manager and hooked that helped. The first emcees we worked with were Plan Bee from East Oakland (R.I.P) and Saafir from Hobo Junction. In 1989, Friz-B, Tabu Zo and myself recorded 4-5 songs in a studio. That session and those songs are presently lost at the moment.
What was the first VB’s song recorded?
Various Blends first song recorded was the Original version of “Even More Even” with Tabu Zo. There are literally about 5 different versions with that same title.
Did you have any label interested in the demos?
We were looked at and had a meeting with few labels: Poetic Groove was an independent label out of LA, headed by a few peers including Carmelita Sanchez, C’okni “O” Dire, Mike Nardone and The Poetess as well as Delicious Vinyl with Orlando and Solar Records. We had meetings and recorded in the same studio that Dr. Dre ended up recording some songs for the “Chronic” album.
Various Blends – The VB’s 1992-1994 EP [CD]
1 Lounge Lizard
2 X Hues Me
3 In My Ear
4 Even More Even
5 Pocket Change
6 The Dopess
All tracks are produced and written by Various Blends (R. Kaminsky, F. Quattlebaum, K. Brewer)
except “Lounge Lizard” written by R. Kaminsky and F. Quattlebaum)