Monday, July 19, 2010

M-A-R-K-D-Double E (a track-by-track description of "All in a Day's Work" by Mark Dee)

MAY, 2009.

I was willin' for good records (pun intended) at the local Goodwill. The only one that stands out from the rest, however, is a record that has become one of my all-time personal favourites over the last few months. It's some old hip-hop from 1990. The album, in question, is entitled "All in a Day's Work", and is performed by a force known as... MARK DEE.

The picture above (as seen on the cover of the 12" single of "Get a Hold of Yourself") depicts Mark in a steady pose. Of course, many people never knew about him, but in my opinion, he's awesome. Speaking of awesome, the whole "All in a Day's Work" album is awesome.

Now before we get to the music, let's take a look at one aspect of the album cover itself. A sticker that proudly proclaims that the album contains some hit songs...

Def...Dope...So Listen Up...
The debut album from Mark Dee contains the smash single "Get a Hold of Yourself" and the hit tracks "So Deep", "Just Give Me Romance", and "Let It All Hang Out"

Of course, "Def" and "Dope" are two points that really stand out, but now, it's time to get to the music:


We are pleasingly introduced by a big ol' man with a deep cutthroat voice, seemingly taking place at a bar somewhere in the United States of America. Notice that in between speech, he laughs with the crowd:

So kid, ya name is MARK DEE. And ya say, you wanna be a rappa!
Oh yes.

Hey, hey! Quiet down! And-and, ya say, you wanna be a BIG STAR!
Well, he was not that big really, but he was sort of a star. With one single that garnered a little bit of airplay attention.

Okay kid, I tell ya what. I got a couple o' producers here. They named Kid and Looks, AND THEY WANNA BE BIG PRODUCERS!
Not so. I don't think that Dennis Kid and Michael Looks were big producers anyways. In fact, I think they only produced this one album by Mark Dee.

Okay, okay, okay. I'll cut ya up a break. Show me what you could do kid!
We are then treated to an instrumental version of "So Deep", of which a full-blown version featuring KMC and DODAMAGE appears later in the album.

TRACK ONE: Soothed by the Groove

After the cutthroat introduction, Mark Dee opens up his set by rapping about dancing. He even announces that he could "make you dance till your clothes are torn"! Nice!

Hey Joel, why don't ya get funky on the keys?

Surely! The last two minutes of the song involve Joel Martin doing a funky improvisation on the piano.

Mark's conclusion to the song is as follows:
My final conclusion: this is the end of the jam, and you're SOOTHED BY THE GROOVE. Ha ha ha ha!

TRACK TWO: Get a Hold of Yourself

First off, this album is noted for what I call the "world of confusion" theme, starting from this song, and continuing through the tracks "Game of Life", "Victim of Circumstance", and the title track.

Secondly, this song is the album's only single. It was released in 7" and 12" vinyl and CD formats. MCA Records also promotional copies to send to DJs for airplay. That is also the reason my mom heard this song enough times on the radio that she remembers it! Heck, there was also even a music video for the song, featuring Mark rapping in front of awesome 90's-style visuals!

Finally, the title of this song is self-explanatory. Remember that peace, love, and unity is what Mark's talking all about!

TRACK THREE: Game of Life

The "World of Confusion" theme continues here. Go and solve a Rubik's Cube now or else you're trapped in John Conway's cellular automaton! Ha! Well that, or maybe even Milton Bradley's board game. Well it depends on whatever Game of Life he based this song on.

TRACK FOUR: Let It All Hang Out

Besides the whole "world of confusion" thing, this album also has a love theme, which only appears on three tracks on the album: this, "Men Will Be Men", and "Just Give Me Romance". I'm now going to call this album a "multi-concept" album!

TRACK FIVE: Men Will Be Men

The second of the three songs in Mark Dee's love line. Remember all you ladies: boys will be boys and men will be men!

TRACK SIX: Just Give Me Romance

The third and final song in a short-lasting love theme. I think this is one of the best-known tracks on the album. In fact, it appeared on a Brazillian bootleg V/A compilation album of hip-hop love songs!

TRACK SEVEN: Victim of Circumstance

"In this world of confusion". Need I say more?

TRACK EIGHT: All in a Day's Work

The title track of the album and also the final song in the "world of confusion" theme. Damn, a concept album based around multiple concepts is pretty unusual!


The K, the KMC is SO DEEP!

So deep indeed! This is the best song on the entire album. Guest-starring KMC and DODAMAGE on rap vocals! If this album had a second single (along with "Get a Hold of Yourself"), this would be it!

TRACK TEN: Hail to the Chief

Just in case you're wondering, no, this ain't the president's song.

Mark Dee concludes his set with a box of funk. He also gives thanks to the Murder ONE gang, who could also possibly be one of his friends!

Also, did you know that this album has a REALLY SHORT "funky" theme? That's absolutely true! It only has two tracks: "Soothed by the Groove" and this!

As you know, this one is for the Murder ONE bodyguard squad! Diesel, Dog, G-Man, Ramrod, Beast, Bruiser, Rhino, Lookout, and Truck!
Peace! I'm outta here!


The cutthroat man that we heard at the beginning returns in the end. But this time, he's more strict:

(crowd laughs)
Hey, hey! Why's everybody laughin'? THIS GETS GOOD! HEY KID! HEY KID, WHERE YA GOIN'? COME BACK HERE! I'll make you a deal! Twenty percent! Fifteen percent! OR FOR FIVE PERCENT! HEY KID! HEY KID, COME BACK HERE! FIVE PERCENT! WHAT AM I GONNA DO? (crowd rams man off a cliff) AHHHHHHHHH! (crowd enjoys listening to Mark Dee on a boombox)

Well, that's Mark Dee's one and only album. Hope you enjoyed it! I highly reccomend it to any fan of golden-age hip-hop.

Hope you enjoyed listening!

Ryan AKA OldMusicOnVinyl1

P.S. Did you know that Mark Dee starred as a guest rapper on former Boyz II Men member Marc Nelson's 1991 cover of Marvin Gaye's "I Want You"?

Word up y'all, this is the only time that Mark Dee starred as a guest on someone else's song.

UPDATE 07-20-2010:

I just bought a promo 12" single of "Get a Hold of Yourself" off of eBay. One step closer to completing my Mark Dee collection (I still have a long way to go)! Now I'm expecting it to arrive in about 10 days...

UPDATE 07-24-2010:

I forgot to tell you, but a few months back, "honda1471" made a comment on the "Get a Hold of Yourself" music video that said this:

"That's my uncel he was 18 years old here"

Coincedentally, he also had a playlist titled "My uncel", and it included that very video, as well as some videos from a rap artist known as M.A.R.K., formely known as Minnesota Slimz.

But here's the question: are M.A.R.K. and Mark Dee the same artist?

Well now's the time to find out who exactly Mark Dee is! I left a comment about 3 weeks ago on Chambermusik's video of M.A.R.K. performing his song "Exhibit Me". My comment said this:

"Is M.A.R.K. aka Minnesota Slimz aka Mark Danger from Soul Kid Klik the same guy who did the "All in a Day's Work" album in 1990 under the Mark Dee banner for MCA Records back when he was 18 years old? Cause I noticed that honda1471 said that he is his uncle, and his playlist entitled "my uncle" has videos from both Mark Dee and M.A.R.K. aka Minnesota Slimz aka Mark Danger from Soul Kid Klik in it!"

Soon after, Chambermusik answered yes to my question:

"yes, same artist. Mark Dee, Mark Danger, Minnesota Slimz, and M.A.R.K."

The reply to my comment didn't appear in my YouTube inbox, but I checked back on the video about three weeks after I made my comment and saw Chambermusik's reply. I replied to their reply to my comment:

"Wow, I couldn't believe it! I have his "All in a Day's Work" album on a vinyl record. That album also includes the single "Get a Hold of Yourself", which was released on 7" and 12" vinyl formats (both promo and regular issues) and on CD (promo only). I bought the promo 12" of "Get a Hold of Yourself" off of eBay and still waiting for it to arrive. His voice sounds very similar to when he was under the Mark Dee banner here!"

So now we can get to know who Mark Dee is without having to waste 24 hours on Google trying to look for info but not finding anything! Horray!


The promo 12" single of "Get a Hold of Yourself" I orded last week arrived in the mail today! Yay! Well it's not the original version, but it's a remix by Rod Hui. Still, it's just plain dopeness!

UPDATE 07/31/2010:

I just bought ANOTHER Mark Dee record. This time it's a promo 7" of "Get a Hold of Yourself" which contains a four-minute radio edit of the original song on both sides (no, it's not the Rod Hui remix). This time, it comes from Georgia instead of New York, so it may take longer to arrive here in Canada.


Yes, that's true! But don't forget that as I suspected, it took about 17 days to get here from Georgia. That's WAY longer than the time it took for my promo 12" single featuring the Rod Hui remix, which arrived from New York in only four days!

The four-minute radio edit featured on this promo 7"er chops off the beginning part where Mark Dee gives his introduction speech:

"In this world of confusion,
You gotta get a hold of yourself.
Grab the world by its axis,
And tell it to revolve.
Drop the beat..."

Also, it chops off a HUGE portion of the last two minutes of the song. Which means that the instrumental solo is gone, and the girls start singing instantly in the place where the instrumental solo starts. If you want the full 5:25 version, I reccomend you to grab a copy of the "All in a Day's Work" LP now.

P.S.: I have also confirmed a retail 7" to exist with the same cat no. as the promo (MCA-53791), which unlike the promo, does not repeat the same version on both sides. Instead, the retail version has a 4:45 "7" Edit", which I suspect does have the intro part, and has more of the solo intact.

UPDATE 12/20/2010:

Turns out the so-called "7" Edit" is a remix with a layer of funky slap bass added. That's what I can tell from another version of the "Get a Hold of Yourself" 12" single that I got back in September (which also contains a house mix and the radio edit found on the promo 7").

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