Special Ed’s I Got It Made Remains Ahead Of Its Time In Flow & Style (Video)

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One of the forefathers in Brooklyn, Hip-Hop is Special Ed. More than five years before he joined the inaugural lineup of the Crooklyn Dodgers, the Flatbush native Edward Archer made one of Hip-Hop’s most enduring opening verses in “I Got It Made.”

Part of Ed’s 1989 debut album, Youngest In Charge, Special Ed displayed a liquid-like flow that allowed him to deliver a one-way conversation. Like Slick Rick, Smooth B, Rakim, and Dana Dane, Ed was able to present his crafted rhymes without pausing to emphasize the breaks—as a 16 year-old, no less. Rather, the compound delivery, liberal cadence, and matter-of-fact tone made him seem as cool on the mic as any late ’80s peer. While “I’m The Magnificent” and “Think About It” added to the evidence sheet, “I Got It Made” is forever the archetype.

Produced by Hitman Howie Tee (U.T.F.O., Chubb Rock, The Real Roxanne), “I Got It Made” built itself around a cleverly-cut Funk loop. Within, Ed made profound commentary on why Rap music was so slick (“My language is broken into a slang / But it’s just the dialect that I select when I hang”). He was competitive (“the highest title”). By the third verse, Special Ed lays down some braggadocio about 20 new cars, 74 Honda scooters, and his vast real estate portfolio in the West Indies. This is somewhere between Sugarhill Gang’s Lincoln and Cadillac tandem 10 years prior, and the Cash Money Millionaires message that would permeate mainstream Rap a decade later. For one of Rap’s most memorable 12″ singles (seemingly more so than ever the harder to find album it belongs to), Ed offered a fourth verse just to wax fly-poetic before making his exit. Upon watching the rare (and a bit lo-quality) video, Heads can see that the dreams of grandeur from Ed were just that, most likely—dreams. However, with a cool style, and A-plus lyricism, it all seemed possible to the MC who would influence Snoop Dogg greatly, and still parties with Jay Z.

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