Camp Lo’s Debut Album Turns 20 Today. Hear The Demo That Got Them Uptown (Audio)
Today (January 28) marks the twentieth anniversary of Camp Lo’s Uptown Saturday Night debut. The Profile Records LP was a carryover from the 1996 success of retro-flare single “Luchini (This Is It).” That track, produced by Ski Beatz (coming off his Jay Z Reasonable Doubt and Original Flavor waves) made the Top 50 of the charts.
Uptown… would be a Top 30 debut. Featuring De La Soul’s Dave (tka Trugoy The Dove) on rhymes and production, the album by Geechi Suede and Sonny Cheeba (with Ski as an unofficial part of the group) was otherwise an in-house gem. Sadly, as Profile rolled into Arista Records, The Lo (as they’d later be re-branded in the 2000s) would not be made the priority. Luckily for fans who knew where to look, these Bronx, New Yorkers stayed incredibly consistent, whatever label they were rocking on.
The 1997 introduction was a clear alternative to the Bounce, Shiny-Suit, and Underground Hip-Hop movements at the time. Geech’ and Sonny were something different, something nostalgic, and something positive at a tough time in Rap music. Moreover, that retro theme was captured in renowned visual artist and graffiti legend Dr. Revolt’s artwork, an homage to a Marvin Gaye’s I Want You cover. Even before Heads pressed play, this one looked different and felt unique.
As Hip-Hop celebrates an anniversary milestone for Camp Lo, we have the ability to listen to Uptown Saturday Night as it lived before Profile Records got a hold of it. Late last year, the artists released On The Way Uptown, a compilation of the original demo. The label, Persia Records, made this release available online for free, full stream. From the deuce-to-the-trey (as Greg Nice) might say, enjoy this trip Uptown:
Camp Lo, with Ski, even released some of this material as new music videos last Fall. As a note, outside of The Lo’s high profile video collaboration with The Avalanches, Geechi released his solo debut in ’16.
#BonusBeat: Producer Teck-Zilla remixed “Sparkle” from Uptown Saturday Night in honor of the anniversary:
Teck’ is from Montreal, by way of Nigeria.