Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Basehead - Not Over You EP

A classic case of a band with only one good album in them . . . but what an album it was.

Basehead was essentially Michael Ivey, a guy from the Maryland suburbs of DC who recorded the bulk of Basehead's debut album, Play With Toys, on a 4-track recorder in his bedroom, assisted/accompanied by some of his friends. The album was picked up by the now long-gone Emigre Records and became a college/alternative radio hit after its release in 1992. Basehead's sound was called "slacker rap", a sort of black suburbia subgenre typified by slower, deeper funk grooves; a drawling, lazy hip-hop delivery; and a focus on beer as the drug of choice (as opposed to 'the chronic' or anything harder). Anyway, it was very appealing in certain quarters, and for a brief moment Basehead's music enjoyed the same sort of attention as De La Soul's had a few years earlier with their 'alternative rap' release 3 Feet High And Rising.

1992-1993 was Basehead's year. On the strength of the debut, Ivey put together a touring band and hit the road, playing all over the country to appreciative crowds. I saw them at Washington DC's 9:30 Club in the spring of 1993, and they were treated by the packed house as returning local heroes.
They had just released their followup, Not In Kansas Anymore, which wasn't nearly as strong as Play With Toys, but still had a good song or two within it. The band had a good fan base, and had nowhere to go but up.

But in a bizarre turn of events, soon after the second album's release, Ivey suddenly abandoned slacker rap and turned to Jesus. Basehead's third album, Faith, released in 1996, still mines that funk/rap groove, but is soaked in spirituality. And just in case his remaining fans didn't get the word that he had switched his message, his next album in 1998, In The Name Of Jesus, undoubtedly hammered the point home. It also ended his status as an influential artist. Oh well - if he's happy after finding religion, more power to him.

Attached below is an EP of remixes of "Not Over You", probably the best song on Play With Toys, and by definition, the best song Basehead ever released. Sit back, crack open a beer, listen and enjoy:

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Oh, and here's the video, if you're interested:


  1. Thanks for the post. I miss the slacker, beer-drinking Basehead.

  2. So do I, Bucky . . . but it's like I said; I think this band/artist shot its wad on the first album. The vibe/genre wasn't sustainable. Oh well, at least we have the one album, eh?

    Thanks for your comment - I hope you find more stuff here that you like! Let me know!

  3. Thanks again for the writeup and EP! Just found this song from a different place and its a shame to find out he couldn't put out more of the same

  4. Thanks for sharing this. I had the original LP in 1991. I'm trying to find the original Emigre release.