Audio Two – Top Billin’ (1988)
Audio Two – Top Billin’
The video version is the remix from the 1987 Single. Send props to mattafh for requesting this joint.
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Audio Two were the Brooklyn, New York hip hop duo of emcee Kirk “Milk Dee” Robinson and DJ Nat “Gizmo” Robinson, most famous for their first hit, the classic “Top Billin'”. They are also the older brothers of female hip-hop star MC Lyte. The duos debut single, “Make It Funky,” was released in 1987, but it was the b-side “Top Billin'” that hit, making not only the group instant stars but a deep cultural impact on hip hop. The beat by Daddy-O of Stetsasonic and Milk Dee’s lyrics would be sampled and referenced time and time again, even by the group themselves: both their full-length debut, 1988’s What More Can I Say? and it’s 1990 follow-up, I Don’t Care: The Album, were titled after lines from the song. However the duo would never recapture their initial success. The singles for their second album, “I Get the Papers” and “On the Road Again”, were only moderate hits. It was a time of rapid change in the hip hop market; gangsta rap was rising in popularity, and Audio Two found themselves unsuccessfully struggling to maintain recording contracts and a fanbase. A third album, First Dead Indian, due for release in 1992, was canceled before it was released even though it had an assigned catalog number.
Audio Two did, however, pave the way for their younger sister MC Lyte, who would launch her career with the hit single “I Cram To Understand You (Sam),” which went to #1 on the Billboard Hip-Hop chart in 1989. Lyte’s 1998 album Seven & Seven would feature a remake of “Top Billin'”—with the original instrumental—this time a duet between her and her older brother. In 1994, Milk released a solo EP titled Never Dated on Rick Rubin’s American Recordings. While the EP was notable for its single “Spam,” a duet with the Beastie Boys’ Adrock with drum programming by Mike D, aside from the devoted Beastie Boys fanbase the album generated little interest. Milk would eventually rediscover success by producing singer Eamon, who recorded the Spring 2004 hit “Fuck It (I Don’t Want You Back).” In 2007, Milk Dee recorded a verse for a remix of “I Get Money” by 50 Cent, thanking all the music artists that sampled “Top Billin’,” which earned him royalties.