Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mantronix

Mantronix were a hip-hop\funk group whose members consisted of DJ Kurtis Mantronix (born Kurtis el Khaleel on September 4, 1965 in Jamaica) and rapper MC Tee (born Touré Embden in 1966 in Haiti).

MC Tee was born in Haiti and emigrated with his family to the US, settling in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York.

Mantronix was born in Jamaica, moved to Canada with his family when he was 7 years old and at the age of 15, his family settled in New York City in 1980.

While working for Downtown Records in Manhattan as the in-store DJ, Mantronix met MC Tee in 1984. The two made a demo and eventually got a record deal with Sleeping Bag Records.
In 1985, Mantronix released their debut album, "The Album" which peaked at #47 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
Their debut single, "Fresh is the Word" became a hit, peaking at #16 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart.
Mantronik's second single, "Needle to the Groove" was moderately successful, peaking at #23 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart. Two more singles, "Bassline" and "Ladies" were also released.
In 1986, Mantronix released their sophomore album, "Music Madness" which peaked at #27 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart. The album attracted more electronic dance and funk music fans than hip-hop fans.
The first single from the album, "Who Is It" peaked at #21 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles chart and #68 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 11 weeks. Two more singles from the album, "Scream" and "We Control the Dice" were also released.

During the time the group was signed to Sleeping Bag Records, Mantronix was individually employed by the record label in the A&R Department where he signed hip-hop group EPMD to Sleeping Bag Records' sister label, Fresh Records.

He produced music for other Sleeping Bag Records and Fresh Records artists & groups such as Nocera, KRS-One, T La Rock, Just-Ice and Joyce Sims. He shaped the original arrangement and production of Joyce's hit single, "Come Into My Life."
In 1988, Mantronix released their third album, "In Full Effect" which peaked at #18 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart and #108 on the Billboard 200 chart. This was the last album for MC Tee, who left to join the U.S. Air Force.
The only single to chart, "Simple Simon (You Gotta Regard)" peaked at #19 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart and #31 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart.

After MC Tee's departure, he was replaced by emcee Bryce "Luvah" Wilson (born in 1972 in New York City) and Mantronik's cousin, DJ D (born in 1969 in New York City). Mantronik met Bryce at Sleeping Bag Records while producing Bryce's solo project which was never released.
In 1990, the newly formed Mantronix released their fourth album, "This Should Move Ya" which peaked at #161 on the Billboard 200 and #61 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart. They were now signed to Capitol\EMI Records.
The first single from the album, "Got to Have Your Love" peaked at #4 on the UK Singles Chart. In the US, the song peaked at #82 on the Billboard Hot 100, #26 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart (staying on the chart for 12 weeks), #13 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart and #6 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart.
The follow-up single, "Take Your Time" peaked at #10 on the UK Singles Chart and in the US, the song peaked at #15 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart and #37 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart.

After their fourth album, DJ D was replaced by singer Jade Trini (born Jade Trini Goring in 1972 in Queens, New York) for their upcoming and last album.
In 1991, Mantronik released their last album, "The Incredible Sound Machine" which peaked at #36 on the UK Albums chart, but failed to chart in the US.
The only single released, "Don't Go Messin With My Heart" managed to peak at #22 on the UK Singles chart, but not in the US at all. After their European tour and promotion of their album, Mantronix split up. Kurtis Mantronix left the music biz for seven years.
In the late 90's, Mantronix came back to the music scene in Britain, producing music for house and techno musicians.

In 1998, Mantronik released his first solo album, "I Sing the Body Electro." Since then, he continues to be active in the music biz in electronic music today.
Bryce Wilson went on to be a member of Groove Theory with singer Amel Larrieux and produce music along with acting.

Jade Trini toured with Monie Love on her 1991 tour. In 1992, she became a born-again Christian. She currently lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut. In 2003, she independently released her first contemporary gospel album "The Devil Lost Another One."

As for MC Tee and DJ D's whereabouts, they are currently unknown.

To see a fan-made video for "Fresh is the Word," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxnQ1vv_CW8

To see the music video for "Bassline," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgD4x_SfyD8

To see a fan-made video for "Needle to the Groove," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LT4VgyfLPKk

To see a fan-made video for "Ladies," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pjpfj3hZWE

To see a fan-made video for "Who is It," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2dQ8hdXhGE

To see a fan-made video for "Scream," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeaiZAoCFg8

To see a fan-made video for "We Control the Dice," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_gAhgGoxEM

To see the music video for "Simple Simon," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9TeOJnWeu4

To see the music video for "Got to Have Your Love," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z_dNHwlBzM

To see the music video for "Don't Go Messin With My Heart," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdvvHsmz_7c

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