Split Personality
January 17, 2011 12:12 PM   Subscribe

Basehead, also known as dc Basehead and Basehead 2.0, is an American alternative hip hop group formed by Michael Ivey in suburban Maryland in 1992. Basehead's 1992 debut album, Play with Toys, was recorded at Ivey's home with various studio musicians (hits: Ode to My Favorite Beer, Not Over You, 2000 BC). Ivey formed a touring band for live performances, which contributed to Basehead's second album, Not in Kansas Anymore (which contained what some consider his best song, Split Personality).

In the late 90s, Ivey became overtly religious and released the Christian (though still iconoclastic) albums Faith and In The Name Of Jesus. Since then, they've put out several records themselves, including 2009's excellent single of the month collection which signaled somewhat of a return to form.

(much info via wikipedia)
posted by Potomac Avenue (21 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks, man.
posted by ivey at 12:16 PM on January 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

Fun fact: Basehead was the breakout success of the Emigre music label, "Play with Toys" getting reissued on the major-label-owned Imago with enhanced copyright clearances (read: a sample or two were removed).

If you've never heard of the Emigre music label, you might be familiar with its parent, a diversified firm that does graphic design, used to run a magazine (here's the issue that announced the music label, featuring the first lineup: Stephen Sheehan, Fact Twenty Two and Every Good Boy) and has a few fonts available.
posted by ardgedee at 12:21 PM on January 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh man. Haven't thought about Basehead in forever.
This was how i discovered Emigre.
I'm gonna check mediafire for Play With Toys and pray that it holds up well.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:21 PM on January 17, 2011

Last I heard, the Emigre-issued version of "Play with Toys" was going for large dollars. I've never seen one for sale, myself; the Imago version is awfully good as it is.
posted by ardgedee at 12:22 PM on January 17, 2011

Emigre was a huge part of my indie/underground education in the late '80s/early '90s. I used to always see their ads in Option magazine. Much love and props to Emigre and Basehead (and hi Michael!).
posted by mykescipark at 12:39 PM on January 17, 2011

This has aged a lot better than I feared it would.

Of course theres just something timeless about that golden age hip hop with the jazz and the dusty beats.

A million thanks for sparking my memory. Now Im off to check out the other releases in the FPP.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:05 PM on January 17, 2011

Here's an interview with Ivey.

Best two records (Play with Toys, Not in Kansas) of the 90s, IMO... really they're the only thing I still listen to from the 90s. Faith is about half and half great songs and songs I can't listen to. The most recent album, Rockalyptic (2005), is pretty good, sort of similar to the first two but with the God thing going on.

The BYOB album is interesting, too... I think it was supposed to be the first in a series of albums produced by Ivey but didn't sell well. I bought it for a couple of bucks in the cutout section just a while after it was released. I still listen to it, it's good.

In college I had a classmate who was from the south and, while a nice guy, let's say had never known any non-white people. When I played Play with Toys for him, he said, "I didn't know black people could make music like that." That meant he liked it.

I just ordered the original Emigre version of Play With Toys, which has some samples between the songs that were removed for the Imago release... most of the record is the same, and then in a couple of spots the songs I've heard 1000 times are completely different, kind of throws you for a loop. It was about $30 on Amazon Marketplace. Also ordered a vintage Play with Toys t-shirt.

I've never actually heard or seen In the Name of Jesus. I've seen it referenced, but I don't see it on the Basehead website.

Nice post, thanks.
posted by Huck500 at 1:05 PM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Basehead's first album -- what a trip, awesome, totally one-of-a-kind stuff. Thank you for reminding me.
posted by blucevalo at 1:15 PM on January 17, 2011

Over the years I've had several great conversations with strangers sparked by my Basehead shirt (which has held up remarkably well). The first few conversations were about fonts and design because of the Emigre connection, but then when Basehead broke wider it was music and hip-hop.

I hadn't listened to the first album in years, but recently I finally got around to ripping it my MP3 player and was glad that it still sounds fresh today. I find my myself hitting repeat on "Not Over You" as much now as I did almost 20 years ago.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:21 PM on January 17, 2011

I sound like motherfucking Barry White!

I'm not a big hip hop fan, but this was one of my 6 cd's I brought back with me from Germany.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 1:22 PM on January 17, 2011

I L-O-V-E-D Plays with Toys back in the day, hadn't thought about this album in a while. Time for me to dig through old CDs.
posted by deliquescent at 1:35 PM on January 17, 2011

I still hear Michael's voice in my head whenever "Ain't No Sunshine" starts up.
posted by stannate at 2:16 PM on January 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Basehead! Great stuff, "Not Over You" is a fantastic song, one that still randomly pops into my head.
posted by zardoz at 2:21 PM on January 17, 2011

Oh. So not this, then.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:43 PM on January 17, 2011

"It's not my fault you got lovesick during The Quiet Storm."
posted by machaus at 3:48 PM on January 17, 2011

I thought at first that this was going to be a post about Dan Gardopée (also known as Basehead), who I know of from the Monkey Island fan community. He did some of the music for Deus Ex and Unreal Tournament.
posted by Stove at 6:44 PM on January 17, 2011

Basehaed is ThsiQ Yes.

Graham Crackers!!!!
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 7:54 PM on January 17, 2011

Just saw Ivey was the first commenter- Thanks, Mike!
Influential, for me.
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 7:57 PM on January 17, 2011

posted by azarbayejani at 9:43 PM on January 17, 2011

battleshipkropotkin that's not the same michael ivey methinks
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:07 PM on January 17, 2011

battleshipkropotkin, I waited seven and a half hours for that joke to work. It was worth it. Really, though, I've been waiting 17 years for that payoff. I remember learning about Basehead and Mike Ivey in HS, and thinking to myself...that's going to be Comedy Gold one of these days. Just be patient.

Thanks MetaFilter.
posted by ivey at 6:31 AM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

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