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WANNA DANCE?

Soul Shack Doesn't Close Its Doors on Rap's Roots

January 20, 1994|ROSE APODACA

Anyone attributing that infectious rhythm running through Ice Cube's chart maker "Check Yo Self" to the rapper himself better take a cue from the song and recheck his or her knowledge of the genre.

Like many modern-day rap artists, Ice Cube owes part of his success to those who pioneered the music--not just for their perseverance in innovating a new sound but for creating music so incredible that today's artists apparently feel compelled to plunder (referred to, of course, under the more respectful-sounding euphemism "sampling").

Credit Cube's sample to the 1982 hit "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. Fortunately, the famed rapper has publicly credited the source.

Exposing originals such as "The Message" is part of the course for deejay Beej and partner Gary Blitz at their latest club installation, Soul Shack. The Sunday night gig started two weeks ago at Club 5902 in Huntington Beach, home of Beej and Blitz's highly successful Disco 2000 on Thursday nights.

Along with early rap, Beej rotates a prime selection of rare groove vinyl (translated as '60s and '70s funk-heavy tracks), most commonly found on the Stax and Motown labels. If many of the twangier tunes evoke images of car races and slinky young things with too much makeup, blame it on the tunes' original use as soundtracks for blaxploitation flicks of the '70s.

Even with the current deluge of old school disco--which includes some of the classics Beej spins Sunday night--at every nightclub, the fare at Soul Shack is decidedly fresh and too funky to sit out. Indeed, for those who initially danced till they dropped at D2000 but tired of it when the trend lost its charm to mainstream popularity, Soul Shack offers food for the soul and the feet.

The vigor is owed to both the rediscovery of long-lost classics alternating with another category: acid jazz. Like modern rap, acid jazz relies on sampling as well as taking inspiration from be-bop. Unlike rap or hip-hop, it's decidedly cool with an emphasis on tailored style. Nightclubs would be well advised in looking into featuring this form.

Beej counts on Costa Mesa-based source Jano Baird for his collection of acid jazz that features the likes of current acts such as Diana Brown, Brand New Heavies and Soul Sonics.

Weekly, Soul Shack will feature live bands to keep the dance crowd moving (last Sunday's act, Goldfish, played such funk covers as Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music"). Beej promises original acts in weeks to come.

And the all-night drink specials are a plus if the weekend just about emptied your wallet: A single George Washington gets you a 28-ounce pitcher of domestic brew, and two of them buy any well drink.

* SOUL SHACK AT CLUB 5902

* 5902 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach.

* (714) 840-6118.

* 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

* $4 cover, 21 and over.

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