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Time Zone

Taking the same approach to hip-hop that funk maverick George Clinton took to his own projects, Afrika Bambaataa created the Time Zone project in the early '80s as another outlet for his projects. Despite the different name, their singles were essentially just Bambaataa productions, with various collaborators like Bill Laswell and James Brown included on certain tracks. Their first release was "Wild Style," a breakdancing single that employed the futuristic synth lines and tight funk instrumentation that he had pioneered on the massive "Planet Rock" 12". Next came the six-part "Unity" single, in which James Brown delivered verses while Bambaataa, bassist Doug Wimbish, guitarist Skip McDonald, and drummer Keith LeBlanc put together one of the funkiest beats of his career. The last '80s Time Zone project was World Destruction, a rap/punk crossover that utilized Public Image Ltd.'s Album lineup -- producer Bill Laswell, organist Bernie Worrell, guitarist Nicky Skopelitis, and drummer Aiyb Dieng -- to deliver Bambaataa's angry duet with singer John Lydon. Although the track was a groundbreaking effort, Bambaataa retired the Time Zone name for almost ten years. In the fall of 1995, a number of Bambaataa's late-'80s/early-'90s singles and several new tracks were put together on Warlocks and Witches, Computer Chips, Microchips and You, a compilation credited to a new all-star version of Time Zone. Featuring many members of Bambaataa's Zulu Nation as well as several outside collaborators, it did share the same apocalyptic message and P-Funk-inspired music that made the original Time Zone singles so powerful, but it had a hard time connecting with rap audiences and proved to be the last release to use the Time Zone moniker. ~ Bradley Torreano
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