Members: BuddaNinja, Master Bee
It seemed inevitable that Bronx natives, The Russell Brothers, would find their future in the music business. Their mother was a singer at The Cotton Club in the 1950’s, performing with the likes of Tony Bennett and their sister, Rosetta Hollingworth, became involved as part of A&R for Mercury Records in the 1970’s. She helped signed artists such as Kurtis Blow, Lipps Inc., Junior, etc.
The duo of Master Bee (Ronnie/Ronald Russell) & BuddaNinja (Roland Russell), were originally members of the Bug Dogs and as hip hop began to evolve they also became members of the Zulu Nation. Roland began creating beats in a small home studio set up and Ronnie became a member of the Jazzy 5, who’s track, ‘Jazzy Sensation’, became as huge hit for Tommy Boy. As rap grew ever-popular the pair decided to form The Russell Brothers.
Via their sister, they were asked to produce a song for SONY. Her husband, Mike, introduced them to Larry Joseph and Frank Heller, an engineer at Quad Studio where they would go to record the track. Upon arrival, Larry played an instrumental which he wanted the brothers to perform on, however, it didn’t appeal to them.
With very limited studio time available, Larry gave the brothers five hours to create something and left. Frank Heller knew the hip hop sound better so he and the brothers set about recreating the track the way they wanted. Within a few hours, The Party Scene (Initially titled Electric Boogie on the acetates – Shout out to Testpress Lee), complete with lyrics, was born.
Larry added his baseline before sending the final mix back to SONY for approval and the track went into production.
Like so many other artists at the time, the brothers went unpaid for their work. In fact, it was only at the last minute that they were given writing and production credit on the label. Full credit was originally given to Larry Joseph.
‘The Party Scene’ wasn’t to be the group’s only vinyl release. The following year they also recorded and ‘Who’s The Best?’. The track was a new rap over the original instrumental and was pressed in very limited quantities as a 7″ promotional tool used for CBS Family Day.
It was also very popular in the UK after being used as the music for Mike Allen‘s hip hop chart on Capital Radio and was sampled by the Beastie Boys for ‘Time To Get Ill’, taken from their Def Jam debut album.
As a result of this experience, Roland decided he wanted to learn the music business first-hand. His career took him to MCA, Motown, Universal, Cardiac/Virgin, and Warner Brothers then on to his own Urban Gold Music.
It was during his employment at MCA/Universal in the 1990s that he helped with the promotion of artists such as Guy, Teddy Riley, Mary J. Blige, Jodeci, Eric B & Rakim, Heavy D, Blackstreet, etc. The list goes on.
Huge thanks to Roland Russell for the information.
Format: 12″ Promo
Notes: SV = Short Version, LV = Long Version. The single edit version is only available on the promo release.