Off the Top Rope 

Soundtracks, Underbosses, and more.

Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin' Original Soundtrack

Few local documentaries have united the city quite like Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin', the film that was released five years ago this week. To celebrate the award-winning documentary, the soundtrack has finally been released on 180 gram, blood-red vinyl and is currently available at most local record stores. The release show takes place at the Malco Paradiso, and two screenings of the movie will follow the official release party.

Other than the now-classic Memphis punk song "Black Knight" by Alicja Trout's River City Tanlines (a song I first heard on the EA Skate video game), every song on the soundtrack for Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin' was recorded in Memphis by hero producer Doug Easley, the legendary knob-turner who has worked with Sonic Youth, Pavement, Guided by Voices, Jack Oblivian, NOTS, and plenty more.

click to enlarge Pow! Memphis Heat packs a punch.
  • Pow! Memphis Heat packs a punch.

Because this platter was five years in the making, no punches have been pulled on the packaging. From the blood-red vinyl to the more subtle "Course It's Real Music" BMI song publishing, it's obvious that the folks over at Shangri-La were methodical in making this as Memphis as possible. The free vinyl Sputnik sticker instead of an insert was also a nice touch.

And then there are the band names, my favorite being "The Body Slammers," a sleazy instrumental group featuring Easley, Adam Woodard, John Bonds, and Terrence Bishop. The Heat's song "Twisted Steel" was also a favorite.

March 24th also serves as "National Sputnik Monroe Day," honoring the legendary Memphis wrestler and Civil Rights pioneer who is credited with integrating the Memphis City Auditorium in the early '60s. Jerry Jett, a prominent figure in Memphis Heat, will also be on hand Thursday for a meet and greet. Chris Davis — the man whose been our local wrestling expert for years — recently wrote that this is one of his favorite Memphis-centric soundtracks in recent memory. I'd have to agree.

Favorite Track: The Body Slammers "Riffology"

M.C. Mack — For Life Da Undaboss, Volume 5.

M.C. Mack first gained notoriety in the Memphis rap scene as an original member of Three 6 Mafia, but apparently his love for hip-hop came in the sixth grade, when he created his first track using a pen, pad, and Rx8 Yamaha Drum Machine. In the late '90s he was a member of KAZE, a group that featured Project Pat, and he was also a member of the Hypnotize Camp Posse (H.C.P), spearheaded by DJ Paul and Juicy J. Before that, he had solo hits of his own with songs like "She's Goin," and "Go to Church."

That brings us to his latest effort, For Life Da Undaboss, Volume 5. The 16-track album is chock-full of underground guest appearances, including Kano, M-Child, Scan Man, and Mac Yo. Undaboss has been available for over a year, but his recent music video for opening track "Bustas Flodgin' and Fakin'" has brought him back out into the spotlight, and the video gained nearly 30,000 YouTube hits in just over a month thanks to a WorldStarHipHop premiere.

The themes in For Life Da Undaboss are what you'd probably expect from a Memphis rap album, but M.C. Mack is anything but a newcomer to the world of Memphis gangsta rap. He's a seasoned veteran who knows what his strengths are, and with an extremely impressive lyrical delivery, it appears that M.C. Mack might be on his way to becoming the next most-known unknown in the Memphis rap scene. For Life Da Undaboss, Volume 5 is availble now.

Favorite Track: "KKZ Party" featuring Mac Yo and Kano.

Odds and Ends:

The Hi-Tone will be hosting a fund-raiser this month to raise awareness about the preservation of the Greensward in Overton Park. More information on that as it becomes available.

Beale Street Music Fest announced that Mavis Staples will be performing at this year's festival, although the date is still to be determined. The Grammy award winning artist began her career with the Staple Singers over 60 years ago, and her music has been sampled by artists ranging from Ice Cube to Ludacris. She has also worked with a staggering list of greats, including Bob Dylan and Ray Charles.

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