Thursday, April 18, 2019

Audio Two

Audio Two were the Brooklyn, New York hip hop duo of emcee Kirk "Milk Dee" Robinson and DJ Nat "Gizmo" Robinson, most famous for its first hit "Top Billin'".

The duo’s debut single, "Make it Funky", was released in 1987, but it was the b-side, "Top Billin'", that hit, making not only the group instant stars but also making a deep cultural impact on hip hop. The beat — made by Milk Dee and produced by Daddy-O of Stetsasonic — and Milk Dee's lyrics would be sampled and referenced time and time again, even by the group itself: both the group's full-length debut, 1988's What More Can I Say? and its 1990 follow-up, I Don't Care: The Album, were titled after lines from the song. However, the duo would never recapture its initial success. The singles of its second album, "I Get the Papers" and "On the Road Again," were only moderate hits. It was a time of rapid change in the hip hop market; gangsta rap was rising in popularity, and Audio Two found itself unsuccessfully struggling to maintain recording contracts and a fanbase. A third album, First Dead Indian, due for release in 1992, was canceled before it was released even though it had an assigned catalog number. Because of its downfall, the duo disbanded.

Audio Two did, however, pave the way for the duo's labelmate MC Lyte, who would launch her career with the hit single "I Cram to Understand You (Sam)," which went to #1 on the Billboard Hip-Hop chart in 1989. Lyte's 1998 album Seven & Seven would feature a remake of "Top Billin'" —with the original instrumental—this time a duet between her and Milk. It has been a widely circulated rumor that both members of Audio Two were brothers of MC Lyte, however this is untrue. In 1994, Milk released a solo EP titled Never Dated on Rick Rubin's American Recordings. While the EP was notable for its single "Spam," a duet with the Beastie Boys' Adrock with drum programming by Mike D, aside from the devoted Beastie Boys fanbase the album generated little interest. Milk would eventually rediscover success by producing singer Eamon, who recorded the 2004 hit "Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back)."

In 2007, Milk Dee recorded a verse for a remix of "I Get Money" by 50 Cent, thanking all the music artists that sampled "Top Billin'," which earned him royalties.

In recent years, Audio Two member Gizmo became a recording engineer under the name "You Can Ask" Giz. His audio work has appeared on albums by Donell Jones, Calvin Richardson, Jaheim and Tyrese, among others.


1988: What More Can I Say?
1990: I Don't Care: The Album
1992: First Dead Indian (unreleased)


1986: "A Christmas Rhyme / Audio Two's Jam"
1987: "Make it Funky/Top Billin'"
1987: "Hickeys Around My Neck"
1988: "I Don't Care"
1988: "Many Styles" / "The Questions"
1989: "I Get the Papers"
1990: "On The Road Again" / "Interlude One"


Top Billin'


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