Siegfried Hof witnessed the birth of hip hop in The Netherlands from close by and played his own little part in it. He can't exactly recall what drew him towards rapmusic but tracks like BAMBAATTAA's "Planet rock" and "This is the future" by FATBACK made a big impact on him. Around 1984 he climbed the stage of youthcentre "De Koog" in Noord-Scharwoude (small city located close to Alkmaar and Heerhugowaard). The speakers were blastin' an instrumental disco track and Siegfried started rappin' to it, using the lyrics from "Rapper's delight". Around this same period in time The Netherlands got conterminated with the electric boogie virus. Siegfried established his own breaking crew called WESTSIDE STREETGANG together with some friends. Performances were done in all kinds of shady discotheques from Den Helder to Zaandam. Later on they changed their name to THE ZODIACS.
SPYTE rappin' within a electric boogie performance
which was maybe at first in those days
THE ZODIACS gettin' down...
The level of dancing within the crew increased when guys like FRANKY RESIDA (a wellknown electric boogie dancer, as was brother ROY RESIDA) joined. Siegfried decided to focus more on rappin' and started to use the monniker MASTER RAP SOLO, only to be changed pretty soon after into SPYTE. An early group got formed called DJ TALL & THE V.E.E.. This was an all out hip hop package with DJ FIX but also dancers from ALEX & THE CITY CREW. Two performances later and no recordings this outfit was already over with.
On march 1st 1986 SPYTE performed at the Streetsounds hip hop festival in Rotterdam. This was probably the first hip hop orientated festival in The Netherlands ever and SPYTE recalls it to be very underground. The venue got bombed all over with graffiti. The level of rapmusic at this time was still very immature....most artists basically copied straight of the USA acts. There weren't any real wellknown artists yet....and a caucasian guy like SPYTE was an odd lookin' appearance within the scene. When getting on stage the (mostly black) crowd had their obvious doubts but SPYTE's performance, together with DJ FIX, earned him respect.
Flyer of the Streetsounds hip hop festival in Rotterdam
One of SPYTE's first solo shows was a performace at discotheque "De heer van Jericho" in Heerhugowaard in 1987. He rapped his own rhymes over WHODINI instrumentals (amongs these "5 minutes of funk"). His skills got noticed by some other rappers present there...being MC SHOWCASE and RUDEBOY. They stepped up to SPYTE and plans to collaborate got layed down. Soon the group BORN FREE MC was a fact (a name made up by RUDEBOY). They performed together and joined rap contests.
In all this time SPYTE was also the house dj of youthcentre "De Koog" in Heerhugowaard where he managed to get performances there by JUST ICE, KOOL MOE DEE and ORIGINAL CONCEPT. He often supported these acts by hyping up the crowd before the main shows.
1987 BORN FREE MC line up
MC SHOWCASE - SPYTE - RUDEBOY
Few know that SPYTE was also involved in what later would turn out to be the notorious URBAN DANCE SQUAD. DJ DNA was an old acquintance from the early rap days and joined the group. He then invited the other guys from BORN FREE MC to participate in jam sessions held at "De vrije vloer" in Utrecht. Trademark of these sessions were heavy live played percussion drumbeats (go-go style), horns, synthesizers and freestyle rappin'. SPYTE even performed with URBAN DANCE SQUAD before a huge crowd at the Bevrijdingspop festival in Haarlem that year.
MC SHOWCASE - SPYTE
At the previous named Rotterdam Streetsounds festival, SPYTE got in touch with MICHIEL VAN DER KUY, partner of ERIK VAN VLIET who owned recordshop and recordlabel "Hotsounds" (see my previous post on Hotsounds records!). The recordlabel was specialized in synthesizer disco but wanted to expand on the upcomming hip hop market. BORN FREE MC was givin' the opportunity to record a track for a 12" release. This track became "Struggle for jive" and got released in 1987. Unfortunately MICHIEL VAN DER KUY had his own thoughts on how the track should sound like, and released the record with a selfmixed, MANTRONIX-like, version on the a-side that had a completely different beat than the track BORN FREE MC had recorded. The original version, with samples of ART OF NOISE and TROUBLE FUNK ended up on the b-side as the "power mix". The group had the record presented at the finales of a big rap contest they had joined. This contest was held in the famous Escape venue and shown on tv ("Popformule" hosted by LINDA DE MOL!). BORN FREE MC became runner up because a Rotterdam group TC BOYZ took 1st prize. It wasn't untill the next day the group found out about the reproduction of their track on the record.
SPYTE wasn't too bothered about it as he was still extatic about the fact they actually had a record out. RUDEBOY and DJ DNA on the other hand were dissapointed and left BORN FREE MC to focus entirely on their involvement with the URBAN DANCE SQUAD. The squad's 1989 album would held a new, uncompromised version of RUDEBOY's baby "Struggle for jive".
Newspaperclipping on BORN FREE MC winning the "Best rap act '87"
preliminaries in Zaandam and reaching the final.
BORN FREE MC went on performing after RUDEBOY and DJ DNA had left. DJ BLACK BASS and DJ AUTOMATIC TEE (see the FUNKY TRIBE topic!) joined and layed down the beats and scratches for the group. In 1988 they played at the infamous Noorderslag festival in Groningen and the track "Olympic rap jam" got released as 7" and cd-single on Kwest records. The song got recorded because DJ FIX was asked to produce a commercial raptrack to bring attention to the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoel. The track didn't get picked up by the hip hop crowd and soon slid away in obscurity. BORN FREE MC dissolved soon after...
Cover of BORN FREE MC's cd-single "Olympic rap jam" (1988)
In 1993 SPYTE got pulled back in the rappin' game after a creative pause. ALL STAR FRESH, a pioneer dj and one of the most outstanding rapartists in The Netherlands at that time, called him up. SPYTE was asked to replace rapper PHRYME in ALL STAR FRESH's looseknit rapgroup KING BEE. After some successes in the dancemusic department, KING BEE wanted to take a turn with more hardcore rap styled tracks. SPYTE and rapper PAROLE were picked to make this happen. From 1993 untill 1998 the recorded various KING BEE singles. Amongst these tracks there's even a hard ass diss track aimed against rapper ICE DOG of TUFF CREW called "Who the hell are you". Grab this track and another 1993 track called "Here we go again here:
Cover of KING BEE - Here we go again (1993)
Cover of KING BEE - Get ready (1993)
BC BOY - ALL STAR FRESH - PAROLE - SPYTE
In 1998 KING BEE was pretty much over with. SPYTE after that collaborated on the track "Missing you" by Dutch dance act THE COURSE (project of superstar turntablist VINCENT "HYPED" HENDRIKS). Check out this pop orientated track right here:
Life then caught up with hip hop veteran SPYTE, family and a busy job took their toll and he put his mic down to rest. In retrospect I can say a true pioneer of the early days of rap in The Netherlands who proved that colour of skin and origin are non-topics in hip hop.