The below video is of an unreleased Demon Boyz track entitled “No hocus pocus” and was recorded sometime between the releases of the two Demon Boyz albums Recognition, and Original Guidance during the period when they were still recording with DJ Devastate and the Twilight Firm. No hocus pocus appears to be a pre recorded version of Hocus pocus that appears on the Demon Boyz second LP Original Guidance released in 1992 when DJ Devastate had left the group and they were working with the Rebel MC, DJ Pogo and Cutmaster Swift.
This video was made by two film students in the summer of 1990 who were fans of the Demon Boyz. There was no record company involvement or budget for the video and it was filmed in and around Tottenham and Camden Town in London England. If like me you were a fan of the Recognition LP then this video is definitely worth checking out as is follows the same formula. DJ Devastate‘s scratching is as on point as ever, as are Mike J and Demon D‘s lyrics and delivery.
Demon Boyz “No hocus pocus” (Unreleased)
Any readers that are not familiar with the Demon Boyz, Their career started when they were in there early teens and won a rapping competition by rapping down the phone live on DJ Dave Pearce‘s BBC London Radio show called Hip Hop Connection. Demon Boyz (Mike J and Demon D) went on to support Derek B, Faze One, and T-La Rock at Camden Palace and shortly after recorded their debut track This is a jam for the Music Of Life compilation Hard as hell vol 1 which was released in 1987. Also on the same compilation were early recordings by British rappers by MC Duke and Overlord X. To my knowledge all the tracks on the LP were produced by Simon Harris. This is a jam also features scratches & cuts by Derek B and was recorded before DJ Devastate became the Demon Boyz DJ.
The reception and success of This is a jam created an opportunity to release more music and shortly after Demon Boyz signed to Music of Life and recorded their debut LP entitled Recognition. By this point DJ Devastate had joined MCs Mike J & Demon D to record what many people (including myself) regard as a classic Hip Hop album. Recognition was produced by the Twilight Firm (with the exception of Northside & Rougher than an animal that were produced by Simon Harris. The track Don’t touch it was also co produced by Dizzy Ranks) and was released in 1989. The Tracks Vibes, Northside / Rougher than an animal, and Recognition / Lyrical culture were all released as 12″ singles prior to the LP. To my knowledge all vocal versions of the tracks are the same as the LP versions. The 12″ singles also contain various instrumental, dub and back beat versions.
Demon Boyz “Recognition” LP Cover 1989 Music Of Life
Below is a youtube playlist of the Recognition LP:
Demon Boyz “Recognition playlist” 1989 Music Of Life
In 2007 The Recognition album was re-released by Suspect Packages on both vinyl and CD. The Re-issues of Recognition contain some additional recordings made while with Music OF Life as bonus tracks (This is a jam, Vibes 1990 remix and Grand finale which is a live track taken from the Music Of Life live LP Hustlers Convention).
The below insert is of the audio recording Grand finale live freestyle:
Demon Boyz “Grand Finale” 1989 Music Of Life
The below video footage is also from the Recognition era and is a live performance by the Demon Boyz of Northside & Rougher than an animal. The footage was filmed approximately 1 month before the release of the Recognition LP:
Demon Boyz “Northside, Rougher than an animal” (Westwood TV live session)
In 1990 Demon Boyz signed to a new label Mango Street, which was a subsidiary of Island Records, and at the time was home to a host of UK Hip Hop artists including Overlord X, Black Radical Mk 2, and the London Posse. Shortly after signing The Demon Boyz released their debut and only 12″ single entitled International karate.
Demon Boyz “International Karate” 1990 Mango Street
The single followed on musically from the Recognition LP as the trio were still working with producers The Twilight Firm. Unfortunately Island Records decided to close the subsidiary label and no other Demon Boyz music was released on Mango Street. The video No hocus pocus at the start of the article appears to be from the same period but it is unclear how much materiel was recorded with DJ Devastate & The Twilight Firm before the closure of Mango Street Records.
The below insert is a recording of the 12″ single International karate:
Demon Boyz “International karate” 1990 Mango Street
In 1992 the Demon Boyz signed to the Tribal Bass record label set up and run by the Rebel MC where they recorded their final project to date entitled Original Guidance. By this time however there had been some changes to the collective as DJ Devastate had left the group and Demon D and Mike J had stopped recording with the producers The Twilight Firm.
The first 12 “single released on Tribal Bass was entitled Dett and contained three different versions. The first listed as X1 on the A side of the 12″ vinyl is Dett (Lyrical danger mix) and was produced by Rebel MC. The Dett 12″ single marked the start of a new era which saw Demon Boyz rappers (Mike J & Demon D) incorporate there highly acclaimed vocal style and delivery with a variety of acclaimed producers.
The below insert is the recording of Dett (Lyrical Danger Mix):
Demon Boyz – “Dett” (Lyrical Danger Mix) 1992 Tribal Bass
The second recording listed as X2 on the A side of the 12″ vinyl is Dett (Speaker feeder mix) which is a remix by pioneering UK Hip Hop DJ and producer DJ Pogo. This version compliments the lyrical danger mix, both versions are unique and compliment the Demon Boyz style well. The scratches & cuts on both versions of Dett are also complimentary to the recordings but are not credited on the release. As DJ Pogo is involved it is possible that he provided these but this is only speculation.
The below insert is the recording of Dett (speaker feeder Mix):
Demon Boyz – “Dett” (Speaker feeder Mix) 1992 Tribal Bass
The third recording on the B side of the 12″ listed as Y1 is Jungle Dett (Hardcore house mix) and is an instrumental rework that contains elements of the Lyrical danger mix and was also produced by Rebel MC. The Dett 12″ single is a good example/reference point of what had started to happen with British Hip Hop music at the time and its fusion of Jamaican Dancehall, US Hip Hop, and UK House music giving birth to early examples of Rave & Jungle music. Jungle Dett samples the popular Amen break beat by the Winston’s and contains various raggamuffin/dancehall vocal samples that would become a signature sound of Jungle music.
The below insert is the recording of Jungle Dett (Hardcore House Mix):
Demon Boyz – “Jungle Dett” (Hardcore house mix) 1992 Tribal Bass
Of the three versions only a shorter version of the Speaker feeder mix was included on the Demon Boyz second LP Original Guidance which was also released in 1992 on Tribal Bass Records.
Several different producers were involved in the creation of Original Guidance these included DJ Pogo, Cutmaster Swift, Mafia & Fluxy, and Rebel MC. This album really shows off the diversity of the Demon Boyz and their ability to apply their vocal talents/style to the diversifying range of UK music during this period. The album track styles range from Boom Bap Hip Hop, to Ragga, to early Jungle/Drum and Bass/Rave. Scratches & cuts are also a big part of the LP but are also not credited. It is possible these could have been contributed to by DJ Pogo, Cutmaster Swift, or both? DJ Def K also gets a mention in the track Glimity Glamity but again this is only speculation and there is no mention in the album credits about the scratching.
The below insert is a youtube playlist containing all the available tracks I could find during the creation of this article. (Unfortunately the re-recording “Hocus pocus” and the last rack from the album “Meditation” are not currently available which is why they have not been included in the playlist):
Demon Boyz “Original guidance playlist” 1992 Tribal Bass
The second and final 12″ Single to date from the Demon Boyz also taken from the Original Guidance recording project was Junglist/Glimity Glamity. The single has a Junglist side and a Raggmuffin Hip Hop side. The Junglist side contains two tracks from the album Junglist and Junglist (Armshouse dubstrumental) both produced by Rebel MC. Junglist was also released in the year 1992 and is another good reference to the evolution of British Hip Hop (also known as Britcore) and one of it’s many transitions to new styles of music (in this case Jungle).
The below insert is a recording of Junglist:
Demon Boyz “Junglist” 1992 Tribal Bass
Another reason why this particular 12″ release make a good reference to what was happening in the UK at the time is you are able to flip the record over and listen to the Raggamuffin Hip Hop side and hear Glimity Glamity which is a great reference to UK Hip Hop at it’s best. The 12″ release also contains a remix by DJ Pogo that is not available of the Original Guidance LP.
Demon Boyz “Glimity glamity” 1992 Tribal Bass
As 1992 came to a close UK Hip Hop releases that had been steadily gaining popularity since 1987 had started to decline as most of the major label interest had faded. British Hip Hip releases became somewhat of a rarity during the rest of the 1990’s as the music industry’s focus turned to other genres. Original Guidance was the last Demon Boyz album to date. Mike J continues to record under the name Million Dan as has an impressive catalogue of solo materiel.
Discovering the No hocus pocus video that would appear to be an early version of the Hocus pocus from the Original Guidance album raises the questions:
- Are there any more undiscovered tracks or versions of existing tracks by the Demon Boyz out there? and
- How much of a second LP was recorded with the Twilight Firm & DJ Devastate while signed to Mango Street?
The Demon Boyz Mike J, Demon D, DJ Devastate
Please check out our British Hip Hop Pioneers section for more articles.