I recall vividly the first time I played this game on the NES. I must have been around 9 or 10 and I was stoked out of my mind.
The gameplay was truly amazing at the time. As opposed to the usual, run,jump,attack that I was used to, in this scenario you could combine various moves depending on your position. You could attack an enemy behind you (with the back kick) while keeping another in a hold and then there was the famous “Hurricane Kick” and of course “Abobo“
Another feature that captured my imagination was the music. Timeless pieces that capture the mood of each stage and draws you in. Seriously for an 8-bit game, the music was brilliant and for years it was stuck in my head like a mantra. Especially the themes for Stage 2 and stage 4(pictured below)
Fast forward many years later. I became a beat maker and naturally I had to get my hands on the entire Double Dragon 2 music catalogue. The version I sampled on the song “Set It Off RMX” is actually an updated rendition of the original 8-bit music but I also spliced the music used in the game’s interlude to give it that retro feel.
The original version of Set It Off was recorded for Rhythm 93.7‘s Dj Tommy’s mixtape (still in limbo) hence we never actually put it on any Str8Buttah project. The original was recorded at Jabbarad’s studio after we got kicked out of the first studio for another artist (that’s another story for another day). Unfortunately XYZ was unavailable for the recording as he was still serving in the Northern part of Nigeria so you get to hear only 4 emcees plus me on the hook.
The remix in question was done about 2 years later(2009) while we were putting the Buttah-Tapes together.
I remember making the beat for this song right after I had finished NYSC, which is a program designed to integrate Nigerian students from different ethnic backgrounds. At the time I “served” in the northern part of Nigeria, which was quite peaceful those days.
The sample here was from a Billy Ocean song I found from a CD store around my way. I was an avid collector back then, since vinyl was a little bit out of my league, I settled for CDs. I usually tend to make a bucket list of artists I want to sample and spend considerable amount of time trying to locate their material and trust me, back then that ain’t no easy feat.
At the time the beat was made, I was working on a collaborative album (Illastr8) with fellow Str8Buttah producer XYZ and my initial plan was submitting this beat for a song towards that end but all that changed with one phone call. I was still in Zaria for the time being and was heading to Kano (my place of primary assignment) to pick up a recommendation letter when Mister Rae called to inform me of Fleet Militant’s unfortunate demise. It came as a rude shock and really hit me hard from the blind side. Fleet was also supposed to perform on Illastr8 and then some. Fleet’s work as the director of G.A.M.E (Nigerian Chapter) was instrumental for introducing me musically to XYZ. As a matter of fact, XYZ was passing out flyers for the event when we first met in University of Lagos.
The song “Steps” was what that beat ended up to be. It’s taken from a dedication album to Fleet Militant (Rest In Power kid) and the video was shot by some peeps (I honestly don’t know them). The location of the shoot is close to the former studio of Micworx (A super duper Production crew which Venomous is part of). I remember tensions running high on set, technical issues, tantrums getting thrown with reckless abandon but everyone manned up to get the job done out of respect for the dead.
Cameos include GQ, Deckzavier, Big Foot and Mister Rae, oh I did appear at the tail end for a few seconds.