4 Hero – Cooking Up Yah Brain (Sonz of a Loop Da Loop Era Remix) (Reinforced, 1992)
Back in ’92 London’s Kiss 100 was a very different station to the one it is today. Just two years removed from being granted a license after several years as a pirate, they actually still played underground dance music during the daytime. Having recently moved to the Home Counties from Norwich it was a revelation to my eleven year old ears and I regularly recorded Graham Gold’s Saturday afternoon chart show on my Hitachi ghetto blaster.
It is here that I first heard a track that paired hyperactive synths and a frantic breakbeat with a vocal that not too subtly hinted at the health consequences of ecstasy use: the Sonz of a Loop Da Loop Era remix of 4 Hero’s ‘Cooking Up Yah Brain’.
As Peter Shapiro said regarding 4 Hero’s earlier ‘Mr Kirk’s Nightmare’: “the track seemed like it was inviting ravers to dance to their own destruction”. Oblivious to all of this at the time, I played it again and again until the tape broke and these being the days before the internet allowed you to listen to almost any track, I didn’t hear it again for several years.
Fast forward to 2000 and I’m in Leicester’s 5HQ, the now sadly closed record shop that was owned by DJ SS. Flicking through the second hand racks a gold cover with the words “4 Hero ‘Remixes’” caught my eye and I couldn’t believe it when I discovered it was the tune that I had been longing to get my hands on. Despite the rather tatty condition of the cover and the £15 price tag I didn’t hesitate to commit the necessary funds from my student loan to make it mine.
The man behind Sonz of a Loop Da Loop Era was Daniel Whiddett, now better known as Danny Breaks, and he had broken on to the scene the previous year with the massive ‘Far Out’. His remix of ‘Cooking Up Yah Brain’ doesn’t deviate significantly from the original, keeping in place the ‘Take Me To The Mardi Gras’ based break that anchors the track and using the same pitched up vocal samples. However, he increases the energy levels right from the start with a typically scratch-heavy intro featuring a lively bassline before rejigging the main synth riff to make it a lot more memorable.
The central “Cooking Up Yah Brain” vocal is Kool Keith on ‘A Chorus Line’ by the Ultramagnetic MCs while “Let The Bass Go” and “Y’All Ready For This” (made famous by a certain Dutch twosome who will remain nameless) are both from tracks by The D.O.C. (‘Let The Bass Go’ and ‘It’s Funky Enough’ respectively).
The track’s less hyper mid-section is extended and given an increased house influence by a sample of the synth arpeggio from Jamie Principle’s ‘Your Love’, one of the first ever house records, which also returns to close the track out after one final burst of that addictive synth riff.
Without question the best version of this track and quite simply one of my all-time favourite tunes.