This week the whole world was forcefully made aware of the British royal family’s new sprog. “Coincedentally” much of the United Kingdom experienced some pretty turbulent thunderstorms which some pseudo-scholars maintain was the elemental fan-fare of the fifth-dimension-dwelling reptilian overlords welcoming the latest extension to their bloodline. Conspiracies aside, for Hip-Hop heads, it’s a conversational segue into regal monikers within the genre. So here’s one that many fans might not know, one that I claim was probably the first. Before King Tee, before Slick Rick The Ruler, before Queen Latifah, before Prince Po… there was “The Almighty Prince Vince“.
For those not in the know, actor/musician/painter/many-other-things Vincent Gallo is an art culture lightning rod. Emerging in the rotten-to-the-core Big Apple in the late 70’s, his paintings, and street and on-screen performances fitted right in at a time when the city was tolerant of outrageous artistry. Even now, his films, albums and general day-to-day activities often remain misunderstood, and are defined as much by his highly contentious persona as they are their actual content.
Then there’s all the rumours that have accumulated over the years. Rumours that he burnt an entire collection of his never-before-seen paintings; denying the world of something he thought it wasn’t ready for. Rumours that he’s been recording music music with Ad-Rock, and that he once beat Ice-T in a freestyle battle. That’s right; one of his polymathic persona’s was as emcee/B-boy, The Almighty Prince Vince. Given his inclination towards art, and an environment that was fostering the elements malleating into what we know as Hip-Hop, the equation forms itself.
Along with the New York City Breakers house deejay, DJ Nick Nice (a name bestowed to him by Gallo’s buddy Basquiat) they were Trouble Deuce; a duo whose music has most definitely not been heard by anyone other than those who attended their jams in the early to mid 80’s. Apparently the cassette’s still exist, and will be released when both Vince and Nick (who now co-runs a boutique hat shop with his wife in New York) deem the world ready for it. Then again, maybe the whole thing was another rumour.
So, unfortunately, no actual music to share here. If, in the distant future, some Professor of Rap History is compelled to embark on an Indiana Jones inspired quest for this lost Hip-Hop artifact, count me in as the juxtaposingly jovial Resistance pilot who flies you into a Carpenter-esque Neo New York. In the meantime, you can check this vintage clip from the pilot episode of the cult TV show cherished by heads the world over, Graffiti Rock, which features Prince Vince playing the wall on production-associate-detail, jigging, and endorsing Run DMC (10:08 onwards), as well as a superohero-style intro scene for members of the New York City Breakers.