Seattle’s Supreme La Rock is that rare breed of DJ who can go from the jet-set club scene one night to playing the rarest 45s the next . He got his start on the Seattle hip-hop scene as a member of the Incredicrew – their 1987 single “King in Def Poetry” caught them a nice buzz. A cameo on Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “My Posse’s on Broadway” didn’t hurt either – today it fetches upwards of $50 on eBay.
Since his early days in the music game, Supreme hasn’t stopped moving: he went on to start Conception Records, is a member of The Sharpshooters and, alongside Jake One, formed world-renowned record collectors, The Con Men.
Recently, Get on Down got a chance to talk to Supreme about what we had in our stable. One release that has always been near-and-dear to him is by Detroit quartet Power of Zeus. The group, originally called Gangrene, changed their name after signing with Motown subsidiary Rare Earth in 1970. The album, The Gospel According to Zeus, is a Holy Grail among record collectors particularly for the song “The Sorcerer of Isis.” We asked Supreme about finding this gem, and how he almost skipped over the song that would become the backbone of the mid-90s hip-hop sound.
I don’t recall the year but I know it was in the early ‘90s. The ‘digging’ craze was really starting to boom and anyone who was serious about producing was looking for the perfect samples and breaks. While most were still buying soul records with anyone with an afro on the cover, a small handful of heads knew the time and were scoping out all genres.
I had figured out early on that just about anything recorded in the early 1970s was funky, no matter what the genre was. I’d listen to the oldies station in the car and discovered countless drum breaks on rock records a lot of cats weren’t up on yet. I also heard things that had been sampled and figured out the source. It was a just another day of digging for me when I stumbled upon a crazy looking rock album called The Power of Zeus. I bought it on sight without hearing it for three reasons: it was a dollar, the cover art looked cool and it was on the Rare Earth label and I had other albums on that label. So, I decided to go for it. When I got home, I needle-dropped through the songs and didn’t hear much. I threw it in a stack and forgot about it.
A few months later a friend from New York called me to see if I could locate this crazy rock record with an incredible drum break on it called The Power of Zeus. He had heard it at a record show over the weekend when a dealer, John C., played it out-loud for the who’s who of the hip-hop community. I guess it really caused a stir. He described the record to me and I told him, yeah I had it already. He couldn’t believe I was already up on it. I told him I didn’t think it was that good and he could have my copy. But before sending it off, I decided to listen to it again.
I was floored this time around!!! Seems I skipped over the track ‘Sorcerer of Isis.’ I love that track even to this day. It had it all: hard-hitting snappy drums, psychedelic wrenching guitar riffs, and killer bass fills. After discovering this track I could understand what the frenzy was all about. I immediately went out that day and hit every record spot in town. I dug up three copies that day and have never seen another one since. That was close to 20 years ago!
And for anyone wanting The Power of Zeus, Get On Down just happens to have a stash of the reissue here.