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The Ultramagnetic MC's formed in 1984.Their first single was "To Give You Love"(1985) on the Diamond International label. The group's worldwide buzz started with "Ego Trippin'," its first 12-inch single on Next Plateau Records in 1986 that was the first hip hop song to feature the "Synthetic Substitution" drum break sample. The group's next single was "Traveling At The Speed of Thought" followed by "Funky/Mentally Mad," one of the most sought-after 12-inch singles of its career. Funky was based on a Joe Cocker piano sample later used as the basis for Dr. Dre & Tupac's California Love. It was released in 1987. This led to the release of the group's first album.
The Ultramagnetic MC's released a new school classic in 1988, Critical Beatdown, introducing many new sampling techniques. Many believe that without the group's primary producer, Ced Gee, the golden era of sampling may have looked very different. Ced, while uncredited, also produced the majority of Boogie Down Productions' seminal Criminal Minded. These albums are among the first to use "chopped" samples, rearranged and edited to change context. Both albums also feature many James Brown samples, which became very prominent in Hip Hop in ensuing years. KRS-One has been quoted as saying that he was very close to joining Ultramagnetic MC's early on. Paul C. was also a major contributor to Critical Beatdown, producing "Give The Drummer Some," and engineering most of the album. Paul C. also produced the Hip-House mix of "Traveling At The Speed Of Thought", which was used as the group's first music video, and was their sole release in 1989. The single's b-side, "A Chorus Line", became one of Ultramagnetic's most popular songs and introduced new group affiliate Tim Dog. A variation of the "A Chorus Line" instrumental was used as the basis of Tim Dog's debut single, the Ced Gee-produced "Fuck Compton", which became a modest hit and is credited with helping to spark the East coast/West coast feud of the mid '90s.