Admittedly, it's a bit embarrassing that we have been working on the Roy Ayers Project this long, and have not posted this landmark album by the Roy Ayers produced group RAMP entitled Come Into Knowledge
Most Hip Hop fanatics from the early 90's know the story about this group, as well as this particular album, which has had a lifetime of obscurity as well as praise and appreciation from some of Hip Hop's founding members. The story spans from the release of the album, up until now, and it has been well documented. The group RAMP, which was produced by Roy Ayers, was an up and coming band, and they had recorded a studio album, and it was set for release. Soon before the release date, the particular label which they recorded under (ABC Blue Thumb, 1977) had a change of management, and the new management was not too keen of the RAMP sound. The album never saw the light of day, and the group RAMP was practically finished before it even started. A true travesty.
Fast forward a full decade later, Hip Hop was a vibrant culture, using samples as inspiration for their beats. While most producers sampled from James Brown records, Ultimate Breaks and Beats compilations, and other well known hits from the 60s and 70s, the more innovative minds dug a bit deeper. It took Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest to unearth RAMP by using their song Daylight in a sample for their song Bonita Applebaum, and it was then, where people heard the infectious melody that would create Hip Hop's greatest love ballad, and it was years later that the majority of the Hip Hop populous knew the creators of the melody, which was RAMP, produced by the one and only Roy Ayers. RAMP is Sharon Matthews and Sibel Thrasher on lead vocals, Nate White on bass, Landy Shores on guitar, and John Manuel on drums and percussion.
In some ways, the story of RAMP and their lone album is a bit sad. There will always be plenty of “what ifs…” knowing that their prime was completely derailed, but there is consolation knowing that their album was a blueprint for many artists, musicians, and producers alike, and helped grow the branches for multiple musical genres. Not only is Bonita Applebaum still beloved by many, the RAMP album as a whole is considered a musical masterpiece, displaying a wide range of emotions, philosophies, and variations. RAMP many have missed out on the prime of their career, but they are revered today just as much, if not more, by people who realize the essence of great music.
Written by: @Haylow