EWA100 - #38. MC Shan - The Bridge

38. MC Shan - The Bridge (Cold Chillin'. 1987. From the LP Down By Law)

Mike Dikk: I never got to be a fan of this song because I was a staunch supporter of KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions. In fact, I most likely heard “The Bridge is Over” before I heard “The Bridge”, and for those of you without a clue, “The Bridge is Over” is the greatest diss song hip hop has ever known.
From a critical standpoint, I guess this song is alright. It sounds exactly like a song from 1987. Halfway between the tired ass old school disco era but leaning more into the upcoming rap golden age. Shan has that jazzy “Rap Rap Rappity Rap” old school flow, but the beats were more forward thinking for 1987. Listening to the song over again makes it fairly obvious why Shan’s career was basically over after “The Bridge is Over”. KRS was the new hot shit, and Shan, for better or worse, sounded like Busy Bee or something.
I do feel this song has a place on this list though. I just feel like KRS punked Shan out like a bitch and it makes this song unappealing to me. I do realize we are twenty years removed from this whole Shan/KRS feud, and I should really learn to let it go, but it’s not like I’m about to forgive Shan for the Snow incident either. That was really uncalled for, and any time I hear the name MC Shan, I can’t help but think of “BECAUSE SHAN WON’T TURN INFORMER!” followed by a bunch of Canadian rude boy nonsense. Though, it’s a little known fact that KRS and BDP had a white reggae dude in their ranks around the same time as Shan and Snow. He appeared on that HEAL Yourself comp. and disappeared directly after. I am a fickle consumer, and I could have easily been hating on KRS like I’m hating on Shan right now if KRS’ white reggae savior blew up like Shan’s did. In closing, I do support Puma footwear, and that was the only MC Shan trait I did like.

Raven Mack: Shan isn't really what makes this song, because like Mike said, KRS obsoletified Shan in fairly short order. But Marley Marl was pretty forward thinking, starting to come with that famous boom bap sound of rap's golden era ('87 or '88 through '91 or '92). This beat is the best example of how motherfuckin' great Marley Marl was.
I was lucky enough, years ago, before the internet spread the world over and gave record dorks the confidence to crawl out from behind their musky boxes full of shit they never listen to, to find a copy of "The Bridge" 12-inch in a Goodwill of all places, for fifty cents. I still have it, and friends have sampled that drumbreak, as scratchy and warped as it's become, at least three or four times over the years. It's really one of the top five all-time beats in hip hop history, and this song would've been a lot higher if Shan wasn't such a dumbass on the mic, all sounding like a girl and shit.

Download: MC Shan - The Bridge

No real video for this song, so instead watch a commercial where Shan & KRS battle over Sprite. KRS wins this one too.