M.C. A.D.E. is a pioneering bass artist whose 1985 hit “Bass Rock Express” gave the genre its name. Along with the first generation of bass, he continued to be popular for several years before the rise in popularity of the booty bass variant largely displaced earlier electro bass.
Adrian Hines was born and raised in Miami. His father, Billy Hines owned a record store, Royal Sounds, then located in Ft. Lauderdale’s Lauderhill Mall. In 1984, the elder Hines started the soon-to-be famous 4-Sight record label, which operated from within the store. Adrian worked as a DJ at Royal Sounds record store to entertain, promote and observe the reactions of the stores clientele, including Gigolo Tony and worked as a creative director for the label. At first, the label’s productions were handled by Frank Cornelius.
In 1984, local acts like Freetlye, Maggotron, Pretty Tony and Universal Krush Kru were still making electro or freestyle. In the spring of that year, a group of filmmakers attempted to capitalize on the burgeoning scene around Ft . Lauderdale, Hollywood and Miami with a Wild Style/Breakin’-style rap film called Cry of the City (released as Knights in the City two years later). Although largely considered a failure as a film, it captured Floridian artists as their sound began to transition from electro to something more distinctly southern.
Mobile DJ crews like Ghetto Style DJs and Jam Pony Express began favoring hip-hop jams with lots of sustain, such as LL Cool J’s “Rock the Bells.” One of the key figures in Florida’s music business was Henry Stone who, after the 1981 folding of TK Records, partnered with Morriss Levy of Roulette Records to form Sunnyview Records. Stone hired Amos Larkins to produce a track after his work in the film with FBI Crew. Larkins’ inlisted rapper Mighty Rock who formed the group Heavy Dose, which became Double Dose and then Double Duce. On their track, 1985’s “Commin in Fresh,” the kick of the TR-808 lengthily sustained bass echoed Rick Rubin’s production and the electro production Arthur Baker’s.
Around the same time, Tony “Gigolo Tony” Keller, a regular at Royal Sounds, recorded one of the many Roxanne answer songs with Lace Lacy, “The Parents of Roxanne.” To play Roxanne’s father, they used Adrian, due to his deep voice which thus began his recording career. Using the name MC A.D.E. (an acronym for “Adrian Does Everything”), Hines released his own debut, the Amos Larkins-produced “Bass Rock Express” which was not only one of the earliest releases in the new bass style but also the track that gave the emerging genre its name, bass. It was also the first bass hit to garner attention around the entire south. Its success prompted Billy Hines to close the store and focus entirely on the label.
“Bass Mechanic” followed in 1986 and was in a similar vein, with M.C. A.D.E. calmly rapping vocoderized vocals with dog bark samples punctuating the proceedings. That year, 2 Live Crew moved from Riverside, California and joined forces with Ghetto Style DJs’ Luke Skywalker, who provided raunchy lyrics that helped them become tremendously popular and created the misconception that all bass is booty bass.
In 1987, M.C. A.D.E. released “Nightmare on A.D.E. Street,” a bass song inspired by the Nightmare on Elm Street series. When a pre-fame Stevie B was passed over by A.D.E.’s label, he responded with an A.D.E. diss, “Nightmare on Freddy Krugger Street.” After that, a whole slew of Freddy Rap songs followed from MC Chill, Krushin’ MCs, Gregory D & DJ Mannie Fresh, Fat Boys and DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. Just Somethin to Do (1987-4-Sight), credited to M.C. A.D.E. and Posse included “Bass Mechanic,” and instrumental version of “Bass Rock Express,” “Nightmare Bonus,” and ten more tracks, including the next single, the exhilarating “Transformer.”
By 1988, acts like 2 Live Crew and Dynamix II were respectively pushing the raunchy booty bass and technology-driven electro bass into new. M.C. A.D.E.’s “Just Dance (Dover Dan)” and especially “Da’ Train” were highly enjoyable if hardly groundbreaking. In an effort to regain their position at the forefront of bass, longtime 4-Sight producer Frank Cornelius was replaced by Wayne "Cutmaster Crash" Walters and Kevin "Boy Wonder" Fluornoy – The Whiz Kidz. However, after their collaboration with Gigolo Tony, Ain’t It Good to You flopped, 4-Sight’s future looked doubtful. How Much Can You Take (1989-4-Sight). Its title track and “It’s Crazy”were also released as singles and the album was a classic in every sense. Its success gave the label a second chance.
An All Out Bash (1991-4-Sight), with the title track, with “My Bass in It” followed. A.D.E.’s recognizable robo-rapping was paired with an ill-suited breakbeat-heavy pop-dance production style. Even the cover looked awkward. Whereas How Much Can You Take featured a gold rope-flossing A.D.E. and his DJ Eddie B lounging on a bed with an afghan-wrapped beauty, An All Out Bash featured an uncharacteristically exhuberant A.D.E. jumping playfully in front of geometric patterns more at home on a C + C Music Factory Release.
“Booty Call” preceded the release of In the Arms of Bass (1993-4-Sight), which included several Beavis & Butthead themed tracks and was something of a return to form. It didn’t sell well enough to keep 4-Sight viable, however. By 1996, bass’s days as a commercially viable genre were largely behind it although Freak Nasty and Quad City DJ’s both had hits with a highly commercialized variant. M.C. A.D.E.’s “Bass Train,” was in the vein of those hits and proved to be both A.D.E.’s and 4-Sight’s final release.