If there was ever a label that dropped the ball worse than Wild Pitch, I’m not sure who it would be. Wild Pitch had the artists and potential to be HUGE, but bad business dealings and other issues would plague the label enough so it would never reach it’s full potential.
The label itself would be founded in 1985 by Stu Fine and would be the home for some of the finest in late 80′s/early 90′s Hip Hop talent with artists such as Gang Starr, Main Source, O.C., Ultramagnetic & Lord Finesse. The label was destined to become a hip-hop label powerhouse, but that wasn’t meant to be. There were probably several reasons why the label didn’t live up to it’s full potential.
One of the first artists for the label would be Chill Rob G, who was a member of the legendary ORIGINAL Flavor Unit. Rob’s album “Ride The Rhythm” was, I think (or maybe it was Gang Starr’s
“No More Mr. Nice Guy”), Wild Pitch’s first LP release. The album contained some classic tracks, including one called “The Power”. During the summer of 1990, another so called “group” headed by some German dudes released a different version of “The Power”, but basically uses the same lyrics and pretty much straight jacks Chill Rob G’s version. The group, Snap was backed by major label Arista, but there still had to be some shady business dealings, one which Chill Rob G suspected of Stu Fine of having a deal under the table with Arista. The suspected deal was for only in Germany and they were using the Rob’s actual acapellas. Arista decided to release the song in the US, but since they couldn’t use Chill Rob G’s vocals, they went out and got a MC (and I use that term loosely) by the name of Turbo B, and that concoction became the version used by Snap. This whole incident lead to Chill Rob G looking at his contract with Wild Pitch and it would leave Stu Fine with a bad reputation as doing some shady business.
was a subsidiary of EMI Records, which lead to more problems between Stu Fine and his artists. The UMC’s is a classic case of this. In 1990, black conscience and “hippy” rap such as Jungle Brothers and De La Soul ruled the airwaves at the time. The UMC’s first album released was “Fruits Of Nature”, which for those of you familiar with it know it follows those type of groups. According to Kool Kim in an interview with Robbie from unkut.com, “…this dude (Stu Fine) was the WORST….he’s been beat up, pistol whipped, beat up, chased, threatened, roughed up by damn near each artist on that label..” Kim goes on to blame Stu, who could have have been under pressure from EMI, for making the perception of the first album as one of soft and corny hippy rap, for the lack of better words. Originally the album was supposed to be called “Fruits UV Nature”, leading to the acornym of FUN, which also had some meaning to the groups ties to the Nation of Islam and it’s security force Fruit Of Islam (F.O.I.). They also claim the didn’t name the song “Blue Cheese” that, that it was Stu’s idea along with the somewhat corny “Blue Chees” monster that was present in that songs video. Kim goes on to claim the group never saw a dime from that album or it’s tour they went on in support of the album. The next album, “Unleashed” is a result of the mistreating of the group. That album would see an almost exact opposite of what the group portrayed itself on the first album. Rumor has it, Stu Fine recieved a beatdown of epic porportions from the likes of the UMC’s as well.
By the 1992, the label was starting into a decline. MC Serch, who
had disbanded with partner Pete Nice was brought in to run the label. By this time, EMI was already pissed from the lack of product showing up on time and artists such as Large Professor from the Main Source were pissed as well about business dealings with the group. They released a stinker of an EP from Super Lover Cee & Casanova Rudd in the form of “Blow Up The Spot”. Serch would either look like a genius or a it wouldn’t matter anyway. He would be responsible from signing O.C. who would release the classic “Word Life” on the label in ’94. THere was also rumors of an 3rd Eye record that got scraped that was quality (I think I might have it). EMI would pull the plug on Wild Pitch in ’96.
Serch would blame Stu Fine’s lack of connection with the artist as the labels downfall, while Fine in an interview with XXL would blame Serch for the labels demise. The two would blame each other for the never released Large Proffesor album (that Geffen dropped the ball on as well). Both blame each other for unrealistic sale projections. The JCOR label has purchased Wild Pitch’s catalog and a lot of the previously out of print stuff is being re-released, which is rather nice.
The album today is the Wild Pitch Classics that was released in ’94 with some quality tracks on it, and yes, it’s the real thing, released by Wild Pitch and not some home made collection.
1. Words I Manifest – Gang Starr
2. No Tricks – Latee
3. Dig It – The Coup
4. Looking At The Front Door – Main Source
5. Time’s Up – O.C.
6. Blue Cheese – UMC’s
7. Live At The Barbeque – Main Source
8. Funky Technician – Lord Finesse/DJ Mike Smooth
9. How My Man Went Down In The Game – Main Source
10. Court Is Now In Session – Chill Rob G
11. Raise It Up – Ultramagnetic MC’s
12. Hush Hush Tip – N-Tyce
13. Fakin’ The Funk – Main Source
14. This Cut’s Got Flavor – Latee
15. The Rhythmologist – Jamose
16. One To Grow On – UMC’s