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Philaflava.com's 100 Greatest Obscure Tracks: Part Four

by Travis on March 23, 2008

Alright, back on the grind. Damn, here I am on a Saturday night workin’ on the fuckin’ site? Pathetic eh? I played basketball all afternoon, so my old, fat ass is tired as shit, so I’m chillin’ have some rum & cokes and a few beers. Figured I’d better get some Philaflava joints up. Glad y’all enjoying the series.

Link for all 10 tracks

Erick Sermon – If You Don’t Know Like I Know feat. Trigger, Heltah Skeltah & O.G.C.
Erick Sermon – The Ill Shit feat. Kam & Ice Cube
Fab 5 (Heltah Skeltah + O.G.C.) – Blah
Fesu – War With No Mercy
Fierce – Crab
Funkmaster Flex – Six Million Ways To Die feat. Nine & Tragedy
Godfather Don – Burn (Remix)

Gova Mattic – Family Day feat. Redman, Tame One, Pace Won, Young Zee, Roz Noble & Runt Dog
Grand Puba – Fat Rat
Hard 2 Obtain – Ism and Blues

Erick Sermon – If You Don’t Know feat Heltah Skeltah, Trigga Tha Gambler, & OGC (???????)

I know NOTHING about this joint. I’d probably be better to let Jaz of Cold Rock The Spot talk on this one, because he is the local E Double expert. I can’t even find anything on the net about it. That said, it’s not bad, but probably nothing I’d go nuts over. The beat sounds like something I’ve heard before on a Craig Mack album. E Double handles his own behind the mic, but I’ve never had a problem with his rhyming skills. Rock is on the hook, which is always cool to hear. You also have Trigga, who is an extremely overlooked MC. He brings his style and flavor. It’s not a bad song, just probably something I’d lump into the top 100. - Trav

Erick Sermon – The Ill Shit feat Kam & Ice Cube (Def Jam/RAL, from the “No Pressure” LP, 1993)

This is probably another joint I wouldn’t consider “obscure”, but it’s a great cut regardless. E Double was always good with making east coast beats that could very easily be played over on the west coast. Full of funk and flava, E Double hooks up with Cube when he was at the pinnacle of his popularity and hip hop respect. Kam was also an overlooked west coast MC and does an admirable effort hanging with Cube. This track is full of great one liners, at least for me. It wasn’t my favorite song from the album, but it might had the honor of having some of my favorite lyrics. - Trav

Fab 5 (Heltah Skeltah + O.G.C.) – Blah (Priority, from the 12 inch “Blah b/w Leflah”, 1995)

Rockness Monster is the fucking man. I have to say it. With all the praise of Ruck (Sean P.), Rockness to me was always better. And this track from Heltah Skeltah and OGC sub-sets of the larger Boot Camp Click, explains why I feel that way. Not to take anything way from Starang, Top Dog, Louisville and Ruck who themselves are as proficient as anyone in that era in verbally murdering any beat, with their grandiloquently hardcore raps. With a striking chorus, and laced with a phenomenal beat, both groups trade verses giving their one dose of violence, while exhibiting their personal doctrine of what it is to be hardcore and daring any rivals to “come test” their credentials on or off the M.I.C. - Original Philaflava post

Fesu – War With No Mercy (Continuum Records, from the album “War With No Mercy”, 1995)

In some ways this entry is kind of surprising, in other ways, it’s not. Fesu never made a lot of noise when he was making albums, but his claim to fame would be when he made the Source’s “Unsigned Hype” column back in ’93 (I think). He dropped an EP, then a full length album, “War With No Mercy”. Hailing from the south in those days, you didn’t have much of a chance if you weren’t on any label not named Rap-A-Lot, No Limit or Sauve House. The album didn’t do all that much, but the title track was one of the better tracks from the album (I’d say the best track is “Goosebumps”), but it does have a nice soulful beat, with an ill guitar loop and a sample that I should know. The drums are the same as those used on “Nuthin’ But A G Thang”. Fesu himself is nice on the mic, recounting tales of the streets. - Trav

Fierce – Crab ****FIXED*****(Hot Wax, found on the 12 inch release “Crab b/w Come Close”

Fierce is a very talented MC who has one 12′ to his credit and one appearance on a major label release that includes 50 Cent, Puffy, Mase, and all kinds of representatives of the jiggy-faggot era that was 1997-1999. Fierce gain such notoriety at one point that he was on Rap City with only a 12′ to his name and no video to show for it. The 12′ in question is “Come Close/Crab” and it’s really remarkable. He displays a verbal dexterity unseen in many of the greatest rappers and this is evidenced by amount of rhymes he can pack into the bars without sounding rushed, contrived, or anything less than quite polished. As dope as he comes on “Crab,” “Come Close” is even more vicious on the mic. “Crab” is the better song because the lyrics fit the mood of the dark, haunting piano loop better than “Come Close” does on the B-Side. “Crab” is the A-Side to his 1996 Hot Wax 12′ release. If you like what you hear you can check for more of Fierce’s rhymes on Tha Madd Rapper’s 1999 album “Tell ‘Em Why You Mad” on “Whateva” and the promo only “For The Love” 12′ which is also a Madd Rapper release that is tough to find. - Orginal Philaflava post

Funkmaster Flex feat 9 Double M & Tragedy – Six Million Ways (Wreck Records, found on the “Sad & Blue” b/w Six Million Ways”, 1993)

We all hit this one on the head getting this on the list as it’s one of my personal favorite joints and I believe it was included on the first ever volume of WYDU Classics. For those of you not in the know, 9 Double M would later release two albums as Nine, the gruff voice NY MC that I’ve always liked. This track is credited as being produced by Funkmaster Flex, but somehow I doubt that claim. The “co-producer” is Salaam Remi, which I’d be more inclined to believe, although it really sounds like some early Buckwild shit. Nine is the main focus on this track, as he drops two ill verses, while already using that “love it or hate it” vocal style that you automatically know who it is. Trag drops an quick little sixteen that you almost miss if you aren’t paying attention. He is still sounding more Intelligent Hoodlum that Tragedy Khadafi, which I always thought was better. - Trav

Godfather Don - Burn (Remix) (Hydra Entertainment, from the “Diabolique” LP, 1998)

While I really like this song, the sheer amount of Godfather Don 12 inch singles out there, I think there would be something better than this joint to put up for him. Don is one of those MC’s loved by the real heads, but has always remained below the radar fro the average hip hop fan. He has a shitload of single only releases out there that should be track down by any fan of the mid 90′s sound. It’s well worth your time. This joint is a banger, complete with an ill string sample that gives that back alley feel right before a shootout. It’s produced by Godfather Don himself, who is even more overlooked as a producer than an MC. Ill joint, if you haven’t heard the Diabolique album, this is just a taste of what can be found on it. - Trav

Govna Mattic – Family Day feat. Redman, Tame One, Pace Won, Young Zee, Roz Noble & Runt Dog (Unreleased?1997)

Ok, ok, ok- I know it sounds oxymoronic or even impossible but this song came out in 1997 and still remains obscure and elusive to collectors. I mean, how can a song with a feature by a platinum-selling rapper (Redman), a member of a highly acclaimed group with video play on Rap City and Yo! MTV Raps (Tame One, formerly of The Artifacts), and the hottest underground group of the era (Young Zee and Pacewon of the Outsidaz, who were featured on The Fugees 10-times platinum album The Score) ever be obscure? Well, it remained obscure because it was released by Govna Mattic, a relative of Redman and by proxy Tame One. Govna Mattic himself is a Newark legend and was in a group with Dizzle Don. Much like Redman, these guys love to smoke weed. Red is actually on the cover of the Govna Mattic/Diezzle Don 12′”Ghetto Red Hot” breaking up a brick of weed in front of a map of the world- which they obviously sought to take over via their vinyl sales. Anyway, “Family Day” is basically a laid-back song that reminds me of a mid-summer bar-b-que and to that end a family reunion gets underway over the sweet, melodic beat provided by Govna Mattic himself. Redman, Tame, and I think Govna Mattic are all cousins. Roz Noble, that’s likely Reggie Noble’s sister. Young Zee and Pace are related as well and Pace I think is related to Tame. This was supposed to be released on Govna’s 1998 LP Hell Up In Newark and the album even got great reviews in Rap Pages and The Source but it never got a distribution worthy of the reviews it received. - Original Philaflava post

Trav’s Note: ILLLLLLL fuckin’ song and it was new to me….Download THIS song

Grand Puba – Fat Rat (MCA, on the “Strictly Business” Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 1991)

Grand Puba was my dude back in the early 90′s. I thought anything he touched was gold. But listening to this track that appeared on a shitty soundtrack isn’t really my thing these days. Puba still rips it, but the track is just straight up booty in my opinion. It’s almsot New Jack Swing-ish sounding, which isn’t automatically bad, but I just wasn’t feeling this, even then. The soundtrack itself was rather crappy, and this was back when soundtracks were usually halfway decent. - Trav

Hard 2 Obtain – Ism & Blues (Atlantic, found on the “Ghetto Diamond” b/w “Local Hero” & “Ism & Blues, 1994)

It’s hard to believe that a “title track” wouldn’t be included on the album its named after, but that’s the case with Hard 2 Obtain’s “Ism & Blues” track that was included as a b-side to “Ghetto Diamond”. Produced by the production crew, the Stimulated Dummies, the track would have fit in perfectly on a Black Moon album, with the SD’s doing their best Beatminerz imitation. The tight bass line grabs the listener right off the bat then on the chorus the horns come with the smoothness that reminds one of smoking the ism in a dark club. MC’s Taste and DL aren’t the best lyricists by any means, but fit nicely on the track and remind ones self why you didn’t need to be a incredible lyricist to make a great album. The posse chorus that ran prevalent throughout hip hop during the early 90′s is found here as well, but as I said, everything just works perfectly with this track. It’s unfortunate that this track didn’t make the album, not sure if it was sample issues or what the reasoning was, but it would have been one of the best songs on an already good album. - Original Philaflava Post

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