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

by Travis on March 26, 2008

Good morning party people. Like the Biz sang, it’s spring again….unless you live where I live and there are a chance of snow showers today. Go fuckin’ figure. Regardless, we’ve made it through January and February, two months that I can’t really stand. March isn’t all that great either, but it’s tolerable. April is the birth month of many friends and myself for that matter, but it is still kind of crappy, except for those warm spring days that litter the month from time to time. I guess what I’m trying to say, I’m ready for good weather once again. It’s time for baseball, it’s time for swimming, it’s time for short shorts on the hotties, it’s time for BBQ’s (went to my first one of the year last weekend). Being back home, I’m hoping for a return of the summers I remember before I moved. Of course I won’t be able to spend my days drinking beer and floating the river while living off my severance package as I did the last summer I spent here (2003), but I still look forward to having some fun. What does this have to do with Part VI of the Philaflava 100 “Kinda” Obscure? Nothing, so let’s go to that. Oh and go out and buy EMC – The Show…..buy one for your homeboy while your at it.

Link For All Song in Part IV
Mac Mall – Let’s Get A Telly
Main Source – Set It Off feat. The LOX
Mase – Drug Wars
Masta Ace – The B Side feat. Paula Perry & Lord Digga
MC Serch – Back To The Grill (Remix) feat. Chub Rock, Red Hot Lover Tone, Nas & O.C.
Mean Green – L.A. Finest feat. Mykill Miers
MF Grimm- So Watcha Want Nigga
Mic Geronimo – Three Stories High feat. Royal Flush
Mobb Deep – First Day of Spring feat. Tragedy Khadafi
Mobb Deep- Cop Hell (DJ Premier Remix)

Mac Mall – Let’s Get A Telly (Relativity, from the “Let’s Get A Telly” b/w “Servin Game” 12 inch, 1996

Again, another west coast artist I wasn’t all that familiar with. Word to herb, I just didn’t get into some of the Mac _____ (fill in your choice), for whatever reason. By the mid 90′s, when this came out, I was starting to shy away from some of the west coast albums, although I remember bumping Dru Down a lot. As I said, I don’t see anything wrong with Mac Mall, he was a hell of a lot better than a lot of the dick riding west coat artists that just jumped on “The Chronic’s” coattails and made the G-Funk era one of the most duplicated eras ever in hip hop. This was the first time hearing this joint. It’s a catchy joint, one that I like. It has that west coast funk sound that I did like. I fuzzy bassline hooks it up and a catchy chorus sticks in your head. I think it’s worth a listen if you are unfamiliar with it. -Trav

Main Source – Set It Off feat The Lox, Shaqueen, Lotto (Wild Pitch, from the “Fuck What You Think” LP, (officially) 1998)

“Set It Off” is from the post Large Professor Main Source era. One of my “against the grain” hip hop views that I have was that I was never particularly crazy about Main Source, in any form. With Large Pro, I loved his production, but I was never crazy about his rhyming and I didn’t care for the song concepts on the first album. Then you get rid of the dope beats when LP bails, but you pick up a MC who I like better in Mikey D, but regardless, I didn’t pay much attention to the “Fuck What You Think” LP when it dropped. I know for some people this the album is an absolute classic, WYDU’s own co founder, Polarity loves this album. It’s that album which this track is from. Now, “Fuck What You Think” is a kind of obscure album, but it still goes against my calling a track from any album “obscure’. That being said, the beat is a familiar sample, which I believe can be found on a Ras Kass track….I’ve been racking my brain over which one since I first started listening to it, but its been a long day. The album was originally supposed to drop in ’94, and the chorus dates it at right about that time period as they have what I like to call the “Posse Chorus”, where all their boys go in the studio and shout out the chorus. It was done a lot in ’93 & ’94. The song is decent, but again, I wouldn’t have it in my list, but this wasn’t all my doings either. - Trav

Mase – Drug Wars (unreleased, ’93)

Mase? That sucker that used to rap all those pretty boy, glossy cross-over tracks with that piranha P. Diddy? How’d he make the list? Well, simply Mase at one point was a FUCKING BEAST! The Mase you see dancing around on your TV as a walking stereotype, or the televangelist swindling dollars out of helpless saps who actual follow his “Word of God” is totally opposite of the one that was once part of the best groups of the mid 90s. Murder Mase’s Drug Wars is a verbal exercise in wit, rhyme schemes and adroitness penning that has only been matched by a few in that era. Mase spits one long verse giving details of his neighborhood’s conditions, the NYC law enforcements corrupt ways and how he lives through it. A truly unparallel exposition by this once incredibly talented writer. - Original Philaflava post

Masta Ace – The B-Side feat. Paula Perry, Leschea & Lord Digga (Delicious Vinyl, from the “Sittin’ On Chrome” LP, 1995)

Hailed as one of the most consistent artists in the game ever, Ace came with a West Coast flavored album on his third studio album. Labeled as a “group” album, Ace came with his crew that consisted of Leschea, Lord Digga, and Paula Perry. The four would show up together on the track “The B-Side,” (Leschea doing basically the intro and chorus) for one of the strongest and overlooked tracks on the album. The track, produced by Ace himself, follows the deep bass/car crusin’ vibe that is found throughout the album. The INC crew also represents the “B-Side”, which in this case is the Brooklyn side. Leschea kicks shit off and gets the listener pumped then Ace comes in sets the mood for the joint. Ace’s rhymes sound less complicated than on previous releases, but still manages to come dope. Paula Perry has long been one of the most overlooked female MC’s in the game and the bars she spits demonstrates why that is so. The
chorus is simple, yet effective. Digga will never be confused with Rakim, but handles his mic duties adequately enough to set it up for Ace to seal the deal. The track has always been one of my favorites from the “Sittin’ On Chrome” LP. The chemistry the four displayed, especially on this joint, is top notch and highly overlooked by the masses. – Original Philaflava post (of course it was written by me)

Trav’s note: I fought long and hard to have Ace’s “N.F.L. (Not For Long)” on the list instead of this, since this is no way obscure to me….but I lost.

MC Serch – Back To The Grill (Remix) feat. Red Hot Lover Tone, Nas, O.C., & Chubb Rock (Def Jam, from the “Back To The Grill” b/w “Daze In A Weak” & “Back To The Grill (Remix)”, 1992)

I’m sure there is a story behind this version, which contains the same MC’s as the original plus another guest appearance from another Serch protégé, O.C., but I’ve either forgotten it or never heard it. The lyrics are the same as the original, with Nas spitting his classic verse that puts pretty much everyone else to shame. Off my memory, I think the remix was produced by T-Ray, who also did the original. The beat is rather basic, with a upright bass line that lends a thick feel overall to the track. One could argue that it is better than original in some ways. - Original Philaflava post (also me)

Meen Green – L.A’s Finest feat Mykill Miers (Patchwerk, from the “Fat Sacks” b/w “L.A.’s Finest”, 1997)

Another overlooked gem from the West comes courtesy of Meen Green. Featured on his 1997 release The Smokin’ Section, the Western Hemisfear O.G. links up with fellow left-side resident Mykill Miers as they trade verses letting niggas know that they will be hanging from palm trees if they come to L.A. thinking shit is sweet. Fellow Hemisfear member, Voodoo provides the ominous beat on this joint which lets Meen Green and Mykill Miers do their thing and murder the track. This same beat would be used a year later on Xzibit’s “Recycled Assassins” (the irony) but this joint is easily the better of the two. Check the rest of Meen Green’s album for more nice shit. - Original Philaflava post

MF Grimm aka Grimm Reaper – So Wat Cha Want Nigga (Underground Records, on the “So Whatcha Want” 12 inch, 1993)

Mf Grimm released this 12” in 1993 under the alias ‘Grim Reaper’ on the independent ‘Underground Records’ with the first verse originally being recorded for the ‘Live At The BBQ’ posse cut which Grimm did not make it on due to legal problems. The first thing that stands out to me here is Grimm’s energy and the aggression with which he attacks the beat. Unlike the reflective Mf Grimm of today this is a younger more psychotic and violent version with a more rapid fire delivery. The last line of the second verse “fuck the world/and all of you can suck my dick” sum up the sentiment on this track up perfectly. - Original Philaflava post

Mic Geronimo – Three Stories High feat Royal Flush(Blunt Recordings, on the “The Natural” LP, 1995)

On “Three Stories High”, we have another dark Buckwild beat. Buck was known for some dense basslines back in the day and this track lives up to that reputation. You get a vision of the sewers, while listening to this, it’s even equipped with leaking water sounds. The dusty drum track just ties the whole beat together. Mic Geronimo is another artist I never really got into much back in the day. I just wasn’t feeling his rhyming style. Royal Flush on the other hand, is probably my second favorite QB MC after Nas. His cadence and tone have always been something that grabs me, regardless on what track he is rhyming on.

Mobb Deep – Cop Hell (Primo Remix) (Unreleased/White Label, 1992)

One of Mobb Deeps earliest recordings originally dating back to 1992, this DJ Premier produced track was done when Havoc and Prodigy were just 16 years old and was original intended for there Juvenile Hell album which it did not make it onto for obvious reasons. Over a hard and stripped down mid tempo Premier banger, Hav and P cause a bloodbath massacring the whole NYPD! Mobb Deep sound demented and ready to go to hell for snuffing Jesus on this one, a very far cry from there more recent efforts. This track was only ever available as a test pressing 12” of which there were no more than 10-20 copies. They have sold for around $1500, partly for the b-side unreleased DJ premier instrumentals, which legend has it he tried to mutilate with a razor so they would not get leaked. - Original Philaflav post

Mobb Deep - First Day of Spring feat. Tragedy Khadafi (Unreleased/Bootleg/White label, 96-97?)

This song first came out in 1996 or 1997 and finally saw the light of day on the recent Mobb Deep Infamous Archives LP. The song is significant for a few reasons- it is part of a large body of work that The Mobb put out that never (until recently) saw the light of day while maintaining the classic sound of The Infamous and Hell On Earth era- before Murda Musik would mark the gradual decline of the group’s output. Also, the track is technically a Mobb Deep track but the star of the show is QB stalwart Tragedy Khadafi. The beat is a simple head nodder and Tragedy rips into a really brutal verse with lines such as “Yous a half-way/ thug that you portray/ if you got locked up for a day, you prolly come home gay,” and “When I was runnin’ from cops you was practicing jump shots.” Trag really does a bang-up job in illustrating the difference between thugs who live the life and fakes who live the life vicariously through the music. Yes, it’s a topic that’s been covered by many, but never quite as eloquently as Trag did it fo
r us here. As mentioned earlier, Mobb Deep has a huge body of work that never saw the light of day that still could be regarded as classic status. It is certainly much better than what the crew is putting out on G-Unit. Luckily The Mobb recently put out The Infamous Archives. While this material isn’t at all new to vinyl geeks and mixtape (emphasis on tape here) collectors, a lot of Mobb Deep fans who longed for the group’s heyday never got a chance to hear this stuff and are ignoring the Infamous Archives release, expecting it to be more G Unit excrement. If you like this stuff go cop the album and then try to dig up the Mobb Deep “Infamous Demos,” which are the rough studio versions of The Infamous that were later re-worked into the classic album we revere today. - Original Philaflav post

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