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Click HERE's 100 Greatest Obscure Tracks: Part Nine

by Travis on April 7, 2008

If I ever decide to run for president, (which will never happen because I’m sure I have more than a few skeletons in my closet) I would go in on the three day weekend platform. Two days just ain’t enough. Hopefully everyone had a chilled weekend. Mine was fairly uneventful. For all two of you tuning in to hear my on air interview (see last Thursday nights post), the interview didn’t go down due to some technical issues at the radio station, so we are aiming for next Saturday night. First week of baseball, which means fantasy baseball for us stat nerds. Kansas vs Memphis tonight for the NCAA title. I have to admit, out of the 10 different brackets I filled out, I don’t think I had this one. Go KU!

Shyheim – Licka Shot
South Central Cartel – West Coast Gangsta Team feat. Spice 1, Ice T, MC Eiht & 2Pac
Strictly Roots – Begs No Friends (Remix) feat. Fat Joe & Grand Puba
Tasc 4orce – Takin’ No Shorts
Tha Alkaholiks – Relieve Yourself (O.G. Version
The Artifacts – It’s Getting Hot (K-Def Remix)

The Artifacts – Who I Am
The Beatnuts – Hellraiser (Remix)
The Roots – Proceed III feat. Bahamadia
Top Quality – Magnum Opus


Shyhiem – The B-Side “Licka Shot” (Virgin Records, on the “Pass It Off” 12 inch, 1994)

I’ve never been overly fond of kiddie rappers, but I guess you could say Shyheim isn’t your typical kiddie rapper. During the days when Wu reigned supreme, they introduced Shyheim to the masses. While I didn’t ever pick up any of his albums, he came off pretty well to the average Wu Tang hip hop head. On his second single, “Licka Shot” would be the unreleased b-side to grace the heads ears. Nothing out of the oridinary for it’s day in age, which is probably a good thing, since hip hop sounded so damn good anyway during that time. Produced by a relatively slept on producer from the era, RNS, the beat almost sounds like something from Erick Sermon’s discography (most notably Payback II). Shyheim does his high pitched thing. There is nothing that really stands out about the track, other than it’s just dope hip hop goodness.

South Central Cartel – The Gangsta Team feat 2pac, Spice 1, Ice T, MC Eiht (RAL, from the “N’Gat’s We Truss” LP, 1994)

SCC was one of those groups I got into when I was still checking for the west coast gangsta music before the G-Funk imitators started ruining it. Their dope ‘N Gats We Truss LP wasn’t as good as their debut album, but damn near. On that album, a who’s who of gangsta music at the time would all come together to make one of the all-time great west coast posse tracks. “The Gangsta Team” consisted of 2pac, Spice 1, Ice T adn MC Eiht, all of which were big names at this time. They jacked part of the bass line from “Dowatchalike” and just let the MC’s run wild over it. If west coast music would have stayed like this, I’d be professing my love for the W more often.

Strickly Roots – Beg No Friends (Valley Mob Mix) feat Chill Will, Fat Joe & Grand Puba (Friends Connection Productions, from the “Beg No Friends” 12 inch, 1994)

Strickly Roots is definitely a group that slipped between the cracks of all the dope shit that dropped in 93-94. Coming straight of NYC, they possesed that raw NY flava that was abundently found during those years. In no way were they eye poppin’ MC’s, like a lot of the NY MC’s during those years, but their ruff N rugged beats more than made up for any of that. This track is a remix of the title track of their ’93 album. Hard drums and a killer bass line carries this track then you throw in the Grand man, Grand Puba and some dude named Fat Joe and this track will make you wonder why you haven’t heard of “Strickly Roots.

Task 4ource – Takin’ No Shorts (?, 1996)

The official obscure group of, mad heads on that site seem to love these cats, which I have to admit I never heard of until I went there. I must admit, they might be on to something here as this group is rather dope. Hailing from Philly, I’m guessing this was a multi person group, but other than that, I don’t know anything about them. This track is one that will get you up out of your seat and have your ass moving to the bass line. That, coupled with the posse shouted chorus will have this shit stuck in your noggin’ for days.

Tha Alkaholiks – Relieve Yourself (OG Mix) (White label?, 1993?)

As much as an Alkaholiks fan as I am, I’m not so sure I’d put this track on this list. It is basically a different version of “Let It Out”, from their sophomore album. The lyrics are the same, the beat is just….ehhh. Whatever I guess.

Artifacts – It’s Getting Hot K-Def Remix (White Label, from the “Hot” 12 inch, 1999)

Now this track lives up to its name. K-Def laces up an incredible track that incorporates some smooth guitar shit over a nice mellow bass line that all equals up to a track that deserves to be heard by anyone that loves hip hop. It’s beats like this that make K-Def the underground hip hop heads top 10 producer. The track is simply amazing. The Artifacts themselves do nothing to take away from the track. It really makes me wonder why I haven’t heard more about this track before

Artifacts – Who Am I (Big Beat, from the “Dynamite Soul” b/w “Who Am I” promo 12 inch, 1995)

Another dope lost ‘facts track that shows up on a promo release. Produced by EZ Elpee, this track
is more of what people expect from an Artifacts release. The production is dominated by the airy keys sound that give the track a dream like quality. All over a hard drum break, it’s quality ish. The chorus is catchy as I’ve caught myself singing it to myself over the past few days. Makes one wish they never split ways.

The Beatnuts – Hellraiser Remix (Relativity, from the “Hellraiser Remix” b/w “Fried Chicken” 12 inch, 1994)

While this is a good track, I think their are better “obscure” joints from the Beatnuts catalog, most notably an extended version of “Sandwiches”. That aside, the remix for “Hellraiser” is better than the original. It contains a quieter, darker and moodier beat than the original. It has that trademark Beatnuts sound, so nothing here will surprise, just a strong track all around.

The Roots – Proceed III feat Bahamadia (DGC, from the “Proceed” maxi single, 1994)

While not as good as it’s predecesso, “Proceed III” from The Roots is a track worth listening to. Produced by the early conception of the “Soulquarians”, back when they were known as the Grand Negaz, this track grows on you like a fungus you don’t want. The Roots crew slow things down on the beat, as the band combs a dark and sinister in the sand as we all want to know where the track is going. It’s what the Roots did best back then, as it comes off as kind of a early glimpse of what we would see on “Illdelelph…”

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