Near the Patterson projects in the south Bronx in the Bethlehem of Hip Hop. Grand Wizard Theodore, Cold Crush and BDP all used to jam there, and it’s that same fertile sacred ground that gave us Showbiz & AG. Dedicating themselves to “showing that the Bronx is where it all started”, they released the hugely successful, self-produced, self-pressed “Soul Clap/Party Groove” EP, gaining themselves a deal with Payday in the process and releasing the “Runaway Slave” LP shortly after. Both releases gave them their underground hero status, but by the time their follow-up LP, “Goodfellas” came out it was clear that some kind of unholy darkness had seeped into Show & AG’s world in the intervening years.
I gotta’ keep it real with you for a minute. After rocking Show & A.G.’s “Soul Clap” EP & their classic “Runaway Slave” till “the tape popped”, I have to admit I wasn’t really too keen on the duo’s sophomore effort “Goodfellas” upon the first few listens to the album. Hell….more like the first few years to be quite honest. From it’s release on Payday records in 1995 to mmmm….I’d say about 2002, I may have listened to this album a grand total of 10 times and that’s being generous! I mean, this album dropped in the summer of 95′ and if my memory serves me correct this was around the same time that Raekwon’s “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx”, Mobb Deep’s “The Infamous” & The Pharcyde’s “Labcabincalifornia” dropped…so, I think you can see where I’m going with this.
Strangely enough, in 2002 came along this white rapper with the infamous bleach blonde do’, armed with a sharp tongue and lyrical wit for days and his little flick entitled “8 Mile”. You may have heard of the movie? Anyway, near the movie’s end this “white rapper” can be found freestyling over beats such as O.C.’s “Time’s Up”, “Last Dayz” from Onyx (you can’t tell me you don’t get goosebumps when Em murdered dude over the eerie Onyx production), Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones Pt. II” and lastly a DJ Premier remix of Showbiz & A.G.’s “Next Level” that had appeared on this long lost “Goodfellas” cassette that was buried amongst the other tapes that I’d stacked in an old Wal-Mart plastic clothing bin. After hearing the track blare throughout the movie theater speakers while catching a glimpse of “8 Mile” with my then girlfriend-now Wife, I immediately turned to her and said “oh shit, I forgot about that joint!”. Needless to say, I copped the CD online that same night. To hell with that every night booty you get when you first start dating! I had to get my hands on Show & A.G.’s “Goodfellas” and see just what I’d missed out on during the first few listens of the album. Nowadays, “Goodfellas” stays in frequent rotation, it’s almost as if every six months or so I find a new “gem” that captivates my ear until I frequent it almost to the point of boredom. First it was the Nyte Time mix of “Next Level” produced by Primo. Then, I sort of drifted towards the original Showbiz produced version of “Next Level”. About two months ago, thanks to Dan Love of “From Da Bricks” and his “Top 25 Beats” I was reintroduced to “You Want It” (damn, those horns are serious!) now I’ve been bumpin’ that to death.
While A.G. is solid on the mic, I’ve never been a big fan of his flow or delivery but he’s still well above average…however, Showbiz’ production is just SICK! The production from one of D.I.T.C.’s finest on “Runaway Slave” and “Goodfellas” may be some of the best displayed on back to back efforts in the 90′s….or hell, EVER! Show produced such a stunning plethora of doom sound-clashes that mixed deep dub with the harsh yet blunted beats being cooked up elsewhere from the likes of Pete Rock and Primo. Don’t sleep like I did, for an overdose of slick production and an undeniable chemistry between a beatsmith and an emcee peep “Goodfellas” for unmatched results.
“Next Level” (Nyte Time Remix)