I can vividly remember the first time I heard N-Tyce’s “Hush Hush Tip”. If you’re a mid-seventies baby like myself, you may recall back in..umm….say late ’93-early ’94, when The Source posted their monthly “Best Buys” and albums in “Heavy Rotation”, they actually had an “800″ number (or heck, maybe it was a “900″ number?) where you could dial in (paying nearly a buck a minute, I’m sure) and preview some of the newer singles that were dropping. Well, Mom & Pops were never to happy to see the phone bill the following month (hey, at least it wasn’t dial-a-porn though, right?) but that is exactly how I would come to discover the RZA produced, Method Man featured, “Hush Hush Tip”.
N-Tyce (not to be confused with house/electronica group of the same name), whom is now better recognized as a member of the all female crew Deadly Venoms, released “Hush..” as the A-Side to a 12″ that also featured the 4th Disciple-assisted B-Side “Root Bear Floot” (decent production, but the vocals? Ehh, kinda’ borderline). It takes a certain type of individual to withstand N-Tyce’s borderline “fingernails running across a chalkboard” vocal pitch, yet the production that can be found on “Hush..” along with a hint of Meth’s (who along with the Wu, were riding Cloud 9 around the time this single dropped) signature “swag” on the hook, made this track one of the best ever to emerge from the defunct-Wild Pitch catalog. -Kurious
A talented freestyler by nature, Kurious took you on a smooth ride laced with thick production and tripped-out lyricism on his debut “A Constipated Monkey”. Even though I never knew just what in the hell Kurious was talking about due to the often-”off the head” content of his rhymes, the groundwork laid by the production team of the Beatnuts and the Stimulated Dummies (SD50s) made Kurious’ debut one of the better produced albums of one of Hip Hop’s best years, 1994.
“Tear Sh*t Up” a rolling track that featured vocal samples from both Biz Markie and Rakim, was produced by the legendary Beatnuts (who are amongst the best in the business to ever do it) laced the track with loads of jazz elements to include horns, bells, a piano and most importantly, deep bass, while keeping “Tear Sh*t Up” 100% street. On the lyrical tip, Kurious’ rhymes ranged from pure quirky to somewhat easy to follow, yet remaining unique throughout. If “A Constipated Monkey” isn’t listed amongst your favorite albums that were birthed in 1994 you’re truly sleepin’.
88. “Whoa Now”-UMC’s
Hailing from Staten Island the UMC’s, comprised of Hass G and Kool Kim, released the critically acclaimed, “Fruits of Nature” waaay back in 1991. An album that reeked of originality and flair, “Fruits Of Nature“ boasted two huge hits with the left field-smash “Blue Cheese” and the more traditional “One To Grow On.” In 1994, the duo released their sophomore LP, “Unleashed” to much less fanfare, yet far more negative reviews. Things changed drastically within East Coast Hip Hop in just three short years. For a clear-cut example of just how much, peep the UMC’s attire on the cover “Fruits Of Nature”, faded jeans, mulit-colored hoodies and runners, straight ’91 steez. Fast-forward to 1994, yes sa’ Timberland boots, Black College-hoodies, Carhartt jackets, you get the picture. Sadly enough, as times changed Hass and Kim’s lyrics did as well, yet it was an extremely hard sell from the duo that reeled us in with a slice of “Blue Cheese” (on “Fruits Of Nature”), then three years later these cats literally transformed from a “Native Tongues” spin-off to Onyx.
Me, personally, I loved the album’s production, but I didn’t really need Hass & Kim screamin’ in my ears every two seconds. I know the Onyx-flavor was quite apparent, yet at times (Kim especially) these cats were on some Das Efx-ish without all the “iggety iggetyizms”. However, the beats on “Unleashed” (handled by the duo) were the album’s saving grace, namely “Whoa Now”. “Unleashed” wasn’t necessarily a good album, but merely an average effort by 1993-94 standards. Yet, as silly as it may sound, purely off of the nostalgia factor it’s almost a necessity for your record collection as the overall sound of the album defined the majority of work that was being produced in the mid-nineties.
Of course, everyone should know by now that Kool Kim is now NYOIL and Hass G went on to focus on production, his biggest hit to date being the 50 Cent/Lil’ Kim-smash “Magic Stick”.
Now wait a hot second here!! How is it possible that a track produced by the legendary DJ Premier is considered even remotely “forgotten” Eric? Well, for one, even though I purchased M.O.P.’s “Firing Squad” when it dropped waaay back in ‘96, I…much like most of you, I assume…have done the most popular and necessary thing, conduct a “Google Blog Search” and nonchalantly proceed to download the album. Well, here’s the real kicker, if any of you may have also noticed-most of the downloads for “Firing Squad” contain the extension of “Salute”, titled “Salute Pt. II”…not the original. So, even when I lucked out and found this album in the “used” bin at Hastings a few months ago, I had totally forgotten just how “necessary” this track was. However, here today-just for you, I’ve included the “original” for your downloading pleasure (as I pat myself on the back).
“Salute” finds M.O.P. at their most “ruckus-bringin” finest lyrically , over a Primo track that sounds like what would happen if the instrumentals from Nas’ “Nas Is Like” and M.O.P.’s “Everyday” (from the best M.O.P. album to date, “Warriorz”) had offspring. Sadly, “Salute” is waaay too short, clocking it at a shade over two minutes in length, it goes without saying that “Salute” truly leaves you fiendish for more. By the way, speaking of the aforementioned “Everyday”, that same track also featured Wyclef’s proteges, Product G & B…whatever happened to those dudes?
Released as the “warm-up” to Rampage’s 1994, Rowdy Records debut “The Red Oktoba”, “Beware Of The Rampsack” truly had me amped for a full album from Busta Rhymes’ right hand-man. Sadly, “Red Oktoba” was scrapped and we would have to collectively wait until 1997 when Ramp’ released the less-than-stellar “Scouts Honor..By Way Of Blood” to mostly mixed results, but moreso deaf ears. Yet, I’ve always wondered just how big of a splash Rampage would have made with “Red Oktoba” had it received it ran the proper cycle, especially since the album would have arrived earlier than Busta’s solo debut “The Coming”.
“Beware Of The Rampsack” contained everything that you needed for a successful single back in ’94: a thick bassline, sleigh bells, a nice horn sample and in-you-grill lyricism from “the last boyscout”. Matter of fact, the horn riff featured on this single was the same one that was also featured on the infamous “Scenario” remix. By the way, if anyone has or knows of the whereabouts of Rampage’s “Red Oktoba” album you need to hit a brotha’ up with the quickness, I’m kinda’ doubting it’s existence.