Back in the 80’s and 90’s, there were artists that I heard, usually because of Yo! MTV Raps, that I searched for and sometimes didn’t find. On other occasions, there were one album wonders that put out an album and you never really heard from them again.
I’m not entirely sure why there were certain albums that I could never find. However, I think it was a function of rap being a newer genre and record store owners not believing in it’s legitimacy, along with my location in the Syracuse, NY area. I remember finding it fascinating that some areas of the country didn’t even have a concept of what rap was. On vacations, I would often walk into a store and not even find a rap section, or anything even mixed in with Rock or R&B. I found some Schoolly D in Canada around 1989 and I remember being shocked, but excited, that they sold rap music in Canada. I can’t say that I was the most enlightened and worldly kid, but figured if I couldn’t find EPMD in a Minnesota suburb, then I surely wouldn’t find any Schoolly D outside of the United States. My mistake. (I also thought it was CRAZY that the tape for Smoke Some Kill was black and not white, or clear like most tapes. How incredible that Canada gets their own special tapes!)
Anyway, here are a couple of albums I had a hard time finding when they were released and a few from those “one album wonders”, groups that made only one LP and disappeared when they shouldn’t have.
LP’s I Couldn’t Find Back in the Day
DC Scorpio 1988/89
I remember seeing this dude’s video for “Stone Cold Hustler – Pt. II” on Yo! MTV Raps and digging the hell out of it. I immediately started looking for an album from Scorpio, but never found anything. When I was 12 or so, I really had no concept of singles and albums and that a single might be released before an album, or that a video might be made for a single, without an album. So, for about a year I would randomly check my local record stores for an album, but never found anything. Back then, I just thought it meant the album wasn’t available in my area, but if I had the availability to drive to NYC, I’d find all those “lost” albums that I couldn’t find. And, there wasn’t the internet to provide release dates or artist info.
Well, years ago I looked him up (and I think Travis posted something on him previously) and found that he never released an album. Mystery solved as to why I didn’t find an album.
Man, I loved this song and I remember having it taped for a while and listening to it over and over. Well, the video’s a bit dated and features an anti-drug message with a lot of “dope” dance moves and some nice ’89 styles. I still dig the song though.
“Stone Cold Hustler – Pt. II” video:
I found a MySpace page, but I’m not sure it’s official, so feel free to google the man to get more info. It looks like he’s still involved with making music in some capacity and there are a few recent videos on YouTube.
True Culture 1992
Unlike, DC Scorpio, TC released an album, but I was never able to find it in Upstate NY. I looked over and over again, but had no luck. Again, I don’t know why I could never get my hands on this, but I remember checking for it for quite some time. If I was a few years older, I may have been able to find it by driving around, but I was religated to wherever I could get a ride to, which was usually with my parents and not some hip-hop head that wanted to drive all around the city so I could buy a tape.
I actually ended up getting this from a blog, possibly WYDU, a couple years back and gave it a listen. “Rude Boys Come To Play” is a nice track, but I can’t say that I’ve given the LP a proper listen since downloading it.
“Rude Boys Come To Play” video:
Unfortunately, the band’s name doesn’t really stick out enough and makes them hard to search on the internet. I haven’t been able to find anything new on these guys.
Rude Boys Come To Play – https://www.yousendit.com/download/THE1eVdpOC9waFRIRGc9PQ
Another album I couldn’t find and I searched for a while and never found anything, but I was digging through some records around 1995/6 and found In Tone We Trust for a couple bucks and made the purchase. I ended up listening to it once and it sounded dated at the time.
I’m pretty sure I picked up the mp3 of this LP from this blog, but it may have been another, a few years back. I’m not sure what the single was that I heard back in the day, but I’m guessing it was “What a Brother Know”, because that is what I found a video for below. The video is pretty typical 1990 with a lot of random dancing. Back in 1990, he appeared to be a conscious-type rapper, but goes a little harder these days under the name T.O.N.E-Z, making music
“What a Brother Know” video:
T.O.N.E-Z web site: www.myspace.com/tonezworld
In Tone We Trust: http://www.sendspace.com/file/8c93pa
The Afros 1990
Afrooooooos! Once again, I really don’t know why I could never find this. Remember, these are just LP’s I couldn’t find around the time the came out, so I don’t need to know that you’re local record store carried 50 copies that were actually rung up by The Afros themselves. Nah, just kidding, let me know if that happened.
The Afros featured Beastie Boys’ DJ Hurricane as a member and were a bit of a gimmick I suppose. I’ve always thought Hurricane was a solid MC, so it would have been nice to see him get more than a couple solo LP’s. The group was signed to JMJ/Columbia, but never released another LP. They probably knew that they had their little spot in hip-hop history and to make another album wasn’t really in the cards.
My buddy, Drew, from high school found a couple copies us
ed somewhere and picked one up for me around 1995 or so.
“Feel It” video:
More Info: http://www.beastiemania.com/whois/afros/
Kickin’ Afrolistics – https://www.yousendit.com/download/THE1eVd0RkVlM1JMWEE9PQ
Brief Glimpses and POOF… Gone
I was a huge fan of the North Carolina group’s 1994 (CONFIRM) debut LP Action Packed Adventure and the group’s overall fun vibe and humor tinged rhymes. With songs like “Left Field” and “Frontline”, they also proved that they could have a more “sophisticated” sound that probably would have been closer to what they would do in the future. But, they never did release a follow up LP to APA and disappeared for the second half of the 90’s.
In 2001 or 2002, they released an EP of sorts, The Secret Tapes, with a couple old tracks that were meant to be on their second album and 2 or so new songs. It was worth the purchase, but again, it wasn’t a full album. They seemed to be primed for a “comeback” of sorts, but then dropped off the radar yet again. I found their MySpace page and requested their phony friendship and never got confirmed, or was just flat out denied. It looks like the last post was from 2008. Another decade has passed and it doesn’t look too promising for those of us that are still waiting for a new LP.
“Left Field” video (what a great track):
Action Packed Adventure – http://www.zshare.net/download/73487784a7cbf7e7/
The Secret Tapes – I have the entire LP/EP, but the only 3 tracks I have on my computer right now are in the download above. Please let me know if you’d like the whole thing and I will tear up my apartment to find it.
*I’ve posted on these next 2 before, but whatever, it’s good stuff. How’s that for a response?
Brothas Unda Madness released Lyfe N’ Tyme in 1995. They were from the West, but didn’t sound like most rappers from their neck of the woods, which I found refreshing. The LP had a couple classics in my mind, such as “West Coast Smack”. The album wasn’t without it’s flaws, but it was a promising start and I was looking forward to hearing more from the duo of E-Vo and D.Wyze. Both were highly capable MC’s, but I have never heard anything of them since 1995, let alone any rumblings of a follow up.
Unfortunately, most of my attempts to search the internet for information have come up empty. There just isn’t a lot out there. If anyone has heard anything, please update us, I’d love to hear what happened and what they’re doing now.
“Free My Mind” video:
Lyfe N’ Tyme – https://www.yousendit.com/download/THE1eVdpSWVuSlJMWEE9PQ
They were down with Naughty By Nature and there were some relatives between the groups as well. I dug this album back in 1995 and they seemed like a group that would at least be around for a little while. Unfortunately, we only got one album and they were gone. They don’t appear to have any web sites out there, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say they won’t be releasing new material anytime soon.
There are some real nice tracks on this LP, including a classic in my mind, “Oh Yeah”.
“Oh Yeah” video:
Rottin’ Ta Da Core – http://www.zshare.net/download/73487034b9850f82/