Here we go, yet again, with another serving of “Backpack Bangers”. Damn, they oughta’ be getting pretty full right about now, ehh? On this outing, I dug just a bit deeper than I normally would to uncover a few selections that you may not be too acquainted with. Again, we’re (Trav, Dart and myself) gonna’ keep going until we each reach 75 “Bangers” each. Now, that’s 225 tracks of pure rawness. Fu*k a “75″ we do it “3XDope” over here son! Anyway, I’ve inserted .rar links of the compiled files at the top of each respective opening list of “25″, I’ll keep ‘em updated as we go. Enjoy!
Download 26-50 of Eric’s “Backpack Bangers” HERE
-Dead Poetz Society
-Dead Poetz Society
Found On: “Klockuz” / “Lick A Shot” / “Lick A Shot” (Remix) 12″ (1996, Challeys Records)
To tha, tick-tock, tock-tick. Don’t get it twisted, Dead Poetz Society’s ’96-banger, “Klockuz” was the furthest thing from Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up”. A track that I didn’t hear until many years after it’s initial release, “Klockuz” featured raps from 7storm8, Grym and Tahborn Ba-Mik over 7storm8′s horn-laden production that displayed an obvious D.I.T.C. influence. About seven levels below “underground”, “Klockuz” is a definite must-have for all you 12″ collectors out there.
Found On: “Warriors Drum”/”Move On ‘Em, Stomp” 12″ (1994, Black Fist)
Awww man! This one brings back maad memories! I can remember first hearing King Just’s crazy-addictive, “Warrior’s Drum” blaring from someone’s Nissan Pathfinder during a summer league (back when summer league B-Ball leagues still played on blacktop) B-Ball game, back in the summer of ’94. Needless to say, after that game had ended, I hopped in my Honda Civic hatch-back and drove my happy-ass to Camelot Music and scooped this single up along Black Moon’s “I Got Cha Opin” (Remix). Damn kid, those were the dayz…Also, don’t front on Just’s full-length debut “Mystics Of The God”, there are some gems on there as well, namely the Easy Mo Bee-laced “No Flows On The Rodeo”. Yet another member of Wu-Tang’s “extended fam” who kinda’ got lost in the sauce.
Found On: “Sure Shot”/6 Million MC’s” 12″ (Suicide Records, 1995)
It’s only right that Jersey’s Slum Brothers 1995 buried heatrock, “6 Million MC’s” follows King Just’s “Warriors Drum” on my list of 75 (more) “Backpack Bangers”, hearing as the very same breakbeat inserted into “Warrior’s Drum” also supplies the backbone for “6 Million MC’s”. Almost two years after this 12″ release, the group released the 12″ “Fool’s Paradise” and ? (the question) under Scientific Records. Then, in 1999, the group released the 12″ album “Jus’ Regular Nigg*rs: The Diaries of a Porch Monkey”. The album was comprised of their single drops, but through creative differences with the label, the album was taken off shelves and taken out of production soon after its release (I’m sure the album’s title didn’t do anything to help the cause?). The album is exclusively rare, and to today the album still hasn’t continued it’s distribution and there are well under 2,000 copies are in circulation worldwide.
-I.G. Off & Hazadous
-I.G. Off & Hazadous
Taken From: “Street Serenade”/”This Ain’t Livin”/”Hip Hop Till I Die” (Beyond Real Recordings, 1997)
Like I said in my last post (Backpack Bangers), cats just don’t understand, DJ Spinna was all over the place in ’97! Once again, he graced I.G. Off & Hazadous’ 3-track 12″, released on Beyond Real Recordings (Jigmasters, Dynas, Channel Live, etc.) in 1997. Borrowing a vocal sample from the Mary J. Blige classic, “My Life”, and adding a heavy dosage of sleigh bells, Spinna churned out yet another smash for the likes of I.G. Off and Hazadous. You may also remember the duo for their contributions to the Lyricist Lounge LP’s, or the “Beyond Real Experience LP”.
Found On: “The Professional”/Real MC’s” 12″ (1997, Jungle Nills)
There’s not too much I can share with you about HDM, other than that HDM stands for Hype Da Madman and that this is a TRUE “Backpack Banger”. However, you will recall the producer of “Real MC’s”, Nick Wiz, or Nik The Wiz as the label of the 12” suggests. If my memory serves me correct, Jungle Nills Records was Funky Jilz’ record label, a name you’ll remember from The Source’s “Unsigned Hype” column. Also, in 1994 he had a track titled, “Eye Level” which received a significant amount of airplay on Stretch and Bobbito’s show.
Found On: “How It Go” 12″ (1996, Domestic Violence Entertainment)
Here we find yet another record lost in the midst of ’96 “indies”. This time, yet another “Natural” moniker along with the likes Natural Elements and Natural Resources. “How It Go” is fueled by hard drum kicks, and a simple yet very effective hook (“you know how the shit go”, but I only have the censored version which includes “moans” as opposed to “sh*t”). Solid rhyming throughout, but no obvious “rewind” material here, just pure ’96 rawness at it’s apex.
Found On: “Still Caught Up”/”Skillz Ta’ Thrill” 12″ (1994, Steppin’ Bigga Records”)
For those that are familiar with Saukrates, you know what it is. Those that don’t, you have been missing out on one of the illest MC’s of the ’90s. Emerging from Toronto, Canada, Saukrates never really had the push needed for mainstream success, but on the underground scene he was steadily releasing hit after hit since ’94, namely the self-produced gem “Still Caught Up”, which I believe, also served as his very first 12″ release. Many of his Saukrates’ early singles are impossible to find in these days and times, but his 1996 release, “Brick House EP”, is still available at record shops online.
Found On: “E-Z On The Motion”/”Hard Copy” 12″ (1994, Quality Music, Groove-A-Lot)
Ghetto Concept was a Canadian Hip-Hop crew from Toronto, Ontario, comprised of Kwajo Cinqo and Dolo. In 1994, they released “E-Z On Tha Motion” (and the accompanying video), which introduced their newest member, Infinite (Desmond Francis). The group won Juno Awards in 1995 and 1996 for “Certified” and “E-Z On Tha Motion”, respectively. This track displays an obvious A.T.C.Q. influence thanks in part to Da Grass Rook’s rolling, brezzy production. Also, some of you may recall Ghetto Concept’s ’98 cut “Heavy Metals”, which also found Onyx’ Sticky Fingaz on the remix.
Found On: “A Madman’s Dream”/”Can’t Hold It Back” 12″ (1994, 10/30 Uproar Records)
Most notable for the success of “Tried By 12″, many people automatically assume that the East Flatbush Project is/was a crew. However, East Flatbush Project is simply the alias of Brooklyn producer Spencer Bellamy. Bellamy has released six singles to date, with each single released on his record label, 10/30 Uproar Records. The East Flatbush Project has released an EP in July 2008 titled “First Born” that is available online and surprisingly, even Itunes. While I’m quite certain that you’ll see “Tried By 12″ pop up on either Dart, Trav or my list before all the smoke clears, this ’94 gem will do a lil’ more than just hold you over in the meantime. Oh, and I forgot to mention, Payday absolutely murks this ill production!
Found On: “The High Plains Drifter” EP (2008, One Leg Up Recordings)
Yes, in 2008 we were finally able to get our hands on Digga’s “The High Plains Drifter” EP, mostly via download, as only 200 copies of vinyl were pressed up. Recorded, in what is believed to be between the years of 1993-’96, “Brand Nu Day” finds Digga delivering straight-to-the point lyrics with his signature, gruff delivery over yet another Bluez Brothers production (which Digga was 1/2 of).
Found On: “Check Da Style”/How Itz Goin’ Down” 12″ (1995, Fortress Entertainment)
L-Swift (1/3 of the heralded underground trio, Natural Elements), who now goes by the name Swigga Da Don(?) released a few independent singles such as “How Itz Goin Down” (the A-Side of this 12″) and “Ride This” (2000) back in . Yet, it was this Charlemagne-laced “Check Da Style” that truly put L-Swift and his Natural Elements cohorts (A-Butta & Mr. Voodoo) on my listening radar.
Found On: “Bomb M.C.” 12″ (1997, 12 Inch RPM)
Produced by Coke of the Madkap fame, The Colored Section’s “Bomb M.C.” is an often unheralded, overlooked cut that served as one of the more clever jawns to emerge from the depths of ’97. What’s really odd/strange is that Colored Section’s DJ, DJ Homicide would also double up as Sugar Ray’s, (no, not Sugar Ray of Double XX Posse but rather of the Sugar Ray of the “Fly” fame). Regardless, this joint, as well as the album of the same name, is criminally slept-on!!
Found On: “One Life Ta Live”/”East Ta West” 12″ (1997, Tru Criminal Recordings)
Hailing from Far Rockaway, Queens, Ak Skills is most known for the Lord Finesse-laced, “Check The Flava” and the Buckwild-helmed, “Nights Of Fear” (you can’t front on Ak’s keen ear for production!), yet it’s the Eddie James produced (which one could easily mistake for the workings of one Peter Phillips) 12″, “One Life Ta Live” that takes the cake as the one “must have” from Ak’s somewhat thin discography. By the way, is there any truth to the rumor that Ak has been locked up behind bars for quite some time now?
Found On: “Structure/Foundation”/”Blackrain” 12″ (1996, Treehouse Recordings)
Yes ‘sa, Canada is in the house 1nce again! Let’s flashback to 1995, Citizen Kane emerged as one of the leading rap groups in Canada, and after a string of extremely well received singles (ahem..please see audio for “Blackrain”) and an EP had led to the release of their debut album “Deliverance” (Treehouse Records, 1999). Also of note, “Deliverance” was nominated for Best Rap Recording at the 2000 Juno Awards. Yet, it gets even better, lemme expound..
Citizen Kane also worked with ERF Productions on “Blackrain”, which dropped in 1996 on their own “Treehouse Records”. It was the ERF Productions/K-Cut (formerly of The Main Source) produced “EP THE EPIC” (Treehouse Records, 1998), which started focusing even more attention in their direction.
Found On: “Side 2 Side”/”Arabian Nights” 12″ (1997, Rawkus)
Shabaam Sahdeeq makes a second appearance on our “Backpack Bangers” listing, as does Nick Wiz with his ill production for Sahdeeq’s “Arabian Nights”. A track that can also be found on Rawkus’ first “Soundbombing” compilation, finds Sahdeeq reciting tales of inna’ city life over Wiz’ sparse drum kicks and multi-level piano riffs.
Found On: “Dedicated” EP (1996, Solid Recordings)
There are certain cats that I would place amongst my top emcees list of all-time that you normally wouldn’t see. For instance, The Beatnuts, The Artifacts and even Ed O.G. aren’t usually mentioned amongst the likes of Nas, Rakim, B.I.G. or even Jay-Z. Yet, from the ‘Nuts to Ed “O”, the amount of product that they’ve respectively appeared on is somewhat mind-blowing, Ed’s ’96, Japan-only EP, “Dedicated” being one of those very instances. Produced solely by the Vinyl Reanimators, “Acting” may be my favorite selection from the EP, but I really could have chosen any of the six cuts to appear on this list. Damn, Dart will be proud….BOSTON!
Found On: “Double L Cools Down” unreleased LP (1995, On Top Records)
Let’s peer at the image to your left for a minute, shall we? Double L, huh? Produced by Mr. Smith? Hmmm….Yep, that’s right, you guessed it! What we have here is James Todd Smith’s unreleased ’95/96 LP, “Double L Cools Down”. Remember the vibe that L was on with his “Candyman” ( I can’t even front, I bumped that jawn like it was goin’ outta’ style!) track from the Jason’s Lyric O.S.T.? Well, this LP is kinda’ like a continuation of that same flavor. However, the true “Backpack Banger” on this LP was hands-down “New York Mentality”, a track that lists production from Mr. Smith (as does the rest of the album), but sure as hell sounds like another Pete Rock production to me! Yeah, I know it’s almost a sin to include LL Cool J and “Backpack” in the same breath, but tell me how this cut doesn’t fit the criteria? It’s a shame that this jawn never truly saw the light of day, until the leak of this LP.
Found On: “Book Of Life”/”4 Degrees For The Streets” 12″ (1996, Mass Vinyl)
Nah kid, not that Hi-Tek. I was first introduced to this Hi-Tech, whom I know next to nil about, waay back on a Tape Kingz mixtape which featured the B-Side to “Book Of Life”, “4 Degrees For The Streets”. However, thanks to the internet age, and thanks to myself growing older, “Book Of Life” has hit a little closer to home for me over the years. One of the dopest 12″ that you’ve never heard, I can assure you that “Book Of Life” will remain in your rotation for the next week/month. It’s just amazing to me that sh*t like this goes unheard, FOR YEARS!?
Found On: Boulevard Connection’s “Sut Min Pik” EP (1998, Fondle ‘Em)
On an EP that also featured the likes of MC Serch and Company Flow, the Artifacts “Haagen Daz” shines brightest and seemingly opened doors for the likes of future collaborations that found the duo on equally jazzy cuts, a noticeable variance from the sounds that can be heard from “That’s Them” or “Between A Rock And A Hard Place”. Oh yeah, it is my personal goal to include one of my all-time favorite duos on each of my 25 (until we each reach 75) “Backpack Banger” outings. Yet another Fondle ‘Em goodie, Rawkus who?
Found On:”Pandemonium EP” (2010, Pandemonium) Unreleased initially, but I believe I first heard this in ’96 on one of Evil Dee’s mixtapes
The crew that of Chocolate Tye, Tee Black, Rev. Al, and Rambo garnered some recognition through Evil Dee’s radio show. The group was closely associated with Da Beatminerz and much of their work features production from them. The crews first 12″, “Change” was released in 1996. The others, “Calm Unda Pressure” and “How It’s Done” came out in 1998. They were all released on Pandemonium Wreckords and are all relatively hard to find for a decent price, but I believe the “Pandemonium EP” just released overseas on vinyl?
Found On: “A To G”/”Alphabet Aerobics” (Cut Chemist’s 2 1/2 Minute Workout) (1999, Quannum)
Real talk, Papoose didn’t have sh*t on Blackalicious we he ran down A ta’ Z on his “Alphabetical Slaughter”. I mean, Gift of Gab’s lyrical performance on “Alphabet Aerobics” is one of the most unappreciated, overlooked showings in recent memory and Chief Xcel more than holds up his end of the bargain on the production tip. You can also look for this goodie on Blackalicious’ EP “A2G”.
Found On: “New York To Philly The EP” (1997, Som Recordings)
Adagio!, comprised of M.C. Reign Supreme & Big Cousin The Obvious Wonder, released nearly half a dozen 12″s between the years of 1996 and 2002, mostly on Som and Emo Recordings . Aside from what very little info is known of the duo, since it’s release in ’97, “New York To Philly The EP” has become a cornerstone to the collection of underground vinyl collectors with “Listening Pleasure” as well as it’s remix serving as the favorite of many from this solid EP. However, if there’s one thing you will recognize on this record, it’s the opening vocals of Bloggerhouse favorite, the Juggaknots Breezly Brewin.
Found On: “Science Of Sound” Promo/12″ (1995, Science Of Sound)
Most noted for the production from A Tribe Called Quest, Science Of Sound’s “Who Got The Funk” also featured a heavy dosage of Phife Dawg atop a chunky bassline and sparse drum snaps courtesy of his fellow crew members (read: Q-Tip). However, I can recall first hearing “Who Got The Funk” on tape near the middle of 1995, yet for some odd reason, I recall it being quite different from the one I’ve included in the widget above? A remix perhaps? Also accounted for as a failed spin-off group from one of hip hop’s most legendary groups, if you do some more searching you may also find Science of Sound’s white-label, “Kaleido Phonetics” floating around the interwebs somewhere.
Found On: “Angels”/”On The Job” 12″ (1997, Hydra)
Coming straight outta’ Corona, Queens with a huge co-sign from the Beatnuts, on the Hydra imprint, Gab Gotcha blasted you in the face with the Latin-string-fueled smash “Angels” in 1997. With production from the aforementioned Beatnut, Juju returned the favor as Gab Gotcha also appeared on the ‘Nuts “Street Level”/”Self-Titled” ’94 Classic. Gab Gotcha also served as 1/3 of the Triflicts trio whom also put out a dope 12″ with “Genuine” that also was produced by the Beatnuts and dropped just prior to the release of “Angels”. Nowadays, you’ll find Gab Gotcha on the Wu-Tang Latino imprint as he just inked a deal with the label late in 2009.
Found On: “Problems”/”Jack Mode” (1996, Persepective Records)
Here is yet another slick 12″ from Young Zee on his solo tip. This is the “Problems” 12″ with the the B-Side, “Jack Mode. From 1996 On Perspective Records released as a promo only record. Better known as the other two tracks cuts that were on the “Musical Meltdown” Album, not sure if there ever was an actual copy of this album ever made, but I know that you won’t have a problem tracking that lost gem down via the internet. I’m sure many of would you have assumed that Zee’s catchy “Everybody Get” on this list as opposed to “Problems”, but it’s the Ski Beatz production that once again fuels this jawn, similar to Pacewon’s “I Declare War” that made my first 25.