Hello dear Bloggerhouse readers, I will now tell spin yet another red Kool Aid and Sprite fueled tale about three more unreleased Hip Hop albums. I’ll also be sure to drop in a few historic tidbits about each album that most heads would leave out in their writeups (except for maybe us, Robbie Ettelson, Waller Wallenrod or Jaz Ford). In any event, let’s get to it:
I’ve already covered the part about Large Professor realizing that his income wasn’t coming out the same as his calculations so he said “Fuck those two DJ’s!” and went for delf last installment. Sir Scratch, K Cut (and their moms) were like “We have a deal & no emcee”. They did a search and they decided to put on Queens own emceeing legend Mikey Destruction.
Mikey D was a champion battle emcee and reportedly the guy responsible for fuckin’ up James Todd Smith’s lineup as well as obliterating Grandmaster Melle Mel so badly he refused to give up his championship belts. Dayum. Mikey D got down with crew in 1993 & began recording Main Source’s second LP to be titled “F*ck What You Think” as a diss to the naysayers who thought they weren’t shit without Paul Juice on the boards and the mic. The lead single dropped in December 1993 & the album was due in March 1994.
The single and video for “What You Need” were moderately well received. The buzz for the album? Non existent. Why, do you ask? Well for one the head of the label Stu Fine put the inep in the word “inept” and he hired a newly “retired” from emceeing (after his Def Jam LP “Return Of The Product” failed to go gold) MC Serch to oversee acts and be the new head A & R.
Serch signed some talented acts (Ultramagnetic MC’s for one) and he had some talent on his roster previously (The UMC’s, The Coup & Main Source) but Serch spent most of his time nurturing & promoting his Columbia artist Nasty Nas whose upcoming album “Illmatic” had captured the imagination of the entire Hip Hop world. Artists on the label were HEATED @ Serch over this fact.
There’s a story about Serch bringing either Main Source or The UMC’s to a taping of “Soul Train” (Don Cornelius HATED Rap) and instead of looking out for his artists or promoting them he was busy putting up Nas stickers and working Nas’ upcoming album. I know that Mikey was upset with not only the album getting no promotion but he was also experiencing problems with Sir Scratch & K Cut’s momager as well. Between the brothers, their mother, the head of A&R AND the label president @ Wild Pitch “F*ck What You Think” was in danger of not f*cking coming out.
March 1994 came and went with no release for Main Source’s re-up. It was shelved and didn’t get released until 1998 when Wild Pitch decided to reprint a bunch of it’s classic releases for Hip Hop fans (read: planned out moneygrab) and include the unreleased jawn alongside GangStarr’s debut, Chill Rob G’s debut, Main Source’s debut, O.C’s debut, The UMC’s debut, Lord Finesse’s debut, The Coup’s debut & Ultra’s “The Four Horsemen”. Not many people bought it, though.
The album featured Shaqueen who would later become Ma Barker, the wife of Kool G Rap (on “Fuck What You Think” & “Set It Off”) and a young Sheek and Jadakiss of the Yonkers crew The Warlocks (on “Set It Off”). Wild Pitch would eventually get bought and become JCOR and the classic releases were once again reprinted & pressed like they were in 1998 was 10 years later (cuz history repeats itself). You can find the 11 track overlooked 1994/98 Wild Pitch release HERE.
Natural Elements (L Swift, Mr. Voodoo & A Butta alng with producer Charlemagne) were one of the marquee groups of the Backpack Era (1997-2002). They had been on the scene since ’94 and recorded on the labels Fortress and Dolo before dropping their “2 Tons”/”Live It Up” 12″ on Tommy Boy Black Label, a new venture that put out music from the underground’s best acts.
Natural Elements dropped a 12″ for “Live It Up Pt.2″ on Tommy Boy Black Label in addition to appearing on their subsequent “Black Mask OST” and Tommy Boy’s “Black Label: Hip Hop 101″ compilation. Reports were Natural Elements and Charlemagne were working on a Tommy Boy album along with Screwball. 1999 passed and no word on it’s release. What the hell?
As we entered 2000, Natural Elements had dropped a total of 3 tracks on Tommy Boy in addition to a few freestyles on random mixtapes. News came out that they’d completed an album on Tommy Boy and turned it in but for a variety of reasons it had yet to have an album title or even a release date announced.
Eventually, heads just gave up hope on it ever dropping and Natural Elements broke up. Coulda shoulda woulda. Individual tracks hit the net via P2P sites but it wasn’t until about 2005 that any versions of the unreleased 1999 Tommy Boy Black Label project began to surface online.
In 2009, 10 years after the LP was originally supposed to surface the original members of Natural Elements reunited to release a 20 track project representing what their LP should’ve been or sounded like. You can support these cats and cop Natural Elements’ “1999: 10 Year Anniversary” here. Late is better than never, people (Saigon, I’m looking @ you)…
Now we come to the final tale of the night. Smif N’ Wessun AKA Cocoa Brovas were signed to Rawkus on the strength of a couple songs they appeared on Rawkus releases that received some extremely favorable reactions going back to their first appearances on “Soundbombing 2″ way back in 1999. Around the same time Duck Down had come into some distribution problems due to issues with Priority Records so they had a new home for the time being.
Their 2000 single “Get Up” was produced by DJ Hi-Tek and not only was it one of the highlights of Rawkus’ “Lyricist Lounge 2″ compilation but it was featured prominently on ESPN, And 1 Mixtape DVD’s & the popular videogame “Street Hoops”.
In the Summer of 2002, Rawkus dropped the disappointing “Soundbombing 3″ compilation featuring a Cocoa Brovas song “Spit Again” featuring Dawn Penn. The Cocoa Brovas album was reported finished but Rawkus didn’t know what to do with the album.
They’d already recently dropped the ball with Shabeem Sahdeeq, Tiye Phoenix, Da Beatminerz, Invincible, Novel, Pharoahe Monch, Talib Kweli and Kool G Rap (whom they signed for $1 million) and were making bad decisions left and right.
In the end, the album never saw the light of day as an official Rawkus release although bootlegs began to surface on vinyl & later stray mp3′s beginning in 2003. Eventually, Duck Down received another new distribution deal via Koch and Cocoa Brovas & Smith & Wesson’s lawsuit was tossed out.
Smif N’ Wessun was back on Duck Down where they belonged making classic material in no time alongside the Great 8 (Black Moon, Heltah Skeltah, & O.G.C.) & 5 Ft Excellerator. I still love that entire stretch of Duck Down releases starting in ’05 with behind the scenes DVD’s & albums. If you didn’t see any of them then get thee to Netflix.
Around the time “Smif N’ Wessun: Reloaded” was set to be released, the original Rawkus Cocoa Brovas 2002 LP had hit the blogosphere. If you’re curious to hear it you can do so HERE. There is no definitive tracklisting, no finalized song titles and the album had no title itself (the Pete Rock track was called “Veteranos”, I believe). If you can find a copy of XXL’s old recounting of the rise and fall of Rawkus Records then by all means read it.
You know I have the issue but I don’t have a scanner. If anyone on Earth should have a scanner it’s ME. Well, there you go. Three more shelved Hip Hop albums. Wait until you see the next three jawns I write about…