You may have thought it was over but you were wrong. I’m going to tell the tale of three more albums that ended up shelved, 1998′s “Cyclops 4000″ LP, 2002′s “The Giancana Story” and 2003′s “Everything’s A Story”. Let’s not waste any more time, shall we?:
Sir Menelik AKA Cyclops 4000 AKA Scaramanga Shallah was Kool Kieth’s protege at the time of his signing with Rawkus. He dropped some popular singles such as “So Intelligent”, “Physical Jewels”, “Space Cadillac”, “Nightwork”, “7XL”, “Game Time” & “Terror Works” over the span of two years. He also dropped a promo track called “Macroscope”via the “Rawkus The Cleaner” promo compilation in addition to a “Space Cadillac” remix done by DJ Spinna (who was also on the label at the time). There’s nine songs right there, where was the album?
Around the same time at Rawkus, Mos Def & Talib Kweli were extra popular as well. Talib Kweli & DJ Hi-Tek were scheduled to drop an EP called “Groundation” but those plans were scrapped and instead Mos Def & Talib Kweli were asked to make an EP for their group Black Star. The buzz was so huge in the Hip Hop world that the project was expanded to an LP and Rawkus put their all into promoting it. At the same time, Sir Menelik (in addition to Company Flow) was becoming more and more dissatisfied with the label and the way they were handling things.
The last Cyclops 4000 song to appear on a Rawkus compilation was “7XL” on “Soundbombing 2″, he then became Scaramanga, started Sun Large Communications and partnered with Fat Beats. His first 12″ via Fat Beats “Holding New Cards”/”Special Efx” was a sign that his Rawkus time was done and the Cyclops 4000 LP Rawkus had been advertising for years wasn’t gonna be dropping after all.
In January 1999, the original version of Scaramanga’s “7 Eyes, 7 Horns” dropped (the one with “Strip Club Bait” on it) so we didn’t really miss the “Cyclops 4000″ LP all that much because to quote Godfather Don “I always preferred Scaramanga to Cyclops 4000″.
In 2005, local label Traffic Entertainment announced that they’d be releasing the Sir Menelik “Cyclops 4000″ as “The Einstein Rosen Bridge”. The 16 track album consisted of all of his past Rawkus releases, songs he made during his tenure at the label and a few remixes. Honestly, the project could’ve done without two of the remixes but it was delayed for 7 years so whatever. I copped it from Sandbox Automatic and got yet another copy of the Scaramanga/Jabbar El split EP (inside joke for Scaramanga fans). You can cop it here if you’re curious.
Back in 2001, Rawkus were really feeling themselves. They’d signed several acts that had big names and devoted followings like Cocoa Brovaz (Smif N’ Wessun), Da Beatminerz, Pharoahe Monch and others. Rawkus then decided to sign Kool G Rap to a million dollar contract off the heels of his previous independent release “Roots Of Evil”and his return to NYC. In every magazine, Kool G Rap Rawkus ads were splashed all over the place. DJ Premier, Buckwild, The Ghetto Pros, Younglord & Knowbody would be making the album. Word?
They put out a promo 12″ with the DJ Premier produced “First Nigga” followed by a 12″ (above) that had the rap world buzzing about the signing. It featured “My Life”, a song & remix produced by the Ghetto Pros (Mike Heron & V.I.C.) that served as the radio single. The album was due to drop in early 2002 and the push was serious. Another 12″ dropped with the tracks “The Streets” & “Thug For Life” on them.
By 2002, Rawkus would release “First Nigga” on three different 12″s in addition to “My Life” and the remix, “Nobody Can’t Eat”, “Keep Going”, “The Streets” & “Thug For Life” but as 2001 closed Kool G Rap would become less than enthused with Rawkus’ attitude towards his project.
Kool G. Rap appeared on a “Round & Round” remix for Jonell (which appeared on the infamous “Soundbombing III ” compilation), the theme song for the show “Oz” and a track with Rawkus signee Novel “He Can’t” but where was the album they were hyping up at? Where was “The Giancana Story”? It turns out that once the album neared completion G Rap and the guys at Rawkus began to butt heads over the direction of the album.
There was an incident involving a track that featured Snoop Dogg and Devin The Dude in particular (“Keep Going”) that was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. Rawkus wanted to put someone else on the track even though Snoop requested working with Kool G Rap by his reputation alone.
All of sudden G Rap wanted to leave their island. Rawkus and Kool G Rap parted ways and he took “The Giancana Story” to his new label Koch but Rawkus kept the tracks “First Nigga”, “Keep Going” & “Nobody Can’t Eat” off the Koch version of the release. Rawkus paid a million dollars for this? Dumbasses.
In 2002, Busta Rhymes decided to leave Elektra Records and take his Flipmode Squad with him over to J Records. There he dropped his album “It Ain’t Safe No More” and was given an imprint to release his Flipmode artists. One of the projects that were priority was Rah Digga’s second album “Everything Is A Story” and the Flipmode Squad’s “The Rulership” LP.. The album would be the follow up to 2000′s “Dirty Harriet”.
The lead single from the upcoming project was the Just Blaze produced “Party & Bullshit 2003″. Heads were confused to say the least. While the video had hit BET, MTV & VH1 the single was still a promo. Huh?
There was no second single save for a “remix” with Busta Missy & Eve. There was no album released. There would also be no Flipmode Squad “Rulership LP” forthcoming in 2004. There wasn’t even another release made on J Records as Busta Rhymes took Flipmode Squad and bolted for Interscope Records in 2005. Rah Digga’s “Everything Is A Story” album began to hit the blogs between 2005 & 2006. If you’re curious to hear what it sounded like just go HERE.