“Lyfe N Tyme”-The B.U.M.S a.k.a Brothers Unda Madness
Dropped: May, 1995 via Priority
Purchase “Lyfe & Tyme” HERE
Often likened to their West Coast counterparts, the Pharcyde, the duo of Evocalist & D. Wyze a.k.a. the B.U.M.S. a.k.a. Brothers Unda Madness carried on the tradition of quality Hip Hop emerging from the West’s underground scene in the mid-90′s with the release of their one and only LP release, “Lyfe N Tyme”. With a healthy “push” from a few well-known California “Wake Up Show” hosts, noticeably the Bay’s Baka Boyz and L.A.’s King Tech, the B.U.M.S. were able to to stake their claim in the West Coast “pool of underground” emcees not named Souls of Mischief or Freestyle Fellowship (see: Anotha Level or even better, just scroll down, lol).
The first single from the B.U.M.S., “Elevation” jerked the Teddy P anthem “Close The Door” for it’s backdrop and paved the way for the release of “Lyfe N Tyme”, which finally dropped in the early summer months of 1995. On the LP, the B.U.M.S. display an intellectual hood point of view which combined street philosophy with L.A. B-Boy street sense. The duo’s straight forward, no punches pulled, delivery and rhymes mirrored the laid-back flows from most of the West’s more lyrical field of the era. With the bulk of the LP’s production handled by Joe Quixx, “Lyfe & Tyme” is bouncy long player that has aged surprisingly well and has proved to be a timeless listen.
Highlights from the LP include “Take A Look Around” and the backpacker favorite “6 Figures & Up”, which is arguably the duo’s most notable track. However, it’s the xylophone and sleigh bells that hold the LP’s title cut close to my soul (the track also features a very smooth appearance from Mystic. Speaking of guest slots, the author of one of my favorite slept-on LP’s of all-time, “Boxcar Sessions”, Saafir damn near steals the show on a B-Side cut that didn’t appear on the album, “Rain” (see below).
In the end, the B.U.M.S. definitely showed promise, but the production was pretty “safe” to say the least and some of the album’s tracks do fall flat, yet the duo’s charisma was not quite enough to not make the album’s flaws noticeable.
annnnnnnd in this corner……
“World Ultimate”-The Nonce
Dropped: Late February 1995 via Warner Bros.
Purchase “World Ultimate” HERE
Combining old school B-Boy “isms” with easy going if not “experimental” production, The Nonce managed to recall a pinch of early LL coupled with the mannerisms and lyrical dexterity of the Pharcyde and production techniques of the Tribe on their stellar debut album “World Ultimate”. Yet the kicker, and ultimately what impeded on the album’s sales and overall notoriety, is poor promotion and bad timing. I mean, really, think about what “World Ultimate” was in the mix with? ”The Main Ingredient”, “Everything Is Everything”, “The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World”…needless to say, “World Ultimate” was one of those Tuesday purchases when the new, more noteworthy releases were slim and none.
However, the Nonce’s debut was crazy refreshing, and still is! I totally forgot how dope this album is, I bet it’s been damn near half a decade since I enjoyed “World Ultimate”, prior to this week. Yet, tracks like “Good To Go”, with it’s “buzzing” hook and “World Ultimate” often take a backseat to the duo’s most productive singles, “Mix Tapes” and “Bus Stops”, but it’s the two aforementioned tracks that are astounding and feature the duo’s true production talents. Oh, by the way, the “duo” being Nouka Basetype and Yusef Afloat, sorry for the oversight two paragraphs in, lol.
The Nonce tapped into a new era with this celestial debut dripping with syrupy, bass-heavy, jazz-trimmed tracks and simplistic, tongue in cheek, often playful lyrics. Aside from the aforementioned highlights there’s “On The Road Again”, a easy going cut that chronicles the stresses of life on tour and defines the term “breezy”. And hell, what’s an album without a good posse cut? ”West Is..” is a funky bell ringer and big up to all West Coast emcees carving out their craft alongside the Nonce during their heyday, as guest emcees Suggah Bear (of Urban Prop) and Meen Green provide lyrical wreck.
Ultimately, serving up raw Hip-Hop, the Nonce proved that you don’t have to be crazy, otherworldly lyrical gymnast to stand to be meaningful, you just have to mean well. And even though times change, it’s safe to say that “World Ultimate”, while criminally overlooked, stretched musical boundaries and pushed this LP into another atmosphere. It’s a shame how I’ve slept-on The Nonce, this album is pure “Bobbito” butters! ”World Ultimate” is the victor, all day and surprisingly, note even close….