Found On: “Drug Game”/”Taste The Flavor” 12″ (1994, Chanpen)
Sampling Lonnie Smith’s “Spinning Wheel”, and garnering enough attention with “Drug Game” to earn an appearance in the “Sure Shot Singles” column in a 1994 edition of “The Source”, Chilltown, New Jersey’s Ready To Roll left an imprint on the underground scene with a track that’s held up quite well for nearly two decades with the thumping, “Drug Game”.
With a catchy chorus in tow: “It’s A Shame/You Claim/The only way you know how to make a living is in the drug game!”, Ready To Roll served up a healthy slab of street bravado on the platter with their second single release. A quick nugget, the founder of Ready Ta Roll was Bad Boy affiliate Mark Curry, whom also went on to produce for the likes of Queen Pen, LL Cool J and even A.Z. (he handled a hefty bulk of production on “Aziatic”) under the allias of Chop D.I.E.S.E.L. Also of note, you can also find Curry on “Dangerous MCs” from Biggie’s forgettable post-houmous LP “Born Again”.
Found On: “The Obvious Joint”/”Ass & Benefits” (1996, Emo Records)
If you’ve been following Bloggerhouse for a minute, you’ll already now just how much of a sucker I am for Adagio! If you look at the Italian root of the word “ad agio”, it is defined as: to put “at ease”, and that’s the feeling I get every time when I bump anything from their discography. The Philly/NY duo of M.C. Reign Supreme & Big Cousin The Obvious Wonder (whom produced much of their work), released nearly half a dozen 12″s between the years of 1996 and 2002, mostly on Som and Emo Recordings and each and every one of them is straight up and down quality. It’s hard to pick a favorite, yet the Juggaknots “overseen” (peep the record) “The Obvious Joint” has risen to the top of the stack (shout to Propo88 & Blabbermouf!) over the years, the true definition of underground Hip-Hop!
Found On: “Middle East”/The Funk Wrecker” (1993, Azpect Records)
“Step ta’ me ya’ gotta’ step to the Middle East”!! Ah man, this track had/has soo many anthemic qualities, it’s amazing that “Middle East” didn’t become more of a smash! I mean, “Middle East” has it all, a quality underlying track from producer Bill Source, dope lyricism and an ill gravely voice from Ralece (the duo actually comprised Middle East, which was also mistook for Bill Source on occasion). On “Middle East”, Massive Ring peeps Tru and Taquan hooped on the track to make the ode to their native Washington D.C. one of 1993′s most viable underground cuts. Also, for those that love to dig, you may wanna’ scoop this 12″ up as the B-Side, “The Funk Wrecker”, while a little more down tempo, is just as ill as “Middle East”. This track was my introduction to the duo, but I’m desperate in the mix to track down three more 12″s that they released on Deep Dish.
Found On: “Back At Ya”/”Insane Nigga” (1995, City of Angels)
Ah man!!! This track is pure 9-5 illness! However, what’s weird to me is that I ALWAYS thought L.P.S.D. just had to be from the East Coast. Think about it, the grimy, dusty breaks, the ill Method Man vocal sample (“I be that insane nigga’ from the Psycho Ward”)? However, with the 2012 release (yes, 2012!!) of L.P.S.D.’s (a.k.a. Lyrical Prophets Strictly Dope) EP release on French label, Sergent Records, which also includes “Insane Nigga”, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
L.P.S.D. is actually comprised of (wrong again Eric, thought this was a solo act, lol) King D , Black Ran , Icy Lee and DJ Steven Flex, all of whom hail from San Diego. At one point they were all over the map within the San Diego skateboard scene. Yet, oddly enough, L.P.S.D. is probably more well “known” for the other cut on this 12″, “Back At Ya”, which was featured on on the Beat Junkies’ first compilation/mixtape in 1997 (for which you can thank DJ Babu, who is apparently King D’s cousin). Initially, “Insane Nigga” was only available as a limited test pressing/white label with limited pressings, but as expected, “Insane Nigga” became the more sought after of the two singles, hence the recent EP release.
Found On: Example’s “Impulses” EP (1997, Beat Farm Recordings)
Welp, before I get this party started, I gotta’ give props to one of my favorite blogs/sites on the interwebs, Hip Hop-The Golden Era , of which the site’s author, unikone, hipped me to the re-release of Example’s 1997 EP, “Impulses”. The EP is set to release later this month via Dope Folks (hmmmm…weren’t we just talking about them?). Comprised of two members, K & Cyper, who hailed from, of all places…are you ready for this? Houston (also the stomping grounds of underground favorites, K-Otix)! I know, right! I’d have never guessed it based on their..for lack of better wording, “sound”. Yet, after opening shows for the likes of Organized Konfusion, Das, Black Sheep, Common and even Outkast, the duo released their 6-song EP “Impulses” back in ’97.
Also of note, if you have some time on your hands, you may wanna’ also peep the Example’s 20o1 release, also on Beat Farm, “Progressions: The Austin St. Suites”, of which features the aforementioned K-Otix (they executive produced “Progressions” as well) on two tracks and even Bun B pops up for a cameo on “Southern Rap Phenomenom”. However, prepare yourself, these cats aren’t anything like your used to hearing from Texas.
Found On: “Ghetto Chronicle Daily” EP (Section 8 Records)
Don’t you recall seeing the promos for “Ghetto Chronicle Daily” back in the The Source in ’94? Is it a wonder that the EP wasn’t promoted properly? Especially with a label tagged “Section 8 Records”? Go figure. Regardless, this EP was about 50/50 for me, but one track that I bumped to def was “What U Saying”, produced by the highly overlooked Minnesota. Oh, and speaking of Minnesota, peep him in this King of The Beats’ Beat Diggin’ documentary, which I thought was pieced together quite well. For those of you unfamiliar, before Lord Tariq was speakin’ “Uptown Baby, Uptown Baby”, he along with Eddie Cheeba shared the microphone duties for the EP, while Minnesota laced them with some thunderous production. And while there’s been plenty of speak for years regarding a Money Boss Players reunion LP, it appears that it’s not going to come to fruition.
Found On: “The Epic EP” (1997, Treehouse Records)
Yes, I know, I know…more speak of Citizen Kane? Yes indeed, one of my favorite groups/crews (if you also include Down To Erf) from Canada, Citizen Kane reworked what was already a classic IMO, “Blackrain”(scroll down mid-page) with the help of the aforementioned Erf Productions. You may also note another Canadian connection can be found on “The Epic EP” as K-Cut (formerly of Main Source) lent a production hand on “Raisin’ Kane” and “Lost Angels”, neither of which are up to snuff with the breeziness of “Elements of Mind”. I mean, if you listen to the O.G. “Blackrain”, “Elements of Mind” is the TRUE definition of a remix, not just adding an emcee or two, or a guest verse here or there and tagging it a “remix”, uh uh….not how it useta’ work back in the dayz. What’s even more bothersome to me, as much as I loved the first few efforts from Citizen Kane and the emceeing in particular, the group’s full length LP, “Deliverance” just didn’t do it for me nor did the recent release of Citizen Kane’s unreleased tracks from 2001-05 “Scartown Memoirs”.
Found On “Mischief Night” 12″ (1996, King Poet Records)
Wow man! Listen to that crispy, sparse production!! I’m tellin’ you, cats are trying to recapture this feel, but good luck doing so. Now, here’s the sad part and probably my part of resistance to posting this track is I know VERY LITTLE about Mischievous LQ & The Mad Mischief Crew, other than featuring on my last Backpack Essentials mixtape back in January of 2012. With that being said, “Representing” as well as the B-Side “Nonsense” are type ill!! Good luck tracking this jawn down on wax, I just saw a copy on Ebay let go for 150 bones!!
Found On: “Soul Search’n” (Remix)/”Time” 12″ (1996, 456 Records)
Ahhhh….probably more known for the “Time” (Wastelandz Remix), of which I can vividly recall hearing for the first time on a Mista Sinista mix back in the days, Jam D.O.T. dropped three 12″s on the 456 records imprint and then feel off the map. Yet for the short recording span from ’95-’96 he forever claimed a spot as one of my favorite underground “random rap” artists of all-time. It’s a close one b/w this remix and “The Wastelandz” remix of “Time” as to which I prefer, maybe you can help me out, peep “Time” below as well:
Found On: “The Visualz EP” (1996, Fondle Em)
A track that is 11 minutes long and avoids all elements of boredom and repetition? Yes indeed, in 1996 on “The Visualz EP” the duo of Siah and Yeshua Dapo ED albeit achieved the impossible with the classic, “A Day Like Any Other”. A true classic that boasts timeless production, “A Day..” features nearly a dozen..yes, you read that correctly, beat “change ups”, and I’m not talkin’ about “Jackin’ For Beats” either, nuthin’ but originality taking place here! I mean, me personally, would be selfish with the thought of “do I really wanna’ unleash all this dope production on one track? Good Lord, “A Day Like Any Other” has gotta’ be one of Hip Hop’s most slept-on tracks ever. There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be a favorite of yours as well!!