Coming of age as an emcee during the days Run-DMC and LL Cool J ruled the airwaves, in 1990 Ali Dee (real name Ali Theodore) took up producing music, which caught Hank Shocklee’s attention so much that he recruited him for his Bomb Squad production team and where he’d end up scoring his first major hit, the Aaron Hall’s ”Don’t Be Afraid” from the ”Juice” soundtrack. After this, Ali Dee got to sign on EMI Records, and produced his only installment to date in the hip-hop biz, his debut album ”Bring It On” from 1993.
Rapper and actor Jazzie Redd is considered as one of the pioneers of Houston rap alongside The Geto Boys and UGK, and one of Houston’s many living legends in the game today. He reached national success with the anti-drug rap song ”I Am A Dope Fiend”, off of the ”The Colors Of Jazz - EP” released on Pump /Quality Records in 1992 and which sold over 400,000 copies nation-wide. Surprasingly, the self-titled song ”The Colors Of Jazz” was not included in that release, but in his ensuing album ”Mile High Madness EP” from 1993.
Crew from Hollis, Queens, formed by CeStyle The Mic Murderer and Kamal B Wize. In 1992 they got a deal on Columbia Records but were dropped the following year, after which Kamal and CeStyle split ways, but in 1995 and through his ties with MC Serch (he was at one time manager of the group), CeStyle signed with Wild Pitch Records / EMI, where he continued to do his thing keeping the name Total Pack. The label got to produce and record his entire album, but their (unsurprisingly) wrong decision to delay its release led to a final lost of their distribution with EMI and Total Pack was once again without a deal. The previous year, two tracks, ”Battle Hymn” and ”What’s The Deal” had featured on DJ Eclipse’s ”Wild Pitch Blends” mixtape. The crew had also become regular guests on the Stretch Armstrong Show thanks to Kamal’s connections with Bobbito, and CeStyle even showed up on ”Stretch Armstrong presents Lesson 1 and 2” albums.
A look behind the scenes at the making of one of hip-hop’s best and most creative videos ever shot, directed by Spike Jonz and filmed in Los Angeles. The video features footage of the group performing the song backwards, replayed backwards, which when combined with the chopped, spacey beat of the song gives the video a slight surrealistic quality. The group also worked with linguistic experts to recite the entire song backwards. Ad Rock and Mike D of The Beastie Boys make a brief cameo.
Mr. Live & Tony Bones feat. Prince Po | Hold Me Back [Demo]
London-born, Brooklyn-based emcee Tony Bones was a frequent collaborator on Stretch Armstrong and Bobitto’s radio show during the mid to late 90’s, and with underground emcee Mr.Live with whom he formed 88 Whatsanames and released a couple of 12” singles on Bobbito’s label Fondle’ Em Records. Tony Bones has also worked with Organized Konfussion’s Prince Po and Pharoahe Monch, Ge-Ology, Rakim, EZ Elpee and Buckwild, but never put out a proper solo record in spite of getting signed to MCA in late ‘93 after they liked the demo tape this Pharoahe Monch’s produced joint belongs to.
The guys at the T.R.O.Y. blog posted this dope demo tape from New Jersey rapper Raggedy Man from The Gravity Clan alongside Chino XL, Ab Style, and DJ B Wiz, although most people may have heard of him from Red Bandit’s major posse-cut ”All Men Are Dogs (Nine Dog MC’s Mix)’' that also featured Grand Puba, Positive K, Snagglepuss, Notorious B.I.G., Grand Daddy I.U., and Pudgee The Phat Bastard. Raggedy Man is also a member from another New Jersey crew called The Imperial Guardsmen that includes female rapper Sah-B, Blackwatuz, and Nocturnal. The only known release from Raggedy Man was this nice demo titled ”In My Own World”, that Stretch and Bobitto played, and a couple of freestyle appearances he made on the show through the years.
Constant Deviants consist of emcee M.I. aka Mr. Impossible from Baltimore City and DJ Cutt from Brooklyn. Throughtout the 90s they’ve been making music on a major label (Arista Records) and two independent deals (Vestry Records and Brooklyn Pipeline) with six releases to their credit and a massive catalog of archived material. In 1996 they debuted with this underground bomb, and one year later added some new emcees and changed into Global Platoon until 1998 when the two original members got back together and drop new singles as Constant Deviants. The crew even has their own imprint ‘SIX2SIX Records’ since 2009.
Half-A-Mill (born Jasun Wardlaw) was a Brooklyn-based rapper and producer who climbed his way up from the underground and reached some mainstream recognition after he went on to join The Firm alongside Nas, Az, Nature, and Foxy Brown. He also contributed to ”Belly” soundtrack with the song ”Some Niggaz” in 1998, and in the early 2000 dropped two solo albums.. Unfortunately, his life was cut short as he was shot dead in his home in the Albany Projects in Brooklyn in 2003.
If there is a crew that best proves that records just like books should never be judged by their cover, Flutbush-based crew Bustin’ Melonz should have a honored position among the first places. Formed by three emcees (Squeechie Automatic, Freddy Dee, and Tiquan) and two DJs (Kaze and AD), their only full-length album in existance, ”Watch Ya Seeds Pop Out”, in spite of some silly moments and annoying skits, was just some fresh, occasionally even jazzy, hip-hop, however it was due in large part to a corny front cover with a pink sticker across it and the name of the group in watermelon colors on it that true hip hop fans got dissuaded from even taking the group seriously.