With summer beckoning, we dig through the crates and find some of the lesser-known jams from the sunny West Coast.
With summer beckoning, Sabotage Times thought this would be as good a time as any to dig through the crates and find some of the lesser-known jams from the sunny West Coast that could, without wishing to tempt fate, be soundtracking your barbecue in the coming weeks.
1. â€śPut Your Handz Upâ€ť – Whooliganz (1993)
A group of white boys from Beverly Hills that formed a rap-group without coming off as forced and cringe-worthy? Hard to believe, right? â€śPut Your Handz Upâ€ť a typically-jazzy early-90s cut from their shelved 1993 album â€śMake Way For The Wâ€ť, the group caught the glazed-eye of Cypress Hill‘s B Real but fame failed to find them. Oh and the two rapping lads just happen to be Scott â€śMad Skillzâ€ť Caan (aka son of James and that short blonde bloke from Ocean’s Eleven) and Alan â€śMudfootâ€ť Marman, who went on to become the slightly-more-respectable hip-hop hit-maker The Alchemist.
2. â€śSuperhoesâ€ť – Funkdoobiest (1995)
You may have heard this track from the lady-obsessed Latino rap group Funkdoobiest on the soundtrack to cult-classic 1995 movie â€śFridayâ€ť but the song, as well as a surprising amount of their tracks, still sounds great today â€“ helped to no end by the production of Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs, we’re sure. While rapper Son Doobie gained notoriety for moving his, ahem, â€śtalentsâ€ť into the porngraphy movie industry, the songs from their early output still move with the kind of head-nodding-inducing beat that came to typify the era.
3. â€śSoul On Iceâ€ť – Ras Kass (1996)
A harder cut from rap journeyman Ras Kass’ critically-acclaimed ’95 LP â€śSoul On Iceâ€ť – a great album marred by patchy production despite Kass’ impeccable flow and the penchant for verbosity that saw him team up with fellow thesaurus-botherer Canibus to form The HRSMN (along with Killah Priest and The Dogg Pound’s Kurupt). This eponymous single was perhaps the album’s choice track and remains a chilling slice of boom-bap.
4. â€śJack The Mackâ€ť – Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf (c. 1992)
One of the best from one of the first rappers cut down in his prime, â€śJack The Mackâ€ť was an ATCQ-sampling gem from what would have been his first LP, before he was brutally shot dead in a mugging-turned-murder in 1993. The album â€śBig Shotsâ€ť was released posthumously by collaborator and Stone Throw records founder Peanut Butter Wolf in 2003 and offered a slice-of-life look into alt-hip-hop ten years previously and was well-received by both fans and critics.
5. â€śJ To The Iâ€ť – Da Nonce (1995)
A brilliantly smooth track from Cali rap group Da Nonce, also known by their rather-less smirk-inducing alias Topology Crew. Featuring on their currently out-of-print 1995 LP â€śWord Ultimateâ€ť (released on Rick Rubin’s American Recordings label), â€śJ To The Iâ€ť was a track which would typify their low-key output which focused itself around laid-back jazzy-beats and smart rhymes before the group split in 1999, with Sach going solo and Yusuf Mohammed found murdered the next year.
6. â€śFraudulentâ€ť – Homeliss Derelix (1994)
A contemporary of Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf, Homeliss Derelix made â€śFraudulentâ€ť in 1994 but it remained unreleased until 2003 when Stones Throw again came to the rescue, releasing it on 12â€ť. A bass-y joint with shades of Gang Starr permeating throughout, its an age-old stab at phony MCs and fake gangsters with subtle keys and even a little flute thrown in there at the end.
7. â€śThat’s How It Isâ€ť – Casual (1994)
From the forgotten 1994 album â€śFear Itselfâ€ť, Casual dropped this buzzy track with a killer drum-beat and one of the prototype â€śhoodâ€ť music videos. Dropping lyrical bombs with such easy aplomb that many go nigh-on unnoticed, Casual went on to become one of the most recognisable members of the legendary Hieroglyphics crew but â€śFear Itselfâ€ť (released on Jive, the label that went on to house The Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears) remained his singular solo record really worth its salt.
8. â€śDaylightâ€ť (featuring M.L.B.) – Mac & A.K. (1996)
A forgotten G-Funk classic coming in at the tale-end of the sub-genre, Palo Alto outfit Mac & A.K. never got near to emulating their Death Row contemporaries but this track, coming in at the very end of their currently out-of-print album â€śDrastic Measuresâ€ť, was amongst the very best of their relatively limited run.
9. â€śYou Ain’t Heard Shit Yetâ€ť – Rappin’ Ron & Ant Diddley Dog (1995)
Quaintly monikered, yes, but Oakland’s Rappin’ Ron was one of the most underrated and ultimately under-appreciated rappers of the nineties, before his untimely death in a car crash in 1997 aged. With Ant Diddley, Ron released â€śBad-N-Fluenzâ€ť (see what they did there?) in 1995, featuring appearances from modern rap pioneer Too $hort among others, but it’s â€śYou Ain’t Heard Shit Yetâ€ť which stood out most.
10. â€śPlayahs Modeâ€ť – Young Lay (1996)
Young Lay is probably best known for a few of his features with de-facto hip-hop GOAT 2Pac but the San Franciscan was unlucky not to receive attention in his own right. Backed by inexplicably funky sleigh-bell percussion and a G-Funk synth, Lay proceeds to skip about this classic track from his 1996 album â€śBlack N Dangerousâ€ť with a playfully over-the-top double-time flow that’ll have you reaching for the replay button. His career was curtailed by a shot to the head that left him in a coma and required him to relearn how to speak, the kidnapping of his one-year old daughter, the murder of his wife and a subsequent twelve-year stint in prison for armed robbery.