Sunday, July 29, 2007


Aight, I was going to throw up a post on the next ten of the Top 333 Hip Hop Songs of All Time, but rather was inspired to hit up a post I was going to do a long time back. While I was listening to Diamond D's Blunts, Stunts & Hip Hop this morning, it took me back to a discussion that Angry Tim and I had on a road trip somewhere between the Getdown and the Yellow. We were talking about artists, much like Diamond D that blew up the spot at one time, had a record that, in time, would or could be considered amongst select circles classic material and then just vanished. I mean, not vanish in the sense of Skee-Lo, but rather in the Gary Coleman sense where they would never again return to that form. Skee-Lo just disappeared and deservedly so. If you're a real head, you still know where they are, you've seen their cameos, you're like Angry Tim and scavenge the internet for those records that were never released follow-up material, you've read the retrospectives. But ain't no Elektra, Jive or Polygram trying get them signed again. There's five specific records that come to mind that nearly changed the game, but then a sophomore slump (the kiss of death for any hip hop artist) would result in a quick exit from the spotlight. But, nonetheless, I'll stack these records against your favorite rapper's silly one-good-hook-and-fifteen-interludes album and they'd get col' embarrassed. I'll start with two records. The other three maybe this next week. I'm hungry and dude's gotta eat.

The first record is pretty obvious...and tragic.

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
Black Sheep was farmed through the Native Tongue come-up and Mercury Records back in 1991. Dude's had a blaze back in 1991. I mean, "The Choice is Yours" and "Flavor of the Month" had steady "Rap City" rotation and, if you owned this tape, you shredded it by the sixth week. Dres was a beast of an emcee and Mista Lawnge the superdope producer/DJ. The album was a thick as they come and, without debate, set a new mark for debut records. But when it took three years for the next record to drop (suicide in hip hop), no one would even remember their previous accomplishments and they'd fail to hit the same mark. Next thing you know, they're their own punchline: the flavor of the month.
Station Identification

About the same story as Black Sheep, Channel Live would follow the same course as a duo under the careful guidance of hip hop veterans (in Channel Live's case, the great KRS-One) and, after blowing up, it'd be a five year lull before they'd resurface. Station Identification was super-illy. "Reprogram," "Mad Izm," "Build and Destroy"--Station was a rare moment in 1995 that found Hakim and Tuffy hustling alongside other upcoming duos Outkast and Mobb Deep in an age that the was seeing the duo or group disappearing. But then, they got kicked out of the major label penthouse party (thanks, Capitol) and had to wait five years before their follow-up, Armaghetto.

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