During those oh-so-mediocre days of the “indy revival” in the late 90’s, one of the few artists to actually put out records that still hold up today was Godfather Don. Although he was no stranger to the rap game, as he had dropped a great album on Select back in 1991 (“Hazardous”) which nobody heard, as well as becoming an honourary member of the legendary Ultramagnetic MC’s on “The Four Horsemen”, it was his involvement in the seminal Cenobites project that had lyric nerds pricking up their ears. As the opening salvo fired by Bobbitto’s Fondle ‘Em imprint, this collection of Kool Keith and God Don madness was never intended for commercial release, but after much pleading from Bob it hit the stores, and generated a significant buzz which resulted in a glut of Kool Keith records, each one less interesting than the previous, as well as a renewed interest in Don.
Linking up with Queens-based Hydra Entertainment, the Godfather went on to release a string of strong self-produced 12″singles. Starting with the incredible “Styles By The Gram”/”World Premiere”/”Properties of Steel”*, he followed up with the superb “Piece of the Action”/”Seeds of Hate”, straight into “Life Ain’t The Same”/”On The Other Side”, and finally “Fame”/”Da Bomb Baby”. When he dropped his second album, “Diabolique”, he made the commendable decision to record ALL NEW TRACKS, instead of throwing together all his old songs with a couple of new joints as most people seem to do.
Vocally, Don evolved from an abstract, left-field lyricist to a jiggnorant flowmaster by the time the “Diabolique” album hit, but I wasn’t complaining. His beats were a testament to the the stripped-down minimalism perfected by Showbiz, and his contributions to the Hydrabeats series (Volume 3 in particular) are some the rawest, most enjoyable instrumentals ever committed to vinyl. Sadly, he appears to have retired from microphone duties (rumour has it that he’s “found God”), but continues to bless the boards for hardknocks like Screwball, Royal Flush and Mobb Deep.
Anyone with information as to Godfather Don’s whereabouts, please let me know.
* Note to vinyl geeks: God Don’s first Hydra release was actually meant to be “Stuck Off The Realness”/”Status”/”Burn” (HYD-413), but only 100 copies of the test pressing were ever produced. A handful of these were later made available through Sandbox, and I was lucky to grab a copy. Shit is dope, if you didn’t know.
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