Remember back to the days when annoying, gimmicky raps were flavour of the month? A time when groups like the Fu-Schnickens* were actually taken seriously, and you could dance around with a muppet in your video and still get respect (UMC‘s “Blue Cheese”)? In a similar vein, Marley Marl unleashed the Lords of the Underground from his House of Hits, a NJ-based trio who shared The Pharcyde‘s fondness for energetic, high-pitched vocal outbursts. Not only did they ruin some outstanding K-Def and Marley productions with their corny new-jack techniques, but they also managed to piss-off several key DITC legends.
One of the members of LOTUG went by the name of Mr. Funkee, which didn’t sit too well with Lord Finesse, since he has been calling himself The Funkyman since his first record. As a seasoned performer who had been battling for years in school yards, on street corners and on stage, Finesse made like his “Grandpa” character and got grumpy at these kids claiming themselves to be “Lords” of the rap underground, when he insisted that no one in New York had ever heard of these clowns. Finesse aired-out his feelings on the matter at the Rocksteady Anniversary Jam (a few minutes after Grimm appeared), resulting in a classic example of a verbal ass-whipping.
But the Underboss wasn’t the only Bronx resident who took a disliking to this group. The 12″ for their biggest hit, “Funky Child”, contained a remix which featured an identical beat to Showbiz & AG‘s “Hold Ya Head”. Keep in mind, this was an era when biting was still considered sacreligious, instead of expected, so The Giant had no qualms about voicing his contempt on a couple of tracks. On “Next Level”, Goodfellas lead single, AG spits: “Fake Lords they get strangled with mic cords, taking beats from my LP for sure ain’t healthy”, while the white label treat “Stand Strong” added the following: “…The Giant’s on a mad mission, suckers sampled off the LP with no goddamn permission / they like our style that’s why they choose it, might as well let me write your rhymes and let Show do all your music.”
Naturally, the whole thing eventually got sorted out and, as confirmed by Finesse himself, the beef was deaded. The “Lords” went on to release another couple of albums which nobody bothered to pick-up, while Finesse’s production skills have kept him on the rise, contributing to projects for Capone-N-Noreaga, Brand Nubian and most notably Dr. Dre‘s Chronic 2001. He’s currently developing the Funky Technician Remix Project.
* Although it’s worth noting that they beat the Wu to the one-inch punch with the whole kung-fu movie samples angle, although flying around in Chinese take-out boxes in the “Ring The Alarm” video didn’t give the whole concept much credibility!
DITC vs LOTUG Audio:
Lord Finesse Live Rocksteady Anniversary Jam Volume 2 (white label)
“Stand Strong” – Showbiz & AG (white label)
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