In the wacky world of diss records, crew-on-crew crime often provides the funniest moments. It’s one thing to talk greasy about some kid you’ve never met, but when you start riffing with someone you used to hang-out and perform with, things can really get ugly. Such was the case with former Juice Crew buddies Craig G and MC Shan. Having weathered numerous attacks from the outside (“Juice Crew Diss”, “The Bridge Is Over”), as well as in-house rivalries (G Rap and Kane) during their reign at the top of the rap game in the late ’80’s, the loss of super-producer Marley Marl was the death-knell for the this legendary collective.
After serious financial disputes with Cold Chillin’, Marley broke-out with the crew;s two youngest members – Tragedy and Craig G – leaving the rest of the squad to fend for themsleves. This worked out OK for some, as Kool G Rap connected with Large Professor, Big Daddy Kane had contributions from Prince Paul and Easy Moe Bee, and Biz Markie already had deep crates, but for MC Shan, Marley’s original number one frontman, the results were disastarous. Without the guiding hand of his mentor, Shan’s self-produced third album was an unholy mix of hip-house, rock-rap, swingbeat, ballads without TJ Swan and every other horrendous musical combination imaginable….including a duet with his wife. Combine that with a video featuring Shan swinging on a vine dressed as Tarzan, and you’ve got the recipe for instant dollar-bin status!
To make matters worse, Shan then proceeded to mouth-off about Craig G in teen-rap rag Word Up! magazine (stemming from jealousy regarding Craig still working with Marley, I suspect).
Craig wasn’t too impressed with these outbursts, and when he dropped his second album (Now, That’s More Like It) the freestyle wizard dedicated a number of tracks to burying his Puma-sporting rival. Here’s the first verse from “Going For The Throat” :
“Yo, I got beef, and this beef is on my mind
Since it’s on my mind, let me put it in a rhyme
It seems a brother that I went way back with
Is coming out the woodwork talking shit
At first it didn’t mean all that
Cause he was washed up and strung out on crack
Freebase, his life was a waste to the rap world
Nobody cared about him or his wack girl
So yo, I took it in stride
And continued with the rest of my life
Until recently he showed some form of indecency
When in a magazine he tried to release on me
But now it’s the last straw
I’m gonna wreck him, and anything he stands for
Point blank – Shan, you suck
And I’m about to nail your coffin shut
Juice Crew Law? That shit is out the window
Just like the basepipe, where all of your ends go
Yeah, excactly what I thought
Just like Magic when he was a little short
To buy crack from my man on the block
Eyes wide open, and your mouth just dropped
Ah-ah – don’t say a word
Just a lot of glance superb
MC Craig G to kick all the facts
About why your records are wack
BDP wrecked you quite a long time ago
But allow me to deliver the final blow
Dis me and get away easy?
Yo, I’m gonna hand you a squeegee
Go wash windows, that should be your career
I could give a fuck about what you “pioneered”
Straight up, that don’t mean shit
So won’t you take your vine and swing the fuck off a cliff
Yeah, I mean business
Don’t ever in your life try to diss this
Cause punk, I’ll rip you to streads
And mail your record company your head
I know it sounds a little graphic
I heard your album’s double plastic
And your single went copper
Congratulations, but I think you need a doctor”
And if that wasn’t enough, he finishes him off with Ripped To Streads (no, that’s not a typo!).
Shan attempted to hit back on the b-side of his “Time For Us To Defend Ourselves” 12″, with Even If I Tore It (which if nothing else, is worthwhile just for being more hardcore than anything on Play It Again, Shan). Compared to Craig’s spirited attacks, lyrics like “Get off my dick, short shit-stain” don’t exactly get the job done, other than possibly providing inspiration for the name of one of Ol’ Dirty Bastards‘ Brooklyn Zoo crew members.
Bonus trivia: The “Time For Us To Defend Ourselves” remix featured production assistance and drum programming by Outloud and PF Cuttin, who would later be known as one-and-a-half-hit wonders Blahzay Blahzay.
Craig G - Ripped To Streads (Now, That’s More Like It, 1990, Atlantic)
MC Shan - Even If I Tore It (b-side of the Time For Us To Defend Ourselves 12″, Cold Chillin’, 1990)
Images from Warner Von Wallenrod’s Humble Little Hip Hop Site.
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