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Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Following a bitter legal dispute with Cold Chillin’ Records around 1989, Marley Marl broke out, taking Craig G and Tragedy (the two youngest members of the Juice Crew) with him. The resulting projects were good, if a little uneven. Craig’s The Kingpin was a mixture of the good (“Dopest Duo”), the bad (“Love Thang”) and the ugly (“Turn This House Into A Home”), possibly due to major label pressures, or perhaps a refelection of Marley’s broadening musical scope. Craig redeemed himself, however, with the incredible “Take The Bait”, which appeared as the b-side of the “Shootin’ The Gift (Remix)”.
Tragedy’s Intelligent Hoodlum LP was also a little hit and miss, as dope tracks like “Trag Invasion” and “Game Type” shared space with light-weight material such as “Back To Reality” (which found Marley jacking a hefty Soul II Soul grab as payback for Jazzie B stealing the “Pickin’ Boogers” drums). Large Professor and DJ Joe Fatal were responsible for many of the best cuts, although as was standard for that era the album credits don’t reflect their true contributions.
While songs like “Black and Proud” were standard “conscious” material, “Arrest The President” is a hard-hitting verbal barrage set to a tense track, and stands as one of the best politically-charged songs of it’s era. The promo-only remix gives the song a slighly different feel, replacing the stripped-down feel of the original with a rolling drum break and layers of electric guitar, sirens and even a kazoo thrown in for good measure. “Trag Invasion” is another raw cut, combining an ill drum break with the classic “Apache” guitars, while Tragedy goes for broke on some braggin’ and boastin’ type shit.
Joe Fatal, who you can hear cutting up his name during the intro to “…Invasion”, went on to being involved with Main Source‘s Breakin’ Atoms LP. as well as dropping a classic verse on a little something called “Live At The BBQ”. After a couple more lyrical cameos and a short-lived solo deal through DJ Muggs, Fatal returned to production and contributed a some beats to Fat Joe‘s second album. He’s currently the Editor and Founder of Fish ‘N Grits magazine, which is a cross between XXL and Hustler. Look out for an in-depth interview I did with him in the near future.
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