Tragedy – Sophomore Slump?
Tuesday October 11th 2005,
Filed under: Steady Bootleggin',Tragedy Special
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1993 was not a good year for rap. Shitty Onyx and Das-Efx clones clogged record shelves, and major labels began their attempt to kill off vinyl by limiting many albums to small promotional runs on wax. Sure, we had quality releases such as Midnight Marauders, Enter The 36 Chambers and Enter The Stage to keep us entertained, but they were the exception rather than the rule.

Tragedy‘s long delayed second album went through a few changes before it was released, as the “Cop Killer” fiasco resulted in the song “Bullit” being removed, while sample clearence issues saw Large Pro‘s excellent “Da Funk Mode” removed. Trag’s vocal style had also changed to reflect the times, but it came off a little stitled as he adopted a stop-start, Shout Rap delivery that was a step backward from his first album. Marley Marl left production duties in the hands of his right-hand man K-Def for much of the album, although it’s been rumoured that he remixed many of Marley’s original tracks for some reason.

This is pretty much the least essential release in the Intelligent Hoodlum‘s catalogue, and despite a couple of nice remixes on the singles, much of the material on “Saga of a Hoodlum” is forgettable, especially the Mario Van Peebles commissioned “Posse (Shoot ‘Em Up)”. “Grand Groove” is notable as it marked Trag’s first attempt at addressing personal loss – the death of his grandmother – in an honest and sincere manner, a skill which seems to elude most tough guy rappers. More recently, he recorded a couple of equally effective dedications to his deceased mother, and it’s this ability to wear his heart on his sleeve that puts Tragedy a notch above the competition.

“Death Row” is short track, and half of it’s an introductory skit, but the beat is dope and Trag keeps the vocal performance “in the pocket”, making it one of the stronger selections on the album. Since I already covered the original “Funk Mode” on the old Steady Bootleggin’ site, I’ve included the LP mix, which features the well-worn “Pot Belly” loop. Not a patch on the Johnny “Guitar” Watson version, but still worth checking out.

Saga of A Hoodlum was released by A&M subsidiary Tuff Break, and only a very small run of promo vinyls were originally produced, but it was recently bootlegged in Japan with an altered tracklisting which includes a few of the remixes and original versions, which is good news if you really want it on wax and don’t feel like shelling out $100.

Steady Bootleggin?

Tragedy – Death Row (Saga of A Hoodlum, Tuff Break, 1993)

Tragedy – Funk Mode (LP Version) (Saga of A Hoodlum, Tuff Break, 1993)

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32 Comments so far
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1993 was not a good year for rap.

I don’t agree. He’s a list of albums (some bad, some great) that came out in 1993 to show what went on in that year.

A Tribe Called – Quest Midnight Marauders
Apache – Apache Ain’t Shit
Black Moon – Enta Da Stage
Cypress Hill – Black Sunday
Da King & I – Contemporary Jeep Music
Das EFX – Straight Up Sewaside
De La Soul – Buhloone Mindstate
Del The Funky Homosapien – No Need For Alarm
Domino – Domino
Erick Sermon – No Pressure
Fat Joe – Represent
Geto Boys – Till Death Do Us Part
Guru – Jazzmatazz Volume: 1
Ice Cube – Lethal Injection
Ice-T – Home Invasion
Just-Ice – Gun Talk
King Tee – Tha Triflin’ Album
Kris Kross – Da Bomb
KRS-One – Return Of The Boom Bap
Lords Of The Underground – Here Come The Lords
Madkap – Look Ma Duke, No Hands
Maestro Fresh-Wes – Naaah, Dis Kid Can’t Be From Canada?!!
Masta Ace Inc – Slaughtahouse
MC Lyte – Ain’t No Other
MC Ren – Shock Of The Hour
Mobb Deep – Juvenile Hell
Naughty By Nature – 19 Naughty III
Onyx – Bacdafucup
Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich – Dust To Dust
Pudgee, The Phat Bastard – Give ‘Em The Finger
Scarface – The World Is Yours
Shaquille O’Neal – Shaq Diesel
Snoop Doggy Dogg – Doggystyle
Souls Of Mischief – 93 ‘Til Infinity
Tha Alkaholiks – 21 & Over
The Beatnuts – Intoxicated Demons
The Roots – Organix
Ultramagnetic MC’s – The Four Horsemen
Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Yall So Stupid – Van Full Of Pakistans

Comment by Lotuz 10.12.05 @

I agree with Lotuz, 1993 was a great year, and a good year for ex juice crew members Big daddy Kane and Masta Ace who each released an excellent album, the BDK missing on lotuz’ list

Comment by GregO 10.12.05 @

As I said in the second part of the opening paragraph, there were some quality releases, but there was also a lot of annoying singles from one-shot wonders, gimmicky vocal styles and awful shouted chorus to wade through to get to the good shit.

Comment by Robbie 10.12.05 @

the BDK missing on lotuz’ list

Yes, the list above is an extract from my CD list and ‘Looks Like A Job For…’ I only have on tape. That one will be added to the CD list soon. :)

Comment by Lotuz 10.12.05 @

I know what your sayin Robbie, there was more trash than treasures in ’93. Check 99 cent bin, and you will see what he means.
I forgot about Da King & I, as I recall that album was bangin’. Good look Lotuz, your list was like a flashback to the nine three.

Comment by DJ Forcefed 10.12.05 @

Yeah good look Lotuz, and I’m glad I’m not the only one lovin “Looks like a job for”. I got a question, is this funk mode version also produced by Large Pro?

Comment by GregO 10.12.05 @


1 Shalom A Leck (3:09)
Producer – K-Def
2 Hoodlum Intro (0:22)
3 Underground (4:20)
Producer – K-Def
4 Funk Mode (4:02)
Producer – K-Def
5 Grand Groove (4:21)
Producer – K-Def
6 At Large (3:23)
Co-producer – K-Def
Producer – Marley Marl
7 Death Row (2:25)
Co-producer – K-Def
Producer – Marley Marl
8 Speech (Check The Time) (0:15)
Co-producer – DJ Cory
Producer – Kool Tee , Shake City Productions
Vocals – Rafiyq
9 Mad Brothas Know His Name (3:44)
Producer – K-Def , Marley Marl
10 Pass The Teck (3:54)
Producer – K-Def
11 Street Life (4:10)
Producer – Epitome Of Scratch, The
12 Pump The Funk (4:12)
Producer – Marley Marl
13 Role Model (3:05)
Co-producer – DJ Cory
Producer – Kool Tee , Shake City Productions
14 The Posse (Shoot ‘Em Up) (4:17)
Producer – Mr. Freaknasti
15 Grand Groove (Bonus Mix) (3:58)
Producer – K-Def
16 Funky Roll Outro (0:25)

Also check out

Comment by Lotuz 10.12.05 @

the lp was originally gonna be called black rage.
there was a track of the same name that never saw the light of day.
i have this and the original (much better)version of at large on an mp3 of my mate rd`s pause tape.
anyone want it then hit me up on slsk.just add a 2 to my name..

Comment by beatlover 10.12.05 @

“The beef is on” from ‘Kane’s “looks like a job for..” is one of his best tracks.

I never heard this Tragedy album in full but my friend Jason Bate used to swear by it….But then he also liked Rumplestiltskinz so what did he know.

Since this is destined to turn into an examination of 1993 rap, here’s my ’93 top ten :

1. Snoop-doggystyle.

2. Big L-devil’s son.12″.

3. Wu-Tang-36 chambers.

4. Beatnuts-intoxicated demons.ep.

5. A.T.C.Q-midnight marauders.

6. Akinyele-vagina diner.

7. Black Moon-enta da stage

8. Biggie-party and bullshit.12″.

9. Krs One-return of the boom bap.

10. The ONYX 12″s/B.D.K-looks like a job for.

Comment by Brian Beck From Wisconsin 10.12.05 @

But then he also liked Rumplestiltskinz so what did he know.

And what’s wrong with Rumpletilskinz? Their album was good. They only lacked their own identity (a mix of Onyx and Leaders Of The New School).

Comment by Lotuz 10.12.05 @

heck i rather be back in ’93 than 2005 when it comes to music

Comment by BrotherOmi 10.12.05 @

Amen to that brother, that era for music (hip-hop) priceless. I wish K-Def’s site had the Grand Groove video, that classic, hard story-telling. Artist these days would cut off there left arm to have a track like that

Comment by ron 10.12.05 @

The tracks had to be re-mixed by K-Def. He was hot & still is, while Marley’s touch was over.

Comment by clay 10.12.05 @

beatlover, if you wanna email me “At Large (orig.)” and “Black Rage” I’ll add them to the article

I don’t agree that Marley was over in the ’93 though. He did some great work with Kamikazee and PHD around ’94-’95.

Speaking of “Return of the Boom Bap”, does anyone have the version with the Oscar Mayer sample?

Comment by Robbie 10.12.05 @

i can do this at the weekend for you robbie.
only problem is it`ll have to in one big file(theres other dope shit on there like bitch in yoo with a different verse).

did you ever get the mcchampions mp3 i sent you??

Comment by beatlover 10.13.05 @

Yeah that “MC Champion”s version was dope.Thanks.

Comment by Robbie 10.13.05 @

here`s five unreleased tracks from saga of a hoodlum.courtesy of rare dave.

Tragedy Unreleased Sessions

Comment by beatlover 10.14.05 @

Yeah nice one beatlover for the people who don’t know them already , personaly heard them all before.They would of been taped from Tim Westwood’s Capital Rap Show 95.8fm around Nov/Dec 1992 I used to tape the same shows so I know ..The the MC Champion’s would of been from Westwood’s show circa 1990 aswell .So Give Tim his props .”P.G time is over ,world premier ,going to a song you never heard before etc” are all Tim’s old jingle drops .WITHOUT TIM WESTWOOD YOU WOULDN’T have heard them .Just to make things clear to New Jacks.

Comment by The truth 10.15.05 @

Good stuff beatlover! :)

Comment by Lotuz 10.15.05 @

Good topic. I have often made that comment about ’93 and most people don’t agree but so much of that era was bad and most of what was good doesn’t hold the same weight now. I just actually listened to Da King & I and Madcap yesterday and I think used to like them back then but I could barely find 2 songs on each that I would bother ripping to my computer.

There was some great stuff but I think the best way to look at it was that that became one of the first years were what was wack outweighed what was good…

Comment by kevin beacham 10.17.05 @

That list of albums is pretty comprehensive, but contains some really bad albums. Apache? Das Efx? Erick Sermon? Ice T? Just Ice’s worst album? Kris Kross? MC Lyte’s worst album, MC Ren? Onyx? Naughty by nature? Pudgee? Shaq? Every one of those is appalling. I replayed ‘Under Pressure’ recently and it was like listening to mud. Straight to ebay with it!

Comment by Drew Huge 10.17.05 @

“Just Ice’s worst album”

I still say that title goes to Masterpiece.

And yes, Erick Sermon’s first solo album was total trash.

Comment by Robbie 10.17.05 @

Appalling? Some of them were, but I feel you guys are exaggerating. ‘No Pressure’ total trash? Come on now!

Comment by Lotuz 10.17.05 @

Dope post. Dope site overall.

Just for the record, there were never any official promo copies of ‘Saga Of A Hoodlum’ pressed on wax – only cassettes and CDs.
There have been three different bootlegs to date, with the recent Japanese one being the most complete – the others didn’t have the ‘Funky Roll Outro’ on the end.

UK heads might recall Westwood doing his WBLS Rap Exchange sessions with Marley over the top of that little instrumental track.

There’s also a white label/test pressing (Specialty label, I believe) with 5 or so cuts on from just after this era, rumoured to have been produced by Large Pro… I’m still working on a copy of that one…

Comment by chr!s 10.18.05 @

“there were never any official promo copies of ‘Saga Of A Hoodlum’ pressed on wax”

In that case – bless those greedy bootlegga bastards.

Comment by Robbie 10.18.05 @

K-Def’s site has the “Grand Groove” video, DOPE.

Comment by ron 10.23.05 @

man i been looking for these tracks ever since i lost my tapes of westwoods shows, but the tracks seem unavailable,

i would be eternally grateful if someone could please hook up another link to those 5 tracks which were omitted, they were soooo dope


Comment by skunk 04.08.06 @

Please could those unreleased Trag tracks be shared again? Dead links are soul destroying……

Comment by silentminority 07.08.06 @

Does anyone know who produced the street life remix?

Comment by Ben 07.19.06 @

K-Def did that one.

Comment by Robbie 07.20.06 @

1993 Was my Favorite year for hip hop…
Maestro’s Naah this kid Can’t be from Canada droped in Febuary of 1994. I know this because im one of the few people that think this album is banging….

Comment by Killer Keith 07.20.06 @

I would say that Erick Sermon’s No Pressure, was a little dissapointing for his first solo LP, but you must be on dust to say it was mud or trash, come on “Hostile” with Keith Murray was dope and still is, “Hittin Switches”, “Stay Real”, “Lil Crazy” with Shadz of Lingo, “The Ill Shit” with Ice Cube & Kam., “All In The Mind”, “Female Species”, “Do It Up” were all good solid joints if you ask me.

Comment by Jaz 04.15.07 @

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