Introducing The 90’s Rapper Where Are They Now Detective Agency
Wednesday July 29th 2015,
Filed under: Crates,Features,Not Your Average,The 90's Files,Where Are They Now?
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Do you ever sit around and wonder ‘What the hell happened to that marginally talented rap crew who released an album in the early nineties?’ If so, I’m here to help. It turns out that some of your old favorites didn’t all go back to working ‘civilian’ jobs after the roller coaster ride that is a recording contract. Some of them kept keeping on for another shot at fame, and a few are still releasing music this decade, believe it or not. I’ve previously posted modern efforts from The Legion and Freestyle Professors, but after donning my grey trenchcoat and developing a Columbo style wonky eye I was able to dig up the following:

Ten Examples of Kid Rap That Aren’t Embarrassing
Tuesday January 20th 2015,
Filed under: Features,Listicles,Not Your Average,The Unkut Guide,Where Are They Now?
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Kid Rap became a fad in the early 90’s, but youngsters rapping has been going on since the beginning of hip-hop. Matter of fact, some of them had more to offer than shaved heads and shouted choruses. Tragedy and LL were sonning their peers back when they were 14 and 16, respectively. Meanwhile, Jeff from the De La Soul skits never made an album while those Quo clowns got Redman and Aaron Hall features on their album. Where’s the justice?

The Triumphs and Tragedies of Larry Smith

Larry Smith

Please head over to Medium where you can read my first piece for Cue Point, a collection of long-form music features curated by Jonathon Shecter aka Shecky Green.

The Triumphs and Tragedies of Larry Smith

‘Best of Larry Smith’ playlist:

Macklemore Ripped-Off His Haircut From A 90’s Washington Rapper
Monday August 26th 2013,
Filed under: Art of Facts,Sizzle-chest,The 90's Files,Where Are They Now?
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For anyone who doesn’t have pale-faced “indy” rap sensation Macklemore condemned to death by firing squad based on his musical output, this should convince you. MC Class B-Max, aka Robert Bassett Ben Saunders from The Source‘s “Unsigned Hype” winning crew Brothers Of The Same Mind can clearly be seen sporting the same “funkee” hair-do as ya boy Young Thriftshop, way back in 1991. I demand that his MTV Video Music Award be stripped from him immediately and that B-Max is paid 50% of all future royalties until said haircut is changed.

Brothers of the Same Mind – “High Brothers”

Video: 3rd Bass Reunion Show

I’ve never been a huge fan of these guys, but they did help KMD get on so I’m willing to cut them some slack. This recent reunion show certainly doesn’t seem to do them any favors, basically resembling what would happen if a guy who owned the local pizza store and his accountant decided to put on a rap show.

The Return of T-Ray
Sunday November 25th 2012,
Filed under: In Search Of...,Video Clips,Where Are They Now?
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Thanks to a tip from DJ 7L (who himself was tipped-off by DJ Eclipse), it seems that the mystery of T-Ray’s disappearance from the music game has been solved. Thankfully he wasn’t involved in a fatal knife fight with Joell Ortiz‘s manager Mike Heron following the interview I did with him, it seems that Todd has become the ringmaster for a freakshow, which now has it’s own reality TV show launching in 2013, complete with his wife and two teenage kids:

Dapper Dan Is A Wanted Man
Wednesday October 17th 2012,
Filed under: Harlem Nights,The 80's Files,Video Clips,Where Are They Now?
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Any rapper, athlete or hustler worth his salt in the 80’s owned at least one Dapper Dan outfit. Everyone one Mike Tyson to Rakim to Ultramagnetic were getting decked-out in sweatsuits made from cut-up Gucci handbags and whatnot. For those who wanted to go the extra mile, you could get your ride customized with wheel covers and even the roof of your jeep!

Here’s how Chucky Smash from The Legion remembers it:

TJ Swan’s Lost Single

First there was The Search For TJ Swan, followed by the Tribute and eventually this:

tj swan is my father…i mean sperm doner..he fell off and is gonna stay off..he doesnt take care of his daughter’s (he has 3) i am his 1st daughter n i want evryone to know he’s a liar and a loser and I don’t respect him.
Comment by nicole grant (tj swan’s oldest daughter) 09.01.05


Marley Marl Shows Off His 1990 Jump-Off
Thursday December 10th 2009,
Filed under: Video Clips,Where Are They Now?
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This is pure jokes, folks.

The 90’s Files – F.T. of Street Smartz

Name: F.T. (Fuc That aka Full Time) from Street Smartz.

Affiliations: Lead MC in Street Smartz, which consisted of F.T., Maoz and Syx. Part of the Tru Criminal Records family, which included AK Skills, 151 and God Sunz.

Claim To Fame: Contributed tracks for a number of movie soundtracks, including Bones (‘F-It-Less’), Rush Hour 2 (‘Brolic’), Friday After Next (‘Sex, Drugs, Alcohol & Lies’), Final Destination 2 (‘John F. Hennessey’) and All About The Benjamins (‘Money All The Time’ feat. Junior MAFIA). Opened for Eminem on the Anger Management 2 tour.

Current Status: Recently completed a track with Black Milk, and is currently recording a new album with his Stand Out Music crew – Musicman (who’s worked with Akon), Blaqmatter and A-King.

Who Is Rap’s Ultimate MILF?

There are plenty of attractive women in hip-hop – the problem is that most of them are just nameless video chicks. When you examine the finest looking rap dames who’ve had kids, the field narrows considerably. Factor in such requirements as aging gracefully and not going mental, and the list is reduced to a mere slither. As a result of hours of extensive research, Unkut Dot Com been able to select what we consider to be the eight hottest rap MILF’s in the game and randomly match them up against each other on the basis of how good they looked way back when, how fly they still look and what talent they might possess to further add to their overall appeal. Sure, you might argue that this kind of objectification of women is further reinforcement of the ‘Man’s World’ mentality that dominates hip-hop, and you’d probably be correct. But spare a thought for the eye candy of limited ability who might otherwise never garner a mention in the columns of this fine website. Don’t they deserve their time to shine too?

Round 1

The Real Roxanne Vs Shorty No Mas

Funkmaster Wizard Wiz – The Unkut Interview

There’s no denying that Funkmaster Wizard Wiz is a bugged-out dude. From boasting about “making snowballs outta dog shit” to penning the most bizarre “anti-crack” record ever, Wiz never failed to entertain. After working with producers of the caliber of Ced-Gee and Pumpkin during his stint at Tuff City, Wiz tried his hand at hustling once his music career began to wane. Unfortunately, due to his flamboyant dress sense that carried over from his on-stage persona, it wasn’t long before he was arrested and sentenced to half-a-decade behind bars, where he embraced Islam and decided to focus his music in a more positive direction. Currently residing in Atlanta with his wife, Wiz talks about his early days in the Bronx, getting banned from KISS-FM, beating-up Aaron Fuchs and some of his unique on-stage stunts.

Robbie: Did you start out as an MC originally?

Funkmaster Wizard Wiz: Actually I was a B-Boy first. I was a breakdancer back in ’76, ’77. I spent a few years doin’ that, building a reputation at that, getting familiar with that, then after a while I just decided that I no longer wanted to get dirty and get my clothes dirty and be on the floor – but I still wanted to be in the spotlight. I found another way to not get my clothes ripped-up, not scuff up my British Walkers and stuff like that. That’s when I saw Prince Whipper Whip, Grandmaster Caz, T-Bone, Charlie Chase, Flash and ‘em were doin’ a party at Roosevelt High School in The Bronx. That was my first time being introduced to emceeing, and seeing that power that a microphone had. Actually, Whipper Whip was the one who really made the greatest impression on me as an MC during those early days.

When did you get together with The Undefeated Three?

It’s funny that you just mentioned The Undefeated Three, because I just got off the phone with both of ‘em! Those brothers are doing great. The brother Easy G from The Undefeated Three has accomplished some great accomplishments – he done been with LaFace Records, he done did projects from TLC all the way down to Mary J. Blige, so he’s still very successful in producing. 1979, 1980 was the first time I had got together and created The Undefeated Three. Me and T La Rock were partners actually, and a young lady by the name of Vicious T. We were actually the original Undefeated Three, but as far as trying to maintain the group and coming to rehearsals and keepin’ the name up, they really weren’t motivated in that. So I took the name over and I got two more members – which was Gerald Stevens and Joe McDonald – and we created the second version of The Undefeated Three.

Where Are They Now – Hard Knocks

Naming yourselves Hardhead and Stoneface risks envoking the image of Bedrock, but these dudes weren’t on some Fruity Pebble bullshit. Their School of Hard Knocks album was tough to get for a long time, but those who managed to track it down were in for a treat, as this LP was well ahead of it’s time conceptually while delivering pro-Black and anti-police messages on almost every song. The thing that made this project stand out from the other politically charged groups of the time was the unique approach that Hardhead took to every topic he tackled, providing a refreshing angle take on some well-worn topics. He also repped nicely on the albums pair of brag rap showcases, all the while backed by effective bests from The Speakchuckas.

But where have the crew been since this project? No MySpace, no weak come-back attempts, nothing! Anybody able to point me in the direction of these characters will be an original Lego set depicting the Wild Pitch records office.

Further reading: RHS reviews the album. Comment hilarity ensues.

‘Dirty Cop Named Harry (Remix)’

‘Nigga For Hire (Remix)’

‘Strictly From The Bronx’

Eric B. Returns

So I interviewed Eric B. a few weeks back and you know I just had to find out how accurate that (now removed) Wikipedia entry really was. In particular, the talk of this chain of restaurants.

Robbie: Are you also involved in the restaurant business?

Eric B: Yes. I got a bunch of ‘em. What I do is, actually I set ‘em up and I gave ‘em to the kids. So I give ‘em to my kids, my brother’s kids, a friend’s kids, and they actually run it. I tell a funny story – I was down in Texas one time and I came back home and I told the kids, I say, ‘I ate at this restaurant and it was really good!’ And they say, ‘Dad, we’re partners in the restaurant. You own half the restaurant!’ I was like, ‘Oh, OK’.

So this is like a restaurant chain type of thing?

Yeah. They’re like a whole bunch of Mom & Pop restaurants, and the kids come in and we put up the money and we do joint ventures with different people.

Are you still into collecting luxury cars?

I do and I don’t. It’s funny, you get to a point in your life where all that doesn’t even mean anything. Everyone likes luxury items and things, but you get to the point in your life where it’s like I’ve done it for twenty years – what else could you possibly do? I just like to get from Point A to Point B. I still got a buncha cars but it really doesn’t excite me like it used to in the 80’s. I used to be on the cutting edge of vehicles and needed to have the newest of the newest of the newest. But now it’s like I’m in a different place – I got the centre where I’m helping kids and stuff like that That means more to me than the cars and all the jewelry and all that stuff. Making a difference in people‘s lives – and actually saving people’s lives. We got a bunch of kids that’s in gangs and stuff, and having them here and off the streets – we could’ve somebody’s life! That to me is, when people ask me, ‘What would you like to be remembered for?’ My humanitarian efforts and helping people. My music was fine and fantastic, but just to be able to say, ‘You know what? At the eleventh hour we could always count on him to help us for our charity or help us to take the kids out of a slump and takin’ them into somewhere positive in their life’.

You’ll have to grab the March edition of Hip-Hop Connection for more on this one, though.

Preview of Eric B. & Avion:


The Search For The Ultimate Kid Rapper – Round 1

Kiddie rap. Great idea, huh? Almost as interesting as kiddie rap records is the beef between kiddie rappers. Chi-Ali and Illegal hated each other. Everyone hated ABC and Kriss Kross. Bow Wow and Romeo….who the eff cares. On with the round-up!

2 Low

Mentor/Ghostwriter: Scarface.

Naughty By Nature Wannabe? Nah, he was from the South, fool.

Career Highlight: That shit he did on ‘Face’s second album.

Current Career Status: May be working at one of J-Prince’s car dealerships.

The Unkut Guide To: J.V.C. Force

Pic courtesy Meaning of Dope.

After forming meeting at high school out on Long Island, Curt Cazal, B Luv and AJ Rok (who was originally from Mt. Vernon) would spend three to four hours every day rehearsing their routines. It wasn’t until they were all in college that the J.V.C. F.O.R.C.E (Justified by Virtue of Creativity For Obvious Reasons Concerning Entertainment) began to send their demo tapes out to labels. They now admit to being a little surprised when B-Boy Records offered them a deal on the strength of ‘Nu Skool’, which the group considered to be their weakest song at the time. According to AJ Rok: “Rock Candy Records was the label. Scott La Rock approached them about doing a label, and B-Boy Records was supposed to be – on paper – the joint venture between Scott La Rock and Rock Candy. That’s originally how it started. But what happened is, the people that owned the label – I think it was two Jewish guys, and a black dude – because Scott never put no money up, they let him say you’re an owner…but the paperwork didn’t reflect that.” J.V.C. Force’s debut single for the label, ‘Strong Island’, was originally recorded as the B-side to ‘Nu Skool’, but once it was laid down there was no denying the power of that song and it went on to become a huge hit as the A-side in 1987, and was quickly adopted as the anthem for the still-emerging hip-hop scene in Long Island. By sampling Chuck D‘s rallying cry of “Strong Island!” from Public Enemy‘s ‘Bring The Noise’ ‘Rebel Without A Pause’, J.V.C. were the first crew to really stand-up and represent Long Island to the fullest.

Where Are They Now? The Rap Bandit

NAME: The Rap Bandit (Real name Peter Goldman, stage name Danny Ozark aka ‘The Aging Wigga’).

AFFILIATIONS: Grew up with The Source founder Jon Schecter in Philly. Part of the original Mind Squad at The Source magazine, where he also penned the ‘Media Watch’ section under the name Pistol Pete. Later moved the column to Vibe magazine.

CLAIM TO FAME: Pioneered the art of making fun of rappers. One of the rare columns to actually move from one magazine to another.

CURRENT STATUS: On the rise in the stand-up comedy scene in Philly, and also gaining notoriety through frequent guest appearances on the highly rated Kidd Chris Show on WYSP-FM. According to the host Michael Cerio, ‘I’ll be honest he is into some crazy shit. Drugs, gambling, gay sex, STDs, trannies, you name it. All that being said he remains the nicest guy on the planet. I worry for him a lot but I guess that’s what makes him Danny.’ Was involved in a bizarre panty raid on NBC10 investigative reporter Lu Ann Cahn in 2007.

Robbie: What was the inspiration to start The Rap Bandit? Were you already writing for The Source?

Danny: I was writing for The Source under the name ‘Pistol Pete’. I was doing the media watch and was actually one of the first writers they had. See I grew up with Jonathan Schecter – he was the co-founder and original editor-in-chief of The Source. Then he went to Harvard and they started The Source there, and I would just do little articles, ‘cos I’m a writer too – I’ve written for the Phildalphia Enquirer and a bunch of different magazines. At the time we started it, hip-hop was semi…not in it’s infancy, but I think the Rap Bandit column debuted in ’92, and let’s say rap – for general purposes – didn’t really become known until ’81, ’82, and then sorta picked-up steam the great summer of ’88. A lot of times when something like that starts, the principals – all the rappers and all that stuff – they’re just revered, so The Source was good because it wasn’t just those cheesy rap magazines that were out anymore. From that, then you want to get into humor, so we started the Rap Bandit column and it was a really cool way to make fun of rappers because the reality at the time was…like ’92, I’m 26…in real life I was just a typical nerdy Jewish guy, and my real name’s Peter Goldman. As Peter Goldman, you’re not really gonna be able to make fun of rappers and be taken seriously…

The Eric B. Mystery Deepens
Wednesday August 20th 2008,
Filed under: Features,In Search Of...,Not Your Average,Where Are They Now?
Written by:

Recently I highlighted a clearly embellished Wikipedia entry about Eric B. The thing is, I was pretty sure that at least some of it was based on reality (‘vehicular menagerie’ excepted). Part of that stemmed from Dr. Butcher‘s comments:

Is Eric still involved in music?

Eric is always involved with something! [chuckles] Eric is a dude that finds a way to get money somehow, man. I mean when people thought he wasn’t involved, he was livin’ in penthouses in Manhattan, right on Broadway. Quietly, behind the scenes on an executive level at record companies and stuff. After their stint in the game, I guess he just decided to take a back seat as far as not wanting to be in the public eye. He’s not somebody who wants to have his face out there, run around, braggin’, ‘Oh, I’m Eric B!’ He’s like a quiet type of guy. That’s why we don’t see him or hear from him. He’s still doin’ his thing though.

Clearly this required further investigation, however there was nothing to be found on his MTV Cribs appearance or his business ventures online. When I interviewed Freddie Foxxx last week, however, I made sure to ask him about Eric, and he confirmed that he does actually own a large chain of restaurants! Now all I have to do is prove his meeting with George Dubya and the ‘staff of 14 grounds keepers, chefs, maids, and security’ and we can wrap this up.

Next Unkut Interview You'd Like To See?

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Searching For Siah
Thursday July 31st 2008,
Filed under: BK All Day,Features,Interviews,Steady Bootleggin',Where Are They Now?
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By Idris Intifada

By the mid to late-’90s, the hip-hop landscape became a Staten Island garbage dump filled with the shards of tossed out CDs, rather than the block party, powered by the streetlight, next to a burnout building in the South Bronx. This isn’t a diss to the Wu, but a description of the environmental disaster eating away at the rugged grains of Shaolin like erosion.

Tricia Rose argued that Soundscans for hip-hop were always off, because b-boys and b-girls were always dubbing the hood’s copy of the newest release. That was the ’80s, it was supposedly all golden in those days. A decade later, it was all plastic; the jagged plastic debris of compact disc refuse. The record industry began producing an even greater abundance of CDs that found their way into the landfills in the forgotten borough, rather than into listener’s boom-boxes for dubbing.

Instead of contributing to the ecological crisis, Siah broke with the then popular double-CD-packed-with-filler-plus-elaborate-packaging trend and released a 12-inch vinyl single with a small logo of two microphones being “fondled” like testicles on the label. Contrary to the endlessly gift-wrapped CD that only sparks when placed in a microwave, listening to the “Repetition”/”Pyrite” single reveals the complex layers that compose the enigmatic MC from Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. More importantly, anyone who gets a hold of this record would never send it on the path to a heap on the island of Staten but cherish the music like Ghost does his Wallo’s.

Idris: What have you been up to in the past couple of years?

Siah: Making music, going to school, teaching; a variety of things. I just sort of drifted away from the hip-hop scene in probably 2000/2001. I tried to make a little push as an independent artist by putting together a demo but I didn’t really push hard. The people who were really interested in what I had been doing from the mid to late ’90s didn’t step up and say “yeah, we want to give you a budget and we want you to make a record.” So, I didn’t push that hard because my interests were turning in different directions and such. Essentially, I went on to pursue a master’s degrees, I studied abroad, and now I work teaching Middle Eastern politics and international relations. I kept my hands involved in music, but I drifted more from producing and rhyming in the hip-hop vein to playing the piano, learning different genres of music. For example, right now I’m playing in a student Tango ensemble, the music of Piazzolla. I kept myself stimulated with music but I moved away from hip-hop generally speaking.

Where Are They Now – Eric B.
Wednesday July 16th 2008,
Filed under: Features,Strong Island,Video Clips,Where Are They Now?
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You know how you’re always hanging out, wondering out loud, ‘I wonder what Eric B. is up to these days?’ No? Maybe it’s just me. But thanks to the wonders of Wikipedia, this question has been answered:

Eric is now the owner of 47 restaurants throughout the U.S. including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, California, Texas, Washington DC, and most recently, Pennsylvania. Residing in a 57,000 sq. ft. palatial manor, Eric has become the ideological musician turned entrepreneur turned royalty and has truly taken his hit song Eric B. is President to fruition. With a car collection featuring seven Rolls Royce vehicles, including the famed Rolls Royce featured on the cover of Follow the Leader, Eric’s vehicular menagerie features a Rolls Royce Phantom, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin, and many other sought-after cars and trucks.

Recently featured on MTV Cribs, Eric B’s home, with a staff of 14 grounds keepers, chefs, maids, and security staff, was influenced by oriental design.

In 2007 Eric was honored by the President of the United States with an invitation to the White House where he met President George W. Bush, the First Lady and other dignitaries.

Eric B. For The Win!

Eric B. & Rakim ‘I Ain’t No Joke’ video: