On this date exactly a quarter century ago, Newark, NJ rap trio Lords Of The Underground dropped their debut album Here Comes The Lords on Hip Hop powerhouse Elektra Records.
In the early 90s, it was still a big deal to have legendary super producer Marley marl as executive producer of your project, which was a major boasting point for the Lords from New Jerusalem. Adding on the fact that frontman DoItAll Dupré was cousins with “Funk Doctor Spock”, who at one time even serves as the group’s DJ, meant that the “funky” genes must run in the family.
Surprisingly, the Lords’ first album was packed with hit singles, with five songs from the album’s 15-track playlist making their way onto the Billboard charts. With “Funky Child” and “Chief Rocka” leading the album’s momentum, tracks like “Psycho”, “Flow On” and the album’s title track just proved that the Lords could hang with the best of the tongue twisters of the era including Fu-Schnickens and Das EFX. Even Notorious B.I.G. was down with the Lords of the “funk’ and even sampled a bar from Mr. Funke for his “Machine Gun Funk” track on Ready To Die.
Salute to DoItAll, Mr. Funke, DJ Lord Jazz, K-Def, Marley Marl and the staff at Elektra for this timeless piece of Hip Hop history!
On this day in Hip Hop history in 1993, Oakland trio Souls of Mischief release their underrated debut album 93 Til Infinity. Hailing from Oakland’s Hieroglyphics camp, which is led by Del Tha Funky Homosapien, these conscious adolescents put together an LP that, despite their “inexperience”, held it’s own against the work of East Coast artists thriving in New York’s backpacker, boom-bap scene. After a quarter of a century, this album is regarded by real Hip Hop purists as a classic.
Quietly peaking at #84 on the Billboard 200 chart, this album is the crown jewel of the Hieroglyphics collective and ranks among some of the most timeless albums of the time. Critically, this album was highly regarded by journalists and other artists as well. It’s genre-defying subject matter, jazz and funk infused production, and unique style apart from anything else in California made this album stand out (even if it didn’t have the sales to show it). Majority of the albums success was a result of it’s lead single “’93 til Infinity” which peaked at #72 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Jazz has again begun to find its way into mainstream Hip Hop. With the success of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, more artists have started to incorporate the classic brass and string jazz sound. On this day in Hip Hop history, one of the the first jazz fusion Hip Hop albums, Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) was released by Brooklyn based trio Digable Planets in 1993.
Peaking at #81 on the Billboard 200, this successful debut introduced a fresh new element to the boom-bap scene in New York. With members hailing from all corners of the country (Butterfly from Seattle, Ladybug Mecca from Washington D.C., and Doodlebug from Philadelphia), Digable Planets was able to bring a unique flair to the conscious rap game. Although not as overtly political as the group’s follow up album, this project does touch on some controversial subjects such as abortion rights and artistic drug abuse.The album’s hit single “The Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” has become a Hip Hop classic. By peaking at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100, selling 500,000 copies in a year, and winning the Grammy for Best Rap Performance by Duo or Group, this single cemented it’s place in music history. The song is still used to this day in various advertisement, TV show, and movies.