Who Dat Rapper?
Who Dat Rapper 04-22-2017
The first incarnation of the legendary Geto Boys was the ‘Ghetto Boys,’ as they were known in their early years. The original lineup included a 14-year-old Raheem , 15-year-old Sir Juke Box and J Prince’s 19-year-old brother K9/Sir Rap-A-Lot. Under the Ghetto Boys spelling, the trio released “Car Freak” in 1986 at a time when group members rocked Kangols and Fila tracksuits. James Prince decided to change up the group members and Raheem went AWOL.
The Ghetto Boys – Car Freaks
Raheem – The Vigilante
Raheem came back around with his debut album, “The Vigilante” in 1988 at just 16. The album kicks off with the groovy “Dance Floor”. Over a backdrop inspired by Eddie Kendrick’s timeless “Keep On Truckin”, our host immediately goes in. If you are wondering if Raheem is introducing us to a new dance, guess again. His dance is dancing around opponents.
I turn on the radio and hear the rappers go
They can’t beat me and neither will they grow
To be anything more than a joke or fraud
Rappers keep coming and coming, but they don’t come hard
Then he starts calling out LL Cool J
Jack the Ripper’s a punk /
I never liked you, sucker, and your records stunk
The beat is nicely crafted complete with well placed horns and some singing toward the end of the record.
Raheem – Dance Floor
The next couple of tracks “Freak to Me” and “Im Mackin” showcase his storytelling chops. Both are similar tales of what happens to those annoying chicks. “Peace” and “Say No” feature positive messages advising the perils of drugs. I miss when a majority of hip hop warned against drug abuse. But don’t worry, if positively aint your thing, once the early 90’s rolled around, drug dealing tales became plentiful. The latter was a reggae influenced style Raheem introduced. On “Punks Give Me Respect”, Raheem again showcased his reggae influenced style, but dang why does he go in on LL Cool J once again?!?!?!?
“Shotgun” seemed ahead of it time. Over a rock infused production, our host discusses industry rule 4080. But this wasn’t a diss to Rap A Lot, as a matter of fact, it was a pitch for other artists to join the mighty label
A pocket full of money, you were screwed on the contract
I read the same one, look boy, read that
Percentage a small one, you better look, son
But now you signed – real dumb, real dum
“You’re on Notice” is another standout. This featured a fast paced beat that sampled the original Batman song. This is 80’s hardcore rap at its finest. The hook featured plenty of record scratching and gunshots. You can definitely feel the NY influence oozing thorough this song.
Raheem – You’re on Notice
Raheem’s first album was cool with me. It didn’t quite feel like a cohesive project, just a bunch of random songs put together. Those songs however were quite enjoyable. Remember, this is early Rap A Lot and gave us a preview of what was to come at the turn of the century. Raheem would stick around for a bit though.
Lost Angels Soundtrack
He emerged a year later on the Lost Angels soundtrack. Adam Horvitz aka Ad Rock from The Beastie Boys had a starring role opposite Donald Sutherland. “Self Preservation” was a rock influenced track with pro black rhymes and a powerful Malcom X vocal sample.
Raheem – Self Preservation
The Invincible was released in 1992 and featured a much more aggressive Raheem. The biggest change was the profanity was almost void on his debut. His first album flirted with tough style on a few songs on his debut, but by the time the early 90’s rolled around, he embraced violence. This is evident when he cursed out the interviewer on the albums first skit, then kicked his ass. This was actually kinda funny.
Raheem-Where You Been Nigga (Skit)
From that moment on, you knew Raheem wasn’t playing any games. “5th Ward” was a perfect reintroduction to our host. Over a smooth, funky bassline, Raheem discusses his hood 5th Ward in Houston. “Kiss The Bride” has Raheem talking about his extensive gun collection and the names he gives them.
Raheem definitely loves reggae. “Bombdudclot” and “Badness Again” once again showcase his Jamaican style. The latter has one of the most random, but hilarious verses on the entire album. All Raheem suggested was a women needs to be clean. My face still stings from my mother when she walked in my room and that part came on.
Raheem- Badness Again
“Death in the Arena” was obviously the most polarizing song in Raheem’s catalog. Last album, he came for LL’s neck, but this time around, he disses more rappers on one track than any other in history. Big Daddy Kane, Too Short, Intelligent Hoodlum, Chuck D, KRS One, Vanilla Ice, King Tee, Janet Jackson and even Monie Love were all targets??!?!?!?!? What did Monie do? And of course he had more choice words for his favorite target, LL. I don’t think anyone ever responded, but this was a bold move for Raheem. He may seem crazy for calling everyone out, but this is the essence of hip hop, let everyone know you have arrived and are the baddest on the black. He then ended the assault with his beloved Jamaican flow.
Raheem-Death in the Arena
Raheem discusses the chicks he messes with over the familiar backdrop on “Pressed for Time”. He even mentions Dawn and Kim who he mentioned in “Freak to Me” and “Peace” on his first album. “Style, You Got It” is an upbeat tune that discusses his career. The singing on the hook is a nice touch.
My favorite on the album has been on repeat for almost 20 years. “Original Mack Daddy” is a slowed down manifesto of the ladies he gets. The Isley Brother’s are probably one of the most sampled in hip hop, but I have never heard anyone flow over this
Raheem – Original Mack Daddy
Both albums are very different as they are reflective of their times. His debut had an unmistakable 80’s sound. The more aggressive The Invincible was released in the 90’s where tough talk sold records. This may have been his final album, but Raheem kept trucking on.
Raheem appeared on Blac Monk’s debut album, 1994’s Secrets of the Hidden Temple. Comprised of Lord 3-2, AWOL and D.A., they offered a unique vision. Raheem became an official member of the group on their final album, 1997’s No Mercy. Both Blac Monks albums were under the radar unless you craved all Rap A Lot releases. Their lyrics were original and the music was cooked up by the usual production team of James Smith, NO Joe and John Bido who were in their prime. Songs like “Natural Herbs and Spices” are just a taste of what this album has to offer.
Blac Monks – Natural Herbs & Spices
This hook to “Jungle Funk” features an interpolation of Tom Browne’s classic “Funkin for Jamaica”. This is 90’s nostalgia at its finest.
Blac Monks – Jungle Funk
Raheem hasn’t released any music since the Blac Monks disbanded. As a matter of fact, he has gone radio silent sans a few podcasts about 8 year ago. So if you ever hear an obscure record from early Rap A Lot days and wonder, Who Dat Rapper? That’s not Raheem the Dream, or Raheem DeVaughn……its Raheem.
WHO DAT RAPPER? is a weekly column featuring oft-forgotten and slept on Hip-Hop artists. Do you have a suggestion? Comment below.
Who Dat Rapper 04-22-2017