Suave House Records was a great alternative to the mighty Rap A Lot label in the 90’s. While the latter may have created more gritty street records, Suave House embraced the Southern baller persona over leather soft production. Much of their first production was concocted by in house producer T Mixx. The first album he had major production duties with was South Circle’s “Anotha Day Anotha Dolla” released in 1995. Contrived of emcees Mr. Mike and Thorough,in true Suave House fashion, the album was split between gangsta stories and mackin and pimpin.
Anotha Day Anotha Balla
The smooth vibes begin on “Attitudes”. Over a butter soft backdrop, courtesy of the incomparable The Bar-Kays, Mr. Mike and Thorough discuss what can happen to playa haters. These smooth feelings continue with “It’s Goin Down”, “Gotta Maintain” and “Pimp Thang”. T-Mix had the ability to cook up some Southern Funk with a dash of West Coast. “A New Day” was released as a video and featured a California influenced production different than the album version.
South Circle – A New Day
MJG and Tela join the show on the dramatic “No Escape”. “Neva Take Me Alive” features an angry Thorough. He is vexed about something and sounds like he is ready for a race war. Unfortunately he doesn’t peel his anger back for the listener, so we are just left with random acts of violence. “Mental Murder” is surprisingly hypnotic as we take a tour through South Circle’s mind. “Final Call” is definitely a stand out. It begins with a classic 2Pac monologue from Juice. Thorough begins a tale which ends with him getting shot. Mr. Mike chimes in and starts rhyming from the perspective of the wounded man who becomes reflective on life. The dark production along with eerie whistles and crisp snares was the perfect match to this unique tale.
South Circle – Final Call
Anotha Day Anotha Balla reached top 10 in the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop charts, but unfortunately this would be the last South Circle album. But not to worry, Mr. Mike would go on to release a couple albums afterwards.
1996 Mr Mike released his solo album, Wicked Wayz. T Mixx once again stepped behind the boards and provided the tapestry for Mr Mike’s stories. This time around, legendary producer, E-A Ski produced a few tracks and even spit on “Southwest.” The guests were minimal and effective. The severely underrated Rocafella crooners, Christion, blessed the hook of “Where Ya Love At”.
Mr. Mike ft. Christion – Where’s Ya Love At
Ice Cube stopped by in his prime and added a menacing verse to the albums title track. Suave House brethren Eightball & MJG add their wisdom to “Stop Lyin.” Female rapper, NOLA gives her point of view on the standout “In The Midst Of Smoke.” She spits her game over a beat that sounds like the soundtrack to Halloween.
Mr. Mike’s next album came 3 years later in 1999. Rhapsody was the first time in his career he feature a different producer. DJ Battlecat and Mr. Mike himself handle most of the production. He also left Suave House to pursue bigger things over at Priority records. After a brief intro, the title song follows. Over a scary backdrop that sounds like the soundtrack to The Strain, he describes what he’s been up to the last three years. Mack 10 joins the party and shares his street stories on ‘Why Fall in Love With The Struggle” The only single released was “Texas 2000.”
Mr Mike – Texas 2000
Neither Mr Mike nor Thorough have released full albums. They both have been active on the mixtape circuit. The Corpus Christi/Houston duo was at the forefront of building Southern confidence during the mid 90’s. As Mike put it in “New Day“:
I don’t have to scream to tell you hoes ’bout this South shit.
Fans of Eightball & MJG and Tela’s verse on Scarface’s “Fuck Faces,” but may have not delved too deep into Suave House will enjoy this gem. This is worth going back to revisit or perhaps this was completely missed. A fresh new listen may be just what your doctor ordered.
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Who Dat Rapper 10-30-16