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Cash Money Records - The Independent Years (1991-1998)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 31, 2009 11:25pm | Post a Comment

Check out our selection of Cash Money Records titles on Amoeba.com!

By now, anyone that reads this blog and is a fan of the many, great New Orleans labels that sprouted in the fertile hip-hop delta back in the '90s may've wondered why no Cash Money thusfar. Well, I've been working on it but the greatest of labels required a lot of work.
Hope you enjoy... wodie.

Back in the 1980s, the New Orleans Rap scene began to take root with early rappers like Tim Smooth, Warren Mayes, Ninja Crew and New York Incorporated all making noise. The latter act featured Mia X, Denny D, DJ Wop and Mannie Fresh and was probably the first rap group in the city. After their dissolution, Fresh hooked up with former Ninja Crew member Gregory D and they released a handful of influential, if not very widely promoted records.

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Parkway Pumpin - Be Pumpin' Hits Like its Motown

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 27, 2009 04:34pm | Post a Comment
Although many independent labels appeared in the wake of New Orleans's 1991 bounce explosion, Parkway Pumpin' was one of the first. It was also one of the most influential stables of talent, although the limited finances of KLC (the man behind the boards) resulted in precious few recordings. When Master P relocated No Limit from Richmond, California to New Orleans, most of the original roster (aside from his siblings) was taken directly from the legendary Parkway label.

Most of Parkway Pumpin's associates never got around to recording with the label. Artists like Fiend, Mac (as Lil Mac The Lyrical Midget), Mystikal Mike (as Mystikal), Mr. Serv-On and Da Hound (Da Gert Town Hounds/Full Blooded) all went on to record popular records at No Limit without having anything released in their time at Parkway Pumpin'. Only one future No Limit Soldier did, Soulja Slim.

39 Posse

The first act to record on Parkway Pumpin' was 39 Posse, a trio comprised of Shack, DJ KLC and MC Dart. Shack was born Derrick Mushatt in 1970. He grew up in a large family with nine siblings. When he wasn't working, he often rapped at parties. MC Dart's real name is Dartanian Stovall.

DJ KLC was born Craig S. Lawson. He grew up in the Melpomene projects. His father played saxophone and Lawson, nicknamed "The Drum Major," followed in his musical footsteps, playing in the Green Middle School marching band. 

The three met around 1985 when they competed in breakdancing contests.Lawson later moved to a house in Uptown on Parkway. Lawson's production genius can scarcely be exaggerated and he deserves to be as widely recognized as the justly lauded Mannie Fresh, who was a childhood friend. They both began producing around the same time. A year after Fresh's production debut with Gregory D, DJ KLC  and DJ Treble appeared on MC J Ro J's "Ain't Nuthin Nice" in 1988.

39 Posse released their debut EP in 1989 but caught legal flack over some lyrics and it was quickly withdrawn. They returned to the studio with the intention of remixing the offending songs and ended up recording all new material. They released a single, "Clockin' / Pumped in Power," in 1991. In 1992 they released their second EP, which included “Got What It Takes to Make It,” “Ask Them Hoes” and “Pass the Snake.” Around the same time, Parkway also included Lil’ Elt, Corey C., EXD, Silky Slim.

39 Automatic
In 1993, 39 Posse dropped their debut full-length, 39 Automatic. Songs like "Ask Them Hoes," show KLC's nascent sound to already be immediately distinguishable from other triggerman-employing producers with his use of deep, sustained bass and martial snares. "Stuntin' Stars," "Bitch I'm Dart" and "Pass the Snake" are like a low budget, gutter versions of later Beats By the Pound produced tracks, with their hard beats and bluesy piano. For fans of No Limit's production, it's well worth seeking out.

 
Lil Elt & DJ Tee's "Get the Gat" and "Get The Gat Gemix" from the same year showed KLC easily capable of knocking out enjoyable but standard bounce.






On Parkway Pumpin' there were obviously no contracts, and artists including KLC himself often simultaneously worked at other labels. In 1994, KLC played keyboards and 39 Posse produced EXD's No Elevation for In the House Records. Mystikal (now minus the "Mike") recorded his debut at Big Boy, where KLC also produced a track for veteran New Orleans rapper Sporty T.


Magnolia Slim recorded Parkway Pumpin's sole release in '94, his debut, Soulja fa Lyfe. To fans of Soulja Slim's later stuff, it's immediately clear that this too is the work of someone most commonly described as being "the realest." Here is the New Orleans susperstar who, though having a slightly higher voice, is already mixing crudeness, scariness and humor on highlights like "Kickin it for them Hoes" and "Powda Bag" in a captivating combination that made him so enjoyed by so many.

In 1995, Magnolia Slim recorded The Dark Side EP (produced by KLC and featuring 6 Shot) at Hype Enough. Fiend followed Mystikal to Big Boy and recorded his debut. That same year, Master P moved to his grandmother’s in New Orleans from his mother’s in Richmond, California. Back in California he'd established No Limit records with an inheritance from his grandfather in 1990. Though in California his solo records and West Coast Bad Boyz compilations were viewed by some as underground classics, he had little traction in the south. Once he arrived in New Orleans, he quickly signed Mia-X and Tre-8 to his label. In addition to them, P blew up into the household name he is today by signing most of the Parkway Pumpin' talent, including, most notably, KLC, who as the leading figure in Beats By The Pound transformed No Limit from a little-heard west coast label into a southern powerhouse that sold over 50 million units. In 1998, alleging across the board unfair business practices, nearly everyone left No Limit and most of Beats By the Pound, including KLC, who continued as leader of The Medicine Men

Tragically, the previous year 39 Posse's 28-year-old Derrick Mushatt was shot nineteen times at the intersection of Philip and Clara. In 2003, 27-year-old Soulja Slim was shot four times on the way to a performance in front of his mother's home. MC Dart is still making music in New Orleans, as Poison Dart. KLC also lives on; a few years back he released this amazing song with former Parkway Pumpin' figure Fiend.




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Untouchable Records - down wid it cuz we bound to get it

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 27, 2009 01:15pm | Post a Comment

Untouchable Records was one of the many New Orleans rap lables that sprang up in the early nineties after the advent of bounce. A small label with a roster of musicians that, for the most part, came and went as they pleased, they nonetheless featured some of New Orleans' biggest, most notable talents. It was
started by Al "Rock" Capone; he also handled some of the production of the mostly downtown roster.
Most of their production was handled by Gary "Ozone" McKee, as well as the Tombstone-associated Merrill "Real Roc" Robinson, and even Cash Money's prolific genius, Mannie Fresh.

 

1994
The first release on the label was Raw II Survive's West Syde Gz, produced by Merrill "Real Roc" Robinson, L.O.G. and Swift. With titles like "Crippin' in da Darkness" and "West Syde Gz," you might assume that it has a west coast sound. Rest assured, it's unmistakably New Orleans. It's also solid but not especially memorable, perhaps hampered by its very low budget sound. 

Also released in 1994, 9th ward rapper Pimp Dogg's Forever Loaded (produced by Double O, San Quin and L.O.G.) is the winner of the two. I'm not sure who influenced who, but it's got a gangsta bounce sound at times very similar to Fila Phil with the dynamics of Mr. Ivan and 6-shot.

1996


211's
Hustlin' Pays the Bills was produced by Ozone with several tracks by Mannie Fresh and T-Bone.
It's mostly gangsta bounce with some straight up West Coast sounding tracks. Meanwhile, Pimp Dogg already took off, releasing his next record (Who's That Aggin) on Hollygrove Records.

1997


In 1997, one of the greatest rappers, 9th Ward's Fila Phil followed up his classic debut at Slaughterhouse with Da Hustla Returns on Untouchable. The result, produced by Ozone, Real Roc, Carlos Stephens (of Beats By the Pound fame), Mannie Fresh and Sean "Solo" Jemison and the result is another classic. Another 9th ward (CTC) rapper (and former member of The Bally Boyz with Fila Phil), L.O.G. released Camoflaged Down. It's another good record, mostly produced by Ozone and Real Roc with contributions from Al "Rock" Capone, XL, T-Bone and Mista Sinista. Ms. Tee was formerly responsible for singing a lot of the hooks at Cash Money, where she also released solo albums. After coming to Untouchable, she released Hot Girl.

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Big Boy Records

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 16, 2009 08:53pm | Post a Comment
For several years in the '90s, before Master P moved to New Orleans and gobbled up most of the talent of the legendary Parkway Pumpin, Big Boy Records was one of the main creative and commercial rivals to uptown's fledgling Cash Money. Over the course of the next few years, they released some of New Orleans' indisputably finest (and under-recognized) bounce and rap music. They also got caught up in all-consuming rivalry with Cash Money that raged in tit-for-tat diss songs while at the same time many of their stars departed for bigger labels. When Cash Money and No Limit signed multi-million dollar deals with major labels, Big Boy floundered, only to be reborn years later on a smaller scale,

Big Boy Records
was founded by Charles "Big Boy" Temple and the talented producer, Leroy "Precise" Edwards, who was responsible for most of the varied but always warm, solid and organic sounds. Others involved in the production were " David "D-Funk" Faulk and Brian "Big Bass" Gardner.

1993
Big Boy's first signee was pioneering New Orleans raper Sporty T (Terence Vine). The Gentilly resident had previously been a founding member of The Ninja Crew -- New Orleans's first rap group to record. In the early '90s, inspired by hits by Juvenile and Everlasting Hitman's bounce hits, he moved in that  direction as well. The label's first single was "Sporty Talkin' Sporty." Though bounce, it had an uncharacteristically heavy sound for the genre. After it sold 4,000 copies, Big Boy sought out more talent.

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Mobo Records - West Bank's Finest

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 15, 2009 06:05pm | Post a Comment

In the old days (the '80s), most New Orleans rap was released by labels from outside the state. Dallas's Yo! had handled Gregory D & Mannie Fresh and Tim Smooth. Ft. Lauderdale's famous bass label, 4 Sight, released Ninja Crew's "We Destroy." Juvenile was initially on New York's Warlock. When majors got involved, they invariably mis-handled the artists. Gregory D & Mannie Fresh moved to RCA; Warren Mayes and pioneering west bank rapper MC Thick signed to Atlantic.

All that changed following the bounce explosion of 1991. New Orleans's long established Soulin' Records finally got into the rap game, releasing DJ Jimi's debut single, the bounce classic "(The Original) Where Dey At?" Seemingly overnight, a number of cottage industry labels sprang up, including Big Boy, Cash Money, Parkway Pumpin, Slaughterhouse, Take Fo' and Untouchable. None of them except Cash Money lasted into the new millenium. But for a time, they collectively produced and recorded some of the most overlooked and greatest rap of the decade and routinely outsold nationally-promoted rappers of the day, helping turn the tide toward the south.

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