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Fragging with the Tombstone neighbor! -- a history of New Orleans's Tombstone Records

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 25, 2009 01:44pm | Post a Comment


This blog entry is a look back at one of New Orleans's more obscure hip-hip labels, Tombstone. Tombstone Records was a notable New Orleans Rap label in the 1990s that released a handful of high caliber releases that sold over 100,000 albums around the South in three years before abruptly ceasing operations after a series of cataclysmic misfortunes.

It was founded by Elton “June” Wicker Jr. Most of the production was done by Merrill “Real Roc” Robinson, who also worked for Mobo. Other production was done by Ice Mike and the one-and-only Mannie Fresh. The label's biggest commercial success was the uncontested "Queen of Bounce," Cheeky Blakk, whose 1996 album Let Me Get That Outcha was a massive local hit for Tombstone before she jumped ship for Total Respect. Tombstone apparently operated on a shoestring budget with pleasingly dinky synths, cheap album covers and no music videos -- but unlike many local New Orleans labels of the 1990s, Tombstone seems to have been more fully committed to the compact disc format than most of their peers, forsaking the cassette for almost every artist.



 
The scene at Joseph S. Cark (left), the scene at a New Orleans Popeye's (right)

Wicker attended Joseph S. Clark High School and Americo Technical Institute and he started dating his future wife Kim when she was thirteen. They ultimately had two children, Elton III and Kerrionne. Wicker wasn't necessarily a saint in the eyes of the law at first. There was an aggravated assault charge in 1990 and a charge of possession and distribution of llello in 1991. But he seemed to turn a leaf, working at Southern Scrap and Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits with the dream of starting his own record label. That label was Tombstone, named after the George P. Cosmatos film starring Val Kilmer and some other people. After that, not only did Wicker run Tombstone Records, he also founded the Tombstone Basketball League and Cool Spot Baseball League for neighborhood kids, volunteered for the Goretti Saints and bought Christmas toys for the kids on the block.

1994

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