Das EFX - Biography
For a brief moment in the early '90s, reggae-influenced hardcore rap was briefly popular. Groups like Lords of the Underground, Fu-Schnickens and, above all, Das EFX, restored hip-hop's roots in Jamaican toasting to the forefront. However, after the style was adopted by a legion of new jacks, the duo dropped many of their stylistic hallmarks and most of their fans departed in the process.
William "Skoob" Hines was born on November 27nd, in1970 and raised in the neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Andre "Krazy Drazyz" Weston was born in Jamaica on September 9th, 1970 and raised in Teaneck and Union City, New Jersey. Both figures rapped in high shoal, Hines with Das EFX's future producer, Tony Lynch as his DJ. In 1991, both rappers were in school at Virginia State in Petersburg, Virginia, where they became met freshman year through a mutual friend and, after winning a campus contest, they began to work with Brooklyn-based producers Chris Charity and Derek Lynch, who'd formed a production team, Solid Scheme Music. The two rappers formed Das EFX (Das standing for "Drazyz and Skoob"). Their break came in 1991 when EPMD signed them to their GMC productions after catching a performance at a talent show at Club Tropicana in Richmond, Virginia. At that point, EPMD were attempting to foster a crew of talent, The Hit Squad, which also included Kid Solo, Redman, Knucklehedz and Hurricane Gloria. Das EFX quickly rose to establish themselves as the leading light of the collective.
They released their debut, Dead Serious (1992 EastWest Records), and immediately blew-up. The first single, "They Want EFX," received heavy airplay on MTV, was a Top 40 hit, pushed the album to the Platinum mark, and was picked up by the TV show, Beverly Hills 90210. The album was a showcase for their trademark sound, furiously-flowing tongue twisters and obscure, obtuse and seemingly stream-of-conscious pop culture references. They were tapped by Ice Cube to rap on his third album, The Predator.
Meanwhile, tensions grew between the two members of EPMD. Erick Sermon alleged financial impropriety on Smith’s part. Parrish Smith alleged that Sermon hired intruders to burglarize his home at gunpoint. Sermon was arrested but no charges were filed. When they and most of The Hit Squad filmed the video for "Head Banger," a fight broke out. EPMD broke up the following January. Redman and Hurrican G stuck with Sermon whilst Das EFX and DJ Scratch stayed with Smith. K-Solo… went solo.
By 1993, commercial rappers including Common, Jay-Z and Kriss Kross were all incorporating elements of Das EFXs' style and their follow-up, Straight Up Sewaside, (1993 EastWest Records), dropped most of the "iggitys" from their lyrics. Despite not producing any singles approaching the popularity of "They Want EFX," it nonetheless reached number twenty and went Gold. After that they were mostly quiet, except for a came with PMD the following year. Their third album, Hold It Down, (1995 EastWest Records) moved in a harder direction and was produced by DJ Premier, Pete Rock and Easy Mo Bee. It reached #22.
By the time of 1998's Generation EFX, (EastWest Records), Das EFX's once massive audience had dwindled to a cult following and their persistent east coast hardcore sounded increasingly retro in a world dominated by Cash Money and No Limit's New Orleans rap. Unlike their first three albums, it featured a number of guest appearances, including Redman, M.O.P., EPMD and Miss Jones. Their final album was How We Do (2003 UTR Music), which featured a cameo from Sean Paul reflecting their dedication to stubbornly hoeing their own row of reggae-influenced hardcore. In 2010 the group toured again, and plans to record again are in the works.