Jan 19, 2012

New Lords of the Underground and Rampage: Tales from the Crypt

9:14 AM


Dust fills whatever air the cobwebs don't occupy. You could cut the smell of mothballs with your index finger. There's a coffin in the room. A coffin in the room!? Who keeps coffins in their house? It has to be empty, right?

*Creak* What the...?

*Creak* What was that?


Oh. It's just some rappers from the '90s rising from the dead for another shot at hip hop glory.

The first faces to emerge are a group of guys likely unimpressed with Jay-Z's constant references to moving the Nets to Brooklyn – New Jersey's own Lords of the Underground. Some of their more rabid fans may be familiar with their 2007 album House of Lords, but the last time I saw these guys they were promoting their third album Resurrection on the goddamn Ricki Lake Show in 1998. That was a shocking and horrible experience for someone who regarded their 1993 coming our party Here Come the Lords as prime evidence of the superiority of early-'90s rap. (A belief I maintained until a recent conversation with Big O where he made some derogatory comments about LOTUG. I listened to that album again, and now it's hard to forgive some of the album filler's simple ryhmes and bland topics. A handful of songs still knock though, especially "Chief Rocka.")

So now a new LOTUG track makes its way into the hip hop MP3 blogosphere. It's called "Say Yeah," and the group (or maybe just Mr. Funke – my ears don't detect any trace of Doitall) actually sound improved. Long-time collaborator K-Def cooks up a nice piano-laced, boom-bappy beat, and lines like "kicked out of Paris / Too many croissants, yo" bring a smile to my face. The drab hook is sure to keep this off any Best of 2012 lists, however.

Hulkshare download via 2DopeBoyz

Next up is Rampage. You may know him as the guy who grabbed cameos on the "Flava In Ya Ear" remix or "Woo Ha! (Got You All in Check)" – that's because he's one of the great beneficiaries of hip hop nepotism, blessed to call the ├╝ber-talented Busta Rhymes his cousin. Rampage had a pretty hot single in 1997 called "Wild for Da Night" that was primarily gassed up by a sinister beat and classic Busta chorus. Rampage works best as a sidekick – Rampage:Memphis Bleek :: Busta Rhymes:Jay-Z.

Now, out of seemingly nowhere, Rampage comes out with "Zig Zag Zig" featuring Biggie's ol' buddy R.A. the Rugged Man. Busta's cousin relinquishes the mic after one verse, turning it over to the more-capable Rugged Man. R.A. sounds fresh despite dropping '90s New York rap references like "I was born pissed off, I stay hatin' / I walk the streets lookin' like I'm Onyx with the mad-face invasion."

Zig Zag Zig feat R.A The Rugged Man by Felony Muzik

I wouldn't expect these fellas to spend too much time outside of their basement wood tombs. But these songs were at least a ray of light when wading through post after post of boring blog rap.

Check these guys out in their early '90s prime:

Lords of the Underground – Flow On (Pete Rock Remix)

Rampage – "Wild for Da Night"

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