Whether from the pages of popular magazines or from the regular folks hanging on the street corner, Papoose received countless accolades before the release of an official album. Equipped with his signature, hard cadence, he managed to release over a dozen mixtapes under the guidance of high-profile mixtape-slinger DJ Kay Slay between the years 2004 and 2006, which in 2005 earned him the Justo Mixtape Award for Best Underground Artist. A more striking fait accompli was the endorsement in a Village Voice interview by hip-hop's original god MC, Rakim, that Papoose was one of the young N.Y. rappers best carrying his legacy.
Born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the same section of Brooklyn that spawned his rap elders, Jay-Z and the Notorious B.I.G., Shamele Mackie was nicknamed Papoose (a word used to mean Native American baby) by his grandmother. Based on his rhyme acumen, rap veteran Kool G Rap invited Papoose to be on his Roots of Evil album in 1998. After a failed record deal, Papoose decided to press his own mixtapes in order to build his reputation from the ground up, leading him to meet DJ Kay Slay. There is no interesting coincidence or some wacky back-story as to how the two hooked up. Papoose simply approached the DJ as he was leaving his eminent post at New York's Hot 97 radio station -- a couple of times actually -- in 2004 and aggressively promoted himself. Not only did DJ Kay Slay start placing Papoose on his Streetsweeper mixtape series, but he essentially founded the Street Sweepers Entertainment imprint to help gear up the unsigned artist to be New York's next legend MC.
Papoose particularly enthralled the mixtape circuit with the songs "Alphabetical Slaughter," a lyrical onslaught of vocabulary running down the letters of the alphabet, and "Sharades," a narrative about the hip-hop police that oscillates from a first- to third-person viewpoint. He patiently took his time to find the best label situation but did broker promotion deals with Violator Management and Busta Rhymes' Flipmode Squad. After guest appearing on a few tracks in 2006, including the remix of Busta's Top 20 pop-charting single "Touch It," he finally signed a 1.5 million contract with Jive Records in August 2006. His debut album, The Nacirema Dream, was practically already finished, but in the meantime, he held over fans with The Best of Papoose: The Mixtape, a succinct synopsis of his prolific mixtape run.
Few artists in hip-hop have afforded the longevity that Sadat X has. Where so many off his peers have faded into obscurity, Sadat somehow continues to write innovative songs, deliver relevant contemporary commentary, and effortlessly staying tuned to trends of the day. Having enjoyed an outstanding career in hip-hop, spanning nearly 3 decades as one of the genres most distinctive voices, his undeniable twang has commanded songs not just as 1/3rd of the fabled Brand Nubian (5 group albums), but alongside our genres greatest from Jay Z, Notorious B.I.G., Nas, & Common (to name a few).
He’s even been tapped by the likes of popular singer/songwriter Jack Johnson, legendary House-producer Miguel Migs and MC Lyte all in recent months for collaborations on their respected albums. And not just vocalists fiend for a good X verse; extraordinary producers from The Neptunes to Primo to Madlib to Prince Paul have all called in lyrics from the self-proclaimed Dot Father to accentuate their sound scapes.
When you hear the name Andre the Giant, your initial thought is a great, larger than life, ground-breaking, strength defying man. A.G. (Andre Barnes) was born in hip-hop’s originating borough - The Bronx. AG was asked to contribute to Lord Finesse’s LP, titled The Funky Technician. On that fateful session, A.G. met Showbiz. Bringing back some much-needed swagger and soul, the forming of Showbiz and A.G. is what some might call the rebirth of the Bronx. Show and A.G. became a collaborative intricate part of the superb Diggin’ in the Crates Crew; an elite team of MCs and producers who can claim much influence on genuine East Coast Hip-Hop.
In 1992, A.G. and his counterpart Showbiz, released their debut single “Soul Clap”, a self-titled EP. Their debut album, Runaway Slave, followed and is seen to date as a hip-hop essential and they followed up with Goodfellows in 1994. In 1999, A.G. released his much antici-pated first solo debut, The Dirty Version. A.G.’s second solo album, Get Dirty Radio, was released in 2006. Flash-forward to 2011 and almost two decades after A.G. not only made an impact but a dent in hip-hop; A.G. continues to release quality Hip Hop albums. A.G. is also an intricate part of the group Trinity, gearing up to their dedication to hip-hop purity.
Live in the cipher will be reviewing Lil Wayne’s latest release I Am Not A Human Being II. Join the cipher team as we rate and review this hip hop heavy weight. Known for his witty word play and ability to produce hit songs, can Lil Wayne keep up the success he has been known to deliver?
Artist Review: Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne, is an American rapper. At age of nine, Lil Wayne joined Cash Money Records as the youngest member of the label, and half of the duo, The B.G.'z, with B.G.
In 1997, Lil Wayne joined the group Hot Boys, which also included rappers Juvenile, B.G., and Turk. Hot Boys would release three albums, “Get It How U Live!” in 1997, “Guerrilla Warfare” in 1999, and “Let 'Em Burn” in 2003. In 1998, Lil Wayne appeared on the hit single “Back That Azz Up” by fellow Hot Boys rapper Juvenile, which reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart and #5 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart.
Lil Wayne's debut solo album, 1999’s “Tha Block Is Hot” at age 17 featured significant contributions from the Hot Boys and was certified double platinum, debuting at #3 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. It also went to #1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The lead single was “Tha Block Is Hot” which peaked at #24 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
His 2000 follow-up album “Lights Out” failed to attain the level of success achieved by his debut but was certified gold by RIAA. The lead single was “Get Off The Corner” which was followed by the second single, “Shine” featuring Hot Boys.
Lil Wayne's third album “500 Degreez,” released in 2002, followed the format of his previous two, with significant contributions from the Hot Boys and Mannie Fresh. While certified Gold like its predecessor, it too failed to match the success of his debut.
Beginning in 2003, Lil Wayne began recording a series of mixtapes titled “Da Drought” that led up to his 2004 album “Tha Carter.” “Go D.J.,” the lead single from “Tha Carter,” reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album went on to peak at #5 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, eventually the album was certified gold by the RIAA. Lil Wayne also made a guest performance on another Top 10 single, 2004’s “Soldier” by Destiny's Child.
Originally founded in 1990 by two Connecticut teens; Reflex and Open Mic (known then as Jedi). Calling themselves “The Nobility,” they were heavily influenced by the progressive hip-hop of the time, including Public Enemy and the Native Tongues Posse. The duo recorded countless demos in Reflex’s garage with the song lyrics focusing on science fiction and conspiracy theories.
In an attempt to be heard they hooked up with University of Connecticut radio DJ Cool C to showcase their songs over the local college airwaves. The buzz being created by the airtime resulted in numerous battles with local MCs which also increased the recognition of the increasingly-popular teens. It was also during this time that Open Mic renamed the group “The Demigodz,” taking inspiration from one of his own verses.
During their high school years the group expanded with the additions of New London County lyricists; Feedback & De Ja Vu who were involved in the recording of the Demigodz: Coming Like A Storm To Your City demo. One day when the tape was playing on UConn’s 97.1 radio station it caught the ears of a young aspiring rapper named Apathy.
During the early nineties the Demigodz were taking countless trips to New York City, and were slowly but surely breaking into the industry. Shopping their demo around town and spitting in ciphers on Harlem’s 125th St., they began to get connections including Force Five (famous for their roles in the “House Party” movies) who taught them the ropes of the production scene by allowing them to sit in on their recording sessions.
In late 1994 the group split in half due to musical differences. Reflex and Feedback left the group and formed Skin N Bones (also known as French Connection), while Open Mic and De Ja Vu scouted for new talent to fill the void left by the former members. Through a friend of former Demigodz MC Feedback, Open Mic was introduced to Apathy (at the time known as Apathy The Alien Tongue), who he immediately brought in as a member. With his superior lyrical abilities Apathy soon became the group’s most prominent member and formed a strong friendship with Open Mic. Not long after Apathy joined up De Ja Vu dropped out.
During the summer of 1995 the duo joined the New England chapter of the Zulu Nation but soon left and became affiliated with the New York based Alien Nation instead. Using their connections in the Alien Nation the group added MCs Eternia and Naptron the Meta Predator to the Demigodz roster. With new production equipment purchased by Open Mic the group put out a new demo which circulated around the underground and created a buzz on the independent hip-hop scene.