Sunday, May 25, 2008

Once Again Back Is the Incredible...!

I'm back from the festival (good times), with another indie comeback 12"... this one from rapper Bust Down (often spelled as Bustdown, or sometimes even Bust-Down). It's "Anotha Fonkey Rhyme" b/w "There It Is" on Sheska Records (a small New Orleans label... I think their only other release was the DJ Let Me Play EP by T-Mann), and it came out in 1997.

Bust Down's comeback story is almost identical to Clayvoisie's, which I recently wrote about. Both artists were hardcore, up and coming MC's signed with Luke, on his sub-label, Effect Records. Both put in appearances on records by Luke and Poison Clan, and both may be best known for putting out a diss record on one of Luke's albums, co-rapping with JT Money (Bust's was "Pussy Ass Kid and Hoe Ass Play (Payback Is a Mother Fucker)" off I Got S--t On My Mind). The only difference is, since Bust Down came up first (by about a year), he got several singles and his entire album released on Effect before it shut down (as opposed to Clay's single 12").

So like Clay, Bustdown came back with an indie 12". Both songs here are produced by an Abdul "D.J.W." Abdullah, who does a pretty nice job. Production-wise, this sounds a little more like the NY indie 12"s that were big at the time (which is not a bad thing at all), and Bustdown's flow is the same as ever.

"Another Fonkey Rhyme" has a brief intro (and outro) between Bust and his DJ, and then it's just Bust ripping one freestyle rhyme for the entire length of the song over a fairly mellow track. It uses the same bassline as Grand Daddy IU's "Nobody Move;" but the beat is flipped differently enough to feel pretty unique. The instrumental for "There It Is" is slightly faster, with a little go-go even - a bit more in tune with his first LP. And D.J.W. provides some nice if unexceptional cuts to the rhythm of both tracks.

Update 8/2/08: This was also released on cassette and CD, with the same catalog number and a picture cover (see above). Interestingly, those made "There It Is" the A-side and "Anotha Fonkey Rhyme" the B-side. Even more interestingly, the cassette notes promise it's taken from the Bust Down's upcoming album Back On the Map ...though that was never released.

More interestingly still is the story of the record label, Sheska Records. It was owned and run by Richard Pena, a notorious New Orleans drug kingpin whose suppliers and main distributors, like Bust Down, came from Miami. In a VH1 news article, Scott Ando of the DEA explained, "The drug-trafficking organization that Pena led was responsible for bringing thousands of kilos of cocaine into this area over the last several years... He not only employed people that were involved in drug trafficking in the middle-man kind of level, but he had police officers on his payroll, policeman who kidnapped people so they could be killed." Pena is also the guy that No Limit rappers Kane and Abel got involved with and indicted on drug-trafficking for. Pena's operation was shut down, with over 20 people being convicted (including three police officers), in 1997 - the same year this 12" came out. So I guess it's no surprise that Bust Down's Back On the Map got sadly lost in the mess.
Anyway, this is a must-have for any Bust Down fan, and a nice, underrated 12" for the collection of anyone into the indie 90's vinyl scene... even if you wouldn't normally check for Poison Clan-type artists, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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