Thursday, September 13, 2012

Writing E Money Bags Back Into History

Early in 50 Cent's career, he wrote a song called "Ghetto Qu'ran (Forgive Me)." It's probably best remembered for being the song got him shot, because in it, he breaks down all the players, killers and victims of The Supreme Team drug dealing operation. So many names are dropped in that song, and so many of his fans probably had no idea who or what the Hell he was talking about - Hell, I don't pretend to know who all these people are myself. But one name I recognize comes up in the final lines of the last verse, "And if you watch the news, you see players in this game that lose. I'm forgetting Lefty and Jazz, Pretty Tony and Lance, Head Lou, Mel Son, Troy and E Money Bags." I only know who the last name on that list is: E Money Bags.

E Money Bags was the rap alias of Eric Smith, who released his self-titled album in 1999 on the indie Grand Imperial label. He was from Hollis, Queens, and worked with the biggest Queens cats, including Nas and Mobb Deep. He was also down with The Live Squad, who you should remember from the BQ In Full Effect EP that started off Percee-P's career. They became affiliated with 2Pac (though let's not confuse them with The Outlawz); and they even put out a final record with him and 'Pac after his murder.  Now, I'm not referring to 2Pac's murder, I mean E Money's.

E Money Bags was gunned down in July of 2001. This article from NYMinute details, "Law enforcement officials contend that Kenneth 'Supreme' McGriff ordered Eric Smith's murder to avenge the December 1999 killing of a friend, Colbert Johnson." Definitely one of those cases where a rapper's criminolgy lyrics turned out to be all too real and cost him his life.

Which brings me to this white label 12" I randomly came across: Nature featuring "Kool G" (Kool G Rap, of course). Every Kool G Rap record is worth having, so just seeing his name was enough for me to pick this one up, But... I know Nature did a couple things with G Rap, but I didn't remember this song. Of course, I didn't follow every tiny step of Nature's career... turns out G Rap was on Nature's 2008 album, Pain Killer, for example. But that's not what this is. This is some killer 90's shit. I even recognize G Rap's verse.

Remember when Sway and Tech had blown up to such a point that they had a label deal with Interscope even though they'd stopped being recording artists themselves? [Let's have a brief pause for their great, Flynamic beginnings.] They essentially commercially released a mixtape (This or That) of classics and new, original songs featuring some of the hottest artists in the game. One highlight was a little freestyle joint called "3 To the Dome" which had Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane and Chino XL spitting together, Now, Kane's verse was some dope but recycled rhymes he'd used elsewhere... makes sense, since it was just a quick freestyle for him. In fact, I was surprised Kool G hadn't recycled a verse for that song, too. But now I realize he had - it comes from this song, "Friends of Ours."

"Friends of Ours" claims to sport a Main Mix on one side and a Clean Version, but both sides are actually identical, dirty versions. And there's no production credits, which is a shame, because whoever made it did a fantastic job, flipping a killer soul sample Mood used a couple years earlier ("Karma") but speeding it up and re-doing the percussion. There's also no mention on the label of a third rapper who can be clearly heard kicking the first verse of this song. ...Well, if you read the first three paragraphs of this post, you're probably way ahead of me: the "mystery" MC is E Money Bags. This  is actually his song, a brilliant track taken from his album (which, no, doesn't seem to have any production credits either).

All the MCs come tight, with Kool G Rap of course stealing the show at the end with a brilliant verse. E Money's the weakest, with some solid bars overall, but a couple questionable lines... "who you gonna call? Toast busters" would've never made it past G Rap's quality control checks. And speaking of the Kool Genius, he came off on This Or That, but one listen to this one and you'll know this is the true home of that verse, where it sounds the best - pure killer Queens.

You know how I used to post myspace pages of rappers here, back when rappers were on myspace? Well, here's E Money Bag's. I'm not sure why E Money Bags' name was taken off this record... it could be because he has his fair share of detractors (check out this review on Amazon calling his album "snitch rap"). But history is history - it's his record no doubt, and you've got to honor the art of a great 12" like this.

6 comments:

  1. As far as I know, E-Money Bags was from Lefrak in Corona, Queens.

    He's also notably mentioned on Foxy Brown's verse on Nas' "Affirmative Action" ("E-Money Bags got Moët Chandon..")

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    1. Yeah, he was from LeFrak. Or what LeFrak used to be till the early/mid 90's. These days it resembles Stuy town. I remember the 80's LeFrak through about '91. Now, it's safer than Rego Park.

      Tupac used to roll through the hood sometimes, in his NYC days. I think he chilled with the 99th St. crew more than dudes from the Ave. They called him "Tu" instead of the more commonly used "Pac".

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  2. E Money Bags called hot 97 when Jay and all rocafella artists were on and called out Jay, who was audibly shook, about Jays signing of an mc called H Money Bags (who was never heard of again after this confrontation) funk flex took it all off air but i remember hearing it as did many others. 50's line you quote mentions Troy as in Troy Outlaw who was on CNN War Report album, Supreme was charged with murder of both men, and in fact there was surveillance footage shot by Supremes men in both cases I believe, self incrimination eh ?

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    1. Troy Outlaw got murked??? I can't believe I didn't hear about that somehow. I've been OT since '96, but wow. I always liked dude more than loud mouth Mendoza and 10G on a personal level. Castro was cool, I remember his little track called "Speedin" we were trying to copy that joint, but dudes wasn't having it. Too bad that never made it out.

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    2. Troy outlaw aint dead. thats my mans. the troy 50 was referring to in Ghetto quran was also from lefrak. he was a kingpin tho

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  3. prodigy talks a lot about e money bags in his autobiography. i cant remember it all right now, but he also talked abozt his murder etc..
    chris

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