Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Made Men's Unreleased Film: The Soundtrack

So, you guys remember The Made Men, right? Originally from Boston, there was a big group called The Almighty RSO that put out records in the 80s and early 90s. And they had a weed carrier group called The Wise Guys/ Legion of Doom. Then they streamlined the crew to just the top three guys - two from RSO and one from Wise Guys - to make the late 90s outfit The Made Men? And of course the head guy was Benzino, who became co-owner of The Source Magazine for a long time, had that major beef with Eminem and now runs Hip Hop Weekly.

They've got a pretty rotten rep... I won't get into all the drama about editorial staffs quitting and criminal arrests, because that would take a book, and all that info's out there if you want to find it. But actually, these guys go way back, all the way to The TDS Mob and The Body Rock Crew (from Boston Goes Def), and RSO was putting out records as far back as 1986. And good stuff, too. People don't like to say that, because they made a lot of enemies and kinda played themselves out. But even into the 90s, they had joints. Remember "Hellbound?" I used to play that tape all the time in high school. That was dope, right? Somebody let me know, 'cause I'm kind of scared to dig out my old copy and find out it's corny and embarrassing now, but I remember that being a tough record.

But here's something I bet you didn't know. At the height of The Made Men using The Source - when they had multiple full page ads in every issue, Source Awards in their pockets and their reviews rewritten late at night - there was going to me a Made Men movie. Here's a big spread [right] they ran in a summer 1998 issue, advertising it as "THE FIRST FULL HIP-HOP ACTION FILM OF THE DECADE." I don't know how far along the movie actually got - did they hire a director? Were any non-Wise Guys actors case? Was any footage actually shot? - but ads for it ran for a couple of issues before quietly disappearing. But some people were at least somewhat seriously invested in this... I've got an unreleased Made Men single, "music from the forthcoming movie Made Men!"

This is from 1998 on Surrender Records, which was Benzino's own label that put out a whole bunch of Wise Guys and Hangmen 3 (Benzino's production crew) records. It's an unreleased promo-only cassingle that I'm not sure ever made it outside of The Source offices of a Made Men song called "W.G. For Life." You might've actually heard it, because it later wound up on the sole Made Men album, Classic Limited Edition, under the expanded title "Wise Guys for Life" a year later.

It's not a bad song. It features Wise Guys member Man Terror and is produced by L.E.S. and The Trackmasterz, who just loop a solid but recycled sample and let the guys ride the funky bassline. Omniscence had already rocked it a lot better on "My Main Man," and guys like Rahsheed and Tracy Lee had already used the sample to make instrumentals that sounded exactly alike already, so it was hardly a ground-breaking song. Recycling popular beats was really one of RSO/ Made Men's weak points, 'cause they did that all the time. But hey, it still sounds good.

Lyrically, they play it super safe, saying nothing interesting but riding the beat acceptably with all the expected cliches about "dime-piece women," "sipping Perrier" and "gunplay while wearing Gore-Tex," yadda yadda. Cool Gsus's verse is alright, though: "we're from the city where we don't squash beef." But the other guys totally phone it in. There's also a girl singing a lazy chorus near the end. It's very generic. Still quite listenable, Man Terror's grimier voice helps keep things from getting too boring, but you wouldn't go out of your way to buy a copy.

A movie did come out in 1999 called Made Men, starring James Belushi and Timothy Dalton. I'm sure there was no connection, but the fact that it beat them to the punch with that title may've helped put the group's film to bed. But man, I can't help wondering what the Made Men's movie would've been like. Would we have gotten to see them "go to war in silk pajamas?" Oh man, internet, please tell me somebody's sitting on an unreleased workprint. Youtube needs that on its servers right away!

1 comment:

  1. I have the EP they put out in 93 or 94 and I thought Hellbound was dope. I put it on a couple mixtapes I made at the time. You are not alone.