I remember reading an On The Go issue way back in the day that had an article about Godfather Don (this same article is available for viewing on Unkut.com). There also was a photo layout in it featuring Godfather Don and several other underground emcees and it mentioned that Godfather Don’s new album on Hydra Records “Diabolique” would be available and it had a release date. The album wasn’t ready on that date, though. It did appear on Sandbox Automatic (back when it was sandbox.pair.com) months later and that’s when I bought it. This Hydra Records release was distributed by Sneak Tip Records as opposed to the regular Fat Beats and executive produced by the heads of Hydra Entertainment, Jerry Famolari and Mike Heron of the Ghetto Pros. The project was recorded at The Basement, Power Play and regular Hydra haunt C Mo Greens Studios.
The weird thing about this album is that it was reviewed in Blaze Magazine right before it dropped and while the words of the review were favorable the ratings for it were low. Of course, the Blaze rating system tended to rate underground albums low that didn’t deserve it (as was the case with The High & Mighty’s “Home Field Advantage” and Aceyalones’ “Book Of Human Language”) so paid it no mind and waited to hear it for myself. This album is fire from beginning to end with production done entirely by Godfather Don. I am still baffted to this day why when people make lists about the best producer/emcees in hip hop history, Godfather Don is rarely mentioned.
As expected the album features Don’s inner circle of friends, namely Sir Menelik/Scaramanga (who appears as both alter egos), Kool Kieth (who guests on “Voices” where they rework the words to the Police song “Voices In My Head” for the hook), Big Lance and Mike L.. My favorites joints on “Diabolique” are “Insane”, “MC Assault”, “Big Katz”, “Diabolique”, “Kaos”, “Life Ain’t The Same”, “Connections”, “Pick Up The Mic”, “Voices”, “Y”, “No Competition”and “Properties Of Steel”. Considering that there are 18 joints on this album that’s a lot (there are even more Godfather Don joints available online through links available in the comment box at the Unkut.com Godfather Don thread, the Godfather Don Hydrabeats series available at Wake Your Daughter Up and his Hydra singles like “Seeds Of Hate” and “Piece Of The Action” that were available at 12 Inchers).
Download this joint now.
Next up is Scaramanga’s “Seven Eyes, Seven Horns”, an album I bought from Newbury Comics in early January 1999. I was surprised to see it in the new releases section because usually those albums had to be bought online (props to the Newbury Comics buyers). Back when I first bought the album, there were only 11 or 12 tracks on it and it was released on Scara’s own Sun Large Communications and distributed by Fat Beats (who also released the “Special Efx/Holdin’ New Cards” 12” from the same album months earlier). The album was released again just over a year later, but this time with one track removed (“Strip Club Bait”, a track with the same beat ended up on a Kut Masta Kurt song a year later) and several new ones added (“S.I.R.”, “Face It”, “Sugar 99 Remix”, “Star Of The Empire (S.O.T.E.)”, and the “Death Letter Remix”).
The album was mostly produced by Scaramanga and Scholarwise (where is he now?) but it also had joints by Godfather Don (“Special Efx”, “Sugar 99 Remix” and “Star Of The Empire”), former Wu affiliate Goldfinghaz (“Holdin’ New Cards” and “Face It”), Diamond D (“S.I.R.”), DJ Spinna (“7XL”), and Showbiz (“Mind I C Mine”). This album is another one of my favorites from the whole underground independent era as it was a consolation prize to the aborted Rawkus Sir Menelik “Cyclops 4000” LP (which was finally released in 2005 as the “Einstein Rosen Bridge”). I added “Strip Club Bait” from the original 1999 release to the 2000 re-release since I have both and it’s one of my favorite tracks of Scaramanga’s. The album packaging also has some Scara pics taken by the legendary lensman Ricky Powell. There is also a Scaramanga interview with even more rare Scaramanga joints available on Unkut.com. Download this album.
Last up is the Screwball album “Y2K”. Queensbridge’s Screwball (KL, Khyron, Hostyle & Poet AKA Blaq Poet) were a staple of Hydra Entertainment and best known for the classic 12” “Cookies N’ Cream/Beat ‘Em In The Head”. After the collapse of Tommy Boy’s Black Label, they went out and absorbed Hydra Entertainment as well as Jerry Famolari and Mike Heron (who also executive produced this album). Screwball got into C Mo Greens Studios and started recording the “Y2K’ project with Mike Heron (Ghetto Pros) doing the brunt of the production. They were also blessed by joints from DJ Premier (“F.A.Y.B.A.N.”and “Seen It All”), Godfather Don (“Y2K” and “Zoning”), Max Vargas (“No Exceptions” and “Biz Interlude”), V.I.C. of Ghetto Pros (“Take It There”), Pete Rock (“You Love To Hear The Stories”), A Kid Called Roots (“The Blocks”), EZ Elpee (“Communications”), the legendary D&D engineer Eddie Sancho (“Attention: A&R Department”) and the legendary Queensbridge producer Marley Marl (“On The Real”).
The album featured guest appearances from Capone N Noreaga, Triple Seis, MC Shan, Godfather Don, Nature, Nashawn, Biz Markie, Rapper Noyd, Prince AD of the Killa Kids, Havoc and Cormega...sounds like a damn Queens reunion. The best thing about Screwball finally getting the chance to put out a proper album was they got the opportunity to make a video for the joint “H-O-S-T-Y-L-E”(look for it online). The lead single “F.A.Y.B.A.N./Who Shot Rudy?” made serious noise when they were released and spiked anticipation for the album back in late 1999/early 2000. My favorite joints are “That Shit”, “F.A.Y.B.A.N.”, “Seen It All”, “Somebody’s Gotta Do It”, “You Love To Hear The Stories”, “The Blocks”, “No Exceptions”, “Urban Warfare”, “Who Shot Rudy?”, “H-O-S-T-Y-L-E”, “Attention: A& R Department” and “On The Real” out of the 20 total tracks on the album. Download this joint and rock to it.
For full tracklistings, cover art or more general info on these uploads check out http://www.discogs.com or do a regular Google search. All uploads are Zip files, download and enjoy ‘em:
Godfather Don-Diabolique (1998)
Scaramanga-Seven Eyes, Seven Horns (1999/2000)