Recently, hotasballs linchpin Irish Craig sent me a decidedly dorky yet hella cool, fantasy football style round up of who was the most underrated rapper. Take care to remember that underrated does not mean the best rapper that you never heard of, rather who doesn’t quite reap the props that they deserve. In these days of over hyped, over payed superstars that can’t rap for shit (you know the names, this is a hater free zone) this was no mean feat as many underground, hell even below radar rappers are still afforded heaps of critical acclaim and praise in their own niche fields so exactly how we define underrated ain’t exactly TAB cola if you dig my meaning.
One name that stuck out for me was the top four finalist Tame One.
Now I never ranked Tame as one of my top ten rappers but there was no denying that some of his couplets have really tickled me. Noticeable examples being “High again/with enough smoke to choke a fireman/ last seen with 76 Phillies like Iverson” (Weathermen: 5 Left in the Clip)
and “To be perfectly honest/ I’m not really feeling most of you rhymers/ some of you small timers/ just a bunch of vaginas” (When Rappers Attack)
Both of these tracks were put out in the early 2000’s on Eastern Conference Records and I feel that it was this feeling of him being the token black dude in the white boy rap movement that held him back a bit and led to his becoming the Rodney Dangerfield of this rap shit, never getting any respect.
No doubt Tame was a back pack rapper, a genre that to most critics now seems like a dirty word, but this movement, to my thinking, was one of the most creative and progressive era’s in hip hop history but die hard rap nerds like to pretend that they never liked it because it isn’t macho enough. Well slightly homosexual prejudices aside, Tame One, in his Artifacts days helped pioneer this movement. Back in 94, he and El Da Sensei were like a modern EPMD with their slightly dusted take on hip hop culture that reflected the suburban New Jersey (or as they called it New Jeruzalem) way of living. Hip hop made by hip hop fans for hip hop fans that rejected the faux glamour and sex/ crime cliches that mainstream hip hop was becoming. They rapped about the 4th element of hip hop, graffiti, because that’s how they were living, this was before rappers forgot about the essence of hip hop and graf was adopted by the indie boys.
Check Wrong Side of the Tracks for a real insight in to bombing by people that actually did it rather than get some chump graphic designer to do a graffiti style font on their wack ass logo.
For more graf related music check Big Jus’ “Lune TNS” or “Aerosol” by Oslo’s DJ Tommy Tee which heavily samples wrong side on the tracks. If I ever get the chance to digitise my vinyl I may add these at a later date.
“Grab a can and put your man up and stand up”.