Aug 25, 2017

The Gift: DMX, Canibus, Big Pun, Mos Def, John Forte' & MG


Edited: Aug 25, 2017



Back in the late 90's a magical day happened in the World of Underground Hip Hop. Several MC's (some of them are legends now) sat together at a table and talk about Rap Music, Individual Ambition, Ego's and what some of their favorite ways to start verses and everything. This dialogue can be viewed on the extended version of the video. You know what else they did? The kicked some crazy rhymes as well. The MC's I'm speaking about is non other than DMX, Big Pun, Canibus, Mos Def, Mic Geronimo and John Forte. This was before international fame. This was during the time many of these dudes were still out in the streets battling and destroying mixtapes. This post of for "Hip Hop Heads" and for some casual fans that never heard or seen the video below. I also added a little commentary in regard to the sequence of the MC's mentioned.


OK....here we go....A Hip Hop Throwback


As a quick note before you watch the video, most of these verses ended up on albums but it doesn't look like anyone recognizes them, meaning we're possibly witnessing the first time they were said in public. Each of the guys reaction kind of support this statement. In all likelihood most of these verses probably weren't on an actual song yet - they were just free standing verses they were waiting to place on the right beat or project, which is dope when looking back at how their upcoming projects turned out.


Mos Def - Most Def, started the cypher off and he is one of my all time favorite MC's. The second verse on Black Star's classic "Redefinition" (which officially dropped in '98) is what you hear Mos spitting. This is one of his best verses to me but he has some many jaw dropping verses so who knows.

DMX: The closing verse of "Ain't No Way". Hearing the acappella is a great reminder of just how unique the man's flow was. I recently posted on Facebook how dope I've always thought DMX was and his personal demons stopped his potential Top 10 status. The lyrics aren't going to blow you away but no one ever rhymed like this, and on one ever will again. DMX passion can rival the passion of Tupac. Last of a dying breed.


John Forte - First off, dude was sick. Go check out Poly Sci. You know what's crazy? About two years after this video Forte was arrested for picking up a briefcase filled with over $1 in liquid cocaine from an airport. Dude was living what a lot of MC's were only rapping about. . For years people seemed to forget about Forte because he was locked up for a minute but his best friend Talib Kweli always kept his name alive. From what I hear, he is doing fine in 2017.

Mic Geronimo - Mic G was a dope MC. A lot of people don't know Irv Gotti use to produce a lot of his music. He was also one of the first rappers to put DMX and Jay-Z on his album before they were famous. Look dude up....Also, he actually freesyled on this video.



Big Pun - It isn't verbatim, but several lines from this ended up on the opening verse of Pun's posthumous "The Dream Shatterer" in 2001. If you're looking for proof that Pun was one of the best ever here it is. He's sitting with some heavyweight emcees and he gets the biggest reaction by far. Dude was an absolute monster.

Canibus - I must admit, Canibus was arrogant on here...lol..In his defense he was destroying every mixtape at the time. Canibus insisting on the "I'm the best rapper here, I'm going last" move. Second, this is obviously the classic "Second Round K.O.", but everyone seems to react like they've never heard it before (or are they reaction to lines they already know?). Could this actually the first time anyone heard Canibus' LL Cool J diss? "Second Round K.O." came out in '98, and while I'm not entirely sure, we've already established that this was filmed around the same time. They also discussed the LL beef on the extended video. Either way, he was the anchor of the cypher and concluded the freestyle.


Looking back, this is what hip hop is all about. I would love to see artist in 2017 carry on tradition.








New Posts
  • T-Hanes
    May 3

    Ok, this will be short and sweet. What MC's showed more growth and skills on their 2nd album? I'm going to name a few from my perspective. What are some in your opinion and do you agree with any I listed? 1. NAS on It Was Written: Yes, as great as Illmatic was NAS was a better overall MC on It Was Written. On Illmatic NAS was just rapping like on the block freestyling. On IWW NAS was telling stories like "I Gave You Power" and "Shootouts". Don't get me wrong, NAS was amazing on Illmatic but to me he was better on IWW. 2. Biggie on Life After Death: Yes, Ready to Die is a Classic but Biggie showed growth as an MC. Dude was doing "Notorious Thugs" with Bone Thugs and still kept the rawness on LAD that he did on RTD. Biggie showed more versatility. 3. Black Thought from the Roots was better on Do You Want More compared to Organix. 4. Big L was better on The Big Picture compared to Lifestyles of the Poor and Dangerous. 5. Q-Tip was a better MC on The Low End Theory compared to Tribe's debut. 6. Big Boi and Andre 3000 were both better on ATLIENS than Southernplayer. 7. OC was better on Jewelz than he was on Word Life. 8. Kanye was a better MC on The Late Registration vs The College Dropout. 9. Eminem was better on The Marshal Mathers LP vs The Slip Shady LP. 10. Rakim was a better MC on Follow The Leader than he was on Paid in Full... A few more thoughts: Do you think Redman was better after his debut on the second album? Do you feel that Scarface improved from album to album? I also believe KRS was better on By All Means vs Criminal Minded..... Peace
  • T-Hanes
    Oct 22, 2018

    Today I was listening to Biggie's classic album Ready to Die and other 90's Hip Hop joints. As I sat back and absorbed the lyrics to the final track, "Suicidal Thoughts", it pushed me to ask a few internal questions. I was thinking to myself, "Have I ever heard a Rap Song so grim and cynical?". At first the Scarface song "In My Time" off Last of a Dying Breed came to mind. This particular track was typical Scarface talking about his own funeral and the love ones left behind. This is why I call him the "Grim Reaper of Hip Hop" on most days. Biggie went a step and level deeper with "Suicidal Thoughts". You see, Ready to Die is like a Suicide Note, Diary, and Memoire all wrapped into a collection of songs. I tell you, it's surely an amazing piece of work but given his early death, it's chilling as well. As for the song, I attempted to remember the first time I heard it and my initial reaction. Looking back at it in 2018, I had to be amazed by the boldness of this song in 1994. I was a college freshman and listened to rap music every single day. I had to think "What the hell was this dude smoking and drinking when he wrote this song?". I mean, he starts the song off with the line "When I die, f**k it I want to go the hell cause I'm a piece of sh*t, it ain't hard to f**king tell". In the song he talked about heaven being too strict because of God and his rules/laws. He talked about his life of crime, family dysfunction and an ugly world in general. As I listen to this track tonight, I honestly don't remember a more vivid track in regard to the subject matter at hand. The album Ready to Die covers the life of a character (some of it based on Biggie but most of it is fiction) that lives a street life and at the end of the story, he commits suicide. Hip Hop is known for storytelling and for better or worse, this was graphic to say the least. Personally it would take years for another MC to talk about death in this fashion. Of course prior to Ready to Die you had Tupac talking about life and death, Scarface and eventually Bone Thugs on the track "Crossroads". In the years following Ready to Die, we were introduced to DMX and Eminem. Both of these artists talked the pain and pleasure of life. Even with the emotional ride that Pac, Eminem and DMX took listeners on, I don't recall ever having chills like I did hearing "Suicidal Thoughts". This is honestly one of those songs that you almost wished was never recorded. You can also look at it in the fashion of a case study on Mental Health and possibly Substance Abuse. No, I'm not saying Biggie had either, I'm saying the song could represent a character suffering from either, or both. Puffy is also featured on the song trying to call Biggie and talk him out of harming himself. Puffy's character was the voice of reason and friend to Biggie on this track. There are so many layers to the song and album. At the end of the day, each of us have experienced a nightmare before. Maybe this was one that Biggie experienced and wanted to share with the world through his music. Peace
  • T-Hanes
    Sep 3, 2018

    The old saying is "Music is food for the soul", and I have always believed this to be true. Music is a true link to various cultures, races and people from different generations. People who know me are familiar with my strong passion for music. If you only know me via Social Media, you might believe that I'm only a "Hip Hop Head", but that is far from the truth. I enjoy Rock, Jazz, Soul (R&B), Gospel, Rap and some Country Music. The overall creativity with 80's Music has a place in my heart as well. With that being said, only a few albums have totally blown my mind and left me amazed. I always loved Marvin Gaye and if you know me, you know he is my favorite artist. Gaye's 11th album (yes, 11th and he had 7 more released afterwards) What's Going On is the project that forced me to look at music and life from a different perspective. There are other albums I love, but no body of music expressed life in such a vivid depiction as this album managed to accomplish. Marvin Gaye completed this concept album (a lot of people don't know it's a concept album) in 1970 and released to the world on May 21, 1971. The album is a 9 song story about a Vietnam Vet coming back to America to find that hate, division, racism, poverty and inequality was still a reality. I mean, imagine returning home after fighting in a WAR, only to find that you have to continue fighting against a system that view you as a second class citizen. Marvin Gaye's introspective lyrics and poetry was delivered flawlessly. Several tracks resonate with me over 47 years after it's release. The title track "What's Going On", "Inner City Blues", "Mercy Mercy Me", and "What's Happening Brother" stay on repeat. Well, the entire album stay on repeat. This album could be used as a Case Study on Systematic Racism, the Civil Rights Movement, and what Veterans continue to deal with decades after The Vietnam War or The World Wars. Marvin was magical to me on this album and there are only a few other albums that came close. These albums are NAS Illmatic, Miles Davis Kind of Blue, Stevie Wonder Innervisions, the poetry Sade displayed on Love Deluxe and a song called "Who Is God" by Hip Hop Legend Rakim (of Eric B. & Rakim fame). Of course there are other amazing projects but these come to mind the fastest. Music is truly one of the best creations in the world. Whenever you are totally blown away by an album or song, it will nourish your soul without a doubt. I enjoy sharing my random thoughts here on Da Dome and on other Social Media outlets. What album totally changed your views on music, life and put you in a zone? What artist feed you with their words, instruments and/or passion? When I think about Marvin Gaye, Tupac and SADE, I often think about Philosophers that I learned about in High School and College. They are the musical versions of a Robert Frost who I respect, or Langston Hughes who I love. They are my versions of Shakespeare. They were able to go deeper than most. As I sit here listening to K Solo's Times Up album, the song "Who's Killing Who" blast from my speakers as I think about life on this Labor Day Holiday. Peace
  • SoundCloud Social Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Facebook Icon