Blaq Poet Ushers In The Return Of Gutter NYC Hip-Hop With Blaq Poet Society
While Blaq Poet has chosen to remain out of the spotlight over the course of his long and storied career, there is no disputing his place in the NYC street-hop pantheon.
Blaq Poet was first heard at the age of 17, when he released a blistering diss track, “Beat You Down,” aimed at KRS-One in 1987 at the height of the “Bridge Wars” (they ended their feud a few years ago by appearing on a track together “Victory”) and would later go on to head the group PhD who released their debut effort, Without Warning, (which contained very-early guest raps by Queensbridge notables Havoc of Mobb Deep and Cormega) in 1991 on Tuff City Records. After a series of 12 inch releases and an EP the group disbanded and in 1996 Blaq Poet joined forces with fellow Queensbridge emcees KL, Hostyle and Kyron to create the legendary underground group Screwball, which was quickly signed to Tommy Boy Records.
Screwball always endured a very tumultuous relationship with Tommy Boy since their content matter became a source of contention for the label, as both of the group’s singles, “Who Shot Rudy,” (aimed at then NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani) and “F.A.Y.B.A.N.” (which is still regarded as one of the most clever Hip-Hop acronyms) created a huge firestorm leading up to the release Tommy Boy Records debut, Y2K, in 2000. Controversy aside, Y2K made an immediate impact on the Queensbridge scene, as the group’s unabashed detailing of NYC’s grimy underbelly was backed by legendary producers such as Marley Marl, DJ Premier, Pete Rock and Biz Markie, and included appearances from fellow Queensbridge artists Mobb Deep, MC Shan, Cormega, Nature, Capone and Big Noyd.
Screwball severed ties with Tommy Boy and released their sophomore effort, Loyalty, on Landspeed Records in 2001 – an effort that included production from Ayatollah and The Beatnuts and appearances from M.O.P., Kool G. Rap, Noreaga, Cormega, Nature and Tragedy Khadafi; and was paced by the grim single “Torture” and the furious title track
After the group endured the passing of KL due to an asthma attack in 2008, Screwball disbanded and Blaq Poet went solo and signed a deal with DJ Premier’s Year Round Records label where he released Tha Blaqprint in 2009 on which all but two of the LP’s 15-tracks were produced by DJ Premier.
While still very much affiliated with DJ Premier’s Year Round Label (Poet appeared on two-tracks from Premier’s 2010 LP DJ Premier Presents: Year Round Records- Get Used To Us) Blaq Poet has aligned himself with Brick Records for the release of his forthcoming solo-LP, Blaq Poet Society, which will be released on 6-21-2011. Blaq Poet Society is a meeting of the minds of Blaq Poet and producers Stu Bangas (Reef the Lost Cauze, Termanology, Heltah Skeltah, Vinnie Paz, Apathy, Sha Stimuli, Chino XL) and Vanderslice (Stat Quo, Apathy, Roc Marciano, Termanology, Cashis) that, after a brief exchange, was three-years in the making. As Stu Bangas clarifies- “I was in contact with an associate of Blaq’s for a few years, we reconnected again in late 2008 and I asked him to get in touch with Poet for a mixtape I was working on. He talked to Poet, relayed I was interested in working with him and vouched for me and I ended up going to Long Island too shoot a video for a joint Poet hopped on that I produced in 2009. When I got back to Boston, I decided I wanted to work on an album with him and we decided to move forward with it. I reached out to my partner Vanderslice and he was excited to contribute production as well. The type of beats Vanderslice and I excel at are big sounding, gangster shit, the type of sound Poet excels over.
Now two- years later here we are with Blaq Poet Society, the result of our efforts.”
Tracklisting and credits for Blaq Poet’s Blaq Poet Society
2.) Power Music (produced by Stu Bangas)
3.) Butcher Shop f/R.A The Rugged Man (produced by Vanderslice)
4.) Charles Speaks
5.) Daytime Shootouts f/Jaysaun & Chief Kamachi (produced by Stu Bangas)
6.) Hood Talk (produced by Stu Bangas)
7.) Bushmaster Music f/Vinnie Paz & Lateb (produced by Stu Bangas)
8.) Guns N Ammo (produced by Vanderslice)
9.) Mortuary Music (produced by Vanderslice)
10.) Bill Speaks
11.) New Age Villain f/Reef The Lost Cauze (produced by Vanderslice)
12.) Blood Pool f/Wais P (produced by Stu Bangas)
13.) Life Of A Hustler f/Capone (produced by Vanderslice)
14.) Nighttime Shootouts f/Apathy & Celph Titled (produced by Stu Bangas)