In the early 80s, the City of Philadelphia had about 1.6 million people within its borders, and out of that number, only a select few could consider themselves professional rappers.
The Hilltop Hustlers (Steady B and Cool C) and Parkside Killers own Schooly D held it down in West Philly until Will Smith came through with all of his Wynnefield swag.
Somewhere down the bottom MC Breeze was a local rap star. There were even ladies in the space like Evette Money and Malika Love holding it down for Hip-Hop.
But what is the likelihood that some of the top rappers from the 90s and 2000s charts were not only watching these rappers bubble but were in crews together?
The Roots’ frontman, Black Thought is presently promoting his new album Streams of Thought Vol. 3: Cane & Abel, a collaborative effort with producer Sean C. The album features Schoolboy Q, Killer Mike, Pusha-T, and others, but Thought exclusively told AllHipHop about one of his earliest rap partners — from that 80s era — Beanie Sigel.
The “Proceed” rapper shared, “The first time I performed … I did a performance … I think in the fourth grade talent show. I sang a Debarge song and we rocked out we did ‘I Like It.’ We did aight, but we didn’t win. The dudes who won was doing some Hip-Hop s###.”
Though he didn’t win singing, he was resilient and returned more prepared to give the fans what they wanted to see.
“So the next year I came back with a rap group called The Crash Crew,” then he revealed who made up his group: “It was me Beanie Sigel and another one my homies, this brother named Waleek.”
“We came and we had two break-dancers, my cousin’s doing graffiti on stage, and we had a human beatboxer, and just every element of Hip-Hop culture, except the DJ. We didn’t have a DJ cause we performed to cassette, but all the elements were represented, and we wound up taking the title that year, and I sort of never looked back since then.”
While people were shocked at Tariq Trotter’s (Black Thought’s real name) revelation, the two top tier lyricists actually grew up together.
“Beanie Sigel is from the same neighborhood. He’s like a year younger than me,” he shared. “So I was in 3rd grade. His older sister was my classmate. We are from the same part of South Philly, just a block or so apart. We’ve known each other since we were babies. So that was both of our first rap performances, together.”
The combo must have been fire back in the day. Especially when you consider “Adrenaline” and “Philly Live,” you will see the chemistry ain’t never going away.
Their styles, though probably not what Hip-Hop fans would consider as compatible, go together like mustard and a soft pretzel, Morrone’s and red-dyed lips and bikes on The Plat!
Now, we just need another jawn between Reef Ruffin and the Broad Street Bully.
Check out Stream of Thought Vol. 3.