By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Charlie Brown, a founder and one of the three emcees of the legendary LI-born Leaders of the New School crew that also included Busta Rhymes and Dinco D, has been doing his thing on the independent tip these days as president of Enpsalm Multimedia Music Group. He releases straight-up raw hip hop on his Brown Wax Records and says Enpsalm will release R&B and reggae in the future.
Brown has taken it upon himself to bring out some of LI's underground emcees, using his recognizable face and name to help launch new acts. But before he could really get everyone's attention, C. Boogie Brown knew headz were gonna wonder if he still has the skills to pay his own bills.
"I gave Funkmaster Flex a tape of me freestlying and he carted it up and started running it on his show," says Brown, who lives in Uniondale. "That's when I knew I had to hit the fans with something."
Brown went on to press three songs on vinyl and distribute the 12-inch himself throughout the country: "I Always B Around," "Live It Up" and "One Deep Tonight." That song, which capped off Marn Dawg's latest mixtape, No Beats Without the DJ, and featured DJ Johnny Juice on the wheels and Wildman Steve hosting, started getting Brown adulation from underground and college radio, especially on the East Coast.
His album That's How Life B is due later this year, to be followed by a compilation of Long Island's dopest emcees. "You have artists like Busta Rhymes, who are known for being from Long Island, now claiming Brooklyn," he says. "It's already hard enough to be a rapper from LI, so I just want to show the world that Strong Island is still the home of some of the hottest emcees. Through Brown Wax I'm gonna give them a platform to come out and show the world."
For all you LONS fans, the album includes a duet with Dinco D called "Three-Point Play" that will be on a single along with "Ain't No Other MC" and "Serious C."
Mystique Does It Again and Again and Again
Mama Mystique, whom you may remember from a couple of years ago, made some noise straight outta CI with the cut "Tremendous" produced by JVC FORCE's Curt Cazal. She later followed it up with a couple of jams including "Unstoppable" and "Styles I Murder" featuring Nikki D (the sister who brought you "Daddy's Little Girl" a few years back).
After months out of sight, Mama Mystique who now goes by the single name o' Mystique hosts a video cable show in Brooklyn and the Bronx called Da Bomb. She has also recorded a song on Q-Ball and Cazal's Triple Threat LP with two female emcees, Strategy and Sinista.
Mystique just dropped a cut on her own album with MC Lyte, which includes a B-side track done with Steele of the Cocoa Brovas. She's also gotten down on a compilation LP with three emcees Verbal, Strange and Infamous.
Prince Paul Continues to Do It All
Chris Rock's funny-as-hell album Bigger & Blacker is the latest example of the creative genius of North Amityville's own Professor Prince Paul Huston. Paul and Rock, who teamed up for the comedian's previous album, make the perfect combination. Chris talks about everything from Monica and Hilary to paying taxes. Paul blends in skits, three with Wu Tang's most publicized Clansman, ODB. The first single, "No Sex in the Champagne Room," features Gerald Levert and is getting major radio and video play.
On Paul's soundtrack for his yet-to- be-made movie/hip-hopera, A Prince Among Thieves, Rock does his crackhead impersonation (remember Pookie from New Jack City?) in the track "My First Day." He has since bought the rights to turn Thieves into an actual movie. It's yet to be determined whether Rock who wrote and starred in the movie comedy CB4 will actually perform in Paul's film, which is slated to hit the big screen sometime in 2001.
Even with Mr. Huston's busy schedule, he's managed to stay still long enough to have his picture taken for the Ecko Unlimited fall collection spread that's currently running in various hip-hop publications.