There are few things in the music business as puzzling as the post-mortem release, many of which are terrible grave-robbing cash-ins and awkward Reanimator-esqe collaborations. Still, with so many hyper-creative and prolifically productive hip-hop artists no longer with us, there are a few whose studios scraps we would love to get our hands on. Here’s five dead rappers not named ODB we’d love to hear more from.
Nate Dogg – “Never Leave Me Alone”
Nate Dogg had one of rap’s most memorable voices. A perfect fit for the g-funk era, his unforgettable vocals made for some of the genre’s most memorable hooks and quotable guest appearances. With his death coming as a shock to many, we were just as surprised to hear a new album of his titled It’s a Wonderful Life will be released in 2013. Given Nate’s incredible track record, there’s a good chance that Life is going to be a postmortem album worth hearing.
Camu Tao – “U R What U Eat”
Columbus, Ohio, hip-hop heavyweight Camu Tao died in May 2008, leaving behind a legacy of some of the best underground rap singles of the 2000s. Whether his work with crews like MHz, his label-mates at Definitive Jux or his trademark collaborations with fellow deceased Columbus-native DJ Przm, Tao was a cult favorite whose unfinished solo album King of Hearts, eventually released in 2010, showed how ahead of his time he really was. Given the quality of the album, we would love to hear the unused Camu verses and hooks that certainly must exist somewhere in the unreleased underground rap dungeons of the world.
Marlon Brando of Sporty Thievz – “Cheapskate”
A staple of BET’s Rap City, Sporty Thievz had been gaining momentum with back-to-back hits in “Cheapskate” and their response record to TLC’s “No Scrubs” titled “No Pigeons.” Then, sadly, MC Marlon Brando was killed saving a child from being struck by a car. The group’s strong hooks and good vibes make us hopeful that somewhere there’s a stack of unreleased Sporty Thievz archives.
Pimp C – “Finger Fuckin'”
Of the selection here, Pimp C is probably the selection most likely to turn up quality material. His 2007 death was a tremendous loss for hip hop, which took from us Pimp’s presence behind the mic as well as his talents as a producer. Fortunately for us, he left behind a legacy with a lot to go around. Along with two posthumous albums already released (three, if we’re including 2009’s UGK 4 Life), there have been a handful of bootlegs of unreleased songs that hint at a deep reserve of unheard Pimp C greatness.
Eyedea – “Smile”
One of the most memorable rap artists to ever emerge from the Twin Cities scene, Eyedea’s decade of underground royalty veered into several territories few musicians ever enter. Not only do local legends paint the MC as a tireless workaholic, but his love of fiercely competing in rap battles and freestyling in live shows mathematically places the odds in favor of dozens of hours of unheard Eyedea rhymes. With so many artists and listeners he’s touched over the years rediscovering Eyedea material in their archives, the post-YouTube world might continuously give us more to one of rap’s most daring legacies.