Friday, October 8, 2010
How Can U Mention Who's One The Best, Without Mentioning Lord Finesse?
You know over the years u hear other artists or people in the hip-hop industry mention their top MC’s & Producers all-time. And u always hear the standard answers all the time, like for MC’s its Jay, BIG, PAC & Nas. Then for Producers its Primo, Pete Rock, Dr. Dre, Marley Marl and etc. Me personally I have no problem with those names, none at all. But lets take a further examination and open it up a little bit. It blows my mind that The Imperial Lord Finesse isn’t mentioned in any of those categories! Now this is my personal opinion, so if u have any problems with this article we take it up later. But this dude to me deserves his name to be mentioned up there with the best of the best.
The crazy thing is, is that this man only wanted to be a DJ! He didn’t wanna rap, he wanted to be one of the illest DJ’s around. So he worked hard at it and he was becoming one of the nicest. But his partner at that time, DJ Mike Smooth, was like yo u need to step away from the turntables and focus more on rhyming. Finesse was like naw, I wanna be a DJ but Mike Smooth was telling him yo we cant be both DJ’s in this group somebody has to rhyme. In the upcoming months Finesse took heed into what he said and started to perfect his craft in the art of rhyming. By ‘89-90 he was one of the nicest MC’s in the game that was unsigned!! He was killin cats in Rap battles and blowin the hip-hop insiders minds in the Rap Seminars. His name spread everywhere. Heck, when Finesse was on his way goin to high school he used to get always stopped by Diamond D. He heard about him a couple years earlier thru others cause of his rhyming style. Diamond used to ask him, “hey what u doin today?” Finesse be like “yo im goin to school” Diamond says “yo, chill with me today and lets make a tape!” When Finesse heard that he was mesmerized, cause he got a chance to rhyme over beats that Diamond made to further get his name out there. By ‘90, Finesse was the one of the illest MC’s that was not signed and that year there was a Rap battle or Seminar goin on (cant remember which one) and u had to be signed to get in. Gangstarr was in attendance and they knew him cause of the status he built as a rhymer, and Guru suggested to a rep that was workin at Wild Pitch that was there that they should sign him. But that representative was kinda hesitant to do it cause he thought the company couldn’t market him. So somehow right after that he heard Finesse spit some dope rhymes and he was sold right after that. Then before u know it, Finesse was at Primo’s apartment goin thru loops to use for his 1st LP. That’s is when the producing seeds were kinda born right there. Not to mention he was already messin around with Diamond D who a dope producer in his own right. By Finesse’s 2nd LP he was already goin behind the boards craftin his own beats and the rest is history.
Also we all know this man has a ear for talent. In 1992, he was in Harlem (I think) doin something up there when he got word that there is this local cat he needs to hear that has been blowing up the spot with his crazy lyrics. So u already know Finesse had to check this out. He went up in the back of this record store and saw one of the best MC’s of all-time doin his thing in full motion. Finesse was blown away by his style, delivery and his whole flow. He told duke right then and there yo u rollin wit me! Then later on that year Finesse dropped the now classic remix to the track Yes You May! It featured the man himself and Percee P (who was a dope emcee in his own right), but the man who stole the show was the legendary Big L! The verse he dropped on that joint put him in the driver’s seat as one of the next upcoming greats to come in the game. The man that Finesse u to call “Mont-Mont”, tragically died in 1999 and I know that took a lot of out of Finesse cause he saw up close the talent this man possessed was second to none.
My fascination with Lord Finesse kinda started the way u wouldn’t expect but it is what it is. Back in ‘95 I was at the crib watchin TV, then a 1-800-Call-AT&T commercial comes on. These are the ones that used to come on with Bill Bellamy was in them, and on this commercial I was jamming my azz off cause the beat they was playin in the background was pure dopeness. In my mind I was thinking yo AT&T sure do know how to make a slammin commercial cause I never heard nothing like that before. So for the next couple of weeks I was kinda stumped cause I wanted to know where did that beat come from. I was askin friends at school about the commercial and they felt the same way I felt about it but they didn’t know what beat that was. Then finally a person I knew at the rec center where I used to play ball at told me yo, it’s a Lord Finesse joint. I was like Lord Finesse? Remind u, I had no idea who he was at that time. My hip-hop knowledge was very limited at that time. My friend didn’t know the name of the song but he knew it was from Finesse. So I was gonna make sure I was gonna get that track some way some how, but coincidentally a couple of days later I caught a episode of Rap City that night and I saw for the 1st time Lord Finesse’s vid for “Actual Facts”. To say the least, I was blown away. The whole vibe of track was mesmerizing to me and I was hooked. Come to find out that was the 2nd single for his new LP at the time The Awakening. Again, I was determined to find somebody with this LP. I finally tracked a down a friend who had it, and when I heard it I was in pure hip-hop heaven. The beats were so melodic and the rhymes was picture perfect. As I was skimming thru the LP, up came that track I was looking for from that AT&T commercial a couple of weeks later! The track was called “Hip 2 Da Game”!! Im telling yall, I must have played that song like 10-15 times straight that day. That track was and still is my shit!! And that’s where my fascination with Lord Finesse started.
Over the years as my hip-hip knowledge grew I had done mad research on him and lookin for more of his previous work. That’s when I knew that this dude is one of the illest that ever done it in producing and rhyming. Have u ever heard S.K.I.T.S? Have u ever listed to those classic freestyles he laced on Stretch & Bobbito’s show back in ‘97 when he brought in his own SP-1200? Did u know he helped out Dr. Dre on some samples for his Chronic 2001 LP? His 1st 2 LP’s on vinyl will cost u a couple hundred dollars because of the rarity, did u know that? I mean cmon son, I can go all day on this cat. Remember now, he only dropped 3 albums but if u a true hip-hop head then those LP’s have to be included in ur collection! Now go back to what I said earlier: How Can U Say Who’s One Of the Best Without Mentioning Lord Finesse?
Need more proof? Check out the vid below of the Imperial one!