Here’s another one from April of 1993 that I missed. Put this one after Tim Dog’s Do Or Die.
As legend has it, a young Philly emcee named Emanuel “Mentally Gifted” Parks was in the studio working on some songs for his own project. One of Parks’ songs was called “Somethin 4 The Youngstas”, and even though he was only nineteen at the time, he felt the song needed an even younger vibe than he could bring to it. So, he tapped the song’s producer (Lawrence L.G. Goodman, aka L.G. the Teacher) and asked if he could bring his son in to add a verse to the song. Goodman’s son happened to be thirteen year old Qu’ran “Q-Ball” Goodman and he happily obliged. Parks and Goodman would later add Qu’ran’s fourteen year old brother, Taji, and fifteen year old cousin, Tarik Dawson to the song. Parks was so impressed by the trio’s verses that he gave them the song, and thus, Da Youngsta’s were formed. Pop’s Goodman would use the song as Da Youngstas’ demo and it would eventually get the boys a deal with East West Records, where they would release their debut album Somethin 4 Da Youngsta’s in March of 1992. Thanks to their singles (“Somethin 4 Da Youngsta’s and “Pass The Mic”) and their clean kiddie image, they were able to make a little noise, but would be overshadowed by another kid act named Kriss Kross, who released their debut album just a few weeks after Da Youngsta’s. Da Youngsta’s would return in 1993 with their sophomore effort, The Aftermath.
L.G. the Teacher handled all the production on Somethin 4 Da Youngsta’s, but he would yield and let a handful of hip-hop’s most elite producers (DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Marley Marl, Kay Gee from Naughty By Nature and The Beatnuts) get behind the boards and handle the bulk of the lifting for The Aftermath. The young Philly whippersnappers would also shed their cute kid image and adapt a more hardcore thugged out persona for The Aftermath, which was the trend even back in 1993. The combination would result in Da Youngsta’s most commercially successful album to date.
I’ve had this album for years and I’m just now noticing that on the cover artwork Da Youngsta’s are inside of a human skull. Not sure what that has to do with album’s title, but whatever.
The Aftermath – The album opens with a decent Qur’an produced instrumental that he uses to personally welcome the listener to The Aftermath.
Wild Child – The first actual song of the evening would also be the album’s third single. The Beatnuts get their first of three production credits on The Aftermath, and hook up a nice mid-tempo backdrop with a low-key pulsating bass line that the Da Youngsta’s use to do their best Onyx impersonation over.
Iz U Wit Me – This was the second single from The Aftermath and another example of poor punctuation in hip-hop song titles. Qur’an, Taji and Tarik bring down the volume a bit from the previous song but continue in their new found hardcore flow. Pete Rock provides a solid backdrop for the trio to pretend, I mean, spit bars over.
Handle This – The youngins match the energy of Kay Gee’s laid back but still rugged, instrumental on this one. Treach was a beast with the ghostwriting in the nineties, and it’s pretty obvious when you listen to the young boys that he penned the trio’s rhymes on this one. This was pretty dope.
Crewz Pop – This was the lead single from The Aftermath. Naughty By Nature continues to lend a helping hand, as Kay Gee hooks up monster instrumental and Treach makes a brief cameo, and he most certainly penned Da Youngsta’s rhymes for this one too. This is easily the biggest hit in Da Youngsta’s limited catalog and possibly the strongest.
Lyrical Stick Up Kids – What the hell is a lyrical stick up kid? Anyway, Marley Marl hooks up a decent backing, as the Da Youngsta’s turn the volume back up and sound like some true blue studio gangsters. Speaking of studio gangsters, this would have been the perfect song for their fellow Philly teen rhymers, Illegal, to join in on the cypher.
Who’s The Mic Wrecka – Pete Rock and CL Smooth join Q-Ball, Taj Mahal and Tarik (sorry, I can’t make my pen write or my mouth call Tarik “Reek Geez” when another more superior Philly emcee named Tariq (Black Thought) uses that alias) on this cipher joint. Pete Rock gets credit for the instrumental that’s built around a lazy and overused loop from Johnny Guitar Watson “Superman Lover”. I could do without this song.
Count If Off – Papa Goodman gets his only production credit of the evening and he makes sure it counts (no pun intended). His sons and nephew sound decent rockin’ over his quality understated and rough backdrop.
Honeycomb Hide Out – They may have been young, but not too young to be interested in the ladies, as they spend the course of this song rapping praises to punanny. The Beatnuts get credit for the decent instrumental and Lt. Stitchie adds some reggae chants to the beginning, ending and hook of the song. Not my favorite song, but it’s cool.
Da Hood – The trio put on their conscious hats for this one, as each of them describe the trials that come with living in the hood. Qur’an gets credit for the instrumental and it’s actually pretty decent. It kind of sounds like something Kay Gee might have hooked up.
It’z Natural – Brothers Goodman and cousin Dawson take another break from the screaming, as they mellow out to match the laid back vibe of The Beatnuts’ backdrop. The instrumental doesn’t sound like a traditional Beatnuts production, but it’s still a beauty. I absolutely love the addictive low-key bass line and the sick horn loop on the hook.
Rip A Rhyme – Marley Marl gets his second and final production credit of the evening and it sounds like something the Lords of the Underground might have passed on, and that’s not a bad thing since the track is fairly decent. A more formidable group or emcee may have brought more out of it, but, it is what it is, yo.
Wake Em Up – If you’re going to have a filler song on your album you shouldn’t sequence it as the last song on the album, and that is exactly what Da Youngsta’s do here. I normally love Premo’s production, but this one is very mediocre. I never thought in a million years that I’d be referring to a Premo produced song as filler material, but you have to call a spade a spade. Side note: This is one of only four albums, that I can think of, that include both a Pete Rock and DJ Premier produced song (the other three being Blue Funk, Illmatic and Industry Shakedown).
Shout It Out – Qu’ran gets the credit for this rough instrumental, and all three members give their closing shout outs over it.
Da Youngsta’s tough guy image on The Aftermath is a bit too much at times, but the all-star cast of producers come through and provide an enjoyable soundscape, for the most part. The Aftermath is far from a classic, but you’ll find a few songs on the album you can appreciate.