Wild Pitch Wednesday: Street Military – Don’t Give A Damn
Just in case you missed it: Each Wednesday we’re taking a couple of minutes to talk about the importance of certain albums that dropped on Wild Pitch Records, a label that dropped a tonne of varied and great rap music from the late 80’s up until the mid 90’s. Most of the labels releases are long out of print and are either highly revered or largely forgotten about in the grand scheme things.
Look at that cover art (above), it’s incredible as well as timeless and indicative of early 90’s regional rap. Unfortunately the wax is a generic black sleeve with the logo and track listing stickered to the right hand corner – it is on mine anyway, and the few i saw on Discogs when looking to see if the picture cover existed on vinyl. Regardless, that silhouette logo is nuts!
True story. I went into a record store on Manhattan’s lower east side a little over a year ago and found a copy of this on vinyl, same as the one above, i was stoked, i took it to the counter eager to fork out the fifteen buck price tag. I get to chatting to the dude behind the counter about music and he tells me he’s ODB’s older brother and that him and his cousin the GZA are currently working on something. I bugged out and started asking questions but i was polite enough to give the dude my condolences for the loss of his younger brother Ol’ Dirt, to which he replied “yo i appreciate that my dude but that was one wild ass nigga, no one could tell that motherfucker what to do”. He said that shit in a real animated way and then continued with, “oh you an Ossie?! great selection homie” referring to my purchase of this very album.
I digress. Street Military were a five man crew from Houston Texas that put out a seven track ep in 1993 on New York based Wild Pitch Records. According to something i read on lead MC KB Da Kidnappa this was by and large the reason the album failed commercially and almost faded into obscurity, a New York label didn’t know how to market and promote a rap act from Texas. Eazy-E was reportedly interested in Street Military at a point in time also, while one MC, Pharoah is doing 200 years for murder or some such offense. Another dude in the crew Nut was killed in some gang shit while the afore mentioned KB Da Kidnappa is the only member that’s appeared to have stayed in the rap game, i saw a 12″ a while back where he’s draped in an anaconda on the cover. He’s still breathing apparently.
All of the above is secondary to the music which is that classic early 90’s Houston funk, though comparing Street Military to the Geto Boys would be like comparing Above The Law to NWA, two completely different entities. SM are melodious similar to how Above The Law were melodious but not quite as melodious as Bone Thugs were melodious, get it? Not as abrasive as their peers. Check the title track.
I’m not aware how Street Military wound up as what would appear to have been Wild Pitch’s down south experiment and why they weren’t signed to Rap-A-Lot, but the undeniable thump of that early 90’s down south bass with over riding keys, strings and layer upon layer, too much is never enough. Producer Icy Hott does his thing and is also a member of the Houston collective, South Park Coalition. The last track on the album is the gleefully titled “Dead In A Year”, the lyrics are bleak but the beat is all that shit i was just talking about before, layers.
There existed a time in hip hop when releases from outside of either New York or Los Angeles were considered regional. The Convicts, 5th Ward Boys, UGK, 8-Ball & MJG, Gangsta NIP even Outkast before they blew in the late 90’s were all relatively unknown outside of Texas, Atlanta, Memphis and anywhere else not called NYC or LA. This neglect from the major markets led to a thriving down south scene largely harbored and nurtured throughout the late 80’s and into the 90’s by Rap-A-Lot Records. Of course as the 2000’s rolled around regional rap’s influence would come to infiltrate the New York market and even begin to dominate it’s airwaves, but that’s a story for another day.
I’m definitely not the foremost expert on Houston rap but i do like to dig a little deeper than just Scarface and the Geto Boys. My comrades Heata and Bigfoot hipped me to this album in the mid 2thowz, i borrowed Bigfoot’s copy of it on CD and didn’t give it back for three years. Street Military’s debut is now, 20 plus years later, considered a benchmark release for the Houston scene. If you fuck with Rap-A-Lot or even Wild Pitch (funnily enough) then you’re probably up on this already but if you aren’t i’d consider it well worth your time.
A regional rap classic that’s very much of it’s period in sound and flavor but one that is well worth your time if you enjoy early 90’s gangsta rap.