R.I.P. Freaky Tah: 1972 –1999
Live In The Sky

freaky-tah.jpgFollowing in the footsteps of Naughty By Nature, The Lost Boyz specialized in crafting party grooves that were embraced by the ‘hood and the mainstream. The Jamaica, Queens, foursome — Mr. Cheeks, Freaky Tah, Pretty Lou and DJ Spigg Nice — released their 1995 debut, Legal Drug Money, which entered at No. 6 on the Billboard charts. With Mr. Cheeks as the lead MC and Freaky Tah as the energetic adlib specialist, The Lost Boyz released an amazing six singles off their debut — “Renee,” “Music Makes Me High,” “The Yearn (Remix),” “Get Up,” “Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless” and “Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimas and Benz.” Legal Drug Money quickly went gold two months after its release.

The group followed up with their sophomore album — Love, Peace & Nappiness — in 1997. The album also went gold and featured the singles, “Me & My Crazy World” and the title track. Then tragedy struck two years later on March 28, 1999. After leaving Mr. Cheek’s birthday party in Queens, Freaky Tah, then 27-years-old, was shot in the head and killed while leaving the Sheraton Hotel. The assailants were eventually caught — Kelvin Jones pleaded guilty to murder in 2001, while the getaway driver, Raheem Fletcher, was sentenced to seven years for manslaughter. The group, however, would never be the same.

Revered for his madcap adlibs (long before Young Jeezy ever touched a mic), gruff voice and energetic persona, Freaky Tah will always be the heart of The Lost Boyz. While Tah was known more as a hypeman, he did rock the mic on songs such as “1, 2, 3” off Legal Drug Money and “Get Your Hustle On” off Love, Peace & Nappiness.

Six months after Tah’s passing, the remaining members of The Lost Boyz released the lukewarm, LB IV Life. It was a solid release, but without Freaky Tah the results just weren’t the same. Mr. Cheeks, however, went on to enjoy solo success in 2001 with his album, John P. Kelly, which featured the hit single, “Lights, Camera, Action!” and the somber Tah tribute, “’Till We Meet Again.” Speaking on the eighth anniversary of Freaky Tah’s death, Mr. Cheeks reminisces with XXLMag.com about his fallen comrade and the legacy of The Lost Boyz.

Where were you when you found out about Freaky Tah’s murder?
Shit, I was dropping somebody home right after we just left the party we was all attending that night [at] the Sheraton Hotel up in 151 Street off the Conduit [in Queens]. We was at the corner store and we seen ambulances and shit going over there. We was like, “Damn, niggas wilding out already?” Come to find out it was my nigga.

What was going through your mind at the time?
I couldn’t believe somebody shot my nigga. I never thought something could happen to a nigga, ‘cause we just represented the hood and everything we stood for was Queens. I never thought that something would even go wrong, so it bugged me out. It just fucked us up.

Did you ever try to figure out the motive behind his death?
Nah, I ain’t really focus on that. But they caught the nigga and all that shit. It is what it is, man. It’s a fucked up situation. No doubt about it.

Do you ever think you could have prevented his murder?
Yeah, I think about, like, maybe we should’ve left together and all that shit. I think about all that shit. I think about it [because] before he died, he told me he loved me that night, like, “I love you, nigga.” I was like, “Damn kid, no doubt.” That shit hurt. Nigga died on my birthday—March 28. I celebrate that shit and I mourn for my nigga.

How did his passing affect the dynamic of the crew?
Tah had his team of niggas he was fucking with on his side of town. Spiggy had his team of niggas. I had my niggas. Lou had his niggas. But we were all one crew. But after Tah passed, it was like; people on his side and my side didn’t know how to communicate no more. It was different. Niggas weren’t fucking with each other, rumors were popping off and shit definitely went crazy. My nigga Spigg got locked up doing bank robberies or whatever that shit is. Niggas ain’t stay focused on what it was about. It was always about making music and keeping [our] legacy poppin’. I’m gonna still make it pop, but I’m just gonna have to bring it back to the essence for those in my camp and those outside that might’ve forgot how we do it. That nigga was a big part of that. I miss my nigga [the most] when we do shows. I’m doing “Renee” and “Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimas & Benz,” and I don’t have my nigga bouncing with me.

What are some of your fondest memories of Tah?
When we were all out in Jamaica, shooting the “Love, Peace & Nappiness” video. That nigga Tahleek was wild! The entire day was crazy. We was riding on the back of that truck…the whole experience was crazy. It was the four of us just doing it. It was just bananas. I miss that nigga. That nigga was just an ill hype nigga. Sometimes I might dream that I’m talking to this nigga, and I’ll wake up like, ‘Damn, I was really buggin’.’

Did he have plans beyond The Lost Boyz?
Oh yeah, he had his groups. He [had] his crew, the 134 All-Stars. He was juggling projects he was going to put out. He was out there bumping shit for the ‘hood.

Do you feel The Lost Boyz’s legacy is often overlooked?
No doubt about it. We were trendsetters. We started a lot of things. Right now, there’s a lot of gimmicks going on. So it’s kinda crazy, but it’s good to see niggas eating ‘cause there are a lot of jobs out there for niggas right now in the music industry. It’s not like niggas is making music where niggas can learn from the shit anymore. The nigga Lil Wayne is lookin’ like me [Laughs]. I love that lil’ nigga. Certain things niggas was wearing, like white tees and all that. When we brought it to the table, it was like the labels were scared, but now everybody is doing it.

Have you kept in contact with Lou and Spigg?
Pretty Lou is straight. He’s taking care of [his] shorties right now, to tell you the truth. I guess he got his little artist that he’s fucking with [too]. [Spigg Nice and I] talk through our friends. We talk through our peoples. A lot of people think I owe niggas. There’s a lot of people I don’t fuck with no more, ‘cause my nigga is gone. I don’t feel I should fuck with certain niggas I don’t like. I been in the studio doing what I got to do, staying fully focused. And it’s like, if niggas ain’t on the same shit you trying to do with the music, you got to do what you got to do.

  • http://xxlmag.com Bol

    How come every two weeks now it’s the anniversary of some rapper’s death?

  • A12

    The nigga Lil Wayne is lookin’ like me [Laughs)

    I never thought of that one….

  • Holla

    R.I.P. Tah – The Lost Boyz were a great group.

  • That Dude

    ^^^ how come you always the first nigga 2 post something…fuckin internet geek….RIP Freaky Tah

  • Jroc

    I still roc your old shit, RIP Freaky-Tah !1love

  • DOUGHBOY

    No Lie, The Lost Boyz Are Them Niggaz, They Made Music The Hardest Niggaz Could Listen To, Yet Ya Momz Would Feel!

  • derfla the hus’la

    use to love they music some really get high shit, love peace and nappyness was one hot album………R.i.p freaky tah……..this is how we do, group home

  • yung ceasa

    Bol Says:

    March 28th, 2007 at 11:08 am
    How come every two weeks now it’s the anniversary of some rapper’s death?

    ————-

    yeah that shyt is fucked up, cause jus tha other day was tha anniversary of eazy’s death, and b.i.g’s at tha top of tha month. but tha only thing promised in life is death, even though its fucked up therre’s nothin you can do about it, r.i.p. to tha nigga freaky tah……cheeks keep ya head up

  • soundbwoy

    the most important hype man in hip hop ater flav r.i.p

  • lake

    derfla the hustla watches desperate housewives

  • http://www.xxlmag.com FORMULA

    hustla hutla fo life he was good to in rap but all that aside hes good man prolly and to say rip to him

  • FUCK WHAT YOU HEARD, I RUN NEW JERZ

    r.i.p tah its sad niggas die over bullshit but this was a nigga who hyped the hell out of his crew and these niggas was trend setters

  • http://www.myspace.com/libskrib Adlib

    wtf

  • http://www.myspace.com/libskrib Adlib

    Yo xxl need to get ur shit rite cause this adlib dudes shit just showed up on my page this shit is wierd

  • Eman

    Now this is me R.i.p. Freaky Tah Lb crew 4 ever its a shame nr cheeks solo shit sucks

  • My Effin’ Opinion

    You Tah used to do the best Ad-libs in the business … hearing him shout-out the double-ups in the background complimented Cheeks lyrics.

    I was fortunate enough to do a track for Mr. Cheeks for the John P. Kelly album .. too bad Tah wasn’t around for it. The Lost Boyz had that bounce to they tracks. They wasn’t tryna be nobody else.

    RIP Tah …

  • Truth

    RIP Tah, thanks for the memories.

  • 3rd Masketia

    Yo I represent for Kisumu,Kenya.Wheva my man would crunk up LB in the stereo we was sure to av a good day that shit was wat it was then.Tah r.i.p.Yo Cheeks wassup,been missin in action far too long hoomie.

  • 3rd Masketia

    Yo,I represent for Kisumu,Kenya.Wheva my man would crunk up LB in the stereo we was sure to av a good day that shit was wat it was then.Tah r.i.p.Yo Cheeks wassup,been missin in action far too long hoomie.

  • http://lionellplaatjiesyahoo.com Gee-Money

    yeh no doubt they was hot love peace & nappiness to em niggas, any thing new fom Mr Chicks?

  • Diggy

    Lost Boyz is and always will be my favorite group to rap.

    RIP Tah

    1

  • Skittles Are Tasty

    What exactly was Pretty Lou’s function?

  • http://www.koldkutz.com/yhs Ken Ken Tha Boss
  • Queens Veteran

    man, Lost Boyz was the greastest group ever. they right up there with bone thugs and few other groups that split too early for various reasons. much love cheeks. to this day I’ll still never bootleg a lost boyz/mr. cheeks album. always go get that real thing n show some love.

  • pluck from bmore

    you know whats messed up ..do you know who was in the 134 Allstars…. Banks and Yayo..how bout that thats what Cheeks ment a while ago when he said cats covering up lost boyz tats and covering them wit G unit..

  • Jospeh Tegano

    WHO GIVES A FUCK, FREE YAYO SON, HE MIGHT BE GOIN BACK, ONE LOVE MY GORILLA,
    ( 613)-203-6829
    hit tha celly haters

  • Dee

    The fucked up thing that is not talked about is that Tahleek’s crew 134 Allstars, or just 134 and Guy R. Brewer in general is where 50, Banks, and Yayo came from…they’re all the same peoples. After Tahleek died I’ll never forget how everywhere around Guy R. Brewer there were cars riding around bumping Lost Boyz and cars’ had “Freaky Tah RIP” in the back of the window in white paint. There was a constant memorial to Tah and all of those cats used to hang in front of the the candles and shit on the corner of 134/Guy R. Brew.

    It was fucked up b/c in a lot of ways Tahleek held a lot of shit together b/n different crews..beyond this rap shit, he was a real street n*#!# – much respected/loved.

    After he got murked, a lot of shit fell apart in that area. Even as 50 and G-Unit began to rise outta that shit, beef was boiling all over Southside. Most of Tahleek’s peoples ended up having a falling out w/50 — which speaks to this.

    Crazy how much talent sprung from 134/Guy R.Brew. Nobody talks about it, writes about it…that’s what’s wrong w/these magazines.

    The crazy shit is no one will read this..and I’m writing real shit, since I was around Tah’s peoples and lived over there around that time.

  • spyda hill

    Man i remember bumpin dat “1,2,3 (thousand problems)” track way back when, dat shit waz some mad shit. “surprise muthafukka it’s a hit from the southside” all dat shit.

  • Yung HoV da God

    “MCA This is how we do it every day Me and Freaky Tah, high we be gettin’ down representin..” R.I.P Freaky Tah

  • dangon

    i am dead but niggas never pay any tribute to me
    ,fuck all that shyt.iam coming and kill all ya

  • http://xxlmag.com carolyn

    we luv yo freaky tah lb 4 life