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Name: Artifacts

Where You Find Them: Follow on El Da Sensei on Twitter (@eldasensei), and hit up someone at Almalgam Digital if you want to get in touch with Tame One.

What You Might Know Them For And Why You Could’ve Cared: As a two MC, one DJ trio from Newark, New Jersey, the Artifacts churned out music that mostly fed a ‘90s hip-hop purist’s de facto supplement: real hip-hop and its four elements. Their most popular single “Wrong Side of Da Tracks,” which paid homage to the graffiti culture, was an anthem for writers that risked their lives for throw ups.


The group’s first album, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, was released on the October of 1994, garnering much attention from the underground hip-hop audience. With songs concentrating on b-boying and graffiti (elements of hip-hop that weren’t too often honored in the realm of rap), the record immediately attracted fans that sought an alternative to the more gangster and commercialized sound of the era. With production from Buckwild of the legendary east coast underground imprint, D.I.T.C, and T-Ray of the famed west coast Soul Assassins collective, both the beats and concepts behind the track listing escalated the album’s status to a near underground classic.


Unfortunately, the second album, That’s Them, which was released on April of ’97, failed to receive a similar recognition. And a split between the two members followed soon. As solo artists both Tame One and El Da Sensei had moderately successful underground careers. Tame One joined the then bubbling east coast indie collective the Weathermen, with members of the Def Jux imprint. He then released an album along with Cage as Leak Bros, followed by another album with Del the Funky Homosapien known as Parallel Uni-Verses. El Da Sensei, although not as visible, released multiple solo albums that received critical acclaim, with The Unusual in ’06, being the most recognized.

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Current Status: At the 33rd The Rock Steady Crew Anniversary Celebration in Newark, New Jersey in ‘10, El Da Sensei, Tame One, and DJ Kaos performed under the name the Artifacts. The members have somewhat reconciled their differences, and they're reportedly in the process of working on a new album. Their newest single “Easter,” dropped on April this year. —Jaeki Cho (@JaekiCho)