Flashback Friday: Remember Illegal?

With Lil Wayne’s legal affairs being a heavy topic of discussion yesterday, it got me to thinking: Where’s a reliable fall guy when you need one? I mean, doesn’t every rapper’s entourage have a dude designated to do a bid on call. Sometimes, “that guy” and the weed carrier are one and the same. How did the NYPD get away with running the old DNA trick on Weezy? I just don’t get it, but I digress.

As I started to do the research for a blog on the Wayne fiasco, I typed “illegal rap” into the magical Google search engine and out came a Wikipedia page for Illegal, the rap group. Y’all remember them, right? Lil Malik and Mally G?

The year was 1993 and the boys on the West Coast had the game on lock. The resurgence of New York was just starting to take off as Wu-Tang, Nas, Notorious B.I.G and Bad Boy Records started to mount an attack. Meanwhile down in Atlanta, Jermaine Dupri had those “young, loveable, huggable type of guys” (their words not mine) Kris Kross wiggle and shake their rumps to No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 charts with their radio-friendly 1992 debut, Totally Krossed Out. The following year, JD tried to toughen Mack Daddy and Daddy Mack (I’ll be damned if I know which was which) with their sophomore disc, Da Bomb. It’s hard to argue that the plan didn’t work—commercially at least—as the album went platinum, but it’s safe to say not everyone was buying it.

Over at Dallas Austin’s Rowdy Records, though, two pint-sized roughnecks were pining at the opportunity to prove they were the realest hardcore teensters in the game. They called themselves Illegal for good measure. In the summer of ’93 Jamal “Mally G” Phillips and Malik “Lil Malik” Edwards released their debut album, The Untold Truth, featuring the dis record, “Head or Gut,” which was aimed squarely at the backwards Jerseys of Kris Kross.

“Head Or Gut”

Kris Kross wasn’t the only teen crew Illegal took issue with. They fired off another scathing dis record, “We Getz Busy,” that mentioned Philly rap crew Da Youngstas, and Motown Rap/R&B group Another Bad Creation. The record was a no holds barred rap that proved the little guys had the skills to back up their tough act.

“We Getz Busy”

As 1995 rolled in Illegal’s short-lived run came to an end, as hip-hop heads turned their attention to the big boys of rap, B.I.G, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Nas, et al. The duo split and Mally G linked up with EPMD’s Erick Sermon and dished out his solo debut, Last Chance, No Breaks, under his government name Jamal. The album didn’t sell, but it produced one of my favorite records of that period, “Fade ’Em All.”

“Fade ’Em All”

Malik’s solo set on Rowdy Records was shelved, but given that he was Snoop Dogg’s little cousin (for real, not for play-play) he went over to the West Coast to get busy with them. In 2004, he finally released his solo debut, The Game Needs Me, under the name Malik AKA Hershey Hefner. (Worst name ever, perhaps?)

Clearly, the story didn’t end well for the duo, but there ain’t nothing sweet about what Illegal brought to the game. Well, back in the day at least. —Rondell Conway

  • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

    Not sure about Malik, but Mally G is still rapping in ATL underground circles. I saw him on a Loch121 webcast a few months ago (see AHH, Loch).

    *sidebar* What were Red and Meth’s names in “How High”?

    • Jake Steed

      jamal and silas

    • El Tico Loco

      Jamal and Malik were the kids on Slumdog Millionaire

  • Jesus Martinez

    That’s right, Malik was that kid on Pump Pump off Doggystyle.

    • HNIC

      Yep, that dude was ill with it. I thought for sure that he was gonna be the next big thing. I haven’t heard anything from him since. I guess there must be a milk carton with his mug on the side, somewhere… perhaps, in the XXL archives.

  • http://www.justice.gov.za GO-Getta’

    What r u dudes on about?

  • El Tico Loco

    I actually had thought about these cats after watchin Slumdog Millionaire. But on the real I thought they would still be around now especially with their connects and cosigns. They shoulda been what Mobb Deep became.

  • Worley

    Don’t forget Malik ripped his feature on Monica’s “Like This, Like That”

  • Dickdasturdly

    Jamal was dat dude IMO. He also got down on Junior Mafia’s first cd. A few cats from the west was feelin his music. He had Eric Sermon producing for him when he was going thru his “Funkadelic” phase. But the best song was produced by Redman “The Game”. That song was just ………sickening. In a good way.

  • Curtis75Black

    Them boys definitely put it down on their debut. I really thought they were gonna be a duo for about 3 cd’s and make a true name for themselves. Illegal were beasts back in the day.

  • Lowedwn

    Malik got down on a lot guest features, don’t forget warren G’s “What We Go Through”, he did his thing on that record too.

  • jonny bizness

    Xxl ,u took me back with this 1 back in the day when i was a teenager was my joint ahh the good old days when hiphop was still pure

  • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

    Looks like Hip Hop is heading back towards that kiddie aesthetic. Just with less testosterone.

  • capcobra

    mally g a cool dude..him and his man 40 used to be in charlotte recording with my people..jamal ended up kicking a certain producer ass and bounced…malik used to come thru..but my dude woke up and caught this nigga jacking off at the foot of the bed..on his knees..WTF..needless to say..neither one of ‘em been back since…TRUE STORY.

  • latino heat

    Malik has been doing compilations and features here on the west coast for years under the name Hershey Loc. not sure why he changed the name to Hershey Hefner for his album. that name is terrible.

    speaking of west coast, Mally G was part of Yukmouth’s Regime crew last i heard.

  • General

    Oh the days of the lil kiddie rap group beefs, lol…

    Illegal was ill though and Malik did rip his guest spot on Doggystyle for sure…

  • Jhon da Analyst

    Yeah, Illegal was cool, especially over Erick Sermon’s production, but I don’t think they really wanted it with Da Youngstas!!!!

    • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

      Word. Worst case scenario, Treach & Vinny beating the shit out of Erick Sermon & Dallas Austin with dog chains & little baseball bats.

    • DBlock

      @Jhon…

      youngstaz were cool. but show me the youngstaz album fuckin with “Untold Truth”. It doesnt exist. Lyrically, Malik shit on all them nikkas (even with Treach writin for ‘em), and production-wise they had erick sermon, diamond d and finesse on the boards, to name three more reasons.

      • General

        Weren’t Da Youngstas the group that ran up on Pete Rock and had him shook???

        • raul

          na it was the YG’s

  • Jhon da Analyst

    @DBlock…Come on man, Da Youngstaz 2nd album “The Aftermath” had some of the tightest production at the time. Premier, Pete Rock, The Beatnuts and Marley Marl. Shit, Crewz Pop was dat shit. Show me proof that they didn’t write their own rhymes. I’ll be here.

    @Grand$……….So true.

  • paychexx

    mally g was on redman malpractice album…

    hershey loc was cool, but mally g came with thay hard shit

    still got the tape

  • DBlock

    @Jhon…

    gimee some time and i’ll track down a link, but da youngstaz even mentioned it back in the day (they said they did most of their own writing as well).

    u can’t hear treach rapping on crewz pop tho? the extra tight, windy flow patterns? hoochie-coochie jokes? check the vid; those kids’ heads were about to explode trying to keep up with all the shit treach stuffed in those verses.

    production-wise… i think untold truth is slightly better. lyrics tho… illegal buries da youngstaz. it aint even close. malik and jamal rapped like grown-ass men. compare them to mobb deep circa juvenille hell, and i think they edge them too. i have no idea how the two of them didnt go on to greatness.

    • $ykotic/Don McCaine

      “check the vid; those kids’ heads were about to explode trying to keep up with all the shit treach stuffed in those verses.”

      HAHAHAHAHA Word is bond!

  • Jhon da Analyst

    @DBlock…I feel you though. Treach’s influence was definitely apparent. But shit, Naughty was hot as hell at the time and you know kids can be so easily influenced. Shit, I used to try and rhyme like Rakim even though we are close to the same age.

  • DBlock

    tru. i aint knockin em for it either. there were worse mc’s to mimic back then. and “crewz pop” was heat.

    i’m just sayin… strictly for comparison’s sake, i think illegal, pound-for-pound, were the illest kid rappers ever. not saying there weren’t young mc’s with better verses (nas, big l, ali vegas spring to mind). but in terms of being mid-teens and releasing an album showcasing that much skill? they were out-rapping nikkas twice their age! malik damn-near gave a close-2-prime lord finesse the beats on “on the m-i-c,” lol.

    i think they could’ve been the next mobb deep if they had any incentive to remain a group. but that’s what happens when you just put two dudes together and tell them they’re a duo. there was no reason for them to stick together once others (snoop, def squad) started showing interest.

    • capcobra

      1 on dust..the other suspect..that’s why they not popping…the talent is there.

      • latino heat

        @ Cap

        which one is suspect, and why?

        • capcobra

          read my comment uptop…and ask ‘em about PME if you ever run across ‘em.

  • newyawka631

    I haven’t heard that Jamal”fade em all” in a minute…Son,i’m about to make my best of 1995 mixtape.I’ll give you cats da songs,as soon as i figure it out….Most of the big songs won’t be on it…..Bone thugs”First of da month” will be on it…….That was my favorite rap year…..Shit was realllllllll in 1995 nigga

  • Enlightened

    I remember Jamal being young as hell on rap city and that little nigga was high as hell! His eyes was damn near all the way closed.

    They told him to spit a freestyle and he was like “can I cuss?” They laughed and told him nah.

    Then he spit about 6 tight bars before he cussed and they all laughed about it.

    Lil’ nigga was about 15, kickin it. Havin the time of his life.

    Another thing: I remember they said in an interview that they was cool as hell with Kris Kross. They said they just decided to come out like the anti-Kris Kross and go the opposite way – but they was really all friends.

  • Nattiez

    YOW, i just went through an Illegal day on my FB page.
    @Dblock. They WERE the illest kid rappers. EVER hands down. there is no comparison. i dont give a fuck who was writing. I loved the youngstas too and they were nice, but they had nothing on this illegal Niggas. I even thought Red was writing it listening to Mal rap, but they were fucking ILL. i bought that Monica CD single just for dude.
    BUT, if you all remember, they were smoking L’s and doing wild shit so its possible that it was just too much too soon.

    they should have been rap royalty by now.Do you see the kids face in Fade Em All? he fucking meant it kid. LOLOLOL. his rhymes were ill. cadence would roast most niggas today.

    Shouts to Illegal!!!!!!!!