Remembering Rap-A-Lot, Nuff Respect Due

You gotta give J. Prince his just due. He started Rap-A-Lot Records in the mid to late ’80s (not too long after Def Jam) and has been running the South’s premier hip-hop indie ever since. Still, the Houston, Texas-based label doesn’t get nearly enough love.

With the Geto Boys being their flagship act, Rap-A-Lot started making noise outside Houston when they dropped the group’s second album, Grip It! On That Other Level in 1989. While the LP’s most celebrated single, “Do It Like a G.O.” helped the Geto Boys make their mark, it was the group’s classic 1991 hit “Mind Playin’ Tricks On Me” that thrust Rap-A-Lot into the national spotlight.

Geto Boy frontman Scarface went solo the same year and went on to become one of the most renowned rappers in the game (he’s in my personal Top 5 MCs list) and the label dug for more southern talent like Big Mello and Big Mike, but once again found another star in 1994 when they released Fadanuf Fa Erybody!! by the Odd Squad, a group that was made up of Jugg Mugg, Rob Quest and a then unknown Devin the Dude. In ’96 Prince linked up with Chicago’s Do or Die and released Picture This, which featured the hit “Po Pimp,” featuring Twista and Johnny P. And more recently both Bun B and Pimp C (R.I.P.) released their solo works on the label.

Yukmouth, Tela, Z-Ro, Trae, UTP, Tupac’s protégés the Outlawz also went on to drop albums through Rap-A-Lot, putting the icing on the cake. Through the years I’ve always wondered why Rap-A-Lot doesn’t get more love. —Rob Markman

Geto Boys, “Mind Playin’ Tricks On Me”

Scarface, “Never Seen A Man Cry”

Do or Die, “Po Pimp”

Devin the Dude, “Lacville ’79”

Bun B ft. Everybody & Their Mother, “Draped Up”

Trae ft. Z-Ro, “No Help”

  • http://quebishop-guardians.blogspot.com qp

    Houston…..

    With me being from Houston, you want your home team to blow up. I guess it’s that we influenced others (Drake, Lupe, Jay-Z, etc.) but haven’t really capitialized on a our sound. There’s also the fact that most of our artist really didn’t want to fuck with the majors. Like Slim Thug was doing good before he signed to Star Trak, but afterwards, you get involved with the whole industry politics which tends to hinder you.

  • latino heat

    cosign to the fullest Rob. Rap-A-Lot has been the shit for many years. and Scarface and Devin are both in my top 5. yes i said Devin, top 5. if your still sleeping please wake up.

    now would i sign a deal with J. Prince if i was a artist? HELL NO! but that’s another story. as i’ve said before J is what Suge thought he was all these years. a real gangsta that has all his money in order. the feds have been after J for years and haven’t been able to catch him yet. all hail the teflon don of the rap game.

    good job this week Rob. giving shine to the less celebrated but equally dope record labels in hip hop history. how about a post on Loud Records tomorrow?

    • http://WWW.MAJORMUVS.COM *BLOCK*

      BLOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      CO-SIGN ON DEVIN THE DUDE….HE MAY BE ONE OF THE REALEST ARTIST EVER…I WISH HE WOULD GET BETTER EXPOSURE…NOT LIKE WAYNE OR DRAKE BUT ATLEAST LIKE PLIES LOL…NOT SAYING HE IS ANYTHING LIKE HIM JUST COULD USE THAT EXPOSURE…TEXAS HAS PLENTY OF ARTIST THAT CAME AND COME HARD….SLIM THUG AND TRAE ARE 2 OF MY FAVS AND OF COURSE SCARFACE GETS LOVE…..THE 2 NAMES I DIDNT SEE WERE DIRTY AND Z-RO BOTH HELD THERE END DOWN TOO….I THINK THEY NEVER GOT THE SAME RECOGNITION AS SAY A BAD BOY OR DEF JAM OR DEATH ROW BECAUSE THEY DIDNT PUT THEMSELVES OUT THERE LIKE THAT DURING THAT TIME….I THINK IF THEY WOULD HAVE IT MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN A GOOD THING FOR THEM…I KNOW THAT MIGHT SOUND ODD BUT……

  • Mutada/Mullah Atari

    This label was/is one of the best to ever put out hip hop music. The Ghetto Boys… I always was partial to till “Death Do Us Part”. Usually when a group member is replaced it hurts the group, but to this day I think Big Mike stepped in and added sooooo much flavor to the group. His song “Strait Gangsterism” was a classic before the tacked on Scarface verse for the video. And “Crooked Officer” as well as “Six feet deep” were great songs.

    Both of Big Mikes solo albums were semi classics.

    The older Ghetto Boys, “Do it like a GO”, “Damn it feels good to be a gangster” (Did Lil J kill that verse or what?)All of the Chucky stuff from Chuckwick. (Psycho before Eminem). Man Great music.

    Chuckwicks first solo “Little Big man” Classic… “Ever so clearly” Classic.

    I fucked with DMG too. He was a little rough around the edges and talked about murder a whole lot but he had a solid album.

    Of course all of Brad’s solo albums were kick ass. “The World is yours” AND “The Diary” certified hip hop classics.

    Willie D’s verse on my “Minds playing Tricks” classic.

    5th Ward Boys.. Dope

    2low.. first kid rapper aside from Illegal that I recall cussing. And actually spitting some dope shit.
    “Only time I’m saying yes ma’am or no ma’am is when you’re handing me a check”

    I could go on all day. Hip Hop was better because of Lil J and his vision.

  • latino heat

    cosign Mutada.

    DMG was hard. and most people don’t know DMG sampled the beat that would become Collio’s Gangstas Paradise 2 years before Coolio sampled it. funny coincidence ain’t it?

    • Mutada/Mullah Atari

      Ha ! I remember that. That was the first sample of Stevie Wonders Past Time paradise. A classic song by Mr. Stevland. DMG and whet hard on that one.

  • http://xxlmag.com Blakout615

    “Through the years I’ve always wondered why Rap-A-Lot doesn’t get more love”.

    Because its a southern record label that made GREAT music. GREAT music down here ALWAYS gets overlooked. Speaking of big mike,at the ’95 source awards when biggie won lyricist of the yr,how many ppl know big mike was nominated in the same catagory? Mann if big mike wouldve won,it wouldve been pandemonium!! Lol u see what new york did to outkast that yr.

    And why hasn’t VH1 honored the Geto Boys yet or Facemob as a solo artist at the hip hop honors? Hopefully they get in nxt yr.

  • fatDAN

    I do agree with Devin being “Top 5 “. He is definitely a rapper that deserves way more attention than he gets. His stage shows are the shit. Scarface will always be #1 here in Texas no matter what. Followed by UGK, Slim Thugg and then Zro and Trae. Rap A LOt the shit. The best weed I ever done smoked was with Devin at some busted ass club here in San Antonio.

  • anutha_level

    great drop…this shit is nostalgic because i was actually living in texas at the time when the label was peaking…circa 93-97

  • giantstepp

    Much respect to Rap A Lot Records! They will always have respect and honor within Hip Hop, and they will always be given their just acclaim from the top rappers in the game. But for whatever reasons, as good as they are, they are not embraced and given their due from the general public. It doesn’t matter, but it’s a little weird with them being as great as they are/were.

  • Whateva Man

    Just a shame that they suck so much at promotion. Albums just sort of turn up and you had no idea they were even coming.

  • El Tico Loco

    There was a time when I would cop anything that appeared to be from Rapalot like I still have Big Mello (RIP) Bonehard Zaggin (as on the cover), Gangsta Nip 5th Ward Psycho, Choice, Convicts (32 and Big Mike) and they used to use the same break (jimbrowski break)on most of their songs but for some reason it wasn’t a problem cuz they always came with it

  • ri067953

    Yo, I remember buggin when they put out the Geto Boys album with Bill’s eye shot out! True independent shit! What was the name of the group that was like the Geto Boys but had a white midget in the group?

    • El Tico Loco

      I remember Too Much Trouble and what u talkin “but had a midget”? What u think Bushwick is? they had a song called “Invasion of the pursesnatchers”, “I take the pussy” SMH thinkin about it.

      • ri067953

        Yeah, Bushwick is a midget but he is a black one…Too Much Trouble was like the geto boys but had a white midget instead of a black one!!!!!

  • ChinCheka

    Rap-A-Lot has always been my ish all of it from N-I-P to DMG to 3-2, Too Much Trouble 5th Ward Boyz. The first tape that I ever bought with my own money was the first Geto Boys tape the one with their mug shots on it. I was like 10 at the time and had to hide it from my moms. It turns out that, that tape was only an introduction to Huston/ Texas rap for me. Anyone out there remember Point Blank? PSK 13? Man this brings back lots of memories for me. Thanks for the drop!

  • ChiquitaB

    I LOVE RAP-A-LOT, they were even on that horror core rap music before DEF Jam..Peep Gangsta NIP (SOUTH PARK PYSCHO). I know probably NO ONE has heard of him, but he was out during that odd squad era. Not saying he was the most lyrical dude, but the stuff he said till this day still has me like WOW…did dude really say he was f’ing cats *lol*. Everyone else that made Rap-A-Lot the s*** has already been mentioned :)

    ChiquitaB

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