Through the years, rap has been a cartoonish exaggeration of real life. If you hustled a little bit for one summer, on one corner; then you could go to the studio, throw a beat on, get in the booth and become a kingpin. I think it’s something that fans have grown to accept. I mean, it is entertainment, right?
It’s for that reason that I always appreciated the Lost Boyz—they did the complete opposite.
If you’re from NYC, then you know the four-man group had strong street ties as the rap extension of the Lost Boyz street crew. But in their music, Mr. Cheeks, Freaky Tah, Pretty Lou and Spigg Nice never glorified the street shit. Instead, their music was storied reflections of the unfortunate circumstances that they had seen coming up. That’s why it was so tragic when Freaky Tah was fatally shot 11 years ago today, on March 28, 1999.
I never had the chance to meet Tah, but I did see The LBz perform once at Club Amazura in Queens years ago as a teen (don’t ask me how I got in).
Now I’m not proclaiming to be the biggest Lost Boyz fan, no that distinct goes to my man Brian “B.Dot” Miller, but I did have a deep appreciate for them and the hits that they provided. “Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimas and Benz,” “Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless,” “Renee” and “Me and My Crazy World” are undeniable. I honestly feel that if Freaky Tah had not been murdered, LB would’ve had countless more hits under their belt.
Granted, Tah didn’t rap much [who remembers his verse from Mic Geronimo’s “Masta I.C. (Remix)"?], but he added magic to the track. It was clear that something was missing when Cheeks went solo on the John P. Kelly album.
Don’t get me wrong, if you throw “Lights, Camera, Action” on in the club, that shit bangs, but I can’t help but to wonder if it would’ve been hotter with Tah’s signature ad-libs. They even went as far as to get some randos to blurt out “I’m sorry Mrs. Jackson” to back-up Cheeks’ vocals on the hook, but it just wasn’t the same.
The one thing about hip-hop is that we always salute our fallen soldiers. The Notorious B.I.G., ’Pac, Eazy-E, Big L, Big Pun, ODB, et al., all deserve to be honored. And maybe Freaky Tah, didn’t have the same stature of those aforementioned artists, but he deserves props as well.
Being a hype-man on a rap track is a lost art, word to Flavor Flav. Shit, it’s funny to me that new rap groups don’t even have hype-men anymore. Well, one thing is for sure, there will never be another Freaky Tah. Now pardon me as I throw on “Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimas and Benz” and do the LB dance!
Rest in peace. Haaaaaaaaaaaa *in my Freaky Tah voice* —Rob Markman, The Deputy!