Today In Hip-Hop: Freestyle Fellowship Releases ‘To Whom It May Concern…’

On this day, October 5, in hip-hop history…

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1991: Legendary Los Angeles underground hip-hop collective Freestyle Fellowship released their debut album, To Whom It May Concern…, on October 5, 1991. Freestyle Fellowship consisted of a who’s who of noted underground rappers including Aceyalone, Myka 9, P.E.A.C.E., and Self Jupiter and were formed at legendary Los Angeles open-mic shop Project Blowed in the early 1990s. A seminal group in 1990s alternative and underground hip-hop, Freestyle Fellowship were known for the group’s successful fusion of hip-hop, jazz and their innovative focus on freestyle rapping techniques in their music.

To Whom It May Concern…, the group’s debut album, is known for being highly influential on the growing alternative hip-hop scene coming from the West Coast and Los Angeles in the 1990s and stood in sharp contrast to the gangster-centric rap music flowing out of L.A. at the time. The Fellowship focused on mellow jazz rhythms and poetic, free-form raps that seemed to oppose the atomic funk of George Clinton-samples that seemed to dominate West coast hip-hop of the day. To Whom It May Concern.. had a murky, low-budget quality that added to the uniqueness of the group’s sound and attitude. The group’s innovative style served as a primary influence for many of the underground hip-hop groups that would spring forth from the West in the next decade including Oakland-based Hieroglyphics and The Pharcyde.