A film about Northwest hip-hop from 1994
DJ Greg B aka DJ Ready was involved in several Seattle rap groups in the 1980s. In 1992 he dropped a full-length solo cassette called Listen To The Greg B with DJ Skill. Around this same time, he teamed up with fellow hip-hoppers Dee-Lyrious and Jay-Skee to form a new group called Crooked Path. According to Greg, “All three of us went to the University Of Washington where we all met. Jay-Skee playing football, Dee-Lyrious playing basketball, and me DJing all the college parties. Jay-Skee brought everyone together and we all meshed naturally.” Their debut album After Dark combined the more humorous, wordplay elements of early ’90s rap with a more violent, shoot-em-up gangsta vibe. It would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention that Greg B changed his name a couple of years later to one that is more familiar to fans of Seattle hip-hop, that name of course is Funk Daddy.
After Dark was re-released by Belgian label Southwest Enterprise in 2021 and is now available on vinyl and CD. The 2021 version contains Funk Daddy “fun facts” on the jacket which give contextual info about some of the tracks. For example, two songs from After Dark also appeared on Rhyme Cartel’s Seattle…The Dark Side compilation, “Menace Crook,” and “12 Gauge.” The best thing about “Menace Crook” is the track’s pulse-quickening momentum created by the clamorous scratching and catchy bassline. “12 Gauge” has a slower, suspenseful sound, and the lyrics talk about how the group is strapped up for any situation. “I got your back *****, I got the gat *****, I got the shit to make a sucker fall flat *****,” goes a typical line from “12 Gauge.” Tacoma artist Wojack from Criminal Nation makes an appearance with his laid-back track, “Something 4 Your Trunk,” in which he expresses his feelings toward his record label. One could conjecture that he was referring to either Cold Rock, Nastymix, or Ichiban, three labels he had worked with in ’92 and ’93.
Other After Dark highlights include “Where De’ At,” a super funky cut in which all three group members bust rhymes over the famous One Way “Don’t Fight The Feeling” sample flipped so successfully by Too Short. Jay-Skee’s “I-5 South” features some lovely, stirring backup singing by Gina Douglass, and her voice is perfect for the chorus. After Dark was not the last project for this crew. Dee-Lyrious completed a solo CD two years later in 1996. Funk Daddy continued putting out music throughout the ’90s. Crooked Path returned in 1998 with their second album Which Way Is Up on Dogday Records. Written by Novocaine132