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Champagne Wishes Kaviar Dreams

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A Letter From Tha Grave

It’s always nice when I get something that breaks the mold and dares to have some substance to it, especially when it’s “reality rap” or “gangsta rap” (media labels).

Kazy-D is apparently from Houston by way of Bremerton, WA’s B.A.D.D. Dawg Records, and he’s got some very raw skills lyrically.

“Letter From Th’ Grave” is one tight-ass cut where Kazy-D takes on the persons of a dead homie talking to his potnas from the grave.

What makes this cut so tight is Kazy’s ability to verbalize his life, death (by the hands of a crooked cop), and his last words to his friends about their own lives on the streets. I’m not gonna go all into it, just suffice to say you have to hear it. G-shit doesn’t get much better than this.

Now as for “Down Wit Th’ Klick (1.8.7.)” it’s cool, but it’s closer to the average subject matter of this genre of hip-hop. This shit is on a small label, but as it’s written, “Seek and ye shall find.” Out. (This review originally appeared in The Flavor and was written by Truth.)

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Til Ya Satisfied

For his second effort, Kazy-D followed his 1991 debut with this cassette on the newly established Tacoma hip-hop label Just Cash Records. It was their first release, on both cassette and DJ vinyl. Later, the label would also go on to release projects from two NastyMix stars: High Performance and Criminal Nation’s Wojack, establishing itself as an influential voice in the region’s music landscape.

Kazy-D’s Til Ya Satisfied is a fun two-song EP. You’ll nod your head while it’s playing. On the label, you’ll read that Kazy-D is now joined by a new crew, The Mac 10 Posse, who I believe are the duo of Alcatraz and DJ Razor Ray. The expanded group brings a lot of great vibes. On their opening tune, “Til Ya Satisfied,” the group establishes their motivation for success, rapping “even if we don’t make it, at least we tried.” The beats have a spritely snap with lots of scratching and dropouts. It does indeed make you want to move, as the tune suggests.

The second song “Tender Love” is a slower ballad, with charming verses like “my library of love has been expanding.” Singer Lavon Callahan adds a catchy hook and dreamy vocals. The EP also treats you to a “Remix for the Ladies.” It’s another version of the song, but they’ve stripped away most of the original’s decorative elements, amping up the intimacy by leaving simply the verses and bare beats. Slowly, throughout, other musical elements are slowly reintroduced.

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Another notable release from the early days of Tacoma rap is this 12” single from 1991, Jealousy, by Mac 10 Posse. The trio was composed of Alcatraz on the beat, DJ Razor Ray with the scratches, and MC Kazy D on the mic. In his lyrics, Kazy D explains his arrival to the Northwest—from Texas—as part of a Navy deployment. (Military connections shaped a lot of ‘90s NW rap: Kazy D has this in common with contemporaries Chilly Uptown, Whiz Kid, and Bobby G.)

This vinyl single includes four versions of “Jealousy.” The song starts with a challenge to “do something dope” and “blaze a trail.” What follows is an autobiographical tale of success in the face of all the haters. The drums bang like car doors and there are synth stabs galore. At the song’s crescendo, after revealing his truths, Kazy D asks “So why ya gotta be so jealous?” before pausing to add “…Suckers!”

The song straddles common attitudes from early gangster rap with Tacoma’s hopping ‘80s B-Boy scene. Long instrumental breaks throughout the song are perfect for breakdancing. There’s also a six-minute all-instrumental mix, too.

In the lyrics, Kazy D refers to this as his third record, but we can’t find any evidence of anything before this one. Regardless, from here, Kazy D launched a Northwest legacy. He was one of the state’s first nationally distributed independent artists, and he and the Posse released many, many more records after this one.

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