RHYTHMX AND GRUMP: RAP INNOVASIANS

Rhythmx+-+Long+Overdue+-+1993+-+Vallejo+G+(160).jpg
RhythmX feat. Grump and Simba: Subliminal Criminals
From Long Overdue (SMG/Sick Wid It, 1992)

I was originally going to save this for the next “Rap Purge” installment but I thought it was worth just dedicating a solo post to.

I got this RhythmX LP back in the day though I can’t even remember under what situation (i.e. did I buy it at the store? Get it in a record pool? Had it sent to me for review?) but what did strike me at the time was, “oh, this dude is Japanese American” which probably should have made a greater impression, but didn’t. As I wasn’t really into the Vallejo mob sound of that era (though I’ve since come to better appreciate its style), I didn’t spend much time with it which is probably how I managed to overlook the historic moment happening at the :50 second mark on the song.

As RhythmX brags, the song has a “fuckin’ Filipino and a motherfuckin’ Jap” and assuming this LP came out in 1992/3, I’m pretty sure that would qualify “Subliminal Criminals” as possibly the first hip-hop track featuring more than one Asian American rapper on it (the other being Grump, the MFin’ Filipino). This little factoid may matter to very few folks but I think that’s pretty damn notable. I also think that few likely would have predicted that it’d be Sick Wid It where such history was being made but then again, Chinese/Trinidadian Fresh Kid Ice was another early Asian American presence, going all the way back to the mid/late ’80s with 2 Live Crew.

Actually, if you’re a hapa watcher, then you could also note that the first three Asian American rappers on wax were all hapas – Joe Bataan, Fresh Kid Ice and RhythmX.

All this cultural history aside, can we also just acknowledge that “Funky Worm” is unfadeable? Has there ever been a BAD use of this song? Is that even possible?RAP

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