BY ROY ALBERT ANDRADE, K1LLER, Inc.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - Rap is a musical art form that has existed for more than 20 years in the United States, and has helped turn dozens of ardent free-speech advocates into entrepreneurs. Profanity-laced songs, and the legitimacy of lyrics have enthused gang members to rap. Numerous sources point to New York, considerably, the Bronx, as the birthplace of Hip-Hop, break-dancing and graffiti. Afrika Bambaataa, one of Hip-Hops early pioneers, was a member of the Black Spades, a street gang that followed the teachings of Malcom X, and the Nation of Islam, systematically became a major rap luminary.
In the early 60s, gang members began using graffiti for intimidation, self-promotion, and marketing boundary territories in the Bronx. Which, affected Hip-Hop culture, influencing the use of drugs, slang, and fashion. In the 70s, DJ Kool Herc, and Grandmaster Flash stepped on the scene. Not long after, scratching; spinning a record back, and forth while the needle is in the grove, and punch phasing; using two completely different records on a turntable for intentional purposes of needle-dropping on the breaks, sprouted. In 1975, Afrika Bambaataa founded the Zulu Nation to combat gang violence with break dancing, Hip-Hop, and rap music. In the late 70s, Sylvia Robinson, CEO of Sugar Hill Records, was determined to release a Hip-Hop album under her label. On September 16, 1979, Sugarhill Gang, a Hip-Hop group, released "Rapper's Delight," which has created much controversy over being the first Hip-Hop single.
In the 80s, Rick Ruben and Russell Simmons founded Def Jam, responsible for releasing rap albums by Run-D.M.C that reached mainstream audiences. In the 90s, N.W.A released an 18-track album titled N****z4Life. It peaked at number one on Billboard 200 on June 22, 1991 for 44 weeks on the chart, and without question, became certified platinum in no time. On November 30, 1994, at around 12:25 A.M, Tupac Shakur, 23, at the time of the incident, was shot multiple times at Quad Recording Studios located at 723 7th Ave #10, New York, NY 10019, which ignited a Bad Boy Records vs. Death Row Records (The Notorious B.I.G vs. 2pac) war in 1996. Eventually, Tupac Shakur was killed in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the Notorious B.I.G was murdered in Los Angeles, California.
In the 2000s, Los Angeles County gang members who were all to familiarized with guns, drugs, correctional officers, and courtrooms, decided to launch independent record labels or work as recording artists themselves to get in on the action. Some of those names include Midget Loco, CEO, of Steel Banging Musick, Sleepy Malo, Spanky, and Solo Sinatra of Jorge Martinez's MOBG Record label. Midget Loco truthfully admits that Sugarhill Gang's single, titled "Rapper's Delight," was one of his favorite songs growing up in Boyle Heights, and influenced him to rap about his personal life as a Primera Flats gang member. In 2004, he joined rappers, Chino Grande, Jasper Loco, Fiesty 2 Guns, and Baby Jokes (Richard Cabral) to become Charlie Row Campo, a rap group, signed to Urban King Music Group.
After years of experience in the music industry, Midget Loco launched, Steel Banging Musick, an independent record label, and has not regretted a thing since then. "I was signed to Urban Kings for many years. They released most of my solo projects. UKMG was the company that put out the first Steel Banging Musick album, 'Death Of Studio Gangsters.' These two companies are not under the same umbrella, but have worked together for a long time. Baby Jokes was my old label mate. We were both part of the well known, and respected rap group, Charlie Row Campo. We still interact from time to time, but due to our busy schedules, haven’t had much time to get together. Chino G is currently working on his upcoming album, '1300 Block.' Can't really tell you much of what he has going on, but I know my little brother is grinding hard in this music game," explained Midget Loco.
Midget Loco has accomplished more than most artists can dream of in their lifetime, and looks forward to every winter season to engage in philanthropy by giving back to the community that's responsible for making him street smart. "Steel Banging Musick teamed up with Blocc Life Entertainment to put on a Toy Drive show to give back to the less fortunate kids in the community. The toys will go to the children in the community that have families that are struggling to buy their children gifts. It’s our way of giving back for the holidays," continued Midget Loco.
Shawn W. Anderson