Record Label: Traffic Entertainment Group
When Queens natives Capone-N-Noreaga dropped their 1997 debut album The War Report Hip Hop was in the middle of a transition period. A new crop of MC’s were coming in, many of the benchmark artists of the late 80s early 90s were starting to fall off and labels focused their efforts on getting artist on mainstream radio ushered in by the “Jiggy Era”. For Capone-N-Noreaga this commercial shift was not an option, they represented what just a few years earlier their Queens brethren Mobb Deep displayed on their second coming “The Infamous” LP.
To make the Queens connection even deeper, the mastermind behind The War Report was QB Legend Tragedy Khadafi who discovered and molded the duo into the flagship artists for his newly christened 25 to Life Records. In many ways Tragedy was the unofficial 3rd member of the group as he appears on more than half the album. The War Report represented a new era of street science and gritty New York beats, tracks like “Illegal Life”, “Stick You” & “T.O.N.Y” all became anthems that summer, making this one of the Greatest Debut Albums in Hip Hop History according to Complex Magazine.
From the moment you hear the piano line of “Bloody Money” it sets a clear tone for this album, the War has begun. With features from Tragedy, Iman Thug, Mobb Deep and uncredited Busta Rhymes ad libs CNN’s debut is treated as almost a revolving door of like-minded MC’s determined to keep the music pure. Rounding out the production aspect, The War Report features EZ Elpee, Nasheim Myrick, Bucwild, Lord Finesse, Marley Marl and super DJ Clark Kent who all bring their unique style while all meshing together perfectly to make this debut a capsule to late 90’s Rap.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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