Record Label: Hit+Run
While G-funk dominated hip-hop airwaves through the 1990s, the pulse of underground rap was maintained at the Good Life Café, an open-mic workshop at the corner of Crenshaw & Exposition in Los Angeles. After Freestyle Fellowship became the first Good Life group to invade the national consciousness in 1991, a young duo called THE NONCE were their heirs apparent, seemingly primed for a breakthrough. Composed of Leimert Park natives Lance ‘Nouka Basetype / Sach’ Caldwell and Yusef ‘Afloat’Muhammad, The Nonce had already been rapping and recording together for years prior to arriving at Good Life.
The Nonce signed to Wild West Records / American and completed a record called ‘World Ultimate’ in 1995. An early single called “Mix Tapes” emerged from the ‘World Ultimate’ sessions. With its dense percussion, rolling bass, spare horn samples and deft turntable scratches, it’s emblematic of the sound that would pervade the classic album. The song charts Sach and Yusef’s growth from mixtape peddlers to artists. It also became The Nonce’s stepping stone to a major label contract and a bonafide west coast classic. After ‘World Ultimate,’ Sach and Yusef intended to push their musical boundaries even further.
Unfortunately for Yusef Afloat, the journey ended at age 28. In 2000 his body was found beside the 110-Freeway. In the years since Sach has maintained a prolific solo career, selfreleasing nearly a dozen projects ranging from LPs to collaborations and instrumental tapes.
Fast forward to 2016 and the forthcoming release of ‘ESSENTIAL [HNR57] a remastered twelve-track “Best of” SACH compilation album, serving as a re-introduction of Sach to a new generation of hip-hop lovers, producers, beat makers & emcees. This extraordinary musical document comes complete with cover artwork courtesy of Augustine Kofie, the legendary photography of Eric Coleman, plus illustrative and informative liner notes by luminary Carlos Nino, and is available on limited-edition 12” tangerine colored vinyl (plus Cassette tape (includes two non-LP bonus tracks “Heavenly Spit” & “Robot on Ya”).
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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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