Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Salute to Stack Bundles and Max B

I felt that it was only right that I pay respect to 2 of NYC's hottest emcee's of the last 4 years.

Rayquan Maurice Eliott a.k.a "Stack Bundles", and Charlie Wingate a.k.a "Max B"

Starting around the time of 2006, when the famed group "Dipset" seemed to be inevitably on their demise, or lost their luster their had gained over the years from 2001 to 2006, Stack Bundles and Max B revived DipSet's image and made its movements, and music relevent again.

Stack Bundles hailing from the virtual unknown streets of Far Rockaway, New York (Queens), suddenly was an outlet for the people of what he liked to call "Far Rock". Stack Bundles was almost a saint to his people at such a young age, everyone looked up to him for what he represented from a music standpoint and how he never forgot where he came from. He was to "Far Rock" what "Biggie" was to Brooklyn, What "Big Pun" was to the Bronx what "2 Pac" was to the Westcoast. I write in this manner because someone like I, Myself as a young man who looked up to Stack Bundles, and he died when I was 18 years old, so I was old enough to honestly understand everything that he represented. The only other death I will probably mourn more will be the day I have to say goodbye to my parents, my Grandmother, or Jay-z.

With his raw, clear cut delivery, and confidence in the booth he was absolutely "Fuego" at the time. No one was hotter. He had the streets of New York City buzzing and for good reason. With his memorable catch phrases like the "Gorgeous Gangsta", "Handsome Hustla" "I don't look like him, or know him, I am that Ni***" "Never mind who done it, I'm Mr. Still Doin' it" "Mr. See more Cake himself", he showed why everyone in the NYC area was a fan of Stack Bundles.

He first started garnering fame doing production with his self-made group called "Rockaway Riot Squad", later to be formerly known as "Riot Squad". He also was a staple of "DJ Clue"'s "Dessert Storm" series. With his steady grind he started gaining attention from other emcee's in the NYC area, most noticably "Jim Jones" of the Harlem based group the Diplomats. Stack Bundles and Jim Jones really hit the rap scene hard, and the chemistry was remarkable, producing numerous mixtapes, and feeding the streets what they wanted to hear. Jim Jones even went so far as to putting Stack Bundles on his third studio album titled "Hustler's P.O.M.E. (Product of My Environment)" With the track called,


"which featured the likes of "Lil' Wayne".
Although Stack Bundles never reached true mainstream status, he was certainly the hottest emcee in NYC at the time, before his untimely dimise on June 11th 2007.

He had signed a 7 figure deal with ByrdGang Records through Jim Jones. Byrdgang is an affiliate under Diplomat Records, who was headed by DefJam.

Everything that Stack Bundles represented was so true down to the core. I am not from Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, I am a young man from upstate, Beacon, N.Y. about a 2 hours north of "Far Rock" but I can respect any man who puts on for their city, even when they know their individual city, or "Hood" has never had anything to be proud of, in terms of fame. He was "Far Rock"'s posterchild or outlet for the youth. As he qouted in one of his raps "I gave the youth something they could look up to/The new coupe with the roof they look up through". Stack Bundles was gunned down on a muggy June night in front of his building in the "Red Fern" housing development in "Far Rock". He wasn't even robbed of his jewelery or his money. He was killed because of pure jealousy and envy. The best lesson that can be learned from his untimely dimise is that once you "get on" and you sign that 7 figure deal, it's time to move on because like Biggie wrote in the classic song "10 Crack Commandments", "The Cheddar breed Jealousy". Stack Bundles made his million but he was still living amongst people who had nothing, compared to himself. Honestly it's a SHAME we have to look it at the situation like this.


The Good Die Young RIP Stack Bundles...Gone but never forgotten.


"Max B" along with "Stack Bundles" was another hip-hop artist who rose up out of nowhere to bring NY rap where it belonged, back on top. Hailing from the prominent streets of Harlem, USA, Max B came with a sound that was never heard before in rap music. Combining a mixture of Jamaican, and Puerto Rican flavor, along with the gritty punchlines, and catchy phrases Max B couldn't lose. "Max B", said his name is a mixture of "Notorious Biggie Smalls","Jay-Z", name and Tupac Shakur's other identity "Makaveli" to form the name "Max Biggavell" a.k.a "Wavy Crockett".

Max B's story was a little different from Stack Bundles. After serving 8 years in prison on robbery charges from 1997 - 2005, "Max B" came out and had NYC buzzing again. "Jim Jones" certainly knows talent when he sees it, as he signed Max B to "ByrdGang Records" immediately upon release, and began recording. Jim Jones had Max B on heavy rotation on his third studio album titled "Hustler's P.O.M.E (Product Of My Enviornment)" featuring him on the lead single titled

"Baby Girl"

Max B was even instrumental in helping with the writing of then smash hit

"We Fly High"

You remember that song right? "We Fly High, No Lie, You Know This, BALLLIINNNN". I've long said that that track single handedly brought hip-hop back to NY, and "Biggavell" was instrumental in that process. However, everything that Jim Jones and Max B did was great for the NYC hip-hop movement, but it didn't last, as the 2 had one of the biggest fall-outs to date in hip-hop. Disputes over financial situations, and whether Max B was being pushed enough towards the mainstream by "ByrdGang", and that seemingly was the driving force for the break-up. Even though Max B split aprt from Jim Jones, he was still extemely relevant in the NYC area. He became an internet celebrity almost over night. His website was extremely popular over the last 2 years. He took the eastcoast over with his catchy phrases such as "Wavy" which is a statement meaning being cool, or feeling yourself to the max, and the phrase "OwWwWwW" which could mean anything you wanted it too if used in the right context. Also "Ride The Wave" , which means just go with the flow don't think about anything. He also released a bevy of mixtapes, and was the light that Harlem World had been missing in recent years, when nothing seemed to be going as strong.

As popular and talented as he was, his life was taken from him because of bad decision making on his part. Not in the sense of how you think either, not the same way Stack Bundles life was taken away from him. On September 3rd, 2009, Charlie Wingate a.k.a "Max B" was sentenced to 75 years in prison for charges of felony murder, kidnapping and armed robbery. Although "Max B" is still physically breathing as I write this, he is as good as dead behind bars for the next 75 years unless he can successfully appeal his decision in a timely manner, while he is still relevant in the fans minds.

On that note I leave this to say...

RIP Stack Bundles...The Good Die Young

RIP to "Max B"'s music

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Music isn't all what it's made up to be!!!

The life of a rapper/singer may look good but few know the necessary steps it takes to become mainstream.

Take a closer look ups and downs of an aspiring musician.

The life of a young musician seems to be the way of the future for many young minority men, especially of Black, or Latino heritage. It is a very misleading lifestyle. It’s easy to get caught up with what an individual may see on T.V., or what they see in person. The sight of “Jay-Z” driving a Phantom, or “Rick Ross” wearing extremely gaudy pieces of jewelry, can be misleading to the youth who pay attention to them. Especially in the eyes of both men and women who so desperately want to live that lavish lifestyle that they portray. Little do they know much of the hype that they see is “Fools Gold”, or a fabrication. The huge mansions you see these people living in, are most of the time rented out for the time being, the cars and jewelry that we see are rented too, often times they are there just for the video shoot.

Not only is that lifestyle very difficult to attain, it is hard to legitimize. It takes a long time to reach that level of success, and the fan base that must be attained is extremely difficult to obtain.
Let’s examine this one step at a time. First a person must come to the realization that they are in fact talented enough to be even taken seriously to themselves and fans. Second, you must write and compose a ton of decent material that could warrant a fan base of some sort. That alone is extremely difficult. When I say “fan-base” I mean a group of followers who would support your movement, and play your music because they actually like it. Keon Chandler a freshman here at Longwood University, is an aspiring rapper/singer and stated “If the talent level isn’t there, and people aren’t feeling you for your music than you really have no chance. It’s like a sport, you have to write every day, you can’t take no days off. The people have to love you”. Keon Chandler goes by the name of “KcWyldFiya” and his personal music can be found at

Once you have all that behind you, the next question is, how do you get into mainstream media like the superstars you see on T.V.? For everyone this process is different. For some people, they become mainstream without attaining much genuine fan base. When I say mainstream I mean the public; people outside of your immediate demographic. At this time it becomes “who you know” more or less than “what you know”. Other people have started when they were 15 years old, and never “got on” until they were in their 30’s. As expected of course they are many stories of people who have tried and failed, and, just never reached a level of success that they were comfortable with.

If a person does reach mainstream success the next “stage of the game” is to stay there, because once you “get on” it’s extremely easy to fall off. This often times is the case with one hit wonders. One minute they’re everywhere, if their song is a hit, then a month later their gone never to be heard of again. We all know a few of those.

Honestly there isn’t a lot of money in the music industry. If you talk from a pure music standpoint. In the last three years album sales were at an all-time low. This is due to an ever increasing popularity of internet use, and free music downloading. Fans are no longer buying hard copy CDs. They are now downloading entire albums or they’re downloading their favorite individual songs from the albums. There are numerous websites that host the videos to songs such as, where a fan can listen to the song anytime they want to for free. Longwood University alum Brandon Evan’s stated, “Even though the music has been watered down a bit due to saturation of the game (so much new material in a short amount of time) artists have done a great job of staying positive and producing good music. Even though sales are down in stores, it’s still equally important to stay poppin’ with the fans. I tell the people that I manage to not get discouraged and keep working hard”. Brandon Evans is a small time producer in the Knoxville, Tennessee area.

My advice to the youth, would be do not put all your eggs in one basket. The music industry has a lot more failed attempts than success stories. If you have what it takes great, but don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t pan out the way you expected.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Good Times

This post is a tribute to the DIPSET family and everything they represented and meant to a young man like myself growing up in up$tate, Beacon, New York.

There was a time when DIPSET was almost a cult movement, and everyone I knew including myself looked up to the members of the group. They were the modern day "Wu-Tang", only difference was they were from Harlem, USA, and not "Shaolin" (Staten Island). I used to hang the DIPSET eagle logo up all over my room, and I had posters of "Juelz Santana".

The group consisted of "Cam'Ron" (Camron Giles) "Jim Jones" (Joseph Guillermo Jones), "Juelz Santana (Laron James)", 'JR Writer (Rusty Brito)", 'Hell Rell (Durrel Mohammed0", "40 Cal (Calvin Byrd), and hype men such as "Duke da God" and "Freekey Zeekey".
From the time period of 2001 to 2007 they where what we as young New Yorkers knew as Hip-Hop. Everything they did was cool, and appealing. My personal favorite out of the group was "Juelz Santana". I looked up to him as if he was a hero of sorts in my mind.

I remember thinking back to that time when everything was good in music, when they were their most effective was when they were together working as a group. One unit. It started with Cam'Ron and Jim Jones coming together and forming the group, and the label Diplomat Records, originating out of East Harlem. "Cam'Ron" started gaining commercial success off his 3rd album titled "Come Home With Me". It featured chart topping hits

"Oh Boy"

"Hey Ma"

It featured the likes of a young, energetic, and charasmatic "Juelz Santana". From there they took off. They then started to form movements or scripts every young black, or latino kid in the NY, NJ, or CT area would follow. "Juelz Santana" had everyone wearing bandanas of every color to match outfits they would wear, which was his signature. 'Cam'Ron' had young men wearing the color "pink" for the first time., and just overall as a group they were distinguised by "red, white, and blue". Around early 2006 Jim Jones started wearing clothes that fit his body, almost form fitting. Because of this it was no longer cool, or acceptable to wear baggy clothes.

DIPSET as a group had much success with studio albums titled "Diplomatic Immunity I and II", also followed by compilation albums titled "More Than Music Vol. I and II". Feature smash hits from those albums included

"DipSet Anthem"

(My ALL-TIME fav. DIPSET song) "I'm Ready"

"Mic Check"

"Crunk Muzic"

Thats what they did collectively. Not to mention the smash hits they had individually.

"Cam'Ron" has to date 6 solo studio albums, which includes arguably his most successful album titled "Purple Haze".

"Juelz Santana" has to date 2 studio albums, including his best album to date "From Me To You".

Jim Jones has 4 studio albums to date, with "HARLEM, Diary of a Summer'.

To date in present day 2010, the group has since split apart due to jealously,bad managing amongst each other, and possibly just overall guys wanting to venture off and do their own thing in the industry.

Juelz Santana has started his own label "Skull Gang Records". All the members now distribute music for themselves however at the end of the day, it will always be Rocafella/DefJam, for all the members.

Jim Jones started his own label titled "Byrdgang/MOB Records", which had a lot of local support, due much in part to the rise of a superstars in the making by the names of "Stack Bundles" (Raekwon Maurice Elliott), and "Max B" (Charlie Wingate). Cureently Max B is serving a 75 year prison sentence for felony murder, kidnapping and armed robbery.

"Stack Bundles" was the next new big act of out the New York City area, hailing from the streets of Far Rockaway, Queens. Having being named the mixtape artist rookie of the year in 2006, and with his thuggish ways, catchy punch lines, memorable qoutes, and his chant that still rings heavy in my head "SSSSSSSS SQUAD UP! CHEAAAAA", Byrdgang/MOB entertainment couldn't lose. However on a muggy summer night on June 12th, 2007, the Byrdgang superstar was gunned down in front of his building in the Redfern housing projects of Far Rockaway.

Much to the chagrin of MANY loyal DIPSET fans like myself. The music just hasn't been the same. That feeling of pride and exitement that I used to get when I played a DIPSET song is no longer there. A few of the members have had minimal individual success, but they will never be as successful by themselves than they were together as a team. Overall, the group had what it took to take the country by storm, but it just didn't pan out that way. I felt it was important to reflect on the impact that they had on my life, and many individuals who lived throuhg that the time period of prominence.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

DJ Kay Slay

I had to Pay Homage to Keith Grayson aka "DJ Kay Slay". The man has been grinding for a long time on the mixtape scene, especially in the underground New York City area. He promotes artists and gives local talent a light to showcase their emcee skills to the rest of the world. Kay Slay has been in the hip-hop scene for a long time, when he was a young man in the early 1980's he was a prominent Graffiti artist, running around marking his turf much to the chagrin of local authorities. He was even featured in a documentary in 1983 "Style Wars". I am a huge fan of Kay Slay from his StreetSweeper series he his probably most famous for, but also to his raspy voice he talks with when interviewed and on his radio show. His catchy self proclaimed nickname "It's DJ Kay Slay aka Slap Your Favorite DJ" is very distinguishable, and he seems to have an opinion on almost anything relevent in the underground hip-hop scene. To date, the man just dropped his 4th studio album titled "More Than Just A DJ". With contributions from Ray J, Jim Jones, Yo Gotti, Busta Rhymes, Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, Saigon, Rell, Nicole Wray, Juelz Santana, Camron, AZ, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Maino, Red Cafe, Sheek Louch, Rick Ross, Jae Millz, Bun B, Webbie, Lil Boosie, Uncle Murda, Grafh, Mistah FAB, Joell Ortiz, Remy Ma, Twista, Jay Rock, Young Chris, Dorrough and his most prized and beloved emcee Papoose.

He shot succesful vidoes for the singles titled

All based in the New York City area but with features form artists all across the country. The album has something for everybody, whether you from the EastCoast, WestCoast, DownSouth, or the Midwest, any true Hip-Hop fan can appreciate this album.

Kay Slay also has worked very hard in local communities in the New York City area on a magazine called "Straight Stuntin'". Which gives not only local women in the neighborhood an outlet to pursue their modeling, or adult entertainment careers, but is available to women all across the country. Kay Slay has come to realization that growing up in the hood means 1 of three things for young women. They want to grow up to be an aspiring model, be the wife of a famous athlete or be the wife of a major kingpin drug dealer. Kay Slay is just doing his part in helping women reach a potential they think they can achieve.
Kay Slay keep doing you family.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hip-Hop News

Moses Michael Livey a.k.a. Shyne was introduced back to the music world this week. Miami based DJ guru DJ Khaled put Shyne on the track titled "All My Life" featuring Jamaican Dance Hall artist "Movado" and the R&B sensation Akon. This is a big step for Shyne as it could possibly be his introduction back into the Hip-Hop mainstream. For all those who don't know, Shyne is a Brooklyn bred rapper of Belizan descent. He first started garnering recognition in the late 1990's when he was being featured on then Puff Daddy's "Forever" album under the highly successful Bad Boy label. His gritty street lyrics combined with his raw delivery very much similar to the late great Christopher Wallace a.k.a. Notorious BIG garnered attention in the New York City area and soon nationwide. Shyne was really coming into his own when in Dec. 1999 he was involved in an highly publized Manhattan club shooting that left three people wounded. Ultimately on June 1st 2001, Shyne was sentenced to 10 years in prison. However while in prison, Shyne was able to release a fairly successful mainstream album while fully incarcerated in 2004 titled "Godfather Buried Alive". Even shooting a video from behind bars with the lovely Ashanti on the vocals in a highly successful single titled "Jimmy Choo". Only recently being let out on Oct. 6th 2009, with two and half years of parole left for him to do. Shyne definitely posses talent that seperates him from the rest of the field, lets hope he can back on track and produce music we all loved to hear back in the late 1990's.