Monday, October 14, 2019

SHS - Smoked Out - 1996

Tape - 1996 - TRP Recordings 

Here is a single which came out on TRP Recordings in 1996, on tape only. It was released by a Hartford-based emcee named Bradford Williams aka SHS which stands for Second Hand Smoke. 

Mikele "Bulletprf" Macon, who was the co-founder and manager of TRP Recordings gave me some time to talk about the story of this tape and his record label. 

Mikele Macon : "SHS was a solo artist. His DJ was Reebok. They were mentioned in a Source article. He changed his name to Varsity and focused on production and we formed a label called Trunk Rattlin Productions (TRP Recordings) that is where 'Smoked Out' was released. I was the Manager, co label owner and executive producer. I was also co founder and co owner of Trunk Rattlin Productions. I came up with the name of the label by mistake.

We got into production and producing artist after 'Smoked Out' ran it's course. We produced a group from Connecticut called YNR and they broke up then we produced an other artist who did not show up to a NYC showcase that I signed him up for. We focused on J-NYCE who I got nominated for an Undergound Music Award.

We shopped all projects but never got a deal...We had inquiries but each time something happened the label went down or the person got fired or the project just stalled... 20 years of trying to brake in until we just got tired...

How did the connection happen with SHS ? ... well I was managing some artist in Hartford. A collective called Palm Expedition. They were all nominated for the Hartford Advocates Best Hip Hop artist award. Anyway the producer Paris introduced me to Brad. Brad had some music and I was going to NYC to Epic records for a meeting. I liked his music so I took it with me for the meeting. I also had a stop at the Source Magazine this was 1991... before the Source got big they were not national yet.
Anyway the guy at Epic shitted on the tape and the only tracks he liked were Brads. The Source told me to focus on Brads production.
So when I came back to Hartford after the trip and told Paris we need to use Brads production for their sound he was not happy but relented to me. We had a practice session at Paris fathers business.  It was a dry cleaners business in Hartford. Brad left his keyboard there. When we went to practice Paris told us that there was a brake in of the business and the only thing taken was Brads Keyboard...

I was so pissed off and I apologized to Brad. He knew Paris before me they were all childhood friends. I could not condone the theft so I stopped managing Palm Expedition right then. Anyway a meeting later happened between me and Brads cousin P, who told me that I was a good manager and I was not appreciated by Palm. Anyway I was 21 or 22 at the time. I wanted to stay in Music and I moved to Hartford. So without friends and in a new city, Me and Brad and his family bonded. We became friends and they decided to let me manage them. We put our own sound and label together then... That is the short long story of how we came together !

I pressed 2000 copies of the cassette... It was all I could afford at the time. I think that was the minimum... it was all underground, just to release something and get our name out there. I got tired of trying to get a deal so I released the single on my own and did distribution myself with a retail outlet Record Express... I knew the manager. The Chain took our single and I sold it for 99 cents, just to get it to fly off the selves. We sold 1000 copies actually and others I gave for promotion. We had like an underground hit, then we never came back and money got tight, so we focused on producing other artist."

Mad Props to Mikele Macon & Phil Wätter

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