Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Circle Of Native Vibes - Dresscode - 1999

During the 90s, the city of Baltimore,MD was better known worlwide for his crime rate or drug problems than for his indie hip-hop scene. A lot of good hip-hop groups emerged from that city at that time and CNV is definitely one of them. 
CNV a.k.a Circle of Native Vibes was a group originally consisted of 4 members named Born, Blak, Kalife and Ali. The group was also known under an alternative name "Cee Now Victory". 

Born : "The group name is Circle of Native Vibes, CNV for short. Myself, Blak and Kalife are godbody, we are members of The Nation of Gods and Earths, the 5% Nation. So when we got knowledge of self we applied our supreme alphabet to the groups abbreviation.
I’m from West Baltimore, Blak and Kalife are both from East Baltimore. Ali is from all over, specially New Jersey before moving to MD. We were all friends in college. Me and Kalife were at Morgan and Blak and Ali were at UBMC. We all hung out together and had mutual friends.They were actually already a group when I joined... They were the Prophets, and in that group was our man Sid, who later handled and is currently handling management and other important tasks and who is also a silent member of the group if you will. I joined the group in 1992, they became CNV a few months before I joined."

CNV - Left to Right : Ali, Born, Kalife & Blak

Between 1992 and 1996 the group recorded a lot of tracks but nothing came out officially on physical format... CNV dropped their first official release titled "Born Master" on tape in 1996. It came out on Circle Entertainment Inc.

The lead single "Born Master" was produced by CNV and features another Baltimore-based artist named Jabril. (This song will be titled "Liberty Heights" in their album "Against All Odds" released in 2004)

Born : "Jabril’s history is pretty interesting in itself. He’s my first cousin and we were raised like brothers. He’s a popular mixtape DJ in Baltimore, but before that back then he headed the group named LSP (Lost Souls Posse). They were a group we were pretty much producing and he was always a standout DJ and MC. So he would always be around in the fold rhyming so he got on that record that day. He’s super nice.
At that time our main focus was to get signed to a label, like most groups during that time. The idea of starting our own label seemed so far out of reach for us, remember this is before Master P, Roc-A-Fella, etc... so we hadn’t seen it done. But anyway, we just recorded probably about two albums worth of material around that time and was super protective about it. We didn’t want anybody biting our shit, so we were super protective of our material getting out there. In hindsight it definitely hurt us. People should have heard what we were doing because it was a lot and we sounded and looked like nobody here. But hindsight is 20/20.
Circle Entertainment was formed when we realized we can do all of this shit ourselves. That was me, Blak, Sid, Kalife and our original road manager and Karriem"

In 1999, Circle Of Native Vibes who became a trio first and a duo afterwards, was back with their first official vinyl... "Dresscode"

Born : "Ali, who was the DJ, left the group shortly before we put out our first single independently. Then we became a trio. Then I left the end of 98, to focus on starting my own production company. At that time it was a duo with just Blak and Kalife, but I was still one foot in with producing some of the songs after I took my hiatus."

The 12" is composed of the tracks "Dresscode" (LP, Radio and Instrumental versions) produced by Hector Perkins a.k.a Hec Dolo, the excellent "Striking From Da' East" (LP, Radio and Instrumental versions) which is the best track of the wax for me and "Gas Liquid Solid" (LP and Instrumental versions), both produced by Jafari and Ott.

Born : "Hec Dolo, Jafari & Ott are close friends of ours and considered family. Ott and Jafari had a group called Raw Earth, who between are still one of our favorite groups this day. We had a crew, called the Jihad Squad, it included Raw Earth and LSP. We worked closely with Ott, he’d be hanging out in the studio with us, etc... Ott was a beast on the EPS (the predecessor to the ASR-10), Jafari was even iller on that thing, but anyway, they were crew so they’d always be around making music. So we winded up working on a lot of stuff together during that time. Hec Dolo we met around the same time and Hec was cooking up shit on his own on the MPC 2000 XL. So they were our people so we always had a connection sharing what each other was working on."

Mad Props to Born, thanks for your time. 

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