Sunday, March 28, 2021

Fugatives From Hell ‎- Biz With The Skillz - 1993

Here is the excellent debut single "Biz With The Skillz" released on 12", cassette and CD by the Indianapolis-based group Fugatives From Hell in 1993, Hip-Hop trio consisted of DJ Smal, PG & LSD.
The 12" and the CD versions are still something very hard to find nowadays. It came out on Finesse Records and consists of the tracks "Biz With The Skillz" produced by LSD, "Nuthin' But The Bluz" and "Peace 2 My..." produced by DJ Smal. 

Scan courtesy of Frederic Thecle 

DJ Smal, who were the original members of the group exactly and where did you all come from?

DJ Smal : "I am from Indianapolis, Indiana. The city is nicknamed NapTown. PG, one of the MC's is from Naptown by way of Richmond VA, and LSD is from Naptown by way of Evanston, Illinois. I met LSD when we were kids, around 10-11 years old. We went to high school together and formed seperate groups. LSD was one of the best rappers in the city. We got together after high school and made a demo for him. Several labels looked at us but we were not signed. We had about 20 good songs. LSD joined a group called BMW that signed with Luke Records (Luke Skywalker of the 2 Live Crew). During that time I was producing tracks for a rapper named Smoothe Teddy B on Finesse Records. PG was signed to Finesse Records, so I began producing his album. I introduced the two MC's and they hit it off instantly. We put PG on some of the songs we already had and he fit like a hand in a glove !!"

From Left to Right : LSD - DJ Smal - PG and Dave Hall (PG's brother and manager)

DJ Smal : "We completed an album that was never released. Later, we left Finesse and created Gate 7 Records and formed the group 360 Degrees. We released several singles, got a lot of radio play and did major tours. LSD was not on the 360 Project that was released but he is on the unreleased Fugative tracks."


Who did manage Finesse Records ?

DJ Smal : "Finesse Records was managed by Les Reed and Andrew Scanlon... two great men. Les was and is a successful stock broker. Andrew is a successful business entrepreneur. They liked the Fugatives because we were different than everyone else. Each one of us could rap, we all could DJ and LSD and I produced music, together and seperately. At shows, since no one knew us, we would rap each others lyrics and I would them take turns DJ'ing at shows. It was dope !

Andrew 'Chris' Scanlon... I knew him growing up when he went by Chris. When he got paid, he was Andrew, lol... He wore suits to high school and told everyone he was going to make it... He did. I think he retired a millionaire when he was about 35 years old..."

Could you give me more info about Gate 7 Records ? 

DJ Smal : "Finesse Records was ahead of their time, but being in Naptown slowed us down. We moved Gate 7 Records to Atlanta, before it blew up, and had a large following on the East coast, Washington DC, Philly and New York.

The Fugatives went to Rap It Up convention in DC, Jack the Rapper in Atlanta and may other music conventions. A few labels wanted to sign us but the contracts were horrible...

When we formed Gate 7 Records, we had a distribution deal with Solar Records, around the same time Death Row was recording Tupac and the Dog Pound, early 1995. That deal fell through so Gate 7 remained independent. We set up our own distribution network that gave Atlanta artist the blueprint to go national...360 degrees is completion.

We still do shows and have influenced the next generation of MC's in the city."

360 Degrees - PG & Smal 

What about the unreleased album ? Have you ever though of releasing it after that ?

DJ Smal : "Yes, we were going to release it with a record label in Germany before the pandemic. Now we are going to put it out on the Gate 7 label later this year."

When did you start producing and what were your music influences ?

DJ Smal : "I started DJ'ing when I was in about the 6th grade. Hip hop was young and fun. I was offered the opportunity to DJ for a dope female MC, Precise. We did a lot of shows and toured in 1989. On tour I met DJ Scratch of EPMD. At the time he was DJ'ing for BDP (KRS One)."

DJ Smal & DJ Scratch - 1987 - Photo courtesy of Lisa Wright Holland

Precise & DJ Smal - Photo courtesy of Lisa Wright Holland

DJ Smal : "After that tour I started producing tracks. I didn't have the proper equipment so the songs were wack. I finally got hold of the right samplers and drum machines and started making bangers! I presented them to LSD because they fit his underground, grungy style. LSD and I formed Tear Shit UP Productions and we just got better and better. We were influenced by everything and everyone that was dope. We both had mad records form our parents and older siblings that we sampled and made music from... As a DJ, I had a good ear. We figured out how to use our equipment and the rest, as they say, is history ! "

From Left to Right : LSD - DJ Smal - PG and Scoo-no G (Crew Member & Hypeman)

Mad Props to DJ Smal, thanks for your time. 

Big thanks to Precise for the throwback photos and Fred Thecle for the  scans of the CD covers. 

No comments:

Post a Comment