Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Shaolin Style - Shaolin Style - 1995

Back in 1995 with this Shaolin Style compilation album released on J.D.I.R Productions, which stands for "Just Doin It Right" Productions a record label managed by Leo Batista, Ivan Duran, Joseph Parnell, Priya Wick, Danny Coston and Irish Joe Merced.

According to the promo sheet written by J.D.I.R Productions management, "Shaolin Style is a compilation album showcasing the best of what many critics consider to be the freshest, most innovative school of Hip-Hop, the "Shaolin Style" coming outa Staten Island, New York.

 LP - 1995 - J.D.I.R Productions  

The comp came out originally on Vinyl, CD and Tape.  

The Staten Island-based groups or solo artists who feature on this album are The Rugged Assasinz (Peace Shahiyd, Melv Da Hell-Razor), Redrum Tha Bodycatcha, The Lowlifes (Booya, Striketerror, Ravage & DJ Nonstop), Double Action (Mo Diggy & Scalp a.k.a yo-yo), The Zone (Mayday & Laa), E.G, Gifted, Hasstyle (RIP), Warchild and Renagade aka Renagayd who changed his name spelling because of the JEEP RENEGADE automobile company copyright. The project was fully produced by Louie Lake for Louie Lake Productions.

" "Mortal Kombat", the album's first cut, sets the tone as the Rugged Assasinz's raw, hardcore lyrics are kicked over contrasting melodic beats. Group member Shahiyd explains, « the music reflects who I am, it's real ». Melv Da Hell-Razor further explains that « Hardcore Street Knowledge must be addressed! » Redrum Da Bodycatcha makes an appearance on this track. His death scene lyrics are haunting. Redrum proclaims that « My style goes back the essence of the lyrical battle. No guns ! Just my words, it's Mortal Kombat of the mind »"

"The hardcore emotion is also captured by the Lowlifes as they perform the street rap "Big Up". Group members Booya, Ravage, Striketerror, and Nonstop describe their sounds as "Underground Roughness". These beats are not for the weak-of-heart!"

"The group Double Action offers a song that combines riveting beats and hardcore verses in "Do or Die". The duo Mo Diggy and Scalp have been together for several years as is evidenced by their smooth delivery. The two anticipate one another's style. The result is lyrical hypeness!"

"The cut, "Darkside Of Life", is reflective. The Zone, featuring Hasstyle, gets minds open ! this single can be described as "Dungeon Hardcore" with meaning. The Zone members Laa and Mayday agree that there must be "knowledge and Science behind the music." A beat and lyrics without purpose are a waste of their time!!"

"Life In The Ghetto" is a break from the albums hardcore feel. Soothing West Coasts beats flava'd by powerhouse R&B vocals courtesy of heather "Ciara" Mangus and Sonya Mason. A musical interlude delivered with sheer smoothness by Shane "Gifted" Nembhard adds the finishing touch to this already mighty mix as Double Action kick their lyrics with their East Coast vibe. But it's all good!

Another surprising departure is the Reggae song "Wave Your Gun" by E.G. E.G offers soul-stirring, compelling Reggae beats. E.G describes his music as "Reggae Hip-Hop coming real". He explains « My music is about what goes on in real life, straight from the heart, about things I go through. »

Hasstyle settles the listeners securely back into the shaolin groove with "Road to Success". His militant style produces lyrics that flow as he raps about his hopes and dreams, about making it in this chaos-ridden world."

"The Hood becomes the focus once again. Rapper Renaygayd blends soft melodies with lyrics that produce realisctic images of life' round the way. Renagayd's music concentrates on Street Mentality & Reality. This is in keeping with the lessons learned from his musical mentor, Mad Lion. This straight-up style can also be seen in Renagayd's delivery when he hosts the music, interview program "Video Posse"."

"The album’s final cut is the glue that binds this collaborative musical effort together. The sounds of the title cut "Shaolin Style" defines the album's progressive musical, social, and emotional direction. Double Action, War-Child, and Renagayd bring their unique styles together, accompanied by smooth beats, to offer music lovers a taste of the Shaolin School's varied styles. These soldiers take no prisoners!!"

"Album producer, Louie Lake makes a complete musical statement. He embraces several different musical reflections flava’d with distinctive "Shaolin Isle" vibe. Under the skillful directions of Leo Batista, Ivan Duran, Joseph Parnell, Priya Wick and Danny Coston- the Just Doin’ It Right Management / Production team, Shaolin Style is proof positive that hip-hop is alive and Kickin' on the Isle of Staten."  - courtesy of J.D.I.R Management promo sheet

Like many groups from the 90s, life goes on and some of the group members declared that they were not really interested in speaking about that project... except Renagayd and Warchild who made themselves available for answering a few questions. 

Could you tell me how the connection happened between you and J.D.I.R. Productions ?

Renagayd : "Through the producer Louie Lake… He was my main producer at the time. He produced every song on the project from start to finish... JDIR wanted to put together a compilation album, they went to Louie for the artists..."

Warchild : "We're all from the same hood, I grew up with Double Action from the block, and those guys were older dudes who would see us rhymin on the street corner. Back then we just lived to spit, a handfull of us would all battle each other for beats that were made by the local DJs at the time .. It was all fun back then... We were teenagers in a very rough neighborhood. 

JDIR noticed our hunger and love for the art and decided to manage us. They were some neighborhood guys that were chill, they were living legal life styles with no drama. We looked up to them. They influenced us to stay outta trouble, and focus on music and positive shit... and we did our best to listen to them, they were like big brothers to us... well at least to me anyway."

Which part of Staten Island were you from exactly and how did everything start for you as an emcee ?

Renagayd : "I'm from Stapleton Projects... everything began for me at Junior High School, in cyphers in the lunch room..."

Warchild : "I'm from New Brighton, north shore, also known as NowBorn back then... I started when I was in junior high, back in 91... listening to NWA, Tribe Called Quest, Eric B and Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and KRS1. I used to battle dudes in the hallway at school, all the way through high school, I lived for the battle, even if it was a friendly cypher..."

Renagayd, were you the only artist featuring on this comp to get a solo deal ? 

Renagayd : "I was actually the main feature artist and landed a deal with Monopolize Records after that compilation album. If you noticed, I'm the first voice you hear and last voice you hear... from opening intro to closing final 2 tracks... I wasn't the best lyricist, but had the best work ethic. I branched out and did other things besides music... I was even discovered by Reggae Legends Mad Lion & Rayvon...

Every tour, every show... I stole the show... Management attempted to give Rugged Assasinz the bigger push but I won the people over... If we formed like Wu-Tang Clan, I was the Method Man !!  First and only solo deal, Indy Movie scripts, hosted my own show named Shaolin After Dark... I also won two Staten Island competitions... I was on verge of landing another deal, but the label folded before hand..."

Warchild, did you record unreleased material after the Shaolin Style compilation album ?

Warchild : "I did here and there, but it was many years ago, and I was young ...  who knows where that music is now... I still write sometimes and I dabble in some music production now... but hip-hop has changed so much... I just do it for myself now. But most of the stuff I did back then were basement joints, and the dudes I recorded with are either dead or in jail ... But word, I miss that old boom bap style with real lyrics and verses !"

R.I.P Hasstyle.

Mad Props to Ranagayd & Warchild, thanks for your time. 


  1. Bro I'm still stuck in this era that's why I still hangout with mista rennyville today

  2. Shaolin NY 10304 stapleton projects will bring it to you raw hard core like a disease without no cure