Wednesday, May 12, 2021

One Nation Massive - 1514 The EP - 1995

EP - 1995 - O.N Musik Recordings 

Let's talk about the San Diego Hip-Hop scene with this dope "1514" EP released in 1995 by the group named One Nation Massive, consisted of Nickodemus Rex, Jimbo Wicked, Cruz Control & Mysta Jinx, all from the South Town. 

1995 - Photo courtesy of Cruz Control

This is an 8-track EP (6 songs + 2 instrumentals) dropped on O.N. Musik Recordings (One Nation Musik Recordings) a record label managed by Jimbo Wicked. The title of the EP "1514" corresponds to the rank of the letters "O" and "N" in the alphabet. A that time, It came out on vinyl and on cassette only. All the tracks were produced by Shysti (of Straight to the Point) with cuts by DJ Steven Flex (of L.P.S.D a.k.a Lyrical Prophets Strictly Dope).

About the history of the group, you need to know that the group was founded in the late 80s. The original members were Cruz Control Original, Nicodemus Rex, Jimbo Wicked, Steel Vicious and the legendary Kutfather who unfortunately passed away in 2020 ... Rest In Peace.

One Nation Massive - 1990 - Photo courtesy of Cruz Control 

Cruz, when did you form the crew ? 

Cruz Control : "During 89 summer. Nicodemus Rex, Jimbo Wicked and I were already One Nation. I met Kutfather at Southwestern College (Southwestern College Recording Techniques with Professor Papageorge) and he brought Steve Vicious to join us and record my solo song "Logician of Philosophy". They recorded me on the strength that my song would be dope. After that Steel Vicious produced all our solo and groups songs. One Nation Massive members are first Generation HipHop Pioneers."

One Nation Massive - 1990 - Photo courtesy of Jimbo Wicked

Jimbo Wicked, how and when did you decide to create O.N Musik Recordings ?

Jimbo Wicked : "So, back then we would look at the credits on album covers and on videos by others in the art form. Cats would come up with something fly for their recording group or label name. We just thought of who we were One Nation Massive, ONM. One Nation Music. We wrote it in graffiti ...O.N. Musik! ...On and poppin'! We came up with it around '93 - '94.

It didn't become real though until Jynx came through with an investor around early '95 who believed in us, and kicked in a few grand to get us into the Papageorge recording studio with Shysti and DJ Steven Flex. From there, Cruz put in the work to get us a bar code and find a company we could afford to press vinyl and make cassettes for us to sell. I used my typewriter and creativity to go to Kinko's and print out flyers and labels to cover those blanks on the records with."

Photo courtesy of Jimbo Wicked

How did the connection happen between you and the other members of the group ?

Jimbo Wicked : "I was a solo emcee, but down with the Legion of Doom--TLOD Posse, 1-5-1 Klan.  I think DJ Mikeski put me in contact with Cruz and we started hanging together in late 1990.  

I remember I used to roll over to his crib in the South Town. He had some turntables and a microphone... everything we needed to get down.  We would get irie, hang out rock rhymes, DJ a bit and talk about putting a crew together. Cruz was a hustler in many ways and he had already been out talking with other cats; sizing up their microphone skills, and pitching the idea of a group with some of them.  Turned out two of those cats were Kutfather and Steve Vicious. A couple other dudes Cruz knew were Jack (Mr. Jinx) and Niqo (Q), who were well-known dancers up and down the coast. Niqo also had skills on a microphone, in addition to being able to rock crazy hip hop styles on the dance floor. 

I remember one day I came over to Cruz's crib and Kutather, Steve vicious, Jack and Niqo were there. We all made introductions, Cruz broke out of fat spliff and we blazed it up. Then I think Cruz dropped an instrumental track and we all started bustin. When I first heard Kutfather on the mic I was amazed ! ...Man I mean blown away! You want to talk about a dude who was dope on the microphone ...Kutfather! Then the homie got on the turntable and started mixin, cuttin and scratchin to the beat! ...God bless his soul ...My brother was so nice! ...Rest in Paradise, Kutfather. 

Niqo got on the mic (at the time he was known as "Q,"). Niqo had a super fly style and delivery all his own on the microphone. I hadn't heard anybody else rhyme the way he did. Steve Vicious got on the mic and brought mad flavor! The kid was vicious with his rhymes. I got on the mic and started doing my thang, mad lyrical wit the descriptive destruction and homies was like, Ohhhhh!!  And of course Cruz Control, got on the mic and vandalized it, just like he be doing to this day. Jack and Nico started bustin their dance routines and homies was trippin.  We all just clicked together like a multicultural West Coast Leaders of the New School, Dago Flavor Unit, SD Native Tongues... Man, we used to have some dope freestyle sessions!

At some point we got to talk about a name, reflecting on the multicultural aspect each one of us brought to the crew.  Cruz is Guamanian and Mexican; Nico is Hawaiian and Puerto Rican; Kutfather was Samoan; Steve Vicious is black, Mr Jinx is Italian, and me black and white.  We definitely had a one world vibe going on, and I think somebody said (might have been Niqo) we're like one nation. So, One Nation came first as a name for the group. 

Later, during our first recording session together at Cruz's garage, we were working our first track called "Boom!" Kutfather dropped a cut in the break from Cool J's Booming System, "...listen to the bass go boom!"  Both Kutfather and my artistic styles were influenced by Reggae, specifically Dancehall. Kutfather was cuttin up this dancehall joint. I forgot who it was, but the cut was "...nuff respect to di uptown massive (scratchin) ...nuff respect to di downtown massive" and that got mixed into break too.  

Man I wish I had a copy of that track today !...Such good memories !  It was very raw. Recorded on cassette with a little 8 track, complete with hiss, pops and clicks, and reverb. I can remember listening to the difference between our early stuff and how much better we got together with time. If we had had the resources back then, we could have really done some big things in the game!  

Anyway, we were vibin to the track (Boom!) and I remember listening to what Kutfather did and I said, "nuff respect to di one nation massive".  "...'Nuff respect to this and every nation's massive, respect!"  Homies was like that's it! ...One Nation Massive!  There were already enough posses, crews, clicks and boys, etc.  We went with massive ...One Nation Massive!

One Nation Massive and crew was: Q (who later became Nicodemus Rex), Cruz Control,  Kutfather, Stevicious, and myself Jimbo Wyked.  We had some of the dopest dancers in SD: Mr Jinx, Gumby, Pokey, Charlie Rock and Flash Boogie. Later, Kutfather and Steve Vicious left the group, but we still remained cool with each other."

Cruz Control : "Our group split in 2 directions after Kutfather's sister started management. Shysti stepped in and began producing us."

Could you give me more info about the producer Shysti ? 

Jimbo Wicked : "We were in need of a new producer after DJ Johnny Juice left SD.  Cruz was the one who introduced us to Shysti, and got us to collaborate artistically.  Shysti was a super dope producer and really brought some great ideas to our sound.  His beats were a great fit for us.  I wish we had met and started working with him earlier.  I think we would have completed a lot more work together. I didn't get to know him all that well... I wish I had. "

A lot of unreleased material was recorded by both generations of emcees between 1990 and 1995.  Why did nothing come out before the 1514 EP in 1995 ?

Cruz Control : " yes nothing came out officially... It was only cassettes Tracking recorder ... and nobody has any copies unfortunately... "

Jimbo Wicked : "The answer is cashflow.  It wasn't as easy back then to do things as it is now.  I was the only one with a steady job.  The rest of the homies were all hustling one thing or another to eat, but nobody could get enough saved up on their own, let alone together to get studio time and press records and cassettes.  There were good quality recordings we had made with Steve Vicious on DAT, that we used to make our demos to shop around for a deal.  There were also something like mixtapes that we had done over the years ...gave them away at shows and stuff.  I learned several years back that Steve suffered a fire at his studio and all of the masters burned... Broke my heart.  There's got to be someone out there with some of those other early tracks though..."

Mad Props to Cruz Control and Jimbo Wicked, thank you both for your time. This slice of San Diego hip-hop history is dedicated to the memory of Marcus Kutfather Tufono. R.I.P

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