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Friday, December 6, 2013

An Anniversary we Forgot about... Da Band

Looking through my music collection I went back to a conversation my wife and one of my friends had about MTV/ Bad Boy rap group Da Band. I decided to go back and listen to some songs and I realized that the album, "Too Hot For Tv" was ten years old. While not a classic by any means, I think Da Band was an important note in hip-hop history and it proved that image matters more than skills.

Da Band was made up of Young City aka Chopper, E. Ness, Babs Bunny, Dylan Dylinjah, Freddy P, and Sarah Stokes.

Watching Da Band was compelling because it was the first time someone tried to create a rap group. In fact it might be the thing that killed rap groups as we knew them. We got to watch as they battled to find chemistry and develop some kind of hierarchy and cohesion. Part of the problem was there were too many people and Puffy decided to add in an R and B singer- with a family, and a reggae artist. In fact the group was only missing a white or latina female rapper from hitting all the marks on the demographic. To me this was part of the group's downfall because all of these elements were forced together and did not naturally have the time to evolve that most other groups or collectives have had. I mean fights on TV are different than fights in the basement while recording that first demo and you have to protect your image in a certain way to be accepted in hip-hop. Then there was the constant pressure from Puff and the super producers he lined up to work with the group. Then there was this the walk for cheesecake that Puff did that marginalized them and made them look like chumps.






The song wasn't bad and it showed they had an ability to spit a little bit. With the exception of Chopper or Young City as he had to be called legally I would say. The album had about 5 or 6 decent songs which is about what you can say about an album today, but it never took off and soon after the members all went their separate ways. Babs now does Queen of the Ring rap battles, Ness has been around, and Young City might be the most worthless rapper not named Big Sean. Where Freddy, Dylan, and Sarah are, I have no idea. 

At the end of the day, this marked Puffs decline of musical relevance with Bad Boy unfortunately, but it did start to propel him into the television business. In fact, the Making the Band series pretty much served as a vehicle to market himself, because none of the bands are even around anymore. The biggest problem with this group was that it became hard for the viewing public to reconcile seeing people, some of which had true rough upbringings and issues, be treated like they were then to hear them and take them seriously. I remember when the show was on and talking to friends who had auditioned and when it came up about walking for the cheesecake, it seemed such an obvious choice to do it and whatever you had to to live that dream, yet it played out differently. More potential fans were turned off by how weak and powerless they were in the situation. That's on Puff for sure. At the end of the day, it was a very interesting time. I'll leave you with my favorite song from the album. P.S. I still want to hear some songs from Babs - she was the best one.


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