Vintage Rap-A-Lot (1988-1996)

Chances are, if you read this site (or listen to rap music at all) you know about Rap-A-Lot Records. Legendary in the southern hip hop scene, RAL is one of my favorite labels and a sure-shot candidate for “greatest independent ever to do it.” Admittedly, they have enjoyed major-label distribution over the past decade and a half or so, but J. Prince and company rarely have rarely made commercial concessions and have never, ever sold out on their fan base. Not only have they remained staunchly underground for over twenty damn years, they’ve brought us talents such as the Geto Boys (Scarface, Willie D, Bushwick Bill and/or Big Mike), the Convicts, Devin the Dude, and Z-Ro.

Most people know the names above either because of their popularity or their overall impact on rap music (re: ‘Face), but RAL was also home to a gang of damn-near unknown and criminally underrated rappers that released albums through the label. What you know about Mad CJ Mac? Poppa LQ? Blac Monks? What about Menace Clan, or Seagram? These dudes smashed records that people north of the Mason-Dixon line rarely got a chance to hear…or maybe they just ignored them. Because of both limited release and (unfortunately) limited interest, many of Rap-A-Lot’s best offerings are now out of print. Most of these albums can still be found with ease on sites like Amazon or eBay, but expect to drop some serious coin. Last time I checked, Willie D’s solo debut was still pushing three figures.

Thus, in the interest of bringing some shine to these oft-ignored released, I present to you a compilation of hand-picked Rap-A-Lot tracks spanning from 1988 to 1996. Those years are generally revered as the RAL Golden Age, during which most of the label’s classic records were released. I tried not to include any super obvious material like “Straight Gangstaism,” “Mind Playin’ Tricks On Me,” or anything from “The Diary.” If I included some obvious stuff (and I did), well then that’s because the obvious is so damn good, and I’m really only skimming the surface here anyway. I’m not trying to impress anybody with some esoteric b-side mixdown of a forgotten Choice single here. In fact, I’m not really sure who would be impressed by that in the first place. But I digress.

Simply put, these are 15 of my personal throwed-ass favorites. Nothing more, nothing less. I guarantee you will like at least one of these tracks. Hopefully you will like more.


Echo Leader’s Vintage Rap-A-Lot Mix (1988-1996)

1. Geto Boys – “Read These Nikes”
2. Willie D – “Bald Headed Hoes”
3. Ganksta NIP – “Psycho”
4. The Convicts – “1-900-Dial-A-Crook (featuring Geto Boys)”
5. Scarface – “A Minute To Pray & A Second To Die”
6. Seagram – “The Dark Roads”
7. Menace Clan – “Da Bullet”
8. Too Much Trouble – “Invasion Of The Purse Snatchers”
9. 5th Ward Boyz – “Swing Wide (featuring UGK)”
10. Big Mike – “Havin’ Thangs”
11. 3-2 – “Coming Down”
12. Poppa LQ – “Why Hate Me?”
13. Odd Squad – “Fa’ Sho”
14. Mad CJ Mac – “Powda Puff”
15. The Terrorists – “Make A Life Out Of Living”


-Echo Leader

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