Sports Illustrated recently did a story on Pete Nice. It’s a pretty great read and I encourage you all to check it because it’s not your typical rapper tale. Below are some excerpts from the article. I felt like After reading you’ll feel guilty for downloading Dust To Dust. –Philaflava
Pete Nice struts around a Hollywood soundstage, brandishing a silver-knobbed cane and spitting acid rhymes. “Getting paid to peddle sneakers and soda pop,” he raps. “The thin ice you skate upon will break and set ya straight.” In his boxy suit and slicked-back hair, Nash, 24, has a vaguely thuggish demeanor at odds with his Ivy League bachelor’s degree in English. To his fans he is Prime Minister Pete Nice, of the interracial rap trio 3rd Bass. It is 1991, and the group is on The Arsenio Hall Show performing its biggest hit, the No. 1 rap single Pop Goes the Weasel. It’s an extended verbal beat down of white rapper Vanilla Ice, whom it reviles as a culture thief, and it has helped pay for Nash’s tinted-window Mercedes and his penthouse apartment in New York City. “Ya boosted the record, then ya looped it, ya looped it,” Nash raps, “but now you’re getting sued kinda stoopid.”
Eighteen years later Nash sits in a cafÃ© in lower Manhattan. At 42 he wears cuffed khaki pants and a short-sleeved button-down cotton shirt. He lives in a rental home in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., with his wife and young son, and he has driven a sensible Honda SUV to this meeting. Since his moment of fame as a rapper for Def Jam Records, Nash has achieved a markedly different kind of renown — among hard-core baseball memorabilia collectors who wouldn’t know Def Jam from Def Leppard. Over the past two decades Nash has become known as the most prolific source of the rarest old-school material, especially from the 19th century.
But on this afternoon in late July the tough-guy rapper turned baseball historian is mired in a widening scandal over the holiest relics of America’s pastime. Nash recently lost a lawsuit against a leading memorabilia auctioneer in which he admitted to fraud, and, according to sources, the FBI is investigating whether he sold forged memorabilia. (Nash declined to comment on the investigation.)
Long before his unlikely rise to fame as a white rapper, Peter Nash was obsessed with the history of baseball. MC Serch, also of 3rd Bass, recalls the first time he visited the home of Nash’s parents on Long Island, in the late 1980s. “Here was this 20-year-old kid,” Serch says, “and he had all this stuff: three-fingered mitts and Ty Cobb baseball cards. It was his passion, more than I think emceeing was his passion.”
By 2006 Nash cut the figure of a prosperous entrepreneur who might still be flush with music-business royalties. He drove a Mercedes SUV and owned a lakeside house in Cooperstown. But in fact he had acute money problems. Both the wax museum and Dreams Park partnerships had dissolved in lawsuits. His 3rd Bass royalties came to only about $5,000 a year, and an attempted reunion of the group, which included a performance at Woodstock 1999, never gained traction. Still, Nash showed no interest in a 9-to-5 career. “He never lost the celebrity attitude,” says Fraser, who says he fell out with Nash after he refused to sell Nash the 1912 Red Sox trophy. “A regular job was beneath him.”
Although Nash received a settlement in the Dreams Park litigation, the money went to satisfy legal and other debts. The house in Cooperstown was repeatedly under threat of foreclosure, the repo man was after his car, and Nash took to calling up friends for help in paying his basic living expenses: rent, a tank of gas, diapers, the phone bill. He seemed to be constantly juggling complex triangular deals in which he borrowed money (sometimes upwards of $100,000) using his baseball memorabilia as collateral. Sometimes he used the cash to hold off creditors, sometimes to buy more memorabilia.
“The only thing Pete failed at was being able to live without an object,” says another collector and former friend of Nash’s. “That’s what always got him in trouble, because when he had money, he always needed the next thing — and who can survive that, if you don’t have a job?”
Nash, for his part, dismisses a suggestion that a 3rd Bass reunion might help solve some of his problems. “Serch has asked me to do certain things,” Nash says. “It’s not like there’s any huge money in doing it. There’s a lot of interest, but I mean, it’s nothing I have that much of an interest [in].”