N-Tense: Da Good Die Young

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I’m not going to pretend like I knew N-Tense was Blu Warta because I didn’t. I remember copping the Phat Wax single “Raised Da Levels of The Boom” many moons ago. Anything that had a sample like that was an automatic hit back then.

Not taking anything away from the actual record, but that infectious Busta sample off The Scenario is what got us open at first. Back then Phat Wax had the Now Born Click (Mad Sick) and Preacher Earl & The Ministry so I was quite familiar with their roster. Raised The Levels of Da Boom was one of those tracks that just encapsulated that Golden Era sound. If there is you know not familiar with that era or wasn’t old enough to appreciate it, just  put on that N-Tense record. It embodies everything we love about the 9o’s.

A few years later  N-Tense popped up on The D&D Project with “Da Good Die Young,” truer words were never spoken. The track was mixed by Dres of Black Sheep and became an instant favorite on the ’95 compilation that featured the Primo laced “1, 2 Pass It” featuring Doug E. Fresh, Fat Joe, Jeru the Damaja, KRS-One, Mad Lion, and Smif-N-Wessun.

It wasn’t until 2002 until we heard from N-Tense again, but under his new moniker Blu Warta. Then, Game Records was making a name for itself with their infamous record covers. This Is Luv by Blu featured the lovely Aria Giovanni on the record cover. You have to admit as hacky as some of the Game releases were, Jonathan “Shecky Green really knew how to market their 12” inch singles. And who can forget them dabbling into the porn industry with the Game girls? God I looooved Francine Dee back in the day. But this is where my connection with N-Tense became a disconnect. I never knew he was Blu Warta. For starters, I didn’t like the name, silly I know, but I’m particular about names. Take “luv” for example. Anytime I saw something spelled out like that it just was a huge deterrent for me.

But in 2002 boom-bap wasn’t the thing anymore so naturally a change was needed. Too bad, had he kept is short, he could have been the O.G. Blu before this one. Blu released one more track before his passing, the title track Midnight Club II of the video game series. Midnight Club II also featured fellow Game artist 8-Off Agallah, so if I had to guess there was a deal brokered by Shecky for them to appear on the soundtrack.

N-Tense/Blu Warta was the quintessential 90’s NYC rapper. He had tons of talent, a lot of promise and unfortunately a short-lived career. On January 27, 2005, Dion Devon Blue died from a degenerative heart disease while anticipating a heart transplant. He was just 30 years old. The good really do die young. –Philaflava


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