Thursday, January 19, 2006
3rd Eye : 360° (from Reality 12")
3rd Eye : 360° (Sure Shot, 1997)
Jesse West : Renegade (Motown, 1989)
Heavy D, 3rd Eye, Notorious Big, Rob O, Guru & Busta Rhymes : A Buncha Niggas (Uptown, 1992)
3rd Eye : Ease Up (Uptown, 1993)
Trends Of Culture : Valley Of The Skins (Jes Wes remix) (Mad Sounds, 1993)
The post about Nine just made me think that his rhyming partner in 24/7 really deserved some shine. Jesse West, also known as Third Eye, is one of the most deserving unsung heroes in hip-hop. His sketchy career probably suffered from his constant name changes.
So Jesse West signed with Motown in 1989 for his first album No Prisoners, produced by Commissioner Gordon. Obviously the label didn't know how to promote a rap act at that time (not that they do now) so the record didn't go anywhere. Renegade was a favourite of mine at that time.
He kinda disappeared then for a couple of years and came back hard with a bunch of great tracks like, well, A Buncha Niggas , the posse cut from Heavy D's Blue Funk, with a young and hungry Biggie, INI's Rob O, Guru and Busta Rhymes. You gotta appreciate the credit on the sleeve : rap by Busta Rhymes. I guess the other guys are just singing opera or something.
While hangin around Puffy he also did a remix of Supercat's Dolly My Baby where, according to Jay Smooth, he dropped the very first occurence of the phrase bling bling (yeah, I just googled that one). Around the same time Puff gave him the opportunity to cut his own single on Who's The Man soundtrack, co produced by Lord Finesse. He pulled a Large Profesor on Ease Up with his last words, "you want some more flavor ? Go buy the album !". He didn't put out an album until years after that statement.
He kept producing, doing tracks for PMD, Xzibit, Raw Breed, Nine (of course) and most notably KRS One's antepenultimate Jive single "Step Into A World", and then dropped this dope single on the original Sure Shot Recordings in 1997.
This soulful 12" is one of the best thing that Jesse West has recorded. I'm the first to admit that his first album has not aged really well, but the Reality single is good from the first song to the last instrumental. You should know how this site works : I won't give you mp3 of all the songs from the 12", you wil have to dig the record yourself to hear the rest. Both Reality and Circles are on his second album though. With its Milt Jackson loop and 3rd Eye crooning an old Bobby Caldwell tune over it, 360° is smooth, but not in a sell-out way. As far as I know the album called Planets was only licensed to a french label Declic, and I don't think there is any other pressing.
Strangely this rapper who was kinda obsessed with the new millenium hasn't released much in the past 5 years. The aforementioned 24/7 material is the last decent record he did. There was also a yellow 12" with RZA floating around, but it's less than stellar. But who knows, he may be releasing stuff under another name I haven't heard yet.