On this day, April 14, in hip-hop history…
1992: California lyricist Spice 1 has always been a charismatic rapper with a knack for storytelling like none other. On his self-titled debut LP, he makes it clear that Mr. Rogers had nothing on him and the guys in his neighborhood with his classic hood tales.
Spice 1 led the studio album with singles “In My Neighborhood” and “Welcome to the Ghetto.” Each went in depth about the stomping grounds of Mr. “Sex, Pistols, Indo, Cash and Entertainment,” and combined with his gangster rap edge made for superior tracks. “I’m going crazy out here/Seeing 24 brothers die by the end of the year/And I still gotta deal with the 5-0, and I stopped selling dope in 9-0,” he raps, delivering heavy truths onto the latter track. Other standouts from the former Jive recording artist’s first LP include “East Bay Gangsta” and “187 Proof,” with all four songs going on to have visual components.
Approximately a month and a half after the release of Spice 1, the project went on to peak at No. 1 on Billboards’ Heatseekers Albums chart for three weeks and No. 82 on the Billboard 200. On Nov. 30, 1993, Spice 1 was certified gold by the RIAA after selling over half a million units, two months after the release of his most successful album to date, 187 He Wrote.
Spice 1 is an eternal standout star from Cali’s gangsta rap era, and proved it by dropping a dozen solo projects in the years following his debut.
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