Please, for a second, imagine a world where every album, bootleg and demo is not available to you at the speed of thought. A world where you have to know someone who knows something and someone(s) who are “connected” in order get your hands on the elusive tunes not sold over the counter at Sam Goody. I know, scary right? That world, friends… well, it has a name: The ’90s!
As a teen who grew up in this pre-Internet prison-world, there was one specific Holy Grail of unreleased hip-hop that me and all my friends sought: K.M.D.’s shelved second LP, Black Bastards. See, K.M.D., who stylistically were very close to the Native Tongues (far and away our favorite rap artists), had a solid, if soft first album, Mr. Hood, that we all liked. But the first single from Bastards… it was different. From its controversial name, to its jarring 12” art, to its decidedly harder and darker sound (not unlike the sophomore turn taken by K.M.D.’s God Squad brethren Brand Nubian), “What A Niggy Know” made it clear this time around the Gods weren’t fucking around.