38. Between A Rock And A Hard Place, Artifacts
Tame One and El Da Sensei were backpackers before the term was en vogue (El says “I load my backpack with spray paints and markers” on “Wrong Side Of The Tracks”). In 1993, a four-song Artifacts demo tape made the rounds after the duo was featured on “Do You Wanna Hear It” by the Nubian Crackers (LOL). That tape led to their record deal and subsequent debut album, which included every song from the demo except “Check Da Fine Print,” produced by Lord Jamar and featuring Brand Nubian.
Between A Rock And A Hard Place is guided by the talented T-Ray behind the boards, with a little help from Buckwild. It’s telling that the most memorable track is Buckwild’s remix of “C’mon Wit Da Git Down,” and while the album as a whole is a solid listen on a booming system, it also might have set the precedent for boring Underground Rap.
Tame would go on to actually have a backpack-strapped legacy as one half of the Leak Bros. with Cage, while El Da Sensei petered out, despite continuing to release new material as late as last year (an album with Sadat X is apparently in the works for 2014).