I fancy myself to have pretty extensive knowledge of Hip Hop circa ’86-‘96. Of course, NO ONE can know it all. There are always limited regional records and demos popping up that you never knew existed. However, even considering that, Dope Folks and now Jamille Records have me feeling a bit embarrassed in my lack of knowledge of the Milwaukee scene. I spent that entire decade living in North Chicago/Waukegan, IL, nestled right between Milwaukee and Chicago (approx 45 minute drive opposite directions to either city). I suppose my excuse is, with what was happening in my own area, combined with finally discovering the Chicago scene kept me plenty busy.
Still, you think I would have some knowledge of what was going down in Milwaukee. Yet, I only have a clear memory of one group. The Dead Poets Society, I met them at a Vic Theater show in Chicago* (7.9.92). They were interested in some production from me possibly. We never hooked up. Hindsight suggests if we would have hooked up, that could have been my “in” to discovering the Milwaukee scene….
Instead, I made it thru the 80s and into the early 90s not being up on any Milwaukee artists for the most part. Sad, but true.
It’s not like this was something that had been a lingering thought to me. It developed recently when Dope Folks dropped the fresh Stanj Child EP, later followed by the incredible Rock LA Flow record. That made it clear there were some great things happening in the Mid 90s out there. The more I thought about it and played those record, which was continuous, it became evident to me that there had to be some 80s history as well, but I didn’t know where to look…
A few weeks ago when doing some routine research, I stumbled upon a incredible starting point to fill in the blanks, Jamille Records. The Labels is owned by Darrell D and they specialize in rare Milwaukee Mid 80s to early 90s Hip Hop, pressed up in very limited edition quantity, 7 Inches (often on clear colored vinyl)…there’s all sorts of things that make that exciting. The releases and the research into them quickly started to fill in the blanks to a rich Hip Hop history in Milwaukee, one that has a lot of ties to respected industry figures such as Compton's Most Wanted, Speech Of Arrested Development, Strick (of EMC), Paul Hardcastle, etc… I’m in the process of trying to secure interviews with a lot of the groups to get these stories told.
Label owner, Darrell D, is a super cool and down to earth guy who has indulged my continuous emails of questions about these records and artists. He's clearly a fan of the history of this Culture and the Milwaukee scene in particular. As far as starting a label, he's a bit of a record collector himself so he understands the value of a nice collectible record. I became interested in what was his connection to the Milwaukee Hip Hop timeline so I hit him up with some questions, to give some background on himself, as well as the label:
FE: How were you involved on the 80s/90s Milwaukee Hip Hop Scene?
Darrell D: As a freshman in high school back in 1986 I was in a local rap group by the name of PRIME TIME which consisted of myself (Delirious d.), Mo-chill,& Whiz Doc D. We did our thing back then with the talet shows and rap contests. we were also one of the first rap groups to perform on public access television. (However),the real superstars back then were the local radio and club DJs. Guys like Rock Master Dee, Fresh G, Jack Master D, Doctor B, Too Tuff Tony, Keith Terry, DJ Supreme...there were a lot of really good DJs. These DJs were either personal friends or directly involved in all of the early local rap records that were released. Because everyone was so closely tied, these records got a lot of (local) air-play. I was just 16 years old at the time and a big fan of all this great music. I spent years collecting these records and listening to these DJs on the radio.
FE: What inspired you to start Jamille Records?
Darrell D: Like any hardcore Hip Hop head, I've always wanted to have my own record label. (Plus), to be honest, I couldn't think of a better way of sharing this inspirational music that I grew up on with the world. There has also always been a big demand for the original first pressings of these Milwaukee records,especially overseas. I would say thus far, about 80% of all Jamille Records are sold to collectors and DJs in europe.
FE: Is there still a lot of other unreleased and rare 80s to early 90s Milwaukee material?
Darrell D: There is still a nice amount of stuff out there. it's just a matter of connecting with the artists and hoping they still have access to it. I have a few guys digging for some songs I'd like to release.
FE: Upcoming Jamille Projects?
Darrell D: All I will say is be on the look-out for DJ Thief, Professor Pitt & DJ Kiddamore.
FE: What else do you do besides the Jamille Label?
Darrell D: I'm a DJ, record collector, video producer, Hip Hop head, and all-around nice guy!
Make sure you stay up on Jamille Records for some great Midwest Rarities on Collectible Vinyl. Fifth Element has stock on all the titles that are still in print but they are SUPER LIMITED so Get Yours now!!
Check back tomorrow for Part Two, with a record by record breakdown of Jamille Records!!
001-Run-DMC-Black History b/w Slow & Ill 12” (Clear Vinyl, 200 Copies) [SOLD OUT]
002-A-Tack A-tack On The Wax b/w Dub 7” (Clear Blue Vinyl, 100 Copies) [SOLD OUT]
003-Midi “Kool Is Chillen” b/w “Bru City” 7”(Clear Red Vinyl, 200 Copies)
004-Kid Crab & G.F.C “Lamont Is The Baddest” b/w “That’s What I’m Screamin” 7” (100 Copies)
005-Two-Tone “We Are Two-Tone” b/w “Mike T Is Dope” 7 (Clear Green Vinyl, 100 Copies)* [SOLD OUT]
006-MC Richie Rich & Scratch “Pull The Trigger” b/w “Here’s A Little Story” 7” (100 Copies) [SOLD OUT]
007-Ill Chief Rockers “Jealous” b/w “I Gotta Rock” 7" (Clear Orange Vinyl, 100 Copies) [SOLD OUT]
008-Two-Tone “Jazz It Up” B/w “Time To Rhyme” 7” (Clear Vinyl, 100 Copies) [SOLD OUT]
*#s 97-100 were pressed on Clear Blue Vinyl
Editors Trivial Info:
*That Vic Theater Show was with Sista Ang (a.k.a Ang 13) and The Nappy Heads. I meet the Dead Poets Society cats while hanging out with my Rage Productions Crew (Black Man Zeke, S.P.O, and Path of Undaground Soulution). They said they had songs ready to go, but needed beats so I gave them my biz card to work on something. Not long into our conversation a crazy fight breaks out…all out riot pretty much. Chairs getting cracked over heads and mad chaos. The police came and are on a rampage, harassing everyone, so don’t get to build with them too much…