A primary difference from the 80s to the 90s, in terms of Hip Hop, was that it became a growing trend that you might first learn of an artist via their music video. That task had previously been the gift of the DJ, via Mixtapes, Radio Shows, Clubs, House Parties, etc...
By the time the 90s hit your key new music discovery tool could be Yo! MTV Raps, Rap City, and/or The Video Music Box.
I imagine that's how many people became familiar with Earle The Poet... One day, out of nowhere, they dropped his "High Noon" video. His flow alternated from swift and smooth to scattered and jagged, keeping it interesting and engaging. The track, courtesy of the vastly under-appreciated Greg Royal, was most likely the thing to initially pull you in to focus on the TV Screen. The choppy drums, hypnotizing whistle, and dramatic keyboards provide the perfect back drop for Earle The Poet to paint his Wild West imagery.
It became one of the those tracks that I was intrigued by and always assumed that the artist had something even iller reserved for the album or future releases... Yet, not future release were to come, just the one single...
...or so I thought. In 1992, he made a resurgence, complete with a new style as well as name. As Don Jagwarr he blessed the chorus for Ice Cube's "Wicked" (uncredited), along with some other Ruthless/Priority projects, which eventually led to a deal with Street Knowledge and his Priority Album, Faded in '94, featuring Ice Cube & 2Pac with production from QDIII & LayLaw.
I didn't even make the discovery of Earle The Poet and Don Jagwarr being the same person until last year while doing some research on what happened to the creator of "High Noon". It was then that I learned, not only about his alter ego, but also his legendary battles in the West Coast Underground with his famous traveling Hot Dog cart. In time, that Hot Dog cart became a well respected and staple LA Restaurant called Earlez Grille that specializes in catering to Meat Eaters as well as Vegans/Vegetarians...making it high on my priority list of places to visit when I'm there next!
My West Coast interview crew, Open Mike Eagle and Adam Stanzak (Oh Boy! Films) were able to sit down with Earle for an extended interview on location at his restaurant to put all the pieces together to his long an interesting career(s)....
In Part One Of his Interview he talks about coming up in Flatbush (Brooklyn), how he got his deal with EMI records, ghostwriting for Eazy E and others, and his street battles with Freestyle Fellowship!!
In part 2 he talks about his transition from Hot Dog Cart to full restaurant. Plus breaks down his menu, including the Vegan/Vegetarian options. He also talks about his future music plans, the state of Hip Hop Culture and even drops a ill acapella!
In Part 3 Adam Stanzak just lets the camera roll as Earle & Open Mike Eagle just kick it about the state and evolution of Hip Hop. He even drops a story of his mentors, ESP (w/Professor P) From Brooklyn running up on LL Cool J at his Grandmothers house for a battle!!
NEXT TIME YOU ARE IN THE LA AREA CHECK OUT EARLEZ GRILLE!!
As for the music, here's a lil taste of the flavor:
Earle The Poet-High Noon (1990 EMI) [Produced By Greg Royal]:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Earl-The-Poet-High-Noon.mp3|titles=Earl The Poet - High Noon]
Don Jagwarr-Who Do You Fear? (1994 Priority Records) [Produced By Brian G]
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/06-Who-Do-You-Fear.mp3|titles=06 Who Do You Fear]