O Type Star is one of the greatest underground talents of Chicago's 90s underground scene. Over the years I've wrote articles and talked about him over and over to people to make sure people don't sleep on him. I once said this in a article, "I wish I could just hand this dude a suitcase of money to fund all of his musical projects because people need to hear him."
He’s been doing his thing for a long time, at least since the early ‘90s. Someone once told me that there was a time when Common Sense was just starting out rhyming and he was O Type’s hype man...or something to that effect. I actually did an interview with him last Summer that I've hit a few roadblocks in getting edited, but I'm hoping to launch that soon! I learned that his history goes even deeper than I thought! Check back for that one for sure...
I first became aware of O Type Star via his early 90s crew, Alterboysterous (w/Mr Greenweedz & BizCzar Beset). Duro's Big Lip Productions used to throw weekly Hip Hop nights at the small room in the Avalon Club. One night Alterboysterous was on the bill, but there was an issue because O Type Star was the only one in the group over 21 and able to enter. Here he was, time to hit the stage, and the other two key components to his set are out front of the club...stuck. Although probably frustrated or at least annoyed by the situation, O Type Star took to the stage and proceeded to exhibit his skills as a showman. He rocked his verses and when it came time for his partners to step in, he communicated with the crowd quite effectively something like this, "Right here my guy, Mr Greenweedz, would be doing some dope rapping....here my man would be doing some fresh cuts". He would give little bits and pieces of what they "would" have been doing. I agree in text it doesn't sound as exciting or effective as maybe him just freestyling or something, but trust me, he pulled it off! He had all the personality and humor to make it work and leave a definite impression on me so that I would never forget that night.
Later, I got to see at least one proper Alterboysterous show with the whole crew and they represented lovely. Creating yet another memorable evening (which also had an incredible Children Of Reality performance). One night I ran into O Type Star at WHPK while visiting the Legendary Hip Hop Chicago Radio Host, JP Chill. We sat outside in a car and he played me the Alterboysterous demo, which included tracks with Common Sense. From that moment it became one my most wanted demos...I never got my hands on it.
A few years later he was pushing a great solo demo and made semi-regular appearances on my Time Travel Radio Show. I always thought he had a very unique style, which I suppose embodies the diversity of Chicago. For the sake of illustrating my point, I'd say that his delivery has a West Coast Flavor, but his lyrical content has that East Coast wit. He also does most of his own production and the comparison is similar, in that it has a West Coast smooth vibe but that East Coast jazziness. It honestly seems like it would have been the formula for selling a decent amount of records and it seemed like a “slam dunk” for a record label A&R...yet nothing big ever came from it. I know he hustled to make it happen, maybe it’s just one of those things were the obvious became obscured. Perhaps a even greater mystery is why he never released an album...
The first real teaser for an upcoming album came during his connection with the Chicago crew/enterprise, Frontline in the early 2000s. He was featured on a few Frontline projects and/or tracks. Then in 2002, over a decade into his Hip Hop career, he released his debut 12"; "A Different Type Of Cancer" b/w "Rate Of Exchange" featuring Slug Of Atmosphere and Juice. Definitely a great 12" with both tracks produced by O Type Star a.k.a Jeff Baraka and includes Instrumentals, Radio Versions and Acapellas to both tracks!!
O Type Star-Rate Of Exchange featuring Slug Of Atmosphere & Juice
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/04-Rate-Of-Exchange.mp3|titles=04 Rate Of Exchange]
O Type Star-A Different Type Of Cancer
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/12-A-Different-Type-Of-Cancer.mp3|titles=12 A Different Type Of Cancer]
The 12" also states "From the forthcoming instant classic debut album: "Driving Songs Vol. 1". As bold as a statement as that was/is, based on O Type Stars track record, I don't think I ever thought twice about it. I was just happy that I, as well as the rest of the world, were finally going to get to hear a album for him.
Unfortunately, it never materialized. At least not until recently. Actually, before that, in 2008 he digitally released "Urban Myth Revisited" which is a collection of material from the early 90s till the mid 2000s, which includes many of the tracks, projects and artists mentioned above (EX: Alterboysterous, NO ID, Common, Juice, Stony Island, etc...). It's an excellent overview of his career.
More recently he has also digitally released "Driving Songs Vol. 1" finally on his Bandcamp Page! I'm not sure if it is delivered here in it's original form or a more put together version, but either way there's a great collection of music there.
O Type Star recently found a 50 stack of the original 12" singles for the album! He sent a small allotment to Fifth Element to sell. It also features a special D/L Code to get a discount on "Driving Songs Vol 1" from his Bandcamp page. This could be your last chance to pick up a copy of this piece of Chicago history on wax, which includes a rare appearance by Slug and Juice!!
GET YOURS NOW!
*Editors Note: This article is compromised of a collection of quotes from previous articles on O Type Star I wrote as well as a lot of new text. Upon reading the older articles I felt I really captured his history well and doubt many people had seen those articles anyway. For those who had seen them, no you are not crazy, you have read that before... :)