Off Da Wall consisted of Smoove One and Rem Raf. My initial knowledge of that started with Smoove One when kicked a freestyle to Masta Ase at this in-store in Evanston, which I mentioned HERE.
At the time, Smoove One was in a crew called Badderize Knot Inkluded and this was in ’93. I continued to see him pop up at certain spots and we would take about his crew and the music they were making and I was always push to get demo, but never got one.
A couple years went by and when I next ran into Smoove, Badderize Knot Inkluded was no more and he was focused on this Off Da Wall project.
He came by the Time Travel Show on 5.30.96 and dropped of the Off Da Wall “4767” demo, with the original and remix. He opens the original version saying, “That’s crazy, this is our first time recording” so apparently this is officially the first demo. Admittedly, the original version has the more interesting and unique production, but I always found myself gravitating to the remix for the more stripped-down rawness. The vibe just seemed more in line with the crew’s vocal style. There’s some of the same lyrics from the original and some new lyrics exclusive to the remix as well. I believe the "47" & "67" relate to the streets they are from, but not 100% on that.
Off Da Wall-4767:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Off-the-Wall-4767.mp3|titles=Off the Wall-4767]
Smoove One had that flashy personality and classic MC cockiness. On the mic, he was about the punchlines and animated delivery. Rem Raf was a wordsmith and was able to seamlessly weave together complex rhyme schemes and images. This is a skill he showcases well on his second verse of the remix, but is better perfected by their second demo.
Off Da Wall-4767 Remix:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Off-the-Wall-4767-Remix.mp3|titles=Off the Wall-4767 Remix]
On 11.28.96 the Off Da Wall crew returned to Time Travel Radio to perform one the tracks from their upcoming demo live. They had some pretty great freestyle sessions on WNUR, particularly with Vaughn C on The Six Feet Unda Show. I know I have some tapes somewhere of those, but haven't come across them yet.
Off Da Wall-Get Bizzy (Live on Time Travel 11.29.96)
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Off-The-Wall-Get-Bizzy-live-on-Time-Travel-11-28-96.mp3|titles=Off The Wall-Get Bizzy (live on Time Travel 11-28-96)]
Not sure when, but I don’t think it was long after they came by to give me a three-song demo, which featured a slightly different lyric version of “Get Bizzy”.
Smoove One ups the ante on his one-liners with some shock value statements that are likely to get engrained in your memory. It’s a nice mixture of tough talk and humor with lines like “My lyrics hurt your physical like listening to Mystikal”, “It’s apparent your parents didn’t know what they were sharing/They paid your ass no mind like imitation Donna Karan”.
You can clearly hear how much nicer Rem Raf had improved with his flow and delivery in this short-time, “Two major problems, N****s who fake it solemn (?) and newspaper columns/Propaganda, adopt a plan for new ways to blossom/Few escape the bottom, I explore the blocks of the ghetto city scene/Where fiends will peddle anything just for a rock/The present is pandora’s box, The past is a blur/Spur of the moment flows like natural disasters occur/My laughter is stirred by jokers who’s concern is image/Learn your limits/Burn my sentence into your memory/To bond my word, I’m finished”.
However, that’s not even the best example of his flow. He kills it even more ridiculously in closing verse. It’s really complex so I might not be 100%, but I think I’m pretty on point, “I dish the royal pain cops and the boil rain drops/Your spoiled brains locked inside my chained box/Your game’s stopped/In the same socks I walk thru insane blocks/To talk to dame flocks/I aim cock to fire, hear the bang cock/My chain rocks on the chest, my intellect is potent like cocaine rocks/My names got a sting to it, I bring to skits the main plot/the pain knocks so I change spots/My courage leaves the brave shot/Rest in chaos in your grave slot/It’s like I risk life at this height/In strife or fist fight/With might my hit strikes/Beating hearts and blocking windpipes/Deep in the life, it’s midnight/a crisis strikes like mid-life/the bulls***t hits right on target with a bullet, I’m crooked and priceless likes a gem heist/I flip dice to get twice the jackpot in the crack spots/the cops frisk hypes/I’m not the bi**h type/My hiss might upgrade to big bytes/Load to disk type, words of my warning in your data make my chatter breaks it down to rip mics/ So tears and blood my pen writes/I sit tight because stress in excess attacks me to trap me in a lid tight coffin/Often I’m free in flight so no need to hitch hike/A blitz life without charges or cents price/In the clip load hollow tip points so now the gun will spit spikes/No stumbling, my grips tight/Unknown’s my origin, my aura sends light/Deliver street poetry from my lips nice/I shift sight to see the total picture under big lights/It’s unreal how some chill in sun shields believing life is fun filled/Until on the scene a gun wields/next the gun spills ammo finally the gun kills/It’s a done deal, the stun yields the weak, my bloods filled/with strength, a judge deals a bum deal/I hold a bad hand, a mad man/My grudge builds on fast land, among hills/Where thugs steal and drug deal/While nuns kneel to pray that love will/flourish me, I nourish words my tongue spills…”. THAT IS AN EXCELLENT VERSE! Just read that along with his flow to get the full effect of the illness.
Off Da Wall-Get Bizzy:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Off-da-Wall-Get-Bizzy.mp3|titles=Off da Wall-Get Bizzy]
“Get Bizzy” is clearly the star track on this demo, but the other two cuts are nice as well. It’s just hard to beat that “Get Bizzy” track.
“On The Regular” has a laid back feel, but the rhyme techniques are still rapid fire. “One After Another” has the least interesting production, but the contrast of the two vocal hooks makes the chorus catchy. Plus Smoove & Rem Raf still bring it hardcore with the lyrics. Both tracks also feature verses by Dread Mighty, who may have also been an officially member of the group, but was locked up in ’96 during the first demo apparently.
Off Da Wall-One After Another:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Off-Da-Wall-One-After-Another.mp3|titles=Off Da Wall-One After Another]
Off Da Wall-On The Regular:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Off-Da-Wall-On-The-Regular.mp3|titles=Off Da Wall-On The Regular]
I’m not sure if they made any other demos around this time, but if so I’d love to get my hands on them. They were clearly getting better.
Smoove One continues to make music and be active online, but know goes by Knowledge Born. He’s on Facebook HERE. Rem Raf is also still making music, but seems to be focusing more on production now, but I would love to hear what material he has from this era because he was on fire. I’ve only found him on Myspace so far, but I’m going to try to reach out.
*Includes a bonus Smoove One Freestyle from him first appearance on Time Travel 5.30.96)