The Rhythm Shack was a studio founded by producer /engineer Tkae of the Mental Castawayz back in the late 80’s. Originally it was a converted bedroom in an apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It would later be relocated to 129th Street in Harlem as a full-fledged commercial studio. Eshawn of the Da Chozen was one of the first artists to record there. Soon after, Eshawn met Calvin Jones aka DJ Trouble Lee while he was working at Downstairs Records. Now with DJ Trouble and Tkae as the production team everything seemed to be in place the new sound was formed.
The track “It’s Like That” (1989) is one of the earliest demos from Eshawn as well as “Which Way Is Up” (1993), feat: Urban Dwellers both track were produced by Tkae. Some of Eshawn early demos recorded at The Rhythm Shack were then released in 2014 on Da Chozen “Up All Night” cassette as bonus tracks.
The Next group to come out of The Rhythm Shack was a duo called Clergy Allah Crème featuring rappers Bee Dee Notted Boots & Mumble Man Dizzy They were brought to Tkae by rapper named Pathmaster H.O.S. who is featured on that track “Style Prostitution” (1990) with Eshawn of Da Chozen. This song was one of the original songs on they’re demo Tape. DJ Trouble Lee would soon become part of Clergy Allah Crème changing his name to Minister Trouble Lee to complete the group. With contracts from major labels ready to sign the group and waiting for one of the members to turn 18 years old in a few months a series of events would change the group forever. Leaving only a few never before release demos of this talented group
Other artists appearing on this compilation would be Big Chase with a song called “Y’all Ready For It”, which was recorded and produced by Calvin Trouble Jones in 1992. Big Chase, a native of Brooklyn, grew up in the Marcy projects and was originally a dancer for Jaz and Jay-Z during the early part of Jaz’s career from the late 80’s to the early 90’s. Even though he had quality music, Big Chase never received a major recording deal and his material was never released until now.
T.I.F. (Tantilizing Intelligent Female) also appears with a track called “Can I Get A Shout?” (1992) a call-and-response track where you can hear in the background other members of the Shack answering her. It is a rare unfinished demo produced by Calvin Trouble Jones taken from a cassette all original tapes containing T.I.F.’s early material was lost sometime ago. T.I.F., the only female artist produced at The Rhythm Shack was also a native of Brooklyn who grew up in the projects, ready to prove in a male-dominated field that she was ready to take it on as you hear how she flows aggressively on the track, showing that she could go toe-to-toe with anyone, male or female. She writes her own material and strives to stand out not as a female artist, but as just an artist. T.I.F. and DJ Trouble worked together for years after leaving The Rhythm Shack with only one release T.I.F was featured on the song “IF “ by the Holland Tunnel Project. All other songs were never released.
Also featured on the EP` is Carlos Bess aka C12, who was known for his break beat compilations Funky Drummer Vol. 1-4, and his work with Wu-Tang Clan and other artist in the 90’s. Track C12 Drum Break 1 & C12 Drum Break 2 (1992), which are snippets of live recorded drums recorded at The Rhythm Shack, can almost be called the blueprint for what would later become Carlos’s Funky Drummer break beat volumes.
The Mental Castawayz was formed at The Rhythm Shack in 1992. The original members of the group were Tkae, Mumble Man Dizzy from the group Clergy Allah Crème, and Harlem rapper Marl D. The group was signed to a label after a week of making they’re first demo but the album was never completed. On this EP Head Boppers (1992) is a previously unreleased demo version that was a collaborative production effort by the production team The Groove Stalkers, which consisted of Tkae, Calvin Trouble Jones , Carlos Bess, and DJ Choco. Swinging To The Jazz (1993) re-mastered taken from the original tapes was previously released under the name Lyrical Lunatics as the artist on the “Jazz Niggas” LP Bootleg . A official release of The Mental Castawayz album in the works.
The last track on this EP is the DJ Trouble Lee Featuring M.C. Lounge. “St. Ide’s Promo” (1992) Everyone from Ice Cube to Wu-Tang Clan had St. Ides commercials running on the radio in the 90’s. There was a contest for unsigned acts to create their own versions of St. Ides advertisements. This was one of the entries that was submitted and unreleased till now.
1) Da Chozen - It's Like That
2) Clergy Allah Creme - Style Prostitution
3) T.I.F. - Can I get a shout
4) C12 - Drum Break 1
5) Big Chase - Yall Ready for it
1) Mental Castawayz - Head Boppers
2) Da Chozen - Which Way Is Up
3) C12 - Drum Break 2
4) Mental Castawayz - Swing it to the Jaz
5) D.J. Trouble Lee - St.Ides Promo