This story is the story of mid-late 90's 'Indie Hip Hop' 12"s and this project is dedicated to all the heads that appreciate them.
Ever heard of the MC Aiello Wilson and the group North Bronx Alliance? Nah, not many cats have. The only reason anyone has is due to the efforts of a few hardcore, OCD Hip Hop vinyl collectors and obsessional bloggers that have kept the music from these two extremely low-key 12" pressings alive.
In 1997, Aiello Wilson along with producer DJ Rob Dinero pressed up 300 copies of a single entitled 'Black Soil' featuring N.B.A (rappers K-Black and Cypher) themselves and did the typical independent record label thing of going from store to store in NYC pushing their product on consignment. The artwork consisted of a hand-spray-painted cover and anyone who has a copy of this very rare record can confirm the whole project looks, feels, sounds and smells indie. As well as pressing a small number of promo cassette tapes for the singles 'Black Soil' and 'Live 97/Black Caesar', Rob and his group N.B.A. started up the process of dropping another record but the project only got as far as test pressing stage and only 5 maybe 10 (he can't remember exactly) copies were made. In the last few years those records have been exchanging hands for many many dolla!
The only other outlet for their music was some guest spots at shows in NYC and the east of the States and an airing of a cassette demo of one of Aiello and Rob's tracks '80 Proof Rhymes' on Stretch and Bobbito's legendary NYC underground Hip Hop radio show. This show of support elevated Aiello Wilson's name to a reasonable level of underground Hip Hop mystique mainly because of another OCD pastime within the underground Hip Hop community 'The mapping of the Stretch and Bobbito shows' phenomenon which can be explored further on the very dope Hip Hop forum/website Philaflava. The track was never fully completed, it was just a vocal take over the early stages of a beat - but due to the reach of the Stretch and Bobbito shows it has become a cult indie anthem.
The evolution of the crew is a short-lived one. All four artists grew up in the Castle Hill/Soundview area of the Bronx. They started making tracks on a basic home studio set-up consisting of an MPC60 and a borrowed keyboard. They recorded the first and only official single at Database Studios in the Bronx - and as quickly as it started it was over. The next release was never fully pressed and the group split up to pursue their own careers mostly outside of the music industry. DJ Rob Dinero went on to work with Big L and actually recorded the vocals for 'Flamboyant', 'Platinum Plus' and 'The Games', which were taken from one of many mix tapes that he dropped throughout the 90s. He was not credited for 'Platinum Plus' and 'The Games' and there seems to have been some trickery involved in obtaining these vocal tracks which Rob certainly didn't want to extrapolate on - but after much prodding he revealed that a certain record label used some very dubious tactics to obtain the masters at a very 'reasonable' price. Rob had been working with Big L right up to his tragic death in 1999, preparing the DATs for his live sets, most notably the bootlegged Live From Amsterdam 1998 show.
And that's it! 300 12"'s with hand-sprayed covers, 5-10 test pressings, a small number of promo cassettes and a rough demo tape that got played by Stretch and Bobbito. So why has the TP consistently reached 700 dollars at auction and why does the Aiello Wilson 12" sell for an average of 250 euros on Discogs? Check it out yo!
Chopped Herring Records has obtained the original studio masters of 'Black Soil' which appeared on the 12", 'Black Caesar' which appeared on the b-side of the TP, a recording of the original demo tape and 3 unreleased/never before heard joints from the vaults. Peep the info!!
A1 Aiello Wilson - Black Soil feat. N.B.A
A2 N.B.A. - Black Caesar
A3 N.B.A. - Nobody Can Save U
B1 Aiello Wilson - 80 Proof Rhymes (Cassette Version)
B2 N.B.A. - NY Kings feat. Aiello Wilson
B3 N.B.A. - The Gamble Pt 2