Artifacts were a group coming out of New Jersey made up of a crew of real B boys known as El Da Sensei, Tame One and DJ Kaos and they were amoung the rare breed of hip hop artists that carried on with the original origins of the art and were quite well known supporters of the graffiti scene.
I was lucky enough to hear about Artifacts about a year before they kinda blew up. I had a mate back in the days that used to record shop with me and he had heard rumblings about an artist that was cousins or some shit like that with Redman??? not sure if that is right but he came across a 12" by underground beat makers "The Nubian Crackers" the track was called Do You Wanna Hear It? and it had various different versions on the 12"....mostly just beats and stuff but there was one version which featured the unknowns Artifacts!
Now not a lot of people copped this back in the day and you'd have to be a pretty die hard fan to even know this exsists, but from the moment i heard it i was huge fan. This track is possibly one of the most slept on tracks in hip hop and is a must to anyone that loves there hard beats....
So it took a little while for artifacts to come out with some solo work but i can remember reading about them in source magazine, there was a kinda buzz about them and soon enough they came with the goods.....
Wrong Side Of The Tracks was the first 12" to hit the stores and it came with the excellent Bside Flexi With Da Tech :) there wasnt any remixes sadly but from what i remember the 12" came out before the album so it was just nice to be able to get a fix of the beat heavy style they came with.
It wasn't long till the highly anticipated album came.............
The album is a pretty impressive debut and is full of quality hard head bop beats and smooth flows that make it a must have to any collection. The album got some pretty decnt reviews and then came one of them 12" that has one of them tracks/remixes that just blew up.........
The remix track was just one of those smooth vibed tracks that included guest vocals from Busta Rhymes and was just an instant classic. I loved this 12" so much and is probably one of my most played tracks ever.
The album on the whole was full of gems and its very hard to pick a stand out track as they all kind of have their own identity on the album, but a personal fave of mine was the track Dynamite Soul so i was quite chuffed when it came to be released as a single....................
This 12" came with a phat remix and a new track not on the album "Who I Am". The remix was pretty much a new song on its own with an amazing beat and new lyrics ples the added guest vocals from Mad Skillz (he kinda sounds like Big L just not as nice lol)
The new track , who i am, kinda has a sound like it was produced by pete rock but was actually produced by EZ LPEE, not someone i kow a whole lot about but the beat is nice and was a nice little bonus to any artifacts fans out there.
So all in all a pretty impressive burst onto the scene and with great hopes for the Artifacts, but it would be another 3 years before they came with a 2nd album.........
Thats Them was the 2nd coming from the crew and it seemed to me that the album didnt get the same praise as the first and is quite strange to me as its a pretty solid album? i think with the years going by and hip hop more interested in wars between east/west coasts and the drama that surrounded pac and biggie i think a lot of heads kinda drifted off from hip hop, i for one am guilty of that. I dont know whether it was a case of me growing up and having a job and a girl or just a lack of quality around at the time to keep me interested? Occasionly i would pick up stuff but i was far from the gold hunter that i was so i think i just didnt put my heart into it as much. God bless the internet hey! so now i get the chance to go back and re live my youth now i'm an old fossil. have to say i appreciate hip hop a lot more nowadays than i did back then and when i listen back to groups like Artifacts i wonder to myself why i fell off so much.......I'm blaming the girl :) but its well worth checking this album if you dont own it (why?)
The group went their seperate ways after the album and singles releases, the only 12" i managed to buy from this was The Ultimate...................
I had actualy stopped buying as many 12"s as i had used to so it was quite rare for me to part with cash for nothing less than albums. there seemed to be a lack of remixes floating around on singles but as soon as i saw Showbiz did the remix for this 12" i had to grab it. The remix was a much harder version obviously and well worth the download.
I managed to kop the solo releases from the crew fairly recently and will throw them up at some point but i hope you enjoy if you never heard them before.......AND DO NOT SLEEP ON THE NUBIAN CRACKERS TRACK!!! as El Da Sensei says on Flexi.......
"Yeah still high the ill fly, red-eye rundown a semi
Automatic Artifact with knaps causin heart attacks
to critics and honeydips, who jeered on my lyrics
And slept when I dropped that "Do You Wanna Hear It?"
DONT DO THE SAME!