|Esham - MaD Props To Eric, aka Corruptor [his site]|
Even Violent J outright said it, without Esham there would be no wicket shit (yes not wicked but wicket). There would be no Twiztid, Insane Clown Posse, Anybody Killa, Bedlam, Blaze, or Eminem. Even House of Krazees and Halfbreed wouldn't have been putting out the wicket shit. They may have been rapping, it may have even been wicked in the end but without Esham they wouldn't be the way they are today. Even Kid Rock was changed by his influence.
Rashaam A. Smith was born in Long Island, NY in 1977. When he was young his mother moved with him to Detroit, MI and he would spend most of his time there, but would go back to New York in the summer to stay with his grandmother. At this time the rap scene in New York was growing really fast, and it wasn't abnormal that Esham was writing his own raps by the time he was ten.
What was abnormal, however, was that when he was thirteen, and a freshman in high school he produced, performed, and engineered his first album, Boomin Words From Hell in 1990. By this time he had changed his name to Esham. He had an older brother, James Smith, who took care of the business end of the music, getting the money to put it out, and getting it onto record store shelves. Together they formed the record label Reel Life Product or RLP in 1988 when Esham was only 11. In that first year they put out two 4 song singles after Boomin Words From Hell, and they were the Homey Don't Play!, and Erotic Poetry, which were both mastered by the legendary Mike E. Clark.
At this point Esham was still very underground and there may have been more albums put out that have gone out of print so long ago that there is no sign of them ever being put out. In 1991 no known albums were put out but that doesn't mean there weren't any they are just long since out of print. In 1992 Esham put out a double cd called Judgement Day with Vol. 1 Day and Vol. 2 Night. This album featured a lot of heavy metal samples from groups like Black Sabbath, and Black Flag along with rap samples from Sir Mix-A-Lot, and even a few Beatles tunes. The mix of heavy metal and rap influenced Kid Rock to start using guitars in his material.
Later that year Esham released a single Hellter Skkkellter for which there was a video but I honestly don't think anyone would have played it because of the content when the opening line is "Sick in the head so I try to kill a priest."
Also in 1992 a new group had emerged called NATAS which had Esham rapping alongside rappers TNT, and Mastamind in their debut album Life After Death. While NATAS looks like it is Satan spelled backwards the members of the group insist that it is an acronym for Nation Ahead of Time And Space.
In 1993 Esham put out one of the wicketest albums he would ever make, KKKill the Fetus. There was a single put out before the LP was released of the song Sunshine, but again Esham never got any radio play from it. KKKill the Fetus featured a lot less samples (although they were still there) and more of his own beats. Then NATAS came out with there second CD entitled Blaze4me in 1993 as well. The year of 1993 also saw a rise in artists doing the wicket shit. Two groups had emerged that same year, one was Insane Clown Posse with the CD Carnival of Carnage which featured Esham, and House of Krazees with a tape only release of Home Sweet Home.
Esham released an EP in early 1994 called Maggot Brain theory which had all new tracks but two of them were going to come out on a near future LP called Closed Casket. Closed Casket came out the same year and it was to be the last album that was as wicket as his previous albums. People had been taking his style too seriously and believed that he was a satanist, and he wanted to put a stop to that. After this CD he would stay wicket but he would not be as decadent as he used to be. In 1994 a movie came out called The Fear which he did a song for it called Morty's Theme. RLP was signed with a company called Warlock Records for Closed Casket and The Fear soundtrack, but after that Esham never dealt with them again. Also in Closed Casket on one song Esham sends out a diss to "all those who bit my style last year".
In 1995 NATAS released their third album called Doubelievengod. No Esham CD's were released in 1995 that are still in print. However in 1996 Esham was back to putting out albums again starting with Detroit Dogshit (notice on the cover it says "Beware of God". This CD featured a lot of old songs with a few new ones added here and there. Next that year he realeased a single called You Betta Ask Somebody to promote his next LP.
This LP was called Dead Flowerz and put out in 1996 as well, but it divided his audience. It was not nearly as wicket as it used to be with a lot more conventional rap and featured artists when up to this point he only had featured another member of NATAS on one song before (TNT on Headhunter; KKKill the Fetus). In the OG release of Dead Flowerz the liner notes put out a diss to all those who thought Esham was a satanist.
Around the Detroit area stickers started being handed out saying "Who is Bruce Wayne?" and giving a web address. If one went to that address they would see an Esham website. This little stunt was to promote Esham's 1997 release of Bruce Wayne: Gotham City 1987. Again this CD did not have much wicketness to it, but was a more highly regarded CD than Dead Flowerz had been. He also redid an Egyptian Lover song naming it Lowlafalana (ICP redid the same song calling it Cherry Pie (I Need a Freak).
Somewhere around 1998 something did major damage to RLP. Esham's brother, James had caught a heavy jail sentence. Up until now James had been the manager for RLP and the executive producer for the artists on the label. Esham would put about two more cds out before signing with another label entirely.
In 1999 Esham had put out a single by himself called Twirk Yo Body. He had renamed the label Gotham Overcore, and hired a co-producer named Jade Scott. This single went to the number 2 spot on Billboard's top 200 list right behind Britney Spears Baby One More Time on January 24, 1999. This single was taken from the album Mail Dominance which was released later that year. This album is considered the worst album Esham ever made. Many did not like it at all, while a few liked some tracks off of it.
That same year Esham and NATAS signed to TVT Records with the Overcore Label. TVT nationally re-released most of his albums, but there are still a few hard to find albums that were never re-released. While on TVT he released an album that combined greatest hits, and unreleased tracks called Bootleg (From The Lost Vault) Vol. 1, and an album of all new material called Tongues (2001). On Tongues Esham dissed Violent J with the lyrics "fuck a motherfucking racist treat them like Joe Bruce with two faces." The label wasn't doing a good job for him, but because of contract agreements he was stuck. Eventually the label went under.
Natas put out the CD Godlike (2002) after TVT went under on a short lived label called Number 6 records. On Godlike NATAS gave props to juggalos which confused those who had heard Esham diss Violent J. Later it was revealed that Esham and Violent J are real close friends and Esham had dissed J during a little fight that close friends end up having from time to time. Esham then made an appearence at the Gathering of the Juggalos 2002 in Peoria, Illinois to do his own set and also appeared on ICP's set for a short while. Shortly afterwards Esham signed to Psychopathic Records.
It's unknown if NATAS is still intact, or what record label they would be on if they were to put out another album. However, as of now Esham is set to drop two albums on Psychopathic Records; one being Acid Rain: Greatest Hits which is another greatest hits album with a few new tracks coming out later this year, and Redemption where he will give up the title of "The Unholy" and will then be "The Boogieman" from then on. He is also a part of a group that will be him, and ICP called SoopaVillians and that album should be coming out later this year or early next year.
Throughout his career Esham has collaborated with many other artists. This list includes Insane Clown Posse, Bedlam, Tech N9ne, Workhorse Movement, Cool Keith, Heather Hunter, Dayton Family, Kid Rock, Project Born, Dice, Bone Thugs N Harmony, then of course he has done work with his fellow NATAS members TNT, and Mastamind.
Repentance is Now out!!! Go pick that shit up, its fresh!!