|Birth name||Rico Smith|
|Also known as||CaTashTraphe|
|Born||1971 (age 42–43)
|Associated acts||Tha Alkaholiks, Likwit Crew, J. Wells, Mos Def, Q-Tip|
Rico Smith, better known by his stage name Tash, is an American rapper. He is most known for his work as a member of West Coast hip hop group, Tha Alkaholiks alongside J-Ro and E-Swift. He has released two solo albums, Rap Life (1999) and Control Freek (2009), and has worked on five albums with Tha Alkaholiks. Tash recently announced signing with the hip hop record label Amalgam Digital to release his independent debut entitled Control Freek.
Early Life/Early Career
Tash was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1971, but moved to California at age 16 with his four brothers and mother. His parents divorced the next year, but Tash decided to stay in California and become a rapper. In California, he co-founded Tha Alkaholiks—originally known as ESP, later known as Tha Liks—with fellow Ohio native, DJ E-Swift and a Californian emcee named J-Ro. Tash had previously worked in a group named Disturbers of the Peace with E-Swift and even lived with him, while they each performed music locally. J-Ro had worked with Californian hip hop artists such as Suavee D and King Tee, but never with Tash or E-Swift. Tash's connection with J-Ro allowed Tha Alkaholiks to appear on King Tee's 1993 album, Tha Triflin' Album. Soon after their appearance, Tha Alkaholiks started touring with famed hip hop artists such as Ice Cube, and even inked a record deal with Loud/RCA. After appearing on more songs with Tha Alkaholiks in collaboration with other artists, his party-themed rhymes created much anticipation for his group's debut album, 21 & Over. It is important to note that in 1993, he also appeared on the track, "Check It Out (Oh Ph*ck Me Right?)," by mad Kap without his group.
Tha Alkaholiks work
The first album by Tha Alkaholiks, 1993's 21 & Over, lead critics to applaud Tash's "punch lines and comic timing," "killer delivery of topnotch MCs" and "more than enough talent and energy to back up [...] endlessly clever boasting." The album as a whole was a great critical success, but was not too commercially successful. It did have three charting singles though and likely gained Tash and his group a "sizeable cult following." 1995 saw the release of Coast II Coast which was also a critical success, but had slightly more commercial success than its predecessor. It spawned two minor hit singles in "DAAAM!" and "The Next Level." Tha Alkaholiks changed their name to Tha Liks for their 1997 album, Likwidation. It was met with a decent critical reception and about the same commercial reception as Coast II Coast. It did boast a Billboard Hot 100 hit with "Hip Hop Drunkies" featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard, which is their most successful recording of all time. Tash and his group went on to release X.O. Experience in 2001 and Firewater in 2006 before disbanding as a group. The large amount of time in between releases allowed for each member of Tha Liks to work on solo projects.
Tash released one album, Rap Life, on Loud Records in 1999. It received some critical acclaim and little commercial acclaim. It only reached #148 on The Billboard 200, even with guest appearances by famed artists such as Outkast and Kurupt. It did reach #1 on the Top Heatseekers chart which tracks underground acclaim and it had two singles that reached the Hot Rap Singles chart. Those two songs, "Rap Life" featuring Raekwon and "Bermuda Triangle," remain as Tash's best known solo tracks.
According to a recent interview, Tha Alkalholiks are done releasing albums, and Tash is 100% finished with his next solo album, Control Freek on the Amalgam Digital label. The album was released June 2009. It features appearances from B-real, J-ro and King Tee and production by will.i.am, Maestro, and J. Wells.