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|Also known as||Illy Funkstaz|
|Origin||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|Genres||East Coast hip hop, Hip hop, Hardcore hip hop|
|Labels||Pop Art Records
East West America/Atlantic Records
|Associated acts||Steady B , Cool C, Three Times Dope|
Da Youngsta's are a rap group that consisted of brothers Taji "Taj Mahal" (Born February 1977) and Qu'ran "Q-Ball" Goodman (Born March 1978) and their cousin Tarik "Reek Geez" Dawson (Born February 1976). Da Youngsta's was more notable to the hip-hop world due to them penning their own lyrics and great production.Their music featured production from hip hop legends Pete Rock, The Beatnuts, Marley Marl, K-Def and DJ Premier.
The group released four albums in four years, experiencing its greatest success with 1993's The Aftermath. They briefly feuded with fellow teen rap group Kris Kross over the fact, unlike the more famous Atlanta duo, they wrote their own rhymes.
As of September 2016, all 3 original members are currently working on their 5th studio album "The Iconz"
In 1991, a upcoming 19-year old rapper from West Philly named Emanuel "Mentally Gifted" Parks of The Hill-Top Hustlers was working on some songs for a possible project, one of his tracks that he was working on was called "Somethin 4 Da Youngstas". Parks felt the song needed a more younger vibe, so he asked his producer's (Lawrence L.G Goodman) son, Qu'ran (13), to join the song, later Taji (14) joined then Tarik (15) joined, Parks was so impressed with the song, he let them have it as their demo, thus Da Youngsta was born. It was shopped around and East West Records picked the demo up.
Somethin 4 Da Youngsta's release, Pass Da Mic, 1992 appearances
On February 6, the single of the self-titled album came out. The single itself failed to chart but is still consider a classic from fans across the world. The video consists of Da Youngstas rapping about their lives to bored kids at their houses, and basically saying they're not alone. The album came out March 10, 1992, the same day Kris Kross released their first album, but the album failed to chart. The Whole album was produced by L.G and written by L.G and Mentally Gifted.
On June 25, their 2nd single "Pass Da Mic" did better than their first try and charted to #10 on the Hot Rap Singles. The music video to this was also a highly requested watch on Video Music Box, coming in at #3, the music video used the remixed version done by Pete Rock and is known that if the original was used, it wouldn't chart as well. Taji digs through the ground and finding a mic, Qu'ran then snatches it and raps and they do their verses. Mentally Gifted features on this track as well. Qu'ran's vocals were also famously sampled in the popular Gang Starr song "Mass Appeal".
They appeared on the 22nd season of Soul Train and performed Somethin 4 Da Youngsta's and Pass Da Mic. Features include Mentally Gifted.
The Aftermath Release, Singles, New look, 1993 appearances
On March 11, 1993, Da Youngsta's released their new single "Crewz Pop" from their upcoming album. The song was done by 118th Street Productions (Kay Gee) and was written and featured Naughty by Nature's Treach. Da Youngstas had a new look as well, sporting bald heads, grills, and wearing more combat boot shoes. They matured a little more at a lyrical standpoint and this song was a diss to Kris Kross, most famously noted by Tarik was "So jump, jump if you want me" which was a play on their hit-single "Jump" and showed 2 kids getting slammed to a wall with backwards clothes, Crewz Pop did well as it charted #3 on the Hot Rap Singles. The Album "The Aftermath" later released on April 20, 1993 and members Q-Ball (Qu'ran) and Reek Geez (Tarik) both produced a song on their.
On July 15, 1993, their 2nd single "Iz U Wit Me" released and hit #7 on Hot Rap singles, it was remixed by Pete Rock and featured a cameo in the video by Treach (who directed this video).This was the first single Da Youngsta's cursed in, as you can hear Tarik saying "bitches" reversing.
The Album overall made it to #25 on Top R&B/hip hop albums, #126 on the Billboard 200, and #4 on Heatseekers. It's considered the most popular album.
Da Youngsta's made a cameo appearance in Who's The Man playing Kid 1 and 2. Features include Pete Rock and C.L Smooth.
No Mercy release, singles, new look, 1994
After a long break, Da Youngsta's came back again with their single "Hip Hop Ride". This time they came back with short hair and notably Taji's voice dropped on this album. The music video had appearances by Monie Love (who Qu'ran called up to make a cameo in) and Lords of the Underground's "Doitall". In the video, there by the pool, having barbecues, and later in a house rapping along with the song. This is arguably their most popular song. Treach also directed this video, but does not make an appearance in it. Remixes were done by Marley Marl and Mentally Gifted.
The song came at #21 on Hot rap singles, #62 on Hot R&B/hip hop songs, #21 on Hot Dance Singles, and #68 on Billboard Hot 100.
No Mercy was later released September 20, 1994 and charted #45 on Top R&B/ hip hop albums. Production on this Album was mainly done by hip hop legends Pete Rock and Marley Marl and his Protégé "K-Def". Qu'ran also produced a couple tracks on the album. Minor curses were said on the album from Taji and Tarik, but Qu'ran did say "shit" a couple times and "fuck" once on the album. No features were done on the album.
Mad Props released, I'll Make U Famous released, Taj Mahal's departure, 1995
Mad Props was released in February 1995 and charted at #9 on Hot Rap Singles and #68 on Billboard Hot 100. The single originally started out slow as it was Bubbling Under at #14 but later started to better. The music video consists of them outside in New York rapping to fans and at a pool table playing. Notable cameos were made by upcoming rapper and later label affiliate Big Tabb (now Jakk Frost) and Mentally Gifted (who later did remixes for them but never did an album of his own). The video was a highly requested one on Video Music Box. Remixes were done by Marley Marl and K-Def, Mentally Gifted (listed as Emanuel Parks) and Destro.
During their break, the group left East West Records to migrate to their Father/Uncle's label. Qu'ran described it as bringing the label "back" and lists artists who were on their that blew up such as Will Smith, Salt-N-Pepa, and more. More mistakes were made with censoring and track listing on Pop Art Records. Pop Art Records wasn't doing much at all ever since the Cool C and Steady B days, they had a few compilations rarely known and that was it, and due to that the budget at the label was low and was way less than what they had at East West Records.
They decided that they wouldn't need outside producers for this album and it became more of a self-done album. They made a demo with the song "Everyman 4 Theyself" and the demo is produced by Marley Marl and probably wanted to be on a bigger label maybe but decided to bring back Pop Art. Both Qu'ran and Emanuel Parks (Mentally Gifted but listed on the album as "M.G" for short) produced the entirety of the songs on the album. Emanuel also helped spark ideas in the guys writings and played a big role in the album, both singles released were produced by him. Taj himself also notes that making this album was one of his best experiences.
In September 1995, after a long break, the self-titled single I'll Make U Famouss came out. The video consists of all 3 guys telling tales about their experience with a women. Taj is confronted by a girl while he's driving his Lexus coupe and things start to settle, Reek is eyeing a girl but she tries to play it like she doesn't like him, instead she ends up falling for him, and Qu'ran meets a girl in a more professional manner. This single didn't do as popular but it did make it too the Bubbling Under at #25 and when first released, it was a Billboard "Dance Breakout" at #4. It continued to rise up to #18 by January 1996. The B side includes "Bloodshed and War" featuring Mobb Deep whom they stayed friends with from 1993. This is where they messed up, when Taj says "hoes" on his verse, the word was not censored, and the track listing is switched as well.
On October 17, 1995, the full album "I'll Make U Famous" came out. Although many people have heard it and it was an urban radio hit, many people have not heard of this album and don't even note down about their 4th album. Many have been confused on dates because both the single and album came out under the same name. Due to this, this album failed to chart but is still considered a classic from fans across the world. Features on the album include Big Tabb and Emanuel Parks (Mentally Gifted but listed "M.G" on the album").
During the release of the album, Taj was hanging out with the Brooklyn-based rapper himself The Notorious B.I.G. B.I.G would come down to West Philly to see his friend and also see his new-found friend Taji. Biggie was interested with Taj only and offered him a deal, he could either still be in Da Youngstas or sign with Biggie. Taj obviously talked it over with Tarik and Qu'ran, and he chose the deal with Biggie. This now left made the group a duo, only Reek Geez and Q-Ball now, changes in their upcoming single would have to be made as well.
Verbal Glock released, 1997 Iconz album, Splitting up
On February 13, 1996, Verbal Glock was released. This would be the last single they would release, although a few cameos on other songs would be made. The original album version "Verbal Glock" had Taj on the 2nd verse, but due to him leaving the group, they were forced to fill in a 2nd verse, Qu'ran ended up writing a 2nd verse to the track. The beat was re-done on the new 2nd verse track, with Emanuel adding scratching effects throughout the song and repeats of the chorus placed here and there, the bass line was also switched on the song during the chorus of the song. The video was shot in Grays Ferry, Philadelphia "
|Heatseekers||Billboard 200||Top R&B/Hip hop albums|
|1992||Somethin 4 Da Youngsta's||-||-||-|
|1995||I'll Make U Famous||-||-||-|
|Hot rap singles||Hot R&B/Hip hop songs||Hot Dance singles||Billboard Hot 100|
|1992||"Pass da Mic"||#10||-||-||-||Somethin 4 Da Youngsta's|
|1993||"Iz U With Me"||#9||-||-||-||The Aftermath|
|1994||"Hip Hop Ride"||#21||#62||#21||#68||No Mercy|
|"I'll Make U Famous"||-||25||-||-||I'll Make U Famous|