Leaders of the New School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Leaders of the New School
OriginLong Island, New York
GenresHip hop
Years active1986–1994[1]
Past membersCharlie Brown
Cut Monitor Milo
Dinco D
Busta Rhymes

Leaders of the New School was an American hip hop group based in Long Island, New York.


1986–1990: Early Years[edit]

"They were performing with one mic, and it was three MCs, not four. Busta also did the beatbox. It was just ill. He was controlling the mic and certainly the star of the show. He was completely amazing."

– A&R Dante Ross, on the group's performance at Payday[2]

In 1986, Leaders of the New School was formed by Long Island natives Charlie Brown, Busta Rhymes and Dinco D. Rhymes' cousin Cut Monitor Milo became the group's DJ and would also rap in the group occasionally. During a performance at Payday, a roving and short-lived hip-hop party in New York's late-1980s club scene, the group got discovered by Elektra Records A&R Dante Ross.[2] The group performed for fellow Long Island based hip hop group Public Enemy, who had already rose to prominence, at a talent show circa 1989. There, Busta Rhymes and Charlie Brown were given their respective stage names by Chuck D of Public Enemy. Shortly afterward, production team the Bomb Squad took them under their wings and taught them how to produce by spending a significant amount of time with the group.[3]

The members of the leaders of the New School were offered the option of performing as one of two group names chosen by the Bomb Squad: Leaders of the New School or Young Black Teenagers. When they were informed by The Bomb Squad that they were mentoring another crew who were interested in taking the L.O.N.S. name, both groups were told that they would have to battle for it. Both sides had to make a song called "Fuck The Old School," and who created the better song would win the L.O.N.S. designator. The loser would have to settle for Young Black Teenagers as their group name. After Rhymes and Brown's group earned the name Leaders of the New School, the white group was named Young Black Teenagers.[4][3]

There were often conflicts between group members Charlie Brown and Busta Rhymes due to power struggles between the two ever since the group was constructed and creative differences over artistic direction and musical aesthetics rooting in both considering themselves the leader of the rap group. This resulted in Rhymes separating from the group and planning to work on music by himself. Dante Ross, who was working for Elektra Records, contacted Brown and wanted to sign the group.[3] However, Ross was adamant about signing the lineup he'd seen at Payday. Brown and Busta, who was still in high school at the time, patched things up to sign the deal.[2]

In 1990, Leaders of the New School signed their record deal with Elektra Records and made their first appearance on Elektra's compilation album Rubaiyat: Elektra's 40th Anniversary, with a song called "Mt. Airy Groove". They were the lone rap act to be included on the compilation. They soon joined hip hop collective Native Tongues, which also included De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and Queen Latifah, amongst others. By 1990, the group started working on their debut album, A Future without a Past..., with Dante Ross' production team, John Gamble and Geebi Dajani, the Vibe Chemist Backspin and former mentor Eric "Vietnam" Sadler.[3]

1991-1993: A Future without a Past..., T.I.M.E. (The Inner Mind's Eye) and break up[edit]

On February 13, 1991, Leaders of the New school released the song "Case of the P.T.A." as their debut single. "Teachers, Don't Teach Us Nonsense" was included as the B-side. Both songs were instantly included on mixtapes and played on the radio for months. They made their first television appearance in the episode "Anton in the Burbs" of FOX's then-new hit sketch comedy series, In Living Color, performing their two newly released songs. The episode aired on February 17, 1991. BET's Rap City, MTV's Yo! MTV Raps, as well as Ralph McDaniels' Video Music Box played the music video for "Case Of The P.T.A." on regular rotation. The song peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart.[3]

On June 19, 1991, the group released their second single, "Sobb Story". Posse cut "Sound of the Zeekers" featuring Cracker Jacks, Rumpletilskinz and Kollie Weed was included as the B-side. Both songs quickly caught airplay on the radio. After "Sobb Story" received an official music video, the song became even more popular and eventually peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles.[3]

On July 30, 1991, Leaders of the New School released their debut studio album A Future without a Past.... The album contained 17 total tracks, including the previously released singles and their B-sides. The songs revolve around common problems the youth may face in their day-to-day life. Each group member except Milo had at least one solo song on the album.[3] Fourth member and the group's DJ Cut Monitor Milo only appeared on two of fourteen actual songs.

In September 1991, they produced three tracks on American rapper Nikki D's sole studio album Daddy's Little Girl.[3] That same month, they appeared on A Tribe Called Quest's posse cut "Scenario" from their second studio album The Low End Theory. Leaders member Busta Rhymes attracted attention with his verse in the song, which led to him launching a successful solo career.[5] In October, they once again appeared in In Living Color in the episode "Green Eggs and the Guvment Cheese" again performing "Teachers, Don't Teach Us Nonsense". In the same month, they also appeared on the Strictly Business soundtrack, with the song "Shining Star".[3]

On March 13, 1992, A Tribe Called Quest's "Scenario" was issued as a single and received an official music video. Additionally, a remix was included as the B-side and featured a newcomer named Kid Hood, who was murdered three days after recording his verse, alongside A Tribe Called Quest and the Leaders of the New School.[citation needed] In the same month, "The International Zone Coaster" was released as the third and last single from A Future without a Past.... On April 11, 1992, the song hit number 1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles.[3] A live performance of "Scenario" with Leaders of the New School on The Arsenio Hall Show led to greater popularity.[6]

In January 1993, Leaders of the New School produced and featured on James Brown's single "Can't Get Any Harder".[3]

The group's second and final album was T.I.M.E. ("The Inner Mind's Eye"), released in 1993, and spawning the fan-favorite singles "What's Next", "Time Will Tell" & "Classic Material".

As time passed, fans and critics began to focus less on LONS as a group and more on Busta Rhymes as a solo artist. During an infamous appearance on the TV show Yo! MTV Raps, the group was seen arguing, with member Charlie Brown becoming upset over Rhymes' show-stealing.[7][8] The group soon split up, with Charlie Brown, Dinco D and Milo garnering very limited success individually, while Busta Rhymes' popularity continued to increase.[9]

The group made an appearance on Rhymes' 1996 debut album The Coming, on the track "Keep It Movin'" and was the last time they would collaborate as a group. In July 2012, the group reunited on stage during Busta Rhymes' headlining set at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, to perform "Case of the P.T.A." and "Scenario" in its entirety with A Tribe Called Quest.[10] The group later reunited again in 2015 on the song "We Home" from Busta Rhymes' mixtape The Return Of The Dragon: The Abstract Went On Vacation.[11]


The group reunited for two shows in 2012.[12] Dinco D released his debut solo album Cameo Flows on November 4, 2016. The album features appearances by fellow members Charlie Brown and Cut Monitor Milo.[13]

In December 2016, Dinco D and Charlie Brown announced on The Library With Tim Einenkel podcast that the group was working on new material together but did not give any indication to when it would be released. The following month, Busta Rhymes made similar comments on N.O.R.E. & DJ EFN's Drink Champs podcast.[14]


Album information
A Future Without a Past...
  • Released: October 12, 1993
  • Billboard 200 chart position: #66
  • R&B/Hip-Hop chart position: #15
  • Singles: "What's Next", "Time Will Tell" & "Classic Material"


  1. ^ John Bush. "Busta Rhymes". AllMusic. Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  2. ^ a b c Bell, Max (March 25, 2021). "How Busta Rhymes Harnessed the Dungeon Dragon on His Classic Debut". The Ringer. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Case Of The P.T.A.: A 25th Anniversary Retrospective On Leaders Of The New School By Dart Adams". okayplayer. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  4. ^ "Interview: DJ Kamron of the All-White Young Black Teenagers Talks Being Rap's Rachel Dolezal". Complex.
  5. ^ "End of Discussion: Why A Tribe Called Quest's "Midnight Marauders" Is Better Than "The Low End Theory"". Complex. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  6. ^ Drumming, Neil (February 20, 2014). "The man who really brought hip-hop to late night: Arsenio Hall". Salon. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  7. ^ Mlynar, Phillip (29 July 2011). "The Five Best Moments On Yo! MTV Raps". villagevoice.com. Village Voice, LLC. Retrieved 2016-03-24.
  8. ^ Markman, Rob. "BUSTA RHYMES RECALLS LONS' 'YO! MTV RAPS' BREAKUP". mtv.com. Viacom International Inc. Retrieved 2016-03-24.
  9. ^ Dante Ross - The Unkut Interview, Part 2: The Elektra Era
  10. ^ "Busta Rhymes & Friends || 2012 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival [FULL SET]". youtube.com. Noisemaker Media. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  11. ^ "The Return Of The Dragon: The Abstract Went On Vacation". HotNewHipHop. 25 December 2015.
  12. ^ "Busta Rhymes Reunites On Stage With Leaders Of The New School". HipHopDX. 15 July 2012.
  13. ^ Fitzgerald, Trent (25 November 2016). "Dinco D, of Leaders of the New School, Releases New Album 'Cameo Flow' [LISTEN]". The Boombox. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  14. ^ Paine, Jack (3 February 2017). "Leaders Of The New School Are Recording New Music With Comeback Plans (Audio)". Ambrosia for Heads. Retrieved 1 September 2017.