Welcome to the first edition of a new, occasional series of articles looking at classic rap radio shows from the excellent Hip-Hop Radio Archive.
Show: Raw Deal | Date: June 27, 1991 | Station: WPRB (103.3 FM) Princeton, NJ, USA (Princeton University)
Words by Laze, Hip-Hop Radio Archive.
As a kid growing up in South Jersey in the 1980s, I came up listening to Philadelphia hip-hop radio on WDAS and Power 99. Mimi Brown, Lady B, and Colby Colb laid the soundtrack to my earliest days as a hip-hop fan. But the show that really changed it all for me came not from Philadelphia or New York. It broadcast from the ivy league campus of Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey.
Club Krush (later renamed Raw Deal) launched on 103.3 FM WPRB in 1987 or 1988, hosted by DJ Eazy M (Marc Coleman) with G and later on, Trenton hip-hop producer/MC Tony D as well as DJ Kam. Club Krush/Raw Deal played an important role – existing in between New York and Philadelphia – by reaching areas of Jersey that New York radio couldn’t and by promoting local Trenton artists that Philadelphia wouldn’t.
Twenty-seven years ago today, the newly renamed Raw Deal aired one of their most legendary episodes. The Tommy Boy Records crew rolled massive into the studio, including Naughty By Nature just a few months before their self-titled album hit the shelves. They discuss the album as well as Treach’s controversial loss to Cleveland’s Chilly D at 1990’s New Music Seminar.
Joining them is Prince Rakeem who, of course, later became Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA. Interestingly, while RZA mentions his “Wu-Tang Slang style,” the Wu-Tang Clan had not yet been formed by that name. Instead, he was down with the DMD (“Dick ‘Em Down”) Posse and the Gladiator Posse. He mentions having eight songs done for his solo album, which didn’t materialize before RZA’s departure from Tommy Boy. It’s interesting to hear G interviewing RZA for the first time because it’s the start of a long relationship between the two – G would go on to become a promoter for the Wu-Tang Clan and he continues to work with individual members to this day.
The playlist includes some great tracks including an unreleased Crusaders for Real Hip-Hop track called Stop Them Know [sic] and Nardo Ranks & Junior Demus’ underrated ragga-anthem New Jersey Drive. The real crown jewel, though, is the resurgence of Thursday Night Live, Raw Deal’s live-on-air segment. This June episode features one of the best sessions in the show’s history featuring Treach, RZA, Tony D, LA Law (aka Mr. Law), and others going in. This lineup is particularly interesting given Tony D’s well-known beef with Naughty By Nature for OPP‘s extreme similarity to Tone’s own Adams’ Nightmare instrumental. No punches were thrown and, indeed, no references were even made. Maybe Tone was in a good mood since his 25th birthday was the following day. Everyone brings the fire, particularly RZA on his final verse.
The recording of the show does cut out a few tracks in the first two hours (I was a broke high school kid conserving blank tape) but all airbreaks and freestyles are in tact. Enjoy 2 ¼ hours of classic hip-hop radio you’ve probably never heard before below, at the Hip-Hop Radio Archive or at Raw Deal Radio. You can follow the Hip-Hop Radio Archive on Twitter here.