The hip hop talent in the city of Muncie, Indiana has been thriving since the 80’s when the music and culture spread across the globe. In the 90’s, artists began releasing tapes and CD, and selling them both on the streets and in area record stores. Being involved in the scene since 93, I have heard alot of music from my counter-parts. I will attempt to document as much as I can in this blog. I will leave out a few of my demos as I will touch on those in future posts. Bare with me as I am doing this straight from my memory, with no notes or reference. Strictly Experience!
Going all the way back to the early 90’s when there were the P.R.O.S.(Professional Rappers on they Scene) which features the late local MC Tony Taylor a.k.a. Versatile. They had their cassette Raw Material at Musicland and Karma Records, we then followed suit with my group then called the Warheadz, which consisted of myself with Chris McNeill (Phenomenon) and Merc Versus. Nell Kayo5 was also featured on the title track to the single Combine and Conquer. DJ Dolla Bill Released his mixtape Enemy of the State which featured local rap favorites Rah, Dub, Double Rahn and others. Enemy of the State made alot of noise in the region and exposed a new wave of talent.
The scene was beginning to flourish as local music was being sold at the Muncie branch of Karma Records, where artists could have their music on display for listeners to sample. The Ball State based record store Stevie Rays House of Wax, was both a place to sell music as well as have shows, freestyle battles and sessions. After Stevie Rays closed, a place called FN Music opened and picked up where the House of Wax left off. Muncie artists were being covered in a magazine printed by the Star Press title Jar Magazine. The Warheadz and Mystery School both appeared on the cover and Merc Versus was a columnist for a while. During this time the Muncie Music Scene was covered in a national hip hop publication called BLAZE magazine, as alot of the above material was listed in the article.
The new millineum brought a new wave of music to the town as technology had evolved and all artists had the ability to burn CDs. The Warheadz had the CD, The Pentagon Sessionz, which we spread through the state at a rapid pace from 2000 to 02. Merc Versus and his brother, A Man Called Relik were known as the group Mystery School, also had their CD single High Times, which also featured Nell Kayo5. The momentum was spreading through Delaware county as artists were pushing out projects consistently. Rah of the group Drunk Bunch had dropped his solo album Breath Control, which like Enemy of the State, was produced by DJ Dolla Bill, and featured a list of rappers from Crosstown and Whitley(Muncie Neighborhoods), including MCs, Wiz, and Stixx, as well as vocalists Neil King and Jeralyn Skaife.
Nell Kayo5 stayed busy, as he formed the group Unleashd, with Grenade, Whitehead, and C-Dub of the Drunk Bunch. This group would form the foundation of local label U-Kamp Records. They released their self titled debut around the same time as the Warheadz follow up album 2 Strong to Hold Back was in circulation. The Mystery School album Dark Gospel dropped in this era along with Merc’s Deadbeat Poet-Dawn of the Dead EP. All of these projects were available at Karma Records in Muncie and some even around the state.
As the years progressed, various artists from the area emerged with new music on a regular basis, Ron C and JP were the Southside Clik, and their album along with long time local rapper Chuck’s A Life Less Ordinary album popped up. That album featured songs with Nell Kayo5, Ya Boy Rilla and Paleface Picasso. Nell Kayo5 dropped the Underground & Uncut CD, which featured Yo Gotti and Lil Flip on a song. After the Warheadz seized operations in 2002, our DJ Marcus Norwood and I formed High Society and dropped our album Komplete. Bill Blast, who is another late local MC, came with the Dirty Regime project, which I helped produce. This featured J-Rock and Iron Will and Illijah as well. Muncie Natives Rob Sweets,(brother of Tony Taylor)and Chris Lynch also released CD projects(sorry, I don’t recall the titles) during this era.
These releases are not in chronological order, and only go up to 2004. Anyone I forgot, and I know there are a few, I will cover in Part 2 of The Local Section blog.