On Thursday, November 5th, STL lost an unsung Hip Hop hero, Vincent Deloney aka Early D. Early D’s name might not be familiar to the masses but his contribution to the Hip Hop culture in this city helped to create the foundation that some of your favorites stand on.
In the late eighties there was a burgeoning independent Hip Hop scene in St. Louis, MO, a scene that would produce notables like DJ Charlie Chan (the current tour DJ for Run-DMC) and Ron “G-Wiz” Butts, DJ, producer, Documentarian, Film maker and inventor of the “Video Mixtape.” Early D was a key player in this movement.
In 1988 he and the aforementioned G-Wiz produced, recorded and released a record called “Culture Shock.” The 12” hit the streets courtesy of G-Wiz’s independent Wiz-A-Tron label. The vinyl single (which also featured “Turn Up The Bass” & “ The Beat Gets Faster”) was a lyrical landmark that denounced the violence and drugs that had infiltrated black communities while simultaneously pointing out that these ills were symptoms of a much bigger, very “American” problem.
I bear witness to the power of this record. Musically, it definitely captured some of the “noise” of Public Enemy but the lyrics, intelligent and urgent, came from a voice that I could relate to as a resident of the Lou:
“Word to the motherland and to my brother man/ and the man and his game-playin’ government/ They try to blame me for the war on the streets/ I didn’t ignite the flame/ I shouldn’t feel the heat.”
After dropping this rare but seminal record, Early D would go on to release more independent singles and albums on Egghead Records from 1989-1991. Vincent Deloney’s legacy will not be lost as his contributions will be featured in an installment of G-Wiz’s 3 part documentary series, Background Check: The Story of STL & ESTL Hip Hop 1979-‘95. Our sincere condolences go out to the friends and family of STL Hip Hop Pioneer Early D.
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