D2thaS (Dedicated To The Streets) is The Legendary Traxster, K-Tone, & DJ Kaoss 1.
First off, they had one of the great rap names… D2thaS just sounds ill. It was inventive for the time, yet it has a hint of Old School sentiment, reminiscent of “A to the K” from Wildstyle. Then you get down to the meaning, Dedicated To The Streets…that is just about as raw and down to the business as you can get. In essence, the name itself perfectly described the sound.
First off, I can’t front, when I first heard D2thaS I sort of slept on it. In doing my RAGE Promotions runs I would kick it just across the Indiana/Illinois border (East Chicago, IN) with The CMB Crew* at their record store, Bomb Records. DJ Kaoss 1 (of CMB) was also the DJ for D2thaS and on one trip he hit me off with their debut 12”**, “Hellhole”. For some reason the single didn’t hit me immediately….
Less than a year later, I was hanging with Mic Shane and Raymond “Promo” O’Neal at their lair and listening to demos of the groups they were managing, including Kinetic Order & D2thaS. Everything I heard that day was fresh, but one song truly stood out and required a few playbacks, “Dissing These Fools” featuring Toxic. Treach (Naughty By Nature) had recently dissed Twista on record and was heard making some negative comments to Chicago MCs in general and D2thaS was first to respond.
Soon after that, the single dropped including “Dissing These Fools”, “Doomsday”, “Caps Get Peeled” & the tape only bonus, “Come Wid It”. Around the same time, they started promoting the upcoming LP, Massive Blows (what an amazing title!). By this time, D2thaS was my favorite group in the city and “Massive Blows” was my most anticipated record of ‘94/’95. Unfortunately, it still remains just that, since the album never dropped. That was a huge let down, I still have lingering hopes that one day Traxster will pull it out the vaults and bless the world….
1996 gave a glimpse of hope when they released the “My Brothaz Keepa” b/w “Whatz On The Other Side” 12”. This time around they abandoned their aggressive battle rhyme tactics to take a more conceptual approach. It’s essentially a “street record” with tales of drug sales, crime, and murder. Yet, they are not reckless, they are also heavy on the consequences & regrets of those actions.
That would be the last D2thaS release… I’ve never heard the story of why the album never dropped or why the group broke up. However, it’s quite possible that The Legendary Traxster just became busy with his production projects. In 1996 he started to blow up with his work on Do Or Die’s “Po Pimp”, followed by Twista’s “Adrenaline Rush” album quickly after. Those records and his later production work***, defined a sound that would become consumed and replicated by many artists worldwide.
K-Tone would also go on to do more production work as well and kept busy working with various artists. Sadly it was recently announced that he passed away on September 12th, . He is truly a key force in Chicago Hip Hop history, from his work with D2thaS, IllState Assassins and his production work. I always admired his rugged style, which was also always paying homage to the roots of the culture. Positive Energy goes out his family, friends, fans, and IllState Brothers & Sisters.
-D2thaS SINGLE REVIEWS:
Debut Single: Hellhole, Gimmie My Rek, Sound Of Revolution
As previously mentioned, I did slept on this when it first dropped. I have since grown to love it and bump it on the regular. I know that back when I first got my hands on it I was thrown off by drum machine sounding drums with the funk staple samples that had been used before. “Hellhole” is the A Side track and at the time there were a lot of songs outlining the same story of the struggling black man in the ghetto who’s “only” outlet is living foul. I’m being a bit dramatic, but that is just how it hit me back then. Looking back now, particularly in comparison to the other similar tracks, this song stands up to the test of time better than most. The “Hellhole” Remix gives it a completely different and darker feel, yet in contrast to my original feelings, I still prefer the original. “Sound Of The Revolution” has a basic but nicely done drum programming and hi-pitch keyboards that could suggest some influence from “The Chronic”. This one is more slow-paced and that is were both Traxster & K-Tone voices and style shine the best generally. The song I feel most “guilty” of sleeping on is “Gimmie My Rek”. It’s a “warning” to give Chicago MCs their props and if you question why you should, they answer that with a barrage of battle raps and styles, it’s also the most creative beat as well. It is the best pre-cursor into the direction they were going next.
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/D2thaS-Hellhole-radio-version.mp3|titles=D2thaS-Hellhole (radio version)]
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/D2thaS-Hellhole-Remix-radio-version.mp3|titles=D2thaS-Hellhole Remix (radio version)]
Sound Of Revolution
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/D2thaS-Sound-Of-Revolution.mp3|titles=D2thaS-Sound Of Revolution]
Gimmie My Rek
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/D2thaS-Gimmie-My-Rek.mp3|titles=D2thaS-Gimmie My Rek]
Sophomore Single: Doomsday, Dissing These Fools, Caps Get Peeled, Come Wid It
The growth of skills from the last 12” to this one is rather impressive. Although, “Dissing These Fools” often is the track most known them from, I personally think the skills are best displayed on “Doomsday” & “Come Wid It”. “Doomsday” is a verbal masterpiece, filled with an endless amount of quotables and the rugged beat just adds to the intensity. Traxster has the highlight, particularly mid-verse when he kicks, “so you need not persist in this foolishness/cause who’ll get dissed is you/and even you will wonder, is this you/when my fist is thru/the distance grew further since the last time I heard you/
And you got a long way to go/that’s the wrong way to flow/you’re in need of more practice/cause you’re soft as a mattress/plus your tracks lack fat kicks/get off our black d**ks like Tone said/or receive a flown head/but if you still wanna step, go on head/you’ll think the mics gone dead/cause ain’t nobody listening/and you’ll get dissed again/it’s the end…”…and it goes on and on with the illness.
“Come Wid It” is where K-Tone shines the most. He drops this great opening line for his first verse, “I come from a planet called leave me the f**k alone, far beyond the stars, even the sun is gone”. Yet it is his second verse where he really flexes, “What’s that in the air, another ni**a signing off because he’s rhyming soft/plus his timing’s off and the whole nine/he stole mine/he didn’t know us ni**as peel caps if you steal raps/I guess he didn’t feel gats would burn/where’d you get off thinking that your wax could earn/I good living when you’re dealing with lyrical masterminds/in the same field as you, chill you’re thru/ain’t no way around it/you gets pounded/either way, where’s my real ni**as, these suckers don’t need to stay/amongst the living/it’s punks I’m giving/MASSIVE BLOWS, I laugh cause those ni**as was slipping/if only they had been on their Ps & Qs/I wouldn’t have a reason for crushing MCs & Crews/Dissing These Fools is a routine/ every day Sh**, it’s sacred/You’ll get wasted so face it.”
“Dissing These Fools” goes in hard and unremorsefully on Treach. Once again Traxster shows his excellent use of word linkage and witty word play, “If Treach is on a quest to test us/he’ll feel the hollow points thru the breast of his vest thrust/to make his chest bust/I’m unimpressed thus/with his best cuts/he just addressed us/because he’s all on ni**as out west nuts/I guess guts compensate for the skill he lacks/while he makes silly tracks/I make him fear cuts like hemophiliacs/he really acts hard sporting masterlocks/but I bet the ghetto bastard jocks when you pass the glock/and if his ass can box, why the chain saw/all these gimmicks is the main flaw/I came raw/while he sings about a kitty kat/so f**k that sh** he spat/my city’s fat/it’s a pity that/ni**a won’t admit he’s wack/where’s his Ti**ies At cause that’s what bi**hes grow/f**k a flow/to his grill I’ll throw a vicious blow so the stitches show/to let these bi***es know/chi being wack ain’t the f**king case/duck in haste/because I might spit right in your f**king face.” There are not too many verses that are so raw, relevant with the disses and perfectly constructed with multi-layered rhyme schemes as that one.
Although it is such a lyrically strong song, one of the highlights is still the passionate matter-of-factness that they deliver the chorus.
“Caps Get Peeled” deals with the cold-hearted streets of Chicago. It gives a glimpse into the story telling skills that D2thaS would perfect and better showcase on the next single.
Dissing These Fools featuring Toxic (of Tha Chamba)
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/03-Dissing-These-Fools.mp3|titles=03 Dissing These Fools]
Come Wid It
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/D2thaS-Come-Wid-It.mp3|titles=D2thaS-Come Wid It]
Caps Get Peeled
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/D2thaS-Caps-Get-Peeled.mp3|titles=D2thaS-Caps Get Peeled]
Third & Final Single: My Brothaz Keepa b/w Whatz On The Other Side
“My Brothaz Keepa” details the story of game being passed down from one hustler to the next, building a brotherhood. Somewhere along the way things get twisted which causes a breakdown of communication and feelings of resentment. The rift leads to a fatal mistake. K-tone & Traxster do a great job of brining to life each of their perspectives and roles in the story, creating a great visual voyage. The B-side “Whatz On The Other Side” takes a similar approach but with a different topic that creates a perfect companion piece for the A-side. The track opens with Traxster being shot. The rest of the verse details the final moments of life onto his voyage to “The Other Side”. Just before he finds out what lies there, the chorus kicks in. The Second verse takes a step back as Traxster briefly thinks on what he left behind before he’s interrupted by K-Tone welcoming him to the afterlife. The 3rd verse comes back with both K-Tone & Traxster outlining how his actions in life created burdens on those that he left behind. The single lists the tracks as off the “Massive Blows” LP, further testament to how great this album could have been.
Whatz On The Other Side
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/04-Whatz-On-The-Other-Side-1.mp3|titles=04 Whatz On The Other Side 1]
My Brothaz Keepa
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/02-My-Brothaz-Keepa-1.mp3|titles=02 My Brothaz Keepa 1]
Bonus cut, E.C. featuring Devilla & K-Tone-Devistate: This is off the Illa LP ’94 and is a great IllState Posse cut. K-Tone kills it and I actually sampled him for a track back in the day, with him saying, “All I give a F**k about is my status grasping mics”. That can ring as mantra for any hungry MCs who are passionate about their craft.
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/11-Devistate-feat-Kay-Tone-D2thaS-Devine.mp3|titles=11 Devistate feat Kay Tone (D2thaS) & Devine]
One of these I need to do another blog strictly on Traxster's post-D2thaS days, including his Shock The World project (w/Toxic), classic guest appearances and the excellent “All Hell Breaks Loose” album!
Rest In Power to K-Tone, you will continue to live on and inspire thru your music!
**The "Hellhole Single says: From The Forthcoming LP "Funky Flava",
far as I know, this never dropped and not sure how much was
***The Legendary Traxster has produced songs, including several hits, for Ludacris featuring Nicki Manaj, Mariah Carey, Twista, T.I., Cam’Ron, Scarface, Bun B, Mystikal, E-40, WC, C-Bo, Tech N9ne, etc…
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