Ever get momentary amnesia, where you can’t recall, say, the convoluted route of hyperlinks that brought you to a specific song or album? That happened to me just the other night, when I followed one old-school Chicago rap link to the next and found myself listening to “88-98 Chicago mix,” a newish Soundcloud compilation of local tracks that includes plenty of songs that are difficult to track down in any physical form and sometimes sell for a high price—for example, the 12-inch single for the sixth song on the mix, Main Frame’s raunchy, tongue-in-cheek “Her, Her, Her & You,” commands as much as $40 on Discogs.
The man behind the “88-98 Chicago mix” is John Kuester, aka Milwaukee rapper Kid Millions.* In 2010 Kuester helped launch Dope Folks Records, a microlabel focused on reissuing rare and hard-to-find rap releases; in just a few years Kuester and cohort Chris Schulist have built a solid catalog that includes some local selections such as Ruthless Rod & MC Dollar’s 1989 EP, Loud as a Banshee.** Kuester clearly knows his shit when it comes to obscure old-school rap, so I decided to e-mail him to find out a bit more about his Chicago mix. Here’s what he has to say about it:
Lately I started arranging my Rap Records by Region so I figured it would be fun to do a mix for each City/ State & Chicago was my first Choice. I also wanted to select records that are under the radar & not as popular to make it a unique mix. Once I was about half way through I quickly realized this will be pt. 1 of 3 volumes because I didn’t even dent my Chicago collection! As far as selection goes I wanted to cover a full decade so more people would check it out!
Among the tracks Kuester included is “Honey Hamma,” a funky bit of early-90s rap from Black A.G. Dope Folks recently reissued Black A.G.’s lone proper release, a 1991 single called “Fame Goes to Your Head,” and “Honey Hamma” is one of four previously unreleased tunes included on the rerelease. That’s actually the second release from Black A.G. this year; in July the MC took a previously unreleased full-length he made with producer Quicksilver Cooley in the 90s and put it on mixtape site Datpiff as a free download. It appears to have two different names—the URL says it’s The Lost Album Now the Mixtape while the cover art says it’s The Lost 1992 Album. Whatever the case may be, you can hear Black A.G.’s full-length now, which is available to stream and download below along with Kid Millions’ Soundcloud mix.
*If Kuester uses his rap name for his Discogs profile then he’s one of the folks selling an original copy of “Her, Her, Her & You.”
**You can still get an original copy of Loud as a Banshee on Discogs—you just need at least $350.