The first time I heard music from the Hard Pack was in the summer of ‘91, a mixtape by Ron G. The music reminded me of the first times I had heard Hip-Hop, back to the late ’70s, when I attended block parties in Brooklyn, back when DJs used to mix traditional R&B records behind hard funk and drum-break albums. Through their amalgamation, it seems as though Ron G, Kid Capri, WInk Wise, Showtime and the rest of the Hard Pack have been able to capture that, the very essence of Hip-Hop music. We recently sat down wit’ some of the crew and got an earful.
Moby Grape, Jefferson Airplane, West Coast Natural Gas, Melvyn Q.
The names are readily recognizable to anyone who frequents Bay Area dance halls, collects posters, or buys records. And to a greater or lesser degree each of the above groups has contributed to the creation of what the national music industry is today calling the San Francisco “Sound.” There is, however, a much more common yet lesser known meeting ground for the four groups; they all came up through the spotlight ranks while under the knowing managerial guidance of one man. His name is Matthew Katz (pronounced like “dates”) and his business is music.
Born in Bushwick, O.C.’s big break came when he moved to the Southside area of Queens, across the street from his newfound neighbor, Organized Konfusion’s vocal avenger Pharoahe Monch. Joined by Monch’s equally talented partner, Prince Poetry, the three became friends, rhyming together at each other’s houses. Sessions ensued where lyrics were developed, skills perfected and demos created that would eventually get them all signed…but some faster than others.