MOUNTAIN BROS. | WRITTEN BY THE WIGSPLITTA
PHOTO CREDIT: CHRIS CHAN LEE
In 1996, the MB's made a demo tape and entered a National Singing Contest sponsored by Sprite. Everybody knows that Sprite used just about every Hip Hop act you can think of (From Pete Rock & CL Smooth to the Wu Tang Clan) to sell their lime flavored soda in the 90's. I remember trying to record all of them on cassette and VHS!
DA OTHER ASIATICS | PRE-MOUNTAIN BROS. DEMO TAPE
ONLY RUFF HOUSE MOUNTAIN BROS. RELEASE | "PAPER CHASE" WAS FEATURED ON THIS PROMO SAMPLER.
At first, it was good news to be label mates with groups like The Fugees, Cypress Hill, Psycho Realm and others. After recording their first album titled Self Vol. 1, the label felt that marketing the Chinese threesome wasn't going to work out. The label even suggested for them to dress them up as Ninjas while doing Karate on stage to embrace their "Asianess." They thought rhyming ninjas would be a good way to sell them. This is when the relationship between the label and the trio started to fold. Despite being Asian, they didn't rhyme about that. Their first single "Paperchase" posed the question "Why does everything evolve around the penny?" "Galaxies" was a track about blowing up and rocking throughout the universe.
I mean, these guys were real MC's with something different to say and the skills to do it. Riding in on a gimmick wasn't an option. In fact, rhyming about their ethnicity was something they avoided completely. They were careful about their presentation. Doing so made it possible for them to be judged on the behalf of their music and not the color of their skin. Due to the artistic differences with the major labels, the MB's decided to go the independent route.
MOUNTAIN BROTHERS - SELF VOL. 1Going independent was a good choice for them. They were one of the first to level the playing fields in the late 90's by using the internet to expand their brand. Opening up for groups like A Tribe Called Quest, video appearances on MTV and building a loyal fan base were just some of the MB's accomplishments. They went on to gain respect from the Hip Hop community worldwide and til this day are given mad props for their craft. Self Vol. 1 is arguably a classic. There are still folks that deny their music but there's no question that the tape was dope for a lot of people. There's really no debate there. We only got to hear two more albums (Triple Crown & Microphone Phenomenal.) from the group before they each moved on to bigger things. Styles Infinite and Peril-L have both entered the medical field and are now doctors. Chops is the only one actively doing music. He went on to produce his solo album Virtuosity in 2003 while working with Bahamadia. He continues to rack up credits behind the boards. Acts like Kanye West, Bun B, Young Jeezy and Chamillionaire have hired Chops for his services. It doesn't end here. Word around the campfire is that a new Mountain Brothers album is in the works. Will the climb back to the top be too steep for them this time? Til the next episode!