The 253 has been deep with MCs and hip-hoppers since the ‘80s, and this humble paper does its best to re-introduce the pioneers you need to know if you rep the 253. However, one legend we haven't mentioned yet, one of the bosses - E-Dawg - is on deck with the way overdue release of a new record being put out by his old hommie Sir-Mix-A-Lot and his Rhyme Cartel Records, The Retirement Plan, scheduled to drop in October. To prime the masses, E-Dawg has already released a mix-tape with help from the always formidable and well-respected DJ B-Mello called (appropriately) The Plan Before the Master Plan.
Being an OG in the game is not a gimme. Just because you pick up a microphone and say a few words in it does not mean you're dope. The title of rapper is earned, not given, and an MC is an earned position; E-Dawg is one of the few artists intelligent, creative and ambitious enough to take that title and use it for the better.
So, when you've politicked with Sir Mix-A-Lot, rocked mics around the country and world, and sold thousands of units working deals with hip-hop luminary and legend, Rick Rubin (co-founder of Def Jam Records), what is next and what is your legacy?
"You ain't gonna have no voice if you're not able to pay your bills," says E-Dawg as we talk about getting started in the music business.
"You have to be able to make moves outside of the moves that got you into the business. Being a man is important to me and it's the most important part of my legacy. It can go down however anybody wants it to, but I have children and a family and that's important to me," says E-Dawg.
As an artist he adds, "I'm an all around talent/artist whether managing, marketing or promoting in the music industry. That means something as far as my legacy, because a lot of people call themselves doing music, but the business side is lacking."
E-Dawg saw his star rise with the release of his mid-‘90s hit single, "Drop Top," released under the guidance of Sir Mix-A-Lot and Rubin. The song was later featured on the seminal Seattle: The Dark Side compilation.
E-Dawg, who moved from Seattle to Tacoma as a teenager and went back to the 206 as an adult, values the business. He also says a lot of the problems in the hip-hop world today are a result of the fact that many artists do not. But he also thinks elders in the music game should reach back and lend a hand to the youth.
"I gotta play the game a little bit to get heard, but once I'm heard it's important to listen to, help and reach back to those in need," he says.
With the already available mix-tape, The Plan Before the Retirement Plan, E-Dawg doesn't necessarily reach into the past, but he enlist DJ B-Mello, D Labrie, Treal, Factor, Mr. D.O.G., Kits, Izzy, and D. Valentino. The new record, The Retirement Plan, follows suit, featuring Sir Mix-A-Lot, Slug, Emmanuelle, Lady Tazz, DJ Roc'Phella and others.
It's a refreshing to witness the dope coming out of the 253 right now. Considering E-Dawg's longevity in the game is rare, and he continues to pave way for not only himself but those around him, so-called rappers, producers, aspiring music industry pros and MCs out there would be remiss to not soak up some of his game, and maybe even strategize a career to develop their own retirement plan around.