In what’s quickly shaping up to be late 90s unsung rap group week (sponsored by St. Ides Special Brew), it’s appropriate that I include the West Oakland duo, The WhoRidas. Particularly since, during our interview last night, Bishop Lamont and I bonded over our mutual love for “Talkin’ Bout Bank” and “Shot Callin’ and Big Ballin’.”
Arguably, the most hard-core act on Delicious Vinyl,” the pair of King Saan and Mr. Taylor came up in a crew called Hobo Junction, backed by Saan’s older brother Saafir, then one of the Bay’s brightest stars. After impressively battling their East Oakland quasi-rivals Hieroglyphics on the Wake Up Show, WhoRidas started to accrue enough fame to push 15,000 units of the “Shot Callin’ and Big Ballin’ single out of the back of their trunk. Scooped up by Delicious Vinyl, they released the severely overlooked Whoridin’ in August of 1997.
Both “Shot Callin” and subsequent single “Talkin’ Bout Bank,” fared reasonably well, but by the time their sophomore effort, High Times dropped in 1999, Delicious Vinyl had effectively stopped releasing records and The Whoridas were forced to travel the indie route with minimal promotion and scant sales. They released the even more obscure, Corner Store in 2002 and presumably broke up, though they currently maintain a mostly inactive Myspace page. But watching the “Talkin’ Bout Bank” video, you can see what made them stand-out: impressive rhyming ability, fluid interplay and the willingness to look incredibly goofy for the sake of being funny. Needless to say, the Vincent Vega and Jules Winfield wigs are a crowning touch. Also, few things are more fun to do than sing along with the lyric, “break yo’ self playa, fat lumps baby.”
* Indeed, The WhoRidas were almost certainly gullier than Masta Ace. But rumors of Tone Loc rolling with a pack of maniacal Hell’s Angels still persist.
Video: “Shot Callin’ Big Ballin”
Video: “Keep It Goin”