Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Favorite Rappers: The Mighty Ha

"give em what they want, this is what they lookin' for"

Chadio, Yogi, The Mighty Ha

Favorite Rappers returns with a wild card, and I want to take a moment to remind readers that this is NOT a best rappers list, but a chronicle of rappers I’ve enjoyed listening to over the years. OK, enough plea copping, back to the program.

The Mighty Ha...MC or hype man?

This is one entry that is based more on presence than skill. Even his presence on CRU’s debut, Da Dirty 30 would be called into question by many. A number of people found him annoying at worst, tolerable at best. Personally, I loved every moment he appeared on the album.

Most of us were introduced to CRU in 1997; with their debut single Just Another Case, a favorite in NYC that received heavy rotation from Funkmaster Flex. Though Ha didn’t appear on the aforementioned track, his presence was felt on the b-side, Pronto. The intro to this track has Ha and a female vocalist doing an interpolation of Dennis Edwards’ “Don’t Look Any Further”. I believe Questlove once compared Ha to a cross between the Cookie Monster, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Ha as we know him may not have come into existence if Big Baby Jesus doesn’t release a classic album with his cousins and friends, but I still appreciate what he brought to their debut release.

CRU was often criticized for not being the most gifted MCs, but what I liked about the group was the way they put tracks together. Knowing that there was a possibility of Ha annoying listeners if used too often, they limited his mic time. He mostly earned his pay by providing hooks on tracks (“the one who brings the hooks with the rugged and the raw”), and often he could be heard in the background of tracks, his ramblings looped to accompany the beat and samples. Ha was also allowed to drop verses on a few tracks. Usually limited to about 8 bars or a simple back and forth with either Yogi or Chad, his limited time was used to great effect. You can’t tell me that his 2 eight bar verses on That Shit can’t stand up to the likes of say, U-God on Protect Ya Neck. I would even go as far as saying that Ha’s verse on Live at the Tunnel was dope. His solo track Lisa Lipps…well…as I mentioned earlier about Ha in general, you probably either hate it or tolerate it. I’m gonna play the kid from De La Soul is Dead and say “I kinda like it

At some point during the recording of their second album, CRU parted ways. Chadio recently released a solo album, Yogi is still down with Diddy, and I believe Ha somewhere still lifting weights or something. If he’s ever ready to get back on the mic, I’m always down to hear more raps about blunts, bakees, lickin’ shots, buttocks, porn stars, chickenheads and the like.

Live at the Tunnel featuring The Lox

That Shit



MF said...

What CRU may lack in "lyrical ability" they make up for with character and the chemistry between them, and HA's aggression was a key part of the group's dynamic.

Plus, there aren't many rappers who can make Billy from M.O.P sound like Dana Dane in comparison.

Good post.

Boothe said...

Exactly (re: character and chemistry).

Da Dirty 30 is one of the last mainstream releases I can remember where it seemed like there was more thought put into the album outside of "here are 12 beats, let me add rhymes to em"

Surge_Cess said...

Nice article man! I'm a big fan of Mighty Ha. With Yogi & Chadio being too laidback at times, I thought he added a much needed element of energy to the album. Just one question though, what is a bakakeemi??

Boothe said...

Thanks for dropping your thoughts, Surge. Always great to know that there are others out there who appreciate the Ha (even if our numbers are small).

I once asked Chad about Bakakeemi, and he offered this:

"Bakakeemi is another word for beer. Ha has his own way of speaking. If you were going to the store he would say something like, "Ayo bring me back a Bakakeemi". Translation: bring me back a beer."

Surge_Cess said...

haha nice, thanks for the response!

Ace Ha said...

I liked Ha so much back in the day that I actually took the "Ha" into my own pro name. I'd LOVE to hear more from him..