“Without Apache there would have been no Queen Latifah, no Naughty By Nature, no Chill Rob G., no anything. Apache was the string that tied all of Flavor Unit together. Without Apache none of this would be.” — Shakim of Flavor Unit
When I read that New Jersey original Apache passed away yesterday, I was on my way out the door and didn’t have time to put together the words I already knew I wanted to say. Most people commonly associate his name with “Gangsta Bitch,” his hit record, and then that’s where they stop. True enough, “one hit wonder” is highly applicable but that one hit had a lot going into it and did quite a bit in influencing others.
I was a fan of Apache Ain’t Shit. It was one of those albums from Rap City’s early era, when an artist could have a hit and still be perceived as “hard.” Released in 1992 on the Tommy Boy imprint, Apache’s one and only long-player was packed with songs that showed his dexterity with the pen. Like his NJ counterpart Treach, he was a vicious MC, but his delivery was milder than Treach’s. Yet, it was still distinctly different than the majority of artists charting @ the time. He was able to be crass but crafty with it. The “troop harder” mantra & dancehall inflections found on “Do Fa Self.” The battle of the sexes with Nikki D on “Who Freaked Who.” The renaming of the “Jimmy” and “bozack” to “Tonto.” And probably one of my all-time favorite grooves, the raunchy, rambunctious rhythm of “Hey Girl.” To this day, hard drive after hard drive, the album remains as one of the “must have’s” that I keep in my possession @ all times.
After that one album, it was as if he disappeared, at least from the mainstream radar (remember, his heyday was pre-internet and before the prevalence of mixtapes). Finding out that he was still active and working, it’s like hearing that a long lost friend was doing okay all these years while we were apart. Thankfully, the guys @ T.R.O.Y. compiled several notable tweets from his comrades (I had no idea he was writing for Latifah) and also put together a proper collection of his features and appearances. While he wasn’t on the scene, he was working behind the curtains and still making music for himself and others. And, like all those before him, that music is what lives on.
And now my Apache e-dossier has one more file worthy of the hard drive space.
01 – The 45 King & Louie Louie – Smooth Yet Hard (Feat. Lakim Shabazz, Apache) (1989)
02 – The 45 King Presents – Flavor Unit Assassination Squad (Feat. Apache, Double J, Lakim Shabazz, Lord Alibaski, Queen Latifah) (1990)
03 – The 45 King Presents – I Feel Like Flowing (Feat. Apache) (1990)
04 – The 45 King Presents – Passin’ The Mike (Feat. Lakim Shabazz, Apache) (1990)
05 – The 45 King Presents – Smooth Yet Hard (Feat. Apache) (1990)
06 – Naughty By Nature – 1,2,3 (Feat. Apache, Lakim Shabazz) (1991)
07 – Double J – Manslaughter(Feat. Apache) (1991)
08 – Apache – Do Fa Self (Prod. by The 45 King) (1993)
09 – Apache – Gangsta Bitch (Prod. by A Tribe Called Quest) (1993)
10 – Apache – Hey Girl (Prod. by Large Professor) (1993)
11 – Apache – Apache Ain’t Shit (1993)
12 – Fat Joe Da Gangsta – You Must Be Out of Your Fuckin’ Mind (Feat. Apache, Kool G Rap) (1993)
13 – 2Pac – 5 Deadly Venomz (feat. Treach Of Naughty By Nature, Apache & Live Squad) (1993)
14 – Flavor Unit – Keep It Real (Feat. Apache) (1993)
15 – Queen Latifah – Just Another Day (Bonus Track) (Written By Apache) (1993)