Words by Khalid Strickland
In the wacky world of Hip-Hop some artists are known more for scrappin’ than for rappin’. These predators rarely drop albums — music taking a backseat to their aggressive antics — but they make the rap game a lot more colorful by keeping the pretenders in check. With their genuine street credibility, prison-yard tactics and itchy trigger-fingers, the Goonies of Hip-Hop have created an entertaining niche in the genre. Here are eight in particular who have already left their mark.
When you look up the word “goon” in the rap dictionary, you’ll find those now-infamous pictures of T.I.’s Grand Hustle muscle Alfamega spazzin’ out on Shawty Lo’s crew at last year’s Dirty Awards. In those photos, especially the one where he’s smiling as he tussles with an overmatched cop, you can tell that Alfamega was having a good time; he shrugged-off a blast of pepper spray to the face like it was spearmint Binaca. With a lead-fisted shot to the dome, Mega left a Shawty Lo associate snoozing on the floor during T.I. and Grand Hustle’s performance at the Awards show.
The televised incident may earn him another bid in the bing, but his commissary should be stacked for a job well done. Aspiring rappers take note: It doesn’t matter how well you rhyme, how many chicks you bag and how much jewelry you rock. Your crew isn’t complete without a ninja like Mega in the stable.
What separates Detroit’s own Trick Trick from most of his contemporaries is that he actually put an album out (a decent one at that); an impressive feat for a professional goon. His latest LP, The Villain, is in stores now. But although the album features heavy-hitters like Ice Cube, Eminem and a posthumous appearance by D-12’s Proof, it’s a mere footnote in Trick Trick’s untouchable gangster resume. The first notable rapper he beat down was Miami’s Trick Daddy, who took offense to Trick Trick’s similar name. When Trick Daddy sauntered into the D for a performance like it was sweet, he was knuckled down severely. It’s also alleged that Trick Trick and his crew put the beats on Styles P of The Lox.
But it was the assault and robbery of rap music’s premiere whipping-boy Yung Berg that ushered Trick Trick into the upper echelon of Hip-Hop Goons. Trick has recently expressed a disdain for Soulja Boy and his negative effect on the Hip-Hop industry and even volunteered to teach the young’un a much-needed lesson at his own belt’s expense. After Soulja Boy’s idiotic “shout-out to the slave masters” at last year’s BET Awards, that lesson may be overdue.
Maino had a bona-fide hit single “Hi Hater” under his belt. But his volatile temper, ten year bid for kidnapping and penchant for laying the smack down has overshadowed his success thus far. Junior Mafia’s Lil’ Cease got his head stomped into the ground by Maino during a dust-up in Bed Stuy. Queensbridge rapper Tragedy Khadafi also felt Maino’s wrath after some music-industry business between them went sour. The result was a lopsided butt-whoopin’ doled out by Maino and his wolves at an industry party. Maino also laid “The Hand of God” on a disruptive fan during one of his concerts in Poughkeepsie.
But once again, it was a timely cameo from Yung Berg, a shoe-in for “Punching Bag Of the Year,” who brought Maino the most shine. After touring with him over the summer, Berg inexplicably stepped to the Brooklyn ex-con in an Atlanta nightclub, claiming that Maino was talking reckless about him. Once Maino slapped earth, wind and fire out of him, Berg actually apologized and blamed the “reasons” on the aaa-al-al-aa-alcohol. Imagine somebody apologizing for getting slapped. Maino later explained that because he sincerely likes Yung Berg and was solely out to discipline him. He added that he only gave Berg a slap and noted that it could’ve been much worse. Feel free to laugh out loud.
Jay-Z is a smart guy. Rather than get his diamonds dirty brawling with foes in the streets, he has a group of underlings to handle such menial tasks. An example of this muscle is Tru Life from the Lower East Side of Manhattan; a dude who can actually rhyme. He was signed to Jay-Z’s Roc La Familia record label, a connection that seemed to have promise, but in hindsight seems like a tactical move by the clever Hov. Tru has yet to drop an album but he’s known for acts of vintage goonery. According to several snitches (excuse me, I mean witnesses), it was Tru Life who snuffed Cam’ron, one of Hov’s staunchest haters, in front of a NYC club.
But wait… there’s more. Tru had a well-known dispute with Prodigy of Mobb Deep some time ago. Documented on the Beef DVD, Mr. Life retold how he and his crew armed themselves to the teeth, ambushed some of Mobb’s crew at a recording studio in NYC and robbed them. He may never drop an LP, but Tru Life has solidified his legacy in the prestigious Hall of Hip-Hop Goons.
While yet to make a hit record, but somehow 40 Glocc from Colton, California stays in the rap tabloids. A veteran Crip with a mega-heavy rep, 40 Glocc took exception to Lil’ Wayne’s counterfeit affiliation with the Bloods. So Mr. Glocc robbed Tyga, a teenybopper artist signed to Lil’ Wayne’s Young Money record label. 40 Glocc then paraded around with Tyga’s stolen, diamond-encrusted Young Money pendant. This was no real conquest since the rail-thin Tyga, cousin of Gym Class Heroes front man Travis McCoy, is soft as baby shit. But when Lil’ Wayne and his entourage foolishly rolled through Colton in a caravan of luxury vehicles, 40 Glocc and his drones stepped it up a notch. A horde of thirsty Crips surrounded the immobile caravan and began taunting Wayne, who remained hidden in his tinted-out (and presumably bulletproof) SUV.
40 Glocc led the charge, as he called Weezy out for being a fake Blood, Glocc slapped the SUV’s windows and demanded Wayne confront him man-to-man. That didn’t happen, of course. Face it, Wayne is a decent recording artist, but as a goon he isn’t in 40 Glocc’s league. The intense moment was captured on video and uploaded to the modern-day thug’s arena of choice — YouTube — for the world enjoy.
Like most Hip-Hop Goons, East New York’s Uncle Murda has dropped a slew of requisite mixtapes and has made the internet rounds, selling his street cred with the fervor of a presidential candidate. He was Jay-Z’s muscle at Roc-A-Fella and now he’s rumored to be signing with G-Unit to join the rent-a-thug ranks of Spider Loc and 40 Glocc. But Uncle Murda seems comfortable with his enforcer status and the man is downright entertaining. In a move of pure marketing genius (or foolishness, depending on your point-of-view,) he announced on citywide radio that he’s caught numerous bodies and even shot cops, inciting angry police officers to call up the station in protest. Murda was also filmed sucker-punching his longtime nemesis and fellow Brooklynite, Papoose.
After a bullet grazed his skull earlier this year, Murda posted a YouTube clip claiming that he nursed his wounds with “Kush and Hennessy.” Hopefully, the Kush was prescribed by a licensed physician.
Tony Yayo has dropped platinum albums, appeared on a number of G-Unit projects and has multi-millionaire 50 Cent for a best friend, so when it comes to being categorized as a Hip-Hop goon, he’s in a class by himself. His music is average at best, but the man’s thugged-out resume is impeccable. Jail time, gunplay, beatings, intimidation…it’s stellar. As for notable incidents, where do we begin? Jimmy Henchman, The Game’s one-time manager and sworn enemy of G-Unit, accused Tony Yayo and his cronies of slapping his teenage son (charges against Yayo were dropped when one of his minions admitted to the act).
When it comes to talking trash and provoking 50 Cent’s opponents, nobody does it like Yayo. Whether questioning Game’s sexuality, calling ex-associate Young Buck broke or charging that Ghostface didn’t write Supreme Clientele, Tony Yayo doesn’t bite his tongue. And the dude’s loyal too. Catch Yayo on 50 Cent’s new MTV reality-show, “The Money And The Power,” standing beside his boss, rocking a crispy tuxedo. He’s graduated up to Corporate Goon.
Hip-Hop Goon Emeritus: Just-Ice
An affiliate of Boogie Down Productions during their heyday, Fort Greene, Brooklyn gangster rapper Just-Ice (emphasis on “gangster”) is the granddaddy of Hip-Hop Goons. Plus, he made some classic songs to boot (“Latoya,” “Going Way Back”). No disrespect to Plies and his sophomore album’s title, but Just-Ice is truly “The Definition of Real.”
When KRS-One had beef with MC Shan after KRS’s classic 1987 diss record, “South Bronx,” it was a lone Just-Ice who allegedly visited Shan’s Queensbridge Projects with a shotgun in tow, looking for challengers. Unsurprisingly he found none. Just-Ice’s street cred is rock-solid and with an appearance on America’s Most Wanted under his belt, the man is due for a Lifetime Achievement award in the art of Goonery.