Do Remember: Mountain Brothers’ Galaxies: The Next Level (Video)

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In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Hip-Hop Heads were well-versed with The Jungle Brothers. By the late ’90s and early 2000s, it was the Mountain Brothers on many radars. The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native trio of CHOPS, Peri-L, and Styles Infinite released only two albums, but these MCs were Asian American Hip-Hop pioneers, and underground kings of cool.

1999’s Self: Volume 1 was a formal, self-released introduction to a group who looked beyond the landscape of Hip-Hop, to the proverbial mountains, finding sample-free beats, refreshing subject matters, and a style all their own. One of the few tracks the trio released a video for was “Galaxies: The Next Level.” Like Eminem, N.O.R.E, or Kurious Jorge, many Heads were surprised to learn of the MB’s race. Before Jin’s own rise to prominence, US Hip-Hop consumers were not used to Asian MCs, let alone fully-functional groups. “Galaxies” showed Hip-Hop’s size, and appeal.

CHOPS, who would later produce records for Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, and Planet Asia, kicked some fine-toothed science on this record, believed to be made in 1997:

Increasin’ your depth perception, the best selection, the next direction
I leave it up to Trebek to guess the question as I bless the session
How could y’all disgustin’ bustas even touch this
when it’s just a reflection
My mass is critical, raps ‘Invisibl’ like Skratch Piklz and X-Men
Gettin Fem’s confessin’
Expressin predilection for sex and affection when I finesse them
Illadelphy Asiatic.

While the lyrics tied in self-reverie, Hip-Hop love, and a little pursuit of sex, the beat was grabby, and celestial like the title. A popular inclusion on cassette mixtapes of the day, the Mountain Brothers’ traveled to the psyche of plenty of record-buying Hip-Hop Heads.

Based off of the single’s appeal, and the height of the Underground Hip-Hop movement, the trio would ink a deal with Babygrande Records, who grabbed up many luminaries, including Jedi Mind Tricks, Canibus, Immortal Technique, and Jean Grae. CHOPS would step out to pursue solo interests, while Peri-L and Styles Infinite ultimately faded from the industry. But what’s especially dope is that after a lengthy hiatus, last year reunited the group with “Keep On”:

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