Do Remember When Ice Cube Wanted This Crew To Take West Coast Rap To Anotha Level
In early 1994 the world was introduced to Anotha Level, a five-person Rap group from Los Angeles had something alluring. Veteran N.W.A. affiliate/producer Laylaw and Gangsta Rap icon Ice Cube discovered this quintet, and they recognized that the young squad strafed the line between that classic West Coast sound and the Underground flavor that was emerging at the time with acts like Freestyle Fellowship, Pharcyde, Souls Of Mischief, and Mad Kap. Cube helped get A.L. signed to his home at Priority Records. Soon after, the crew’s first single “What’s That Cha Say,” became an instant Left coast anthem. The catchy hook, laid-back beat, and cocksure deliveries of the rappers made the track a favorite of Heads at the time, even if it wasn’t a bonafide hit.
Although it was the only video the group would do under their deal with Priority, the visuals for “What’s That Cha Say” really helped establish this troupe’s vibe. Decked out in Tommy Hilfiger and Champion gear and chilling at a beach house, the Level lads were in their element here. All kinds of Rap luminaries show up in this vid, including Ice Cube, Tone Lōc, as well as The Alkaholiks, plus Fatlip and Bootie Brown of The Pharcyde.
Their full album On Another Level dropped in April of 1994 and also included the follow-up single, “Don’t Stimulate.” The LP was produced by Laylaw and his partner D-Maq, as well as the crew’s own Stix and Stones. Cube was credited as an executive producer and also made an appearance on the album cut “Level-N-Service.” Pharcyde and Dancehall artist Don Jagwarr also guested on the 15-song project.
Reportedly due to low sales, the group was dropped by the L.A.-based label and soon disbanded. They had been working a sophomore titled Level Heads, but it sadly never saw the light of day. The group did reemerge as The Himalaya Clique toward the end of the 1990s, but they never recaptured their initial groove.