Ever Hear Kurupt’s Debut? He Rapped With The S.O.S. Band Before The Chronic (Audio)

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The S.O.S. Band bridged the gap between Disco and Electro Funk. Formed a few years earlier, the Atlanta, Georgia outfit made a splash with their debut 1980 single “Take Your Time (Do It Right).” The breakthrough hit for Clarence Avant’s burgeoning Tabu Records topped the R&B and Dance charts on its way to platinum certification. The band would go on to release other noteworthy songs such as “High Hopes,” “Just Be Good to Me,” and “The Finest.” As time passed, lineups shifted along with the sound that the production team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis provided to the band well into the decade.

Ahead of 1991, the “new and improved” S.O.S. Band came together to record an eighth studio album, One Of Many Nights. This time around, they took a chance on mixing their signature bass-heavy rhythm combined with hi-hats and snares sound with some Hip-Hop. Like many out-out-of-genre groups, for the Rap vocals, the collective entrusted an unknown MC on the rise.

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From the outskirts of Philadelphia, Kurupt had recently moved to South Central, Los Angeles. The MC with the rugged delivery was making noise in the underground, as legend would have it. The Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania native received a significant placement on S.O.S. Band’s One Of Many Nights—appearing on three songs total. There’s no formal indication on how or why this MC was chosen to be the only rapper featured on the album. However, it offers some essential and lesser-talked-about history to an artist who would be part of a massive musical movement in a couple of years.

The New Jack-tinged “Get Hyped on This” and “Are You Ready,” are songs about getting down and wanting to know what love could bring. Meanwhile, “Someone I Can Love” is based on finding love and knowing how to keep it while experiencing it. Young Gotti’s early ’90s flow and pattern mixed with the context of the content showed that he was more than just an upcoming MC. They displayed a budding rapper who could get in where he fit in.

All three songs are in a playlist:

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At the 3:36 mark, Kuruption begins his verse with, “What do you want in a relationship, some sort of commitment? / That’s with someone that you can spend your entire life with /  So your love can leash out / So you stand and reach out / And touch the one you that your heart wants to seek out / Peep out, the scenery / Things aren’t what they seem to be /  When your heart is left a stray away from being free / All cluttered up in a mix of things they did / Listen to Kurupt, and find out that tricks are for kids.” The MC who would eventually win over Snoop Dogg outside of a club in a Rap battle, shows off some compound rhymes-for-hire.

Unfortunately, One Of Many Nights failed to chart and marked the final S.O.S. LP. Former lead vocalist Mary Davis reunited with Abdul Ra’off to reestablished a new band with the same funky sound in 1994. They have done comedy specials, various-artists sets such as United We Funk, and they are still touring til this day.

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By 1992, Kurupt’s energy would move to the SOLAR Records studio, where he became a fixture in making Dr. Dre’s solo debut, The Chronic. Cutting his teeth with The S.O.S. Band, Kurupt had battled Snoop, been co-signed by DJ Battlecat, and suddenly became a star on Dre’s radar. After a supporting role on Snoop’s Doggystyle, Kurupt and Daz Dillinger would brand Tha Dogg Pound. Multi-platinum success followed, along with a respected solo career, acting, and for a time—an executive position at Death Row Records during his second go-round.

#BonusBeat: Kurupt Listening To “Someone I Can Love” For The First Time Since Recorded Nearly A Decade Later: