The degradation of OG rap tapes has made its deepest cuts some of the grainiest artifacts in the museum of hip-hop. The narcotized and woozy productions of Memphis, circa 1995, are paranormal ghost stories in the history of modern trap—an origin myth that’s blurred the lines between bedroom hallucinations and nightly news crime reports. The sound of Memphis melted with crackling rat-a-tat beats, hood sirens, gunfire, oozing bass, horror samples and melancholic synths that blended the smoothness of pimpin’ with gangsta’ shit that made the DIY Memphis rapper influential, but also a target of incarceration and artistic theft. The cassettes of Memphis rap pioneers like Tommy Wright III, Shawty Pimp, and DJ Squeeky sell for hundreds on eBay not simply because their rare, but because they’ve been suppressed to the point where their history is now an inconvenient truth: Memphis is the prototype today’s mainstream trap, and tapes by OG Memphis rap crews like Da Crime-Click are lost artifacts.
In was 1995, and a couple of criminally tainted 10th graders were hustling in the midsouth Memphis neighborhood of Magnolia. One day they would record an evil-sounding mixtape in their bedroom titled Satanic Verses, which would become the blueprint for something much more artistic. In 1996, II Tone (the majordomo of Da Crime-Click) collected Mac Montese, Yung Madness, Big Cheese, K-D, and K. Redd into ARP Productions and used an Akai MPC to produce a savagely violent and introspective document of life on the streets of Magnolia titled, Million Wayz to Murder: a cassette that was hustled at stereo shops and became wildly popular in the south, but ignored by gun-shy record label executives who preferred more mainstream Memphis cheese (e.g. Three 6 Mafia).
Da Crime-Click never left the hood, and Million Wayz to Murder is the uncensored street poetry of fifteen-year-old thugs who slanged, bled, and pimped in Magnolia, known then as the “Crime Click.”
A$AP Rocky recently sampled the track “You Hoes Gone Get Kidnapped” off Million Wayz to Murder, which was no accident: the cassette’s been floating around cardboard boxes and YouTube pages of hip-hop eggheads for years. “Lifestyles of a Thug,” the most popular track off Million Wayz to Murder is gangsta’ rap scored to otherworldly horror that has Wes Craven synths bleeding over lyrics that sound like ski-mask murder confessions.
The beauty of Da Crim-Click is the bizarre juxtaposition of ‘90s teens getting savage over psychedelic horror movie productions. It’s also a piece of lost Memphis history. Million Wayz to Murder is being resurrected by Burger Records on vinyl, CD, and cassette as both historical preservation and to add to their growing library of weed-friendly art pieces.
• ORIGINALLY RELEASED ON CRIMINAL RECORDS IN 1996
• REMASTERED FROM THE ORIGINAL RELEASE
• FIRST TIME EVER ON VINYL