I’m going to tell a story.  Please bear with me for a moment.

Back in high school I worked for a bank.  After school I’d walk the short distance over and do a couple hours until the branch closed.  There was this little Spanish hottie that I worked with that I super crushed in.  I would flirt with her every single second that I could.  This guy used to come in and always do the same.  At first I was like, “Don’t hit on her.  I HIT ON HER!” Then I realized that cat was pretty cool.  His mom owned the deli just a few doors down and it was a store I would frequent a lot before school started.

One day the Spanish girl wasn’t there and I got the guy at my window.  It was really the first time we ever chatted for more than twenty seconds.  He stood at my window, long after the transaction was done, and we bullshitted.  We talked about the girl and we talked about music.  He asked what I liked and during that time, it was strictly hip-hop.  I mentioned Big Daddy Kane, Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, De La, Tribe, and ended with something along the lines of, “And of course the best rap group of all time – Poor Righteous Teachers.”  His face lit up like a Christmas tree.  When he then told me that he helped produce their records….that he was Tony D…I was like, “Holy shit.  HOLY SHIT.  THIS MOTHER FUCKER IS THE TONY D!?!??”   From that interaction Tone and I became friends for many, many years.  Long after I left that job at the bank we remained friends and still chatted here and there right up until the time of his passing.

One day at the bank Tone came in and tossed me something.  I looked down at my hands and looked at the cassette single of Crusaders for Real Hip-Hop’s We Love The Hotties.  “There’s more coming,” he said, on which he always kept his promise on.  Tone always kept me hooked up with the latest and greatest Trenton rap – especially if he had a hand in it.  Driving home that day I popped in the single, gave it a listen, stopped the cassette, rewound, and played it again.  I wasn’t so sure of the single with the first listen but right through the second listen I realized that this song was genius.  It was genius on the level of Tribe’s Bonita Applebum.  I thought that it was a slow jam rap song that would become an instant classic and launch him and his Crusaders bandmates to super stardom.

I was wrong.  We Love The Hotties never got much airplay.  The equally fun That’s How It Is got a great video but not much happened with it either.  One of my favorite songs from that album Deja Vu It’s 82 is Funky Uptown but singles from the album quickly dried up.  It seemed that while Profile was happy to sign the group they had no desire to promote that album.  In turn the group never released another album.  I consider Deja Vu one of the best rap albums in history that even the most devout hip-hop heads have no clue exists.  Tony would release more albums after that but they would be mostly beat albums – nothing with him rapping on every single track.

I never thought that the Crusaders had more music.  Never ever came to my mind and I never bothered asking if there was stuff left on the shelf.  Never asked Tony.  Never asked Rahzii.  It was only within the past year that I got to know Mr. Law (aka the one and only Brooks Miller) and even then I never asked.  I always just assumed it was a one and done project.

I met P-Quest through Facebook and this one man has single handedly been working to re-release some of Trenton’s unsung hip-hop classics through Cha-Ching Records like Scott Lark’s Razzle Dazzle and Shawn Lov’s The G.O.D.  It was just a few months ago that P-Quest announced the super limited edition Crusaders for Real Hip-Hop album Rare & Unreleased EP: Volume 1.  Volume 1?  YUP.  It’s the first of two releases featuring a slew of unreleased music from the Crusaders for Real Hip-Hop

From Cha-Ching’s pre-order page:

In 1992 Crusaders For Real Hip Hop from Trenton New Jersey released the album “Déjà Vu – It’s ’82” , a couple of singles like “Police Brutality” and a music video for “That´s How It Is”. The members Don Knotts aka Tony D , Mr Law & Rahzii Hi-Powa recorded way more songs which where shelved for a long time so it´s time to release those gems.

This is “Strictly 609” Rare & Unreleased EP Vol. 1 of 2 and will be a collector set, Why? you will discover it when you have EP one and check the back cover;).

Limited Edition of 150 (12″ Vinyl): First 50 copies will be Yellow colored Vinyl / Remaining 100 copies will be Standard Black colored Vinyl.

This may be the most excited I’ve been to purchase a hip-hop album since Tribe’s album last year.  Unearthing and releasing this music is a godsend.  The fact that this is limited to 150 copies is mindnumbing.  It you want the album you literally have to jump on it right away.

Me?  Of course I jumped on it right away.  I wanted that yellow colored vinyl which I was able to pre-order.  I can’t wait to hear what is on this record.  I truly can’t.

The full address to the pre-order is here: http://chachingrecords.bigcartel.com/product/crusaders-for-real-hip-hop-strictly-609-rare-unreleased-ep-vol-one-limited-edition.

If this is something that interests you – I would advise jumping on now.  Of course I will return with a review of the album (once it reaches me) and I will post about Volume 2 the second I get the information.

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