Unsung Heroes: Diverse
The inexplicable absence of artist Diverse from the hip-hop scene has left many bewildered. In this Unsung Heroes,...
With a focus on revitalizing old school hip-hop, Lootpack has been captivating underground rap fans since the beloved collective's conception in the early ‘90s. Composed of members Madlib (Otis Jackson Jr.), Wildchild (Jack Brown), and DJ Romes (Romeo Jimenez), the longtime friends formed an official group during college, all while pursuing respective solo careers. In 1993, Lootpack made their first appearance on The Alkaholiks debut album, 21 & Over. In 1996, Lootpack released their debut project on vinyl, Ill Psych Move EP, through Crate Digga's Palace—a label founded by Madlib's father, Otis Jackson Sr. With their first recorded material, the group caught the attention of Stones Throw founder Peanut Butter Wolf (Chris Manak), who signed them to the iconic label shortly thereafter. Through the imprint, Lootpack released a slew of promotional singles ("The Anthem," "Whenimondamic," and "Questions") leading up to the release of their first proper full-length Soundpieces: Da Antidote (officially released in 1999). Although the project wasn't a commercial success by definition, those lucky enough to discover it responded with remarkably high praise. Following what would eventually become their lone studio effort, Lootpack took a break from the studio, but continued to tour together as a group over the next few years. Although their first album has not seen an official follow-up to date, all three of Lootpack's members have collaborated on other projects and established their own solo careers. DJ Romes went on to release a break beat record (2001's Hamburger Hater Breaks) while Madlib earned significant clout as a legendary producer on the rise. That same year, Lootpack put together a documentary film to share their story, aptly titled Da Packumentary. After releasing a loose single in 2002 (“Movies 2 Groupies”), Lootpack curated a compilation of previously unreleased material in 2004, titled Lost Tapes. Next to Wildchild's Secondary Protocol, a 2003 studio effort featuring each Lootpack member, the Lost Tapes are as close as Lootpack fans came to receiving a second album.
Quasimoto (also known as Lord Quas) is the alter ego of Madlib, first manifesting on the illustrious producer's personal beat tapes at the beginning of his career in the mid-'90s. Although reluctant at first, Madlib decided to further develop his experimental side project by debuting the Quasimoto voice on Peanut Butter Wolf's 1999 album My Vinyl Weighs a Ton with fans later piecing it together that Madlib and Quasimoto were one in the same. The conception of Quasimoto stemmed from Madlib hating the sound of his own voice, using the Alias as an artistic way to display his rapping talents. Madlib created Quasimoto's signature sound by way of rapping slowly and speeding up the recording, in turn developing a distinctive high-pitched voice reminiscent of someone who playfully inhaled helium from a balloon. Initially designed to remain mysteriously unseen, Quasimoto took on an illustrated form, designed by Madlib and Stones Throw art director Jeff Jank. With the mischievous, cigarette-donning character as distinguishing as its eccentric voice, Quasimoto's full-lengths have been met with critical acclaim with his 2000 debut The Unseen being regarded as one of the most imaginative indie records of the early aughts and landing on several "best of" lists throughout the years. As exemplified throughout his three studio albums, Quasimoto finds out of left field success with stream of conscious-style rapping built on top of a foundation of found samples and jazz-laden, free-spirited production. While Madlib has not brought Quasimoto to life since 2013's Yessir Whatever, hip-hop fans never know when he'll turn up again to stir up some trouble.