Old Raps Episode 3: Early No Limit Records
ONCE a month, somewhere in the world, a rapper releases a song called ‘No Limit’ that states they have “no limits”, maybe drops a reference to Master P, mentions the fact they’re a soldier, and if you’re lucky, they’ll throw in an “UHHHH” too.
One of the biggest (and shittiest) songs of 2017 is ‘No Limit’ by Oakland’s G-Eazy, a rapper who looks like a Fast and The Furious movie come to life, who only ticks the “I’m a soldier” box in his ‘No Limit’ song.
But at the peak of its late-’90s fame, Master P’s No Limit Records was an inescapable hip-hop brand, bleeding its way onto the radio all over America, into fashion and even into the sports world. 1998 saw the label release 23 albums through Universal, most of which sold millions.
Operating from a mansion in New Orleans, No Limit Records was the main rival to Cash Money Records (which featured in episode one of this podcast), and the two labels even had similar DIY beginnings. Except while Birdman and Slim were selling Cash Money tapes out of their cars in New Orleans, Master P and his brothers C-Murder and Silkk the Shocker were running a record store in Richmond, California.
Although born in New Orleans, Master P was raised by his grandparents in Richmond. After receiving a $10,000 payment due to medical negligence related to his grandfather’s death, P opened the No Limit Records Shop in the early-’90s and released his first tape as Master P shortly after.
While No Limit Records would be one of the defining sounds of late-’90s New Orleans rap, the label’s initial output had an unmistakably West Coast sound, unlike Cash Money who embraced New Orleans bounce in their first years as a label.
This month’s episode of Old Raps takes a look at the Richmond, California-era of No Limit Records from 1991 to 1995, focusing on the solo releases of Master P, plus his work with his brothers as TRU (The Real Untouchables). There’s also tracks from P’s wife Sonya C, TRU member E-A-Ski, and more Bay Area rappers.
It features incredible production from CMT, Ski and various other producers that P worked with before finding Beats by The Pound, the New Orleans-based production team who were responsible for eventually giving No Limit Records its signature sound.
So listen to an hour of music from a time that most have forgotten (complete with a Christmas song!) instead of the latest rap song called ‘No Limit’, featuring very little references to this incredibly important record label. – DJ Levins
Master P – Psycho Rhymes (excerpt)
Tom Waits – Underground
Master P – I Got The Dank
Master P – What’s Up With That (featuring Silkk The Shocker) (Street Mix)
TRu – Hangin’ In The Hood
Sonya C – Street Message
Sonya C – Married To The Mob (Part One)
E-A-Ski – 1 Step Ahead Y’all
Master P – Bloody Murder
TRU – Sweated By Da Po Po’s
Lil Ric – Playaz and Hustlaz
Cellski & U.N.L.V. – Stressed Out
Master P – The Ghetto’s Tryin To Kill Me
C-Murder & Master P – Christmas In Da Ghetto