Friday, February 20, 2015

Imp's From the Old School

Straight Off the Street Productions

     Anyone who heard his Evolution of a Man album knows that Steven Laws aka Imperator of Rhyme has been rapping for a long time. On "Why We Do This" he describes first hearing "Rapper's Delight" in '79 and being inspired to do it himself after seeing his older brother rap. Now, with Old School Vibes, a compilation of tracks recorded between 1982 and 1994, we finally get a chance to hear some of his older work. This tape, which Imp used to sell at the Good Life, acts as a showcase of the artist's versatility, containing everything from party jams to street tales to social commentary. It even has a token love rap sampling LL's "I Want You."

     The tape kicks off with "Grooving", a mid-80's sounding party joint, which acts as a perfect introduction as we hear Imp describing how he came up with his name. Fans of Imp's fantastic Digging in the Tapes mixes will already be familiar with "Let's Get Down", featuring Big Al, and "40 Acres and a Mule", both fantastic tracks. "40 Acres and a Mule" stands out as one of the best songs on the tape and would've sounded perfect on Please Pass the Mic or Sounds of the Good Life. Continuing the social commentary, Imp comes with "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" and "No Separation", pro-black anthems  promoting unity and independence. "I'm From the Old School", another incredible stand out recorded in '93, sees Imp kicking some dope freestyle rhymes over some very tight production which appropriately contains traces of "My Melody" and "Spoonin' Rap". "I Did a Survey" is some hardcore reality rap describing the prominence of Korean owned businesses in the ghetto and encourages black people to start their own businesses. It's another stand out and there was even a video shot for it back in '92, which hopefully sees the light of day soon.

     Old School Vibes is more than just another solid offering from a Good Life O.G. This 18 track tape is filled with gems and shows a different side of the Good Life. Imp is from the old school but he's always shown an ability to adapt to the times and evolve as an artist. Before By Any Means Music there was Straight Off the Street Productions and this tape documents that time period. Anybody who enjoyed Evolution of a Man should definitely check this out as should any fans of the Good Life in general. It's an important chapter in Imp's career and can be purchased from the man himself, who is also selling 16 (!) other albums on Facebook and through his website. Check the links below:

Imp is selling the following albums:

Imperator: Old School Vibes (1982-1994)
Imperator: Evolution of a Man (1999)
Imperator: Hiphopoly (2001)
Imperator: Where I'm From (2004)
Imp, Creepy Fingers & Goldie: Family Ties (2005)
Imperator: Suicide Note (2011)
Imp & Creepy Fingers: Genetics (2012)
Imperator: Old Dog New Tricks (2013)

Team B.A.M.M.: Rap Collage
Creepy Fingers: District Creepy Vol. 1
Creepy Fingers: The Dysfunctional Function
Creepy Fingers: Mind Games
Kid Creep: Square One
Goldie: Patterson Park
Big Flossy: Flossaholic
The Degenerates: Beast Mode


  1. I really appreciate Alex Xela and whomever else was involved in writing this article about me. I know my music is good and much better then many signed artist on the radio.

    However with no support from family, friends, fans, bloggers, radio, DJ's, etc. I'll be lost in a field of lost hope. Alex's interest in my music is a breath of fresh air. Just knowing someone that really buys, listens, understands, and care's enough to write about me as a rap artist and indie label owner is a dream come true.

    I've had many folks ask me "How come you never made it?" Well if these same folks start supporting me like Alex my odds would greatly improve on being a successful recording artist.

    One again thank you Alex. - iMp

    1. heyImperator,
      I need the diggin in the tape mixxes, where/how can I get them ?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. hey I need the diggin in the tape mixxes, where/how can I get them ?