In a lifetime as a hip-hop fan, there have only been three noteworthy hip-hop acts from Boston that I can think of. First, of course, is Guru. The lyrical half of Gang Starr carried the torch for Beantown rappers until he passed away earlier this year. On the opposite end, there’s Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg, a guy who probably had no interest in being an emcee until his hip-hop junkie of an older brother suggested that might be the best way to make some scratch and get his ass out of Dorchester. As someone who (*cringes*) still owns both Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch records, it’s pretty obvious that Mark was only acting as a mouthpiece for Donnie, who did almost all of the production and wrote most of the lyrics.
Then there’s Ed O.G. Unlike Guru (and I say this with no shade or smarm), Ed is still alive and active in the hip-hop underground. Unlike Mark (this time with shade or smarm), hip-hop is a way of life for Ed and not a stepping stone to something else or a way to satisfy someone else’s hip-hop jones (respect, Donnie). Ed jumped on the scene in the early Nineties, and although commercial success was minimal, he was responsible for at least four warmly-regarded golden-age rap hits: “Be a Father to Your Child”, “I Got to Have It”, “Bug a Boo” and the song that serves as today’s Flashback jam, “Love Comes & Goes”-a song that was at the front end of the many hip-hop “dead homies” songs, and still remains one of the best, along with Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s “They Reminisce Over You” and Ice Cube’s “Dead Homiez”.
Like I said, Ed’s still at the forefront of Beantown hip-hop these days, collaborating with his homeboy (and fellow unheralded hip-hop hero) Masta Ace, and definitely deserves props for 20 years plus in the game. His debut album, “Life of a Kid in the Ghetto” (which features three of the four aforementioned hits) was just re-released too, so make sure you cop that!