Any hip-hop journalist knows that rappers aren't known for their punctuality, and neither are rap albums. Of course, Dr. Dre's Detox is famously delayed — it's been more than ten years — but there's actually an anticipated album (or, perhaps a once-anticipated album) with L.A. ties that's taken even longer.
Ever heard of the Golden State Project?
The group, which began in 1996 as The Golden State Warriors, originally consisted of three MCs already known for other supergroups, Xzibit (of The Likwit Crew), Ras Kass (of The Hrsmn), and Saafir (of Hobo Junction). Pretty good lineup. So what happened?
They began performing shows together, and soon recorded their first joint outing on “Plastic Surgery,” which appeared on Xzibit's 1996 debut At The Speed of Life.
At this point, each member had his own blossoming solo career, so their promised collaborative album wasn't expected immediately. They returned two years later with “3 Card Molly,” further showcasing both the group's chemistry and ability to bring the best out of each other. Before long, a collaboration with Snoop Dogg and tours with Eminem and Papa Roach swelled Xzibit's popularity, and he was given his own imprint, Restless Records. His label's first release was slated to be The Golden State Project's debut The Coast is Clear.
The act had changed their name from Golden State Warriors after recording a song called “N.B.A.” for Ras Kass' album, which sampled John Tesh's NBA on NBC theme “Roundball Rock.” Word got back to the basketball league who, according to Xzibit, had famed attorney Johnnie Cochran send the group a letter stating if they kept using the “Warriors” name, they were going to be “rapping in [their] underwear.” This seemed like a minor hiccup, and in the next two years they released a well-received song on the Training Day soundtrack and recorded another together for Xzibit's third album.
While 2003 seemed promising — with new music on both DJ Vlad and DJ Green Lantern mixtapes — legal issues wound up derailing the group. Priority Records refused to allow Ras Kass to appear on the Golden State album, and wouldn't let Xzibit buy out his contract, which led to Columbia canceling the group's deal. Shortly after, Ras Kass was incarcerated for his 3rd DUI. This, as Saafir told HipHopDX in 2009, was the end of the group. Citing trust issues and a lack of business communication, Saafir and Xzibit moved on.
But, there's hope. Ras Kass has insisted that Golden State still “exists,” and Xzibit has called the group's album something he'd “like to complete.” With scheduled L.A. performances from Xzibit on Saturday at the Key Club and Ras Kass on Monday at the Whisky, it seems the universe is attempting to will the Golden State Project album into existence. So c'mon guys, you're making Detox look downright punctual.
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