Just across the river from the relatively wealthy and bustling City of Brothery Love lies one of the most poverty striken cities in North America– Camden, New Jersey. The average per capita income of a Camden resident is a measly $9.800 and the city is predominantly inhabited by minorities: 54% African American and 30% Latino. Affectionately refered to as “East Philadelphia” by me and my boy (a la St. Louis and East St. Louis), Camden is said to be undergoing a succesful revitalization effort that will save the city from the great resource drain that it suffered from in the late 20th century but whether or not this is overly optimistic political rhetoric or truth still remains to be seen. One can certainly hope that there’s at least some truth to the optimism, because even just one trip through Camden is really a fucking reality check.
Oddly enough, the only rap group that I’m really familiar with that hails from the mean streets of East Philadelphia/Camden is the duo known as The Krown Rulers. Made up of MC Grand-Pubah (no Brand Nubian) and DJ Royal Rocker, The Krown Rulers came-up with Philly’s legendary Tuff Crew and released the often-talked-about-but-rare-as-fuck Phanjam LP (which I’ve never heard– Cosmo, hit me with a dub, playboy!) with the Tuff Crew. In 1988, The Krown Rulers put out their own LP on Warlock Records called “Paper Chase.” This is without a doubt one of my favorite old-school hip-hop records that I own. It’s simply drenched in the heavy, heavy percussion-first ethos that characterized a lot of the great records from the late ’80s. The shit just flat out bangs with hella loud drums, energetic sample stabs, and some pretty furious scratch hooks.
I’ve posted two of my favorite joints off this classic album for y’all. The violent title track banger “Paper Chase” and the following track, “32nd St. Down (The Eastside Story),” that rides the fuck out of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious” guitar riff. This shit is so damn tough.
Buy this record if you find it.