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Southpaw - Left Hand Rule - 1993

LP - 1993 - Jammitt Recordings  

Here is another hard to find album that I'd like to see reissued on vinyl one day... It came out in 1993 and was dropped by the C-Town-based duo Southpaw which was comprised of Luther ''Pro-K'' Kibble and Wil "Champion" Harbour, both members of the Apex Crew. Wil Champion is from Highland Hills and Pro-K is from Warrensville, both in the South part of Cleveland, Ohio. 

The album was originally released on Vinyl, Cassette and CD on Jammitt Recordings, and distributed by Platinum Label Group. 

Wil Champion, could you tell us how the connection first happened between you and Pro K ? 

Wil Champion : "It's funny, we were classmates in middle school and we sat next to each other. We both discovered art and we both liked to draw. One day I couldn't find a felt tip marker I liked to use for my outlines and asked him did he happen to see it. He said no but offered me another pen of his to use. From there we became best friends and we still stay in contact to this day. What's funny though is years later, I guess around the time we were going to the studio, he told me "remember when you lost that pen in middle school and I offered you another one of mine?" I said "yea..?" He says to me " oh yeah I stole that.. that was a nice pen you had". We had a lot in common with art and also loved music and was inspired by hip-hop culture."

About the Hip-Hop culture, what were your hip-hop influences at that time ?

Wil Champion : "Always loved hip hop from its very start but I really got interested in actually wanting to make music around the time hip-hop was making the transition from the drum machine and scratch to the sample based tracks with the drum programming. My influences are EPMD, Jungle Brothers, KRS, D-Nice, definitely Marley Marl and the artists he produced such as LL, Kane, MC Shan and Biz Markie (r.i.p.). But what ultimately inspired me to make the first album was listening to and networking with the DJs like Icy Ice, Fred the Jammer, Johnny O, EQ, and Scratch Master L, and producers such as JazzMarc, RobieMan, RoughDraft and L.T. So if you notice the production style of 'Left Hand Rule', while sampled based, many of the songs are structured somewhat like a DJ mix"

When did you start producing exactly ?

Wil Champion : "I started producing around 1991 and was hired by a management company to do remix versions of R&B songs. Among those I remixed a song called "Shoulda Been Honest" for Ron Banks of The Dramatics under the name U.B. Strange and remixed the theme for the Indianapolis black expo. At this time I started assembling beats and thinking up song ideas with my boys pro-k and 'letterman' Lance that actually came up with the title and co-wrote "waiting at the apex" with me. "

Southpaw was affiliated with the Apex crew. Could you give me more info about this crew ?

Wil Champion : "Well, Apex Entertainment is my production company and I opened a studio in which I got a chance to work with a lot of talented artists. I always had an affinity for the crews like Wu-Tang, Dipset, Juice Crew and NWA so I recruited and collaborated with rappers to assemble my own. The core group of my crew was Lewdog T, Wartribe, Trell Da Wizard, Feron Snotti, Tom Gotti, Johnny Newell (r.i.p.), Paradox, and of course Aseman and Pro K. I released 2 albums with the crew: Wil Champion "Crispy" featuring the crew and the Apex Crew "Top Notch" compilation. Also I produced an entire album for Aseman called "Step Into the A.M." "

Do you remember how many copies of the album "Left Hand Rule" were pressed on vinyl ?

Wil Champion : "We did that album with a local independent record label that did the pressing, so my best guess is 'not too many' !!! 

We moved on to an independent record label called Avion Records, that did good by us, given the resources they had. Showed alot of love."

Why did Southpaw stop after the second album "Left Hook" released on Avion Records in 1997, which is also a very good one ?

Wil Champion : "Thanks, I appreciate that ! But we didn't stop; I went on to produce for other artists like Aseman and others from my own studio, I went on to produce the Wil Champion "Crispy" album that featured a song called "Operate" which we both performed, and a song called "You Can't Figga Me" with us and Donny Arcade from the group Wartribe. The Apex Crew album also features myself and pro-k on a few tracks. After that I released a solo project called "Blak Swan"."

Have you ever thought of reissuing the first album on vinyl ?

Wil Champion : "That would be a great idea. Maybe I'm not aware of the demand for this album on vinyl, but I always liked album cover art and design. That would be fun to do."

Mad Props to Wil Champion Harbour. Thanks for your time. 

source http://hiphop-thegoldenera.blogspot.com/2022/12/southpaw-left-hand-rule-1993.html


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