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ABOVE THE LAW INFO AND FREE MEDIA    » Above The Law Biography


   » Official Site:  Sorry, No Official Site
   » Related Artists:  Eazy-E, Dr Dre, Warren G
       Snoop Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound


Above The Law was a rap group from Pomona, California, that was part of the post-N.W.A explosion of California gangsta rap. The group was founded in 1989 by members Cold 187um (aka Big Hutch), KMG the Illustrator, Go Mack, DJ Total K-Oss and Kokane, and are sometimes credited with the creation of the West Coast Hip-Hop sub-genre G-Funk.

The leader of the group was Cold 187um, he was born Gregory Fernan Hutchinson on August 2, 1961 in Pomona, California. Cold 187um first recruited members KMG the Illustrator, Go Mack, DJ Total K-Oss to be part of the group, and then his cousin, known better as Kokane, born Jerry Long, Jr. in 1969, was later also recruited as a member for the group.

Mixing '70s vintage funk and soul samples with live instrumentation (Cold 187um had studied jazz while in school), the group signed with Eazy-E's Ruthless Records and began work on their debut LP entitled "Livin' Like Hustlers". The album featured production from COld 187um, Dr. Dre, and Laylaw and was released in 1990. It was a major critical success, has recieved a 4 out of 5 from All Music Guide, and, in 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source Magazine's 100 Best Rap Albums.

A year after their debut saw their sophomore set drop, in the form of 91's "Vocally Pimpin'". This album is considered by most in the know as the first G-funk album to hit stores. The album has N.W.A.'s Eazy-E as Executive producer and features Kokane on the track Playin' Your Game. Kokane signed with Ruthless Records in 1991 and made a cameo on NWA's Efil4zaggin album. He then followed these appearances up with his debut album Addictive Hip Hop Muzick on Epic Records, although on the album the artist is credited as been "Who Am I?". Produced by Cold 187 and Laylaw, the album enjoyed critical or commercial success.

In 1993, the group released their thrid album "Black Mafia Life" which featured key production from group member Cold 187um. The group reinvented themselves with a fresh new sound which was allegedly created by Cold 187um which they referred to as G-funk. However, Dr. Dre's The Chronic released at the end of 1992, may or may not have adopted this sound, although it was released several months before Black Mafia Life, Above The Law claimed Dre had stole the sound whilst he was working with Ruthless before he left for Deathrow Records, and this sparked a long-standing debate between Dre and ATL over who was the originator of G-Funk.

Black Mafia Life proved a surprising success especially without Dr. Dre (who had produced their debut), the album was not widely expected to live up to expectations. Rolling Stone gave the album 4.5 stars out of 5. The album also featured a guest appreance by a young Tupac Shakur (2Pac) on the track Call It What You Want which also featured Money-B.

Go Mack left the group shortly after Black Mafia Life, and Above the Law stuck with the trio format for their last Ruthless album, and their forth set "Uncle Sam's Curse", released on July 12, 1994. Many fans feel that this is the group's best album since it's rated #1 in best G-funk sound of all time. Uncle Sam's Curse is currently out of print and often sells used for upto $100 a copy on internet auction sites.

By 1994 Cold 187um's cousin, Kokane, had become a more prominent member of Above The Laws extended family, featuring heavily on their Uncle Sam's Curse album. The same year saw Kokane release his second album Funk Upon A Rhyme, which was produced solely by Cold 187um and enjoyed critical acclaim for the albums diverse and fresh sound, although once again failing to make a commercial impact, which is unfortunately a trend that would continue throughout his career. The album is now out of print, and very rare, costing over a $100 on amazon. The album contains "", a diss track aimed at Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound & Death Row Records, which features lyrics from Cold 187um, a track that was no doubt sparked by the G-Funk controversy.

In 1996 the group released "Time Will Reveal", their 5th album. The album was solid amd recieved mixed reviews, but failed to make an impact in the charts. By 1996 Kokane was a free agent, having left Ruthless the previous year after the untimely death of Eazy-E, the record labels head. He released the single '4 Ryders Only', and teamed up with DJ Yella to record an Eazy tribute with "4 Tha E".

The groups 1998 album "Legends" kept the West Coast gangsta flame burning but proved to be their last release on Tommy Boy Records and they formed their own label, West World, stricking a distribution deal with Street Solid for their 1999 album "Forever: Rich Thugs, Book One". That same year, Cold 187um (aka Big Hutch) released his solo debut, Executive Decisions.

By 1999 Kokane was no longer associated with Above The Law, and living out of a trailer in California. Kokane has even gone on record with hip-hop magazine The Source as having done a brief stint in the west coast adult industry during this downtime as he struggled to make ends meet. In early 2000 however, Kokane hit luck when Snoop Dogg, who remembered Kane's early contribution to Ruthless Records and appreciated his contribution to West-Coast G-Funk more than most, approached him to become the in-house singer for his newly-formed Dogghouse Records. Kokane accepted the offer and as a result he featured extensively on Snoop Dogg's comeback album Tha Last Meal to great effect, appearing on no less than 7 tracks, including perhaps the most-noteworthy tracks "Go Away", "Pump Your Brakes" and "Stacey Adams".

In 2000, Big Hutch was recruited by Suge Knight to become the new house producer and musical director at Death Row Records, making it the new home of Above the Law as well.

Above The Law recorded a new album called "Diary of a Drug Dealer", but the release dates were continually pushed back by Deathrow whilst Big Hutch worked on various production assignments, including the debut album by Crooked I. With all the albums delays, rumors quickly began to circulate about the group's breakup and to this day "Diary of a Drug Dealer" has not hit the shelves.

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