In the mid-to-late nineties a Rapper from New Jersey named Fierce was making some noise in the underground, he was featured in The Source’s Unsigned Hype column, he was also mentioned in Vibe Magazine’s Notes From The Underground, by all accounts his career was about to take off. This was mainly thanks to his début single which he dropped in 1996 titled “Come Close”, it was however the track “Crab” that got everybody talking about this up-and-coming MC. The song “Crab” was without a doubt the stand-out track on the vinyl single, it was a great example of Fierce’s lyrical prowess and unrelenting delivery. The track which featured a mellow piano sample from George Winston was a brilliant song and it was played extensively on pirate radio. You couldn’t classify this joint as a “one hit wonder” because outside of the underground nobody really promoted or played it, but regardless of the popularity of the song, “Crab” was and is an undisputed classic. Even today it sounds fantastic with that great line in the chorus… “I know I know a crab when I see one, but you won’t recognise a backstabber ’cause you be one”.
Off the back of this single Fierce was given a production deal with Elektra Records, later he got a deal with Arista Records, but unfortunately on both labels the deals either fell through or no album made it onto the shelves. Then during the noughties Fierce made a MySpace page (remember those?) and a track called “It Ain’t Safe” with its Enya sample made it online.
Although this song has now been deleted, this track was supposed to be a part of his album “Jersey Stand Up” which never got released. A few years later Fierce was part of Drastic Records and they even put a few songs on Soundcloud but again nothing was released. It seemed that every time Fierce gained a little bit of a buzz nothing more came of it, time and again he dropped something then never followed it up.
It has to be said that in the late noughties his style had become a tad too formulaic in an atmosphere heaving with generic Hip-Hop but back in the nineties had Fierce taken the right path he could have been a great addition to the East Coast scene. Imagine if the right Producers or A&R’s had encouraged or steered him during his “Unsigned Hype” days, who knows what might have happened. At least we have the track “Crab” to remember Fierce’s contribution to Hip-Hop’s golden era.