Music

What Went Right With… Panama P.I.?

An image of Jamaica Queens New York with the text Pamama P.I. over itRemember a rapper named Panama P.I.? Discogs lists his real name as Teddy Cubia and as far as I know he’s from Queens New York but the rest is a mystery. If you don’t recall, Panama was an East Coast rapper who, during the late ’90s helped a number of MCs create memorable choruses. Sounding like a cross between Busta Rhymes, Lord Have Mercy and Ol’ Dirty Bastard and with a delivery like a street preacher, Panama P.I. was a unique artist. It’s a shame that he never dropped a solo album.

Most people will remember P.I. as the featured artist in numerous ’90s songs. In 1995 for example, he was responsible for Onyx’ “All We Got Iz Us (Evil Streets)” giving the song a deep-voiced, expressive hook…

He even made the remix version of “Evil Streets” a memorable joint with the chorus “This is for the gun slingers, noise bringers. This is for the crack slingers, bell ringers. This is for the bootleggers and everyday beggers, and all my hood hustlers that know where we heading”…

In 1997 he had a final verse on the song “Group Home Family” (from the Sprung soundtrack) with Lost Boyz and Canibus (skip to 2:33)…

Then in 1998 Panama appeared on AZ’s “Trial Of The Century” but his chorus didn’t really appeal to me. In the same year however, he also featured in Canibus’ “How We Roll” making the song stand out in an otherwise average album…

Panama P.I. also appeared on Monifah’s “You” Remix with Herb McGruff…

…And on McGruff’s “What Part Of The Game” alongside Cam’Ron and I Born…

In 1998 Panama P.I. also appeared on a compilation album titled U-N-I VS. All – The Universal Emcees inadvertently making fans think that he was signed to Universal. In fact with so many appearances on other Universal Records’ releases including those by the Lost Boyz, Canibus, and McGruff, I was expecting a Panama P.I. album to drop on the label but unfortunately it didn’t.

Apparently, P.I. released a mixtape titled Still In Da Game and it contained some decent tracks. This mixtape proved that had he been given a chance he could have held down an album of his own

If you go on YouTube you can find a handful of Panama’s lost and forgotten freestyles and features including the track “Pass Da Tron” by 8-Off Agallah from 1995…

And the Panama P.I. Freestyle on Sam The Sleezbag Mixtape…

You can even catch him freestyling on the street…

When no solo LP surfaced by Panama P.I. it seemed like a wasted talent, especially after all the groundwork he put in during the ’90s on other people’s albums. If you know any more details about the man; where his stage-name originated from, what the “P.I.” stands for (it can’t be “Private Investigator” can it?), whether or not he was ever signed, if he ever recorded an album, or if you have any unreleased material by him, leave a comment below. It’s a shame that contemporary Hip-Hop journalists and fans never mention P.I. especially since he had (or has) more talent than 90% of mainstream Hip-Hop released today.

All The Way From Panama.

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Categories: Music, People

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5 replies »

  1. How about doing a interview and find out what happened to him in and out of the industry. His lady 2018

  2. I’ve known PI all of my life he is the one who gave me the nick names Tiny and young gunner PI is a true hood legend with more talent then everyone in the industry salute PI

  3. I am his little sister. Thanks for writing an article on my brother and for the recognition! He needs to be acknowledged for all of his work and contribution to the rap game.

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