Music

What Went Right With… Aasim D’Xplicit aka Aasim?

Aasim D'Xplicit over the Loud Records logo

At age 17, Leroy Watson better known as Aasim D’Xplicit (sometimes spelled Aäsim D’Xpicit) signed to legendary Hip-Hop label Loud Records thanks to their A&R Schott Free. Working with the likes of Big Punisher and dead prez, Aasim recorded a couple of songs that golden era heads may recognise. The first single Aasim D’Xplicit dropped was “Fly Shit” from the 1997 Loud promo compilation titled The Set-Up. The track with its memorable chorus and multi-syllabic verses (that were undoubtedly influenced by Big Pun) was an underground classic: “D’X de la ghetto, el lyrical perfecto, Got rappers stranded like inmates with no el collecto. Flash Gordon verses merciless, murderous dispersing this, [first on list] fly nigga with turbulence. Word in this microphone massacre, menace composition manufacturer, Black rhythm raptur-er, bloody throat like Dracula”…

Aasim’s second song “Last Stop” was included in a few Loud Records samplers and compilation mixtapes (including Brollic and Play It Loud in 1998) and this follow-up joint with its impressive flow whet the appetite for a full-course studio album…

Unfortunately the album never came. Sites like Rap News Network described the situation as Aasim being “entangled in a legal bind that prevented his career from advancing” although nobody stated for certain what the problem was and whether he recorded a studio album with Loud Records or not.

In the early-to-mid 2000s, Aasim D’Xplicit dropped the “D’Xplicit” from his name and signed with Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy Records and quietly released his debut album Money Pit in 2005 (which I wasn’t aware of until I started writing this article).

There was an interview with Aasim by XXL Magazine (just as P. Diddy was set to release his fourth album – 2006’s Press Play) which states that “Aasim penned many of the bars on Diddy’s new album”. What this meant is that despite this interview being with Aasim, it was ultimately promotion for P. Diddy. Like other rich music “moguls” including Dr. Dre, Puffy also has a tendency to entice talented artists to ghostwrite for him. Signing with P. Diddy meant an album deal for Aasim but 2005’s The Money Pit wasn’t promoted in the same way as Bad Boy’s other more commercial releases.

In the aforementioned XXL interview, Aasim dreamed of being a billionaire and raising Bad Boy’s profile to the Notorious Big/Craig Mack heyday; of course, neither of these things happened. Without any further albums with Bad Boy, Aasim once again walked away from a mainstream label without much to show for it.

Like many talented Hip-Hop artists from the 1990s including Call O’ Da Wild, The Edge, and Fierce, Aasim D’Xplicit seems like another very skillful rapper with a very suspiciously unlucky music career. When you consider all the ignored talent alongside all the over-rated and over-promoted acts that have in turn ruined the Hip-Hop genre, it almost feels conspiratorial. The fact that major labels and so-called fans of Hip-Hop have preferred every piece of trash from Crunk to Club to Crooning Hip-Pop over these obviously skilled MCs, it’s now plainly obvious that anyone generating album sales and performing in concerts (and therefore making money) in the Hip-Hop genre from the start of the millennium to the present day are some of the worst rappers of all time.

Like many late-90s greats from Aasim D’Xplicit’s generation such as Papoose and Cory Gunz, Aasim dropped a multitude of mixtapes meaning a never-ending stream of free promo downloads but no sales. With nine or ten mixtapes released between 2007 and 2013, not every song during that period was polished and noteworthy (Live At The Tunnel The Ski Mask Way for example was much better than Burlesque which was back-to-back corny) but if you’re selective you can definitely find a handful of tracks within those DatPiff downloads that could easily be fashioned into a second studio LP had any label decided to do so. Aasim’s Walking On The Stars mixtape came the closest to sounding like a finished album with well-crafted songs such as “A Star Is Born”, “Queens Shit”, “Starstruck” (over Santigold’s track of the same name), as well as the Tribe Called Quest-interpolating “World Tour”, and “If I Could Say What’s On My Mind” which contained an obligatory sped-up, chipmunk voiced soul sample which was indicative of the time in which this mixtape was created…

2013 marked the year of Aasim’s final mixtape so without any further music, we can now at the very least celebrate his standout tracks such as “Queens Shit” with fellow Queens, New York legend Nas…

With an apparent end to Aasim’s career, the one positive we’re left with is that other tracks and features such as this 1999 song with Cella Dwellas (and another Queens ledge Large Professor) have now emerged which may mean there’s other hidden gems out there to be discovered…

Aasim D’Xplicit’s first two (and best) singles (“Fly Shit” and Last Stop”) from his Loud Records days are now included in old-school compilations such as Only For The Real DJ and Action Like Charles Bronson respectively, but his one and only album is still hard to find. It’s quite telling that Diddy’s albums are available on streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer but Aasim’s Bad Boy LP isn’t. A full-length Loud Records LP (that unfortunately never happened) could have cemented Aasim’s name in the urban concrete and this may have prevented future musical omissions. I am certain that Aasim D’Xplicit could have been one of the greats from the tail-end of the golden era had he recorded and released an album under Steve Rifkind and Rich Isaacson rather than Sean Combs but like many of the underrated artists on this site, we can now only contemplate the “what ifs”; another talented rapper with potential but without any recognition. What a damn shame.

Xplicit Lyrics.

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