July 10, 2021

Intelligent Hoodlum "Intelligent Hoodlum" (Press Kit, 1990)

Skeletal, smart, politically literate and seemingly effortless, Intelligent Hoodlum’s (a/k/a Tragedy Khadafi) debut is the stuff of conscious hip-hop dreams. Intelligent Hoodlum’s concerns are timeless, and, sadly, still much too relevant. Take “No Justice, No Peace,” a track that recounts the killing of a black man at the hands of police, which, in light of recent events, is as anthemic as ever, eerily prophetic: ” ‘Cause if we don’t have justice, there is no peace/No peace, this is the message you’re sending me/Killin’ my brothers makes you my enemy…America’s a prison.” While not as sonically lush as Trag’s equally underrated sophomore effort, Tragedy: Saga of a Hoodlum, with cuts like “Arrest the President” and “Black And Proud,” Intelligent Hoodlum just hits that much harder. Despite being a member of the notorious Juice Crew and consistently name-dropped by legends like Nas, Intelligent Hoodlum remains a slept-on talent, a forgotten linchpin of the early ’90s. - Village Voice

18 year old Tragedy, a product of the Queensbridge projects and a member of the "Juice Crew" posse, made his vinyl debut at 13 under the name MC Jade. His progress was however curtailed by a six month sentence in a Bronx detention centre. This led to spells in Riker's Island and Elmira State Prisons by the time he turned 17. These periods of enforced inactivity were interspersed with the recording of two tracks for Marley Marl's "In Control Vol 1" LP, his first under the Tragedy trade mark. Transformed politically and spiritually by his prolonged incarceration he rejoined Marley Marl recording the material that earned him his current deal with A&M. This largely autobiographical single ("Back To Reality") marks the first statement from a poet with a truly positive program. As Tragedy himself says: "Hoodlum is the Past, Intelligent is the Future." - UK Press Release (9/1990).