Sunday Old School: Rap Metal Instigators Stuck Mojo
Rap metal is a genre that has long been the subject of much criticism within the heavy metal community. Most fans when thinking of the term, tend to be reminded of the late '90s/early Century nu-metal genre and bands like Limp Bizkit. However, before the nu metal phase came into effect, there were a handful of bands that dared to mix heavy metal music with hip-hop frontmen, following the example set by Anthrax and Public Enemy.
One of the earliest of these bands was the Atlanta based Stuck Mojo, who could shred with the best and featured influences as wide as Black Sabbath to Run D.M.C. The group was formed in 1989 by guitarist Rich Ward and continued for a further six years before they were able to release their first full length album, "Snappin' Necks" in 1995 through Century Media Records. The band wasn't well received at first, with some critics labelling the band as Rage Against The Machine clones and even facing prejudice as a result of their African-American frontman Bonz. However, they were better received in Europe, where they won the MTV Europe Award for Best Live Act. The band released a second album the next year entitled, "Pigwalk" which, while not receiving many more favourable reviews, helped to expand their fan base across the globe.
Stuck Mojo received their first taste of commercial success in 1998 when they released the album, "Rising" which peaked at number 48 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. The album also gained some better reviews, with critics noting their musical growth beyond the previous albums. The album was also promoted by, and in turn promoted World Championship Wrestling, the biggest wrestling company at the time. The album cover itself featured a picture of the WCW United States title and the music video for the title track featured the wrestlers Diamond Dallas Page and Raven. The album went on to sell over three million copies, being Century Media's biggest selling album until 2004, when the record was taken by Lacuna Coil.
The band followed "Rising" with a live album entitled, "HVY1" and a fourth studio album called, "Declatation Of A Headhunter." While "...Headhunter" is considered by many fans to the group's best album, it didn't match the success of "Rising" and the band disbanded shortly afterwards, owing to the friction between Ward and Bonz.
The band lay inactive for several years, as Rich Ward focused more time on his band Fozzy, which also features wrestling superstar Chris Jericho, as well as a short-lived band named Sick Speed and a solo album entitled, "My Kung Fu Is Good." However, in 2005, Ward decided to bring the band back together and began recording a brand new studio album entitled, "Southern Born Killers." The recording of the album featured guest vocal appearances from rapper Lord Nelson, but eventually, Nelson was offered the role of the band's new frontman, as problems with Bonz were still a big issue. After the completion of "Southern Born Killers," Stuck Mojo posted the entire album on their website, and allowed fans to download the album for free. The record did see a physical release in 2008 however, which included three bonus tracks. The album was well received by many fans and critics alike and the band toured heavily to promote the album. They wasted no time in following it up either, as another new album entited, "The Great Revival" was released in November 2008, featuring what many have described as both their heaviest work, and more "commercially styled" songs. Several members of Stuck Mojo are currently performing live as part of Fozzy, but it's expected that they will begin recording a new album later this year.
Stuck Mojo - "Not Promised Tomorrow"
Stuck Mojo - "Pigwalk"
Stuck Mojo - "Rising"
Stuck Mojo - "Home"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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