I Shot Reagan

If there was a single song that almost everyone would think of when you said “Non Phixion” it would either be “Black Helicopters” or 1998’s “I Shot Reagan.”

This Necro produced gem was the first song that gained the group wide-spread attention and it was also the first release by the group after they had a falling out with MC Serch and his label Serchlite over monetary issues. It’s controversial lyrics deal with Republican party politics and the type of conspiracy theories that would come to define much of the group’s later subject matter. The song was released as a single with two B-sides: “Refuse to Lose” and “This Is Not An Exercise.” The sides on the single are named after two specific parts of Brookyln: Canarsie and Glenwood Projects. Canarsie is a neighborhood in Brooklyn where most of the group is from and Glenwood Projects was the tenement home of several of its members. The single was released on the newly formed Uncle Howie Records and it’s impressive independent sales allowed the group a chance to sign with Matador Records, an established label that had previously produced successful indie artists such as Yo La Tengo and Liz Phair. “I Shot Regan” debuted to critical acclaim; Vibe Magazine called it “an anarchist’s dream” and cited it’s creators as one reason fans should pay attention to hip hop in Brooklyn.

The creepy-sounding classic makes heavy use of flutes and surrealistic lyrics dealing with contemporary political conspiracies. References include israeli prime minister and terrorist Menechem Begin, Reaganomics, Area 51, the Elohim, reptilians, and the film The Deer Hunter to name a few.

The song’s title is most-likely a reference to the opening lines of the Suicidal Tendencies song “I Shot the Devil.” Bill’s lyrics in the song “Skum” make reference to the band as well.

There were two versions of the song released: the single version 1998 and one on the 2000 tape The Past, The Present, and The Future is Now. The latter makes use of two audio clips dealing with Ronald Reagan. The intro is from Joan Baez’s performance at Woodstock with the leader of the Vietnam Draft Resistance, Jeffrey Shurtleff. The song samples a part of Shurtleff’s monologue in which he refers to Ronald Reagan (at that time the governor of California) as “Ronald Ray Guns.” The second sample comes from a comedic mashup from the late 80’s which cut and pasted together vocal clips of President Reagan and his wife Nancy into this fake PSA that championed drug use.

I’ve uploaded the version from the cassette so you can hear it:



Interestingly enough, in the chorus of the song, Ill Bill takes a shot at famous astronomer and fellow-Brooklyn native Carl Sagan, probably because of his cynically dismissive comments on the theoretical possibility of UFO’s. Also of note is the fact that the song features Necro on the second verse.

Here’s the original version:



Till next time, physicists, try not to run up on any politicians


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We Do Drugs – Uncle Howie Till We Die

Non Phixion was in no way silent on the radio tip – the group did tons of promotional sessions and freestyles, especially in the early years. It’s hard to not see the merit in all of this work, but if I had to choose a favorite NP radio moment it would have to be this very short promo song the group did for 89.9 WKCR in 1997.

I have no idea who made the beat, but it’s ominous use of the intro to Pink Floyd’s classic “The Great Gig in the Sky” from The Dark Side of the Moon is fitting to say the least. This version has a different intro than the one used on The Green CD, because it comes from 2000’s promo cassette tape comprised of earlier singles and demos entitled The past, The Present, and The Future is Now (not to be confused with The Future is Now, the group’s 2002 debut album). The entire tape makes use of random audio clips from Woodstock. On this particular song, the sample is Country Joe’s famous “fuck chant” before his anti-war anthem at the 1969 concert.

For those of you who don’t know, the Uncle Howie referenced in the refrain was the real life uncle of Necro and Ill Bill. He was a sort of celebrity in this tight-knit scene – known for his hilarious comments and also for his drug problems, Howie came to become a sort of public face and spokesperson for Non Phixion. The group’s debut album and every Ill Bill solo album since make heavy use of his candid monologues and musings about life, drugs, and women. Ill Bill would also later name his record label after him. Uncle Howie passed away last spring (R.I.P.)

Now, the 89.9 Promo:





Until next time, physicists, keep it movin like a drive-by

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While Legacy and No Tomorrow were Non Phixion’s first official releases, they did make several rare songs that seem to have been recorded in 1995. They also did some radio promos around the same time. So here’s my two favorite early NP demo tracks and two parts of a 89.9 radio session from the 95-96 era often called the “Illuminati Freestyle”

First, 1995’s Necro produced demo “Revolutionize”



And another track from 1995, also produced by Necro entitled “War is Everywhere”



While the full version isn’t on the internet, here’s two pieces of what was a 13 minute session (I believe the video may be mislabeled, other sources place this in 96):



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Legacies Never Die

A lot of people ask me about hip hop and more often than that, they ask me for a single song that could define it in its purest form – I always tell them to look up Legacy by Non Phixion.

Maybe it’s just me, but this is one of the grittiest sounding tracks ever. This song sent chills down my spine the first time I heard it. The instrumental (produced by CeStyle) is in my top 20 beats of all time easily. The song was not only produced by CeStyle, it also features him. He does the amazing opening verse which sets the pace for the rest of the song.

This song is important not only because it’s great, but also because it’s Non Phixion’s first release. The single dropped in 1996 with the Necro-produced “No Tomorrow” as it’s B-side.

It’s also noteworthy that Serch appears on this song and it’s engineer was yet another Grammy award-winning mixer named John Wydrycs who worked with ODB, The Ramones, Biggie, Method Man, Outkast, and most famously with Lauryn Hill on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

People have been asking me what the quote in my banner at the top of the page is from. The answer is the song you’re about to hear. In 1996 Non Phixion said “For all eternity, there’ll be no one like me”. I don’t think they realized at the time how prophetic that statement was.

Non Phixion – Legacy





Now the eerie organ-heavy B-side: No Tomorrow






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5 Boros B-Side: Four W’s

Sorry, ran outta time yesterday to update this, so I’m gonna do 3 songs today for Nuclear March.

First off, let’s pick up where we left off. The 5 Boros/Four W’s single. The B-side, Four W’s was not produced by Necro like some people think (even though it sounds like something he would do) it was produced by 10K who would later produce a few classic tracks for the group including “We All Bleed” and “Food” as well as the ultra-ominous piano-driven 89.9 Promo (check tomorrow)

It’s also interesting to note that this single was mixed by an engineer/producer by the name of Anton Pukshansky. We’ll assume the working relationship was brokered through MC Serch, who was still in Non Phixion at this time and had worked with Pukshansky prior to this release. Aside from Serch and Non Phixion, Pukshansky’s client list has included Rolling Stones legend Mick Jagger, Eric B and Rakim, Kool G Rap, Apathy, Evidence, Nas, Organized Confusion, and Carlos Santana (he was on the Grammy winning production team behind 1999’s Supernatural). Pukshansky was also the engineer on The CIA is Still Trying to Kill Me off of The Future is Now.

Some people have been confused as to who the second MC is on this, it’s MC Serch of 3rd Bass. As I stated, he was in the group when they first came out, and was also on a few other songs with them.

Now, Four W’s:

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5 Boros – 3 Versions

Keeping with our month-long celebration of Non Phixion we’ve dubbed “Nuclear March”, here’s 3 versions of one of their earliest singles.

Released initially in 1997, following their 1996 Legacy/No Tomorrow single, the 5 Boros/Four W’s vinyl solidified their cult status on the East Coast.

Most people are familiar with the original version of 5 Boros with Necro on the beat (which samples a song from English composer John Barry’s soundtrack for the film King Rat), however there was also an official remix released in 1998 on Serchlite and again on Uncle Howie in 2004 produced by DR Period. The verses in this version were different from the original.

The original Version:



The official remix:





Then there’s a somewhat anomalous entry – another remix of the song using the Pharcyde “Passing Me By” instrumental, I honestly don’t know if it was even official, but it definitely sounds cool.

The Passing Me By remix:





Whether you’re from the Bronx, Shaolin, Queens, or Brooklyn you should be able to appreciate this joint in all 3 forms.

Interestingly enough this song was recorded in the same era with DV Alias Khrist singing the chorus as well. The chorus is extremely similar to the one on 5 Boros, although I can’t find a date we can safely assume it’s from 96 – 97 due to the inclusion of Serch and the fact that in the album credits it lists the producer as 10K, who worked with the group on several early singles. So here’s the likely predecessor to 5 Boros.






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MC Esoteric Takes Aim at Palin, Vick

        If the words “MC Esoteric” had an antonym, it would probably be “inactive”.  I’d be hard pressed to find a lot of underground rappers with more projects going on. On March 9th, Esoteric will have dropped 4 albums in less than a year; the third Army of the Pharaohs album “The Unholy Terror”, last Spring’s solo effort “Fly Casualties”, October’s epic return of 7L & Esoteric “1212”, and next week’s eagerly awaited limited release fan album “Boston Pharaoh.” The Bostonian rapper/producer has moved to the forefront of the underground and for good reason – his effort is unrivaled. In a way, this sort of diligent involvement and dedication to his craft has come to define his career and as a result his fans are some of the most dedicated in the underground. When I was a high schooler listening to “Dangerous Connection” and “DC2: Bars of Death” I thought my affinity for Esoteric was attributable to his unique delivery and sharpened wordplay, but I now realize it was due to his hard work, for without it, kids in rural Minnesota such as myself would’ve never heard of him. There’s no doubt that Eso is one of the hardest working cats in the rap game.

         But those who follow him on the web know very well that hip hop is definitely not his only grind – Esoteric is also a very dedicated dog owner and animal rights activist (no, not the PETA type.) Eso does a lot of volunteer work for various shelters in his area and benefits for them as well.  For example this dope limited edition T-shirt (featuring Esoteric’s lab Logan in a take-off of the La Coka Nostra logo) designed by Jeferson Fernandes is being sold on Esoteric’s website to benefit homeless dogs in conjunction with an up-coming charity show for the MSPCA entitled “Sounds for Hounds”.

Eso is known for featuring his pets (especially his dog Logan) in the oftentimes hilarious “Pterovision” web show on his Youtube channel. Eso also frequently writes songs inspired by man’s best friend and has gained the attention of  dog enthusiasts on a large-scale. In fact, Esoteric has been featured in Dog Fancy, The Bark and on the Animal Planet show Superfetch.

Eso and Logan on Superfetch

         Esoteric has also used his talents to take shots at animal abusers in the past and a recently released song by the 20 year veteran takes careful aim at two very famous ones.

         Esoteric is no stranger to controversy, especially with regard to making songs aimed at public figures the rapper doesn’t like. In 2008, one of his groups The East Coast Avengers made a highly controversial track called “Kill Bill O’Reilly” targeting the conservative commentator which drew the ire of neocons everywhere, including Michelle Malkin, whose response subsequently led to the follow-up song “Dear Michelle Malkin” which goes off on the “pundit” for being a hypocrite among other things.

The East Coast Avengers – Kill Bill O’Reilly

The East Coast Avengers – Dear Michelle Malkin

The songs were acclaimed in the rap scene as a show of the political power of hip hop. They set an example of what a motivated group can do – one battle rapper from Boston and his colleagues got the furious attention of a national news network over 2 songs that cost hardly anything to make. With a new administration and a whole lot of new faces in the news, fans have wondered who’s going to be next on Esoteric’s hitlist. The answer is two-fold: former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin and Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick. While Eso has alluded to them in the past, he’s never made an entire song about them like he did with Bill O’Reilly – until now.

        In his newest song, released last week, the rapper relentlessly attacks Sarah Palin for her involvement in wolf hunting, which has frequently been criticized as unnecessary and inhumane, along with Michael Vick for confessing to the murder of numerous pitbulls for entertainment. The song, and it’s graphic and disturbing video cast a very ugly shadow on these individuals whom Eso alleges are very similar in nature.

Esoteric – Palin-Vick (I warn you it is graphic)

Frankly, I can’t help but openly applaud Esoteric for having the heart to do the right thing and go at a person even the president calls to congratulate. It’s a little disturbing when the president thinks playing a game well exonerates someone from torturing defenseless dogs. The fact is, America forgave Michael Vick for what he did and everyone seemed to forget all about it. I’m certainly glad Esoteric didn’t and as a pitbull owner, it’s great to see our favorite avenging spirit from the East Coast come at Vick with a fully loaded clip. I certainly hope this new song gets the same amount of attention as his aforementioned tracks with the other East Coast Avengers, which showed us that sometimes a well-made song can have the power of a bullet. Like a sniper, Esoteric can zero in on anybody at anytime with his sharply refined talent; and if this sniper has your name, you’d better watch out – he doesn’t miss.

Visit Eso’s website and check out his webstore:


Also check out:

East Coast Avengers:


7L & Esoteric:


Army of the Pharaohs




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