When the conversation turns to slept on MCs, any true retro hip-hop head almost immediately thinks of the Bronx’s own Lord Finesse. Finesse, also known as Robert Hall, was born in 1970. He started out with Wild Pitch Records at the age of 19 when he and DJ Mike Smooth signed with which was at the time one of hip hop’s best labels. When they joined up, Wild Pitch was also home to Main Source, Chill Rob G, Gangstarr and The Ultramagnetic MCs. All hip hop royalty.
The duo released Lord Finesse’s debut record Funky Technician soon after signing. The album was met with mixed reviews.
Two years later, and now solo, Finesse released Return Of The Funky Man, also for Wild Pitch. Return was a more polished album than his first and featured his biggest hit, the title cut of the disc which peaked at 13 on the hip hop charts.
Return featured production from Showbiz from Show and AG and has guest appearances from Percee P and AG. Who are the rapping half of Show and AG.
The song Return Of The Funky Man contains samples from Champ by The Mohawks and Step In The Arena by Gangstarr. Champ is one of rap’s most sampled tunes. It’s contributed to hits from everyone from KRS-1 to Onyx, Redman and INI Kamoze on Here Comes The Hotstepper.
Finesse continues to tour today, mostly in Europe. Which for reasons unknown to me seems to have a greater affinity for the early days of rap than we do here in the states. Right now Finesse is in France. If his Facebook pictures are to be believed, he’s performing for sold out houses every night. Good for him. Even if it’s not here I’m glad to see him get recognized for his superior talents.