The name 'Str8Buttah' is synonymous with six MCs - an amalgamation of Producers, crews and solo artistes that frequently interacted in the Lagos underground scene in the early 00’s, united by mutual respect, time-tested friendships and their undying love for hip-hop. Emergent in a period where the fundamental sound of the artform and its culture was said to be dwindling and fast eroding, the posse vaunted an intensely untainted sound reminiscent of the good old days with influences from Dj premier, J Dilla, Peterock, Rakim, Nas, Common, Wu-tang, madvillain... just to name a few.
"We're not in this to prove some point, we're just here to make beautiful music that the true fans of the art love and we're doing it the best way we know how to do it, u know...exactly how it' ought to be, how it ought to sound..." - Deck the nexus
All 6 members appear under a number of pseudonyms but are best known as Teck-Zilla (aka Projekt Cancer, Mr Stay Sharp, The Teckman; born Tayo Odutola), Mister Rae (aka Lord Augustus Maximus Khan, champaigne Supanova, The Raeman, Rae Diaspora), XYZ (aka Soundboy, Altec Lanssing; born Niyi Faleyimu), Deck the nexus (aka The streetPoet, Professor Deckzavier, shollah Deck; born Sola Olaoye), R-Cube ( aka RQB, Agent Zero, Gamma Cube; born Rotimi Oshodi) and Enigma ( aka Enigmatic, the invisible one, the vandal, Lucius Fox, The pugist; born Eniola Oshodi). Their origins can be traced backed to ‘The Constellation’, a four-man rap crew that had 'Rae, Teckzilla, Deck and jay delawhat (an Mc they traded thoughts with in the beginning)' as original members while at the University of Lagos. The Constellation then released their free EP 'A Stellar Demonstration' (that was produced by Deck the nexus) and got sparse airplay with the single ‘Mic in my hand’(a thumping gritty track ) in 2003.
Afterwards, the crew split then Rae and Teckzilla formed a group called ‘Ill Alliance’ Deck the Nexus however went on to release his seminal underground classic ‘By Word of Mouth (The Street Poet)’ in 2005 with production by himself, Teckzilla and Rae under the banner of Str8 Buttah Productions.The album was with profound artisry and deep poetic illustration on tracks like 'memories (featuring Rae), luv is luv (featuring both Rae and Teck) and the soul diary'. On the strength of ‘By Word of Mouth’ and unreleased tracks from the Ill Alliance project, a buzz started to grow for the trio as a production crew.
Following the failed reunion of The constellation[disambiguation needed ] as ‘Street Poets’ they began working closely with R-Cube (an MC they had been working with since the early days and the closest thing they ever had to an A&R, manager or publicist) and his brother Enigma, a budding lyricist, both long-time friends of Rae on numerous unreleased projects. At the same time XYZ was building a buzz of his own as a solo MC and producer, One half of the duo Afromystictechs (with fellow MC AZ), they had a single which was played on radio . XYZ however joined Str8 Buttah Productions out of mutual respect and recognition of similar visions in 2005.Str8 buttah productions carried on to lend production assistance to many underground rappers, crews and also performed at local underground shows, gracing stages alongside other Nigerian hip hop personalities Thorobreds, Nuff noize, Peaceville, The Kaliphate, Modenine, Terry the Rapman, Kraft...to name a few.
The following year, another group 'LMN-3' was formed by XYZ, Teckzilla and Rae. The crew, though still undefined, by then had started gaining more recognition and radio play with the single 'Loving it' , also was Deck who at the time had a single titled 'origin' (which had a video too) and a re-recorded version of 'headz' up' (a joint off the 'By word of mouth' album) been played on radio. At thesame period, Teckzilla was just finishing his debut solo album titled 'Projekt Cancer'. The album was released later in the year and greeted with rave review with production solely by Str8Buttah productions (which now included XYZ) and guest appearances from R-Cube and Enigma.The album's mellow radio single 'The Come up' featuring Deck the nexus however got sparse airplay.
In 2007, Str8 Buttah evolved from being just a production crew to a dedicated rap group on the verge of releasing their ‘Illa-Str8’ compilation album, a labour of love featuring a Who’s who of The Lagos hip-hop scene, arranged by Teckzilla and XYZ with support from longtime group collaborator MC/Producer Venomous (MicWorx). The album which was a hip-hop magnum opus was widely accepted by the mainstream underground and received a lot of radio attention with tracks like 'Exhibiting Mindstates'(featuring Attitude, Ziio, Venomous and Kraft) and 'Shining'(featuring Roguewave and Othello (Knighthouse)). Other guest appearances on the compilation were Teeto Ceemos,Psalmurai (Kaliphate),Mi-Fliss,Brotha Lee (aka Lord Buddha), Don P,E-Law,AQ,Rheymophoebus,ElJabaarad,Protech,Dark Poet and a host of others. The album was packed with raw scenic beats and lyrics with every Mc dropping staggering lyrics.
The same year, the video for the hard-hitting single ‘The Anthem (put ur hands up)’ off Teck's 'Projekt Cancer' album featuring, Venomous and XYZ was shot and dedicated to the memory of Fleet Militant who was shot dead in his neighbourhood by armed robbers.He was a good friend of the crew,an Mc and a hip-hop activist not just in the Lagos underground scene but also beyond the shores of the country....may his soul rest in peace.A video was also released for the track 'Bring it' off the 'Illastr8' compilation album. Both videos were directed by R-Cube and got substantial airplay on various T.V Stations, both locally and internationally. In 2008,Various members of the crew embarked on different solo projects, Again, Teckzilla dropped another solo material titled 'Projekt Cancer 2', a sequel to his first release but this time had guest productions from MicWorx (the duo of Venomous and another skilled producer, Bigfoot) and appearances from crew members and associates. R-Cube was also working on his EP 'Choice of words' and dropped his single 'Project A' on Radio and T.V and XYZ teamed up with Phenom on a mixtape titled "Now Your Suffering Continues".
Mistah Rae,Teckzilla, Deck and Enigma went on to appear on Micworx's '007 Project' mixtape that same year. The crew have collaborated in the past on other numerous projects with the likes of Ill bliss, The Kaliphate, KnightHouse and many more.
Str8 Buttah dropped its much anticipated debut album titled 'Str8 4rm da Art' on Aug 29, 2009 to much critical acclaim. The album breathes a soundscape of the true composition of the artform with an in-house production effort.
According to the collective, The project would absorb any real disciple of the genre . From the pungent kicks, snares and overwhelmingly distinct samples of every track to the dense lyrical imagery of Mistah Rae, the vocally menacing flow of R-Cube, razor-sharp darts of Enigma, poetic incursions of Deck, wittiness of Teckzilla and the incisive spasm of XYZ.
Though seems like an over-used theme, the collective address the declining creative state of the art with its first single 'The Last Stand' which recently won a Sound City Music Video Award and aptly begins with a Masta Ace sample echoing 'This is how Hip-hop's supposed to sound!'.It's other singles also gained radio airplay. The 18-track album received rave reviews. Again, The crew has in the works another mixtape "Illa-Str8 2" which would be a sequel to the 2007 release "Illa-Str8". The first single off the mixtape is titled "Fire" and has a video to its credit (Shot by the renowned Nigerian Video Director, Clarence Peters). The crew recently released a mixtape The Buttah tape (Lost Gemz) for free download over the web consisting of mostly unreleased material from dating back from the crew's inception. Earlier in 2010, Xyz also went ahead to score production credits on two tracks (Black rap Messiah and Comedy money)off Modenine's 2010 album titled "Davinci Mode".
On Friday April 9, 2010, Slam Dunk Records and Str8 Buttah Productions joined forces to release an Album featuring Zone Fam, a six man crew based in Lusaka, Zambia and production by Teckzilla. On November 4, 2010 Deck the nexus released his inimitable material titled "The Professor's Abstract Thesis" (T.P.A.T), an instrumental EP which delves into the art of sound with mind accelerating beats and sampled spoken words with a pungent hip hop presence. In the same month, Str8Buttah was named number 7 of the top ten hip-hop groups in Africa on MNet's Studio 53 Extra.
On New year's day of 2011, a second video from the forthcoming Illa-Str8 2 album was released featuring a fast rising femcee, Eva dropping a well orchestrated flow on an XYZ production. Next up was Mister Rae a.k.a Rae diaspora a few days later dropping his much awaited "The Brand New Masquerade EP" where Mister Rae poetically addresses personal, social and political issues on the album. XYZ released a beat tape on February 11, 2011 entering his Sound Boy mode emphatically depicts on a sonic scape with the offering "XperimentZ", a sequel to "The Science Project" aptly kick-started by Deck's "T.P.A.T". Illa-Str8 2 was released on June 12, 2011 and the album features Ill Bliss, Eva, AZ (XYZ's partner as AfromysticTek), Zee & Ms.Chief. On August 1st an EP featuring productions from Teck-Zilla and rhymes by Kazakhstan based Russian emcee titled "A Common Language EP"was released online epitomizing an art of cross - continental collaborations depicting the universal nature of hip-hop music.
On October 1, 2011 a day which marked the 51st independence anniversary of Nigeria, S.B.P released The Invisible Enigma's widely anticipated debut solo material titled "Desultory" to much acclaim. The mixtape featured cameos by fellow crew members Rcube, Deck The Nexus, XYZ amongst other affiliates. The piece filled with thought provoking lyrics. production credits included Teck-Zilla, XYZ, Big Foot and borrowed instrumentals from 9th Wonder, Black Milk and also a let-off on Tomoyasu Hotei's classic theme from Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.
November 1, 2011 marked another release date. This time around, it was Teck-Zilla's audio discourse titled "Afro J.E.T.S Club Project(Justice, equality, Truth and sacrifice). A masterpiece in its entirety with a mash up of well chopped vocal samples shedding light on stories of some of Africa's past heroes like Kwame Nkrumah, Fela Kuti, Nnamdi Azikwe, [Abiola],Patrice Lumumba et al... meticulously blended with hard hitting hip-hop instrumentals. Aptly described as an audio quasi-documentary inspired by Africa's rich musical and political history. The material was greeted with great reception and has further solidified the versatility and richness of the collective as this six-man band keep busy setting paces and still keep mic cords and fingers crossed on the rest of their story being history...