Runaway Slave was a breakout LP in 1992 for Showbiz and A.G., the Bronx duo whose crew, D.I.T.C. was commanding NY underground rap with dark, expertly sourced samples and tremendous lyrical fire power from Fat Joe, Big L, and Lord Finesse, respectfully. Runaway Slave’s single “Soul Clap” (originally released on a previous EP) remains a favorite that has taken a life of its own in subsequent decades through word-of-mouth, compilations, and mixtapes. The duo further solidified D.I.T.C.’s consistent reign as Bronx stalwarts with equal acumen for production and rhymes but also emerged as a standout sub-component within the crew. The project melded as a perfect marriage between Showbiz’s production and A.G.’s exuberantly visual verses.
While “Soul Clap” went on to become an informal classic, other singles formally did quite well in 1993. “Bounce Ta This”—featuring an especially thoughtful verse by Dres of Black Sheep)—charted at No. 15 on the Hot Rap Singles chart as did “Fat Pockets” which peaked at No. 8. Despite the album’s rough, boom-bap aesthetic, it surprisingly also penetrated the Top R&B Charts at No. 78. While it surely deserved chart attention, it’s the grimier cuts that provided the connective tissue that made it initially stunning and ultimately timeless.
The monstrous posse cut “Represent” featuring top-form, menacing D.I.T.C personnel; Lord Finesse and Big L— DeShawn also appears on the track as does A.G. Other notable D.I.T.C. Diamond D drops in on the fittingly titled “Still Diggin’.”
Runaway Slave is a sonorous whirlwind of out-for-self street strength, shifty imagery, and sharp punchlines.