|Throughout his illustrious career, The RZA, has always prided himself in discovering and working with some of the best artists in the hip hop game. One listen to the astounding RZA Presents Northstar and it's perfectly clear why the Wu-Tang Clan mastermind gave the Long Beach-based duo of Christ Bearer and Meko a much coveted spot in the Wu family. Without question, Northstar's debut ranks among the most promising West Coast releases to emerge in years.
From the start, the pair's decidedly East Coast lyrical outlook always perplexed some people on the West Coast even though The RZA discovered the duo's talent back in 1998 during a chance encounter outside of The Beat (a Los Angeles radio station). "RZA is the father to us in the game," explains Christ Bearer, whose light, animated voice provides the perfect balance to Meko's powerful, husky tone. "He gave birth to Northstar when other people in the West Coast really didn't take on to us. The RZA was the one that really took us on. He gave birth to us and now we've got a career by the grace of Allah."
Throughout the pair's debut album due out on KOCH Records/ In The Paint on January 20, 2004, Christ Bearer and Meko showcase their microphone skills that so endeared them to The RZA. They paint a vivid picture of the danger of drugs on the moving "Duckie" and serve up a reggae-influenced slice of realness on the hard-core "Red Rum." Elsewhere, they salute their Muslim beliefs on "Luv Allah," a cut that highlights the duo's uplifting outlook. "We've never been afraid to let people know the love we have for the black man and the black people," Christ Bearer says.
Christ Bearer and Meko also received plenty of RZA love on the beat front. RZA Presents Northstar was predominantly produced by The RZA and also boasts bone-crushing beats from D.R. Period, Allah Mathematics and others. "We knew that we wanted to get RZA beats fro sure, but the beats we were looking for needed that banging sound" Meko says. "I know Christ Bearer likes the violins and the little stuff up in there. It adds that drama to it. We want you to see it more than just hear it."
The resulting songs, which contain the type of grit and polish normally associated with the Wu-Tang Clan's best work, contain a distinctive blend of East Coast and West Coast influences. The balance comes from Northstar's lengthy relationship with the Wu and their life-long love of all forms of hip-hop.
"While I was growing up I always catered to the East Coast artists but I also loved Boyz-N-The Hood and that classic West Coast sound of Eazy-E, Toddy Tee, King T," Christ Bearer explains. "At the same time, I catered to East Coast brothers all through life even through 2Pac and Biggie beefed. We always gave respect to the fathers of the music who created it and where it came from. At the same time, we both come from Long Beach so it's like we really want to rep the hood."
Northstar's name itself represents its hood and much more. "North" signifies their roots on the North Side of Long Beach, while "Star" reflects the word's significance throughout black history. "We want to let people know that you're a star when you determine you're a star," Christ Bearer says. "That's what we bring to the game."
After discovering Northstar in L.A. , RZA continued to be drawn to the duo because of their musical abilities and their deep sense of self. Northstar was then featured on a number of Wu-Tang projects, including both the Wu-Tang Killa Bees albums The Swarm Volume 1 and The Sting, the soundtrack for 2000's Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai and Popa Wu's album, Visions Of The Tenth Chamber.
Now, after years of preparing for the release of their first album and touring extensively with The RZA in November and December 2003, Northstar shines on RZA Presents Northstar and shows everyone why the album was well worth the wait. "This album has been like six years in the making," Christ Bearer says. "It's like, 'Yo. Drop it.' Not now, but right now."
4 Sho Sho - 2001 [12" Single]|
RZA Presents Northstar - 2004 [Album]