Saturday, August 14, 2010

3rd Bass

3rd Bass was a hip-hop group from the late 80's\early 90's that was one of the first interracial hip-hop groups. The group consisted of MC Serch (born Michael Berrin on May 6, 1967), Prime Minister Pete Nice (born Peter J. Nash in Floral Park, Long Island, New York), and DJ Richie Rich (born Richard Lawson in Jamaica).

Richie Rich worked as a local DJ, Pete Nice was an English major at Columbia University and hosted a hip-hop show on Columbia's student radio station, WKCR-FM.

MC Serch performed at clubs & block parties and even released a single called "Hey Boy" on an independent record label. Record producer Sam Sever convinced Pete Nice and MC Serch to work together in 1987.
In October of 1989, 3rd Bass released their debut album, "The Cactus Album" which peaked at #55 on the Billboard 200 and #5 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.

The album got positive reviews from the hip-hop press and 3rd Bass gained publicity for being arguably the second white group to achieve hip-hop credibility next to the Beastie Boys.
The first single, "Steppin' to the AM" peaked at #5 on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart, #50 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart and #54 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 8 weeks.
The second single from the album, "The Gas Face" peaked at #5 on Billboard's Rap Singles chart and #31 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart.

The music video included cameos from Gilbert Gottfried, Salt N' Pepa, Flavor Flav, & Erick Sermon and received respectable airplay on MTV.
The last single from the album, "Brooklyn Queens" didn't chart on the rap or R&B charts, but managed to peak at #20 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play chart.

In reported interviews, MC Serch unsuccessfully tried to join the Beastie Boys. Upon signing with Def Jam Records, 3rd Bass inherited their label's feud with them.

The duo's debut album was released shortly after the Beastie Boys walked out on their record contract. Their debut album took shots at not only the Beastie Boys, but MC Hammer as well. (They called him "M.C. Household Too" in the liner notes of their album).
In 1990, 3rd Bass released a remix album, "The Cactus Revisited" which didn't chart at all on the Billboard charts.
The album consisted of 6 remixed songs and one unreleased song. The album received lackluster commercial and critical reception. The single, "Product of the Environment" was released, but didn't chart at all.
A year later in 1991, 3rd Bass released their sophomore album, "Derelects of Dialect" which peaked at #19 on the Billboard 200 and #10 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
The first single from the album and 3rd Bass' biggest hit song to date, "Pop Goes the Weasel" peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100, #28 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Club Play Singles chart, #18 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music\Maxi-Singles Sales chart and topped Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart. The song was certified Gold and helped the album become certified Gold a month later.

The music video featured punk rock singer Henry Rollins who dressed up as Vanilla Ice, who became another target for the group. It also depicted Vanilla Ice a culture freak who watered down the sound of rap in order to pander a mainstream audience while 3rd Bass was depicted as more respectful of the hip-hop genre's traditions.

The second and last single from the album, "Portraits of the Artist as A Hood" peaked at #17 on Billboard's Rap Singles chart and #67 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 6 weeks. The music video featured Gilbert Gottfried as a judge.
3rd Bass' final music collaboration was the title track to the 1992 movie soundtrack "Gladiator" before splitting up. During that same year (three years after 3rd Bass' debut album), the Beastie Boys retaliated against them on their third album, "Check Your Head" on the track "Professor Booty."
Also in 1992, MC Serch co-wrote and produced several tracks for Detroit rapper Boss' only album, "Born Gangstaz" and released his own solo album, "Return of the Product" in August of that same year.
MC Serch was able to chart on the Hot 100 with the song, "Here It Comes\Back to the Grill" which peaked at #72. The song also topped Billboard's Rap Singles chart. The album was mostly critically and commercially ignored, peaking only at #103 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Around the time of 3rd Bass' breakup, MC Serch was involved in the production of the movie, "Zebrahead" and originally wanted to star in the movie, but he was unable to get a role and ended up producing the movie's soundtrack.

MC Search was even the executive producer on Nas' debut album, "Illmatic" which became one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the 90's. After working at Wild Pitch Records, he founded Serchlite, a record label and publishing company. He signed an all-white New York hip hop group, Non Phixtion, but they broke up in 2006.

From 2003 to 2006, MC Serch hosted the radio show, "Serch in the AM" in Detroit.  He hosted the VH1 reality shows, "Ego Trip's The (White) Rapper Show" and "Ego Trip's Miss Rap Supreme." In 2009, he was featured on rapper Kurious' album, "II."
Pete Nice and Richie Rich teamed up as "Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich," releasing their only album, "Dust to Dust" to limited success. The album featured many disses toward MC Serch.

In 1998, 3rd Bass reunited for a gig at Tommy Hilfiger's brother, Andy's birthday party and performed at Woodstock 1999.
They released a single, "Hail to the Chief" which didn't chart. There was talk of a new album, but any plans of a reunion or album have been scrapped.

Pete Nice and radio jock\author Bobbito started their own record label, Hoppoh Records under Columbia Records which released two albums before folding due to creative differences.

Pete retired from the music biz and opened a baseball memorabilia shop in Cooperstown. In 2003, he published his first book, "Baseball Legends of Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetary" under his real name. He has also been working to secure property for an official grave site of Negro League baseball players.

In early 2008, Pete opened a sports bar in Boston called "McGreevy's 3rd Base Bar" which was recently named "Best Sports Bar" in Boston by Citysearch.

Richie Rich produced a track on rapper Kurious George's debut album and resurfaced briefly in 1999 when he appeared on the Mad Hatter's album, "Tell 'Em Why U Madd." After that, it doesn't seem like nothing much has been heard from him lately.

To see the music video for "Pop Goes the Weasel," go to:

To see the music video for "Steppin' to the AM," go to:

To see the music video for "The Gas Face," go to:

To see the music video for "Brooklyn Queens," go to:

To see the music video for "Product of the Environment," go to:

To see the music video for "Portrait of the Artist As A Hood," go to:

To see a fan-made video for "Hail to the Chief," go to:

[Updated on 04\07\2016]

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