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But Galdo's definitely a fan, both of Rahiem's album and of Orlando's 69 Boyz, a group he almost signed to Island before their "Tootsee Roll" hit. "I really thought the production on this stuff was great, as a musician, which I am," he says. "I loved their music."
The problem that the Boyz would have faced had they signed to Island is now the battle Galdo and Rahiem must fight, even with Island having already picked up the rapper's option for another CD. "I don't know that Island could have defined 69 Boyz the way an independent label like Rip It did," Galdo theorizes. "There's a push and pull with me and the record company over Rahiem. I have the full support of Chris Blackwell [Island Records boss], but I don't know if the other people in the company are behind me."
Rahiem acknowledges the potential difficulty in Island's handling of a genre whose established association with small companies can seem essential to its appeal. Not incidentally, On a Ride spent a year and a half in the can before finally seeing the light of day. "This album has been sitting," he says with a laugh. Last year the record label released a single of "Rock Wit' It," which shows up on the album, but the track didn't make much noise. Like Galdo, Rahiem speaks quizzically of the corporation.
"Really, I feel that they were experimenting with something new," Rahiem speculates, "and trying to tap into it without the know-how that it takes to market it. You can't market bass like any other kind of music. You have to go to the underground and the street first. You work your way through the streets and get club play from the streets, then you go to radio from the clubs."
Rahiem knows that with the right push, On a Ride can have a long life, and cites his "Loose My Money" as proof. "It came out in '92," he explains. "It caught on the following year. I've been doing shows off that record for two years.