Touring musicians, by the nature of their jobs, usually have a couple of ZIP discs' worth of colorful tales. That goes several times over for anyone who has spent time on the road with Miami's still-so-horny Luther Campbell. That's why, despite a brand-new album of their own and big-time recognition in the world of jock-rap, No Good's Mr. Fatal (Derrick Hill) and T-Nasty (Tracy Latimer) can't resist recounting some of the high points of their nights as dancers and hypemen with the Big Nasty.
"We got to see everything," laughs Fatal. "And of course we did things with girls from the audience that kept the crowd on the edge of their seat."
"Well," he says, "depending on what the promoter told us we could get away with, we'd usually wind up with about four or five girls onstage butt naked, maybe flipping them upside down, stuff like that."
No Good's high jinks began back in 1992 when the pair took to the local nightclub talent-search circuit, winning whatever was on offer. Then Fatal and T-Nasty scored the grand prize in a Battle of the Dancers Contest: a spot on Luke's upcoming tour. The show gave No Good exposure, putting the duo onstage with legends Tupac and Biggie. Uncle Luke got more of the nasty sideshow he's famous for. "We brought a lot of excitement for their show and eventually we started putting the shows together [as choreographers]," says Fatal. "Soon everybody was telling us that we should put out our own album."
The pair warmed up with the 1996 single "Up to No Good." Three years later, under the tag No Good & Jiggie, they capitalized on their association with Luke by releasing the full-length Lizard, Lizard (on ARTISTdirect), a collection of catchy bass tracks with a novelty twist whose title track riffed on an old Taco Bell commercial. Bolstered by a guest appearance by the Goodie Mob, Lizard, Lizard moved 100,000 copies before the momentum was slowed by a distributor's recall. "The distributor wanted to put out an enhanced-CD version of the album to take advantage of the popularity," said T-Nasty. "Instead they took the album off the street just as it was really starting to roll. By the time they got it back out, it was too late."
True to Miami hip-hop tradition, No Good takes an avid interest in sports. T-Nasty was even considered a major-league pitching prospect, throwing a 90-plus-mph fastball for his high school in Fort Pierce. Instead he hooked up with Fatal, a teammate's stepbrother. Where Luke rewarded University of Miami players with payment for good plays and Trick Daddy and Trina recruited UM alums-turned-NFL stars Warren Sapp and Edgerrin James for their videos, No Good has been on the sidelines giving up fight songs. The two did a remix of "Raise the Roof" -- a song they wrote for Luke's CD In the Nude -- that was picked up by the Cleveland Indians during their World Series bid in 1997. Not to be outdone in their one glory year, the Florida Marlins commissioned their own remix. "The Marlins didn't play the song at first," says Fatal. "But when they went to play the Indians in the World Series, they found out Cleveland was playing our song and we're from Florida. So they came back and had us make another version just for them. And when they scored the winning run in the Series, that's the song they were playing."
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Then late last year, No Good's single "Ballin' Boy" was picked up as a theme song by the University of Miami football team. When the rappers went back to the studio for a pre-Rose Bowl-hype version of the song, they were joined by 'Canes defensive back Edward Reed, wideout Jason Geathers, and running back Willis "The Deuce" McGahee. "Jocks all tend to congregate in the same places," says T-Nasty. "We know a lot of the football players just from moving in the same circles. The Hurricanes and us are friends from hanging out at the same clubs and everything, going to the same parties. So it wasn't hard to get them on the record."
Their sports profile blew up even bigger recently, when ESPN put "Ballin' Boy" in rotation during its March Madness coverage. The duo will kick it up one more notch on April 1, when they perform the single on ESPN's warm-up show for the NCAA Championship game. But if the duo share Luke's love of 'Canes football (and sports in general), their upcoming album Game Day shows that they have moved beyond the -- er -- bass-ics of his bottom-heavy Nineties Miami sound. With help from production whiz Tony Galvin, best known for his work with Trick Daddy, Trina, J.T. Money, and J-Shin, No Good has retooled its sound, incorporating the glossy push-pull rhythms of the post-Timbaland/Swizz Beatz/Mannie Fresh era.
"A lot of people, when they hear that we've got an album, expect it to be just more bass stuff," said T-Nasty. "But this is a totally different album, something that people won't expect from us. The thing is, we have always been up on the hip-hop tip. The first single we dropped in 1996 was a hip-hop song. It's just that no one was checking for the South to be doing stuff like that back then -- it was all East Coast and West Coast. So this isn't a new thing for us."
Now No Good is elbowing its way into Miami's post-Nineties hip-hop end zone. "A lot of people in our area thought that our success was just due to Luke," T-Nasty complains. "Now it's our chance to put it down totally on our own, to make our imprint on the game. We want, when people start talking about Miami, they won't just say Luke, Trick Daddy, and Trina. They'll have to put No Good in there, cause we're definitely coming."