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UTD

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Biography

For ten years, the rap trio Urban Thermo Dynamics (aka UTD) fell into the "more a legend than a band category." A family affair, Mos Def had teamed with his younger brother DCQ and his younger sister Ces in 1994 for UTD. The single, "My Kung Fu," brought the group to the hip-hop underground's attention and Polygram affiliate Payday London. Payday released the single in 1994, reissued it on the related FFRR imprint, and followed it a year later with the "Manifest Destiny" 12". Work on a full-length was underway when label politics left UTD without a home. Mos Def and DCQ (who was now using the aliases Illson and Jashiya) went on to form Medina Green, another group that would have a long gestation period before delivering much above-ground product. A grey area version of UTD's album Manifest Destiny appeared in 1999, but pressed in such a small quantity that if you blinked, you missed it. By 2003, Internet file sharing had become popular with the underground hip-hop set and lost recordings were being traded and mishandled. Mos Def was now a superstar and file-sharers were digging deep for his early recordings. The rare "My Kung Fu" was being widely distributed but was mislabeled as a Medina Green track, while a correctly credited "Manifest Destiny" sat in every deep hip-hopper's share folder. Feeding off the newfound interest, DCQ cleared up all the discography confusion in 2004 by releasing Medina Green's U Know the Flex Mix Tape, Vol. 1 and giving the world the first official version of UTD's full-length, Manifest Destiny. Both were released on DCQ's Illson Media label. ~ David Jeffries

Top Songs

Genre
Years Active:

'90s