17 Songs, 56 Minutes


About L*Roneous

Being a free-thinking musician in the 21st century world of highly overexposed hip-hop sometimes equated to being a persona non grata. While many of hip-hop's respected luminaries chose not to rock the boat when industry battle lines were drawn, some artists chose to forego the mainstream altogether. This was the decision of many a talented underground MC/producer who stuck to their guns and made their own brand of music on smaller labels that would not force them to kowtow to the demands of the market.

The Bay Area's L*Roneous is one such artist that chose to paddle his way upstream with an abstract style reminiscent of fellow North Coast forerunners Del tha Funkee Homosapien and Souls of Mischief and Los Angeles' the Pharcyde and Freestyle Fellowship. L*Ron's limited-release debut, "Imaginarium," originally surfaced in 1998 on Ocean Floor Records, but the MC's microphone mastery was only witnessed by a small circle. The style was lucid yet leaked with hallucinogenic abstraction and tongue-twisting flights of fancy. L*Ron's metaphorical madness was a perfect fit for young producer DJ Zeph's acidic B-boy beats. The chosen few who were able to place L*Ron's name and verbal template into their memory banks hoped for the sake of hip-hop that he would be heard from again. In the late '90s, the MC went on to establish connections with a number of the Golden State's underground mainstays (Project Blowed, Living Legends) and worked with such artists as Freestyle Fellowship's Mikah9 and Abstract Rude. But in terms of heavy studio work, the cryptic MC kept things mostly on the hush, releasing only a few singles in Japan and on underground outposts in the States here and there. Fledgling Bay Area label 6months Distribution got wind of L*Ron's bona fide talents and made concerted efforts to give the artist his due exposure. Feeling that L*Ron's avant-garde style of 1998 had found its ripple in time and that the underground needed to reclaim some of its plundered principalities, the label made plans to reissue the artist's Imaginarium album in June of 2002. ~ M.F. DiBella