This label might be the best one underground hiphop ever had, we had some great stuff back then, dont’t get me wrong (such as rawkus, for exemple). But Fondle’em just always came on point. Its lifetime was 1995-2001 ; in antoher words, the golden years of independent hiphop (even if it started to deline from 1998). Just have a lookn at what came out in 1995 :
As you saw, Bobbito is featured on that track. Bobbito is the founder of the legendary label, the one who whas doing the incredible show « The stretch Amstrong bobbito show » with DJ Stretch Amstrong. When I say this show was indredible, I mean it, and I’m sure you heard of that :
You got me… this kind of radio show, can’t go wrong with it. When I was discovering undergound Hiphop, it was a lot via the JR Ewing’s mixtapes, and I remember a track wich was released on Fondle’ em… it just hit me when I first heard it, as the sample from a famous movie was just giving a total Hiphop and dark atmosphere :
You remember when they released the first MF Doom record and made an earthquake in the HipHop world ? Yep, the first MF Doom has been released on it, when I said it was one of the best record label… « Operation Doomsday » was released in 1999 by Bobbito’s label, but my favorite track released by Doom on that label is this one :
That’s the thing with Fondle’em, they were putting out some records that would never get played on radio, classic records, but they never released any wacky shit. You know, this type of rapper who wants to be orginial and make some very stranger music to say « I’m underground » but his record is not good at all. It’s underground, true, but underground does not mean it’s dope tho.
Anyway, let’s get focused on it again. Bobbito might be the most important man of underground HipHop, you should have a look at what he dopes if you don’t know him. He writes books regarding sneakers, he was some of the first guys to discover true talents such as Nas, Biggie, Big L, Jay-z (thanks to his radio show). He did a magazine on basketball, it was named « Bounce : from the playground.
Nowadays, bobbito still Djing, he’s touring in Europe and all that. He owned for five years the best underground record label, and before he shut it down definitely, he released a compilation of the best of the label, in collaboration with another very respectable label : Definitive juxx. The record is called Farewell Fondle’ em. But there is not one of myu favorite track released on Fondle’m, so I’ll leave you with it, and I hope that the ones who never heard of this label before, will try to learn and chekc out all the released they made (they are too many to mention them, but one thing fo sure, i5 years, they just dropped pure underground bombs, not any weak record). And good luck if you wanna get a physical record, they are not as cheap as they used to be… Peace !