The Artifacts: Legendary Duo’s Impact on the Genre


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The Artifacts, a notable hip-hop group from Newark, New Jersey, have significantly impacted the East Coast music scene with their distinctive underground sound. Comprising members El Da Sensei, Tame One, and DJ Kaos, the trio is strongly associated with the four elements of hip-hop culture: MCing, DJing, graffiti writing, and breakdancing. Their expertise in these areas, particularly graffiti writing, has influenced their music, image, and presence within the hip-hop community.

The group’s most famous single, “Wrong Side of Da Tracks,” pays homage to their roots as graffiti writers and highlights their ability to tell compelling stories through their lyricism. This dedication to celebrating the origins and pillars of hip-hop has helped solidify the Artifacts’ reputation as passionate and authentic artists. Recently, the group released their first song in 15 years, titled “Easter,” rekindling the spark that fans have come to know and love from the trio, with original members El Da Sensei, Tame One, and DJ Kaos all featuring on the track.

Through their dedication to preserving hip-hop’s core elements and their persistent pursuit of presenting authentic and genuine music, the Artifacts have left an indelible mark on the genre and its history. As their career continues, the group’s influence will remain apparent in the work of future generations of artists, solidifying their place as a driving force in the hip-hop world.

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The Artifacts: Info

MembersEl Da Sensei & Tame One (core members) + DJ Kaos
Top-grossing trackWrong Side of da Tracks
El Da Sensei
AliasesEl Da Sensei
Official NameWilliam E. Williams
Born, DateJanuary 7, 1972
HometownNewark, New Jersey
Tame One
AliasesTame One
Official NameRahem Brown
Born, DateMarch 20, 1970
HometownNewark, New Jersey
DJ Kaos
AliasesDJ Kaos, Virgshawn Perry
Official NameShawn Perry
Born, DateJuly 25th, 1973
HometownNewark, New Jersey

Top 3 tracks by The Artifacts

  1. Wrong Side of da Tracks
  2. C’mon wit da Git Down
  3. Art Of Facts

The Artifacts: Foundation and Formation

El Da Sensei and Tame One

The Artifacts was an East Coast hip-hop group formed in Newark, New Jersey, consisting of two primary members: El Da Sensei and Tame One. Both members were skilled rappers, and their unique styles complemented each other well in their music productions.

Newark, New Jersey Origins

Hailing from Newark, often called “Brick City,” their urban environment profoundly influenced the group’s compositions. Newark played a crucial role in shaping the Artifacts’ sound and outlook on the hip-hop scene.

Four Elements of Hip Hop

Focusing on the four elements of hip hop – MCing, DJing, graffiti writing, and breakdancing – The Artifacts showcased their versatility and expertise in the genre. Their music celebrated these elements, with a particular emphasis on graffiti writing.

As graffiti writers, El Da Sensei and Tame One paid special homage to this art form in their music. Their most popular single, “Wrong Side of Da Tracks,” highlighted their affinity for graffiti as they described their experiences with this urban visual expression.

DJ Kaos, the group’s designated DJ, further solidified their commitment to the four elements of hip-hop through his skills on the turntables. Together, the trio created a unique sound that paid tribute to the roots of hip-hop culture.

Discography and Musical Style

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The Artifacts, a hip-hop group from Newark, NJ, released their debut album, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” in 1994. The album showcased their love for the four elements of hip-hop, focusing on MCing, DJing, and graffiti art. El Da Sensei, Tame One, and DJ Kaos created a unique sound, combining East Coast boom bap production with their solid lyricism. The album’s most famous single, “Wrong Side of Da Tracks,” paid tribute to graffiti as the trio were graffiti artists.

That’s Them

In 1997, The Artifacts released their second album, “That’s Them.” The album received praise for its underground hip-hop sound and continued to showcase the group’s love for the hip-hop culture. During this time, the trio collaborated with various producers, such as Buckwild and T-Ray, both part of the famous Diggin’ in the Crates (DITC) crew. The Artifacts also collaborated with artists like Redman, adding to the richness of their East Coast rap vibe.

Other Collaborations and Projects

The Artifacts have been involved in numerous collaborations and side projects throughout their career. They have worked with the Weathermen, which included artists like El-P, Cage, Camu Tao, and Aesop Rock, resulting in a more experimental sound. Tame One became a member of Leak Bros, along with rapper Cage, and released the album “Waterworld” in 2004. El Da Sensei joined forces with Del the Funky Homosapien to create the album “Parallel Uni-Verses” in 2009.

Further collaborations between The Artifacts and other established artists only reinforced their status as a respected hip-hop group. They contributed to the development of throwback hip-hop, which emphasizes the original elements of hip-hop culture. While they may not have achieved mainstream recognition, The Artifacts remained true to their roots, creating music that celebrates and advances the legacy of hip-hop.

The Artifacts have released various songs and projects throughout their career, with Big Beat Records as their primary label. They have also released music independently with albums like “No Expiration Date,” demonstrating their dedication to creating authentic hip-hop. Ultimately, The Artifacts’ focus on the art of MCing, DJing, and graffiti contributed to their unique style and enduring presence in the underground hip-hop scene.

Influence and Legacy

Impact on Hip Hop and Graffiti Culture

The Artifacts, an East Coast hip-hop group from Newark, New Jersey, significantly impacted the hip-hop and graffiti cultures. Consisting of El Da Sensei, Tame One, and DJ Kaos, the group paid homage to the four elements of hip-hop in their music. Their most popular single, “Wrong Side of Da Tracks,” focused on graffiti art and demonstrated their talents as graffiti writers. The duo was influential in bridging the gap between hip-hop and graffiti, inspiring many other artists to incorporate this visual art form into their music.

Solo Artists and Further Career Path

After the Artifacts disbanded, El Da Sensei and Tame One pursued successful solo careers. They continued contributing to the hip-hop scene, each releasing multiple albums and collaborating with other notable artists. While maintaining their cultural roots, they expanded their styles to explore new themes and sounds that showcased their growth as artists. Their solo work further established them as prominent East Coast hip-hop community figures.

Artifacts in Modern Hip Hop

The Artifacts’ legacy is still evident in modern hip-hop, especially in blending hip-hop and graffiti cultures. The group’s emphasis on the four elements of hip hop – DJing, MCing, breakdancing, and graffiti – has inspired many artists to explore these fundamentals in their work. Moreover, the Artifacts’ confidence, coolness, and authenticity themes resonate with artists and fans alike, influencing the genre’s direction in recent years.

The duo’s influence can also be seen in the resurgence of East Coast hip hop, with artists from cities like Newark and the Bronx looking to the Artifacts for inspiration. Today, hip-hop news outlets cite the Artifacts as an essential part of hip-hop history, solidifying their role in shaping the genre’s past, present, and future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the group members?

The Artifacts, also known as “The Brick City Kids,” consist of two members, El Da Sensei and Tame One.

When did they form?

The group was formed in the early 1990s, although the date is unavailable.

What’s their debut album?

Their debut album, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” was released on October 25, 1994. Underground hip-hop audiences received this album well, and it featured b-boy and graffiti themes.

Notable collaborations?

The Artifacts’ debut album had notable collaborations with producers Buckwild (from the DITC crew) and T-Ray (from the Soul Assassins crew), who contributed to the album’s beats.

Most popular songs?

Some of the Artifacts’ most popular songs include “Wrong Side of da Tracks,” “C’mon Wit Da Git Down,” and “Dynamite Soul.”

What is their legacy?

While the Artifacts may not be as widely recognized as some other hip-hop groups, they hold a special place within the underground hip-hop community. Their focus on b-boy and graffiti themes and their deft lyrical skills have helped them create a unique sound and establish a dedicated following among hip-hop enthusiasts.


The Artifacts @ Spotify