Papoose’s career has always intrigued me, yet frustrated me at the same time. Growing up in South Florida, whenever I would play anything from his extensive catalog or songs that he’s featured on like DJ Kay Slay’s “Thug Luv,” my boys would always talk some kind of trash. However, my boy Kareem would usually be the only other one to step up and defend him. In his routine rant about why Pap aka Shamele Mackie was so great, Kareem would always bring up “Alphabetical Slaughter.”
The first time anyone heard Pap’s original “Alphabetical Slaughter” produced by DR Period was back in 1999, which dropped a year after Kool G Rap featured him on his Roots Of Evil album. By 2005, Pap had already begun releasing mixtapes like Art of War and The Beast From The East until he impressed DJ Kay Slay with his clever rhymes and gritty, Bedstuy flow. After Pap spit “Alphabetical Slaughter” live during his show on Hot 97, Kay Slay signed Papoose and he quickly became the poster child for Kay Slay’s Streetsweeper Entertainment label.
The next logical step should have been to drop his debut album. But instead, the “King Of New York” continued to drop more mixtapes under the Streetsweeper imprint. After landing a $1.5 million-dollar deal with Jive in 2006, Papoose finally made plans to release his debut album The Nacirema Dream. He managed to jump on a few big hits like Busta Rhymes’ mega-remix of “Touch It” and on Joe’s “Where You At.” However, he ended up leaving the label nearly a year later because he felt like a “victim of A&R hell.”
If he went independent after he officially left Jive in 2007, Papoose would’ve had total control over his debut album and it could have been more successful. He had the talent and the resources to make his debut great. I would have even settled if he had released it via The Conglomorate when he was running around with the Flipmode Squad. However, it’s possible that his fiancé Remy Ma’s impending jail sentence might have derailed his plans. In 2008, she was found guilty of gang assault and witness tempering after the shooting of her friend Makeda Barnes-Joseph.
But Papoose kept working. He dropped his 27th mixtape Most Hated Alive in 2012 and finally released The Nacimera Dream on March 26, 2013. After tossing out beats from Kanye West, Pharrell and other high-profile producers, Pap decided to go with less impressive beats from StreetRunner, Buckwild and Dame Grease. Songs like “Die Like A G,” which sounds a lot like J. Kwon’s “Tipsy” with an awkward horn loop, and “Cure,” the disappointing collaboration with Erykah Badu, were enough to make any fan angry at Pap. After eight years of teasing his fans with his first full-length project, the album failed to live up to its hype and only sold about 8,000 copies within a two-week span. The Nacirema Dream quickly turned into a nightmare.