Case Of The P.T.A.: A 25th Anniversary Retrospective On Leaders Of The New School By Dart Adams
Leaders Of The New School emerged in the hip-hop field during one of the most competitive years in the culture’s history. Comprised of Uniondale, Long Island natives Bryan “Charlie Brown” Higgins, James “Dinco D” Jackson, Brooklyn native Trevor “Busta Rhymes” Smith Jr. and his cousin, Sheldon “Cut Monitor Milo” Scott — the group managed to bridge the gap between the “old school” and “new school” eras of hip-hop, while also ushering the rap game into its second Golden Era. Their influence was so widespread that it couldn’t be measured in metrics such as Billboard chart positions, RIAA plaques or units sold. With their place in hip-hop history cemented, let’s break down why this ragtag bunch of enterprising MCs known as the Leaders Of The New School and their debut, A Future Without A Past, was a classic effort that influenced generations of emcees that followed.
The early origins of the group that would eventually become the Leaders Of The New School read like a who’s who of rap legends and luminaries. Busta Rhymes and Charlie Brown were given their emcee names by the one, the only Chuck D of Public Enemy after performing for the Long Island based Spectrum City crew at a talent show circa 1989. Shortly afterward, The Bomb Squad put them under their wings where they learned how to produce by spending a significant amount of time with The Shocklees (Hank + Keith Shocklee) and Eric “Vietnam” Sadler at 51o South Franklin Street in Hempstead, Long Island. The trio proved to be quick studies and even quicker at putting together their own demons… occasional clashes notwithstanding.
Time would eventually go on and the guys were offered the option of performing as one of two group names chosen by The Bomb Squad: Leaders Of The New School or Young Black Teenagers. When they were informed by The Bomb Squad that they were mentoring / developing another crew who were interested in taking the L.O.N.S. name, the quartet of emcees were told that both crews would have to battle for it. Putting forth the challenge by their elders, both sides had to make a song called “F**k The Old School,” and whichever one was the better song would win the L.O.N.S. designator. The loser would have to settle for Young Black Teenagers as their group name. While we have been shown already who won, both groups would create their individual songs and go on to perform them for The Bomb Squad.
The rest, as they say, is history…