Local music: MHz Legacy

Chris DeVille, Columbus Alive

To understand the significance of MHz, you have to understand how much talent was brewing in Columbus hip-hop, and how little attention that talent was getting from outsiders, when the group's single "World Premier" came out on influential radio DJ Bobbito Garcia's Fondle 'Em Records in 1998.

"It's a big deal just because of who Bobbito is," Copywrite said. "We really didn't have a national artist doing hip-hop."

They weren't the first great rap crew in Columbus, but they were the first to break outside 270. Along with J. Rawls, who also broke nationally in 1998, MHz paved the way for later success stories like Blueprint and Fly.Union, not to mention launching solo careers for MHz members Copywrite, Camu Tao and RJD2.

All those solo projects combined with Jakki Da Motamouth's real estate business and Tage Future's academic pursuits made sure MHz never got around to releasing an LP. (2001's Table Scraps was a singles collection.) That's finally changing Tuesday when the rechristened MHz Legacy releases its self-titled debut, "fashionably late by only 14 years" as Copywrite raps.

Much has changed, most notably Camu succumbing to cancer in 2008. Other members lost parents, ran careers into the ground and bounced back. Rap evolved several times over. But if ever there was a time for MHz to return, it's now, when their influence looms via underground stars Das Racist, eXquire and Danny Brown. Plus, the album comes on the heels of two recent Copywrite LPs after a dry spell.

"We had to put out some good albums to get people's attention, let them know we were serious," Copywrite said.

All five members appear, including posthumous verses from Camu. The guest list is impressive: Danny Brown, Slug, J. Rawls, Harry Fraud. The result is a record that sounds distinctly like MHz, updated for 2012 without compromising the group's hardscrabble, battle-born identity.

"There's subject matter on this album that we could never have put out around the Table Scraps days because our mentality was a lot different," Jakki said. "I done lived and I done learned."


10 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7

1151 N. High St., Short North