“Hijack will reign supreme
as the British nightmare to America’s dream.”
Hijack, The Terrorist Group. — Here’s a name you couldn’t use anymore these days…
In many ways, this group from South London, consisting of MCs Kamanchi Sly and Ulysses, and the DJs Supreme and Undercover, had the biggest potential in terms of how well they understood the game and how much they’d learned, it seems, from the big US groups of the time. The parallels to P.E. are almost uncanny. The militant pose for shock potential, to express the struggle in their lives and just to come across as hard as possible, the stage show with extra members Agent Clueso and Agent Fritz to put on a show with blank guns and fake blood, a logo everybody recognized and of course, at the core of it all: a musical production and verbal delivery that blew everything else off the table.
In 1988, Hijack had released their debut single Style Wars and the following year the 12″ Hold no Hostage / Doomsday of Rap (all on Music of Life) got them Ice-T’s attention, who took them into his Rhyme Syndicate, which, in turn, had a distribution deal with Warner. Their early singles have a striking resemblance with Hardnoise’s material, but it was Hijack that eventually perfected the sound with the album that was going to follow.
Hijack – Style Wars 12″ (1988)
DJ Supreme, who did most of the production with Kamanchi Sly and Undercover helping out a bit here or there (according to Supreme), had already pre-produced about half of the material that would later be released on Warner as their first and only album The Horns of Jericho. In fact, Warner took so long to figure out what to do with the material that it only came out in 1991.
There was an early, limited version of the album including The Shogun’s Assassin, which was left out on the official release. The album was never put out on the US market since Warner couldn’t figure out how to sell it to an audience that had never heard anything like that. In Europe, however, Hijack had become so famous on the underground scene that they were invited to the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in 1990. And when the album dropped, they toured Europe with Gunshot as opening act.
Now, should you be that one person who doesn’t know this album… To get into the right mood, and to understand what I was hit with at the tender age of 15, just imagine it’s 1991 (wherever you were at the time, whatever you were doing then) and then, out of the blue…
Hijack- The Horns of Jericho (1991)
And here are three more tracks I’ve dug up.
One is Shogun’s Assassin, the extra track off the limited album version. The others are Doomsday of Rap (vocal and instrumental) and Murder in the First Degree, which was the very last track Supreme did with Hijack.
Unfortunately, the following year, the crew couldn’t decide where to go from there, whether they should cater to the US market or just stay hardcore and eventually, they disbanded. Kamanchi Sly and Undercover have made various experiments in the dance scene under different names. K-Sly is now back to making hip-hop. Supreme went to college and after moving around a bit, he’s currently living in Zurich, Switzerland where he continues to produce for various projects as well as deejay at clubs and battles.
Next up: Blade