Members: Mr J, Mighty Mike, Guy Master, Chris Cross, DJ Amin,
The Gifted 4 released two singles for Jive Records in 1984/5 respectively but their origins began around 1981.
Guy Master (Guy Reuben) was friends with DJ Sweet D who was putting together a rap group with Chris Cross (Chris White) and his rhyming partner, Lloydie Gee, and invited Mr J (Ricardo James) to be a member. At the time they didn’t really progress beyond performing at parties and sadly, due to some personal issues, Lloydie Gee left the group, eventually being replaced with Mighty Mike (Michael McCormick) and DJ Sweet D moved away. Guy then introduced the members to Dimon Brown aka Di’mon, who became the group’s manager and producer and the group took to the studio together with their new DJ, Amin (Bruce S.), who was there mainly for production purposes and didn’t appear with the group on stage.
Their first recordings were Rocking All Night and The Arrival, the latter of which later appeared on the B side of their Temper single. Eventually, they recorded a demo featuring early versions of Sounds Of The Mic, The Arrival and Temper. On hearing their demo, Barry Weiss immediately signed them to Jive. Mr J put together the idea for Temper which was the group’s first official release and is synonymous with us here in the UK with the event, Hip Hop At The Hippodrome aka Electro Rock, hosted by the late Mike Allen. Mighty Mike put together the idea for Sounds Of The Mic which featured additional female vocals in the chorus for the official Jive release with Di’mon writing and arranging the second half. The music was actually based on the 1982 track, I Know There’s Something Going On by Frida of ABBA.
Jive and Arista were so focused on other artists at the time such as Whodini, Billy Ocean and Whitney Houston that the Gifted 4 weren’t a priority and, as a result, were left to do most of the marketing and promotion of their singles themselves. Due to record label pressure, they also rush recorded a third single, When The Girls Get Hot, but the track failed to impress the label executives and the group was released from their contract.
Thanks to Fab for allowing the use of the acetate images. You can hear the original demos on his YouTube channel here.
Thanks to Mr J for the insight into the Gifted 4. He is still recording and has a couple of new tracks on his YouTube channel here so tune in for some contemporary classical hip hop.