Not many know veteran underground rapper Agallah, mainly due to his failed stint as a solo artist in the mid-'90s, but he later would summon his untapped talents to become a reputable working producer, making beats for Guru (of Gang Starr), EPMD, Big Pun, Onyx, the Diplomats, and Busta Rhymes, just to name a few. With an unmistakably raspy and grimy voice, Agallah remained a vicious MC on the microphone. In the early 2000s, he found his identity establishing the Dipset-affiliated Purple City crew with the business-minded Shiest Bubz, and developed into a regular staple on the New York mixtape circuit.
Born Angel Louis Aguilar in Brooklyn's Brownsville projects, Agallah's early life resembled the strife of many other rappers -- upon the death of his uncle and grandfather, his family became unstable, but the murder of his mother challenged his sanity. Growing up, he was in and out of jail and, at times, homeless. He often participated in MC battles to earn a little money. So, when he was picked up by Tommy Boy Records at age 17 in the early '90s, he was literally signed off the street. Tommy Boy dropped Agallah fairly quickly from their roster; however, he signed another deal with Elektra subsidiary EastWest Records. Known then as 8-Off the Assassin, he produced and released his first single, Ghetto Girl, in 1994. On the heels of his 1995 release, Wrap Your Lips Around This, which was never properly distributed, he was again let go of his contract.
Virtually homeless after the lost deal, he turned to beat-making as a way to make ends meet. Whether mainstream or underground, veterans or newcomers, many hip-hop acts were recruiting his production skills. He also started to crop up on some underground records, including a track on Rawkus Records' first Soundbombing compilation in 1997 with a similarly situated R.A. the Rugged Man. Changing his rap name to more reflect his last name (since "8-Off" sounded close to "Adolph"), Agallah hooked up with producer the Alchemist in 1999 and released the hilarious Crookie Monster 12", where he rapped in his best (and convincingly close) imitation of a more depraved version of the Sesame Street character Cookie Monster.
After a few years of making low-key solo material, he met Harlem native Shiest Bubz, who had done promotional work for members of Harlem mixtape crew the Diplomats, and soon after, Agallah, Shiest Bubz, and Harlem MC Un Kasa formed their own collective and entertainment outfit, Purple City (or Purple City Entertainment). With Agallah (now going by Agallah the Don Bishop) as their main producer, the group gained a following in New York's mixtape underground almost rivaling that of their Dipset associates. When Purple City signed with Babygrande Records in 2004, the three also received the opportunity to put out solo projects. In August 2006, Agallah released You Already Know, containing a roster of distinguished guest rappers and producers: Kool G Rap, Dead Prez, Nappy Roots, the Alchemist, and DJ Premier. ~ Cyril Cordor
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