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NATAS History


Picture Above (From Left To Right): TnT, Mastamind, and Esham

NATAS, the legendary horrorcore group based out of Detroit Michigan, was started in 1989, after Rashaam Smith met up with Gary Reed. Rashaam Smith, aka Esham, had recently released his first LP ever in 1988 at the young age of 14, when he was approached by Gary Reed asking him to listen to his demo. Esham fell in love with Gary's demo tape, and together they decided to form a group together. They also added a good friend of Esham, TnT. Gary Reed took up the alias "Mastamind", and the three joined forces in 1988, all at high school ages.

Since the three artists all had the same mentality when it came to rap style (dark, violent, morbid) the three decided to call their group NATAS, which is basically SATAN in reverse. However, due to negative remarks from the media, NATAS later stated that their group name is actually an acronym for Nation Ahead of Time And Space. Esham continued to work on solo albums, and in 1991 his EPs "Erotic Poetry" and "Homey Don't Play" were released. NATAS was still working on their first group album. They began to write their first set of lyrics together for their debut album that dropped one years later in 1992 titled "Life After Death". The CD featured songs unlike anything ever seen in the rap genre before, topics of evil, death, murder, and gore. Group leader Esham began to create a term for their unique style, something that would separate them from the rest of the rap artists currently out in the game, and so the term "Acid Rap" was coined. The album reached a cult legendary status upon its release, and NATAS was in high demand to release another LP.

The group began to work on their follow up LP, but in the mean time Esham kept the fans busy with the release of his albums "Judement Day Volumes 1 and 2", "KKKill The Fetus", "Hellter Skkkelter", and "Maggot Brain Theory". The year was now 1994 and NATAS was ready to release their newest horror album upon the world. The album was entitled "BLAZ4ME" and yet again reached a legendary status shortly after its release. NATAS was growing in popularity, and their fans could not get enough of the grewsome trio Mastamind, TnT, and Esham. Shortly after the release of "BLAZ4ME", Esham released his darkest album ever "Closed Casket". The release of this album proved that NATAS was indeed the kings of horror rap. NATAS yet again began to work on their newest, and most critically acclaimed, album ever.

In 1995 they finally released the album that truly shocked the world and really proved that Mastamind, Esham and TnT were going to continue to make horror rap despite negative attention they were gaining for doing so. The album was entitled "Doubelievengod" and the artwork alone (featured Jesus on the cross) provided an insight as to how dark the album was. It was through the release of this album that NATAS proved just how good they are at creating dark raps. Now in the year 1995, Mastamind felt it was time that he release his own solo album. Originally planned to be a full length LP, "Lickkuidrano" was a short EP that featured a mere 5 tracks. Despite the length and the lack of promotion, "Lickkuidrano" still sold plenty of copies. Esham hit the studio again to work on his newest album "Dead Flowerz" which was released in 1996. It featured songs that actually showed a different side of the acid rapper, a more mellow tone was consistent throughout the entire album, and the album sold thousands of copies.

The year of 1997 saw quite a few releases from Esham which included "Detroit Dogshit", and "Bruce Wayne: Gothom City", 1997 also saw the release of yet another NATAS album, "Multikillionaire: The Devil's Contract". The album was not quite as dark as "Doubelievengod" but it still sold quite well just like all the other NATAS albums. Esham began to work on his newest album "Mail Dominance" as well as assist Mastamind and TnT with the newest album "Wicket World Wide". "Wicket World Wide" featured a more toned down style from the group, and a lot of the songs seemed to have a "rock feel" to them. Mastamind did many of the songs by himself and helped push the album to the success it gained. Since Mastamind had always wanted to release a full length solo album to prove his talent as a solo artist, he began to work on "Themindzi". The album helped get Mastamind noticed as probably the most talented member of the trio. Murder Dog readers voted Mastamind the "most slept on MC" and called his album "Themindzi" an instant classic. So, Mastamind decided to go on tour by himself for the first time ever in his career. This helped boost his legendary status and soon he gained more fans than almost any other horrorcore artist in the game. He began to be called a legend, and soon people were comparing other artists to him whenever the subject of horrorcore surfaced.

Following the release of Mastamind's solo LP, Esham released the album "Tongues". The year was now 2002 and NATAS was ready to drop what appeared to be their last album, "Godlike". NATAS was having problems, Mastamind was claiming that Esham had kept a large portion of the money gained from NATAS sales for himself, and the two began to despise each other, and a beef even resulted between the two of them. As a result, NATAS disbanded in 2002. Esham signed with Psychopathic Records in attempt to gain more fans since NATAS no longer existed. The record label forced Esham to drop the moniker of "The Unholy" and he had to call himself "The Boogie Man", and the label also forced Esham to do songs with the artists on Psychopathic Records. Mastamind released his second solo album "Street Valu" this year on his own, and Esham and Psychopathic released a mixtape of Esham's old school songs called "Acid Rain". Mastamind ceased from releasing albums for a couple of years, but Esham released several more while on Psychopathic Records. His next album was "Repentance", it featured guest appearances by Twiztid and ICP along with Bone Thugz.

Esham was getting popular in the Juggalo eye, and so Violent J asked him to become a member of two of their super groups, Soopa Villianz and Psychopathic Rydas. The Soopa Villianz album was released in 2005 and Esham sported the name "Mr. Spade", and it sold quite well. In 2005, he released his last album on the Psychopathic label "A1 Yola". Following the release of this album, Esham really began to fall out the Psychopathic Record label. He could no longer stand the changes the label was forcing upon him, and he also claimed that Violent J was rude and racist. Violent J responded by saying "Esham has always blamed all his problems on racial injustice". In the fall of 2005, Esham left the record label along with Lavel. When asked about how this would affect his album sales since most of his fans were Juggalos, Esham said "Fuck Juggalos". On February 11, 2006, Anybody Killa also left the record label. On March 19, the three released an album entitled "Diamon Cutz" on which they dissed Twiztid, ICP, and Juggalos. Esham and Lavel decided that since Esham owned the rights to the Soopa Villianz name, that they should release another album together under the same name. So, "It Aint Safe No More" was released. Since Esham owns the name to Soopa Villianz, the Soopa Heroes project has been scrapped. In April of 2006, the disputing parties sat down and agreed to end the beef and stop dissing each other.

Since Esham was now back on his own record label, he decided to revive NATAS. Mastamind did not agree to the revival of the group, so when their album "N of tha World" was released later in 2006, Mastamind only appeared on one track of the album. It was apparent that him and Esham still didn't get along at all. Some people were afraid of how this album was going to sound since Mastamind has been known to be the genius behind the catchy refrains and his lyrics tend to dominate the entire hook everytime, but in my opinion Esham and TnT did okay with him, except it could have been better had he been on more tracks. So, the group disbanded again following the release of "N of tha World".

Shortly after the last NATAS album was released, Mastamind released another solo album "Hellrazer" which contained a song called "N-A-T-A-S" which explained the beef that exists between Esham and Mastamind along with how Mastamind feels about horrorcore in general and how he will never let it die. "Scared Money" is another song on the album that explains the beef he has with Esham, and in fact the intro to the song he states that NATAS' fans love him no matter what happens. (Mastamind is my personal favorite from the group).

Esham continues to release podcasts and he is working on a new album as well. Mastamind and Esham ended their beef recently after Mastamind had a long talk with his good friend Cutthroat. So, maybe new NATAS albums could be seen in the future, but for now, no one knows for sure.