There was always a sale at Fat Beats, NY. Seeing the regular-priced wall-to-wall vinyl is a memory chiseled on the legacy of the one-stop shop for hip-hop (RIP). But regardless of how dedicated Fat Beats’ clientele of deejays and vinyl junkies, the store just couldn’t sell certain records, not even the free ones. So those went into the cheap crates. (Ed. Note: Records meant for Promotional Use Only weren’t to be sold for resale and still aren’t to this day. But when vinyl was being pressed at the rapid rate that which mp3s are now uncontrollably distributed, you could get away with it because everyone simply looked the other way). Some of the Game Recordings catalog also shared similar floor space—the one at the base of the store’s DJ booth. In the early 2000s, the label was probably over-shipping vinyl because Game was in high demand. Their surplus padded the closeout bin. And there they lied: crates of marked-down records, lower than 5 bucks. I liked that kind of buried treasure, a lot.
Game Recordings had its own dynasty like its contemporaries Rawkus, Fondle ‘Em Records and Def Jux. Game’s founder, Jonathan Shecter had a creative vision that stood out, close to 10 years. He treated the cover art as 12″ inch centerfolds for their Game Girl models. Game already had the strongest shit on the shelf because they signed single deals with guys like Thirstin Howl III and Blahzay Blahzay. Their greatest claim to fame though is the introduction of a two-headed monster of the most venomous rhymes ever put to wax, Eminem and Royce Da 5’9″, collectively known as Bad Meets Evil.
Bad Meets Evil’s introduction on “Scary Movies” set the bar high sonically and visually for everything else Game would put out. Friend of DJTREATS.COM, Noah Callahan-Bever pieced together the origin of Bad Meets Evil in an Oral History cover story for Complex.com. In the following excerpt NCB walks through the pivotal moment between Shecter and Eminem’s manager Paul Rosenberg:
“He and Paul linked shortly thereafter and Paul came by Game’s TriBeCa office and played the album for Jon, myself and Game art director and graff legend Todd “REAS” James (who would later design the original Bad Meets Evil logo). Next thing I know Jon’s telling me that he and Paul made a deal for a Bad Meets Evil single with Eminem and Royce.”
The single for Royce’s “Nuttin’ To Do” with “Scary Movies” as a b-side moved faster than handouts of free stickers in Fat Beats. Under Shecter’s empire of Game Girls and his Hip Hop Honey’s DVD series, the models became another reason to collect Game’s vinyl. Even when Royce’s producers evolved to more club-friendly beats by The Neptunes, the visual aids were consistently sexy. Attractive women are the highlight of any party, they just weren’t always in the most abundance at indie rap shows. Having the accompaniment of Game Girls at least gave artists of lesser-notoriety the eye candy more mainstream acts flaunted in their videos. The current look of Bad Meets Evil doesn’t have the same flare of the ’90s, and rightfully so — times have changed, different label, different regime. Photographer Danny Hastings, who shot the new BME album cover, still gave a nod to Royce and Eminem’s vinyl roots shooting a wasteland of records at their feet. The BME Game Girl cover is nowhere to be found, so I’ve taken the liberty of compiling this gallery of bold beauties from the Game Recordings archive.