Unvaulted: Exploring Hip-Hop’s Unreleased Albums – E-A-Ski “Earthquake”

E-A-Ski‘s Earthquake was set to be the West Coast producer’s debut solo album in 1997 and was originally to be released through Relativity Records. It was set up to be an incredible debut record for E-A-Ski, as so many great things were happening fofr the Oakland, CA-based producer.  

After producing several cuts on Spice-1‘s gold-selling albums, 1992’s Spice 1 and 1993’s 187 He Wrote, as well as crafting the lead single from the platinum-selling Menace II Society soundtrack with “Trigga Gots No Heart”, E-A-Ski was making major waves in the music industry.  In addition, E-A-Ski’s song “Blast If I have To” was also featured on the 1995 movie soundtrack to Friday, starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker.

With the foundation laid, E-A-Ski and Relativity Records released “Showdown” featuring Montell Jordan, the first single from the now unreleased LP Earthquake, in 1997.   By 1998 it became clear to the producer that Relativity was not totally behind the project, so Ski moved Earthquake to Dreamworks Records where he released a second single, “25 With A Mill Ticket”.  Unknowingly, that would be the last “official” release from the E-A-Ski debut album due to a fallout between Dreamworks Records and E-A-Ski.  The producer would later sue Dreamworks in a $30 million dollar lawsuit.

Although the album was never officially released, several songs from Earthquake have been heard from the project over the years.  One of those records is the underground cult classic “Split Personality” featuring fellow West Coast producer Dr. Dre, written and produced by E-A-Ski.  The song was never cleared by Dr. Dre, and it’s been suggested that “Split Personality” served as both a precursor and inspiration for the 1999 Dr. Dre and Eminem song “Guilty Conscience”, as it heavily borrowed the concept and idea from the E-A-Ski and Dr. Dre unreleased collaboration.

In a 2011 interview with XXL Magazine, E-A-Ski had this to say about the “Split Personality” / “Guilty Conscience” speculation, “I was a little disappointed, no doubt because I had done that for him in ’96, and then for that to come out around ’99 with Eminem’s album I was disappointed. It was the same concept, good & evil, but I’m a veteran and I always look at stuff in a different light. It is what it is, and I got nothing but love for Dre and what Eminem did at that time. How can you hate on that record? That record was an incredible record, it was one of my favorite records. Of course, you’re like, ‘Whoa, I did that first’, but a lot of people didn’t hear that I did it, so for me to go and try to talk shit about it looks bad on my end, so I just let it be what it’s going to be. Definitely, for the record, I did it first!”

Another record leaked from the shelved album was the title track “Earthquake, featuring former N.W.A member Ice Cube, which would have marked the first time these two West Coast behemoths worked together.  Despite this record never being officially released, E-A-Ski and Ice Cube would work together on numerous songs like “Penitentiary”, “Pros Vs. Joes”, “Please” and others.

Earthquake was also set to feature Jayo Felony, Ice-T, CPO Boss Hogg, Spice-1, and others.  This album definitely would have been a classic record had it been properly released.

E-A-Ski has continued to be one of the most sought-after producers having worked with artists like the Luniz, Spice 1, Too Short, E-40, Tech N9ne, No Malice, MC Ren, Nate Dogg, WC, and Jayo Felony among others.