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Rasco is living proof that gimmicks aren't necessary for success in hip hop, depending on what kind of success you want. By keeping the formula simple with little more than dope MCing and phat production, Rasco has become one of the most respected "underground" MCs in the game. This San Francisco native started off as a member of Various Blends, a crew he met while attending college in Fresno. He eventually launched his solo career with the now-classic "Unassisted," produced by Fanatik. The single caught fire, and opened up the world to him. Today, he records as both a solo MC and as one half of the Cali Agents (along with Fresno native Planet Asia). He has also worked extensively with other out-of-state hip hop artists like the Chicago production team The Molemen and New York's Paul Nice.

But Time Waits For No Man, now a bona fide underground classic, is the album that solidified Rasco's position of respect in hip hop. The first listen reveals a refreshing absence of bells and whistles, leaving only lyrics and beats as sharp as cleats. Rasco collaborates with a number of other West Coast artists on the record, most notably Defari and Evidence of Dilated Peoples on "Major League," an extended baseball metaphor. All MCs trying to hustle their way into the rap game would do well to heed coach Rasco's words from the batting cage: "When you step up to the plate, you better bring it phat."