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Apache, a rapper that was part of DJ Mark The 45 King‘s Flavor Unit posse, would have been celebrating a milestone 50th birthday later this year if not for his unfortunate passing in 2010. Although Apache’s fame was short-lived, his hit single “Gangsta B*tch” still gets fans hyped up to this day.

Born Anthony Peaks on December 26, 1964 in Jersey City, Apache was a founding Flavor Unit member who toiled in the background in a variety of ways. According to a detailed MTV News report shortly after his passing, Naughty By Nature rapper Vin Rock knew the man well.

“Apache was one of the chief architects of the Flavor Unit,” Vin said. “Mark the 45 King held down all the DJing and production. Apache was one of the founding members with Lord Alibaski, Lakim Shabazz, his brother Latee. They were the premier Flavor Unit MCs. Queen Latifah was their female. When we [Naughty By Nature] came around, we had to get accepted to the Flavor Unit.”

As noted by rap historians, Apache helped Queen Latifah out on her early albums by writing songs and extended those services to other members of the crew. His position was hard-earned, as he and fellow rapper Treach worked as Queen Latifah’s roadies. Through the thankless job, Apache found kinship with Tupac “2Pac” Shakur, who himself was a roadie for Digital Underground.

Apache’s connection with 2Pac was a real one, as the rapper appeared on Pac’s Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. sophomore LP. Apache also rocked alongside Fat Joe on the Bronx rapper’s Represent debut LP in 1993. But it was Apache’s 1992 debut album Apache Ain’t Sh*t where he hit the big time and became a household name.

The album spawned the Q-Tip produced “Gangsta B*tch,” a fixture on the video channels back in the early 1990s albeit with a necessary edit on the b-word. Chrissy Lampkin, the better half of Jim Jones and reality TV star, was featured in the video complete with a thugged out bandana and the whole nine.

Apache toured constantly and raked in lots of money according to an interview from featuring Flavor Unit member Lord Alibaski. However, Apache would walk away from the rap game and later found religion to be his calling.

Apache’s gruff, straightforward style wasn’t for everyone and he definitely didn’t seem eager to tone that part of himself down on later features. Still, his impact on Hip-Hop is noteworthy and he helped set the foundation for other New Jersey rappers to flourish in his wake.

Rest In Powerful Peace, Apache.

Hit the jump to see Apache’s “Gangsta B*tch” video, and a photo of Chrissy Lampkin of Chrissy and Mr. Jones fame.

Photo: Tommy Boy Records

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