When you want to get a sense of who a person is, it all depends on who you ask. This is especially true of Unique Hall, born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica.
The hood remember Unique as a street general who built his army on the principles of loyalty, honesty, devotion, trust, strength and family unity. If you ask the feds, they will remember Unique as Wainsworth M. Hall, the drug kingpin who operated a pipeline that funneled cocaine from New York City to Hampton Roads, VA, in the early 90’s. In 1994, Unique was sentenced to life in prison for allegedly “conspiring to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, conspiring to launder money and engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise.”
If you ask folks who were on the scene in NYC during that time period, they will remember Unique as a businessman with aspirations to unite the various ethnic heritages in the city, through music and good times. He is most recognizable as owner of the recording studio Mecca Audio and Club 2000.
Unique acquired Club Fuego in the early 90’s, and changed its name to Club 2000. Standing at 157th St. and Broadway, in Washington Heights, “Club 2G’s” (which it was referred to as) served as a space for Harlem’s Black, Dominican and Puerto Rican communities to party together on the Lower East Side. In addition to spinning hip-hop, R&B, reggae, go-go and house music, Unique lived up to his name by incorporating “Miami bass music” to the club’s ambience, as well as exotic dancing. Dancers from near and far (Miami, Atlanta, Alabama, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Virginia, Philadelphia) would come to strut their stuff in weekly “Pop Da Coochie” and “Doo Doo Brown” dance competitions with the world-famous New York dancers.
Club 2000 was also a launching pad-of-sorts for up-and-coming hip hop acts at the time, such as 2Pac, the Wu-Tang Clan, Fat Joe, Queen Latifah, Brand Nubian, Black Sheep, Azie Faison & MobStyle, Das EFX and Biz Markie, to name a few. Established artists and executives, such as Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Puff Daddy, SWV, Whitney Houston, Yo-Yo and Andre Harrell (among others) would also stop through to grace the scene. The list of DJ’s to come through and spin is also impressive, including names like MixKing Ron G, Red Alert, Kid Capri, Love Bug Starski and DJ Kay Slay. Mecca Audio was a favorite spot among DJ’s as a place to put mixtapes together.
If you ask corporate executives with whom Unique has conducted business, they will tell you that he is a shrewd businessman. This characteristic was most recently practiced when he leveraged the rights to “I-Ight” by Doug E. Fresh into a remixed version called “Mecca Audio Chant (The Mecca Chant).” Out of loyalty, Sadat X of Brand Nubian and Dres of Black Sheep lent their talents to the Ron G-produced track with Kyss Major and aspiring star Will Porter. With a track record like his, Unique is viewed by many as a ‘King Midas,’ and his golden touch, in combination with his foresight, might take this record straight to the upper echelon of today’s hip-hop industry.
Today, Unique, 52, sits in FCI Coleman in Florida, where he is hoping for release soon, due to clemency granted by former Attorney General Eric Holder. To read up on his case and donate to the cause, click here.
To purchase the single, “Mecca Audio Chant (Da Mecca Chant)” click here.