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Picture courtesy of D-Nice
I probably should have posted this one first as this is how the conversation kicked off, but it’s too late for that. In the following segment we talk about his intial interactions with Rap, and his many influences.
When did you first really get introduced to the music?
In the early 80’s.
Was this something you were seeing, or were you getting tapes?
Well, a couple people I knew had equipment so they would let me DJ on their stuff.
Did you have a DJ name?
Nah, I didn’t have a DJ name or nothing like that, just playing around.
When did it occur to you that rapping was something that you could do?
I guess when I hooked up with Doug E Fresh, and was winning rap contest and stuff like that. That’s when I started to look at it more seriously.
What were some of the clubs you were spots at? Most of them were in the Bronx, like this place called The Armory on 170th in the Bronx. Back then in the early 80’s they had a lot of MC battles and stuff like that, and we would always come in like second or third.
Who were your favorite DJ’s back then? Charlie Chase and Cold Crush Brothers, they were the big ones. Flash was a big one too.
On the same note, who were your favorite MC’s?
To me, I would say Cold Crush Brothers and Busy Bee. There were a couple unnamed people too, but you know, I didn’t know their names but they were real good too.
What was it that really attracted you to the music?
I guess at the time all the kids were doing it. Just like different eras, the kids might be into skateboarding or whatever, all the kids at my age at that time were into the whole rap scene; banging on the desk and trying to create rhymes. It was a fun thing, it was a thing of that time. Like how everyone was into Brue Lee in the 70’s.
Did you see it as a fad, or did you even really think of it as anything other than just what you were doing at that time?
I didn’t see it as a fad, I just saw it as this real cool thing. You gathered a crowd if you were good, and the better at it you were the more people listened to you or lauged at your jokes. It was a way of getting attention.
One thing listening to you, it always sounded like rhyming came easy to you. Was that the case? Yeah, but it’s all different stages. Rhyming is just matching the last word or sylable of your last sentence, but then it gets more complicated with your Kane’s and Rakim’s where you match a ton of sylables and words in each line. Me being into stories, I guess that was my niche. That was my way of not just making the rhymes match, but filling them with spiritual stories that draws humans in and make their conscious follow. It makes it more interesting. But when I first started I had a different voice. You know how kids’ voices change, so I had a squeaky, mousy, girly voice; it wasn’t really an attractive voice so that’s why no one really took me serious as a kid. But when I grew older and my voice stayed in one place so that was a different thing. Everyone was into just rap battling, but I was into telling stories and somehow there was room for storytelling instead of critizing each other to make yourself seen.
With the people out there, did it hit em right away or did it take a second for them to really catch on to the story telling?
Well you know what it was, I went the braggadocios route. Like instead of battling like… If you go the braggacious route, you’re not really talking about the person your battling, you’re talking about yourself: I wear these type of clothes, I have this, I do this, I attract girls, girls scream like crazy, whereas the next guy might be saying you’re so wack, yous a punk, you’re this, you’re that. Really, the whole point of the whole game was to get girls; to get girls to laugh or admire you or whatever the fuck. That was back then as a child you know, but as you grow older you start to advance and go into different areas, and take it as a pulpit to the wolrd and address world issues, or you could address teenage issues like in “Teenage Love.” You can take it as a History class, and English class, a Romance class, you can take a movie and break it down into hip-hop form, it’s just different avenues you can take other than battling.
Who were your main influences, and not necessarily in rap, but maybe on the literary since you were so into stories, or on the style tip?
On the literary tip, nobody really, just whatever they taught you in High School. Whatever they taught you in History and English, it’s all the same. Plus, I was born in Englad so that made me stand out, the accent. I was raised in an English upbringing till the age of 11, so that made me stand out. I wasn’t as cool as American kids, but I had a different lingo to some degree. Some words they don’t use, I used like conquer, stuff like that.
Is crumb one of those?
Yeah, crumb was one of them. Peasants, stuff like that Americans don’t use often. You know how KRS One would say “You Suckas” at the end of a record, not to hurt no ones feelings, it was just a way to pop mess. So instead of saying “You suckas,” I would say, “you crumbs,” just tyring to outdo each other with funny shit like that.
What about on the style tip?
Style, I just learned that from having an acture eye as they say. Brooklyn, to me, had a very strong, cool dress code. There were a lot of Jamacians in Brooklyn, and they always dressed like gentlemen to a degree. They wouldn’t dress like kids with sweatshirts with the letters printed in em like Queens kids, like Run DMC, no disrespect to Run DMC. Queens was into the Adidas without shoelaces and Lee’s, the Bronx was too. But Brooklyn had a different dress code. The Jamaican kids were like an offspring of England too, so they got that shark skin, straight leg pants, suit pants, Clark’s Wallabee shoes, button up shirts with colored V-neck sweaters, the Kangols, like the English style of hat. I learned from Brooklyn’s dress code, you learn from Queens and the Bronx’s which was younger, and then you learn from Manhattan and Harlem with the jewelry, because Harlem was like the richest when it came to the accessories and nice stuff like that. Brooklyn and Harlem both knew how to decorate a car real nice, and the Bronx knew how to chop cars up and stuff. But you just have an acute eye, and you learn from your five boroughs.
I was gonna say, you took it all city with the fashion. Exactly.
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