CHUBB ROCK – THE BIG MAN PT.1 By JayQuan 2006

 

I first took this brother serious on his tribute to his cousin and Dj - Hitman Howie Tee called “Dj Innovator”. At a time when a lotta rap cats were tryin to be hard this dude had a very comical vocab & delivery. After copping the first lp I noticed that the Chubbster was a witty cat, who no doubt had lyrics!!! When Hip Hop heds talk about lyricists, too often they neglect to mention the Chubbster. Its my pleasure to talk to the Joker – Chubb Rock….

 

JayQuan: What’s up Chubb when are you gonna hit us with somethin’ new?

 

Chubb: Im finishin’ up now. I would have to be realistic and say the end of the year.

 

JQ: What year did you start rhymin’ , and who or what did you see or hear that made you want to be an Emcee?

 

Chubb: My cousin Howie Tee  who is my producer and who really got me in the game and showed me a lotta things. He was in a group called CD III , they had a hit record called Get Tough. Howie is my first cousin , his mom is my favorite Aunt. I was a young boy when that record came out , but I was blown away!! The first drum machine that he ever had – for those that know drum machines and the history was a Roland 303. It had a bassline unit called Drumatix and he created that whole record with it. He traded up to a 808 and gave me the 303 with the Drumatix.

 

 I began to learn and watch what he was doin’, and at the same time they had the New York Rap Awards at the Roxy. Chuck Leonard who was a well known radio personality during that time was the host. Masterdon , Fearless 4, Disco 4 and  CD III were all on the show. That show changed my life. I was always tall so I was able to get in – I might have been 14 or so. That was the first time that I saw Dougie Fresh – he didn’t have any records out. He had on a lumber jack jacket and he was doin’ the beat box and people were losin’ their minds. That was also the first time that I saw what later became the Force Mds. It started as just the 2 brothers. (T.C.D. & Stevie D). All this blew my mind. I went with my best friend Rob & my friend Doug. Me & Rob are still close till this day. When we were riding the train home we were like “that was incredible those guys are just like us , and they are making records”.

 

By this time Run Dmc had videos out and they were like stars. These guys on this show didn’t have videos , so even Run DMC status was far fetched. When we got home we started comin with rhymes. Not too long after this the Fat Boys came out , and they were important because they were from Brooklyn just like us. Once they started getting fame, it was like yeah this is really attainable. This guy in my nieghborhood named Dave showed me how to make pause tapes and he would pause Good Time for like 300 bars , and use the other channel from his reel to reel to record vocals. So he was like the first technological / engineer type guy that blew my head open. Everyday after school we would write and practice. Howie was getting more into producing , and he hooked up with Full Force and made the Real Roxanne joints like Romeo and Bang Zoom. He did a lot of production for UTFO , and I became real cool with DR. Ice and that’s when things started to happen. Howie and Doc put together a record called Rock & Roll Dude and gave it to me. Doc shopped it to the label that he was on , which was Select and then it just started. Howie & Kangol formed a group called Whistle , then I was signed to Select. All of a sudden we put out the single and it did really well underground We were asked to do an album and that’s when we did DJ Innovator.

 

 That was my first time meeting Eazy E , because that record didn’t do well in New York , but it killed in places like Ohio and other places. I started to see that there was Hip Hop comin out of all kinds of other places. I was at this little Apollo like theatre in Ohio doin’ a show with NWA and there were 3000 plus people who knew every word to Eazy E’s record and I had never heard of this guy!! I saw then that all kinds of guys were makin’ records ‘ cus NWA were the underground kings. That really made me change my whole thing from just this New York Sound. The album did good for a new underground act with no videos. Howie had began to teach me some stuff on the production end , and I remixed a song called “Caught Up” from the album. That was my first production piece , cus Howie had given me equipment and told me that I needed to be self sufficient. That remix did good on the underground tip , and the label wanted another lp , so we did “Ya Bad Chubbs” as the first single and it did well. Then the next album had Treat’em Right , Just The Two Of Us , The Big Man and The Chubbster and we kept it goin’.

 

JQ: So you are from Brooklyn – what part?

 

CR: Flatbush…

 

JQ: So you did the remix to “Caught Up”. That was my sh*t as well as the original. The “Ants In My Pants” James Brown break set it off !!!!

 

CR: Yeah Man that was my first production ever , so I was nervous. That record took me a long time to put together , ‘cus I was adamant that it had to have all these elements. I didn’t want people to be like ahhh let Howie keep doin the production. But Howie was the one pushin’ me to get into production. He had my back and he loved the remix. A lot of people supported that record , like Biz was the man at that point , and that was his favorite record. In Jersey at this club called Sensations , Biz told the owner you gotta get Chubb up in here to do that Caught Up record. We ended up doin’ Sensations like 4 or 5 times , cus Biz was a real cheerleader for the record. Kane was also big , and he told me that he played the album all the time , so that was good inspiration I felt like I must have been doin somethin’ right.

 

JQ: On the sample tip y’all rocked a few joints first. Like “Rockin Chair”. Y’all killed that on Dj Innovator before Blazay rocked it for “East is In the House”(Danger).

 

CR:Yeah we did the Luther Vandross sample (Don’t You Know That)  way before Teddy Riley , Strawberry Letter 23 before dudes took it , The Debarge sample before Biggie took it….a lotta cats studied them records , but if you’re not a historian with records you don’t know. People say that Kanye is the first to do a Hip Hop record from a gospel perspective with “Jesus Walks” ,  but I did “I am What I Am” before that. If you don’t know those records ….its like I talk to Mele Mel all the time and we laugh at how people hear Puffys record ( Cant Hold Me Down) , and don’t realize that he just sampled the Message. It’s the Christopher Columbus syndrome like I discovered America , when it was cats already here!!! The same thing happened to us , people would say Caught Up is dope – but its James Browns record!!! It goes both ways in different generations. Like we all liked Rappers Delight , but you cant forget that’s Chics record.

 

JQ: Along those same lines how do you feel about Rap cats suing each other for sampling each others voices. Like I know that Public Enemy used “Rock N Roll Dude” in the hook of “Rebel Without A Pause”. And of course you used Flava Flavs voice on “Caught Up”. That was a very routine thing back then, but today you have to get clearance.

 

CR: I don’t understand that. I was one of the first, as you said to sample Flav with the Rock That Shit Homie on “Caught Up” , It would gas us up back then , cus it was like if P.E. is scratching our record that means that they actually heard it. That was an honor because me & Howie would get a Public Enemy album and just study the production. Its almost like if Kiesha Coles heard Patti Labelle sing one of her songs. Imagine the honor in that!!! But back in the days the labels never played those games with sueing for using each others voices , but now these big labels have destroyed it and destroyed the essence of what it is. And they have made a big business out of it. Its terrible.

 

 But you cant dictate what people will do when they are starving , and that’s what Hip Hop comes from is starvation. That’s the beautiful thing. It was a bunch of cats that weren’t going to Juliard to study classical music , and they said this is our music right here!! They couldn’t go to fancy art schools or dance schools , so they learned to breakdance & do graffitti. It comes out of nothing!!!  These labels saw that they could make money from sample clearance , and they just went crazy!!!  Once they went crazy with it like that – it was the birth of the mix tape!!! When you tell a little independent guy that is making a record from his crib that he has to pay 10,000 to sample James Brown , he is gonna do it without you!! That’s where the mixtape & bootleg thing came in. Now on the mixtapes its not just we are gonna take this sample – we are gonna take the whole record!!! Who are you gonna sue when you don’t know who did it. That’s how they get caught out there , and its lovely to see them get caught out there. I love the fact that these big labels are losing money , they say how people are downloading , and im glad because they never paid the original artists anyway!!

 

JQ: Exactly! I bug out when I hear people say that. Isaac Hayes just came out and said how he never got paid for his stuff on the Stax label. He just won a lawsuit to get his money from 40 years ago!!

 

CR: Right  , they gas you with “the artists are not getting paid”. They are not getting’ paid anyway!! At the end of the day DOWNLOAD AND LIVE!!! Because downloading doesn’t stop a person from buying a record if they really want it. You can download Low End Theory , but if you're a fan you will go buy it.

 

JQ: And you probably bought it already anyway!!! On every format. Look at Thriller by Michael Jackson. I have purchased it on vinyl , cassette and cd basically every format , just like many others have , but Epic/CBS is still saying that he only sold 40 million records on Thriller. He sold 40 million just on vinyl !!!

 

CR: Yeah at one time it was on mini disc. So at the end of the day its all a gas. Its all mirrors to make you think that the artist isn’t getting paid because of whatever. The artists weren’t getting paid REGARDLESS. I always tell  cats that if you're not getting paid from your art , then you're buggin’. You better bootleg your own shit. If it came from your mouth and your pen its yours!!! At the end of the day its slavery all over again.

 

These labels are goin' belly up everyday. We used to always say 15 years ago that these independent rap labels are gonna go out of business because they will take the money that these majors offer them and that will be it. Look at Tommy Boy records , they were the most brilliant label in Hip Hop at one time. He doesn’t even exist anymore!! He is doin’ dance records!!. Look at Select and all those artists that they had like Whistle , Utfo , Kid N Play , Me , Amg , M.O.P. etc etc - he has nothing!! Sleeping Bag that had EPMD , Mantronix , Just Ice – GONE!!!! They lost their minds messin’ with the majors like they were better than them , and they weren’t!! The majors knew that they couldn’t sell Bob Dylan records forever , and they said we better mess with these Niggas !!! They knew their time was comin , so they scooped these labels up , and they own a catalog that they will forever sell. Check out the roster on these labels. They don’t even have r&b sections anymore! Patti Labelle just got dropped , how can you drop Patti Labelle!!! Its only Hip Hop on these labels. There is no independent radio personalities anymore , now its radio companies.

 

JQ: Right , we had local personalities from our communities that addressed local issues. Now we are force fed whatever Radio One , Clear Channel and whoever else says.

 

CR: Yes , and whatever label gives them millions of dollars to be part of their clique. Then Clear channel owns the venues to. Its like wait you own the station and the means of performing too?? How does the independent radio guy eat?

 

JQ: He don’t.

 

CR: That’s right he don’t!!! At the end of the day you cant get Black people and Hip Hop people to starve. Once they realize that you are gonna block the way , they are gonna go through you and its beautiful to see it!!

 

JQ:…getting back to the interview , because me & you are cut from the same cloth and we could talk all day and not get no Chubb Rock questions answered. What happened to your boy Domino from “Rock N Roll” and “This Is So Hard”?

 

CR: He wasn’t really down like we were a group. He was down with a group that started with Howie called the Sure Shot 4. And he came on my single because we created the song together. He was like a shy dude that wanted to be behind the scenes. He would get on the record , but not wanna do any shows and stuff. He was real close with us though.

 

JQ :You said earlier that Dr. Ice and Howie already had Rock N Roll Dude. Did they write the lyrics as well or just the hook & beat?

 

CR: They had the music and “Rock N Roll Dude” was a saying that they always had amongst each other. So they had the music , and I said lets make the hook that thing that y’all always say to each other.

 

JQ: We used to bug out from your inflections , and just the way you would say stuff. Like on the original Caught Up , or most anything on the first lp you were purposely trying to be comedic , and you even had a song called ‘The Joker”. Were you like a class clown type of dude growing up?

 

CR: Me & my group of friends just had a funny sense of humor , and we never took rap as something that was supposed to be so serious. Unless it was something that bothered me , like on the second Lp I had that song called the Grammys because we weren’t getting Grammys , but even that had a funny vibe to it.

 

JQ: It was cool that at one point in the so called Golden Era you had KRS who was serious , Biz who was a clown all the time , then Slick Rick who was the story teller. Now everybody is pretty much the same.

 

CR: Its only one recipe.

 

JQ: That’s one thing I liked about Kanye West before he became big. He was just a regular Black dude , who wasn’t claiming to be a hustler , pimp or whatever. We need more of that kind of balance…..

 

CR: Yeah , that’s how we came in. We didn’t claim to have terrible childhoods , I had a great childhood. What happened was it became popular because its popular in movies , and always has been. Hip Hop has a lot in common with movies. Everybody loves a rags to riches story , and after awhile that’s what happened with Hip Hop. And its cool that could be a story , if that’s your story. But what happens if you came from parents who had their shit together – middle class or lower middle. Everybody cant be like the Good Times Tv show , and that’s what Bill Cosby had to show people. Why cant we live on Park Ave. like the Jeffersons or own businesses…that don’t exist? It damn sure does.

 

JQ:I respected the fact that you as a proclaimed Joker talked heavily about the Gulf War back in ’91 or so , and here we are with a bullshit war and I haven’t heard a peep from the thug rappers.

 

CR: As far as they’re concerned it don’t affect them. The labels already gassed them and told them if they want to continue to get the 600,000 budgets that they better keep the same formula, and it’s turned into the WWF. Its all fabrications , made up beefs and stuff. One of the biggest things that im gonna ask on my album is if everybody is a gangster where are all the punks at? And what's crazy is it shows no sign of stopping.

 

JQ: People like to compare so called gangsta rap with the blaxploitation era of films, but that era lasted less than 10 years. We have been stuck in the same mode since ’88 or so when NWA started getting big. I always say that recorded rap changed totally every 3 years. From 79 – 82 you had the Disco rap records , from 83 – 86 was Run DMC and the drum machine era. 86-89 was the golden Era with Rakim , Public Enemy and them cats. But after NWA we got stuck and we are still there. The subject matter is still “im from here , I get women , I got a gun bla , bla bla”.

 

CR: Yes , and the music started to mimmick the era of the kids. In New York about the time that PE started getting big in ‘87 or so everyone was wearing African Medallions and garb and it was cool to have pride in your culture. Then came X Clan and Tribe Called Quest and that movement. That was real and the music mimicked it!! Once the N.W.A thing came and we went down that road the state of some of the kids changed. Gang violence spread – not just in L.A. but all over. H.I.V. in teenagers went up. Drop out rates for teenagers went up. Teen age pregnancy went up. Teenage incarceration rates for male & female went up. The state of the kids got to these ridiculous numbers and they go hand in hand. Now if you go up to a young girl talking about the new record from whatever group that is on a Public Enemy level today , she don’t wanna hear it. She wants to hear about brand names and Benzes and a dude callin’ a girl a ho , shorty or whatever. That’s what they can relate to. Sellin' drugs , getting high and spendin’ 80,000 on an earring. Thats what goes on. B.E.T. don’t have no more Teen Summit. The only time you'll see someone tryin' to get some chicks that are wild on the right track is 10:00 in morning on Maury Povich when the kids are in school. Its crazy….

 

JQ: I remember that on your “And The Winner Is” Lp on the back you said “to crack and all crack dealers fuck you”. With drug talk as prevalent as it is today to you still feel that way?

 

CR: Yes and no. I say no because I have realized that as I said earlier you cant blame a man for doing what he does when he is hungry and feels desperate. It’s the many dudes who aren’t and weren’t doing it for survival that I was speakin' on. Those doing it for the newest cars and clothes….I still hold that attitude towards.

 

END OF PART 1.

© 2006 JayQuan Dot Com. No part may be reproduced withput authors consent.

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