Do Or Die Bed Sty – The Story Of Divine Sounds


In the coming months we will be bringing stories from different crews from Brooklyn. First is Disco Ritchie, Shelton D & D.J. Mike Music – collectively known as Divine Sounds. These Bed Sty cats dropped the bomb on us in 1984 with “What People Do For Money” , then again in 1985 with “Do or Die Bed Sty”. …..this their story…….


JayQuan : What was the difference in Brooklyn’s style of Hip Hop & the Bronx style back in the days before recorded Hip Hop?


Mike Music: Brooklyn was more into funk than the beats. We would listen to stuff like “Love Is The Message” (by MFSB). We were spinnin’ 2 copies , but we were more into the grooves than the beats.


JQ: How was your sound system compared to other Brooklyn Crews?


Mike Music: There were cats that were bigger than us like Flowers, Ultra Sound and people like that. The thing was that we had Michael Goede from Infinity Machine in Queens as back up. We had the Djing part down , but our set was not that big. If I ever needed to , I could call on Mike Goede to back us up. Smith Bros. had a crazy set  - it was like a half a block long, Count DC , Pete Jones they all represented.


JQ :Who are the original members of Divine Sounds , how did you get together , and is your name rooted in the 5 % teachings?


Mike Music: Yes the 5 % were very very popular at the time. My cousins name was True Mathematics at the time. He is kinda big with production now , and he is called Huff. He produced Mia , Dru Hill and some more acts. But he became a 5 percenter back then , and he suggested Divine Sounds , and the name sounded pretty good.


Disco Ritchie: I heard cats out in Queens doin’ it , and that’s how I started. I would come back home and write rhymes , cus people said that I had a good Emcee voice.


JQ :Who did you pattern yourself after , or look up to?


DR: Well I liked Mele Mel. I always liked his voice, it had authority. You always understood where he was comin’ from.


JQ: What year did you get into Hip Hop?


Mike Music: ‘75 or ’76.  I was Djing  way back then since I was in high school.


JQ: Was anyone rhyming on beat at that time?


Mike Music: No. People were rhyming , but it wasn’t melodic. It was Frankie Crocker style stuff.


JQ: When did Shelton D get down with you.


Disco Ritchie : Well me and my brother (Mike Music) had already written “What People Do For Money” , and I needed a partner. Shelton was in a group called the Bug Outs. It was him and Brian Love. I saw them in a lil rap contest at  309 park. Mr. Magic was there, and I came in 1st place representin’ Brooklyn. I won like 100.00. But I liked Shelton’s voice, and we looked good together. We gave him the lyrics and he sounded good on the song , so that how he got down with us. It was a nice fit.


Mike Music: We went to Streetwise, Fever Records, Profile and everywhere, because back then, they would listen to your song and tell you what you needed to do right there on the spot. One thing that somebody at Streetwise told us was to use girls for the hook, and it made sense. Disco Ritchie originally sung the hook. The girls that ended up on the record , were the girls that did background for Kool & The Gang. We happened to bump heads with them in the studio,and they liked the track.


JQ: Yeah the hook made it real radio friendly. I remember that that one got a lot of airplay.


Disco Ritchie: Yeah it was the longest playing rap single in New York at the time. It played for like 6 months.


Mike Music : People thought that we were a band because we had the girls singing on the hook. At a lot of concerts people would ask where the band was. We broke a lotta ground with that record. We had a little routine at the end of What People Do where we threw like 100.00 worth of 1 dollar bills into the crowd…


JQ: Did you get compared to Run Dmc? I remember that we thought that you were Run Dmc because of the back and forth style……


Disco Ritchie : Yeah , and that was the last thing on our minds to try to sound like them.


Mike Music : If you listen to any rap record from that time with 2 people it was always formatted the same. Someone would rhyme , then the next guy – back and forth.


Disco Ritchie : I will never forget in a hotel one night  , LL Cool J came in our room and heard a verse on one of our songs where we said somethin’ like “we’re not knockin’ down trees”. You know in one of their songs (King Of Rock) Run says something about them knockin’ down trees. LL went in their room and said hey they are talkin’ about y’all in their new song. He tried to set it up like a battle in the hotel room. I think that we were in Virginia. We were talking about them because we did a lotta shows with Run Dmc , and people always compared us to them. They were always poppin’ sh*t so we made the song. It was all in fun though , and nothin’ came out of it.


JQ: Did you think at the time that you were making history on those tours , or was it just all fun at the time.


Disco Ritchie: We saw it growin’ The first time that I got on a plane , I was with Dougie Fresh , and I was just lookin’ out of the window of the plane , just thinkin’ how big it was getting.


JQ: Do Or Die is my favorite joint by y’all……


Disco Ritchie : Yeah , that was more street level. Since people thought that we were a band or choir before , we just did a street record.


JQ: I wish that you had done more records like that. Who did production on it?


Mike Music: Well we had a Linn Drum and we linked it to a DMX.


JQ : Did you write your rhyme Mike?


Mike Music: Yeah everyone wrote their own.


Disco Ritchie: Mike was the first Dj to rap on a record. After that you had Grandmaster Dee (from Whodini) and Jam Master Jay….


JQ: That’s a monster record. I have seen Djs at the various championships kill 2 copies of that record. I remember Alladin really killin’ it…..


It seemed like What People Do , Changes and How Fast Money Goes sounded similar. Who was responsible for that ?


Mike Music : How Fast Money Goes was  done at a time when we were really frustrated with our label. Changes had kinda like a rock feel to it , so it was kinda different. We weren’t song writers , and we didn’t really understand what made What People Do such a hot record.


JQ: Who did you get to tour with  that wasn’t a rap group?

Mike Music : Jocelyn Brown (Somebody Elses Guy) , Rebbie Jackson , Trouble Funk , Shannon , Force Mds.


JQ: What was the last record that you made together?


Disco Ritchie : Do Or Die 3.


JQ: What are y’all up to today?


Disco Ritchie : We are in the studio. Shelton is no longer with us , but my younger brother is down. We are tryin’ to get behind some young acts and produce them.


JQ: What do you guys think of the current rap scene?


Mike Music : I think its good , but there is more promotion and image goin' on than natural talent. I like The Game , 50 Cent is good too.


Disco Ritchie ; Guys are getting’ the money now , but they spend too much on lawyers and getting in trouble. Its too much violence in the game. I like Jay Z , I would like to get him to do Bed Sty over.


JQ: Anything you wanna add?


Mike Music: I just want people to remember that Brooklyn & Queens did their thing also. The Bronx did it ,but Brooklyn was doin’ their thing !!!




As Told To JayQuan November 2005     © 2006 JayQuan Dot Com No part may be reproduced without permission from the author