D.J. Easy Lee, of the Treacherous Three, and solo emceeís Spoonie Gee and Kool Moe Dee.
Summer of 2005
By Troy L. Smith
TS: Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Harlem New York. I grew up on 126th street and Morningside Avenue. Then we moved to 127th and Convent Avenue, then finally to 128th and St. Nicholas Terrace. (2 street blocks from each other.) At a place we call, ďThe Hill.Ē
TS: Who was the first D.J. to make you appreciate this music?
The first DJ I heard was Flash. It was around 1977 or 1978, the first time I saw him he was d.j.ing right in front of the State Office building on 125th street in Harlem. It might have been Harlem Week. Me and my boys were listening and watching and I knew right then thatís what I wanted to do. My mother was doing pretty well for us money wise, so she bought me some turntables, technique B 1ís. I also owned a Numark mixer at the time. So we started doing our thing, and the fellas used to come over to my house to practice.
Even before we formed the group, I used to play music up in St. Nicholas Park. At that time we didnít call it open mic, but we would tap into the pole and brothers would get on the mic and rhyme. At that time I was d.j.ing and rhyming, Moe Dee and L. A. of course also. Special K didnít come around until we got to high school. The Hill, where we lived at, we mostly plugged up the music, or we would go over into Manhattan Ville or Grant projects and plug up. Mike C and his boys Crazy Eddie and O.C. did their thing over there. We predominately had cats from Harlem come see us. It wasnít really a borough thing, where cats from the Bronx or Brooklyn were coming to see us. Mostly a neighborhood thing, if you were from Drew Hamilton (further up in Harlem) you was doing your thing there. If you were from the Lower Eastside you did your thing there. Thatís how it started.
TS: How did you meet the crew members?
Kool Moe Dee and I went to school together. We grew up together; we were in first grade together, we went to the same elementary school 129, Junior high school 43, and Norman Thomas high school. So we always knew each other. L. A. is two years younger than us. He never went to 43. He went to I.S. 195.
Spoonie is a whole other thing. I used to play ball back in those days, and I used to play over there on 123rd street and 8th avenue at the P.A.L. My sister used to mess with Spoonie off and on. Brothers from the Hill didnít go over there unless they were going to play ball. Thatís how I met Spoonie, through playing ball and my sister. He lived on 123rd with his aunt after his mother passed many years earlier. He and I clicked, and we got so close that he eventually started calling me his God brother. He worked in the cleaners next to the P.A.L. and lived over the cleaners. His uncle is Bobby Robinson the owner of Enjoy records and a record store. At the time nobody knew Spoonie. So I kind of bought him up on the Hill. We used to play football, tackle or touch, and through that, thatís how he got kool with the brothers on the Hill.
TS: So who put the crew together?
You are going get different stories if you ask different people. When the crew was first formed it was just me and D.J. Reggie Reg. Then we had a couple of local rappers under us, Moe and L. A. When we went to Norman Thomas, I d.j.ed in the lunch room, and thatís how we met Special K. Also we had classes together me, him, and Moe. Moe and K formed a relationship from going to school and they rhymed in the lunch room. Moe liked Kís style because he was from the Bronx, and he sounded different from us who were from Harlem. Thatís how K got down, and Moe was pretty much the leader of the crew in terms of all the emcees. Everybody flocked around Moe, and what he wanted to do. So if you ask Moe, he will tell you he started the group. If you ask any of the d.j. s they will say us, because we had all the gear and equipment, we started the group. Where we went, thatís were the emcees went. Back in those days it was about the d.j. not the emcee, because the d.j. was the one that had the sound system, so the rapper pretty much hung with the d.j. Thatís just how it was, and it evolved. Moe, L.A., and K made up the name Treacherous, because thatís how they felt about them selves.
TS: So now was Crazy Eddie and Dano Dee down with yaíll for a minute?
Crazy Eddie before he moved over to the Grant Projects (two blocks away from the Hill.) was living over here by us. He was down with the d.j. crew, but he was part of the family because he was from the neighborhood. Dano went to school with us so he was a part of us. It was me Dano and Reggie. We were the ones that had either the records or the sound system. Those three were like the core. After Dano and Ed left we named the crew The Fantastic 4. I, Reggie, Moe and L.A. Eddie was right if he said he was down, but there were different sections of the group and he was definitely down if you are talking about the 126th street days. I am talking 74, 75, and 76. I am going way back.
TS: When did Spoonie come on?
Spoonieís uncle owned a record shop, so he had first right to make the first record. (Under Enjoy.) It was made early 1979 it was released months before Kurtis Blow. So that makes Spoonie officially the first solo rapper. His record came out before Christmas Rapping. That was mid 79. Kurtis record came out at the end of 79. So by the time Kurtis record came out we were already doing shows.
TS: So you were doing shows with Spoonie, and still running with Treacherous?
Well itís a little different. I was doing shows with Spoonie because Spoonie was getting paid dates. Me and Moe hadnít formed the Treacherous yet. If we did, we werenít getting shows yet, because we hadnít had a record out. Spoonie had the record out in the summer of 79 and it was real hot.
TS: Did he tell you he was about to put this record out with his Uncle, or did it come out of nowhere with it?
His first record wasnít with his uncle it was with Peter Brown. The label was called Sound of New York.
Spooniní Rap never came out on Enjoy. Peter ended up jerking Spoonie, so Spoonieís Uncle Bobby gave him a shot, a single deal. He told his Uncle he wanted to bring his boys in on it, the Treacherous 3. So Bobby said you do one side which was Love Rap and the flip side was New Rap Language. That was Enjoy, in late 79.
TS: So he never really was part of the Treacherous 3, just for that one record?
Right, Spoonie was always a solo rapper. Never in the group, but because his Uncle owned the label we worded it as Spoonie G and the Treacherous 3, so the Treacherous Three could get on the record. Through the buzz from the record Bobby signed us directly to Enjoy and gave us a single deal. We then did 5 or 6 records and then went to Sugar Hill.
TS: I used to wonder how yaíll were able to do so many records at one time. I remember listening to a tape and Moe said at the Treach 2nd anniversary yaíll had three records coming out at the same time?
What it was, Enjoy records had a house band like Sugar Hill had a house band. Everything you heard by Sugar Hill was done by the same band, Keith La Blanc, Doug Wimbish. They were the same group that did all those songs. Enjoy also had a guy name Pumpkin. Pumpkin played the drums, and a few studied musicians. Bobby just had cats in there with us, and we were putting out records and he wasnít really paying anybody. We were happy just making records. We werenít worried about publishing; we werenít worried about the recording, or points. We just wanted to mix records. We are talking about 79, 80. So nobody was really worried about that. We would be in the studio and do two, three songs a day.
TS: So there were a lot of records that yaíll made that never made it to vinyl?
TS: Man I sure would have liked to have heard those, even today.
Right and Bobby owns the masterís. We put all that stuff on 2 inch analog tape. Very seldom studios would use 2 inch, reel to reel. Thatís what they called it back in those days.
TS: So whatís the story about you and the Marines?
Yes I did a short stint in the Marines, I was frustrated in the late 70ís so I went away to boot camp and had 5 or 6 fights there and got thrown out. When I got out of boot camp I came back to New York. Spoonie had finished Spooniní Rap. When I went to the Marine Corps nobody was doing records, but when I get back Spoonie says I did this record, I want you to get down with me. So when I came back it was on.
TS: So you and he were real kool like that, thatís good.
He lived with me for periods of time, we grew up together like step brothers. His mother died when he was real young. He didnít know who his father was. His Uncle and brother (Poochie Costello who works at the store to this day as well as played the Congoís in the band on all the records.) is all he had.
TS: (To the reader, I am baiting D.J. Lee jokingly to see what he says.) How long did Moe practice his routine before he battled Busy Bee?
Moe is really private, but if he had practiced, he wouldnít have told us. (Troy starts laughing.) I donít think he practiced. Heís the type that can write and just say what ever it was. He writes his s---, internalizes and then flows with it. I donít think he practiced at all for it. I just think it is something he really put together on the fly, and rode with it. To be honest with you I was sick as a dog that day, and threw up before the show. I only lived about 10 blocks from Harlem world, so I stayed to do the show. When Moe dropped the rhyme it really didnít surprise me, because he really could flow lyrically. I didnít really understand the significance of that, that night. I donít think any one really did. Right after the show I jumped in the cab, because I was sick as a dog. So when he dropped the rhyme I just pretty much kept the beat going. But I wasnít really surprised.
TS: So what up with the L. L. Cool J wars? Did you ever see them come face to face ready to set it off?
Here is my whole L.L., Moe thing. They were really cool. They did shows, but I think Moe really took offense when L. L. said he was the greatest rapper in the history of Hip Hop. So when L. L. said that, Moe felt he was disrespecting every rapper that rhymed before him. So he told me he was going to do a subliminal thing with the hat under the tire on his album cover. He thought because L. had heat and platinum status that if L would respond to the record in any way it would catapult his record sales, and that is exactly what he did. Moe worded it to be that he knew L.ís ego is out of control, and he would respond to it. Thatís exactly what he did. If you listen close to the first album, Moe really didnít say L. L.ís name. He just made different references that would suggest that he was talking about L. L. on the album. The Red Kangol was the nail in the coffin. So to answer your question they were really kool at first. When they seen each other it wasnít like they were trying to go to blows with each other. It never got to that at all, even through the years, L used to come up to Westbury College, a school that Moe went to. They would be cool with each other when they bumped into each other. I went to college with Cut Creator. We went to City College together. He and I had more fun talking about the rivalry than L did. I think it got to a point were L realized that it was just something to sap into his heat, after the last record, he kind of let it go. To answer your question it wasnít a bitter feud. It really just was a record thing. Moe took it as you just disrespecting everybody, and you just got on the map, but we had been doing this for years. He felt it wasnít just disrespectful to him but to Chuck, Rakim, and Mel, you know the cats that been around for awhile. That was Moeís view point on it. After awhile I think L got frustrated about people questioning him about Moe all the time. At first he would talk to you about the rivalry, but after awhile he wouldnít take any more questions about Moe. His s--- was so hot and always going platinum and Moe wasnít. After awhile he must have said I am not even going to blow more life into this. (Troy and Lee both start laughing.)
TS: But why have they never seen each other face to face on the mic? I heard it was close a couple of times, but no cigar.
We had one situation and I canít confirm where we were at, either Cincinnati or Cleveland. We were on the Dope Jam tour. We were doing our show and L walked on stage in the middle of our set. We hadnít got to ďLets GoĒ yet. L. L. got on the stage, Moe walked over to him and said ďoh you want to come up on the stage, letís see if you still here when I finish ďLets GoĒ. So we did Wild, Wild West, How you like me now, and when we got to Lets Go, L. wasnít there. He walked off the stage.
They wanted to take it on tour; I forgot what promoter wanted to do it. This would have been L.L. against Kool Moe Dee in all the different cities. There would be other acts but by the end of the night they would go against each other. But the tour never materialized, and I think L felt he didnít need that with Moe. He thought that would make Moe a bigger rapper, make him more money. I also think he was advised by Russell Simmons, and we were never signed with Russell. Most of the rap groups that came up during that time all signed with Rush artist management. I think Will Smith was one of the last ones to sign. Moe was firmly adamant about not signing with him.
TS: Did he say why?
He didnít say why. To be honest, the rest of us thought it would be a great situation, just because Russell was so connected with a lot of s---. But he would never sign with Russell, and we never got to that level. Like the first album should have gone platinum but it didnít. Then we got signed to Jive ďHow you like me nowĒ went platinum. But no album after that went platinum. We kind of attributed that to bad management, then lack of proper management.
TS: So who was the manager at that time?
Lavaba Madison was Moeís personal manager. He didnít manage any one else in the group just Moe. His priority was Moe and nobody else. So Treacherous Three took a hit and everybody else in that whole entourage. It was really about Moe and I understand that.
TS: Why did Moe step away from the group, I mean he did good as a soloist but what made him pull away from the group?
I donít know if he is cool with this, but he pulled away from the Treacherous Three because everybody in the group had a vice. One smoked weed, one sniffed, and the other drank. Moe did neither. So he wanted to distance him self in terms of the image. You feel me? He wanted to take his image away from that totally.
TS: Did he bring it to the crew by saying listen yaíll all stop this, or I am out. Or because of how everybody is getting down I am going to break out?
I am sure he did at one time or another. I canít remember a specific incident. But I do know that all of that bothered him, and he did none of it, I am sure that affected him and why he distanced himself. My biggest problem with the whole situation is that I thought he was in a position to create situations for others, because of his heat. But he didnít. Maybe he wasnít proud of things, and thatís probably why he didnít. You know what I mean.
TS: I hear you.
When KRS1 was hot he put everybody on. He got D- Nice, his girl Ms.Melody, he got everybody a deal. Just on his heat. There was a time when Moe was on fire and everybody was trying to get a piece of him one way or another, so he could have just put people in situations to do some other things that wouldnít have affected him. Thatís his prerogative; this is 20 years later so it is what it is today.
TS: So what did you see when he was on fire, how much on fire was he?
We traveled all over the world; we did about 16 countries. We were the first rap group in Brazil, Holland, and Bermuda. We were in Brazil with 60,000 in 1981. That was unheard of for us, especially when were coming from Harlem.
TS: You said it was 60,000?
It might have been more since it was out doors. This is 1981, so that was really amazing.
TS: Who was on the card with yaíll?
We were on the card by our selves. We did Arsenio Hall 4 times. Soul Train, Lou Rawls parade of stars. Every major show at the time and by this time we are doing it as Kool Moe Dee, because of his platinum status. Then he was one of the earliest Rappers to have a college degree, so he was well spoken and very articulate. So whenever we did things a lot of doors opened. Some other s--- that ainít got anything to do with nothing, but just fine ass women was sweating this n----- left and right. Now we grew up together and that wasnít the case during Jr. High School and high school.
(We both start laughing.)
And I am not dissing, and I do not hate.
Not at all.
Just fine beautiful doctors, lawyers etc. Just all types of beautiful women would sweat this n-----. I attribute it to the stage; it had to be the stage. Those things were amazing. Itís no money now, but back then we were getting 25 Grand a night for a 45 minute show. That was a lot at the time. Now people are getting 150, 200 (Grand.) a night. I am traveling with Out Kast right now, they turning down 250 (Grand.) a night. I engineer for Out Kast, I am getting ready to hit the road with Keith Sweat and Cameo, and I do a lot of that stuff. I did about 12 countries with Out Kast 3 years ago. I never have seen anybody as hot as them yet. But they are on fire. Thatís just a whole other level.
With the Treach, Moe was getting all his stuff custom made, and just getting a lot of offers. His manager at the time probably never gave him situations that he was entitled to. Moe wasnít the only one that caught I.R.S. problems, we all did. We were getting paid off the books without a w2, w9 form. 1987 was a tremendous year for us, at the end of that year obviously the manager said he paid everybody and gave everybody w9ís. So the I.R.S. came after everybody. Of course Moe lost much more then everybody else, because he made more then everybody else.
TS: I am going to go away from that, how did Bobby Robinson pick the Funky 4 and Furious 5 to make records first and yaíll damn near right around the corner from him? (Bobby Robinsonís record store was on 125th street between 8th and Saint Nicholas Avenue. Bobby later moved to 8th avenue between 125th street and 126th street. The Treacherous Three lived on 128th street and Convent Avenue. They lived about 4 blocks from the record store.)
I donít know what Bobby Robinsonís reasons were; as you know neither one of them groups were from Harlem. Maybe he felt what he had in the Manhattan wasnít strong enough, or he didnít know. Or he is going by what the streets are telling him. Or maybe he is hearing the groups up in the Bronx are having a deeper impact, because obviously they have been doing it longer. I am guessing right now, because I really donít know.
TS: Do you ever think about going to Bobby Robinson about those cuts yaíll made in the studio that never made it to the final wax?
I donít think about going to him about it personally, because one I was never signed to him as an artist. I am not contractually obligated to Enjoy, the group was. Subsequently when they got royalties I never got that. So I donít have the right legally to ask him for the masters. The stuff I put out on my label, I can redo all that stuff, because I did a Fearless album and a Treacherous album also on my label. Like Aaron Fuchs who owns Tuff City records, owns a lot of the Spoonie Gee masters, thatís a whole other story slash nightmare. The real problem with the industry is that in the day we didnít have any one telling us to talk to entertainment attorneys to really hold our positioning down. It wasnít really like that back then.
TS: Alright I am going to ask you about some d.j.s give me a rating and your opinion.
Daryll C (Crash Crew)
God Bless his Soul. He was like me in a lot of ways, he didnít do a whole lot of stuff - he played favorites. In Harlem we got certain records that Harlem n------ love. Fonda Raysí ď Fat Rat.Ē ďBody to Body.Ē You know what I mean just stuff the audience loves. He did a lot of that, as far as I remember he didnít do a lot of back spinning or scratching. He pretty much just held the beat down. But if you spoke about Crash crew you heard about Daryll. From a 1 to 10 I would say heís an 8. That was because he did what he had to do to maintain the group, and he didnít really try to shine. It was about the Crash Crew, it wasnít really about Daryll C, and he humbled himself and took that role.
TS: D.J. Spivey
I ran into Spivey a couple of years ago when I went back to visit New York. He was quick, came in did his set up right. He was from the eastside of Harlem and he was really quick with it. I think he complemented his group pretty good. I give him an 8 also. He is not a d.j. that would do something he canít do. Sometimes you see d.j.s try to do things that they canít do and look f--- up doing it. He wasnít one of those.
TS: Do you ever remember Moe Dee and L. A. going against Johnny Wa and Rayvon at Randyís Place?
Yeah Randyís place (125th street 8th avenue.) was over the Shop Well supermarket. Thatís what it used to be back in the day. It was a different type of battle because Johnny Wa and Rayvon rapped but Johnny Wa had a little singing in his chorus.
TS: As well as Rayvon, but it was really Rayvon.
Right, Rayvon. One complemented the other. So they had a different type of mature kind of Hip Hop. Moe and L. had them lyrically, but in terms of their whole performance, they had one routine that they always did, you know what I am talking about I canít remember what it is but I have the melody in my head. But when they did that, even the rappers used to love to hear them do that s---. Back then it was a different type of battle, it was more of a friendship type of battle, versus a Busy Bee Moe Dee battle.
TS: Strange to belief, Rayvon doesnít remember. John vaguely remembers. Ray will say hell no I didnít battle Moe, Moe my man. I said alright.
But most n------ wouldnít battle Moe lyrically, head up, lyric for lyric he would get them, quickly.
TS: Mix Master Mike of Mike and Dave, and the Mighty Crash Crew?
He really didnít do a lot of mixing, he played every now and again, but he was really the business behind the group.
Dave really played most of the records and Mike would secure the venues. He would lock down a P.A.L. or The Renaissance ballroom. He was really the brains behind Mike and Dave; he got the record label up and going. They were actually rocking before the Crash came into existence. It was really their thing, and they were bringing up Crash Crew emcees under them. Mike and Dave had the loot and equipment. Crash got most of the recognition, because they were up there rhyming, but Mike and Dave was collecting the cheese at the door.
TS: Barry B?
Barry B, Doug had 2 d.j.s... He had Chill Will and Barry B. They were really the first rap group to have two d.j.s, rocking at the same time. Now Barry B could cut Chill Will under the table. Barry B was the one that had the flavor, and also the one that was doing all the cutting and scratching. Chill was mostly the one that was keeping the beat. When Doug wanted to high light the d.j. he went over to Barry. Barry was kind of ahead of his time, I would give him a 9. He was fast as hell. His thing was picking up the needle, he wasnít into back spinning. He would pick up the needle, drop it on the beat and cut it. Something like Theodore. Chill Will was cool I knew both of them, we used to tour with them. I would give Chill Will a nine also. Although he was a role player, he played what he had to play and he kept it going. Him and Doug were pretty close. Also Will and Barry had totally different styles.
TS: Master Don?
Master Don was nice, I believe he died recently.
TS: Yes he did.
I want to say he had a beat box also, like Flash.
TS: He did have a beat box, but his was more up to date and a stronger sound came out of his.
Yes his was better, and at that time when he had his it f----- Harlem up, everybody was looking at Master Don. We were used to hearing Flashís beat box, and Donís didnít sound anything like his, and Don was nice with it. He could d.j., cut and scratch. He was very fast. I also give him a 9. He was an innovator, he had his own style. He wasnít trying to be like any other d.j.
Pernellie O was from Saint Nicholas projects. A light skin brother, that was super cool. He used to come up on The Hill and play ball with us, and play music with us. He was a neighborhood favorite. He was the favorite of St. Nick projects. They were all in love with him. He didnít do a lot of cutting and scratching, he did a lot of blending from one record to another. He did basic cuts. Pernellie O was good at playing songs the people in Harlem liked. I would give him an 8. He was like the project hero. He could have gotten a 9 because of what he meant to his projects. They were looking for some one to be proud of and it was Pernellie O. Nobody else that I remember came out of those projects other than Teddy Riley.
TS: Crazy Eddie?
Ed started out with us, the Fantastic 4. He wasnít really down with Treacherous 3; we kind of had who we needed. He was kind of looking for a group and Fearless grabbed him because he had a few turntables. Ed was a real street guy. Hustled, did his thing on the streets as well as O.C. See Treacherous 3 and Fearless 4 were a little different from each other. See we used to play ball and sports. Some of them used to dibble and dabble in drugs. So thatís how Eddie got down with O.C. Crazy Eddie could d.j. spin and keep the beat. But he wasnít doing anything flashy. He just really supported the group. So I give him an 8. O.C. in that same ball park, he just owned the gear. He had the studio, so everybody was under him. He was Puerto Rican and everybody loved him. I give him an 8. His real ability was producing records, as far as d.j.ing he wasnít shutting no one down. But he kept the beat as well as Ed. Also he produced for other people other than Fearless. He was always in the studio mixing somebodyís s---.
TS: You being real nice giving all these guys such high marks by the way you are describing them.
Well I am looking at it as more then just d.j.ing.
Hereís the thing with Bam, I really never got a chance to see him d.j. His mystique and history kind of over shadowed who he was. I guess he really meant a whole lot to the Bronx. But I canít give him a d.j. rating because I never really seen him spin. But what I heard about him is he would play records that d.j.s couldnít really find. When he played something people would go up and look at his turntable and he would have a whole label blocked out and put Zulu on it. So he was very instrumental in getting Zulu on the map. But as a d.j. I donít know how he held up. Because I never seen him.
TS: Charlie Chase?
Charlie Chase my man, he was just like O.C. I love him to death. A real sweet guy. Ahead of his time as a Puerto Rican d.j. he had to go through a lot of hurdles. He was just like O.C., Crazy Eddie as far as being a role d.j. that maintained the beat. He wasnít as flashy as a D.St. or Jazzy J, or Theodore. A lot of them didnít have that charisma, but they could hold the beat down. We didnít have any c.d.s and dats those days. We used to put it on record. So if you have 5 rappers on stage jumping those needles are going to jump. There have been a lot of shows I have been torched because the needle jumped and the rapper, gets mad at the d.j. because the record is skipping. So if you in the middle of the routine and the record skips you are f-----. You either have to start over or what have you. To answer your question Charlie Chase is a role d.j. I give him an 8.
TS: Love Bug Star Ski?
Alright Star Ski was a d.j, and an emcee. He was more of a personality, and he would play hot records and get the crowd hyped. But what he was good at was interacting with the records that he played. Something like d.j. Hollywood, so I would give him a 9. Star Ski is like Doug E., he rips the mic every time he touches it. He is a crowd pleaser; he is the type that is an entertainer. See Doug canít rhyme, he will say the same rhymes since 79, but since he can captivate the audience and hold the crowd thatís how he gets them and thatís what Star Ski does, and Hollywood.
TS: As well as Busy Bee!
Also Busy Bee, thatís right all four of them. Really none of them can rhyme.
TS: I hear you, when Busy did that Suicide back in 88, I used to say why didnít he rhyme like that back in the days? Then I found out later on that Mele Mel wrote all that for him.
Right, Spoonie wrote for him too. That diddy ba diddy, thereís a place called diddy ba diddy ainít know town and it ainít know city! Thatís Spoonieís rhyme, Busy used to pay Spoonie to write rhymes. In those days n------ was ashamed of that. Today you have ghost writers all over the place.
TS: What would he be charging Busy back then for a rhyme?
He might charge him $50, for a rhyme. It was a little something back then, and he wasnít getting any publishing. He just wrote him a rhyme, tell him give me $50 and thatís it. Like I said me and Spoonie were very close and Busy used to buy a lot of rhymes from him. Busy couldnít write, he wasnít a writer. The joke back then when we would all be together, me Moe, L.A., Busy, Spoonie and who ever else, we would tease Busy about Spoonie selling him that rhyme that he did in his it ainít no town and it ainít no city record. Thatís one of the instances I remember back in the days.
TS: So thatís what Moe was talking about in the battle with Busy when he said ďI remember when Spoonie use to sell you rhymes.Ē He is actually talking about that ďba diddy, ba rhyme?
Exactly, thatís the line.
TS: Marley Marl.?
He was super cool. Back in the days he was kind of arrogant. His d.j. skills were passable. He didnít do anything incredible. He was more of a great producer. What he was really good at was getting projects done. He was getting deals through Tyrone (Fly Ty.) Williams, from Cold Chillin Records. That was his like his ace in the hole, in terms of a production guy. So all of that stuff that came out of that Cold Chillin camp was pretty much Marly Marl. Shan, Shante everybody came out of there, and Marly Marl was the quarter back and the brain behind the line of production. I donít remember any one saying dam did you hear how he cut that up? You will never get that about Marley, but he always got respect for getting the deal done. So I would give him an 8 just because he was a trend setter and trailblazer in those days. He really held Queens down, for a while he was the n----- out of Queens, the hell with the rappers.
(Troy starts laughing.)
Everybody was Marley Marl! You know what I am saying?
TS: Shan and Biz was alright, then Big Daddy Kane came and kind of quite that so the rap thing could really blow up. But Marley was Kaneís production.
TS: D.J. Hollywood?
Hollywood was a street legend; he was an old school guy, but a young brother with an old school appeal. Everybody over 25 really loved him because he had a flavor and a voice all of his own. He was like the Fred Flintstone of d.j.ing and emceeing!
TS: You a funny dude, what does that mean Fred Flintstone?
Alright, a n----- that you just had to love.
TS: You are right!
You just had to fall in love with his chubby personality, he was a handsome brother but he just had a smile and a flavor on the mic that everybody loved. His d.j. skills were good because he had a great record choice selection. He was able to keep the crowd moving, then he had his own flavor and style, he didnít try to change with the times, because you know by the early eightyís cats was writing, and New Yorkers are known for lyrics he didnít really care about lyrics. He just wanted to make people have fun. He went through a rough time in the streets, but he was able to get his head back together and get back in to the game. In 2006 he is still d.j.ing and saying the same thing he said in 1979 and you canít get mad at that. He had a formula is what I am saying. I give him a 9. He was an innovator.
TS: How many Hollywood shows you said you were at 20 or 30?
Man I probably been to 50, 100 Hollywood shows, cause I was an old soul my self. So the old hoes were at Hollywood parties. Reggie Wells, Love Bug Starski, Hollywood, D.J. Flowers, Eddie Cheba, those cats would play the Zanzibar, The Down Under, Leviticus and circuits like that. They werenít playing the Renaissance, The Audubon, Harlem World and Randyís Place. They could, but you know, but the older heads with more money would go see them.
TS: So you really appreciated those guys.
Yes, they didnít sway from what worked for them, and they found a market that loved them and they didnít have to say yes, yes yíall.
TS: Brucie Bee?
Harlem street legend, never was a rapper, never really said a whole lot. He really just shouted out different crews, he would say some thing like I want give a shout to the 23rd street crews, (which was from 123rd and Seventh Avenue.) Drug dealers loved him. His d.j. skills were really good in the sense that he knew how to stay true to pure Hip Hop. That n----- was going to play U.T.F.O. etc. just street records. He wasnít really going to play the cross over stuff unless it really affected, depends on where he was at. If he was at a roller-skating rink he would play some cross over s---. But if he was in a hip hop club then he played real hip hop. He was the first one to really get a strong back ground for mix tapes, and the drug dealers loved him, everybody had a Brucie Bee tape. He had the Roof Top off the hook. He held the Roof Top down by his dam self for years, as the house d.j.
I ran the studio up stairs from it. It was a studio connected to the roller skating rink. It was called Roof Top Records. Gusto ran it, he was the financier and Greg Gee of the Disco Four was the one who pretty much got in contact with all the groups, rappers and d.j.s, and he had the vision to get Gus to put the money behind certain s---. I ran the studio; I did the recording and everything that ran through it. Brucie Bee and Mike Spot was the two people that held the tables down. So I give Brucie Bee a 9.
TS: It was a debate who was actually first to start the mix tape, was it Kool Kyle, Brucie Bee or Kid Capri. In the story I got with Red Alert, he says no question Kool Kyle was first.
Maybe it was him, but the three of them were all doing it.
TS: Kid Capri?
Crazy props and respect for Kid Capri, real down to earth old school guy. Awesome d.j. can do any type of d.j. style. Cut, scratch, back spin, pick up a needle, drop it. Whatís really good about him is that he has a great record selection. He knows what to play; he knows how to keep the crowd going. The first d.j. to really get international exposure by taking it to the next level with Def Jam. I think Russell Simmons saw in him awesome skills on the turntables and he was a personality. I give him a 10, because to this day he can do it any type of setting. He is probably making 2 or 3 hundred thousand on just d.j.ing. right now. Him and Bizmarkie, I take my hat off, they killing it on that d.j. circuit.
TS: So you believe the Def Comedy Jam took him over the edge?
I think thatís what took him over the national in terms of a national appeal and an international appeal, because of how successful the television show did. Now in New York City he was already a living legend with the mix tapes, and where ever he went he could hold his own with anybody on the tables.
TS: Scott La Rock?
He was an average D.J. but what he did was keep the show together. Chris had a show outline and Scott wouldnít waiver from it. He would just keep the show going. His real skill was production. Back in the days it was primitive stuff to work with back then, he made the best of it. I give him probably an 8 for his d.j .skills but he was really on the production tip. I give props to KRS1 for just keeping his name alive, because he really didnít have a long life span in terms of d.j.ing. They might have had a 3, 4 year run and then Scott La Rock got killed.
TS: And you said his name is more out there then yours is.
What I was saying if you ask any average rap head whoís the D.J. for KRS1 everybody would say Scott La Rock. Now in retrospect, if you were to say who is D.J. for Spoonie Gee, or whoís the D.J. for Treacherous 3 or Kool Moe Dee? Maybe a lot of people wonít know that, and I D.Jed from 1978 t o1993 before I retired. I am not going to disparage why I am not that visible, but I will say why he is. Kris kept his name out there, just about every record and every show Kris does he gives tribute to Scott.
TS: Mr. Magic?
He was a radio D.J. WHBI was his first radio station and then he ended up going to WBLS. What he gets props for was he was one of the first d.j.s to have a radio show on a major station. Back in the days I think WHBI was a pirate radio station. You had to be either on 107.5 or 98.7 to get some recognition, but in those days n------ would stay up late just to hear his show.
TS: True, I was one.
He gets props kind of for discovering Whodini. He really broke a lot of rappers records, because there really wasnít any radio station in those days playing pure rap. He also would give a lot of other d.j.s the opportunity to come on his show and play. Or if he was high lighting a record he would bring that artist on. So he gets a 10. Not for being a mobile D.J. but for just being a d.j. that was a trend setter and a pioneer in terms of rap. You wanted Mr. Magic to play your record on his station, because all the heads across the tri area in the 5 boroughs was listening to Mr. Magic. So from that point of view you got to take your hat off and give it to him. Then because of his radio station popularity he started doing a lot of shows out side, just hosting s---. Then when he did that he always bought a rap group with him. So he was a trail blazer. So he gets a 10 in my book.
TS: What was your relationship with him?
Excellent, I have done so many things with him. Heís an old school n------. He is actually older than us. In fact speaking of Whodini I recently did a show with them, I helped them out on their live sound. We were in Memphis; I was doing live sound for Cameo. Whodini was also on the show. I am a monitor engineer. They werenít set up, so when I found out they were there I stayed to set them up. Did their sound check and kind of just engineered their program for them because they are old friends of mine. They donít travel with a sound guy at all, because they were an opening act and the group I was with were head liners, I stayed and made sure there situation was right.
TS: That was good looking out.
Those are my people.
He had incredible D.J. skills, for that time. He was on line with those D.J. cats from Philly. The d.j.s from Philly were awesome on the turntables. D.St. kind of reminded me of them. I met him a few times did a few shows with him and Herbie Hancock. I give him a 9 for the day.
TS: Hold up whatís the difference between a Philly D.J. and a New York D.J.?
All the d.j.s from Philly that I seen, had tremendous skills. Their were only a handful of them at that time, back in the days there was a cat name Grand Master Nel. He was one of the Pioneers from Philly before Jazzy Jeff came out. You know how Jeff plays, Jeff is also awesome. Then you have Cash Money that came after Jeff. All three of those guys are similar to the cats from the West coast name the Cat Brothers. Battle Cat, Bob Cat, have you ever heard of these guys?
TS: Theodore told me about a lot of d.j.s from over there but not these guys.
Listen Battle Cat is the D.J. for all the West coast guys. Bob Cat was the D.J. for L. L.
TS: I remember him, and now he is over on the West Coast?
Right. Now when any of those guys touch a turn table, you can get 40 New York d.j.s in a room and either one of those two can shut them down real quick. It will make you embarrassed like you donít want to touch a turntable. Thatís how incredible they are.
TS: Itís like that?
Itís like that! I am a D.J., ex d.j. I am telling you.
TS: D.J. Lee?
Which one, from Mary J. Blige?
TS: I am talking about you, but who the heck is this dude from Mary J. Blige?
Mary used to do demoís in my house, this was when she was very young, before she got a record deal. She had a D.J. named Lee.
TS: Hold up she would come down to Harlem and record at your house?
No when I was able to afford it I moved out to New Jersey. I was across the bridge in Teaneck. Her then managers would bring her out to do demo tapes; she had a young D.J. named Lee who would come with her. He asked me if it was o.k. for him to call him self D.J. Easy Lee also. I said its o.k. long as you spell it different. So he spells his E- Z- Lee, where as I am E-a-s-y- Lee. So that was his clam to fame, he was Maryís D.J., after that he formed a group, they got a deal but nothing became of them.
TS: All right how would you rate your self?
AhÖI was fair D.J. that pretty much stayed with the format of the show. My groups had a show order; because I wasnít doing crazy backspins and stuff like that I kind of stayed with the show order. I give myself probably an 8. I back spin, cut, scratch all that, also was vocal on the mic. I did a lot of house parties; street partyís and always had a sound system. In those days n------ didnít really have any money but my God Mother did, so I always had a sound system and a studio. So I give my self an 8.
TS: How did you feel about that, not going off on the turntables and staying close to the format? Did you want to, or you werenít allowed to, or did you not feel that your skills were at that level?
Actually I wanted to, but Moe was pretty much the head and the brain of the group, me and him both were pretty much head strong. The group was the rappers and they stay pretty much to what ever Moe wanted. So what I would do is get a format of the show together and it would not just be the records it might be dance routines, I might have to cut or scratch to keep the flow of the show going. So all through out it that is pretty much what I did when we did live performances. Now I had a lot of shows and D.J. parties on my own. But when we were on stage with the group, I stayed to the format. Either we had a half an hour show or a forty five minute show. It was all laid out. We go to the Jacksonís, then Funky President, and then we might go on to ďAt the party,Ē ďBody RockĒ and ďWild, Wild West.Ē
TS: So you never went off of a feeling?
Right, we pretty much knew what records we wanted to play, we knew what order it was going to go in. But Moe would say if we wanted to stop a record early then we would go to the next one, but I knew what the next record would be.
TS: Did you ever battle any one?
TS: Did anybody ever try and bring it to you like Daryll C, or Don?
Nah, mostly the rappers back in those times would battle each other. Maybe the Manhattan d.j.s werenít off the chain like that. Maybe a Flash and Theodore would battle but not any Manhattan d.j.s that I can think of, can you think of any?
TS: No, not at this moment. Not really.
Right, you can only think of Bronx d.j.s going against each other. We were all kind of a big family in Manhattan. We go support the Crash Crew, or the Fearless Four, or go support Master Don and Pebbly Poo or just who ever.
TS: I remember Tito or Mike of the Fearless telling me that you and the Fearless were working on an album a few years ago that didnít make it out of your studio.
Right, they recorded the whole album and the last Kool Moe Dee album was recorded at my house.
TS: What was the name of those two albums?
The Kool Moe Dee album was called Interlude.
TS: I remember that.
The Fearless Four album was called The Fearless Creeping up on you. The Fearless album I never released. It was an awesome album I will send you a copy. Probably some of their best lyrical work, which was never released.
TS: Well why not?
Itís not complicated but here goes. I got x amount of dollars to do a Treacherous 3 album on my label distributed through Itchiban records. We released the Treacherous 3 album and the audience really didnít take to it as we thought it would. It was called Old School Flavor. It was done in 1993 on Easy Lee Records, my label distributed through Itchiban. I got a nice budget for them, gave everybody 10 grand a piece as an artist advance which now a days is a joke, but in those days that was half way decent money. So we recorded the album we released it, had a big press release and got a nice video done on it.
TS: The Heart Beat joint!
Right. Feel the Heart Beat, was one of the singles, I released it as a first single which I shouldnít have done. I had a whole crew of people on that album, all my old friends, Big Daddy Kane, Mele Mel, Tito, Heavy Dee, Chuck D and Clark Kent. Clark Kent reproduced Feel the Heat Beat single for me. Doug E. Fresh was on it. So I had all my old n------ on itÖ.Grand Master Caz. I had all them appear on it, but I released Heart Beat first. Now the problem was it didnít vary from the original at all. It was pretty much the same track all you had was Doug E. doing the intro but the rhymes were the same and the track was the same. So I guess the audience viewed it as dam this is the same f------ record.
TS: It was lil popular when they bought it back out!
Right, so let me get to why Fearless never released! Then I recorded the Fearless album, and I had that in the can. Then I recorded a Kool Moe Dee album, now when I did the Moe album I got a nice budget for him, gave him an artist advance for that. After the album was recorded I ran a full page ad in Billboard. Jive Records called Itchiban the distributor at my label. They said they still had Kool Moe Dee under contract and if I released the Kool Moe Dee album they were going to put an injunction on the album. So they wanted me to pay them $60,000 to get Moe out of the contract as well as give me all the old masters from Jive that was never released on his behalf.
Yes, so I called Moe and it was basically just a misunderstanding, and everything came out fine. Itchiban gave me X amount of money for promotion marketing and advertising on the Kool Moe Dee album, the album was already recorded and in the can ready for release. Itchiban gave me the sixty grand, we sent it to Jive, and now I have all the masters of songs he never released, I still have them on two inch tape. So after that happened Itchiban felt that ďlisten we are not going to put any more money into that project because of how that went down.Ē ďWe already have X amount of dollars for the Treacherous Three.Ē In fact they gave me a lot of money from Itchiban records something they donít normally do. Usually they will give you five thousand dollars to record a whole album. But because of the name of the Treacherous Three, and Kool Moe Dee they thought it would be a big seller. So they gave me a couple hundred thousand to get all this done. When the album didnít do what it was supposed to do, and Moeís didnít do well either they refused to do Fearless album all together. That was because they didnít want to spend any more money period. I had a P&D deal with Itchiban which is Pressing and Distributing, which really makes me a glorified production company. That comes because I am not doing what a label does. I am not working the radio; I am not involved with retail. I am not working street clubs and pools, or video concepts. Thatís what a record label does. I was really a production company with a label deal. So that is the reason the Fearless record never got released and that was some of their best stuff.
TS: Damn! You have all these masters of Moe as well?
Yes and the other reason his stuff wasnít released it was loaded with samples. In those days people were sampling left and right. When Biz dropped his joint I think it was ďAlone AgainĒ and they put and injunction on it that is when the sample game changed.
TS: Changed the whole game!
Right, so when Moe did all that sample stuff on Jive they wasnít trying to release it. Either they couldnít get the clearance or authorization from the publishing companies that own those samples. As far as the Fearless Four that was a really good record, 5 or 6 strong songs. Those brothers were writing in those days, and they could really write. O.C. and Crazy Eddie did some nice production. I bought them all down here for a month, put them in condos.
TS: They told me that.
Öand recorded them.
TS: Who is Itchiban under?
They folded now.
TS: Who were they under at that time?
They werenít under anybody, they were their own distributors. They had a roster that was incredible. Millie Jackson, Clarence Carter, Willie D of The Ghetto Boys. Chuck D had a label on there. D.J. Smurf, 3-6 Mafia, D- Rock and just a lot of the southern rappers. They had a catalog.
TS: Why did they go under?
It was family owned and there was beef in the family. They also had M.C. Breed from Flint Michigan. He did a record with Tupac.
TS: So who came through your studio that you worked with?
I did Whodini, Professor Griff and B Rock and The Biz ( that made My Baby Daddy)
TS: You did the one Griff did right after he got out of Public Enemy!
Right, He was on Lethal Records out of New York. I did a lot of Atlanta rappers that were trying to get their start up. I did Xscape also. A lot of this stuff happen once I moved down here to Georgia.
TS: What made you moved to Georgia?
Well in New York I was a fish, and I wanted to be a whale.
TS: I got you.
The cost of living is lower and the quality of living is much higher in Atlanta. When you can afford to move out of New York you move to Jersey, so I moved to West New York for a while. Then I moved to Teaneck, New Jersey. But the homes I had out there were costing me too much for nothing. I came down to Atlanta and got this huge house and acreage. I heard they renting out apartments for 2 thousand dollars in Harlem.
TS: Thatís right the game in Harlem has changed.
You know what I can get for 2 thousand dollars a month in Georgia? I can get 5000 feet, 2 acres and an in ground pool, in a gated community. You canít get that in New York. Itís like night and day.
TS: So what else are you doing in music today?
I have had the good luxury of reinventing myself after all these years. I d.j.ed up until 1993. After 1993 I started an entertainment company. We did videos, records and we did a lot of music videos. We did Frankie Beverly and Maze, SWV, Monica, Arrested Development. When I said we did them I mean we were the producers. It meant we got the budget and we hired everybody. We gave Hype Williams his first video. You know who Hype Williams is right?
TS: Exactly, he is the one that did the movie Belly with DMX!
Hype slept on my coach for a week. I gave him $15,000 to do a 35 millimeter video. That was his first 35 millimeter video. He wonít even look at you for $15,000 today. We were a video production company; my wife ran the video I ran the audio. I had a studio and got record deals. I did that for a while. By 1996 my records did not do what they should so I ended up taking a job at Itchiban records. I was national director of promotions. So what I did there was radio promotions. I would pay and bribe radio station program directors to play our records.
Payola existed. There is over the table payola and under the table payola.
TS: Whatís the difference?
Over the table payola is I call you and I say I want to buy thirty sixty second radio spots, I send you twelve dozen tee shirts, with the name of my artist on it, and the name of the radio station on the back. I send you 6 boom boxes for you to give away on the air. Thatís over the table payola. Of course I am doing that so you can increase the spins on my record, right?
Thatís still payola. Under the table payola is when I send you 6 one hundred dollar bills in a FedEx envelope so you can add my record. Under the table payola is when I pay for your registration to a music convention or when I pay for your hotel room. When I see you at the bar down stairs and I pay for anything you want. When you call me and tell me what your preference is, and when I see you I make sure I have it. You feel me?
TS: I got you.
Thatís under the table payola. The bottom line in payola is to establish relationships, and increase air play. So I did that for awhile. Then I got tired of sitting behind a desk and on the phone. I did that for three years. So I was still on tour, you know what I mean, because the groups that worked for Itciban used me as their radio promoter. So I took them to the cities and did radio, walked them to the stage, made sure they did their performances. You see radio reps, thatís what they do. I got tired of doing that, and I got tired of being in a studio, so I said let me start doing some live sound. So Millie Jackson was one of the artists on Itchiban records, and she took to me. She asked me one day do I do live sound, because she knew I had a recording studio. I said yeah.
TS: Can you break that down to a simpler term, live sound?
Live Sound is Sound reinforcement. Sound reinforcement is not like recording. In any concert you have two engineers; one is responsible for what the audience hears. We call him a front of house engineer because his mix position is in front of the house. The other engineer is called the monitor engineer. He is responsible for what the musician, the vocalist and who ever is on stage hear. They are totally independent from each other. The monitor engineer is really the hot seat, because you are responsible for all of what the musicians hear. So you might have ten mixers on stage, and you might have ten mixers of live sound and you might have six mixers for in ear monitors. A in ear monitor is what vocalist puts in their ear so they can hear them selves sing, with out having a speaker in front of them. Thatís an in ear monitor. So you might have six mixers of that. Thatís the hot seat. Back to Millie Jackson, she asks do I do sound? I hadnít really did live sound, I did recording, which in the studio is totally different from live. So I went out there and cut my teeth, I have always been in sound, since I was 17. So I kind of knew what I wanted to doÖ.
TS: You had the big idea of what had to be done!
Right, I had the basic idea of what needed to be done. I fluked it so I could learn and get my skill set.
TS: (Troy laughs.) Straight from Harlem!
Right, then in doing that, I seen other groups out there that knew me from being a D.J., a hip hop legend. So when they seen me with a big name they took a shot on me. From there I am long front of house engineer, now I am good enough that everybody puts me on stage as monitors. So I have been touring with bands for the last six years, as a live engineer. I have been Cameoís engineer for the last 6 years; I have been Donnell Jones engineer for the last 5 years. I have been Out Kastsí engineer for the past 3 years. I did 8 countries with Out Kast, and I can keep going.
TS: Well keep going, because I want to let the world know that a lot of the hip hop legends are doing pretty good in their life such as D.L.B. having a degree in English and becoming a professor as well as dean in our old Junior High school, Kool Moe Dee also completed College and writes books as well as writes screen plays and acts and still performs. D.J. O.C. of the Fearless Four doing Mid Atlantic sales for Nelly at Apple Bottom, Gangster Gee is an R@B singer, Kool Kyle the Star Child is a part owner of a D.V.D. hip hop magazine etc.
O.K. with that I have two degrees. I just graduated again in 2000, from Morris Brown College, which is a historically Black College, in Organizational management. I also have an Associates degree from the Center for the Media Arts, in New York for recording engineering. I graduated from there in 1985. Back to the groups I worked with. I worked on the Keith Sweat tour, also Vesta Williams. After that I also worked in a church for the last four years. I started out as an audio director, then went to technical director, then went to multi media director. Now when I say a church you have to understand the significance. The churches I have worked for have 9 to 10,000 members. That has a sanctuary that holds 5,000 members. So I am talking some big business. I have toured all over with my pastor, going to other churches all over the country.
TS: So you are a Christian?
Definitely! So I have been doing that for years, in mega churches.
TS: A very busy brother.
Thatís why I am kind of bitter that I can pick up a book about hip hop and not see my name, it donít make no sense.
TS: Well itís going to be in there now!
I am still touring with major bands! I just got off the Donnell Jones tour that I finished last week. It was Ginuwine, Donnell Jones, Case and Jagged Edge. I did the Alicia Keys tour.
So I have done things all my life, and still doing it. I have 8 more Cameo dates coming up. Here goes some more, now I do Christian spoken word poetry, and I knock them dead. When I finish a poem in front of a churchÖ.
TS: Oh you do it your self!
I do it my self, right, and I be rocking it. When I put the mic down people be saying amen and throwing money on the stage. And it is real Christian based. I am not preaching but I am saying the word. So I have a half an hour show doing that. I am going to throw some other stuff at you, on the 17th of February (2006) I did the 32nd annual Black Sports collegiate banquet, with people like Billy ďWhite ShoesĒ Johnson and Harry Carson. So when I said I did it, I was the sound company. Meaning I have a sound system that I own that I can do a three thousand seater, that I own and operate. This Friday I will be in Alabama doing another Rap concert.
TS: Thatís why I can never catch you.
I stay working, I also do major plays, at least every year. For the last ten yearsÖÖdid you hear that? (There is a short pause by Troy)
TS: No, I am listening; I am just thinking about where you find the time?
Brother I am a real renaissance man. I have done a major black play for the last 10 years, where I am either the stage manager, or the production manager, or I am acting in it.
TS: Such as what plays?
ďA good man is hard to find,Ē ďWhere have all the good men gone.Ē ďLooking for love in all the wrong places.Ē ďBack Stabbers.Ē ďCasino,Ē plays like that. I have been doing that for the last ten years. I have always been in the business since 78, and I am still active in it. If you came down here to Atlanta you would think that I really had it going on. I am in a $600,000 home. And I am not saying that from a bragging point of view.
I own a $600,000 home, with a wrap around drive way. When you come your mouth will drop, and itís only because of Rap. In the Entertainment business. Hurricane lives right around the corner from me.
TS: The comedian!
No D.J. Hurricane from the Afroís, the Beastie Boys, RUN-DMC. He is getting ready to drop a D.V.D. we just did something in tribute to Jam Master Jay down here. Troy I am still current and active. You tell me the city and I will tell you the name of the radio station, so I am still current and active in a lot of things. So that is some what why I feel bitter because you have cats that havenít done a fraction of what I have done, and those cats are known. I was probably the first D.J. in 4 or 5 countries. The Treacherous 3 and I did Bermuda back in 83, Brazil in 81!
TS: I was bugging out when I got that tapes of yaíll in Bermuda in 83, because the tape was so clear, and then I am thinking of all places in this world how did they get to go to Bermuda. I donít know where Furious was going at that time but on a whole the rest of the hip hop crews werenít going to places like that at that time, how did yaíll get that booking?
I really donít remember but we were the first rap group to go to Brazil and Holland.
TS: But who was your agent at that time making all these moves for yaíll?
Probably Cara Lewis, and Norby Walters. Norby Walters was a booking agency back in the days.
TS: So yaíll were doing your own thing getting bookings with out Sugar Hill Records help.
TS: I thought they did everything for yaíll.
No, we werenít exclusive. See when you are on a label like Sugar Hill and Enjoy, or what ever, they not your booking agent, they are not responsible to book any shows for you. They are just really responsible for putting your record in the stores, and trying to get them sold. There are out side booking agencies like Norby Walters, Famous, Famous Artist, and a few others that are out now. All they do is book artist and they get a fee. The standard is 10 percent. Go to google and pull up Famous Artist and go to their website and pull up their artist roster. The artists on their roster signed a contract with them and they can only be booked through that agency. So if somebody was to walk up to a band and say we want you for a show, they have to tell you by law to call my booking agent. So the agent can book them.
TS: All right now bust this, now back in the days when Flash and the Furious and other groups were signed they made it sound like they couldnít rock at places like T- Connection and Harlem World and other spots because they were signed under Sugar Hill and she didnít want them to do those shows.
I donít know what thatís about; maybe she did have a stipulation in her contract. Now as we are more mature in this business you canít do that. You could do that if you agreed to it. If I give you a contract and you signed it and you donít get legal representation to read it, then what you signed you are bound to.
TS: I have to ask them brothers again to get full clarity on that.
Right, because that donít make sense because we didnít have those stipulations.
TS: I thought all of yaíll had that once you got down with her. See like in college basket ball you werenít allowed to play in street tournament games or tournaments out side of college ball. So back in the days when Gary Springers of Iona played at King Towers tournament back in those summers, he would never have his government name announced during the reading to the crowd of the starting 5; in fact he was made to look like the sixth man off the bench. He was announced to the crowd as The Dip.
Right and I played against him also. Let me tell you a Gary Springer story right quick. Gary Spring and his team came to my school, Brandeis High School at that time. I was playing for my school and Gary and a guy name Richie Adams.
TS: I know Richie Adams he later played for U.N.L.V. Alonzo Jackson, Artie Green. I remember all those cats.
Alright so you know what I am talking about, they came to my home court and beat us by 40 points, in our home gym.
TS: Who was on your team at that time?
Big Bob aka Bobby Jones from Patterson projects.
TS: I remember Bobby Jones; I went to Brandeis too, about 3 years after you.
Alright now this is the thing, big Gary dunked on me incredibly in my gym, he dunked on me something I never seen before in my life. It wound up being my favorite dunk after he did it on me. This n----- jumped from the base line on one step. I went with him; I was going to stick him. He tapped it on the back board, and I went for the stick, right? He pulled it down in mid air and turned around and threw it backwards on me.
TS: Reversed it, yes, I can see it right now.
Right, right. So I started doing the dunk, never got a chance to do it on him. A few plays later he came down and finger rolls it on the back board, I catch it and rub it on the other side of the back board, pull it down and pitched it out. Of course that was my little hype, the crowd went wild but it wasnít nothing like that dunk.
TS: That was Franklin High school right?
That was Franklin.
TS: They had the power house back then. Was Kenny Hutchinson who later went to Arkansas also playing with them?
Right, I played with him at Riverside Church. Man I used to ball, crazy trophies in my house back then. I was the first player in the Entertainers Classic to get M.V.P.
TS: So who played on the Treacherous Three team with you? You, L.A., MoeÖ..
Well Special K never played; L.A. was the point guard with a nice game.
TS: Was Moe a ball player, because he played football against us? And I am talking about with the equipment. We played Manhattanville projects up in City College football field and he was going against us.
I played with the Ville that day also. But Moe wasnít a big ball player but he would have fun with us when he did play. But the serious ball players on our side were me and L.A. We had Walter Berry (St. Johns.) in the middle. I am on one wing, my man Hank from the Hill who later moved to the Ville on another. L.A. had guard, and Pearl Washington (Syracuse.) the other guard.
TS: Ah man. Thatís it, itís a rap! Who the hell is playing against yaíll.
Well all the crews had different ringers, but before the ringers started we had one year of just entertainers.
TS: Yeah, Greg Gee told me that.
I took M.V.P. that year. Then later on I got best defensive player in the Entertainers tournaments. The trophy was 6í6, it was bigger then me.
TS:Damn I didnít know he was giving out trophyís that big at that time.
I still got all my hardware, it looks great. You know how brothers from New York are we keep our trophies.
TS: You are exactly right.
But this is old stuff, but dog I did a whole lot of different things.
TS: Yes I also have you as a co. executive of 3 cuts that you recorded and mixed on the Raiders of the Lost Art c.d., which you did with Van Silk and Kevin Evans on Scotty Brothers Label. Donít sweat it you up in there now! Thank you Easy Lee.
Thank you also Troy. Peace
I want to thank D.J. Lee for reaching out to us and making this interview possible.
Praise God and God bless you all. Big Troy from the Grant projects in HARLEM. One