Stevie Dee of the Force M.C.s and Force M.D.s. PART 1 By Troy L. Smith January 2005
Where were you born and raised ?
I was born in Harlem on 116th st. Lenox ave. across from Harlem World, but before it was built. I moved at a very young age, and was raised in Staten island.
How long did it take for y’all to get to Harlem World when you and the crew started performing?
I was 18 when we first performed there. We heard of Harlem World. Being from Staten Island, for us, uptown was the promised land, where the real rap game was. We was in Staten island doing our thing, listening to people from uptown and you know, going along with the trend of Rap. We started to make a pretty big name for our self’s in Staten Island. Mercury was the one that said we got to go uptown, to really prove our selves. We have to let them know that Staten Island can rap too.
So what was the very first spot they allowed ya’ll in?
Harlem World? They allowed ya’ll to come in there right off the top? Ain’t that something.
Van Silk, Charlie Rock and Son of Sam. Those guys played a big part in our lives when it came to the rap game. They used to say “yo just go up there and do it y’all”. Believe it our not they clowned us first, when they introduced us to the crowd. By saying “you ain’t going to believe where they are from”! “They are from Staten Island”.! “They took the ferry boat over here”. Everybody started laughing. After we did that Adams Family routine. “Dr. Rock—“ “Dr. Rock—“. They was “like oh s---.” We did the commercial rhymes. The Brady bunch, Gilligans Island. They was like “oh s---“.
What made y’all pick that style, as routines?
I am a T.V. head. This is a key thing I was telling Jayquan. I was in 2 groups. The Force m.c.s. See I am a singer and my brothers and the rest of my family are singer orientated. So me and my brothers also had a singing group called the Fantastic LD’s.
What did LD’s stand for?
Our last names, Lundy’s and Daniel’s.
is what I was known for before I met Mercury. We used to win a lot of
talent shows. We sang in front of our building a lot, Merc used to see
us. He gave us props, he believed we could make it singing. Merc said to
me one day that he rapped, and that was the thing that was out at the
time. Merc was staying at a home in the Bronx for a minute, so he knew a
little something about what was going on uptown. He said a few rhymes to
me and they were real good. His first cousin, our D.J., was Dr. Rock. I
am going to tell you all the members on both sides. Jesse D, who used to
do the beat box and Michael Jackson, song’s and dance’s was my
uncle. He used to come on the stage once and awhile, and bring the house
down. He also used to sing with our group the Fantastic LD’s. T.C.,
Khalil, Jesse D and me were the Fantastic L.D.s. we were the singing
group. Me and Mercury and my cousin the Lord K-Won were the Force m.c.s.
along with Dr. Rock. I was divided into 2 groups. Me and the LD’s
sang on the ferry boat, hustling to make money. The Force m.c.s used
to head uptown to get our selves known, around the metropolitan area.
That’s why Wu- Tang respected us so much, because we was the first
ones who made a name for Staten Island when it came to the rap game. So
it’s all love when we see them dudes.
That is what I was known for before I met Mercury. We used to win a lot of talent shows. We sang in front of our building a lot, Merc used to see us. He gave us props, he believed we could make it singing. Merc said to me one day that he rapped, and that was the thing that was out at the time. Merc was staying at a home in the Bronx for a minute, so he knew a little something about what was going on uptown. He said a few rhymes to me and they were real good. His first cousin, our D.J., was Dr. Rock. I am going to tell you all the members on both sides. Jesse D, who used to do the beat box and Michael Jackson, song’s and dance’s was my uncle. He used to come on the stage once and awhile, and bring the house down. He also used to sing with our group the Fantastic LD’s. T.C., Khalil, Jesse D and me were the Fantastic L.D.s. we were the singing group. Me and Mercury and my cousin the Lord K-Won were the Force m.c.s. along with Dr. Rock. I was divided into 2 groups. Me and the LD’s sang on the ferry boat, hustling to make money. The Force m.c.s used to head uptown to get our selves known, around the metropolitan area. That’s why Wu- Tang respected us so much, because we was the first ones who made a name for Staten Island when it came to the rap game. So it’s all love when we see them dudes.
So me and Mercury did our thing, and me and my singing group did our thing also. So one day we were on the Ferry boat as the LD’s and Mr. Magic was on the ferry. He said hey man these guys are really good. He said why are you guys doing this on a boat, ya’ll should be making records. So he hands us a card and says met me at Tommy Boy Records, to meet Tom Silverman, uptown in Manhattan. So we was like are you serious. He said yes, I am going to get y’all a record deal. So I am thinking I can’t just go as a singer, I got to get Mercury and Dr. Rock on too. So I think maybe they can put the rap in there too. So I told Merc that Tommy Boy records wanted us to come up to audition, And I wanted him and Dr. Rock to come up there and audition as well. Just as we were going to get on the Ferry to go to Manhattan my brother Khalil said he wasn’t going that he wanted to go to the Mosque and become a Muslim. So all I did was slide Mercury and Dr. Rock in more. Trisco was down with Force M.D.s as well. He first was down with a group in Staten Island called Cook Corporation. He was on the boat by himself, him and my brother T.C. were good friends; so my brother told him we were going on an audition, and asked him if he wasn’t doing anything would he like to come. Trisco was a really good singer. He said sure.
When we got there Mr. Magic said do what you did on the Staten Island Ferry. So we did all the songs, Jackson Five, Elvis Presley, Sam Cook etc. Silverman was blown away. Than I said we can rap too. This is what blew Tommy Boys mind. “you can rap too”. Me and Merc went into the “We are the Force m.c.s” routine. He was like “holy s---“. Tommy Boy had equipment in the house, so Dr. Rock showed him that he could d.j. This all happened after Harlem World. This is how we got on as the Force M.D.s.
Let me take you back to Harlem World. Through that experience we really started to feel confident. We looked up to Cold Crush, Mele Mel, Treacherous Three like they were Gods. Meeting them was like meeting Michael Jackson. We had no idea that our tapes were all in the streets like everybody else. People coming up to us saying I really liked this rhyme or that routine that y’all said. The word got back to Staten Island that we was up in Harlem World doing it, so everybody back on the island was like wow ya’ll really doing it. But that Cold Crush thing…….
Hold up I am going to get to that in a minute. What was your Harlem World of Staten Island. You know what I am saying, what was the biggest place our most popular place to rock?
Staten Island Rec. rooms in the basements of projects. These big rec. rooms we played a lot. That’s were everybody used to go to pay there money. That and the Ritz, a skating ring. We also use to play block parties. The big thing in Staten Island was the block party’s.
What about the winter time?
That would be the rec. rooms.
What was the most famous rec. room that y’all played the most?
Park Hill projects. That’s where Wu- Tang are from. I am older than them, but I used to see them when they were young say what up and keep it moving. By the time we were really putting our mark down every body knew me. So I could walk threw the block and everybody say Stevie Dee, Stevie Dee. I say what’s up but I didn’t know everybody’s name.
What project did you come from?
The Manor Harbor projects.
I am from the Grant projects here up in Harlem. Tito, Krazy Eddie of the Fearless Four, Silver Fox and Keith Sweat are from the Grant projects. O.C. lives across the street. Peso and Mike C are from Manhattanville projects which is a block away from Grant. Doug E Fresh, was couple blocks down from us. Spoonie Gee was Two blocks up from us, and the Treacherous Three were a couple more blocks away from us. So we had a few of them Celebs around us as well. As well as other legends Bobby Robinson, Gladys Knight, 8th Spectrum etc.
Yeah you were around some legends. Tito lives up here in the Pocono’s.
Yeah, exactly, I heard he has a very beautiful house.
Kangol from U.T.F.O., 50 cent. Freddie Jackson the singer. Just a few celebs.
Alright what about those Bronx clubs?
We hit Bronx River, T-Connection. In Harlem we did Roof Top. The Disco Fever too. That’s were we met Mele Mel. Mel used to live up in there.
So did ya’ll do a show up in the Fever or ya’ll was just hanging out?
We did a show! This was before we made records. We also met Love bug Star Ski for the first time.
I’m going to take you further back what made you want to be an m.c. What tape or just what inspired you to want to get on the mic.
Let me tell you exactly. It was Treacherous Three, Mele Mel and the main record that really got us doing the routines, was the Crash Crew. “We are here to tell the world….”. That was the National anthem in Staten Island. That was probably every where, but definitely in Staten Island. I don’t know if the Crash Crew ever played in Staten Island. I think they might have, but the record was very big on the Island. Matter fact G- man used to have a girl out here on Staten Island because I used to see him on the Ferry boat back in the days when we used to sing.
To be honest if it wasn’t for Mercury I might not have went that route. He was the one that told me this rap thing was hot, because all I was doing was singing. He got me into that whole feel, I started listening closer to rappers. It might have been 1980 when this happened, we didn’t start going uptown until 1982.
How old were you when you first met Mercury?
I was about 15 or 16. Mercury has one of the biggest families in Staten Island. There last name is Dale. We met Mercury and his family because we had a big Karate fight (this was when karate movies were real popular back than) on the football field. I have a big family too but there family is a little bigger. So we was doing fake karate and having fun and that’s how me and Merc met. He said yeah y’all the guys that sing. After that we just clicked. People thought we were brothers, they thought we looked alike.
Yeah ya’ll damn sure do. The whole Force looks alike ; like family.
So where did Merc get that name?
With his weight he was still very fast.
What, it has something to do with Mercury Morris of Miami Dolphins back in the days?
Yeah, they just gave him that name because of his speed. It probably did come from Mercury Morris. He also made my name too, he said, if you want to rap you got to change your name. It can’t just be Steve. I said how about Stevie Dee? Alright what ever.
Where did the name Force m.c.s come from?
Mercury come up with that too. He asked me how did it sound, I said cool. At that time I was ready for anything. See Mercury was pure energy he was the chief rocker of the Force m.c.s.
So what made y’all flip over to Force M.D.s?
Tom Silverman of Tommy Boy. When we first got the deal we was so happy, we even allowed him to put us into those F shirts and processing our hair. We went through the whole s---. He had us as experimental monkeys. Yeah try this. (we both start laughing).
What made it so bad, is I didn’t think about that for a long time until now. What the hell was going on with y’all with that whole look. But y’all was so good that y’all could do anything at that time. What did Staten Island say about it?
(Stevie laughing) We was a laughing stock. People was asking us what the hell you got that big F on your chest for. But like you said the music saved that whole s---.
I ain’t going to front y’all was one of my favorite R&B groups, kid. I ain’t going to front about that.
Hey I appreciate that man. It was a crazy experience but we went through it. We couldn’t wait to get that F off of our chest.
What made y’all go from M.C. to M.D.?
They didn’t want it to look like we were just m.c.s so Tommy Boy was like how about M.D.s? I am going to keep It real, we was like what ever, we just want to make the records. After awhile we really had to explain to dudes. “No we are not Full Force”! Especially when Tender Love came out. That is what really crossed over to the white audience. They used to say things like you guys name sounds like a rap group, but when they heard the song then they was like “oh”. The M.D. stood for musical diversity. We could do a lot of styles of music.
To be honest with you, when ya’ll changed from m.c. to m.d. I felt insulted. I felt like how could you make your roots of hip hop disappear like that. Like ya’ll really wanted to separate your selves from the hip hop world. After awhile I understood it was business purposes. Long as ya’ll kept on spiting it out like y’all was, it was all good. Do y’all.
That’s why we had to let people know that it was doo wop hip hop. Got to keep the hip hop in there.
So how did ya’ll get so close with the Supreme Team? I used to catch y’all a lot of times when I was young, on their show. I have a few tapes with ya’ll on the show.
(Stevie is in shock) You do? You got those tapes too? Oh my God I would love to hear that stuff. I knew them from 42nd st., dealing 3 card molly.
That’s how you knew them?
Yeah. The next thing you know they telling us, yeah we got a radio show.
Some body told me about the 42nd st. , but they didn’t say anything about the 3 card molly.
Yeah they had their little hustle going on. Just Allah the Superstar and Divine. They had Buffalo Gals, and Hey D.j.. they had some good records.
So ya’ll would hang out with them every Saturday night at 2 in the morning at the radio station?
It was a while ago so it is kind of foggy. We met and we just all clicked. We went to the studio , did an interview with them and they put us right in the studio on the mics with them.
So y’all used to come right out of clubs and say “yo we got to go to the Supreme Team show?
(he hesitates)…. Yes, you remember that? You know what it is, it’s the Force m.c. life against the Force m.d. life.
I must be opening some new cells in your brain?
(he starts laughing)….yeah, yeah. I been through a journey.(then Stevie gets very serious) I traveled a lot and lost a lot of people close to me. It hits kind of hard at times. I know they with me spiritually. I still got family so we can keep the legacy going on. I am like Otis of the Temptations. I been with this from day one, Force m.c. to Force m.d. Lost guys. Guys went out the group and came back.
Other than the alleged battle with Cold Crush did ya’ll battle any one else? Fantastic, Crash crew, Master Don?
No we didn’t, but us, Doug E Fresh and Master Don and the Death Committee were always group together on flyers. Every show they was on we was on. We were the three that they put together.
So who promoted y’all to keep y’all together like that?
Van Silk. He had us as a group package. We had conflict with him so we didn’t stay too long with him. We still was making a name for our selves. Even though Cold Crush was the kings of the underground groups. They was like too big to even speak to us. Long before the so called New Jersey battle they had no respect for us. The only dude who really showed love to us was J.D.L. and Tony Tone. Charlie Chase too, but Caz, K.G. and especially A.D. really didn’t care for us.
I’m a tell you long before I talked to Caz or J.D.L. about this alleged battle, I said to my self and others, this don’t sound nothing like the Cold Crush battling. But lets talk about Armstrong the promoter. What did he say to y’all to get y’all there.
He gassed us. He said “yo Cold Crush coming there and they want to battle y’all”. He said he had the flyers every where in Patterson N.J.. To be honest the place wasn’t even that packed that night. We didn’t care who was there we are going to put on a show no matter who is there. This is the whole miss communication. When we got there Cold Crush was just getting off the stage and leaving. We just heard the very tail end of the show. So we don’t know what they said. Just out of curiosity I was like why are the Cold Crush on first and us second? Especially when they are more known then us.
Hold up, you said they had no respect for y’all, so ya’ll must have been amped to battle them any way.
This is why Mercury said to the crowd say “F--- Cold Crush”. He said they going to respect us now. We also asked our selves why are they leaving if this is a battle. We had full in our brain we are ready for battle. They did their thing we are going to do our thing. So in my mind I am thinking maybe they said some negative things when we weren’t here. But it is our turn now. We didn’t know until weeks later. Just like you said Troy, when I finally listen to the tape, I say hold up they just saying their regular s---, because I know Caz is the brainiac and machine of the Cold Crush. He says all the slick s--- to make you look real stupid in battles. I know the Yvette rhyme. I know how nice he is. I said this is not like them. I know they battled the Fantastic 5 and had some slick s--- to say to them why did they not say anything against us. Was it that they had so little respect for us that they didn’t have to say anything about us. Why, why, why? We never knew.
People ran with it. I couldn’t explain to everybody, so you take it as you see it. You can not say one person quoted us as saying “yeah we blew them n------ up”. I never said that. Even Dougie was shocked, and that’s Caz’s man. He was like “yo Steve?” I was like yo Doug it wasn’t really like that man, I didn’t know it was like that, until the after math. Then when I seen Caz after everything was cool, he said that was one of his hottest selling tapes.
To me it wasn’t your best show. It wasn’t even Cold Crush’s best show. In fact, the quality of everybody’s tape is trash. On a 1 to 10 for quality of tape I would give it a 6.
Yeah you right.
I guess the idea of a battle between the both of you was hot, so that was why it was so much in demand. But it used to drive me crazy listening to it. It was sounding all scratchy and hissing and just pissing me off. I used to think what was up with the person who had the master. Was it raining when he came home with the tape. It probably had nothing to do with him, but everybody has the same type of tape.
Let me tell you something them dudes didn’t really talk to us until we made that hit record “Let me love you”. Then they started giving us our props. J.D.L. was always cool with us. He was like the crazy one, O.D.B. (Old Dirty Bastard) type, but he had a big heart.
That’s my man, I love J.D.L. So tell me what happened when y’all was in Printing high school? I got 2 stories, one from J.D.L. and one from Tony Tone. They are some what similar. As far as they seen, a fight almost erupted in there.
Did you and A.D. have a fight over this alleged battle.
Never! Like I said he never talked to me. That’s my word to my brothers in heaven. But I am going to tell you, even though they treated us like little nobody’s I still had respect for them because they played a big part in the history of hip hop. I give them full props, their face’s should have been on TV.
I hear you. I am glad you spoke on it.
They tried to put the little Gangster touch to it. (we both start laughing). I guess the blessing in all that is us, Master Don, Doug and Fearless Four have Classic albums today.
I guess because all ya’ll guys were the next level. Cold Crush and Fantastic and others paved the way for y’all.
Let me ask you something. When you interviewed them, did it sound like they had any respect for us?
Hell yeah, Tone said he seen y’all before y’all made it to Harlem World and said y’all were very talented. J.D.L. said y’all were a breath of fresh air. They both said y’all were great. They just didn’t understand how y’all got down at the alleged battle.
I guess that’s the blessing of the whole thing, now it’s all love. When we see each other now we be like “that s--- was crazy back than”. But we cool.
So what made y’all totally stop hip hop and just do R&B?d
I’m going to keep it real, singing is what I really do, in the first place. The record companies were really pushing the singing over the hip hop. They would tell us to throw a little rap here & there on some of the cuts. Like what we did with the Fat boys.
You know y’all cheated us on that one? (Troy’s laughing) I’m talking about us hip hop heads back then. I was like “what the hell is this, them dudes is better than that”. It was cool but I knew that wasn’t y’all. I thought maybe that was your man Silverman put y’all up to that.
Of course it was. He was the ring leader of a lot of stuff we decided we didn’t want to do, but he made us do what he thought was best.
Was he a good or bad label owner?
He was so stingy with money. He used to try and get videos for nothing. For "Forgive me girl", "Itching for a scratch"," Tender love" was all free because it came from movie sound tracks.
Y’all was getting boonko money?
Yeah, but he jerked us out of a lot of other money. He was not good to us, you can quote me on that.
How long did y’all stay with him?
Who did y’all go with after that?
So did y’all get a better deal after that?
We were the reason Tommy Boy merged with Warner Brothers because of Tender love. So they ended up paying for all the video’s. We got a little more money. We stayed with them for about 3 years. There was really no money in the major music market. We tried to go the independent route. Capital Records has a real interest in us right now. So we are thinking about it. We been in the studio. We are trying to sound our age. Not trying to be somebody we aren't .
What I don’t understand is y’all left on a high note, putting out good stuff.
The death’s in the groups is what made us back up.
Right, I am sorry about that.
I’m being real I didn’t even want to do it any more. Once my brother and Mercury passed. Mercury is like my second cousin. Over the years his family and my family, had children together. So we really family now. We got the same nephews and nieces. Jesse is my mothers brother. So he is my uncle.
So how did these guys pass away?
Alright, I want you to let people know the truth, because people like Source magazine and others have gotten it backwards. T.C. died of Lou Gehrig disease. Mercury passed of a heart attack, cardiac arrest. From sugar diabetes. Lord K-won died in a car crash in upstate New York. Dr. Rock died of natural causes, he always had a bad heart. Yo Troy I’m tell you something I know you got a lot of tapes. Can you please hook a brother up. Those tapes of Mercury, Dr. Shock and Lord K-won would mean a lot to me.
No problem Steve. Thank you for this interview. Peace my brother.
It was really good talking to you Troy. Thank you and Peace
Thank you to Jayquan and the Foundation. This one is dedicated to my brothers and sisters at the oldschoolhiphop.com message board. Peace
Troy L. from HARLEM, One
©2005 Troy L. Smith