JAYCEE!!!The Imperial Jay Cee - DJ for Kool Herc, and the Herculords. Also a member of Just Four.

By Troy L. Smith, winter of 2006. 

   

 

 

 

 

*The views expressed in this story are not the opinions or views of Troy L. Smith or JayQuan. We take pride in giving you the stories exactly as they were told to us , and we do not co-sign the events and / or elements in the stories - this is what was told to us.....*

 

Where were you born and raised at?

 

I was born in Harlem hospital. I lived in Harlem on 138th street and 8th avenue, until I was about 4 years old.  We then moved to the Bronx on 149th street and Jackson Avenue. The last stop was 168th street and Ogden Avenue. That’s over there by Yankee stadium.

 

So what made you first start d.j.ing?

 

Well when I was growing up WBLS radio station use to have the block parties every year. They had this block party in I think 1971. So you see the d.j. with his equipment, and I heard the record Apache for the first time.

 

What, at a BLS party?

 

Yeah!

 

What street was this party on?

 

On Anderson Avenue and 166th street. Right off of Shakespeare Avenue. Not far from University avenue. So it was the first time I heard Apache, and I saw them d.j.ing and I liked what I was seeing them doing with that.  I was really into that live thing, and I was and still am to this day a drummer. So when I seen that it took my mind off the drumming for a minute. I seen the d.j.ing thing and I said that’s what I want to do. I was about 12 at this time.

 

So your mother bought you some equipment?

 

JAY CEE!!Well the next year my mother put me and my brother in the cadet core. This was on 170th street. I did that for a couple of years until I was able to work a summer job. When I got the summer job that’s when I went out and started getting me some equipment. But before that, you know how you be having your mothers turntables and stuff like that? You snatch that up. Once that money started coming in from the summer job I bought me two turntables, and the first Gemini mixer that came out. This was around 1974, 75. I use to work for this guy that had a store around the corner from where I lived at. (Store was on 167 street between Anderson and Woodcrest.)  His name was Brother Thomas. When he seen that he could make money doing parties, he asked if I could bring my stuff in and do a party.

 

What type of store did he have?

 

He was a Muslim brother; he sold cloths, incense, and all that. He had seen that he could make more money playing music, so he made it into a club. At first he kept it as a store in the day time and we had parties at night. Once he seen it was making some real good money, he started moving that stuff out of the store and it was strictly music after that. He started changing it up, putting the black lights and hooking it up.

 

So were you the only one playing there, or were there other d.j.s also?

 

No I was the only one playing there.

 

Damn, and you was like 14, 15 playing there?

 

Yeah, my mother used to come up in there all the time and be breaking, stopping the party.

 

(We both start laughing.)

 

 She would come in there talking about “where are my son’s at?”

 

So this is your little brother running around with you also?

 

Yeah but he was only a year younger. His name was C. C.

 

I heard the two of you were rocking the big afros back in the day.

 

Yeah, yeah. (Jay Cee is laughing.)

 

How long did you stay with Brother Anderson?

 

For about 2 years. Then I got that summer youth job to make some better money for my self. One day a friend of mine was playing outside, he had the technique 210’s that just came out. He had a pair of black ones. I remember him playing in the park, he was like yeah I just bought these, these are the new joints. So I looked at them and said wow I would love to get me a pair of those. I still had the BSR’s with the spindle on top, with the record reject. That’s way back. You know what I am saying?

 

Right.

 

I didn’t have any real mixer back then. I had one of those mixers back then that didn’t have any cue. One side was the right side; the other side was the left side. That’s it. No cue or nothing, you just playing the records.

 

Do you remember how much those 210’s cost?

 

They were about $150 a piece. Some where around there.

 

How much would a good pair of turntables cost today?

 

About $1,000 today.

 

So how did this glorious moment happen when you and Herc met?

 

After I went out and got me some turntables I started doing small things in the area. I was known in that area of Yankee stadium. Woodcrest avenue, University avenue, Ogden avenue all those areas. There also was competition coming up. After they seen me do it a lot of other people started getting involved. Remember Pete D.J. Jones club was up the street on 164th street and Ogden. Now with Herc, I knew of him, but I hadn’t met him until 1978.

 

What did you know of him before you met him?

 

I heard about Herc when he played in Taft high school. He played in the back of the school where they had the football field. Everybody was out there. The park was so packed that police was there in great numbers. The people coming to hear the music wasn’t doing anything wrong, but the police still surrounded the park just in case something jumped off. The police couldn’t understand how one guy could have so many people in one spot to listen to some damn music.

 

(Troy starts laughing in good amazement.) Right, right.

 

News people were there, all that.

 

The news reporters?

 

Yeah, it was big; it was in the papers and everything.

 

The papers as well? That’s good.

 

Yeah, that’s when I heard of Herc and that’s what made me want to go see, you know?

 

Right.

 

PooHow I actually met him was through Peblee Poo. Me and her were real good friends back then. She called me up one day because she was down with him. She said you need to come down and meet Herc. I was like no I’m o.k. I figure I am o.k. over on my side of the town, meaning I think I am all that.

 

So that’s what you felt, you real good, so you do you, and he do him!

 

Right, I’ll do me because I think I can do this. But she still took me over there and introduced me to him. I told him what I could do and he said o.k. but right now I don’t need anybody.

 

Who was with him at the time?

 

It was him, Coke La Rock, Black Jack and Clark Kent.

 

I actually thought you were his first d.j.

 

No, he also had Timmy Tim. I came when Clark Kent and Black Jack were the main d.j.s. I had a lot of competition amongst them because they were already his main d.j.s. Clark Kent was his main man. Coke La Rock was doing his thing back then, as far as doing his thing out on the streets. You listen to his name you know what I mean?

 

You’re saying he was a big hustler?

 

Right.

 

But he also got on the mic!

 

Oh yeah.

 

Did he also get on the turn tables?

 

Yeah.

 

You saying he did both?

 

Yeah, yeah.

 

Also he had a big ass name as a hustler?

 

Yep.

 

That’s the first time I ever heard this.

 

Did you have any emcees before you got down with Herc? In fact what was the name of your crew back then?

 

I had emcees, but the funny thing is we didn’t have a crew name. It was d.j.s and emcees. (He starts laughing.) We had a breaking crew that was called the Red Devils.

 

So you use to break dance as well?

 

Right. It was me my brother, Ronnie Dee, Donnie Dee. Those were the main cats.

 

You were on the west side of the Bronx, before you got down with Herc who was rocking on the south and east that you remember?

 

caz&jcOn our side there weren’t that many crews. On the east side or the south side is where everybody was really at. You had Theodore and them, the Furious 3. Then there was Caz who was Casanova Fly. I use to see Caz play over there on Cedric Avenue. Over there were Herc was at, 1600 which was a little community center. It used to be Caz and the Casanova’s crew. (Not talking about the notorious Casanova gang.)They were big too, with that dancing and all that.

 

So Caz had a bunch of dancers running with him.

 

Yeah he had a bunch of people running with him. Before Caz did the Cold Crush thing, Caz was doing the damn thing. Caz was a D.J. (he starts laughing.) he wasn’t emceeing then.

 

Who did your security before you got down with Herc?

 

It was just neighborhood cats, and us. Me, my brother, Ronnie and Donnie, and who ever else was down with us.

 

So you didn’t have to put your mack down by fighting any of those cats from around the way.

 

We had those things. It was cats that were from around the way that was jealous of what I was doing, so they would come to the party and start s---. The bad thing about it is they knew they couldn’t win because I had too many people around me that wanted to be down. You know when you doing something you just have so many people that want to be down. So they would just do anything to be down. I just found this out in the last year Greg Nice from Nice and Smooth carried my crate of records for me. They both came from up in that area. Me and Smooth was in the Cadet Core together.

 

But Smooth is much younger then you right? He’s closer to my age, I am 39.

 

Yeah, he is younger but he was in the Cadet Core with me. See they all seen me when I was doing it. They will tell you in a minute “we seen Jay Cee doing it”, “we wanted to do it.” See there were a lot of little crews out there.

 

You’re exactly right there were a lot of crews that weren’t known, trying to make a name for them selves.

 

They was just in their houses and then they wanted to come out and try and get at somebody. They couldn’t get at us, because I was just too big for them.

 

Guys like L- Brothers and others had emcees, how did you feel about their emcees? Could you get emcees like that at that time?

 

Well I was trying to at the time. You get the around the way cats, we had our little crew of cats that we considered decent. But I wasn’t really able to pull known emcees over.

 

How did you finally get on with Herc?

 

One day me and Peblee was talking and she said “Jay it’s your time now.” “I know that you are better then a lot of these guys out here.” She didn’t just see me perform but also she heard my cassettes. Back then it was about making cassettes. You know cassettes, eight tracks what ever. Then you went back to school with your tape. I went to Dewitt Clinton High school. So you go into the school with your tape in the box and you played it. If a cat liked what you were doing then they would ask can they buy a tape. So everybody knew that I was good on the west side. But it was a matter of Herc knowing that I was good, and him believing that I was good. So she told me that, so I said alright I am going to push hard, and I am going to show them what the deal is. Then I had a little minor set back and that’s what screwed me up.

 

I was doing a party one night, and me and a close friend of mine at the time had a fight. See I told him my mother didn’t want me to take the equipment out, so I said to him “leave the stuff out side - me and my brother will take it in side.” This was right before I was going to get down with Herc big. My homie was like jealous because everybody was feeling me because of the work I was doing. So he was like f--- you and your girl and all of that. I said yo dog you supposed to be my man what are you talking about? He said I’ll punch you in your face. I said I am not going to let you disrespect me in front of all these people. This was when silver was getting really big.  I had my silver medallion on, I thought I was all that.

 

Now this was my best friend and he was much bigger then me. He yoked me up; put me on the wall, I got out of it and punched him in the face. We started fighting right there. Make a long story short we got into it and I hurt my hand. I got a big open cut on my hand. They took me to the hospital and got it stitched up. They gave me a shot and all that. Come to find out the doctor wasn’t suppose to stitch me up. I almost lost my hand.

 

Damn.

 

Yeah, it was crazy; I was out of commission for three months. By the time I was ready Herc and Clark Kent came by one night when I was back on, and it was an outside jam. So Herc and Clark Kent seen me battling some local brother.

 

So what happened to your close friend that you had the fight with?

 

It’s crazy because I hadn’t seen him for a long time and when I did I told him thanks. I told him when we had that fight I almost lost my hand but you ended up creating an f------ monster on the turntables. He said what do you mean by that? Well I had to D.J. with one hand. For two and a half months. So my left hand was now my right hand also. So it made my left real good. So when I got my right hand back I was nice on both of my hands now.

 

So now when Herc came to see me that night of my battle it solidified everything. He let me do my first party with him. He didn’t put me on the flyer yet. It was a sweat suit party. It was him, Theodore and Funky 4. They weren’t Funky 4 that night. They were called Brothers Disco. Baron and Break Out were down with Funky but they also had their separate thing going on. Rahiem was down with them as well as Sha- Rock. That night Rahiem was singing some songs. I remember seeing Kevie Kev, Master Rob and Theodore also that night.

 

That first party I was at with Herc was at Stafford place, over on University and 176th street. That was Herc’s home base. They used to call it the home base. Something I have to mention, a lot of people didn’t know Whipper Whip was down with us also.

 

With Kool Herc? For how long?

 

Whip was with us for like a year and a half.

 

Are you saying a full year of running with the Herculords as an emcee? Damn and he is a good emcee especially with what Herc was working with.

 

Whip was nice. Herc had Sweet and Sour a female emcee. Pebblee Poo was also down but she was before Sweet and Sour. In fact they were down for a hot minute at the same time. But Pebblee didn’t like the way they bought her in.

 

What they tried to sneak her in the back door?

 

Nah Clark Kent was trying to kick it to Pebblee and she wasn’t interested so he bought Sweet and Sour in. As far as skills wise Pebblee would eat her up.

 

I never heard of Sweet and Sour until I seen her on the flyers. Who else was on the roster?

 

King La Brew. La Brew was our main emcee until Star Ski got there. You know Busy Bee was down with us for a minute.

 

How long was he running with ya’ll?

 

He was with us for at least a year and a half also.

 

He was an actual Herculord emcee?

 

Yeah.

 

I never even heard of that one either.

 

So he left the L- Brothers came to the Herculords before he went extremely solo?

 

That’s right. Man we used to tear it up, me and him.

 

I never heard that nor read it in the books, yo Jay you got to give me some of those Herculord tapes.

 

(Jay starts laughing.) I got to try and get some, I got to see who I can get them from.

 

 

Alright who else was on the Herc roster?

 

This is going to really mess you up. J.D.L. was with me before he was with the Cold Crush.

 

I believe that, he used to tell me how he used to go to Herc party’s and stand by the speakers and say rhymes. Now he told me a while back he was too young to get down with Herc. So can you be a little clearer on this.

 

He was down with Herc, by me meeting him through Herc I used to go back home to where I lived and he used to come over to my house, and we used to practice in my house. So he wasn’t really down but he would do a party here and there with us. He was more or less down with me. If I said yo J.D.L. I am doing a party, he would come through. He wanted to spit when I am d.j.ing. He would tell you “yeah, Jay Cee, that’s my n-----.” But I was finding out s--- about J.D.L. that I didn’t know. Brothers were like you know who you have at your house? That n----- is a stick up kid. They are like “yo he ain’t try and stick you up.”? I was like nah. This is cats on my block asking me this. I was like he ain’t over here for that, he is here to rhyme.

 

J.D.L. loves the mic.

 

Yeah he loves the mic. They thinking stick up, they was definitely scared of him.

 

So he wasn’t officially down, but respected him as an emcee.

 

Right but he was on a few flyers with Herc. I met L. through Herc. He rhymed at a Herc party. I didn’t know him like that to let him come to my house unless it was through Herc. See a lot of people came through Herc. A lot of people wanted to be down with Herc. It just didn’t pan out for them, because Herc was funny.

 

Alright before we get to Herc being funny who else was down with Herc’s roster?

 

They weren’t down with us but when Furious left Flash for a short moment they came to our parties checking me out. I was battling Jazzy J of the Zulu Nation at the P.A.L one night.

 

So how did that battle go between you and him?

 

I murdered him.

 

You murdered him? What bought that battle on?

 

I am going to get to that, but it’s a part of the puzzle so I will come back to it.

 

Alright we are on Mel and his boys.

 

What happen was Mel heard about me. Herc let him know that we would be rocking out side at 82 park. Herc called me up told me the same thing. By this time I had moved to Yonkers. So I jumped on the train and when I got there the park was packed, and this was like 3 o’clock in the afternoon. When I walked in the park they got real hyped. Now Herc didn’t announce to the crowd yet that Mel was on his way.

 

Hold up, was Mel auditioning you to take Flashes place?

 

No nothing like that. He heard that I was real nice so he wanted to see for him self. At the same token people were saying that I was better then Flash so he wanted to see.

 

Well not for nothing a lot of brothers are giving you props such as Tony Tone, Theodore and Pow Wow.

 

Man I will murder Flash, I will kill him in my sleep.

 

Have ya’ll ever battled, you and Flash?

 

Yes. That’s why I said this is a puzzle and I will get to that part as well. So Mel came, and when they seen him they went crazy. That’s the first time I seen Mel. I heard him on cassettes but I never seen him in person. So Mel’s over on the side talking to Clark Kent and Herc, then Clark Kent comes over to me and says Mel is here so we are going to start this now, because the place is ridiculous, so we want to get off on a good note in case people want to start acting stupid. That day we had both East side and West side up in here at the same time. You know there was a time east side couldn’t go on west side and west side couldn’t go on eastside. So Clark Kent said we are going to start with him first and then Clark is going to pass off to me. Mel was quiet in the beginning and then he said this is Mele Mel over the mic and then the crowd went berserk. Clark then looked at me and said are you ready, and then he passed it to me. Before he passed it to me, he said you want Flash then this is your opportunity. Mel gets back on the mic when I get on and says I heard a lot about this kid, but I didn’t believe s--- stinks till I smell it. So Mel says one for the treble, two for the bass, come on Jay Cee lets rock, and I threw the s--- in and it was all f------ history from there.

 

Do you remember the record?

 

Yeah it was Good Times, it had just came out. That was my signature record; nobody could cut it like me.

 

That was Flash’s signature record as well.

 

Well Flash’s signature record truthfully was Bells(Mardis Gras by Bob James).

 

O.k. I thought it was Good Times because he played it so much.

 

He rocked it a lot but Bells was his joint.

 

How did Clark Kent gas this up with you and Mel?

 

He told Mel how to coach me into doing this crazy speed s---. Mel would be doing his rhymes then he would say alright give me a three second cut Jay. I would give him a three second cut. This is the amount of seconds in between a cut. Then he would say give me a two second cut.  So when Mel said faster, faster. I went into a one second cut and that blew them n------ minds. I started going Good, Good, Good, Good, Good, Good, Good, Good.

 

Back and forth right?

 

Back and forth! Mel saw that s---, he back up off the mic. The crowd was going crazy and the whole s---. He grabbed the mic back he said yo, yo you nice. He just kept saying you nice. He said my man Flash, I don’t know. I don’t know. He just kept saying that. He left it at that. Three weeks later they all came up to our place, Stafford Place and they all got on the mic with me while I was cutting. They weren’t down with us but they came through. From there they got down with Charlie Chase for a little while.

 

Do you know why they broke up for that moment?

 

No but I am sure Herc knew, because they had to tell him, and he later told me yo Furious is coming. Herc knew and said eventually they are going to get back together, and it didn’t last long. It might have been two months, and they were right back together. From that day on when Mele Mel came through my name started ringing bells. Guys like the Theodore’s and Bam’s started knowing that I existed.

 

So now you started becoming Herc’s first D.J. knocking out Clark Kent and Black Jack?

 

Well it was set up Clark Kent and Black Jack were the main two. When I came in they had me as a record boy.

 

So you a top D.J. in one spot, and a record boy in another? So you have to make your bones with these guys over here?

 

Yeah, yeah (saying it sarcastically.) I am a record boy now. Yeah but that’s how it was. One day I came in the spot when Theodore and the crew were there. I was passing Black Jack the records. That night Black Jack was high or what ever I don’t know what the F--- was wrong with him, but he had a little too much. He started dissing me by saying yo n----- pass me the record because all you are is the record boy. I looked at him like what! So I got pissed off, Kevie Kev was there with his girl, you know what I am saying. Theodore and the rest are there with their girls. They were on the side lines hearing this. So I was like f--- that, I’ll dog your ass right now on the turntables! What n-----, what? So Clark Kent broke in between and said yo, yo ya’ll gots to chill up in here like that. Clark takes me to the side and says you want your time right now? You want it? I was like yeah I want it. So Clark was like ya’ll n------ battle right now.

 

(Troy starts laughing.) Nobody knew this was about to happen?

 

Nope.

 

Where was Herc at when this was about to happen?

 

Down stairs at the door!

 

He had no idea this was about to happen?

 

No idea what was going on.

 

How did he feel ya’ll having a battle amongst your selves, as if a break in the crew type thing? 

 

He was not feeling that, but he was down stairs, and he hears this commotion. What happened is Clark Kent grabs the mic and says we got a battle. So you know when you say that cats be running like a herd of wild animals to the front making all type of noise. Herc hears all this noise from the crowd, he thinks a fight or something is going on. He sees me and Black cursing at each other. So he comes up and says what’s up, at the same time telling me to leave because Black is his man. Clark was like nah it ain’t like that Herc. Let these two mother f------ battle man. Herc was like alright I ain’t going to f--- with this. Herc started walking off telling Clark Kent to handle it. Before Herc walked off I said can I do one thing, he was like what? I said can I put some weight on your needles? This is when weight started; I was the first to put weight on the needles. That’s another thing people didn’t remember.

 

What was the purpose of you putting the weight on the needles?

 

When I put the nickel on the needle it just gave me more weight on the front of the cartridge so the record wouldn’t jump, because I was going to do speed cuts. People weren’t doing speed cuts back then; I was the only one doing that.

 

Damn you was about to kill this n----- Black Jack.

 

I started trends, word up. So Herc says to me you can’t put no nickels on there. You will break my needles. So I said to him, Herc I got the same needles at home, brand new. If I break your needle I will give you mine. I really didn’t want to be wack. So I am willing to do that. So he said alright. I already knew I wasn’t going to break them because I had already practiced the style at home. Also you have to remember Theodore and them are there and they have never seen this before. I am preparing the s---.

 

Clark says who wants to go first? I said I will go first. Here go Black and this is where he messes him self up. He says nah, nah I will go first. F--- that I am going first. I am saying to my self, “Yeah, go first mother f-----.” I never forget it when he gets on and he is trying to cut up Bells, I’m sitting there laughing. People were looking at me saying why are you laughing, he is about to end your whole career. I was saying to Clark “what he is doing ain’t s---.” Clark and Herc didn’t know I was doing this thing on the low. They just seen me do regular d.j.ing. So when Black finishes Theodore and the crowd are giving him a little hand. Clark Kent grabs the mic and says alright this is my little whippier snapper right here. He says what ya’ll see here today is going to have ya’ll running back and telling everybody. He says alright Jay go ahead. I said can I do this my way? He says go ahead. I said alright, ya’ll cats just don’t know.  Before I even put the record on I am talking to him. I say yeah you think you good on the turns. I’m getting ready to put it on you right now; you just don’t know what the deal is. When I am finish with you, you going to be over, you going to be through. So I’m talking s---. Everybody looking at me like yo this lil n----- is talking s---. Little f-----! (Jay Cee starts laughing.) I throw the record on. Remember that record “I like to make it ride?”

 

Yeah.

 

I threw that record on, (he sings the lyrics.) the crowd went a little nuts. Then I started killing it. (He makes the sound of scratching.) When I started jingling it on them, they didn’t understand it. All this is in between the cuts. So now I am catching everybody’s attention. Theodore, all of them, I have their attention. Clark Kent says now take him, go! I hit him so hard that Clark pulled me off the turntables. Herc came running saying yo what’s going on? The crowds going crazy. Herc said what’s going on? Clark and everybody standing said did you see what he just did? Herc said no. So now he wants me to do it again.

 

Herc is now standing behind me, saying do it again. I said o.k. but I need another record. So I started catching another record real, real fast. Herc grabbed me up off the turntables saying no, no, no ya’ll can not be doing this.

 

Hold up why did he pull you back?

 

Because he knew I was destroying Black.

 

What?

 

Yeah he knew I was destroying him right there. He knew he had to fire him after this night.

 

Damn.

 

That’s why he was trying to stop me. But Clark was like let him go, Black know not to be getting high like that. Let that kid go. Clark was mad because he was getting high like that, but I didn’t really know what was going on at that time because I was really new at that time, and that was their s---. So they let me play more records, and I started playing the stuff that I knew. When I finished everybody was like yo he is the new kid. So when I finished Clark got on. Everybody was congratulating me and giving me props. So I was feeling good. Three days later I came back, because we always used to have meetings. A brother name Bagel that used to run with us by helping carry the music said “yo they fired Black Jack.” I said what? He said “yeah you took his place.” So as I walk into their meeting just like that they told him he was fired. But stuff was brewing before I got there.

 

Right.

 

What I did in the battle was icing on the cake. Black and I were cool after that. I loved Black even though there were times he treated me like s---, but we had a lot of fun other times. It bothered me that they let him go, because I felt we could do this as a team.

 

How is Black Jack today?

 

He’s out in Washington D.C. doing big things. When we have big functions over here he comes gets on the turntables and its all love. But because of this I became the number two D.J., Clark Kent was still before me, eventually Clark Kent laid back and let me do every thing, and then I became the number one d.j. When I left, homeboy that died Whiz Kid took my spot.

 

Damn somebody asked me that. I didn’t know that he was down with Herc. Why did you leave Herc?

 

That’s when the Yonkers thing started.

 

So you would leave the Herculords to play Yonkers?

 

What it was, was I moved up to Yonkers and I couldn’t make it back in forth to the city because I was living way up there and I didn’t have transportation. I would make it to the big show but I couldn’t make it to the smaller shows like I used to. After awhile I just got tired of the traveling, so while up there in Yonkers I started another crew.

 

Yeah I am going to get to that in a second. I heard something about the Baby Herculords or something?

 

Yeah, yeah we had some things going on up there!

 

What type of brother is Herc, did you dig him, love him like a brother. Is he your man to this day?

 

Oh yeah! I love him like a father.

 

Like a father? How many years does he have on you?

 

When I first started with Herc I had to be like 14 or 15. He had to be in his twenties. When I got down with Herc my mother didn’t want me to be out to late at night, because I was only 14 years old. So I begged my mother, saying “ma I got to do this, this is my break through.” She said “no your break through is staying in this damn house.” I wouldn’t give up though, I kept begging her. One day she said tell Herc to come here to the house I want to meet him. So Herc came down, my mother said to him “so you Kool Herc huh?” (Jay Cee is laughing.) I am laughing because Herc cracks me up when he tells the story to other people. He’s says yes I am Kool Herc! She says I am going to let my son go but you are responsible for him. Anything happens to him you responsible for him. Herc said no problem; I will make sure he gets home. She says and I want him home by eleven. I said ma the party just get to starting at that time.

 

(Troy starts laughing.)

 

Alright 12 midnight. The only way I could be out later is if I am with him and nobody else. If I was some where else and Herc wasn’t there I was in trouble.

 

Herc took a big role in his supervising you and making sure you did what you where suppose to do?

 

Yeah man. He really took that responsibility and made sure I went home and things of that nature. That’s why I say he was like a father to me, because he was being that and I was learning from him how he did things and that’s why I know him better then a lot of people. We run together more now than back then.

 

He had much respect back then?

 

Yes, he always had the respect, but now people feel that he is bitter. But he isn’t, he just feels there are so many people trying to steal from him, you got cats coming out of no where and just start snapping his picture. All kinds of wild s--- is going on. He isn’t really bitter; he just feels that people are not giving him the just do. He does his interviews here and there. We just came back from France and Toronto. In fact he isn’t here right now.

 

But he stays busy playing music?

 

Oh yeah, hell yeah. They love him wherever he goes. See they be thinking some old dude is going to come out there, all old and stomach hanging out. Then you see this big brother come out all muscle, working out, and still looking young. So they are shocked at these places we go to. The women be crazy. Then they see him still on the mic, he’s dancing, he’s having a good time. They do not understand this.

 

What’s going on with Clark Kent today? In fact what is up with this dude that calls him self  Clark Kent today?

 

The cat that does the tracks today, he just took the name.

 

How did the original Clark Kent feel about this?

 

He didn’t like it, but everybody knows the original. See back then Clark Kent was big, and he was big on the Nine. Over there by Webster Projects, he was big.

 

Big in what way, please explain.

 

Big with the scrambling n------. (Drug dealers.)

 

Oh you mean hustling on the block!

 

Yes but no, because he really wasn’t into that. But his people all grew up around that and n------ knew that he was street d.j.ing, with Herc, which was a big thing. So he was big around the way, and everybody had his back. Like you know, you growing up in the projects and you all know each other so you all got each others back. Then there was the Nine crew that wasn’t no joke, and they were all behind him. I seen him pull off some s--- that I know for a fact another cat on the streets wouldn’t try.

 

What do you mean, you talking about smacking somebody right in the street?

 

We are on Webster Avenue over by the P.A.L. on 183rd street. That’s Clark Kent’s area. You got Jazzy J and Bam, they on the top playing music and we on the bottom on the stage. The way it was supposed to go was each of us does an hour a piece. Jazzy J was on first. They did the first hour, but their hour started running into ours. So Clark says yo you know your time is up, time for ya’ll to shut it off, so we can start ours. So Jazzy Jay kept playing like he didn’t hear.

 

So who was running with Jazzy, Bam and them?

 

Bam, Red, and the whole Zulu Nation. Only some cats can get away with this. I know this, and during that time I still hadn’t been to Bronx River. So Jazzy Jay kept playing like he didn’t hear Clark Kent. So Clark looked at me and I looked at him he said yo did that n----- hear what I said? I said no, but I am saying it scared. Im saying to my self don’t start any s--- Clark.

 

And Jazzy and them are on Clark’s turf.

 

Yeah, and you know all the Nine crew is in there, and Clark knows this, he ain’t worried about it. So Clark says “YO” just like that on the mic. He said Yo Jazzy if you don’t turn that bull s--- off you ain’t going to hear that bull s---. Just like that. The n----- kept playing, like he didn’t hear Clark. So Clark was like “oh he want to get down like that”, so he walked over there by the Mac, our GLI mixer. I’ll never forget, the s--- was on 3 and that was blazing. He turned that mother f----- up to 5; you couldn’t hear that n----- s--- no more.

 

Oh so that’s how he screamed him out, alright!

 

Yeah, He said “now, Jazzy if you don’t turn that bull s--- off its going to be a mother f------- problem up in here. Jazzy turned it off. I am saying to my self no regular n----- from the streets would say that to the Zulu Nation.

 

Right, right.

 

But that’s how big Clark was. His mans and them was real crazy. I knew cats that were running with them that were killing n------. So I knew Clark was big. When he came back last year down on Webster cats was like “oh s--- Clark”, cats loved him.

 

So where is he at today?

 

He’s way upstate. Has a beautiful family. He bought his wife and children down for the Webster avenue party. He is into computers.

 

So he doesn’t have anything to do with turntables now?

 

No!

 

Did you ever speak to him about this other guys posing as Clark Kent?

 

You know I spoke to him about it and he said it’s all good, you know what I mean. He said n------- know who the original Bo King is.

 

What you said Bo King?

 

Yeah they call him Bo King over there.

 

Where did that come from?

 

Herc and them call him that. The original Bo King, Clark Kent. I don’t know what it meant but that’s something they gave him. But I am telling you me being with Clark Kent you had nothing to worry about. I knew being with Him and Herc that if anything was going down I wouldn’t have anything to worry about. They just had everybody behind them. I knew the same thing with Coke La Rock. Coke La Rock was big like that too. Cats weren’t f------ with that n------, because they knew the people that he was running with didn’t play, and everybody just wanted to be down. So I was with the right people and I knew I was with the right people.

 

Where was Coke La Rock from?

 

Coke if I am not mistaken was from the area of University. I am not really sure. The funny thing is when he and Herc would be together they would talk about old s---.

 

(Troy starts laughing.)

 

They be talking about how they used to be doing things back in the old days.

 

So Coke La Rock is an older brother, he is closer in age to Herc, than he is to you.

 

Yeah. And you talk about close; those two is real close to each other. You talking about some cats having some things in the basket that only they know about. And Coke will say this is the unit, Herc, me, you, and Clark.

 

So was Coke one of those types that would smack people or beat cats up and get on the mic and all that other stuff and have a mob of cats all around him.

 

Coke was one of those laid back cats. He did his thing, you know what I mean. He would touch the mic; touch the turntables here and there. His thing was getting paid.

 

Kevie Kev from Fantastic 5 said that was his man.

 

Yeah. They were cool like that.

 

He said that Coke La Rock was the strength for the Herculords, meaning he didn’t take any shorts from nobody.

 

None, from nobody. I remember hearing a story of how he had to put a dude doing security in check one night at the Hevalo, because he didn’t know who Coke La Rock was. He told Coke to get off the stage as Coke was going to meet up with Herc on the stage. Coke tried to tell security he was down, but for some reason he didn’t know who Coke was. So Coke pulled his pistol out, cocked it and said “I’m Coke La Rock, now you get off the stage.” Then Cokes boys surrounded security saying what, what, what! Coke is one of those brothers who didn’t play with nobody, and n------ respected him.

 

Till this day he is still walking around here?

 

That’s right, he has his family, he works, and from time to time we all come together for events like the recent Christmas party joint. Lately we have been trying to do things together, me, Coke and Herc. Clark came to the recent affair that the Twins did. (Birthday party for them down in Times Square)

 

Down town in Times Square! Yeah I seen Creole that night he told me he was going there.

 

Right, Creole was there. That night it was all of us except Black Jack.

 

Well what about your emcees?

 

They are also doing their thing. I spoke to La Brew about a year ago.

 

So were you down with Herc when they battled the L- Brothers?

 

No that was early, I wasn’t down then. The only battles we had after that was the battle me and Flash had basically, because nobody wanted to battle really because n------ just were to scared to want to f--- with us. Oh also the battle with Jazzy J! That was it.

 

So how did you feel about Herc getting out of the game?

 

When he got out the game I didn’t know about it because I was up in Yonkers by this time doing my thing, so I didn’t know what was going on. See there was a time when 10 years had gone by before we talked again.

 

What, you went years?

 

Yeah, see I was up in Westchester and he was in the city, and I wasn’t coming to the city like that. When I moved to Yonkers I got stuck up in Yonkers.

 

A whole new life started for you.

 

Right a new life started for me. I got up there and I met people, also my daughter was born.

 

What year was that when you were fully separated from the Herculords?

 

That was 1981.

 

Alright before you got to Yonkers, how did you feel about all these groups having such talented emcees, and ya’ll had all those DJ’s and your emcees were not on the same level as the elite emcees of that time?

 

What it was was we knew our place in the game. You know what I mean. We knew that our crew was basically DJ’s. We knew that was our thing.

 

So ya’ll was still packing it in until you broke out?

 

Yeah, see Herc was smart; when he was doing a big party he would bring in another crew that was big that had cats that were emcees.

 

That had a name!

 

Right, so cats knew that when the party, party came that we would be doing that. The DJ’s would take that part. When we wanted the show part he would get another group to do that, the emceeing or what ever. Guys like Fantastic and Theodore or Busy Bee when he went solo and the Treacherous Three before they became really known as the Treacherous Three, they came through a couple of times. Cats from Bam use to come through, like Pow Wow and them. We did joints with everybody, even Flash and them.

 

So how did the Jazzy Jay battle go down between you and him, and this happen after Clark Kent had told him to turn that music down?

 

That was really the first time the East side of the Bronx got to see me play, which was at the P.A.L. Clark Kent is a funny dude because Clark was trying to put me out there like that, and them n------ was disrespecting. So Clark got a little upset, and when all that commotion settled down,then it came to the business that we were trying to do. What happened was I got on the turn tables and that’s when Good Times first came out. All this happened basically at the same time. Like when Mele came over to 82 school yard to rock the mic and see me. All this happened in that 2 week period. Like I said when I got on the turntable and I am killing it, and I will never forget it, this kid jumped on the stage after all that commotion with Jazzy Jay and Clark and said “yo you got to do that again because you got me messed up in the head on that, because what I think I saw I don’t believe so I have to see it again.”

 

Some kid you don’t even know from a can of paint?

 

I didn’t even know him.

 

This is that same night?

 

Same night!

 

The same night when Clark told him to turn that music down?

 

Same night.

 

After that night my name really started traveling. See what happen was we were playing there and Flash and them were trying to give a party and mess our party up. Furious and Flash were over at the T- Connection, we were at the P.A.L., and this was the first day the P.A.L. was reopened since somebody had got killed in there earlier. They wouldn’t open the P.A.L. for anybody. But what happened was Herc said we got this dude named J.C. and everybody wants to see him on this side of town. I think it’s a good look if you give it back to me. From there we can get the P.A.L. back open. This was Herc talking to the guy that ran the P.A.L. at the time. So the guy was like “no I don’t think I want to do that.” Finally he gave in and said he would let us do it. So Herc went with us and Bambaataa as the first to reopen the P.A.L. From that party my name started blowing up, cats talking about “I seen J.C. doing his thing, he is real good.” Flash and them are trying now to take from the P.A.L., by having a pact T- Connection. But our party was just as packed at the same time on the same night. What cats were doing was going back and forth.

 

Hold up that’s some what of a long walk or I mean ride from the T- Connection to the P.A.L.

 

Yeah, but you have got to think, back in those days n----- use to rent the O.J.s, and they would rent them for the whole night.

 

So cats were going back and forth to watch and listen to these two parties’?

 

Yes back and forth to each party. They be like yo I just came from T- Connection and Flash was over there, and cats would be at the T- Connection talking about I just came from the P.A.L. and Herc and them was over there.

 

So how did you know that Flash and them were on some B.S.?

 

Well because back then we would say why you would be doing a party the same night that we are doing one.

 

But they have to party also to make money!

 

Right, but everybody knew that this was the grand opening of the P.A.L.

 

Alright so your saying the night of a grand opening they should have just visited ya’ll instead of throwing a party some where else.

 

Right, because we are opening it for everybody so everybody can go back in and party, because nobody was getting it before that.

 

So what was the deal with you and Flash and the Furious 5’s manager and promoter Ray Chandler?

 

Well he comes over to the P.A.L. the same night. He is in the audience because he wants to see if I am nice like that, he really wants to see if I am nicer than his man. Which is cool I understand that. I know he is there because I see him, so I had to put the s--- forth. So after I am killing it and everybody is running out of the place saying yo this n----- is crazy, what ever, what ever. I am coming from behind the turntables after I finished, about to go upstairs to the V.I.P. section where all my people were at. He is standing there and says to me what’s up I am Flash’s manager what ever, what ever. I told him yeah I know who you are. He says that performance you did was really nice. So was that a pause tape or something you had?

 

He’s trying to be funny now.

 

I say to him “oh you thought that was a pause tape? So you thought what I was doing was just some trick s---, like I had a tape at the bottom and act like I am doing it on the top. He knew that was the wrong question, because now you pissing me off, because you know damn well that isn’t what that was. So then he says to me and nobody knows about this. I didn’t tell too many people about this. He says to me “well check it out; I will give you a thousand dollars right now if you stop D.J.ing.”

 

Damn!

 

Just like that. So you have to think that was like 1979. A thousand dollars is a lot of money at that time. So I am saying wow, but I know I ain’t stopping. So I am saying to him out loud wow a thousand dollars I have to think about that. Knowing I wasn’t going to do it. So I went up stairs and told Herc. I said yo Herc that n----- Ray tried to bribe me. He said what? Where that mother f----- at? He went down stairs to chase him down caught him and had the biggest argument. He tried to bribe me, but to this day he will tell people that he never tried to bribe me, and that I made that up. So right in front of him I am telling people, what, I am just going to make that up? When Ray seen me he knew I was better than Flash so that is why he tried to bribe me. It made me feel good because I then knew that I was somebody in the game if you were coming over to bribe me.

Then I had cats threatening me from time to time.

 

Such as?

 

Cats I didn’t even know! They will walk up on me saying “yo don’t ever come to Bronx River.”

 

(Troy starts laughing.)

 

I am telling you. Just like that. I am looking at him saying “what?”

 

This is before the Jazzy Jay battle?

 

Yeah before that. “I’m telling you don’t come out there.” “What!” So I am saying to my self I ain’t never coming out to Bronx River. Now that was the winter time, when the summer comes Herc calls me on the phone. “Yo man we at Bronx River.” I said Bronx River I ain’t going over there! See he don’t know what’s going on because I haven’t told him that a n----- told me not to come over there. So he says to me we in Bronx River and Bam and them are going to be at our spot, we switching spots. So I said what? He said yeah they at Stafford place and we at Bronx River. So we get to Bronx River I am scared than a mother f----- you know. When I get there I see Zulu Nation all over the place. I see Clark and I tell him somebody threatened me. He told me don’t worry about that we got you. So I went through the night everything was cool. Jazzy Jay got on and did his thing.

 

Who stayed with Jazzy?

 

It was him and a couple of emcees. The rest went with Bam, and you know Bam had a lot of mother f-------.

 

No doubt!

 

So this is the night I started battling him and I was killing him. See they were on the stage and we were on the floor. He was cutting and doing his thing, and then it was my turn. So when I got on and really started beating it up he wanted to come on top of me. Like I am playing and he just cut his music on, right on top of my music. See now you starting some s---. So I am going to kill it and we turn our volume up and you can’t hear their s---. So when they knew we were blowing them out they did this. They went and jumped in their van or what ever and went to Afrika Islams’ house and got more. See they had an amp that only Herc and Islam had. It was called a Macintosh, a big amp. Herc and Islam were the only two people to have that type of amp. So when they pulled up with that we knew that they had to go to Islam, because Bam didn’t have that amp. So they hooked that up and were trying to blow us out, but we were already killing them. We had already won by the time they got back.

 

So did ya’ll really go head up?

 

Yeah he went 15 minutes, and then I went 15 minutes.

 

So he didn’t stay to watch you?

 

No he stayed, but he sent his man and them to go get more power, you know “because we can’t compete with these dudes and this young n---- here is f------ killing me!” See you have to think he is just cutting up things. But he ain’t cutting it no where in the speed and skill that I am cutting it. Then you have to think its Bronx River so his people are going to be with him. But when you see your people over by my side feeling me then that ain’t a good look.

 

So did he say anything to you after that?

 

No not too much.

 

So did everybody crown you in front of him?

 

It was like I am on some different s---, this n----- is just crazy with it, let’s just get over it and leave it because that s--- ain’t true. They wanted to make like that s--- never really happened. As if it was just a mirage. We saying it happened truthfully because ya’ll disrespected us. Me and Jazzy would have never had a battle if he didn’t try to DJ over me. We cool today ; that was when we were young.

 

Did he ever give you your props for that night?

 

Oh yeah, to this day. See there was more to that night! While we were at Bronx River, over at our spot some cats was sticking up the place.

 

Sticking it up?

 

Yeah!

 

The Zulu brothers were sticking up the place?

 

No some dudes from Mount Vernon were sticking up the place!

 

Hold up, how were they going to stick up the place and Bam and them were in there?

 

Let me tell you the s--- was crazy. Bam and them thought we set that up!

 

Ah man!

 

It was a big big thing. I’m telling you it was a big thing, what happened was when we finished over at Bronx River and we started coming back over to Stafford to bring the equipment back we seen the police outside, the place was in shambles, tore up. We were like yo what’s going on. Let me tell you these dudes came from Mount Vernon and we didn’t find out until 15, 20 years later that they came from Mount Vernon. So any way we come up, police all around. The fire escape is broken, and the windows are all broken out. See when the stick up kids pulled the shot guns out it was like a stampede type thing. N------ started running over the top of other people.

 

Hold up you talking about the Galaxy beef?

 

Yeah but it was first called Stafford Place.

 

Man that was a real terrible thing that night, people got killed in there that night.

 

Yeah the n----- coming out of there that night with the fake gun got killed. See what happened was they came in there to stick it up and while they was doing that men and women were jumping out of windows and all kinds of wild s---. It was three dudes with guns; the one with the fake gun was the last one to run out. He should have been the first one to run out. When he was running out somebody popped him before he could make it all the way out the door.

 

Hold up I thought it was dudes from around the way that did the stick up?

 

No.

 

Hold up, was it dudes from around the way that shot the stick up kid?

 

Yeah.

 

Alright I heard it was some big time drug dealers from around there that also didn’t take  shorts, got him and killed him.

 

Yeah, they shot him on the way going out.

 

I don’t remember at the moment who told me this story but they acted like they still didn’t want to tell me more about it because it was on some real hush, hush.

 

Yeah but the reason is because nobody really knew who did what. Cats didn’t want to say too much when you don’t know who did what.

 

So Bam and them first tried to put that on ya’ll?

 

They thought we set the s--- up! Nothing happened at there spot. But all hell broke loose at Stafford Place, and there was only one exit at Stafford Place.

 

Why you keep saying Stafford Place, wasn’t it the Galaxy?

 

No see it was first called Stafford on that night; Herc changed it to the Galaxy after that night.

 

Damn ain’t that something? People still say it was a robbery and killing at the Galaxy!

 

Yeah.

 

He tried to change it so they wouldn’t put it together and they still put it together. So because of that night did Bam and them want to bring it to ya’ll?

 

No, well they didn’t directly say it to us that we set it up, but it was some rumblings going on that we had something to do with it. But Bam never said yo you did this!

 

Right, I got you.

 

It was just cats in the camp thought we had something to do with that.

 

So as strong as Bam was he still had much respect for Kool Herc? Hold up Bam got like a thousand man army and it’s just ya’ll and neighborhood cats that just like hanging out with Herc!

 

Yeah

 

And these dudes hanging with Herc weren’t like in a gang type structure?

 

Right. And you have to remember Bam came from the Black Spades. Herc didn’t have dudes like Bam with Zulu Nation cards. Not for nothing I had a card, a year after I got down with Herc I became a member of the Zulu Nation.  See Herc and Bam were really very cool with each other. Their birthdays are close together so they had a lot of birthday parties together.

 

What did the card look like?

 

The card was green and it said Zulu Nation with the chapter.

 

Was your name on the card?

 

It didn’t have your name but it had the chapter number.

 

Everybody had the same green color.

 

Well that chapter did, but I have seen orange ones and other colors. The only cats that was really around Herc that was a gang was the Nine, and that was because of Clark Kent.

 

So what about the battle with Flash?

 

I battled him at Herc and Bam’s birthday party. It might have been 1980. See at that party everybody was there. Busy Bee performed ,Mele and his boys came through. A lot of them came, but everybody didn’t perform. This was at the Galaxy. See they got Flash there on the notion that I wouldn’t play.

 

Who was trying to get Flash there?

 

Herc and the guys tried to set it up, like I wasn’t going to play that night. Flash didn’t want to play if I was going to play because he knew I was better than him.

 

So how did Flash know that you were better, did he start coming to your parties?

 

He came to our jams, he came to Cedar Park.

 

But he wouldn’t get on to play while you were there?

 

He got on one day. He played “Ring my Bell”, by Anita Ward. He played just a little bit of that and started cutting that up. Here go Clark Kent “Yo get on right after him and play the same record.”

 

(We both start laughing.) I knew you were going to say that!

 

I’m telling you Clark Kent was a mother f-----, he was like “get on after that n----- and play the same record.” So I am looking at Clark and saying you want me to play the same record?

 

I heard Flash used to tear that record up.

 

I remember his patent cut. Dinga linga ling, Ding Ding alinga Ding ding ding. Like that. I am looking over there and I am laughing. I always laughed when Flash got on.

 

I bring that up to you because DJ Divine told me that he made it sound different from that. Like real good.

 

Yo Flash used to do his different things with it, but that day he did it that way. That’s when Clark told me to do that, because Clark said he was only going to cut that one record. So I came right behind him with the “You can ring my Bell and everybody was like “Oh S--- J.C. is about to do some outrageous s--- with this.” So sure nuff I started killing it. Everybody is looking around saying “yo where Flash at?” Flash left!

 

He left before you started the record or while you were doing it?

 

Soon as he heard me cutting it up.

 

So you were watching him?

 

I seen him walking away, I say to my self “hey where are you going?” (Sarcastically.) Where the f--- you going?    

 

Yo J this is straight up?

 

I’m telling you straight up!

 

I never want the story to be embellished. I want it to come straight through the needle.

 

There are people that will read this and know exactly what I am talking about. They was there. They are going to be laughing wondering how you got this. I just did a story in a magazine and the stuff I said, there wasn’t anybody who disputed what I said in the whole story. Let me tell you there are cats from that day that used to call him “disappearing Flash” because of that day. 

 

I hear you kid, because there are cats from back in the days up in the Bronx that have not looked at him as a legend the way so many people do. I guess that comes from seeing so much of him back in those days. To them he is just a regular Joe.

 

Another thing I do is an internet radio show. I was on the air a couple of weeks ago, and I threw an anti out there, because he has been ducking me for years. Meaning I threw money up to battle Flash. I put up five thousand dollars. I said I will put up 5, he put up 5, and the best man wins.

 

Today you tried to hit him on that!

 

That’s right today I am still trying to catch him, and he is still ducking me.

 

So you and him are not that cool either?

 

We cool, but not hang out cool!

 

Theodore seems to feel the same way.

 

I was telling Theodore that one night. I said if I was to go up against Flex or one of those dudes, and I need some one to back me, the only one I would truly ask to back me is Theodore. I wouldn’t ask nobody else, can’t nobody else help me, as far as old school brothers. Not Flash, put that in print Flash be ducking me. He don’t want to see me.

 

What about Theodore, can you put it on him?

 

Yeah, Theodore knows it!

 

(Troy starts laughing.) I ain’t going to front kid, he gave you real props. He didn’t say he could beat you, but I didn’t ask him, and that is because I didn’t know you was this thorough, to ask. He some what gave me the impression that he looked up to you but he didn’t say it directly.

 

Let me tell you the honest truth, I would never battle Theodore. I have to much respect for him.

 

Well it’s like that, you like him. It’s the same with Caz, Moe Dee and Mele Mel and all that. They don’t battle each other because they dig each other and have respect for each other.

 

Right, because we have respect for each other. But really deep down in side everybody knows he can’t f--- with me.

 

As nice as he is on the tables?

 

Yo you know what one day truthfully? One day when you bump into say Caz or one of them ask them “Yo between Theodore and J.C. in a battle who do you think would win?” Just ask them that!

 

I feel you, because Tony Tone also gave you those props.

 

It would be better to ask those guys, because if you ask me I am going to say me. If you ask Theodore he is going to say him, but let the people tell you. But I have to much respect to battle him. If he said to me lets battle J right now, I wouldn’t do it. Also I know that if we did it, after the battle we wouldn’t have any more respect for each other.

 

But bust it that first day you did that scratch on Black Jack and Theodore was sitting there, didn’t he already start that scratching before you?

 

He was already doing the scratching, but he wasn’t doing it with the speed that I was doing it. See I was the first one to invent speed cut. See there is a difference in scratching and speed cutting.

 

Which is very popular today!

 

Right, speed cutting is popular today.

 

Which is something you started?

 

Right, you can ask many people, they will tell you I started it. Theodore and I were just recently at the Winter D.J. Conference in Miami. They did an old school thing; they had Theodore on, Caz and then Herc. They also had some brothers from England that won the battle the year before, who were supposed to be the best DJ’s or whatever out there. They do the 6 turntables, and 6 CD players. They do all that, like one does a bassline, the other does a drum sound.

 

What?

 

Yeah, it’s like 4 or 6 of them. There were some other DJs that came on, and then us. So Theodore goes on first and he rocks with the blindfold, you know how Theodore does his thing, and they loved it. Same thing when Caz comes on. Then when Herc came on they started fronting.

 

What do you mean fronting?

 

See what happened is, when Herc gets on everybody knows he doesn’t cut!

 

Right he mostly spins his music.

 

Right he just plays music, so when Herc first starts doing his thing and talking through the music they be feeling that. But after awhile that type of crowd wants to see more. A lot of DJ’s want to see some skills. When you go to those winter conferences that is what they really want to see.

 

See Herc maybe should have went last or first to get it out the way.

 

Right.

 

And not to say get him out of the way, but to put it in a section that he can be appreciated.

 

Right so they could appreciate him more. But they put him last because he is the father of Hip Hop and that should have been the icing on the cake.

 

Well it should have worked.

 

Well he did that and it was good, but you could see people start to walk around and start to wonder and maybe want to see something else or see something different. So me and Herc kind of saw that. So Herc was like “yo Jay you ready to take this to the next level?” “Because they not understanding what we are trying to do here.” “Let’s go to the next level!” He said he was going to put this record on and he wanted me to put the same record on these other two turntables that were set up over there. He said he is going to talk some s--- and then he is going to pass it to me, and then he said when he passes it to me, he wants me to murder it, don’t play. I said alright I got you. So he threw on Scratching. He threw on Scratching and was doing his thing and people were feeling it. Especially since he threw on some real beats. Then he announces to the crowd “we got the Imperial J.C. here”, “do it J.C.” I started scratching it, and people started turning around saying “oh s---, what’s about to happen.” I started killing it. Everybody stopped what they were doing. Cameras started coming out, flashes all around the place. So now we got them.

 

Now Theodore hadn’t seen me play in years so this was the first time he seen me in years. When I finished Theodore was in amazement, he said “yo you still crazy like that?” I said “I’m still doing it dog.” “Ain’t nothing change.”

 

So for all those years you were still doing it but you weren’t in the light? Or something like that, what happened?

 

I went back into the band thing. I played live music, I am a drummer and I have a band.

 

I didn’t know that.

 

Plus I am a musician in the church.

 

Are you a Christian?

 

Yes. I had been playing drums in the church now ten years. My Church is down in Harlem, on 136th street and 8th avenue. The big white church.

 

Oh I remember its red on the inside.

 

Yeah.

 

How come can’t anybody walk through that front door?

 

(Jay Cee starts laughing.) Because he’s funny man, Pastor Stalwart is real funny like that. If you don’t come in right you can’t come in at all.

 

For years I used to walk by there and see ya’ll getting down, one day I went to pull the only door in the front to get in and it was locked!

 

Yep!

 

I said how the heck you get in here! (We both start laughing.)

 

I have been in there for the last ten years. That’s where all my time goes, between church and the live stuff. Also still doing this DJing and I got my radio show.

 

So what happened at the Flash battle, because you said Herc tried to keep it on the low and Flash ended up walking into an ambush?

 

FLASH!!!Remember we were at the Galaxy and lot of people came and were sticking around the party because they wanted to see if we were going to battle. People on the west side knew what was going on. It was going on like 3 o’clock in the morning and he still hadn’t showed up. As some people were leaving, going down the stairs somebody had seen Flash pulling up in his Black 98 , a fresh 98. They see him and everybody runs back up stairs, saying yo here he comes. It got packed all over again. That’s how it used to be any way; cats would leave and come back. So they were like cutting the cake and somebody said alright Flash is going to come on in a couple of minutes. I remember Flash telling Herc yo make sure you save me a piece of cake. I remember saying to my self “yeah you are going to need the piece of cake to go”, “because you definitely going to be leaving up out of here when I get finished with you”. So Flash gets on, soon as they say his name the crowd goes wild. Flash had that with him, you know. I got to give him that, when he came in they loved him.

 

I hear you, they gave him instant props.

 

Yeah man, when he came in and got on n------ loved him! Every record he threw on they went crazy. So I got to do a lot to beat this n-----. I knew it, because he just had that name and stature.

 

He still didn’t know that you were coming on next?

 

No, he still didn’t know I was going to get at him. Clark Kent had set it up so perfect. That’s why I loved that brother; I always Troy & Flash wanted Clark holding that mic. He knew what to say on that mic. So when Flash got off Clark was like “yeah that was the Grand Master Flash”, “give it up for Flash.” “Flash came down for the Kool Herc, Bambaataa birthday party.” “But now we got the whippier snapper,” “Imperial J.C.”, “I named him”. “He is getting ready to kill it right now.” When he said that, they went crazy. You know those were our people in there. When I finished I killed it. I played all the records that I remembered him playing. I cut the records that were his favorites. That was because I wanted the people to see me cut his joints better then him. I will never forget when I finished n------ was saying “yo J.C. killed Flash.” Then they said “yo where did Flash go?”

 

He left again?

 

Yo he left again! But this time, and me, Herc and Clark laugh to this day about it because as he tried to start his car it wouldn’t. So he had to come back up and get the rest of that ass whopping. From that day on people were saying J.C. got at Flash at Herc and Bam’s birthday party. There was never another battle after that.

 

So he didn’t try to get back on that night?

 

No.

 

So did he say anything to you like “good work” or something?

 

He didn’t say anything; in fact he hadn’t said anything to me in years, because of that night. Many years later I was coming off of the Deegan at 161st. Street by Yankee Stadium. He was pulling up in his car and I was pulling up in mine, we see each other. He says yo what’s up J; I say what’s up to him. I say to myself he’s talking to me. (We both start laughing.) We start talking and throw’s the stab at me, “yeah you know I am on tour” “everything is chill”. (J.C. starts laughing.) I say “yeah that’s what’s up”, “you doing the damn thing.” And that was it, he made the turn to Manhattan and I kept going. Two years ago we seen each other at a Herc party and we said what’s up. He seen me get on those tables, he dashed out again.

 

Any way I threw it on the air three weeks ago, he throw up 5 thousand I throw up 5 thousand, the best man wins. I know it has got back to his camp because people got back to me that they heard it. Herc got on the air at 105.1 a couple of weeks ago and said the same thing.

 

Whose show was Herc on, Star and Buck Wild?

 

Yes, Star asked him, because you know Flash and Herc have a beef also.

 

Why is that?

 

It is over Flash giving his government name out, telling people his real name.

 

Yeah I heard about that, Tony Tone was telling me about that.

 

They still cool but Herc ain’t feeling that. You know Star likes to amp things; he says to him “yo did that thing between you and Flash work out”. He says “yeah everything is cool long as stops giving my name out like that,” “all he has to do is just say Kool Herc”. So Star is like “hold up stop the music”.

 

(Troy starts laughing.)

 

Star is like hold up now (sarcastically.) me and Flash is cool, I don’t want you to say anything about him, you and him cool right? Everything is cool Herc says as long as he don’t give my government but if he keeps doing that then I am going to have to put the Imperial J. C. on his ass. Then here goes White Trash (Character on the Star and Buck Wild show.) Yeah, Yeah Imperial J.C., put J.C. on him. White Trash is trying to stir s--- up. She don’t even know what’s going on. And you know Star is like calm down White Trash but still amping it. So I get a phone call all the way from Miami “I heard you battled Flash.” I had to tell them no, we just trying to bait him in. I was getting phone calls from all over like crazy. I’m telling you if they were ever to put this battle together every one and his mother would show up. I’m talking Caz, Theodore; every one down the line wants to see this. Tone will tell you. They are waiting for that night but they pretty much know it’s never going to happen.

 

So who would give you a problem in a DJ battle?

 

I tell you who, them young Chinese n------.(they are actually Filipino)

 

(Troy starts laughing.) You are a funny brother.

 

Them n-------, they be doing some crazy s---. I go to some of those battles just to see them do their thing. These brothers do some of the most awesome s---.

 

It’s not just the young Chinese cats, but all the young boys that are into speed cutting!

 

Right. You ever listen to this kid name Spinbad on 105.1? Yo the kid is crazy with his. He comes on at the same time as Flex from Hot 97. I got Spinbads drop I am using on my show. Him and Flex are going through some beef right now.

 

You got his drop?

 

Yeah one day Spinbad was listening to my show and he heard me talking about the battle I want with Flash. When I said yeah “Flash I will battle you in your house” Spinbad was like yo kid I ain’t never heard nothing like that. So he took my piece and put it in the beginning of his show, every time he comes on.

 

Damn.

 

So I was flattered that he did that. He called my man Kool A.D. (Owner of Fonye d.j.s.com radio.) to see if it was alright to do that I said sure, you can do what ever you want with that. 

 

This is the website that you do your D.J. shows?

 

Right. We are getting crazy hits; we are a big internet radio station. If you were to click on right now you would hear and see the D.J. doing his thing. Herc is also a part of the radio station. Cats respect me because I am still doing my thing, and I have gotten better because of the young boys.

 

Yeah you have to step it up.

 

Exactly you have to step it up. 

 

See cats thought I was ahead of my time back in the days because of the way I was doing it. I was doing back then what cats are doing now. They just enhanced it today and are doing it even better.

 

Now with all this history making with Herc what made you move to Yonkers in 1979.

 

My mother, I was only 16 when all this was going on. My mother just popped up out of nowhere and said we moving to Yonkers.

 

So did you feel this deep state of depression?

 

Hell yeah because all I knew about Yonkers was Yonkers raceway. You know how Saturday nights Yonkers race way would come on t.v. at night.

 

Exactly, it used to come on right before Wrestling on channel 9 back in the days.

 

I would still come back to the Bronx and play with Herc. I was working at Yankee Stadium at the time so it made it kind of easy for me. By 1981 I started doing my own thing up in Yonkers. 

 

Family this is only part one. There was so much more to talk about with The Imperial J.C. that I had to cut it into two stories.

 

I got in contact with J.C. through a Zulu Nation Anniversary party. But I have to give credit to my man Waverly for his contribution to the story. Peace

 

Troy L. from HARLEM, One

   

*The views expressed in this story are not the opinions or views of Troy L. Smith or JayQuan. We take pride in giving you the stories exactly as they were told to us , and we do not co-sign the events and / or elements in the stories - this is what was told to us.....*

 

©2006 Troy L. Smith

 

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