JDL INTERVIEW

                                         By Troy L. Smith

  Troy:    Who was the first M.C. and D.J. you heard and also who inspired you?

 

JDL:     I been there from day one.  The only Kool Herc parties I didn’t go to was the first one he gave at a house, that mostly graffiti artists came to because they thought he was one because the way he wrote his name on the flyer.  The other one was at the Hevalo, I was too young to get, in but I stayed out front and listened to the beats.  The first one I heard on the Mike was Herc, Coke LA Rock and Timmy Tim.  And then I was at every Herc party from then on (Abalon, Twlight Zone, Executive Playhouse, Pal, etc. etc.).  Who inspired me was the Three M.Cs that will rock you to your knees, Mele Mel, Kid-Creole and Keith Keith (Cowboy R.I.P.).  Cause I remember seeing them b-boying at Herc’s joints so when they turned M.Cs I had to do that because unfortunately I was born wit the gift of gab.  I can honestly say that I was one of the first Ten M.Cs that rhymed not just shout people out in the World!!!! (And I can prove it too.)

 

Troy:    The very first time you started Mcing where was your home base?  Did it start from beating on cars, school desks, house parties, and block parties?

 

JDL:     I used to come home from all them parties and the next day me and my man Butch Kid would beat on the car and I would piece together rhymes.  My first rhyme was “Jerry Dee Jointski over cups of coffee cause I don’t drink tea.”  Then I had a dip dip dive socialize rhyme, everybody had one of those.  When I had ten rhymes I’d go to the Black Door and stand by the speaker and try them out.  If Flash would have let me get on the Mic right then and there I probably would have been down wit them.   My homebase was on the Westside (Burnside and University) three blocks from Cedar Park up the block from the Hevalo and the other direction is the famous JHS 82 schoolyard.  Keith Ceasar from Funky Four lived down the block but I didn’t know that till later.  82 school yard and Cedar Park is where I got my rep from that and the karate school on Burnside and Davidson, where Cisco and Buko DJed at was where me and my little band of gypsy MCs stalked.

 

Troy:    How old were you when you first met Caz?

 

JDL:     I think I was 16 or 17, I’m not sure, even though I had seen and heard Caz, watched him come up from day one.  The day I met Caz was one of the best days of my entire life!  I can remember it like yesterday.  I was on the mike at a jam, Butch Kid was standing next to me keeping them wack emcees at bay and I’m killing the mic.  I mean throwing haymakers and Butch Kid whispered in my ear “yo, Casanova Fly just came in they coming by the ropes” I looked and Caz, DJ Mighty Mike and about five girls wearing sweatshirts saying DJ MC Grand Master Casanova Fly and Whipper Whip was wit them.  So they was checkin me out so I kept on rockin for about four more records then Mighty Mike came behind the ropes and said “Casanova Fly want to talk to you” so we walked to the back of the jam and Caz said “yo, you was rocking them” and I said “yeah, I try” and Mike said “we playing at the Audubon on October 6th wanna rock wit us?” and I said “yeah, on one condition, let me start off first” see I said that because I had this new crowd participation rhyme and the Audubon would have been perfect to try it out on.  So Mike was like “come to Caz house tomorrow and if you can beat Whip out you got it.”  I went to Caz house the next day, Whip and Dota Rock was there with their rhyme books and shit I brought Butch Kid for back up just in case and Caz put on “Groove To Get Down” and man I took off like crazy.  I must of rhymed for about 10 or 12 records.  I mean rocking ‘em, making shit up wit Caz name in it on the spot, not missing a beat.  Caz cut the music off and I started at the Audubon.  However, that night our system couldn’t start, so we got on the L Brothers system and did our thang!  From then on me and Caz was joined at the hip.

 

Troy:    Was the T-Connection the most popular club and why was the Ecstasy the 2nd most popular?

 

JDL:     Yes and no.  The T-Connection was popular and better to rock at because it was a real live club with a real stage, dressing rooms, balcony, a DJ booth that looks down to the stage, a upstairs lounge and a kitchen.  And to top it off the owner Richard T. (R.I.P.) was not only a owner but a hip-hop legend himself.  He also owned a small night club called The Fair Tree and Rhythm Den Record Shop, where he would sell the tapes of all shows from the T-Connection the next day.  He used to bring out the equipment in Arthur Park (across the street from the record store) in the summertime and let all the DJays get on and we would be rocking to about 2 or 3 in the morning.   Yeah, Richard T had love for the music, love for us and he kept the shit mad fair!  The Ecstasy Garage wasn’t that glamorous but was big, sold quarts of Old English at the bar, had more up and coming DJs that played there and the cat who owned it was also promoting shows in the Tri-states, N.J. Conn. Spring Valley, etc. etc.  And to top it off he produced our first single “Weekend” it was on his Elite Records label.  But the most popular Hip-Hop spot in the Bronx was the P.A.L.  Everybody that was somebody played and rocked  That Piece!

 

Troy:    Did the C.C. 4 ever travel out of N.Y. like out West or down South during 1980-84?

 

JDL:     Hell yeah, our tapes was circulating all over the different states that were Hip-Hop oriented.  We rocked Conn., N.J., Cali, Massachusetts, Philly, with no record out.  Crushing shit like crazy.  Receiving the same type of stardom as if we had hit records, but we didn’t.   We had hit routines that people were mesmerized by and our showmanship was five levels above the rest and equivalent to the Furious 5.   We did shows wit them out of N.Y. Just us and them and after we got off Mel and them used to say “Damn ya’ll motherfuckers ripped it” and we’d be like “we try.”  It got to the point where we couldn’t open up for them no more cause motherfuckers was opening up for us! And plus being that we practice every single day of the week, making new dance steps and a new routine each week, other groups had to step their shit up too!  So if you was a group that had the show and didn’t make up new shit all the time, you really didn’t want to play with just us and us alone cause if you headlined we stole that, if you got on before us you had to rep to the fullest cause if you didn’t you got dissed and booed like hella!  And if you tried to take a pot shot at the Crush…may God have mercy on your soul cause we didn’t.  Cause at one time everybody thought that to be on top you had to knock off the Cold Crushing Motherfuckin Tough-ass Four Emcees.  When in reality all you had to do was 1) practice every single day,  2) don’t make no commercial routines, 3) brainstorm and pool all your thoughts together and take big risks, 4) don’t say rhymes or routines Rock Them!!, 5) your mindset has to be one of a entertainer, showman, highly trained crowd motivator, a commandeer and most of all a M.C (Microphone Controller).  That’s what we did to get on top, we was never self-proclaimed but always critically acclaimed.

 

Troy:    What were your thoughts on the Force M.Cs, did ya’ll have beef before and after this so called battle, cause I asked Caz was it a battle, he said “no”, when ya’ll were leaving they were just coming in.  When you listen close, I never hear ya’ll make mention to them, so how was the relationship afterwards?

 

JDL:     The Force M.Cs were real good, they had tight, good, cute novelty routines (like a nice breath of fresh air).  Their DJ was on point and they had wanted to be the top M.C crew (secretly), but the crowds gave them love, M.C crews gave them their props, we did too!  However like I explained to you before that all them groups wanted to get at us except The Alliance (Treach 3, Fearless 4, Dougie Fresh and Cold Crush 4).  Why?  Because every single M.C contest we got in we won and all them groups that were in them couldn’t do nothing about it!  And I mean we never dissed no group that didn’t draw first blood.  Always humble and confident, polite and never no snake shit!  So back then a lot of promoters use to hook up fake battles to draw the crowd and make a lot of money.  The groups that would have supposedly battled were told in advance it was rigged, just come do you regular show, get paid, all is good.  We had no beef with the Force M.Cs at the time, so I don’t know what was on their mind.  We did mad shows wit them, even in Shaolin (their turf) and got along alright.  Anyway we had three shows that night and wanted to knock out that show first cause it was in Jersey.  So we got there, got on and bounced.  Did a regular show kept it moving.  We didn’t even get dressed.  So the next day we at Caz’s house practicing and this kid that was there as a roadie let us listen to the tape and we was like “oh shit, that’s fucked up” So we called our manager and asked him when was the next time we was playing with the Force M.Cs and it just so happen that next week we was playing with them at Printing H.S.  So we rolled up in there strong like the untouchables on some gangbusters shit.  Went dead up in their dressing room, surrounded them and asked them why they did that foul shit.  They broke down and gave some lame excuse.  So we took what they was getting paid that night (without guns) and told them that at the next Harlem World party they are to apologize to us in front of capacity crowd and let the crowd know what they did.  I don’t know if it’s a tape of that night but the next emcee contest after that we stood in front of the stage when the Force got on, wished them luck and A.D. threw a rabbit’s foot in Mercury’s (R.I.P.) face, and when we got on last at that particular M.C contest we broke out with two new dance steps.  Two smoking new routines and before we got off we showed them the money the contest was paying cause the promoter knew we was gonna win and paid right before we got on stage.  Then Caz threw $100 in singles in the crowd, which caused pandemonium, and we left!  And our relationship with them after that was “you fuck wit us again and we will end your career!”

 

Troy:    What tipped off the almost battle between ya’ll and the Furious 5? And why did it not happen? (Did ya’ll ever see each other face to face?)

 

JDL:     Well with the Furious 5 they were the only M.C group that we looked up to.  They had set the standard and we set the pace.  I am personal friends with them all, especially Mel.  We have the highest admiration for one another, hung out together and all!  We came behind them, took what they established and mastered it to perfection.  And they know it!  And they also knew that if anybody can oust them, smash them, straight crush them it was us!!!   However, it wasn’t about that, at least not to us.  We didn’t need to go through them to be on top.  You see the Furious 5 show was tight and I mean tight like a motherfucker.  But when they started making records and went around the world, had the Benzes, the fame and fortune they stopped making them fly ass routines and dance steps.  They was making records instead.  I couldn’t hate on that shit, I got crazy love and respect for the Furious and mysterious ever so serious 5 emcees.  The Cold Crush 4 have a little Furious 5 in us, but that street Furious 5 and we just kept adding, perfecting, escalating and elevating to new heights with no records, no hits just the raw hardcore routines, showmanship and M.C crew excellence.  When they came back home we had N.Y., N.J., Conn, LI, SI, PA, Philly on lock and N.Y. o my God it was Cold Crush mania to the point that where every box, every car, every O.J (car service) in every borough was rocking a Cold Crush tape.   The street rap game was ours and we set the standards, the trends and the motherfucking pace!  They called us out along with everybody else in Skate Palace one time.  It was Treach 3, Fantastic 5, Fearless 4, Cold Crush 4 and Busy Bee.  It was crowded that night and they boasted like hella about how they’d take us crew by crew or all together.  I told Caz “fuck that shit, let’s end this right now!”  Caz and Tone said chill El, they just trying to get their “juice back.”  What they didn’t or nobody didn’t know that we had a stash routine with their name on it.  Deep in my heart we should have brought it to them, cause at that time we was the sharpest tools in the shed.  Later on that night at Disco Fever in the V.I.P. room Mel came back there and told me and Caz that they did that to save face ‘cause they been away so long and if we would of battled them we could of easily have took them out!

 

Troy:    What tipped off the Fantastic Battle and what was the buzz (feeling) in the Bx days leading up to the battle?

 

JDL:     Busy Bee amped that shit up.  We all was in the Ecstasy Garage, us, them and Busy waiting to get paid after the show, taking flicks and shit.  Busy all high, talking mad shit.  I don’t know maybe Busy knew we kind of had an edge on Fantastic.  Anyway Busy said to us, yeah, Cold Crush rocked it tonight but I know who ya’ll can’t fuck with.  So we said who? And he said my man Theodore and his Fantastic 5 emcees.  So shit got mad quiet, couple of spectators going “ohh, ooh.” So Caz said fuck that can’t nobody fuck wit us.  So we started beefing right then and there, word!  Mean Gene was like  “Ya’ll want me to cut the music back on?”  We was like whatever.  So we bounced, but it was bound to have happened anyway.  So for a couple weeks we would go to their shows, post up in their spot, be right up front when they get on.  Intimidate them and shit.  They would come to ours and do the same thing.  Then they would come to Caz crib while we was practicing and we would come outside and be beefing with them.  A promoter, named Ray Chandler, found out about this and capitalized on it.  That battle changed our lives even though we got robbed that night and got handkerchiefs thrown in our faces by them.  That battle took us to a level of showmanship that after that show WE NEVER LOSS NOTHING AGAIN!!!  I mean our professionalism had rocketed.  Every M.C contest they gave we won (about 10 of them).  We got crazy awards for our stage shows, best M.C group and everything.  Fantastic on the other end went down and made them feel it every time we played with them, we busted their ass dissing them in rhymes and all.

 

Troy:    With each group give a description of your relationship:  Funky 4, Fantastic, Furious 5,  Fearless 4, Treacherous 3, Master Don and The Death Committee.

 

JDL:     Well Treach and Fearless are our family (The Alliance).  Funky was cool with us they kind of  stayed cool with everybody.  We was definitly feeling Death Committee cause they reminded us of us when we was coming up in the ranks, creative, full of energy and instilling showmanship in their show.  Fantastic before that battle we was real cool with them.  We even did shows together, combined it was the Fan Crush 9 and plus most of us go way back, way before Hip-Hop came out. you know pee-wee basketball and shit like that.  Same with the Furious 5.

 

Troy:    How long did the Mighty Force last and who were all the players?

 

JDL:     About two years and then Whipper Whip and DotaRock went with Theodore.  The players was DJ M.C Grandmaster Casanova Fly, DJ Mighty Mike, Force Four, MC Jerry Dee Lewis, Prince Whipper Whip, Dota Rock & R.C. R.C. left and then it was  Just me, Whip and Dot.

 

Troy:    How long did the Notorious 2 last and who were all the players?

 

JDL:     When Whip and Dot went with Theodore we started another group called
Force Five, it was Caz, me, Lil Gee, Louie Lew, Mighty Mike.  That did not last at all, so being that me and Caz knew we had talent DJing and MCing, we was doing shit on our own and was getting paid too!  We stayed Notorious until Chase and Tone stepped to Caz.

 

Troy:    Was there ever a time when another M.C from another crew was coming to the Crush?

 

JDL:     No

 

Troy:    After Caz, Moe and Mel, who do you think is the next 5 best M.Cs during ya’lls dynasty, including you?

 

JDL:     Tito, DLB, JDL, LA Sunshine, Spoonie Gee (not necessarily in this order)

 

Troy:    What do you remember from the battles you and Caz used to go through with others such as Johnny WA and Rayvon and others?

 

JDL:     To tell you the truth it was fun battling duo M.Cs and me and Caz knew each other so well that we just flowed like water.  The  back and forth rhymes we had, each tie we did them we would freak it, studder on it and ping pong it real sweet.  As far as the other M.Cs we were battling the only ones we respected was Ray and WA, the rest of them was target practice, like Jeckyl and Hyde, Bond and Elmo.  Shit, one time me and Caz took out the Imperial Bros. by our self and that was a four man M.C crew.  WORD!! Right at your spot, in the Bronx.

 

Troy:    How did Tape Master get affiliated with the group?  Do you know what became of him?  Can you recall how many tapes he had?  Was he a Spanish kid?

 

JDL:     Tape Master was Spanish and him, A.D. and Toney Tone went to South Bronx High School.   He was our tape man, he has every single Cold Crush party we ever done.  I don’t know his whereabouts but I’m sure A.D. knows.

 

Troy:    Who was the group’s security during parties?

 

JDL:     Our security was two of Toney Tone’s brothers, King and K.K. and we had Money Ray and Henry C.

 

Troy:    What do you remember about the gangs and violence before and after the party?

 

JDL:     Well it was the same as everywhere, you know stick-ups in the bathroom, chasing dudes from other boroughs to the train stations.  Nobody ever got shot or killed at one of our parties.

 

Troy:    What were some of the outrageous ways the group was treated by the fans of C.C. 4? (not just talking about sex)

 

JDL:     When we first experienced the “ghetto stardom” we couldn’t inhale it all at once.  We loved our fans and would be out in the party with them before and after the show, snap with them, laugh wit ‘em, all that.  We never really looked at them as fans, we looked at them as people wanting to see the Cold Crush 4 tear shit up and make them feel good at the same time, and we did just that!!

 

 

Thank you JayQuan for allowing me to put it where it’s supposed to be at.  And I want to give a special

shout out to two godsends, my mans Waverly and Troy Smith.

 

 

       

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