SCORPIO INTERVIEW

 

JayQuan : Who was the first person that you heard Emcee , and what year did you start ?

 

Scorpio : Timmy Tim & Clark Kent...Around ' 77 .

 

JQ : I know originally it was Cowboy & Flash , then Mel & Creole made the 3 Emcees , were you the fourth Emcee to join ?

 

SC : Yes...

 

JQ : How did you meet Flash ?

 

SC : Actually  he came to our junior high school,me & Mel went to the same high school & Flash came with Mean Gene  so their crew could battle our crew Breakdancing . Me & Mel used to B Boy together .

 

JQ : Kurtis Blow told me that at one point him & Kool Kyle were down with Furious , and you were called the Serious 7 , is that accurate ?

 

SC : Not really , Flash used to Dj at disco parties with Eddie Cheeba & Hollywood , so Kurtis used to go do shows with Flash. We may have done a show as the Serious 7 , but it wasnt an official crew , not at all .

 

JQ : What were the  cultural & musical differences between the Bronx and other buroughs ?

 

SC : Musically no one was doin it like the Boogie Down ; they were into disco . They would rap over a whole disco record , and the Bronx was official raw Hip Hop . We couldnt do the clubs down town because our music was just too raw . 

 

JQ : What was the atmosphere like at the jams , before rap records came out , was it Peace ?

 

SC : Nah actually it was the same as whats goin on now . Stick up kids , cats sellin drugs , allthat . It didnt come as much to the Emcees , cus every Emcee had a crew . Everybody knows as far as the Bronx , we had the ruffest crew in the Bronx - the Casanovas . As far as being Peaceful , people definintely came to party , but you might get stuck up in the bathroom and shit like that. We were playin  for murderers , stick up kids and all that.  Overall if you didnt know what was goin on , you would think that it was just a nice lil party .

 

JQ : Yeah Mel told me that cats would make you shout them out .

 

SC : Thats how shout outs started !!   Straight up stick up kids ; even though we knew them ,they thought that what we were doin was some soft shit . To let people know that they were in the house , they would grab you by the neck - " yo man say so and so in the house " . Thats how the phrase in the house started . It started from stick up kids comin up to us , Herc etc and sayin say so and so in the house...and you would definintely say it !

 

JQ : As far as the stage show was there any one particilar person who formatted the routines ?

 

SC : It depended . Overall we would just practice , on the roof - wherever and throw our ideas together . Sometimes it was one person   , sometimes it was a group effort . But we were always a step ahead . When everybody was just rhymin we were chanting  , when they were chanting we brought out the beatbox. It was no where by far anybody in the Bronx that could match our talent - no matter who it was - Funky 4 , Fantastic , Cold Crush - if they were honest they would admit that we were way beyond .

 

JQ : Furious was one of the original groups outside of the Herculords right ?

 

SC : With the Herculords - Timmy Tim & Coke La Rock they never rhymed ; they just said lil phrases like "yes yall youre now listening to the sounds of Kool Herc and the Herculords" . But we were the first group in the Bronx to do full rhymes to the beat . If we own any patent ,its that rhymin' to the beat .

 

JQ : On that same level - Cowboy - God bless the dead - I always hear that he was a good crowd motivator . I've heard that it was between him & Starski who coined the phrase Hip Hop.

 

SC : To my knowledge it was definitely Cowboy . The phrase could have originated with Kool  Herc , but Cowboy was the first to do the " Hip Hop hip to the hippety" thing. He used to do the army thing to the Hip Hop . So it was definitely Cowboy. Herc coined B Boy , but Hip Hop to my knowledge was Cowboys .

 

JQ : Caz told me that this kid was about to go to the army and Cowboy was teasin him like to the marching rhythm....Hip /Hop/ Hip/ Hop .

 

SC : Yeah thats how he started it...that was it .

 

JQ : How did you feel about how " We Rap More Mellow" came out ?

 

SC : Well it was our first time in the studio and Terry Lewis didnt know about Hip Hop , thats why the music was like that ...it came out wack.

 

JQ : What was your first reaction and honest opinion when you heard "Rappers Delight" ?

 

SC : Honestly I was mad as a fu*k , because as far as rap we were the first official rap group. We were selling out the Audobon back then with no records out . There are artists now that can't sell out the Audobon . For them just to come out like that - nobody heard of 'em , they were fake Emcees , they were put together  - it was like a smack in our faces . People approached us way back to make records and we didn't , at that point , but after Rappers Delight we stepped up and said we gotta do this. Thats when we did Superrappin the official way .  We were the ones to lead the styles & trends , and if we came out first I dont think that record would have made it. We set the pace for what was official and that corny shit woulda never made it . When you heard Superrappin , you heard technique . Five cats passin the mic back and forth without anyone knowing it - that would have been the standard . Rappers Delight made it possible for corny motherfu*kers to come in the game right off the bat . A few years later we hear "Rappin Duke" , that kind of shit would never have come out !

 

JQ : Did your deal with Enjoy come from Spoonie tellin his Uncle about Furious ?

 

SC : Nah we didnt even know Spoonie . He may have mentioned us to Bobby , but Bobby came to the Audobon and saw us sell it out with no records out , and that did it .

 

JQ : Do you feel that Superrappin would have been more succsessful if Enjoy had more push like Sugarhill did ?

 

SC : Yeah , but for what Superrappin meant at the time it was a hella record . Our vision was  only the 5 buroughs anyway , so Superrappin just solidified us . It was just a routine that we used to do off the beatbox , so we didnt have to even think about it. W e did it in one take . Every record by the original Flash & Furious Five took 1 or 2 takes at the most. 5 mics in the studio, everyone there at one time  . People wouldnt have a clue listening to the records . Sugarhill Gang would stay in the studio  day and night doing like 50 takes. We did Freedom in one take !!

 

JQ : What was the vibe like at the label with you and other groups - I hear your voices on "Thats The Joint " , " 8th Wonder " and other joints - was it a family vibe at Sugarhill ?

 

SC : The vibe was competition, no one liked anyone else . We out shined cats doin the back ground on their own records. That was the vibe no matter how it appeared . Nobody liked us , and basically we didnt like them . When I hear people talk about Pac & Biggie they say " I wish it could go back to fun like it was in the old school " - thats the biggest bunch of bullshit ! Really we spoke to no groups - Cold Crush , Fantastic , Funky 4 came from the Bronx ; we never kicked it , everybody had their own camp. The only reason we did start speaking was because Run & them came and that whole era , and we were being faded out so we needed each other .

 

JQ : How was the experience at Sugarhill coming from Enjoy ?

 

SC : At first it was good , you got to see the fruits of your labor with the quickness . Freedom was on all the stations 2 weeks after we recorded..it was great for a real short time . Probably till after we did the Message , that was the beggining of the end of our group .  

 

JQ : I will ask you the just like I asked Mel , do you think that if Furious had been in its original line up when Run Dmc dropped "Sucker Mcs" that they wouldnt have been as effective ?

 

SC : Our original unit would have re adjusted and brought it to 'em ...not anything personal...but thats what we do , like boxers . When they came stripped down we couldnt even put any music out , and they were able to capitalize.

 

JQ : Do you feel that if Sugarhill had released stuff like  "Step Off" ,"Busy Bees Groove" and "Gotta Rock" before ' 85 the label would have lasted longer ? 

 

SC : Definitely...thats the original shit that we come from - just rapping over drum breaks...not all those guitars and horns...even though they were hot records . Like beatin' on a car rhymin, that was the raw shit. Thats where Run and them killed 'em....they went back  to the park style.

 

JQ : Was there any audition for you to be in the Furious 5 ?

 

SC : Nah Flash didnt have a home base , and the park where he started playin to develop  a homebase was where we lived - 23 Park .   Thats where we lived..I lived on one block , Mel on another then Creole , Cowboy lived up the block .  That was the main park , and where Flash set up . Once Mel , Cre & Cowboy started rhymin' I was their boy. I wasn' t rhymin but I was right there . Once I started writing it was nothing for me to say let me get the mic & rhyme. Mel said we're gonna put you down . At first Cre & Cowboy didn't want me down , Mel said he's gon' be down , talked to Flash & thats it.

 

JQ : I thought that your position in the group was like the cool nigga - with the braids , the name belt with freak on it ....it seemed like you brought style to the group .

 

SC : That was the chamber  .Thats what made it so hard when people singled Mel out . They  don't know how the chemistry evolved , or what we were like together , cus we were all so different . Not tootin' my horn but ; I was definitely the one who brought all the style to the group .  The style , the wild shit...like I was on the level of like the Prince or Rick James  of rap.

 

JQ : You were originally Mr. Ness....was that short for finesse ?

 

SC : Nah , it was Elliot Ness . I changed it right after Superrappin cause I took on a whole new persona and Mr Ness  didnt fit anymore. I was gettin' so many girls at one point I was just a stinger so I called myself Scorpio.

 

JQ : The song Scorpio from the Message Lp was about you right ?

 

SC : Yeah no doubt ....Mel did the vocorder. My thing was always show no shame  with everything . I heard Rick James say it on a song and I just went with that . It became my slogan .

 

JQ : Is Furious part of the class action lawsuit against Sugarhill Records ?

 

SC : Oh yeah....no doubt . Everybody is involved from the label , but we were the ones touring Germany , London & Paris. Funky 4 never went to Germany ...maybe on some Wild Style shit , but not as far as your music being in demand in those places and forcing you to go . Treach 3 ; even though they were a great group ; their music never took them to those places . We toured the world - it wouldn't have been a major lawsuit without our group. The other groups dont have enough in their catalog . Its like how many did you sell 50,000 ?

 

JQ : Wheels Of Steel was incredible , and it gave cats like me who are outside of NYC our first ever taste of scratching. I know it was 2nd nature to you being around it , but it blew our minds. Did you have any idea that you were making such an impact around the country & the world?

 

SC : Nah not really to us it was an alright record , but nothin great because we've seen Flash do better stuff in the parks - its like ok its comin out on record no big deal. We couldn't visualise the impact until we started touring . 30,000 - 40,000 people losing their minds . People just look at it like we were the first rap group , but everything we did was revolutionary . Whats normal today was not then . So for us to go on stage with Cameo , Rick James etc - people saw just turntables and mics for the first time , they were like where's your band !!! They couldn't grasp it . We went through a lot to make whats normal today a reality .

 

JQ : What do you think of so called Hip Hops short memory span and the treatment of the original school ?

 

SC : I love the culture of Hip Hop , but the people are the the most bullshit people. The new school got so much shame about old school . Any other thing from basketball , football ,boxing people before always have a position . In basketball Magic Johnson or whoever will be on the sidelines , announcing or something . Hip Hop  is the only thing where its like what you did doesn't mean a thing...thats the saddest thing about Hip Hop . Its a shame thing , like because we got jerked they dont wanna deal with us.

 

JQ : It's funny Bonnie Raitt...the white blues chic went and started an organization that gets royalties for cats like BB King , Howlin Wolf etc. Do you think a Jay - Z or someone who knows the history could do somethin' similar ?  

 

SC : They could do that shit...once a year throw a fundraiser , for the cats that came before them , we want to still do music , but they label it as that old school stuff...they washed up , so they could do somethin' if they feel that our time has gone . Im not sayin that they owe us but they really seem to have forgotten who started this shit . Even other old school cats I talk to want to change their name and come back out . Im not changing my name  ; im not gonna sneak back in . They do a big rock & roll song and get the original artist to do it with them . They take our shit and don't put us in the video or nothin' . Duran Duran redid While Lines and put us in the video ,what do these rappers think ; we gonna make them look bad in the video? If I speak on it im a hater . Thats how they channel all of their justifications by callin you a player hater 'cus  you dont have what they have . Thats why I rarely do interviews because if you speak on it they say you' re bitter .

 

JQ : Was the split just over royalties , or the Message only havin Mel on it ?

 

SC : Once the Message came out somethin was just ripped from us . It had Duke Bootee on it , who wasn't even in our group. That took a whole lot from us . Then Sylvia came in and pampered up to Mel - she killed us with the divide & conquer . When enough was enough he wouldn't walk.

 

JQ : Is it true that initially everybody left , then you & Cowboy came back after Whitelines ?

 

SC : When I first left I went to Russell Simmons he was just starting Def Jam. LL and me were the first two artists signed to Def Jam. I got a contract from Lyor & Russell they wanted me to bethe same , just to tone it down as far as my style of dressing . I agreed on certain things , as soon as I had a contract Sugarhill sent a letter to Russell sayin that im officially with them and I can't sign anything . I didn't come back because of  Whitelines . I never wanted to step foot back on Sugarhill , but they werent gonna let me live . I was prepared to give up everything ,my friendship with Mel , all of it and move on .

 

JQ : What was up with the names on the records after the split - Grandmaster & Melle Mel , Grandmaster Melle Mel...etc

 

SC : Sugarhill was trying to manipulate the public . They were hoping the public wouldn't see that Flash wasn't there anymore.  Our group was the most confusing group , we had 3 extra members after the split that nobody knew and looked like faggots . None of them rapped or did anything, we were just keeping the punk rock image . People are still confused .

 

JQ : Was your Punk Rock image from touring with groups like the Clash ?

 

SC : Nah just from playing with Cameo and those groups , they had wild suits on. It just started from stopping at a truckstop and buying one spike . It went from that to full blown  .In that  era Bambaataa was dressing the same . You couldn't do shows and wear jeans and sneakers . It was entertainment , the Commodores & everybody was dressing like that . People in the Bronx might not have understood , but they werent out there touring the world .

 

JQ : Was there any animosity from other crews  after Furious blew up nationwide ?

 

SC:  No , the Bronx Emcees looked at us kinda like heroes . Actually thats how Cold Crush got their reputation ' cus we left the Bronx . Thats how they really came up.

 

JQ : Van Silk told me that y'all had a crew called Furious Lovers with Kevie Kev from Fantastic.

 

SC : Yeah....at one point Creole was messin around with drugs a lot & Kev was in the group to replace him .  When Creole came back we couldnt be 5 no more so listening to Kev , and feeling ourselves we called ourselves Furious Lovers .

 

JQ : Was Rahiem the main one singing on the R&B flavored joints?

 

SC : Yeah" She's Fresh"  and some more stuff , but all the background on " It's Nasty"  , " It's A Shame"  no one else came in the studio , its all us on every Furious 5 song . No one told us what notes to sing ...we were out there.

 

JQ : What was your favorite Furious release from the Sugarhill label ?

 

SC : Freedom . That was us in our rawest , purest form . They left us alone to do what we did .

 

JQ : When Freedom goes off Cowboy is going accapella  , I never wanted that record to end . Did he go on a lot longer than what we heard?

 

SC : He went on for awhile , they had to fade it out. It was unrehearsed , he just killed it .

 

JQ : On the Sugarhill Records version of " Flash To The Beat " how come its just credited to

Flash ?

 

SC : The way Sugarhill worked , if you didnt kiss they ass they would leave your name  off the records . After all that stuff we wrote a lot of it only Mel was gettin publishing . Thats why when it was time to stand strong , thats where he was gettin his bread & butter from . At that point he was spoiled , they gave him an American Express card & different things .

 

JQ : What Emcees are you feeling right now ?

 

SC : The best 2 rappers to me were Biggie & Tupac . I like Outkast , Ludacris, Jay Z , KRS One & Doug E Fresh is dope he dont even need a record. To me Tupac was the best ever , I dont think there will ever be one to touch him .

 

JQ : How did the "Air Jordan" song come about ?

 

SC : I was just a Jordan fan to death , and on a whim I was like im gonna do a song about him. I took it to Aurthur Baker , it coulda been a great record . My thing was tryin to hook up wit Mike myself , but Aurthur & them at the time didnt know how to make that happen . The cat that used to make our clothes knew Michael . When Chicago played the Knicks , we waited and waited and the cat he ran up to wasn't Mike & we missed him . Same thing with " Black Shades" & " Gangster Boogie " I knew the guy who owned Sutra records , and I went to him , told him that I had an idea for a record and we did it . I was good at doing stuff like that - hustlin' .

 

JQ : What sparked the reunion Lp On The Stength ?

 

SC : Me & Mel was walkin down Morris ave in the Bronx , Flash drove by  ,we hadn' t talked in awhile , he had his group and the people at Elektra were pushing for him to get the original group back together . He called Elektra and said we were ready  and we did it . It wasnt out of love for Flash or Mel , they just wanted the original group back . I thought " Gold" was hot and I liked " Leave Here" . They didnt promote it because after it was done a lot of money was missin'.We went to Elektra to settle it and after that they didn't promote it at all . On one hand it's good to be a part of our group , but on the other GMF& F5 is some of the stupidest motherfu*kers'cus they the only people that hold grudges for 10 or 15 years. Really thats the only reason that we're not out there now . Flash & Mel can't seem to work together ...each wants the group to be theirs . We are legends but only together . GMF&F5 was a movement , but since Flash has the name Flash ; everybody says" you were the one making those records"...so he gets Source awards and everything and he aint even a rapper ! If niggas could check their egos we could get some of this money out here . Look at the Rolling Stones & Aerosmith they can break up , and come back and get this money - we are the Rolling Stones of Hip Hop  . You can't blame the new school or even Sylvia . Sylvia aint been in our lives in 17 years !!!! The most dissapointin' thing in my career is what Mel & Flash put our group through , its unspeakable !!!  I didn't have the power to stop it , neither did Creole or Rahiem .

 

JQ : Are you saying that the original beef is that Flash left & Mel stayed ?

 

SC : Yes , and Mel used the name Grandmaster . Sylvia had the rights to it .

 

JQ : After the group split how was your relationship with Sylvia & Sugarhill ?

 

SC : I was just a nigga in the lobby . If they had business to talk they would call Mel in the office , I never got anything . It got to the point I didn't feel comfortable rhyming around them . I was just around them cus I was cool with Mel.

 

JQ : Thanks for your time...Its an honor...One. 

 

 

As told to JayQuan on 5/16/02  No part may be reproduced or copied without authors permission. 2002 JayQuan Dot Com

* Special  thanks to Kool Moe Dee *

 

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