SOUL SONIC FORCE

        INTERVIEW

                                                                                          

JayQuan : What year did you start Emceeing , who was the first person you heard  Emcee and who inspired you?

Pow Wow : I started in 1978 , Herc was the first person I heard ; and I was inspiredby Dotta Rock . I saw him at a block party at 63 park , and I knew that I wanted to dothis. I went to school with Kevie Kev & Master Rob .

G.L.O.B.E : Herc was the first one I saw  , back in 74 or 75 at Aurthur park - I wasnt supposed to be out like that , but I had an older brother who was into Hip Hop. Herc wason the echo chamber, sayin stuff like rock rock yall . I started Emceeing around 76. I wasa B Boy before becoming an Emcee....most Emcees back then were B Boys first like  KKRockwell & Keith Keith from Funky 4 +1 , Breakout , Melle Mel & Pow Wow .

Pow Wow : I was the best B Boy , I started around '76. I taught Grandwizard Theodore to B Boy.

JQ : What was the musical back ground for a party in '75 - mostly James Brown ?

G.L.O.B.E :  Thats where Bam came in ;  he was the master of records . Before Bam youwould hear mostly James Brown , Jimmy Castors - Its Just Begun , Bongo Rock &Apache by Incredible Bongo Band , and disco records with little breaks. Theodore was fantastic at finding breaks ; when he played I would just stand at the ropes - even if the party lasted for 3 or 4 hours . He found breaks on disco records and stuff - but the foundation was James &Jimmy Castor .

JQ : How did you meet Bam ?

Pow Wow : I was at Bronx River center playin ball ; and I got into a beef with somebody. Bam stepped in to squash it. This was in '69 .

G.L.O.B.E :   I met him through Pow Wow . Pow Wow was the best B Boy in the neighborhood - he was the best B Boy Id ever seen , im not sayin it 'cus he's my boy - its the truth. His sister was a friend of mines - she told me he was nice ,we met & clicked .He was down with Bam already. Bam heard me spit and saw me B Boy a little - he taught me how to dance more and conversed on the Emceeing thing. I was looking for a group to be in , so I stepped to Breakout , but the Funky 4 were already complete .I finally asked Bam what was up with Soul Sonic . He took me to Bronx River Center and thats where I met Biggs . He asked me to spit and I said this ryhme about Las Vegas and talked about stacking money etc....they said he is nice - put 'em on .So that next week there used to be 8 Emcees on the flyer but there were only 3. We were playing playing at the T Connection with Breakout , and my name was on there I was one of the 3 Emcees .

JQ : Originally the Soulsonic Force consisted of cats from Cosmic Force , Jazzy 5 and other groups right?

G.L.O.B.E : Yeah Ice Ice , Master Ice , Master B...a lot of heads.

JQ : At that point before Hip Hop records were made ; what was the political climate like...as far as the jams and members of the 5% Nation ,Casanovas , Black Spades etc?

G.L.O.B.E : It was really the 9 Crew , The Zulus & The Casanovas. The Spades had dissolved into somethin else .  It was Peace at the party ; outside there was a lot of stick ups...sometimes in the party too . But it was funny if you brought some 9 crew  to a Zulu party - they would be standing information on a certain part of the floor , but there was no beef as long as nobody looked at anyone wrong or said anything wrong . When it was time to go home somethin might jump off .But its not like the Zulus would crash Flashes party or a Casanovas party . And the Casanovas wouldn't crash our parties...everything was correct.

JQ : Just from what I gather from listening to old tapes - it seems like the Zulus were thier own self contained unit - like a party might have Cold Crush , Busy Bee & the Treacherous 3 , but a Zulu party would have mainly Zulu affiliated groups many times. Whats the deal with that ?

Pow Wow : Its like once you crossed 174th st bridge into  the Bronx it was a different world . We didnt need anybody else....not that we were not down with other crews or antisocial -  we just had our own thing .

G.L.O.B.E : Yeah you could say that...the way Bam programmed me to think was to be at Peace and take care of yourself and each other ; and we did that. We didnt go outside of our circle too much  'cus it was always somethin to do in our circle. As far as goin to another party or somethin like that , spittin wit other Emcees ; I was one to go and watch and listen and learn from cats. Its not that we didnt want to be bothered with other cats ; we just didnt have to.

JQ : Was the first official recording by Soul Sonic Zulu Nation Throwdown on Paul Winely records ?

G.L.O.B.E : No it was actually a somg called Cotton Candy on Tommy Boy . We just did a lil 8 bar thing on it . But the real first thing with just us was Zulu Nation Throwdown .

JQ : Did you have any idea when you were making Planet Rock that it would be such a Phenominal song and actually give birth to actual styles of music ; and have international appeal .

G.L.O.B.E : Honestly no . I just wanted to do what no one had done before . I came up with a rap style called Emcee Poppin and no one ever did it like that. I wasnt educated to realize that it would go international like Kraftwerk ; and I was just so glad to meet them !!  We were in Germany doing the Beat Street tour and they were in a club that we were at....I broke my neck to get over to meet them . They were a little like " those are the guys who took our sound " . It was big for me....2 of them walked away,but the main guy stayed with me . Bam ,Biggs and the rest werent trying to get with Kraftwerk . In fact I dont think Bam was there - he rarely went to the clubs after shows he just stayed put. Pow Wow and I were the ones who did all the bouncing around . But I had no idea it was gonna go Ka Pow like it did - not at all.

 

JQ :How much creative input and control did you have in the song , I know that Aurthur Baker and John Robie did production , and Bam had his input as well.

G.L.O.B.E : I suggested that we base the beat around numbers ; and everybody agreed 'cus it was fast and somethin that nobody could touch. My next move was to go and make a style to it  I usually wrote the bulk of the lyrics and then showed everyone how to do thier part in the studio . Aurthur would call me when he was mixing and ask me certain questions. John Robie always had his act together ; when

I got to the studio he just rocked shit . I played some keyboards on Renegades Of Funk , on the instrumental , just noise but they kept it ....  I just wanted us to hit em like we did , I spoke up a lot , Bam came with his ideas....it was just perfect .

JQ : It was.......that record ruled the summer of '82. I am in Virginia and when we heard it every body who was an Emcee wanted to Pop and lock...Planet Rock merged the breaking aspect of the culture with the Emceeing aspect ; for those of us outside of New York ! Perfect Beat was right up ther with it .

G.L.O.B.E : Thats beautiful.......Robert Palmer ; God rest his soul was a  writer for the New York Times he said "Perfect Beat " was the record of the year. I showed that to Harry Belafonte & he almost fell on the floor !! I wished my father had lived long enough to see that .That was the biggest thing to get that.

JQ : Was that a computer generated Scratch on Perfect Beat ?

G.L.O.B.E : It was an instrument that looked like a drum ; with this rubbery thing that made the Scratch sound.

JQ : I finally saw the videos for Renegades Of Funk & Perfect Beat recently . At that time ('82-84) what was done with those videos since there was no Mtv , Vh1 or BET ?

G.L.O.B.E : Well you had Video Music Box with Ralph Mc Daniels & there was Hot Tracks before that , but also they were used overseas as promotion .  And Tom (Tom Silverman - Tommy Boy founder) was the best at marketing . But those really blew up internationally.

JQ : How did Harry Belafonte seem to feel about the culture of Hip Hop...did he seem to respect it , and be amazed by it ? And how did Soul Sonic get chosen to perform in the movie Beat Street ? 

G.L.O.B.E : He didnt really seem to respect it...it was just something to make money from...it was like forget Wild Style ive got money and im gonna make a bigger movie . I did a lot of work on that movie. I should have gotten production credit for all the work that I did !!! I met Harry every morning at his office and just talked for hours....schooling him about Hip Hop over breakfast . That scene in the movie where the Dj is rapping and Us Girls are about to perform...I wrote that whole part!!  We got chosen to perform just based on our international sucsess.

JQ : I hear Run Dmc and a lot of what I call 2nd generation old school groups critisize Soul Sonics dress code ; ive heard Bam say that you were performing with bands like the Barkays & Cameo and that you had to give a show equal to those   groups...is that accurate ?

G.L.O.B.E : Thats right ....... the showmanship....to just blast 'em . We had to do it . We would have blown 'em away without that ; but if you paid your money for a show we gave you one . I usually don't mention Run Dmc 'cus they dont mean anything to me ; but if our showmanship was so bad how come they came right after Planet Rock with Its Like That with the same beat ? And isnt the black blazer & derby a costume ?

JQ : At the time no one was going solo...a group was a group...what prompted you to do " Play That Beat " ?

G.L.O.B.E :  Tom always told me that Whiz Kid (God rest his Soul) did beats and he asked me if I wanted to do a record with Whiz Kid.... I said sure...Whiz dropped a beat  ; I took it home & wrote to it . I got every little kid in the neighborhood and rented a van and took them to the studio and they screamed on the record...I gave 'em pizza and everytime I got paid I broke them off with somethin'. Tom saw that I was capable of carrying the group and going solo so its like " lets make some more money off of this guy ".

JQ :Did you have any idea that Play That Beat would be so big ?

G.L.O.B.E : Well I wrote it for the radio . I remember the first night that Scratching was ever played on the air , Jazzy Jay (Soul Sonics Dj) did it...it was phenominal . Once I saw the world get into what we were doin at home ..I said time to do it.....make it bigger .And it worked !

JQ : How did the song "B Boys Beware" with Two Sisters come about ?

G.L.O.B.E : Tom knew the guy who owned their label - Sugarscoop .That was fun makin' that.

JQ : What exactly is Emcee Poppin ...gimme an example

G.L.O.B.E : Its like a melody..with fast rappin.....like  on Planet Rock when I say .." Its time to chase ya dreams  ".....or on Renegades when I say "Poppin & Shockin' & Rockin' , puttin aside the Hip Hoppin" just the melody.

JQ :  How about royalties....your stuff has been remade , remixed , do you see anything ?

Pow Wow  : We see money , but nothin close to what we should see for what those records did . My contract was renegotiated behind my back ; im about to take Tommy Boy to court .

G.L.O.B.E : Monies are being sent through Tommy Boy  ; we have to see what our next statements say.

JQ : Damn...you cats built Tommy Boy...there is no Naughty By Nature , De La or nothin without y'all .

G.L.O.B.E : Thats right and they all came in under Zulu....Queen Latifah all of' 'em.

JQ : Is Soulsonic still together today....whats in the works ?

G.L.O.B.E : Yeah we're still the click....we just did Miami a few weeks ago with Busta Ryhmes. Im in the process of collecting beats right now for Soul Sonic....this Rap thing is really in me ; I thought id outgrow it but its an art andI think I will be 80 still spittin like a Jazz artist.

JQ : Thats a beautiful thing...lastly , what was the deal with Planet Patrol....Planet Rock is credited to them , and they used the beat for "Play At Your Own Risk"....also was there a family vibe with the Tommy Boy artists like Jonzun Crew & Special Request ?

G.L.O.B.E : Planet Patrol is Aurthur Baker and John Robie....the vocalists are just some guys they got to sing...we never hung out or partied with our labelmates .....we had record release parties...we cameate & left . I was supposed to do a song with Jonzun Crew , but it never happened . People still didn't like rap at the time. We did a show with Zapp , Cameo & Gap Band . Zapp & Roger - rest his Soul were incredible , we didnt see Gap Band - they were the headliners....but Cameo sabatoged our set. We would go to do a song and the drum machine would be erased or playin the wrong beat - but we had Jazzy J on the wheels as backup!

JQ : Peace.....thanks for your time.

 

2002 JayQuan Dot Com     May not be reproduced without authors permission

As told to JayQuan 5/6/02     My man Troy Smith comes thru again...thanks fam!

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