|Stevie D of The Force Mds by JayQuan|
year did the Force Mcs form , and who are the original members?
We got together in 1981. It was me , Mercury & Dj Dr Rock. In ’82 my first cousin Lord K-Won joined.
Did y’all start off as
just Emcees , or did you always sing?
I was the singer. I was in a singing group with my brother TCD ,my uncle Jessie D , and Khalil who later on became the Force Mds. We were called the Fantastic LD’s. Mercury taught me how to rap , ‘cus all I did in the beginning was sing. At one time I was between two groups – a singing group and a rap group. The singing group used to sing on the Staten Island ferry. One part of me was rappin’ with Mercury and Dr Rock , and the other was singing with the Lds on the ferry.
How did Trisco and TCD
come into the picture?
Mr Magic saw us on the ferry , and said that he liked what he heard , and that he wanted to take us to see Tom Silverman at Tommy Boy Records. The day we were going to meet Tom , Trisco just happened to be on the boat. He was the lead singer of a group called Cook Corporation in Staten Island and they just broke up . Trisco and TCD were real tight , and we invited him to come with us. Khalil wanted to become a muslim , and didn’t want to do music at the time , so that slid Mercury right in. We wanted to bring the whole arsenal to Tom with the singing and rapping. We didn’t even have a demo. Mr. Magic wanted us to do exactly what we did on the ferry boat. Magic had no idea that we were gonna throw the rap stuff in there too. We did impersonations of Michael Jackson , Elvis Presley , then we did the rap part. He said “you guys can do everything” , and he labeled it Do Wop Hip Hop. The rest is history.
Who were your influences as
far as singers?
The Temptations , Jackson 5 , the Whispers , Sam Cooke and especially the Ojays. We liked Elvis Presley too , that’s why we imitated him on the boat.
Which Emcees influenced
Mele Mel. I idolized him. I loved his voice and everything. He is like Chuck Ds father as far as that. Caz was one of the best lyricists back in those days. Treacherous 3 was dope ,and the Crash Crew. They really got us into the harmonizing thing with the Hi Power Rap.
Were you guys the only
ones in Staten Island Emceeing when you first started?
Yep , the only ones. There was a group called the Fly 4 but that was it. Method Man , Raekwon all of them looked up to us. Its hard for the young cats to believe it when I tell them that Method man used to look up to me.
Were there any other
battles that you guys got involved with other than Cold Crush?
Not really. We were in the Mc contest where Moe Dee and Busy battled , but that was it. Really people didn’t take us serious. They always said that Staten Island isn’t part of New York , so it took us a while to get a buzz. People paid more attention to us after that battle with Cold Crush , which wasn’t a real battle. The promoter hyped it up as a battle. The Cold Crush did their routine & bounced. They weren’t told that it was a battle. We were told it was a battle so we came in talking trash. It was a big misunderstanding. But the only guy who showed us love was JDL. We were really treated like peasants by the other crews for awhile.
When we made records they showed us love. They wouldn’t even give us a pound before we made records. We were up & coming – us and Doug E Fresh. I remember he called himself Dougie Doug back then. Me & Doug are very close , ‘cus we started at the same time. We grinded together , and we both got no respect in the beginning , but ended up making hit records. Doug had it hard at first. He tried everything. My uncle Jessie did the beat box at Harlem World and the crowd went bananas !! Im still not sure who really did the beat box first. I was with Dougie when he started and I never saw him beat box. He is my man but I don’t know what happened. He carried it on for all these years so he gets the crown on it. Doug got his crowd skills from Busy Bee. When he finally found his niche , that’s what it was. He tapped into what Busy was doin’. He would see Busy and say – I gotta do that , and he did it. He mastered it.
Dr Rocks name is not mentioned among names like Charlie Chase , Flash and Theodore. How was Dr Rocks skills on the 1 & 2s ?
He was one of the best , only a few people got a chance to see how good he really was. He passed away along with Mecrury , TCD & Lord K – Won. Im the last one left. My other brother Khalil who left in the beginning is back in the group now , and he sounds just like TCD.
Once you got on Tommy Boy
was it your choice as a group not to rap as much?
Na , that was all Tom Silverman. He wanted us to fry our hair , and put those letterman sweaters on. He wanted us to be like Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers , he was a big fan of them. We were so vulnerable we didn’t care , we just were glad to have a record out.
What kind of groups were
you touring with for that first lp?
We toured with New Edition all the time , that was the main group that we toured with at that time. Newspapers were writing that we were outshining them on stage. I love them brothers man, ,but we were just an example of raw talent. We were straight from the ferry boat singin’ in front of all races, every day for 3 years straight.
Yeah they couldn’t kill
it live ‘till Johnny Gill came !
Exactly. Think about it; have you ever seen them just stop and do accapella ? We are the number 1 reason that Johnny got in that group. People kept telling them that although they had the money , Force Mds could out sing them. They got tired of hearing that. We had more elements – Trisco with the Baritone , TC with the falsetto. To me Johnny still sounds a little funny with them , he is so much more advanced than them. Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis did “Tender Love” with us , and they were trying to get something like that , and the closest they came was “Can You Stand The Rain”. That one blended Johnny in good with them.
You told me before that ya’ll originally didn’t like “Tender Love”
Jesse was crying , ‘cus it didn’t have any drums. Jimmy Jam kept telling him that it would be a hit.
On the Chillin Lp how did the Fat Boys joint come about?
That was easy , Tom Silverman put that together. He just approached them and they were with it.
On the last few Lps like Touch & Go and Step To Me Jesse wasn’t with you guys. What was up?
He pursued a solo career….
Did you do anything else with Jam & Lewis besides Tender Love?
Nah , Tommy Boy didn’t wanna pay for it. He tried to go the easy way out and not pay the money. We had a good chemistry with Jimmy & Terry , and could have made more hits , but Tom didn’t wanna pay.
How did you hook up with them in the first place (Jam and Lewis)?
They had Tender Love for the soundtrack to Krush Groove , and they pushed it to a lot of other artists , but nobody wanted it. We said we have nothing to lose. Freddie Jackson and a few other artists turned it down.
Do you feel like you’re underatted historically as Emcees and as singers?
Yes , as Emcees I think again being from Staten Island we weren’t taken seriously. Dougie Fresh , Masterdon & The Def Committee , Charlie Rock and Son Of Sam were the only ones that really said that we had something. They really kept us going. Van Silk also. We really didn’t feel like we were appreciated till Run Dmc came to us and told us that they had all our tapes. Then Kane & Biz would say the same thing – reciting our routines and stuff. I was so shocked , even the Roots would approach us and give us props. No matter what they say though , we made our mark. If you look in the 1986 World Book Encyclopedia they have us listed as the originators of Do Wop Hip Hop.
When you were at Tommy Boy how much of your own material were you able to record?
A little , but to be truthful we didn’t know much about publishing and all that so they got us. We got a lil publishing , but we should have gotten more than what we got. My brother TCD co wrote “Let Me Love You” , “Tears” , “Forgive Me Girl” – a lot of the first album. But I wish that we wrote Tender Love. That was our biggest selling song along with “Love Is A House”.
Who was writing along with TCD on that first LP?
Tom Silverman’s wife – Robin Haplin. That shocked everybody. She was a R&B head.
Was there more creative freedom at Warner Bros.?
It was about the same. For example “Are You Really Real” was produced by Full Force. We love those guys BUT , the person who was supposed to do it was Teddy Riley. He was scorchin’ hot at the time. They didn’t want to pay him. They said Full Force would do it for less. But it would have been worth it . The guys who wrote and produced “Love Is A House” were gonna do another song with us , but they wanted a little more money ,and the label didn’t wanna pay.
Tommy Boy has a lot of compilations on you guys. One of the biggest was “For Lovers And Others” do you agree with the song selection for that ?
We like the one called “Let Me Love You – the Greatest Hits”. We had no input in those compilations. We were very upset by the “For Lovers And Others” joint because they didn’t even have a picture of us on the front , that killed us.
I see Ghostface showed y’all love on his first solo joint..
Yeah , I went to Method Mans grammy party , and RZA asked us to come in the studio and listen to some tracks. We were there like 3 or 4 hours just buggin’ and some of what we did turned into skits.
Im gonna name some random songs of yours , and I want you to tell me the first thought , or memory associated with the song.
Let Me Love You – Jesse came up with the hook , he was in Cali when he made that. That was the first song we ever recorded. It was really big to us. That’s when TCD found out that he had a great falsetto , on the bridge to that song.
Tears – That was a poem that TCD & this guy named Scott in Staten Island wrote together. We just turned it into a song. Tom asked TC to give him a Smokey Robinson sound , and that was it….even Blue Magic and those guys were impressed with it , that made us feel good. Trisco put a lot into that song too.
Touch & Go – That was fun , we were on the road a lot , and we touched and went a lot (laughs). TC and Trisco came up with that concept.
Here I Go Again – TC wrote that. We came in the studio one day and TC sung it for Tommys wife and she was blown away. The ladies loved it when we did that song in concert.
Tender Love – We thought “lets do it” its gonna be on the Krush Groove soundtrack. My uncle Jesse was cryin’ that it didn’t have drums in it. Jimmy & Terry looked him directly in the face and said – I guarantee it will be a hit !! That song got things wide open for them. After that came Janet Jackson , and they haven’t looked back.
Fat Boys Meet The Force Mds – That was Tom Silverman’s idea. There weren’t many collaboration back then. We had like 8 big pizzas in the studio and they went thru them all. They can really eat !! It was a step up because the Fat Boys were really major at the time.
What is your honest feeling on todays Hip Hop and R&B?
I wish that Hip Hop would cut down on the violence, and degrading women. I don’t think they realize what its doing to young kids. R&B all sounds pretty much the same , I can’t tell who is who. Nobody is really sayin’ anything new.
What are you doin today?
We don’t really wanna make any records right now. We really like touring , plus its more money in touring and that’s our strength.
THANKS & PEACE
© 2005 jayquan dot com