GROWN MAN MUSIC – JALIL Of WHODINI By JayQuan Summer 2006.

 

Leather hats, sandals , sport jackets and baggy pants. These cats could have easily fit in with some laid back dudes like Frankie Beverly & Maze. When we were rockin’ Bomber Coats, Shell Toe Adidas and mock neck shirts these Brooklyn Emcees were on some true grown man shit. When cats were talking about their cars and being microphone masters, Whodini was telling us the true meaning of Friends and stressing the importance of “One Love”. Its my honor to speak with the rapper Jalil.

 

JayQuan: What year did you start Emceeing , and what was it that made you want to be an Emcee?

 

Jalil: The gift that the God gave me for that goes way back before Hip Hop. Many members of my family were part of the Last Poets at one time or another. Abu Mustafa he passed away – may Allah be pleased with him , and just coming up on H. Rap Brown and stuff like that. When we were comin’ up in the neighborhood we heard stuff, and I was always known for flippin’ some kind of advertisement  ,or commercial into a rap – not really knowing at the time what would come later. But it was the mid seventies man, early young boy stuff.

 

JQ: And you were born and raised in Brooklyn?

 

JA: Yeah we are all from Brooklyn. But when you speak of doin’ in front of a crowd and getting’ attention in junior high school that’s another phase. Then you had the disco era of Hip Hop. …” On on on on & on like hot butter on say what -  popcorn” – and cats in the parks with their systems. I mean the Bronx did their thing with scratching and tricks , but if you talk to old school Brooklyn cats they will tell you!!! I mean we had Grandmaster Flowers man !!!!

 

JQ: I was gonna ask you about Flowers. We have a story comin’ soon on Flowers , a lotta cats from Brooklyn and even the Bronx bring his name up to us.

 

JA: Yeah man come on – where do you think Flash got his name from?…..he used to say a lil rhyme like (Jalil says that he needs to step out side of his prayer room to recite these lyrics to me)…” of all the insects in the world I’d rather be a fly , so I could get between your mommas bra , and suck her titties dry”. You had that style , I mean its the 4 count style but it was the thing at that time.

 

 

JQ: Yeah sounds like D.J. Hollywood…..

 

JA: Yeah , but we were sayin’ that before we heard of Hollywood. I heard of Hollywood in the 10th grade. This stuff im tellin’ you is 8th grade for me. It’s the same 4 count, but the words were just the dj sayin somethin’ while you were doin’ the hustle. Just like Frankie Crocker, Hank Span & Gary Byrd (legendary New York Radio jocks). They were influences on that era….

 

JQ: A lotta Brooklyn cats tell me that the biggest difference beteen BK & the BX is the music that you rhymed to. Im told that the BK style was more up tempo &  dance oriented……

 

JA: If it put people on the floor in BK we rhymed to it. Whether it was James Brown, Bra by Cymande , To Be Real by Cheryll Lynn , BT Express or Love Is The Message which is older than all those.Love Is The Message is like ’71. Im talking the original Love Is The Message , the one that you hear now is not the first one. The first one was 2 minutes , and it was on a album with Fanfare on it. They played it so much in the clubs that they had to go cut another one a year or so later……But if it got the crowd on the floor we did it in Brooklyn. When the Bronx did it and the other elements started coming into play then it started to get dusted (slower & funk oriented). But Brooklyn cats would rock the slow joints like Bra also, but it was just a segue till the next song - little lines- We weren’t rockin’ full rhymes like the Bronx.

 

JQ: I have a record called Smirfathon that you made on a label called Charlie Rock records. This was early 80s before Whodini. How did that come about?

 

JA: Well I was a solo cat , in school doin' my thing.The God just started putting people in my path. When I first met Mr. Magic , who was the first to play Rap on the radio , it was only 2 weeks later that I met Kenton Nix who did Heartbeat & Funky Sensation.  Magic  is like my pops as far as showing me how a pirate radio station is run , and goin’ with him to WBLS. Everything that I observed in that era was through him. He was the one that the God put in my path….

 

JQ:…So that’s where the Magics Wand song comes from?

 

JA: Well , its an extension. I was up one night listening to the radio , and I was going from Kiss To BLS. I heard Mr Magic as I was going from one station to another. It was like 2:00 in the morning on a Thursday…he did Tuesdays , Thursdays and Saturdays. I continued to listen whenever he was on , and I was like wow this guy is doin’ a lot for Hip Hop !!! I got the idea to do an intro to his show. I called the station and told him what I wanted to do. I put the whole South Brooklyn Projects - Redhook & Gowanus on to Magic , they didn’t know about him until then. We made the promo off of the SWAT beat. It was me & Ecstacy , but we weren’t a group yet. We took it to Magic , and it was so hot that he put it on that night and played it for 2 years straight!!!! It was the first time scratching was ever broadcast on the airwaves.

 

JQ: Grandmaster Dee wasn’t down yet was he?

JA: No my Dj was Mike Brown , but a cat from Ecstacys group named Davy Mills did it. We were scared that the radio wouldn’t play it ‘cus nobody played scratching on the radio. But we finessed it , and put the scratching under the beat , and it only dropped a couple of times.

 

JQ: What year was this- early 80s?

 

JA: This was 1980.

 

JQ: Let me back track – how did you meet Ecstacy?

 

JA: Ecstacy was in another group that lived in Gowanus projects , which is my old stompin’ grounds. That’s where my family is from in south Brooklyn. Ecstacy & his people were a few blocks away in Wycoff projects. Grandmaster Dee is from Flatbush, and we connected in a different funny way. Me and Ex (Ecstacy) connected ‘cus of the crews I ran with battlin’ his boys. The crew I was with was busy chasin' chicks , so I went to get Ex to be on the Mr Magic promo with me. At that time I wasn’t interested in making a record , the promo for Magic was good enough for me. When my crew was flaking , someone told me to get with these dudes (from Wycoff) and I said -but they aren’t as good as my crew. They were like- yeah but your crew is chasin’ booty , and you gave your word on somethin’. Ex got down on the promo , it took about a year or 2 for us to make a record – but that’s how we came together.

 

So 2 years later Magic is the hottest thing , and he is the first to blast Hip Hop on the radio. Now they movin’ him from the pirate station to WBLS. Prime time slot and he is doin’ big things and im rollin with him , im getting the inside scoop on everything. This dude is like the young Frankie Crocker in New York now!!! Magics doin' the damn thing on the radio , and I am answering the phones and keeping everything tight!! Jalil is no knucklehead – I know the streets but im well schooled!! So im his protégé and telling him what's hot in the streets , and he is bangin' it out. I mean it’s the middle of the day and he is playing Dangerous Diseases in between 2 rap songs!!! What – Dangerous Diseases in the middle of the day on the radio? (Jalil starts singin’ Yellow Mans Dangerous Diseases – accent and all – JayQuan is buggin).

 

NOTE: this is why I don’t do interviews via email. I love to get every little detail no matter how small concerning the early days of NYC Hip Hop. Only phone and face to face interviews give you the details and excitement that Jalil is giving me now!!

 

When he did stuff like that the phones went crazy , he was shuttin’ WBLS down. It got so hot that some cats from London wanted to make a record about him!! They actually approached him when he was at WHBI, but it was solidified once we hit WBLS. Magic went looking for the bigger names like Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 and the Treacherous 3 to do the song , when he has his man right beside him with the hot promo that he is playing every night!!! Sometimes you don’t look right under your nose for what you already have. I was like im not telling you how to run your business , but don’t I get a shot? He said you’re up against the Furious 5 and the Treacherous 3. I said yeah , but its not their promo that you're playing every night!! He said I didn’t think you wanted to compete with them. Im like I will compete with the world to get my shot!! He said that he didn’t mean to offend me as an Emcee, and he told me to have my stuff together. When I heard the track I was like wow!!! It was hard to get inspiration , because after all I am writing a song about another man. Whether he is my mentor or not its hard to do that, so I looked at the element of Hip Hop, and that was my escape route that made it easier. 

 

It was an honor when cats like Mele Mel gave me props when we were makin' the record , cus Mel is like whoah. I aint gonna lie I would have loved to be in his shoes a couple of times back then. I just liked his whole swagger. Only 3 cats really had the key back then – Mel , Moe Dee & my partner (Ecstacy) they just haven’t heard my partner yet. When I say the key , I mean they rap syncopated in key upon the music scale. Later on you had LL Cool J, Public Enemy and cats like that who could do it – but most cats cant rap syncopated and go up and down the music scale.  But Mel told me that I had captured the essence of what needed to be said on the record , and he told Magic that I was the one for it , because he was gonna try the Furious 5 out . The rest of the Furious didn’t like the decision to let us do the project , but Mel said that we had said what needed to be said.

 

JQ: That’s interesting and true what you said about rapping to the scale. A lotta cats, Emcees included don’t realize what a talent that is.

 

JA: Yeah man , to the public at that time only Mel & Moe Dee did it. That’s why people loved their voices so much. Ecstacy was the lead vocalist on most Whodini songs because anything that we could play he could rap right to it in key. Later on you had Biggie and Pac that could do it as well. I feel that Pac was a stronger lyricist , but Biggie could flow syncopated a lil better. Cats that flow like that sound great on any track, as far as their voice tones. Ecstacy just floats on the track and it makes it hard for another man to follow him on a song. When we set up Whodini songs I would ask Ex to just go in a talk trash on the track, so I could get the key down to write the song. We did it with “Freaks Come Out At Night”. He went in and just freelanced a few bars and I told him to stop once I knew what key to write in. Then I wrote “Discos don’t open till after dark , and it till 12 when the party really starts”. Same thing with 80 percent of Whodini songs. The first sounds that he spoke I wrote to. He would let me know the key , then it was all on me and the God.

 

JQ:I see that you have some Islamic elements about you , and you seem to be a very spiritual dude. Were you ever a 5  percenter?

 

JA: Muslim!! I hung out with 5 percenters, but 5 percent starts from Islam. I had my years off course , and its nothing im happy about , but this game is a funny game. I was a lamb rollin’ with a pack of wolves!! When the God blesses you with knowledge of self at an early age, and you mix it with fame it takes you out of reality and you need to surround yourself with others with knowledge of self.

 

JQ: Yeah man , I remember back in ’87 hangin’ out with y’all here in VA at the hotel , and you had like 5 chicks in your room. I remember you tellin’ Ex about it like it was a big dilemma. I told my man Devine Mekkah how I wished that I had your problems!!! In fact my man Elbravador has the picture on his website, and im gonna use it for this interview.

 

 

JA: (Laughs) Yeah I got caught up in that world!! When you have that knowledge you can use it for the benefit , or to abuse things. When you’re in that fast life you take that blessing that the God gave you and put it into something corrupted.

 

JQ: I am looking thru my crates as we speak. I see Thomas Dolby’s name on Magics Wand. What role did he play?

 

JA: He was the brains of the music on that record. They wouldn’t let us change a piece of that. I love it for what it meant for us , but if I had to make it I wouldn’t have made it like that. But yeah he is the father of that.

 

JQ: Allow me to ask a stupid question that I always wanted to ask. Is this the same Thomas Dolby that did “She Blinded Me With Science”?

 

JA: (Jalil sings SCIENCE accent and all , and Jay is buggin again)…yeah a keyboard wizard.

 

JQ: How did you get with a cat like that?

 

JA: ‘Cus our label was in Europe. We set Jive records off in America man!!! Ain't nobody heard of Jive in America till Whodini!!!

 

JQ: That’s right man. I was a record fanatic who knew every label , and I never saw a Jive record till Magics Wand and Haunted House of Rock!!

 

JA: Yeah man it was us , then they brought you Billy Ocean and stuff. We set them off in the Black Market.

 

JQ: How did you sign with them?

 

JA: Just through the Mr Magic Record , and then like I said I had worked with Kenton Nix on Smirfathon , but he wanted to dominate so much of it. He was a cat who the industry did wrong , so it was in his heart to do somebody comin’ up wrong. Cats like that call it makin' someone pay their dues. But it’s a difference between payin' dues and doin' somebody wrong.

 

JQ:Aight…I used to see haunted House Of Rock in the stores , but I didn’t know that it was a rap record. It looked like a rock record with all the skeletons and stuff on the cover!!

 

JA: (buggin’) That’s what we kinda wanted , but the label put the skeletons on the cover. It fit the occasion so we didn’t mind. The first part of that record is the invite to the party , and the second part is about Emcees. Every monster and character in there is about an Emcee that reminds me of them. If you listen close you can tell some of them !! (laughs). I would fill you in , but some of those rappers might read this. If they ain't know all these years , then they don’t need to know now. The invisible man is the only one that’s not an Emcee….Kenton Nix was supposed to do Haunted House Of Rock , but we had to sever our relationship. Just imagine how it would have sounded if he did it. He was a genius, who taught me so much about keeping rhythms simple. Imagine how bassy it would have been like Heartbeat & Funky Sensation. The cat from the Thompson Twins had to end up playing the bass. Imagine telling a pop group to play this bass like Kenton would have.

 

JQ: Y’all were rollin with big name people!

 

JA: Yeah we got a chance to work with Connie Plank , who did Devo & Kraftwerk. But remember we were young cats who were from Brooklyn working early with these people. A lot of these drum machines weren’t even out and in our hands yet. The 808 (Roland) was big stuff for us. We couldn’t tell them a lot about what to do ‘cus they were working with fairlight computers 3 years before they got to the U.S. We had digital sound way back then , and we were one of the first!! You can listen to an old Whodini record recorded on a digital ssl board , some of these cats were just catchin’ up 8 years ago. I mean no offense to Nas but when he used Friends , or any of those dudes - none of 'em had that boom like the real Friends !! With all the technology that they have today!!!

 

JQ: For what the industry deems a hit, would you say that your first hit was Friends / 5 Minutes Of Funk?

 

JA: Yeah for what THEY see as a hit , but I say Haunted House Of Rock , cus it set the fuel to the fire !!!

 

JQ: You wrote Haunted House by yourself?

 

JA: Yes

 

JQ: I used to love the vocoder version! It was as good as the original (JayQuan starts chanting “Its just what you wanted , somethin’ funky and haunted”)

 

JA: Right!! Right !!! (Jalil is very excited)….man if they could have left us in charge of our careers!!! There would have been no stoppin’ us. But the money got good , and people started tellin’ us what we should do. When we started this the label didn’t know what to do with it. When money started comin’ in all of a sudden they knew it all.

 

JQ: Your big hits started comin’ when Larry Smith hooked up with you right?

 

JA: Man Larry…wow I don't know what we would have been without Larry!! Larry was the key to the whole thing – Larry was the glue!!! God bless Russell Simmons for introducing me to Larry Smith.

 

JQ: The first record that he did with Whodini was the Friends / 5 Minutes 12 inch right?

 

JA: Yeah!! Larry was playing with Kurtis Blow on Christmas Rappin’ and the Breaks. He played with Orange Krush on Sucker Mcs by Run Dmc. Mr Magic introduced me to Russell , and we became cool , then Russell introduced me to Larry in the Disco Fever. Larry said to me “yeah i'll come grab a check from y’all but frankly I ain’t impressed with nothin’ yall have done”. I was like that’s cool , when you feel us holler . We ended up becoming more friends than business associates. We talked about all kinds of stuff that wasn’t music related , then he would tell me about stuff that he had comin' up , and he let me hear his music , but he never discussed doing music with me.

 

JQ: So he didn’t like anything from the first lp like Haunted House or Magics Wand?

 

JA: It just wasn’t impressive. He appreciated what we did , it was somethin’ different , but it was nothing that made him want to run to us. I didn’t force anything to happen , it had to be a chemistry. But this incident happened. Larry's bass player was working on a car , and he sliced a couple of his fingers off. So basically Larry needed more money to do what he had do. He called me up sayin’ that he needed some money because of what happened with his bass player. He invited me to come to his spot to hear some stuff and try to make something happen. He told me that he had me in mind for some stuff he had done. The timing was perfect because we were about to go into the studio. I picked out certain tracks ,  and what I liked about them , and what I wanted to keep.

 

We were really the first to play rock music. 5 Minutes of Funk actually had a rock guitar originally instead of the bass that you hear. There was beef with Run & them over that for just a minute. But go listen to 5 Minutes of Funk , and check the bassline. Its was originally a rock guitar.

 

JQ: So 5 Minutes Of Funk was created before Friends?

 

JA: Friends was a beat that I had hummed in the house for a couple of weeks. I used to beat on my mattress. I had listened to “Why Cant We Be Friends” by WAR. Where their record ends ours begins. That was my inspiration for that. You bang on you pillows and mattress for a couple of weeks , and you'll get the beat that you want.

 

JQ: Let me put it in perspective. When Larry invited you to listen to music , one of the tracks was 5 Minutes of Funk?

 

JA:It was just the beat. We added some stuff together , the bassline was something I was just humming , and he put the Funk on it with the mini – moog. It was part rock guitar, and part bassline. When we went to Europe to lay the track he left the mini moog in New York , and I was real pissed. They couldn’t duplicate the sound of the mini moog. We were forced to go with the Jazz Fender Bass , which I like the sound of. That’s how the other cats got to get credit for being the first to do rock & roll. Not that we wanted to do just rock , but it was a mixture. They were also saying that we should take the guitars out because the title had the word funk in it , but Parliament had songs with rock guitars , so we could have done it. There was a lil beef about that. But the title was based on 7 Minutes of Funk, which was an old street record.

 

JQ: Yeah Flash and them replayed it on Superrappin’.

 

JA: Right. In fact after Flash heard it , he came to me and said how did y’all do that? I slowed it down , sped it up and everything , but I don’t hear 7 Minutes of Funk in there. I told him – no we just liked the title , and seven minutes would have been too long.

 

JQ: That’s a hell of a 12” inch. There aren’t too many 12” records that have 2 songs , and both bang like those did. Maybe Sucker Mcs / Its like That and Request Line/ Roof is On Fire , but that’s about it. Its 2 classics on one record!

 

JA: Even that was our idea. 2 tracks on one joint. I used to say that I loved how I could throw on my Blue Magic records and just let the whole thing play. I said that I would like to make a single that you could just let play like that.

 

JQ: Were you managed by Rush then?

 

JA: Yeah we were managed by Rush, but you wouldn’t know it , you barely hear them speak on it. I guess they were mad that we left the family. They watchin’ too much Highlander like “there can only be one” (laughs – Jalil is a ill brother, and I caught him on a good day).

 

JQ: When did you start to be managed by Rush , was it right after Haunted House?

 

JA: Exactly! Right during the Haunted House. Even the name Run really wasn’t – you know what I aint even gonna go there…. Really all this means nothing ok Jay. But  the name Run Dmc in the origin wasn’t really like one name like that until Whodini. Again none of this means shit, in the origin it was like why are you choosing the name Whodini, because everything was numbers. The Treacherous 3 , Fearless 4 , Furious 5 , Funky 4. If someone left the group it fucked it all up. I wasn’t feelin' the name Whodini , it wasn’t us and it was soft and I really wanted to have a name changing party. But the name was catchin' on cause it was something different. Like with the name the Jackson 5 – it was about the group , cus nobodys name was out front. You had to focus on the group. That’s what we wanted.

 

JQ: Where did the name Whodini come from?

 

JA: It was the label and all that. Remember that I was still signed under Kenton , and we didn't want anyone knowing who did the record. That’s why its spelled like Whodunit. It was a studio play on some real cats. That was the way that the God seen fit for us to get in the game and make our foot print ,so we welcomed it. But I wanted to have a name change for Whodini several times. I came up in the era of the Black Panthers , the 5 percenters and the Nation Of Islam , and im runnin' in the streets of Brooklyn – the name Whodini don’t really say me. We had a crew called Rappers Incorporated , and the Crowd Pleasers. It was Jalil with Mike Brown & The Disco Enforcers. Whodini just didn’t fit the attributes of Jalil , but that’s what the God saw fit to make it happen with, so we stuck with it.

 

JQ:Im lookin' at the writers credits for Friends and I just see your name and Larry Smith. Did you write Friends alone?

 

JA: Me & The Angels. I gave Larry credit because he came there with us , but he and nobody else had anything to do with Friends. The music that was added to Friends was the lil bassline. But they had this one part that was taken out , it was a Piano that was so hot that the record would have blown up more than it did. They said that it was out of key , I was like y’all are tryin' to sabotage stuff. That shit was so funky!!

 

JQ: There was more to Friends than what we heard ?!?!

 

JA: Listen!!  You don’t understand !!! There was a fight upon that not being in there. It was the best part of the record.

 

JQ: Who played it, Larry?

 

JA: Yeah !!! When we heard the final mix I was pissed. We left before the final mix , and when we got back to the states and I heard it there were fights , cussin and everything – man out of key my ass!!! Im like you just threw it away!!! We didn’t speak for a few months over that. He was sayin’ that he wasn’t tryin to sabotage it , but I was like well you may as well have been – you gon’ get the same ass whippin’ like you tried. Like if you come home from work early, and your wife has on lingerie , and some cat is leavin out the front door , and she tells you – we didn’t do nothing. Its like you should have , cus you gon’ get the same ass whippin!!….its that kind of situation. ( I cant say it enough Jalil is a ill brother).

 

JQ: With the Escape lp did you make the other songs like Big Mouth , Freaks Come Out At Night and Escape after the Friends 12” blew up?

 

JA: Nah man , we did that album in like 2 weeks. We just released the Friends / 5 Minutes 12” first. After we got 5 Minutes like we wanted , I pulled out a tape of me hummin’ Friends , and I told him how I wanted the drums and basslines to go. It was very primitive , and they were laughin’ at me. Larry was like – it takes more than one bass drum to make that beat , and I told him – hey that’s what im hearin’. So that’s what he did he used 2 different kick drums.

 

JQ: You sound like contributed a lot musically as far as production!

 

JA: No doubt , noooo doooubt. I put it this way. Nothin’ made it out of that studio without me likin’ it. Until it started goin the other way , and that’s when you started hearin them other sounds too. And im not pattin myself on the back  , but im the author of Whodini outside of the God. If you gave me 90% of what I wanted , then you could do what you wanted. And I say it like that because I seen too many groups fall apart tryin’ to please everybody in the studio. People in the studio ain't gotta live with this record forver!!! So its not a bodacious attitude , but then it is – cus we are artists!!! Kenton taught me that. He said that the hardest thing to do is to find someone to play what you are hearin without them putting their 2 cents in it. He said he went through 12 different bass players for Heartbeat (by Tanyaa Gardner) and no one could play what he was hearin. He ended up learnin to play and did it himself.

 

JQ: Damn man all these records have only your name on the writers credits. Did you do all the writing?

 

JA: About 90% of it, yeah. Like I said things didn’t start changing for the group until they brought all these extra people in!!!

 

JQ: When you say it went the other way and the sound changed , are you speakin of the Open Sesame lp?

 

JA: Yeah. And I wasn't ego trippin , cus if I was then you would have known from the beginning that I was doing all that writing and production , but I wasn’t ego trippin. It was the fact people started hatin’ – if it’s a good thing why mess with it – everybody serves their purpose. Extra people are in the session , and we cant talk like we used to. People bringin' they girls in the session, it used to be that I could tell dudes “man get that shit out of here , and do it this way”. Now I can't talk to cats that way cus their girl is there. The girls are sayin ”well he ain't the producer , if the producer is sayin' this he needs to listen”. We had harmony before , but now its combative and we not getting nothing done. Im not knockin' nobody , but the blessings are comin’ through me , so let me do this , then we can do what you want. Now the bullshit comes into play. If it was up to me no outside people would be in the session. That’s something else that Kenton Nix taught me. If there is someone that is not involved in the session, then they don’t need to be in the session. Let them hear it afterwards. If there are too many people in there , then its too many thoughts and vibes. If you ain't sure about what you makin , then you ain’t makin’ whats right. The only people that need to be sure are the people involved. Then you only need to let one or 2 trusted heads hear it , everybody don’t need to hear the finished product.

 

JQ: I have wondered this for 20 years. – You guys had a hell of a dj. Grandmaster Dee used to show his ass every Fresh Fest. How come he NEVER cut on any records. Even Echo Scratch and Grandmaster Dees Haunted Scratch had vocal samples and no scratching. How come y’all didn’t let my man get down!!!???

 

JA: Man they had a problem with that.

 

JQ: Who , and what was the problem?

 

JA: Larry man. There are certain elements that come into play. You have to remember that we had a team surrounding us , but certain members were closer to Run Dmc. As much as we were supposed to be one family some people acted like they liked the other cousins better.  See man has his plan , but the God has his plan as well. When you saw us live it was like an all star thing. You wouldn’t guess that from the records , but live (at the Fresh Fest) you saw that harmony. So what man was planning the God was smothering. To tell the truth if my dj (Grandmaster Dee) had gotten that much recognition, he would have lost his mind!! He already had the green eyes.

 

JQ: its funny, cus when I interview other djs, I always ask what they think about certain other djs.  When I ask about Dee many cats say that they didn’t hear enough from him , or that he was a showcase dj….maybe it worked for the better because y’all were the most mature group back then. I mean my moms wasn’t into rap shit back then – only the early popular stuff by Kurtis Blow , Sugarhill & Flash & the Furious. The Run DMC era was out of her grasp , but she did like Whodini. Many adults did , and perhaps the scratching would have turned them off……

 

JA: Nah , it could have worked. We would have done it to perfection , but certain people are scared of certain things. Im not too mad at it cus Dee woulda lost his mind. Light skin , green eyes , gets more love after the shows and shines on wax?…oh no (laughs).

 

JQ: Yeah a green eyed light skinned cat in the 80s. I know he was killin ‘em!!!

 

JA: It took awhile to turn it around from that too. But the 3 flavors worked on ‘em!! But they were hard on a brother at first.

 

JQ: Lets talk about the Back in Black lp and its first single Funky Beat.

 

JA: That’s Drews (Grandmaster Dees) beat. Drew was an important element in keeping me balanced with the beats. Im not gonna act like he wasn’t. Drew was always the first to test my beats , and the final test also. I had to make his head rock. When my djs head rocked then I knew I had it. I had to really love somethin’ for Dees head not to rock , and I still go with it. 90% of the time it had to move Dee or I left it alone. That’s my motherfuckin’ man , and theres no other way to say that.

 

JQ: One Love, Growin Up , Im A Ho all kept the same production formula as the Escape album right?

 

JA: Im not gonna lie. One Love got to be more Larry & Pete. They took our ideas and went and did some voodoo to it , and we were like whoaaa – what are supposed to do with this? We had the track for 2 weeks before we had any idea what to put on it. We had no idea.

 

JQ: Well you put the right thing on it. That’s one of your best songs and your best video.

 

JA: Man the God did it, with the angels. We were working on “The Good Part” in the studio. And both records are givin' us problems and something just hit me “One Love, One Love”. I said put that other track on , I think I got it. We worked on it for like 3 or 4 hours , the angels came to see me and we had “One Love”.

 

JQ: Let me know if im getting too personal , but when people sample Friends and One Love , are you getting the royalty for that?

 

JA:Oh we GOTTA get the royalty for that. We just should get 80% as opposed to 50%. I hooked Larry up , because Jive wasn’t payin him enough. If you ever hear anything about us , one thing you won't hear is about us doin’ nobody wrong. I gave Larry credit for songs he didn’t author , he just helped fix. I don’t regret a bit of it , cus none of it would have turned out the same way without Larry. None of it!!

 

JQ: Did you guys have the first Gold rap album?

 

JA: I think Run Dmc or The Fat Boys had the first gold , but we beat em with the first Platinum. We came from behind and zoomed pass them. That was the Escape lp. Sucker Mcs / Its Like That came out a little before our album. Since we were all Rush management we got to hear stuff before everyone else. The record company asked us to make something like that , and I told them not to ask me to be another man again , or we would have problems!! We come from the era where you had to be different. These cats today couldn’t do like they are back then because even if it was good , people would have just thrown it away because you sound just  like someone else!! Jive Records had no idea the extent of the Hip Hop market. It wasn’t just cats talking about themselves, our stuff was so mature they had to open another market just for Whodini. Jive didn’t know what to do with us – and they were gonna drop us.

 

Russell said go ahead and drop em , and I will pick it up and put it out , because you’re jerkin my boys around and you need to stop and put some money behind them!!!  The first 2 or 3 weeks they shipped like 4000 copies. The 3rd week might have been 8000. All of a sudden people started hearing it and talking , but Jive was playing , and not putting no promo money behind it. Next thing you know we are at 150,000 copies on the single and these other cats are like 350,000 albums , then we are at 180,000 they are at 600,000. once we hit 200,000 the stores can't hold the record no more , and thy are like GIVE IT UP!!! Next thing you know they telling us that we are gold and headed quickly to platinum – all this in 2 and a half months. When people heard the diversity of it , they started pickin it up. The south and other places started picking their favorites and appreciating the funk for what it was , and it took us to platinum. If they had jumped on it right it would have been double platinum , plus we know they stole 2 million or more copies anyway.

 

JQ: They stole ‘em?

 

JA: We had been platinum man , there was no sound scan back then. Look how many people have that Friends single and Escape album. We probably sold 5 million albums – they were fuckin' us with no grease.

 

JQ: You are talking about Jive, not Rush?

 

JA Jive Records man – no sound scan. We go around the world and its like how the fuck did y'all hear about these songs. We did 13 countries and they all had the records. Them 1 million records sure reached a lot of people. (laughs).

 

JQ: I was watching the video for “Rap Machine” the other day , and I saw Kangol & Dr Ice , just like they were in “Freaks Come Out At Night” years later. What's the relationship with y’all and UTFO?

 

JA: Dr Ice is my younger brother. We fell in love with their dancing and took them on the road with us. On the Fresh Fest we just dropped Roxanne Roxanne on ‘em. When we were on tour with Run Dmc and the Fat Boys we were hookin UTFO up with the program directors in radio for  all the major citites. We could have gotten big money from their label if that was the present time. We walked them right to the program directors and got 'em played on the spot. They owe us a lotta royalties. (Jay is buggin) – really that’s family but that is real.

 

JQ: How was it rockin the Fresh Fest , was that a good experience?

 

JA: Ah man. I know I have said some things about cats , but touring with Run Dmc , that was the best times of our lives man. It wasn’t until we all got a lil too big for our britches that tensions arose , but it was love for like 5 years. Sleeping on the same bus Jam Master Jay , and all the rest of em.  Nothin but fun , we didn’t just share hos – we might have shared drawers too!!

 

JQ: Were there any rivalries on the road?

 

JA : It was lovely till the money started comin in. The Raising Hell Tour. It was love till then , when you had that “this is my brothers company”. Other than that it was all love.

 

JQ: When you did “Be Yourself” for the Open Sesame lp how did you get Millie Jackson on the record.

 

JA: The record label wanted it. She was professional , and the best person I have worked with in the studio. Even though she made some raunchy music , these divas today could learn so much from her. She came in and knocked right out.

 

JQ: Whats you favorite Whodini song?

 

JA: That’s hard, cus it changes everyday , but the wittiest is Haunted House ,and Magic's Wand might be the corniest, but it holds a special place , cus it was first. Friends is good because I always wanted to write a song that the world could sing. I prayed for that, and the God blessed me.

 

JQ: I know Jermaine Dupri danced for you on the Fresh Fest , and later signed you to So So Def , but how did you originally hook up with him?

 

JA: Jermaine Dupri and Chad danced on the Fresh Fest , but it used to be Jermaine and this white kid – they were imitating Michael Jackson & Paul Mc Cartney and all that. I got some shots of him that nigga don’t like for me to show!!! He has his little curl and his make up on. That was my dun dun.  His mom and them might be mad at me for turning him into the player that he is. And God is gonna get me for gettin him his first piece of booty too!!! But he could always dance and was always a cool likable guy. He is a business mogul , and it causes him to be rough in certain situations , but he is a cool guy. I see where people could see him as an asshole, cus he has so much dough that it influences certain things, but Jermaine is a likable guy !!! It aint hard to like him , that’s why Janet is with him , it ain’t cus he is trickin' dough he is a likable dude and I love Jermaine.

 

JQ: How did the lp that you recorded with him do?

 

JA: It didn’t really do well.  It was at a rough time, where the music game takes you somewhere else. Too many outside people came into play , if we had stuck to the original game plan that we had it would have worked , but he was at an impressionable stage and maybe he cared too much what everybody else thought. It comes with the game, but unfortunately it was at our expense. It was a funny time cus he had just hit with Da Brat & Xscape. It's like when Kobie started scoring big and didn’t wanna listen to anybody. But it happens.

 

JQ: Peace Jalil and thanks for your time!!!

 

JA: PEACE

 

 

PS – we also discussed the record that they did around ’94 with Terminator X called “It All Comes Down To Money” , but my recorder was full and didn’t catch it. He basically said that the recording wasn’t promoted properly , and it suffered the same fate as Terminators lp (Godfathers Of Threatt)

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*SPECIAL THANKS TO MY MAN BLAQSMIF*