Holding Down Tradition – The Unkut Show Interview


Photos by richdirection

Show is Bronx rap royalty. Besides his stellar work with Andre The Giant, he’s blessed his Diggin’ In The Crates crew (O.C., Big L, Diamond D, Lord Finesse, Fat Joe) with countless classic tracks, and produced winners for legends like KRS-One and Big Pun all the way up to today’s finest such as Joell Ortiz and Milano. After I was played six cuts from the new Show & AG album, I had the chance to build with the Show B-I-Z late one Friday night to discuss the state of the music game, the importance of the Boogie Down BX and why sample-based hip-hop will never play-out.

Robbie: Is this the first time that you and AG have recorded in a few years?

Show: Definitely, it’s been a few years. Since ’99 or 2000. At this moment me and A still trying to get our own vibe back, coz I’m really tryin’ to grow, far as musically, and AG still like to do what he do also. So we’re just trying to connect in the right way, where we both feel good about it. After we do that, it’s back to putting our crew back in effect.

I guess it’s not a situation where you can try to make Runaway Slave Part 2. You’ve gotta do new stuff but try to capture the same chemistry.

Yeah, but that takes a while. Mind you, when we was doin’ our first stuff, that wasn’t just nothing we just did – that was a couple of years worth of material and we just took the best ones. That’s how sometime an album have to be made.

Did you have a crew before you got down with AG?

Yeah, I had a couple of crews! One of them was Maxwell House, and I was down with this guy named Lance Romance. My deejay name was Little Rock and Lance Romance. There’s a couple of vinyls out there, floating. They’re real valuable and they real rare.

What was the name of the song?

It was called “Brother With Soul”. Back in the late 80s, on Lance Romance Records.

I remember there was a little situation with you guys and Lords of the Underground over the “Chief Rocka” remix?

A lotta people was saying something about that, where we had beef with them. I don’t remember actually having no beef with them guys there. A record is a record – if you use it, you use it. We’ve used things that other people use, you nahmean? Who are we to beef over it? It ain’t even our goddamn record!

AG had a line about “Fake Lords get strangled with mic cords” and Finesse had a thing with that Mr. Funkee.

Oh yeah, I remember that! That’s what I remember, but never over no loops. Yeah, they had beef over that Funkyman name, I’m sure of that. But not over no loop, man. We all was into those jazz records – everybody was using stuff. Tribe [Called Quest] used what we used, we used what Tribe used…Preme used. Everybody used the same records and just use different part.

Are there many songs from the first couple of albums that never came out?

We had a couple, but I guess the label had our two-inches and we definitely don’t know what happened to our two-inches. I probably have them on cassette, but that’s about it.

From the tracks I’ve heard, are you going back to more of a loop-based production style for this album?

Since we just started dealing with each other, we’re just trying to feel out each other, musically, to see where we going with it. That’s what I’ve basically started doing at first. The main thing is to definitely find loops and have a couple of joints that chopped also.

On the Street Talk LP you were using a really minimal style…

I’m getting back into the chops a lot more now, but for a while I had stopped coz I had to switch over on machines. I had to learn the new machines, and when I first was learning ‘em I wasn’t able to chop the way I was able to on the old machines, so it takes a little time for me to get the feel of how to do it the same way.

So you used to use the SP…what have you upgraded to?

I have the Roland Phantom, and I have the 2500 and the 1000 – Akai.

That must be good not to have to mess around with floppy discs anymore.

Yeah, I know. Now we got the little compact cards, it’s much, much better! [laughs] Save a lot more memory on it and you ain’t got to worry about lugging those big floppy discs around…embarrassing.

How do you feel about that LA stuff that AG and Percee have done with Madlib and those guys?

All that’s cool. I like alladat. Anything that’s sample-driven, I’m more into. You have to be exceptional for me to like you if it’s not sample-driven.

Like all that keyboard nonsense.

That’s not really what catches my attention. If you don’t wanna clear a sample, then chop it. If you don’t wanna chop it, then I guess people play it over. A lotta people that does it right now probably really don’t have the patience to sit there and chop-up music, or they don’t have the knowledge of it, or the simple fact that they don’t wanna look for records. I guess that’s why everybody turned to keyboards now – it’s easier.

With your first EP, you were driving around to stores yourself?

I just went to one-stops, records pools. A had a lotta people helping me. From there, we had a little buzz and then Premier brought us to Payday records. EMI was trying to get at us, that’s how I was able to do the Arrested Development – which was the first remix that I did – because the guy from EMI was trying to get me some work. We did “Tennessee”. At that time, there was a couple of labels that was interested in us. We basically went with Payday because of Premier. Patrick Moxy – the owner of Payday – was Premier’s manager.

When you guys first came out, you were rapping verse for verse with AG. Did you stop because you got sick of rhyming, or were you getting negative feedback?

Oh no, none of that! I was getting a lotta good – still to this day. But that’s not my thing. I wasn’t serious at doing it, and since I wasn’t going to be serious doing it, I’d rather not do it. I’d rather stick to what I do when I’m serious, coz I was actually doing it for fun. Then on another hand, I really ain’t wanna step on no toes, because the deal we made in the beginning was he’d be the rapper and I’d be the producer. So I wanted to stay in my place and not overstep my boundaries.

On Goodfellas, there were five or six songs that turned-up on a white label. Was that from issues with Payday?

Oh, no. We felt we didn’t want those out. We ain’t have no issues with the A&R – we never really had no problems at any time in our career with creative control. We was always basically free to do what we wanna do.

But when you guys did the DITC album with Tommy Boy you released a different version on vinyl?

That was basically the same thing. None of us was really eye-to-eye on that. I think the D.I.T.C. album coulda been a lot better, but we wasn’t seeing eye-to-eye, coz when everybody is used to being solo artists, you really have have your own creative control. So as us all starting out as solo artist – minus me and AG, being a duo – when everybody comes to the table, you have your own vision on whatchu want to do, and it kinda clashes. If everybody started out together, and then split out and became solo, it would’ve been a different story. If we was on the same page, I think it would’ve made a better impact. But what we did is just take the two versions we had – one to Fat Beats and on to Tommy Boy.

Was it a case of everyone trying to be the boss?

Not the fact of being a boss, but Diamond music is a little different from mine, mines a little bit different from Finesse. We all have different views when it comes to how you want a song done, you understand? You have to deal with a lot of different attitudes. Mind you, we wasn’t coming from a space where we didn’t have careers already. We already had careers, so that means we was already bein’ the boss of whatever project we was doing. We was just used to having the last word. So when you bring all of that together, it’s kinda hard to deal with different egos and shit like that. But it’s all cool.

T-Ray and Mike Heron had a falling out a while back. Did that affect your relationship with Milano at all?

Did you do an interview with T-Ray recently?

Yeah, that was on my site.

Oh OK, and that’s the one where he said he’s gonna punch Mike in the face?

I think he said he was gonna stab him in the heart or something.

[laughs] Aww man, that’s crazy, man. The situation just went sour over there with that, man. I ain’t gonna talk negative about nobody coz that’s not what I do.

Nah, I don’t want to draw you into that…

I mean it ain’t no problem. What the fuck T-Ray gonna do to me? Nothing. But I just don’t do shit like that.

Are you gonna be doing stuff with Milano in the future?

We talked, but we have to come to agreement on some terms. We still cool, but before I do somethin’ we better be on the same page, because sometime people don’t be on the same page and then jump into situations without thinking it through thoroughly, and it becomes a problem in the middle of the project. So me and him would have to be on the same page before we do anything.

What is it about the Bronx that sets it apart from everywhere else?

Because the essence come from here. Everybody does hip-hop in how they view it and how they feel about it. Different boroughs and different states. Different regions of the world express they self different. The only thing different about here is that we know the actual feeling and the actual essence of it, and our sound is more gritty because it’s from the beginning, It’s from the essence of it. When you talk about New York hip-hop, it has that boom-bap sound. It’s more hard, with big drums – that would be a New York sound I would basically say that originated from the Bronx. I think that’s the only thing that would kinda separate what we do from everybody else. Just having the knowledge of it, and having the privilege to see it rise and become a worldwide thing, from being something that was just done in your own town and your borough.

It must be crazy having people on the other side of the planet checking it out.

I always think about that. How you see it grow, over the years, from something that’s in your backyard to you can’t go nowhere on the planet without hearing it or seeing it. That’s what’s amazing.

What was the most memorable show you’ve done overseas?

I would say Sweden. It was a nice big response. And Japan also. It was just love, man. My memory is not too good coz I haven’t been on the road in a long time, but the love was really there. Nice shows in Sweden…like in New York, we would see a business man that’s in a three-piece suit, and not really be into hip-hop back then – maybe now, a little bit more – but not back then, ten years ago. To see that over there, and overseas, was really crazy. That’s what tripped me out, seeing different classes of people that was into it overseas back then.

What’s the vibe like in the Bronx now? Have you got much gentrification, as far as people trying to put yuppie apartments in certain parts?

Certain parts of the Bronx are gonna continue being the same. South Bronx is not gonna change. Because it’s the Bronx, the value is not gonna change. It’s pretty much the same as it was in the 70s – new buildings, but pretty much the same, the same things goin’ on. But as far as the vibe with music? It’s not the same. The living conditions are the same but the music is not. Everybody right now in the music industry don’t have no direction of which way we should go as far as New York music is concerned. The South done came and made a big impact on the rest of the world, so now we have to reinvent ourselves as far as New Yorkers, and nobody know where that coming from. The people that’s really afraid is really trying to jump on the south bandwagon and doing the type of music that they do, but that’s not New York music, so I can’t relate to that.

I hear what you’re saying. Does anyone try to have parties in the Bronx anymore?

Can’t do that no more man. Too many gunfights! The parties all be in midtown, if you have any parties in the South Bronx there pretty much gonna get shot-up before the night is over. It’s rare.

Do you have any thoughts on what’s been happening in the record industry in the last couple of years, with a lot of major labels closing their doors?

They don’t have no direction…hey man, it’s good and it’s bad at the same time. It’s good for people who really loves and enjoy making music, so they have their own avenue to make things and to be exceptional. It’s kinda bad because it’s so political now and there’s so much money into it that people are overlooking the creative side of the music industry and just looking at the finances that can be made dealing with this business. With that much said, a lotta people is in it just for the money, and it just crushes the creative standpoint of the game. When we were in it, everybody loved to do music. You had so many different styles of music, and people were just trying to outdo each other, music-wise. Now, more people just wanna be stars. Since that happened, the major labels never knew what was hot and what’s not! They just knew to invest in it! So being right now that everybody’s about money, now the labels are scared to death! Before they would know “Well, these people know they music, and they’re gonna sell”. Now, they don’t have that edge no more, because everybody’s in it for money. So that’s why labels right now are in a panic. Not only that, with the internet is a new monster, coz once a person get a iPod, it’s very rare they gonna go to the store and buy a CD.

So how does that affect you?

The independent game is the best game to do! Let me tell you, when I was selling vinyl – when we was doing the independent thing – you press-up a vinyl for $2, $1.40, you only sell it for three. Now we do CD’s and the profits is much bigger – you’ve just gotta have your market. The independent game, like what we doing right now with D.I.T.C. Records, we just plan on expanding it and keeping that independent game the way it is, because it’s better for us. We don’t gotta answer to nobody and we can just do what we do.

Is it even worth pressing-up vinyl anymore?

Nah, it’s really not worth pressing vinyl. It’s going out the window right now. Serato Scratch and CD turntables – more Serato. Soon there won’t be no use for CD’s anymore. All you’re gonna do is MP3 the music and people is gonna get that. It’s gonna be out the door.

How can you deal with that as someone who’s outing out independent music?

The good thing about with CD’s, you can still look at the cover, read the credits or whatever the case may be, but until that day come where CD’s is obsolete – we gonna rock with this.

Show & AG @ MySpace

Show & AG feat. Lord Finesse - “It’s Up To You”

Show & AG feat. Diamond D - “Still Diggin'”

Show & AG - “Medicine”

Molecules - “Revenge”

Show & AG - “Fat Pockets” (Live At Tramps, 1999).

“Next Level” video:

“Party Groove” video:

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47 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This is my kinda shit…the greatest duo of all time..

I gotta hear the new LP…I have the EP + all the instrumental tracks and shit is nice

Keep doin ya thing Robbie…dope interview!

Is MILANO or Boss Money next??

Comment by AFFECKS 11.20.07 @

Maxwell House??! Anyone got a spare! Looking forward to the new LP. Nice one unkut for the interview!

Comment by AO 11.20.07 @

Another Dope Interview Robbie! Looking Forward To The Percee P Interview…

Comment by Andyman187 11.20.07 @

the new stuff is only available by download…no vinyl,no cd.that’s wack!!

Comment by mario 11.20.07 @

^ The CD and vinyl are due out in the next few weeks.

Comment by Robbie 11.20.07 @

Best Duo of All Time
When B.I.Z. gonna rhyme again?

Comment by Cabbage 11.20.07 @

Huge, HUGE props for this, Robbie. I relished every word.

Comment by floodwatch 11.20.07 @

i love show and a but greatest duo of all time?ummmmm i think that goes to epmd hands down.

Comment by MERCILESZ 11.20.07 @

Straight heat….. Appearing in print real soon too….

Comment by Peak Street Magazine 11.20.07 @

Comment by the average man 11.20.07 @

cant fkn wait for that one..
is it up for preorder anywhere?

Comment by ernz 11.20.07 @

AG was on the Asthma circuit not too long ago, visiting NYC schools to talk to the kiddies about Asthma. Can I get a soul clap? These kids had no idea….

Comment by bk 11.20.07 @

Peace to Show and AG and the whole D.I.T.C crew!! Great interview as usual. I was blessed to see Show and AG perform live only once; at the Big L tribute with the whole D.I.T.C, Brand Nubian, Premo and Freddy Foxx at Tramps in 99′. I’m definitely waiting to hear the new Diggin’ album as well as the new Show and AG album.

Comment by Bronxbred 11.20.07 @

FINE TUNE DA MIC with Maestro Fresh Wes and Showbize is a classic. If you never heard that one find it…

Comment by Killer Keith 11.21.07 @

whut is the loop show uses on “next level”? dude is SO good with the programing. he was DESTROYING horn samples back in the day!

Comment by kutmastakoleslaw 11.21.07 @

Anybody know what happened to Finesse’s Funky Technician Remix album project, with Large Pro, Pete Rock, Premo, Show etc. ???

Comment by Question Marc 11.21.07 @

Dope Interview…
I hope Constantine comes out with Showbiz bangers instead of that jiggy shit.

uno

Comment by Adalbert 11.21.07 @

Essential interview thanx..Much Props.I like how sampling is never an issue with Showbiz thoro 100%. He should drop a few verses on the album goin back to back with AG though.

Comment by P.M.ES 11.21.07 @

Classic Interview, Unkut never fails to deliver!….Show & AG Forever. RIP Big L & Big Pun

100

Comment by Rugged Intellect 11.21.07 @

wheres the fuckin interview

Comment by ill 11.21.07 @

“whut is the loop show uses on “next level”? dude is SO good with the programing. he was DESTROYING horn samples back in the day!”

If you mean the Showbiz OG mix its Wes Mongomery’s “angel”

If you mean the Primo remix then its Maynard Ferguson’s “Mr. Mellow”

both easy to find

Comment by the average man 11.21.07 @

big up to showbiz and tha whole d.i.t.c. r.i.p big l. happy turkey day yall!

Comment by louiefuse 11.21.07 @

great interview, biz is definitely nice on the boards, and it would be too bad if he didn’t wanna dabble in emceeing here and there, oh and greatest duo of all time, hands down pinky and the brain, haha, thanks for the goods robbie, peace

Comment by gstatty 11.21.07 @

average i wasnt gonna say shit…

Comment by MERCILESZ 11.21.07 @

One of the best to ever do it…..I admire how Show stay’s on the low and concentrates on the beats instead of the hype…..I’m very suprised to even see a interview with him, he is so on the low…..My top 5 Show beats..{no order}….1.Stand Strong…..2..Mic Mechanism rmx…….3…More than one way out the ghetto…4..World is listening…..5.Dealing with a feeling……

Comment by shamz 11.21.07 @

My bad that beat isn’t Mic mechanism, I think that shit is Bring it on rmx with Maestro fresh Wes……

Comment by shamz 11.21.07 @

Show is the only producer I wish still rhymed. Most of them I wished got off the mic years ago!

Comment by Finally 11.21.07 @

All that keyboard nonsense?

Comment by Tray 11.26.07 @

Another great interview, Robbie. You always bring the heat. Peace to Show BI, a true legend.
Peace,
Ed Catto

Comment by Ed Catto 11.26.07 @

great interview
never seen that soul clap video before! the image was a lil blurry though, but fatjoe is always unmistakable. who were those dudes who were bound and gagged at the end?

Comment by t-dub 11.27.07 @

Great interview Robbie. I love how them dudes keep finding new ways to just keep doing what they’ve always done. Show’s right: the Bronx stays the same! And thank the gods! Average man your dedication to your wax homework is top notch! Props kiko and thanks for the info! Here in the free music era: all the rarities and so-called secrets are going to get out eventually, and as long as they are accurate everybody prospers, because wack shit can’t sneak by if the listeners are well-informed. Ya our generation had to do the work to find all the shit, but it would be stupid of us to horde that wisdom, and do nothing with it. Give it (the record knowledge) to the kids (even if they’re just going to dig for the mp3s and upload them to their Serato), so they know how to correctly do this shit, and then maybe somewhere in the future, we wouldn’t be so mad about uninformed pop rappers all the time (read: Lupe “Oh my god whatta” Fiasco.

Comment by dontplaymelikeIgotaflowerpotheadkid 11.27.07 @

“We all was into those jazz records – everybody was using stuff. Tribe [Called Quest] used what we used, we used what Tribe used…Preme used. Everybody used the same records and just use different part.”
That last sentence needs to be regarded (especially the fact that Showbiz obviously doesn’t have a problem with it), then maybe people wouldn’t get so lazy and use them easy-ass keyboards, hahaha Show rulez!!!!

Comment by Grand Invincible 11.27.07 @

After the ugly breakups of Pete & CL and Gangstarr, It’s good to see that Show & AG are still together. Hopefully, whatever direction they go, the next album will still be dope.

Comment by Phil Watts, Jr. 11.28.07 @

“MY POCKETS STAY FAT / AND THEY ALWAYS LIKE THAT / NOT ONLY IN MY POCKET, IN MY BANK ACCOUNT THERE’S STACKS AND STACKS OF DOUGH..”

Comment by onthaStrenff 11.30.07 @

damn, Robbie, the wonders never cease!
i, too, was @ Tramps in ’99 for the Big L Tribute…
R.I.P Big L (R.I.P. Tramps)

Comment by onthaStrenff 11.30.07 @

Show is crazy!in top 5 producers off all time.My top 5 tracks he did no order Party Groove..Hold Ya Head..Like My Pocket’s Fat REMIX…Down With The Freestyle Professors..Check It Out

Comment by Dj Spins 02.27.08 @

Hey show… where’s your crazy cousin Smiley?

Comment by Red 03.06.09 @

Incredible producer, rep D.I.T.C. to the fullest!

Comment by Distrakt 04.29.09 @

SHOWbiz, thank you( if u ever read this schit). thank u for the many hrs of pleasure ur music brought to me. AND GODDAMN IT , your partner AG is one of the most underrated emcees of all time. i love u brothers God bless.

Comment by eyeknow429 06.29.09 @

Showbiz is the Greatest Beat-Maker Of All-Time, sorry Preme yuh 2nd, lol.

plus diz dude be da realest, just read da interview, most down to earth and knowledgable producer. Show never try an flaunt his legend status like Kool Keith who always have to announce he’s a “legend” at his shows, he’s more secure within himself lol.

Showbiz is a True Legend.

Comment by tHe tRaNs1eNt 12.04.09 @

mi ahfi comebaqk rihh noh, cah even dough Show BI di bess aal-time inna di geame original rude bwoy, mi ah guh kahl im aat fah sum bumbostuff mi ah see pon di page.

smh @ wah Show BI say bout layin vocals “wasn’t serious at doing it, and since I wasn’t going to be serious doing it, I’d rather not do it.” about rhyming”

LO1 who kares if your serius dawg! 1 sho da fuxk don’t! neither do the real fans, in FACT: some if not most of the best hiphop put on wax was just people havin fun on da mic and not being too serious.

But let me also say, the tracks you put down WERE SERIOUS lol, are you tellin me a person who doesn’t put anything into his raps could come wit some sh1t like:

Party Groove (show raps killed) Catchin Wreck, Fat Pockets, Still Diggin`, and this right here were his verse was better then fresh wes (though wes had a nice verse) http://www.imeem.com/people/pth1OTm/music/G7zaP4Z4/maestro-fresh-wes-fine-tune-da-mic-ft-showbiz/

see part of the problem today is mc’s take themselves too seriously, the game still has alot to learn from Showbiz and not only as a producer, he never had this phony attitude when he rapped like tryna put on some big boy attitude, I don’t want to say humble because rap not about being humble, but he just sound more of down to earth real mothafuxka type on da mic.

aal mc’s mi ear 2day jas sound rass pon di mic and like finesse said, it aint no future in frontin, so we need to put end to their future sooner den later.

and to help wit dat, Showbiz should keep rhymin, or don’t rhyme, jas chat pon di mic.

Comment by tHe tRaNs1eNt 12.04.09 @

“Hold Ya Head” has some classic Show b.i.z. on there as well.

With the amount of classics that Show has been involved in not just with the beats but onna mic as well, I think he should re-consider and drop a verse now and then. Nobody expect a full album of Show rhymin but a few raps on the right tracks jas like the old days would be real kool.

Comment by tHe tRaNs1eNt 12.04.09 @

D.I.T.C. is one of the reasons why still diggin in the crates!

Comment by DISTRAKT 07.24.10 @

Rocking interview so glad I found it! Huge props to you Robbie, always delivering dude Beat Maker!

Comment by beatmaker 10.05.10 @

YO SHOW&AG STILL BRINGIN REAL HIP HOP TOO THE TABLE TODAY THATS PEACE BOBBYBOOTLEG BX2011 198 ST

Comment by BOBBYBOOTLEG 04.20.11 @

Dope interview.

Comment by Korance Bland 06.22.12 @

FOREST
PROJECTS y Patterson Projects Roll Call.

Comment by NARCODOLLAR$$$ 03.10.13 @



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