Filed under: G Rap Week,Great Moments In Rap,In The Trenches,Interviews,Killa Queens,Run-DMC kinda sucked
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Last December I was lucky enough to speak to Dr. Butcher for a couple hours, and he blessed me with some amazing stories about everything from his work to Kool G Rap, Akinyele and MF Grimm, plus a whole lot of shit I didn’t even know he was involved in. I’m not quite ready to drop the whole session on you just this minute, but I couldn’t resist leaking this section where he shares his feelings about Run-DMC, which are not unlike some of the things I mentioned in this post.
Robbie: Being a Queens dude, did you see the backlash against Run-DMC?
Dr. Butcher: The funny thing – me coming from Queens – I was never a Run-DMC fan. I was probably the most anti Run-DMC fan anybody had known. I just did not like Run-DMC. Mainly, I think a lot of it had to do with that I was such a fan of Grandmaster Flash and the Fearless Four – Tito and DLB – those dudes were like my idols and stuff. Run-DMC kinda took a lot of their spotlight, and I think I took it personal. [laughs] It was a funny thing. They kinda crushed the careers of a lot of those old school dudes. I wasn’t really too crazy about Run’s lyrics or nothin’ like that – he just seemed too cocky to me – so I just never liked him. I just felt ‘Oh man, the Fearless Four should be where y’all guys are. Y’all suck!’ But LL was always a huge Run-DMC fan, because he was from the neighborhood – he could frequently see Run riding around. But I didn’t care. He actually wrote some songs for them that he didn’t get credit for. I’m not gonna say which ones they were, but if you listen to around the Raising Hell material you may be able to pick it out. If you go back and listen to LL’s songs I think you’ll be able to notice the similarities in the flows and the writing. But he was so excited to be around those guys and be with Def Jam and Russell Simmons and them, I think he was helping them write and stuff.
There was also the incident where Run made LL change the beat for ‘Rock The Bells’ because it was too similar to ‘Peter Piper’.
There was a lot of that stuff goin’ on between him and Run. I believe Run was really jealous of him because LL was such a good lyricist and he was the young dude comin’ up, getting a lot of attention. But LL used to get a lot of flack from the neighborhood, he used to come-up to my school and get jumped by guys frequently. When he made his first records he used to come up there to pick me up from school in his car – he had a brand new red Audi he used to ride around in, so a lot of guys were jealous of him, and he would go places and get jumped by groups of guys and robbed all the time. It became kinda dangerous for him because it became the ‘thing to do’ – whenever he would go someplace, it would be the thing to do. ‘Oh, there’s LL! Let’s jump him and beat him up!’ He was a big guy – I mean he was a tall kid for his age – so he wasn’t an easy dude that you were just gonna beat-up, so it would frequently take seven,eight guys to jump him and beat him up. When I say ‘beat him up’, I don’t mean he was laying in the hospital or nothing, it was just…seven guys against one guy – he’s not gonna win!
He told me a story of later on – this is three or four album down in his career – he was goin’ to the Latin Quarter one day and he was waitin’ on line, and some guy was callin’ him names and stuff – he was just minding his business, he had pulled-up in his car and had his jewellery on, getting a lot of attention from the girls and some guy I guess is jealous, so he was callin’ him names: ‘Oh you a faggot!’ Just cursin’, tryin’ to embarrass him. He had kinda bulked-up, he had been training – boxing and stuff – in his basement he used to keep a punching bag, and working on weights. I think he started studying a little martial arts too. He was like ‘Yo man, the dude was just talkin’ a lotta stuff Drew, and after a while I just got tired of it and I was like ‘Yo money, you know what? Let me take my jewellery off – let’s get in the street!’ He said he took all his jewellery off and gave it to E-Love [who] I think was with him, and said ‘Yo! You talkin’? Let’s see what you got!’ and brought him in the middle of the street. Everybody was shocked – no one expected him to do it, and he said he whipped the shit outta this dude! He beat him so bad he had him like draggin’ him in the street! He was just beatin’ him like a little kid.
And after that, I kid you not, I never heard any other story about someone jumping LL. That was the last time I heard about anyone wanting to fight LL. He was like ‘Yo Drew, after that – everywhere I went I never heard a peep outta anybody! All of that stuff just stopped that one moment.’ The dude was the brunt of a lot of stuff that went on. He would come up to my school, we were just sitting there, jjust being cool…the thing about him, he was a young kid, so he could be a little obnoxious at times, because you getting attention from girls now, he never got attention before, and guys were just jealous of him. They would just jump him for no reason! I was 4’5″ so there was not much I could do in the way of helping him! Luckily, nothing really serious ever happened to him. I think Run was like that too. I think Run was definitely was jealous of him. L admired him, so I think L ignored it for a while but after a while he just had to say ‘Whatever man’ and just do LL, so he took off and did his own thing. Run’s a funny cat like that – I still don’t really care for that cat too much – even on a personal level.
One day I was on a tour with Jay-Z and we were all doing a show together at a hotel, and I approached the dude ‘cos I heard he was doin’ the gospel rap and stuff – he had a gospel label – so at the time, the guy Understanding I was working with, he came up as a gospel rapper and I wanted to approach Run about Understanding and let him hear some real hip-hop with gospel. He was sitting at the bar, we were in the lobby waiting to go to the arena, and I approached him and said ‘Yo, what’s up man? I’m Dr. Butcher and…’ He just kinda looked at me, he was like [in a dismissive tone] ‘Yo, whats up’. I was like ‘How’s your gospel label comin’?’ But I think ‘cos I was with Jay-Z and ‘em I was tryin’ to play him and make fun of him for bein’ into gospel rap, and his remark was ‘It’s Reverend Run records! What ‘chu think!?’ I just looked at the guy like ‘What!?’ It just threw me back – I was ready to just go at the dude! Akinyele was there, he was like ‘Yo Butch, just leave it alone. Chill, don’t even go there’. From there, it just made it worse for me, ‘cos we all lived in the same neighborhood – he lived in Jamaica Estates and I lived in Jamaica Estates – so I would frequently see him rolling around in his Rolls Royce. He just irked me, man. To this day, I don’t really care for the dude much. I’ll put it out there.
When I first started listening to stuff like Just-Ice and BDP around ’87, Run-DMC just sounded like dinosaurs to me.
[laughs] Yeah, exactly. I’m not gonna knock anything they’ve done for hip-hop – they definitely took hip-hop to another level. Melle Mel and them are bitter and salty about that but they ruled hip-hop for a long time. Unlike a lot of the other pioneers, Melle Mel don’t really have nothing to be mad about. I know Tito from the Fearless Four, and he talks about ‘Them dudes were making millions of dollars – back then – on tour. Them guys were making millions, and that was unheard of at the time!’ They had their fancy tour buses and all that kind of stuff, so to be upset at Run-DMC was kinda childish. To act as though hip-hop owes you something…a lotta hip-hop dudes – Funky Four, the Cold Crush Brothers – didn’t see any money. Grandmaster Caz wrote ‘Rappers Delight’ and didn’t get a dime for it! He has a reason to be upset!
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