Steady B – The Pop Art Era

To begin the Hilltop Hustlers story, you need to go back to Steady B. After his uncle Lawrence “LG” Goodman lost his New York talent thanks to most of the Juice Crew signing with Cold Chillin’, he set out to form his own local all-star team to keep his Pop Art label buzzing, and MC Boob was the obvious choice to set the ball rolling. Jesse Serwer got the story behind the early singles when he interviewed DJ Tat Money, who went on to become Steady’s main DJ:

JS: On “Bring the Beat Back,” the DJ was someone else, right?

Tat Money: Grand Dragon K.D.

JS: Right. That was the first time the transformer scratch was on wax, right? Was he known for that?

Tat Money: Not at all.

JS: So who is the real originator of the transform?

Tat Money: I’ve been digging up some of my old tapes I had archived. And I’m like damn, I was really focused on this transformer stuff at the time. I totally forgot. The transformer was like this: We were all doing it, and he got the break and put it on wax. K.D. wasn’t a well-known DJ or anything. He was okay. We were all really competitive so at that time, it was like, “Damn I could have been on the record.” You had that mentality. It was like, “Who the hell is he?” In your mind you think, “I’m better than him.” He happened to be in the right place at the right time probably on some, “Yo I need a DJ, you want to do it? Come on” shit. Cause that’s Steady. I know him like the back of my hand. That’s just how he is. He’s a real kindhearted cat, and I think K.D. was hanging around the area and they just became a duo. The thing was Boob already had two other DJs at the time. He was kind of notorious for switching DJs. This big fat dude named Tank, who was his first DJ, actually came with him when he came to Funk-O-Mart looking for me.

JS: That’s odd.

Tat Money: Boob was kind of weird like that. I actually visited Steady [in jail] a couple months ago. He was a little sporadic. But we actually talked about when he was first getting on wax. He told me stuff I didn’t know before. This guy Jimmy who he went to Overbrook High School with was trying to rap and had this idea about dissing LL Cool J and a few people around the way heard about it. I heard about it. It was like, “Whoaa, you’re gonna do what? You’re crazy.” For somebody to come out and diss a person like LL that’s really hot at the time and go against the grain was considered crazy. You’d think, “I don’t like that idea or I love that idea.” All different opinions. Steady heard about that, and Steady heard that Lawrence was making records so he hooked up with Lawrence and told him, there’s a guy with this great idea for a record to diss LL all written and everything. They went around the guy’s house twice and they couldn’t catch the guy. His name was Jimmy the Jawn. Which is a funny ass name. That’s amazing. Cause you know jawn is Philly’s version of saying that’s the joint. And the word was real hot at the time. It was a brand new phrase. He was basically saying, “I’m that dude.” After they couldn’t catch him, Steady just said, “I’ll just write a song and we’ll put it out.”

It could be said that Steady never really moved beyond his classic Shout Rap style later in his career, but back in ’86 that shit worked. Here are three of his finest speaker smashers from his Pop Art days:

Steady B – ‘Take Your Radio’

Steady B – ‘Just Call Us Def’

Steady B – ‘Bring The Beat Back’

Next Up: Early Cool C and Three Times Dope…

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20 Comments so far
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JS: So who is the real originator of the transform?

I thought DJ Jazzy Jeff was the originator of the transform. I know he’s credited for it.

Just asking the question

Comment by Trent 05.26.09 @

There’s a dope interview with LG in that Wax Poetics Philadelphia issue with Teddy P on the cover.It mention I’ll take Ya Radio, which I had never knew existed.It was dog eat dog in the 80s, SHeeeSH! Good lookin, Robbie!

Comment by chronwell 05.26.09 @

I thought the DJ from UTFO (Mix Master) was using the transform style on some of their albums (Doin’ It and others). Not sure of who was first.

Comment by Dave 05.26.09 @

Also – weren’t Tuff Crew and Krown Rulers from the same part of Philly? Lansdowne Ave? Not sure if that’s part of the Hilltop. Never even been to Philly.

Comment by Dave 05.26.09 @

what’s my name is one of my favourite
albums of that era.believe me das bad.

Comment by swordfish 05.26.09 @

Crown Rulers were from Camden New Jersey. They had my jam “Kick Tha Ball”

Comment by CStyle 05.26.09 @

i thought it was cash money

Comment by Mercilesz 05.26.09 @

oh shit juice crew dis will be posted soon…ha ha

Comment by Mercilesz 05.26.09 @

Spinbad invented the transformer, if anybody.

Comment by Soulman 05.26.09 @

@Soulman: Yeah, that’s what Tat says in the other part of the interview.

Comment by Robbie 05.26.09 @

thx for even bringing up Steady B. He was one of my favorites & once I heard he was killing pigs he became a real rap god to me. F all that 2pac this & that- the man was truly trill.

Comment by Gangalee 05.26.09 @

Spinbad from NY? With the mixtapes with the multi-tracked intros and the “Spinbad, baby” drops?

Comment by The J 05.26.09 @

It must be a different Spinbad that created the transformer, I don’t think he was mixing back then. I just never heard of another Spinbad.

I would say Jazzy Jeff created it. He probably did it on wax for the first time on “The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff.”

Comment by The J 05.26.09 @

I think Spinbad did create the transformer and it is a different Spinbad. Philly was DJ land.. Jeff, Cash, Lightnin’ Rich, Bones, Spinbad, Cosmic Kev, Miz, Jewel T, Tat, etc.. I do think Jeff was the 1st to introduce it on wax.. He had a record out with Parry P and some other Philly mc’s before he did something with will smith. I remember Tat working at funk o mart on Market street. I didn’t know who he was until I came back home to Jersey and saw him on the steady b tape cover, with the ill classic gucci sneakers from Ceasers in AC.. Respect to WHAT with Lady B, WKDU with Master J and Master K… Philly hip hop, ya’ had to be there….

Comment by Edubz 05.26.09 @

I think the Spinbad(from Philly) was Bel Biv Devoes tour dj in 1990 tour with Johhny Gill…not positive, but he was introduced as ‘Spinbad” and was cutting the fuck outta Run Dmc “The Ave”, like clean and pretty technical, while BBD ‘changed into their suits to perform the ‘smoothed out’ part of the show…they did it both times they came to Boston, and the DJ part was easily the best of the whole show…now that I think of it, proooobably another Spinbad, but so ill

Comment by BLADERUNNER7L 05.26.09 @

word, i always thought spinbad invented the transformer, but cash money was the first to put it down on wax…

Comment by tareq 05.27.09 @

Holy shit, Funk-O-Mart! I used to take the train from Ridley Park into Philly every couple of weeks so that I could buy tapes from Funk-O-Mart. I still remember the first time I walked down that gigantic staircase thinking, “man I’m the only white boy in here”!

I miss that era in Philly soooo, so much.

Comment by Trakball 05.27.09 @

I saw Cash and Jeff back when they were throwing parties at Central High (85-86), when they were the twins of spin. Cash introduced the transformer one night to the crowd and Jeff had no idea what cash was doing. Jeff tried it but couldn;t perfect it. Also went to a house party in 87 with DJ Spinbad but there wasn’t any transforming going on there.

Comment by Al 05.28.09 @

@ Tareq and The J: Read the article before posting contradicting, inaccurate information in the comments section. Grand Dragon KD was the first person to lay the transformer on wax, as Tat Money states above. Not Jazzy Jeff or Cash Money. Get your reading comprehension skills up. And yes, Blade Runner, that Spinbad you saw DJ for BBD was the Spinbad from Philly who created the transformer. And not the Spinbad of New York radio and mixtape fame.

Comment by Jesse S 06.17.09 @

I think JJ would even tell you that Spinbad invented the transformer scratch…check him cuttin it up at the Rock Bottom Brewery in King of Prussia PA from time to time, it’s right outside Philly…won’t take you long to recognize that the original DJ Spinbad resides in Philly.

Comment by BHarm 03.22.10 @

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