Filed under: Bronx Bombers,Features,Great Moments In Rap,Interviews,Not Your Average,Steady Bootleggin',Video Clips
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
The Uptown Bounce Master (aka Doo Wop) is a true mixtape pioneer. He took the idea of intro’s to the next stage by assembling an all-star cast for his two part ’95 Live series. He’s also nicer on the mic than most full-time MC’s. He broke-down the history of his classic tape features with me last-week, as well as the two legends who got away…
Robbie: You were the only person who really called Lil’ Wayne out when he shat on mixtapes. It was kinda ironic, wasn’t it?
Doo Wop: Exactly, like how could you do that? And he’s dope to me! The day after I did that, I still played his shit at a party, because that’s what the people want! If you just Google the word ‘mixtapes’, I won’t come-up right now at the top page – Kid Capri won’t even come-up! It’ll be pictures of Lil’ Wayne! He’s dope, he deserves all the fame he gets, but it was just real arrogant and unnecessary [when he was interviewed by Foundation Mag]. Why would you even do that? I did something – he probably never even heard it – but whatever. I just did it to stand-up for the DJ’s. These dude’s just let that shit slide like it’s OK. It didn’t make sense. If I wasn’t me, and a DJ made a record standing up for DJ’s, I’d play the shit out of that record! I never heard it on the radio – Flex never played it. Enuff didn’t play it. DJ’s that I was cool with, and I’m standin’ up for y’all too! Even one time? He shitted on y’all! He’s like, ‘Mixtape DJ’s can suck my dick!’ That’s what he said! First of all, you’re not gonna say nothing. Second of all, somebody else says something, you’re not gonna support it, but you play his shit right after that…
The 95 Live tapes would have to be the most well-known of all your projects. How did they come about?
At the beginning of ’95 I just was home and I got a call from Fatman Scoop, which at the time was the street promotions guy for Tommy Boy. He was calling me just for the generic calls that they make for all the DJ’s, he just calling me to say, ‘Hey, you got the New Jersey Drive soundtrack? You need anything?’ You know, regular shit. I’m was like, ‘Yeah, I’m straight.’ As soon as I was getting ready to hang-up, he’s like, ‘Oh, Busta Rhymes said to say, ‘What’s up’. He’s here in my office, he said to tell you’. At the time I never even knew Busta. I’m like, ‘He said ‘What’s up’ to me?’ I didn’t know that these big dudes knew about the underground mixtapes. So he got on the phone and said, ‘Yeah, I’m a big fan. Anything you need, here – take my number’. I was like, ‘What the fuck!?’ I was star-struck. I didn’t know what to say. So I took his number, then after a few days I’m like, ‘Maybe I should call this dude and see what’s up. Test the waters. If Busta Rhymes is feelin’ my shit maybe I should try with some other guys – try to reach out’. So he gave me Raekwon’s number, I called him out the blue, like, ‘Yo, this is Doo Wop’. ‘Doo Wop from Uptown? From up in the Bronx?’ I was like, ‘Holy shit!’ It bugged me out. So I asked him, I said, ‘I’m doin’ something and I wanna do [an intro] for the first time ever with all known rappers’. And that’s how that came about. It was a domino effect. Once Busta put me onto Raekwon – of course I had a relationship with Fat Joe already, so that was easy – somebody got me Q-Tip, and all these guys just came to the studio! The only money I spent was for studio time. They weren’t talking about money, any time I wanted them to come, they would come. It was just dope, just the chemistry. In one night I had Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Rampage, Fat Joe and Raekwon – all those guys at one session. And the studio was no bigger than like if three people in there and it’s crowded. All these people, and their boys! I was amazed – this was less than a month after Busta said ‘What’s up’ to me over the phone.
I made two tapes only in ’95 – ’95 1 and 2 – and that shit carried me for a couple of years. It got me all kinds of shows and notoriety and everything. But now it’s so common, I don’t expect these young kids to really appreciate if somebody even did something like that now. It’s like, ‘So what? Everyone knows someone who’s a rapper!’ Back then it was like, ‘Who can get a rapper – plus a twenty minute intro of everybody that was hot at the time in ’95?’
I assume you used to make a nice grip of cash off of your mixtapes at one time?
In ’95, I made a living off of ’95 Live 1 and 2. I actually bought my first Lexus off of that CD. My first car ever was in ’95, I didn’t even have a car before that. I got a brand new ’96 Lexus in ’95 off of that tape alone. I ain’t gonna lie. And all the parties that came off of that tape – just the popularity that I gained just from that CD alone. That was bugged, because it’s not like I’m gonna bring these MC’s with me – and they knew that – but they would hire me to DJ at parties. Like fly me to fuckin’ Bermuda! Before that, nobody from Bermuda ever called me to come do a party! When it was tapes and I would sell one master tape to a store, I could go to Harlem, Brooklyn and the Bronx and get $500 – $750 for that one master tape.
After ’95 Live I even took certain things for granted. I coulda had Biggie and Jay-Z – that’s two rappers that never rhymed on my tape. Ready To Die had just came out, it was a video that Uneek was doing with Lauryn Hill and Bahamadia and these other girls called ‘Ladies In The House’ that Tommy Boy released. It was a video they were shootin’ at a club called The Tunnel. It was day-time, but they made the club look like it was night time already ‘cos it was a club scene or whatever. I’m just standing there, ‘cos I just went there to represent Uneek – I didn’t want to be in the video, I just wanted to chill and make sure she’s good – and I look to my right, and down the hall I see Biggie Smalls. That’s when ‘One More Chance’ had just came out and he’s like the biggest thing in the world. I never met Biggie up to this point, but people were crowding around like groupies, and I didn’t want to be looked at like, ‘Excuse me, excuse me!’ I’m kinda-like stand-offish, so I say to myself, ‘So if I get a chance to talk to him, it’s cool, but if I don’t then whatever’. I was walking down the hall with Uneek and we’re passing where he’s at, and he’s still with these people that’s asking him for autographs and he says, ‘Yo, Doo Wop – when you gonna let me rhyme on your tape?’ And I said, ‘Ohhh shit!’ In my mind. I’m like, ‘Yo, whenever you want! Of course, fuckin’ right now – I’ll go get my four-track!’ I didn’t say that, but I’m like… So he says, ‘Here, take my number’. And he gave me his house number. I’m like, ‘OK, this might be a fishy number’. I wait like a week, I call him and his mother picks up – that’s right before he got his own place. He had just got the money from Ready To Die and he was about to move to Jersey. And he was there! He picked-up, he’s like, ‘Yo, let’s do it! When do you want to do it?’
I’m sitting in the studio, and it was like two hours passed by the time he was meant to be there. I’m like, ‘This dude’s not coming. He sounded cool, he was cool with me, he acknowledged me – but he’s not coming. He’s too big right now – he’s probably not even thinking about it’. Lil’ Cease calls me and says, ‘We had a car accident’, and I was like, ‘Yeah, alright Lil’ Cease. Alright, cool’. I thought it was a lie! That’s when he broke his leg! He’s was comin’ to do my tape when he broke his leg! That’s what he was comin’ across the bridge to do! I mean, obviously he was gonna do a bunch of other shit that night, but he was heading to the studio I used to do all my stuff out of on 38th Street in Manhattan.
[Before that] it was this one time when he was gonna do my tape when he was first coming out with Ready To Die, and he was like, ‘Let’s do it. Here’s my hotel room’, ‘cos we were both out of town in Virginia – he was doing a show and I was doing a club – and we were gonna meet after. I got so pissy drunk that when I grabbed my four-track to go get him, I sat on my bed and I just fell asleep. I woke up in the morning with the four track laying next to me! I’m like, ‘I just missed one of the biggest opportunities in the world! Fuck!’
And then the Jay-Z thing – I spoke to Dame Dash when Reasonable Doubt came out. I was like, ‘Can I get Jay to rhyme?’ He asked him, called me back. ‘Jay say he’ll do it. When you wanna do it?’ I say, ‘We’ll do it tomorrow’, and that day I didn’t feel…I was just tired. I called Dame Dash back to tell him can we do it the next day. He didn’t pick up, so I left a message saying, ‘Can we do it tomorrow instead? Call me back and let me know’. This dude never called me back ever again. He was like, ‘Fuck that. This dude was gonna have Jay-Z on his tape and he just pushing the session back? Fuck that!’ So I didn’t get Jay to rhyme on the tape. I was like, ‘Damn!’
Big L was another dude that was incredible. Before he died he had just rhymed on my tape, and he had said he wanted a copy of the CD, so I said, ‘I’m goin’ to the city, so I’mma cut through Harlem to give it you. So I went to Harlem and I gave it to him and he said, ‘Are you going to the city? Could you drop me at Roc-A-Fella? I got a meeting with Jay-Z, he wants to sign me’. So I dropped him off and that’s it, that’s the last time I seen him. A week or two later he was dead.
Continue to Part 2, where we discuss the Bounce Squad, the Kid Capri situation and the Diaz Brothers…
Doo Wop Responds to Weezy:
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