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Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Grand Daddy I.U. dropped a superb album on Cold Chillin’ back in 1990, spawning the popular ‘Something New’, ‘This Is A Recording’ and ‘Sugar Free’. He also made a stand-out appearance on Big L‘s album with a tongue twisting Jay-Z and most recently contributed the ‘Da Veteran’ to Marco Polo‘s latest release. Currently working on a new album titled Grown Man B.I. featuring Sadat X, Cuban Link and Chip-Fu, the I Dot U Dot took some time out to talk shop with me about a number of topics – namely booze, broads and beats.
Robbie: What was your MC name back when you first started?
Grand Daddy IU: When I started off it was ‘Almighty U.B.’, and then it was ‘The Grand Daddy U’. Before your name you always put ‘The Almighty’ or whatever. Then Biz Markie put the whole shit together – ‘Granddaddy I.U.’ He put it like that on the contract, so I was like, ‘What the fuck, man?’
So why did he throw that extra ‘I’ in there?
‘Cos my name is I.U. My real name is Ayub, which is Arabic. That means ‘Joab’ from the Bible. But if you look at that shit on paper you can’t pronounce it properly. The teachers and everybody would always say some dumb shit – ‘Eye-Ub’ or some shit like that. I never liked that shit so I just put ‘I Dot U Dot’ so you could pronounce my shit properly.
Did you have a group in high school?
Yeah, back in the days we had the motherfuckin’ Everlasting Three. When I was in high school we had a talent show and I pulled my dick out on stage and got kicked outta school. I never went back – fuck it.
Was that part of the routine?
Nah, I just did that shit outta nowhere! I was drunk like a motherfucker in tenth grade…I’ll never forget that shit. Word up.
What happened between then and getting your deal with Cold Chillin’?
I was in the street. I was goin’ back and forth from jail, robbing motherfuckers and selling drugs and doing dumb shit. My brother was like, ‘Yo, let’s go to the studio’. I rented to the studio a few times and I made three songs and I got on just from that. It wasn’t nothin’ – fell in my lap type shit.
How did you meet Biz?
This motherfucker from my town – this nigga named Jeff – was friends with him. He had just got a production deal, and he had a five-artist production deal and he only had four artists and he was looking for somebody else. I had made a demo and shit, and then Jeff heard it and called Biz. Biz called my phone like, ‘Yo! I heard you got some shit!’ I’m like, ‘Who this?’ He like, ‘It’s Biz Markie’. ‘This ain’t no motherfuckin’ Biz Markie!’ He like, ‘’I’m tellin’ you, it’s Biz Markie!’ So I said, ‘Aight, if you’re Biz Markie, meet me at Blimpy’s around the corner!’ So me and my brother had baseball bats – we was gonna go fuck-up the fake Biz Markie that was gonna meet me at Blimpy’s! [laughs] But it really was the motherfucker…
So did he ask, ‘What’s with the bats?’
Yeah! We told him, ‘We were gonna fuck your ass up!’ [laughs] So we started goin’ to the studio and the rest was history. He stole all the production credit, got half of the motherfuckin’ publishing check. That shit was crazy. They said, ‘We’re gonna give you $100,000 for a publishing deal’. I was like, ‘OK, so why’s my check say $50,000?’ ‘Oh, ‘cos Biz gotta get the other 50’. I was like, ‘What?! The fuck you mean? Biz ain’t produce no shit on my album!’ They were like, ‘Well, the paper says he’s the motherfuckin’ producer’. I’m like, ‘Oh, shit. That’s how it works?’
How did you and your brother Kay Cee put your first album together?
Back then we didn’t have no real equipment or no shit, we would just play a record and find a drum beat that match. Go through mad drum beats to see which one matches and then take that shit to the studio and loop it up together.
Why was there such a long gap between the first album and Lead Pipe?
Between ’92-’93 I had a whole album and I couldn’t get none of the samples cleared because the shit I was sayin’ was too violent and all that shit. It was a bunch of bullshit.
You had a more aggressive vocal style on the follow-up as well.
Yeah. Motherfuckers was like, ‘Damn man, why you all screaming and shit?’ Everybody want to say I sound like Rakim from the first album, so I was more-or-less trying not to sound that way so motherfuckers could stop saying that shit! I shoulda just went ahead and kept doin’ what I was doin’, ‘cos that’s how I sound – period. To me, I never sounded like Rakim. If you listen to my voice now, I’ve got the same voice that I was rappin’ in on my first album. But niggas had me fucked-up, saying I sound like Rakim.
Speaking of Rakim, you’ve got a great legacy out there on Long Island.
Y’all up on Roc Marciano? That’s my homeboy right there, we’re from the same town. When he was on Carson Daley’s label [4,5,6] I produced a joint for him and Devin The Dude but the label folded and shit. We about to do some shit now.
Is your brother still involved in music?
He’s just now getting back into it. He got disillusioned with that shit, like, ‘Fuck that shit’. But he’s getting back in to now.
So how come you never stopped?
I love music, man. I never had a fuckin’ job, I don’t do none of that shit. I just do music.
I was sorry to hear that your boy Easy Rick passed away recently.
That’s the nigga who I started out with. He on my first album, he’s talkin’ on like six of the joints on there. And he on the album cover too.
What are some of you best memories of him?
There are so many, man. He just was a fly dude, man. Nigga taught me a lot. He used to run the gambling spot where everybody come through after hours and shit. Niggas be up there gambling ‘til like 3 o’clock the next afternoon, still gambling from the night before. Nigga used to make mad money. Nigga had the white Jaguar, then he had the white, big body Benz. He just was a fly nigga, man. Everybody knew that nigga – niggas from Uptown, all over the place. Matter-of-fact, yesterday at the wake they had a picture of him when he had the white, full-length mink and the mink hat. Crazy. He the type of nigga where if you thirsty, he go get champagne.
What’s your favorite drink right now?
No beer chaser?
Corona. Sometimes Guinness Stout. Shit, I drink me some motherfuckin’ Remy, bwoy! Everybody drink Hennessey, but the motherfuckin’ Remy is more smoother.
You got any good drinking stories?
Just last night I got twisted and shit after the wake. I ain’t even know I did this shit, but my man told me I walked up to this bitch and told her, ‘I remember I fucked you!’ But my wife was right there! [laughs] My wife said, ‘Take this motherfucker home before I kill him!’
What was the funniest shit that ever happened on tour?
One time me and Kool G Rap had a fucking competition to see who could fuck the most bitches in one day.
How did that turn out?
It was aight. We was in Virginia, matter-of-fact. I think I fucked three bitches and I quit. I fuck too long! I had to chill, man, ‘cos I can fuck for a long time – ‘cos I be drunk. Got that drunk dick!
Grand Daddy I.U. - ‘Mass Destruction’
Grand Daddy IU - ‘The U Is Smooth’
Big L feat. Microphone Nut, Lord Finesse, Party Arty, Grand Daddy I.U. & Jay-Z - ‘Da Graveyard’
Positive K feat. Grand Daddy I.U. - ‘Minnie Da Moocher’
Grand Daddy I.U. - ‘Mack Of Da Year’ [Produced By Large Professor]
Grand Daddy I.U. - ‘Mills Lane Freestyle’
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