Concluding my discussion with Lakim Shabazz, he talks about leaving Tuff City, remembering his friend Apache, Queen Latifah incorporating the Flavor Unit name and plans for his final album.
Robbie: So how long after the second album did you get off Tuff City?
Lakim Shabazz: I was being managed by Dave Funkenklein. At one point in time, if you wasn’t managed by Red Alert or somebody like that, then you was under Dave Funkenklein. He had me, he had Ultramagnetic – he took us to Paris. I went to Japan through Funkenklein – me, Latifah, Chill Rob G and Latee. Other companies were interested in me, they had tried to buy my contract from Tuff City. The first offer that was presented to Aaron Fuchs was $150,000. You’re talking 1990, ‘91. I think Epic Records had offered him $300,000 to let me up outta my contract, and he just would not do it. So part of me recording all of those extra little songs on those breakbeat albums 45 King was putting out was to fulfill obligatory responsibilities I had on the contract. I did that for two or three years and eventually got smart and got my own entertainment lawyer and managed to get off Tuff City without having to pay no funds or anything, and at this point we’re fighting to get back money from them, so actually it worked in my favor. I don’t have any sour taste in my mouth toward Aaron Fuchs. I was a young guy, I wanted to hear myself on the radio and I was able to achieve that. (more…)
With the exception of Queen Latifah, Lakim Shabazz proved to be the most prolific of the original Flavor Unit line-up, releasing two albums and a long list of guest spots on 45 King projects during his time at Tuff City. Despite his diminutive frame, Lakim wielded “the voice of power” with authority, as he combined the teaching of the Five Percent Nation of Gods and Earths with Brag Rap with a previously unseen finesse over some of the best beats of the era.
Robbie: Where did it all start for you?
Lakim Shabazz: I was always interested in music since I was a little kid. I used to always listen to my mother’s albums and things of that nature. I’m from Newark, New Jersey, and out here spinning club music was a big thing as I was growing up. I started out deejaying, spinning club music, and that’s how I got introduced to hip hop. I met a couple a few DJ’s, and when I first saw somebody spinning the wax back and forth, scratching records, that intrigued me.
When did you start writing rhymes?
I met my DJ, Cee Just, when I was in ninth grade. I was still deejaying, and he convinced me to write my first rhyme. There were a couple of other guys that used to come over to his house and they’d be rhyming. I never even thought about picking up a mic, and he asked me to write a rhyme. I credit my man Cee Just and my brother Lamel Born for that. They inspired me to write my first rhyme and I’ve been rhyming ever since. (more…)
Got a major Flavor Unit interview ready to drop soon, so I’m going in extra deep (pause) on their extensive catalog. Here are ten of sure shots from the greatest collection of MC’s that New Jersey ever produced.
‘Cules, Chucky Smash and Cee-Low return with more Bronx flavor from the vaults as they flip the loop you might recall from Mobb Deep‘s “Still Shinin’”, which seems fair considering that the sample Havoc and Prodigy rock for “The Realest” was used by The Legion first…
Both this and “Street Truth” were recorded at D&D Studios in 1995 and are available on iTunes now and 7-inch vinyl soon.
Here’s your first look at some more J-Zone live drumming action via this new Fre$heep 45. This limited-edition 7″ features ‘Just Let Me Be’ featuring Roc Marciano on the A-side and ‘Sailing High On Valium’ featuring Zone getting his Clyde Stubblefield on for the flip. Check back in a few days for audio of the Marci track…
You can pre-order both the single and the Anti-Depressants CD now via Bullet Proof Crates. Only 200 copies of the 45 are being produced, with a choice between blue and regular vinyl.