While I was staying in New Jersey mid 2013, I attempted to shoot some footage of the original Flavor Unit crew. As it happened, I only managed to get Chill Rob G on film, and after watching the video back I’ve decided that this plays better as a written piece. While some of the same stuff from our 2006 conversation is covered, Rob also went into a lot more detail on some topics, making it a worthwhile piece on it’s own. Not to mention that Ride The Rhythm still stands as one of the strongest and most original releases of 1989.
Robbie: You mentioned that you went through a few different names when you were younger?
Chill Rob G: When I first started I had an identity crisis, I had a bunch of different names. It was Jazzy B, it was Bobby G, it was Killer B – cos my name was Robert. I was down with a couple of different crews too. I was down with The World Rap Crew and I was down with the Dignified Almighty Magnificent MC’s – Those D.A.M. MC’s. When all of that fell apart I just kept rapping on my own. I used to practice with my man Michael Ali, be up at his house every single day, making tapes. When I said that on the record it was true!
Were these beats that he’d made?
He tried to make beats but they was [blows raspberry]. I would just rap over popular rap records. He would try to cut the break. He wasn’t really that good a DJ either – but that was my man back then. [laughs] We would make tapes and try to get it out to the drug dealers, cos they’d be out all night. They would play that music and people would get a chance to hear me rap. (more…)
Having returned to the music game five years ago after an extended hiatus, DJ King Shameek is back rocking clubs on a regular basis in New Jersey and beyond, but you most likely first saw him do his thing with Twin Hype for their dance floor classic “Do It To The Crowd.” Shameek took some time out of his schedule to talk about his roots as a DJ and early production techniques, King Sun vs. Ice Cube and his involvement with the mysterious diss record “The Truth” in 1999, which may have inspired 50 Cent‘s “How To Rob.”
Robbie: What made you want to take deejaying seriously?
DJ King Shameek: I was living in California at the time – I’m originally from New Jersey – but my uncle was at a legendary club in Newark, NJ called The Zanibar, so every time he used to come to California he would always bring a couple of records and give me some stuff, and I would see photographs of him deejaying. That’s when I really started trying to persue it a little more, get turntables and stuff like that. This is when they didn’t even have a mixer with a cross-fader yet. I was getting these microphone mixers that just had the faders up and down, so I would just sit there with a left and a right, putting one up and then putting the other one down! It was hilarious if you think about it now. I was always collecting records and I inherited records from my parents – they brought me up on a lotta Motown stuff and some Spanish stuff here and there. I was preparing myself in my adolescent years, toying around with my father’s record player, trying to scratch on them! [laughs] I would try to do that when he wasn’t watching. I ended up leaving California in ’87. Before that I was just doing a few gigs by being featured here and there, it wasn’t until I came here that I started producing and deejaying professionally. (more…)
DJ Father Shaheed of Poor Righteous Teachers was killed in an accident while riding his motorbike on 26 May, 2014. After releasing “Time To Say Peace” on the independent North Side Records in 1989, Wise Intelligent, Culture Freedom and Father Shaheed (who was going by the handle of Devine on the original pressing), they were picked up by Profile Records, who re-issued the single with a remix and followed up with the Holy Intellect LP the following year. This contained what turned-out to be their breakout single – “Rock This Funky Joint.” Offering perhaps the rawest 5% rhetoric of the era over addictive rhythms, PRT made quite an impression and quickly gained a loyal fanbase. Their manager at the time, Kevon Glickman, who I interviewed in 2007, had this to say: (more…)
Here’s a 2013 Roc feature that crept under my Rap Radar. Dallas says:
NJ based producer DUS put out this track Casino last year with vocals by Roc Marciano. Did y’all hear it? I hadn’t, but when I came across the song I did what I love to do and created a fanboy video clip using some of the most hardbosy scenes from the movie also named Casino.
Latee dropping his verses from “Wake Up”, “Puttin’ On The Hits” and “This Cut’s Got Flavor” while 45 King flips a break beat on Tim Westwood‘s show? Count me in. Thanks to Palmer Stallings for finding digging this out of the tape stash.
I had a few beers at a local dive bar with this New Jersey MC last time I was out there, where I witnessed the most morbidly obese white girls I’ve ever seen collected in one room in my entire life. Skitzo has been working the battle rap circuit for years so it’s good to see he’s focusing on making songs now. This new cut is produced by Tom Delay Beats.
Some limited-edition vinyl that won’t break the bank:
20 years ago, in 1993, Gee Rock & Da CND Coalition released they’re lone LP on a wildly limited number of cassettes which have rarely, if ever, been seen. Now Heavy Jewelz brings it back to Brick City with this 12 track fast moving funky LP on vinyl for the first time, never to be repressed. 100 copies were pressed on caramel colored vinyl which sold out right away but you can still get one in a double pack with a black copy of which only 200 were pressed.
We caught up with Matter Ov Fact, EP and Tropicana Josh of The Doppelgangaz one fine afternoon while they were shooting the video for “On The Rag”. Important issues discussed include picking up sweaty hipster girls, getting to second base in Europe, the legendary ‘Crackin’ beverage, velvet cloaks and a bunch of stuff that our legal team insisted we cut out.
The master of the over-sized fitted played like KRS-One and Kenny Parker when Kendrick Lamar let his crew sneak on stage and perform this track to a confused audience. Watch in amazement as Papoose encourages a stunned crowd to shout “Free Remy” before walking off to the sound of a million crickets chirping. Pap run this town!
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.