Following on from last year’s interview with former Beatnut Al’ Tariq, I finally got a chance to speak with Psycho Les about the ups and downs of one of rap’s greatest groups. Turns out that Les’ history foes back even further than I thought, as he revealed he worked at Music Factory during high school and produced his first record in 1988…
Robbie: Do you feel like Al’ Tariq’s comments about his time with the Beatnuts were accurate?
Psycho Les: It was pretty much right. Me and Al’ Tariq never had a problem. The problem was between Juju and him, they didn’t really get along. When people don’t get along shit ain’t gonna happen.
He mentioned some subliminal stuff between him and Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul?
There was subliminal shit going on but it was more on Juju and Fashion’s part. That had nothing to do with me, I always stay away from any negative shit. I ain’t out to diss nobody.
What made you want to get involved in hip-hop?
Just being a kid from the streets. When I was coming up in mid ’80s the streets was the only place you could find hip-hop. You would go to the parks and we would have the cardboards, people breakdancing and the guy with his boom box playing tapes of Cold Crush and Spoonie Gee and Kool Moe Dee and all that shit. I was into everything of the culture, man – from breaking to graffiti, I did it all. I just fell in love with the music, just watching the DJ and all the power he had. I started messing with all the DJ’s that lived in my building. I would go to their apartments and watch them DJ. From there I developed the whole dream to have turntables and mixers and collecting records. (more…)
Toney Rome and Large Professor go way back, and share a lot more history than simply a production credit on the b-side of ‘Mad Scientist.’ Toney talks about growing up in Flushing, Queens, facing music industry hurdles and memories of having the hottest tape in school.
Robbie: How did you first get involved in hip-hop?
I grew-up in New York in the 70s and the 80s, when hip-hop was just getting started. I can remember before there were records, used to be chasing tapes, trying to find the hottest tapes and also trying to get to the Bronx to hear the music.
You were in Flushing at the time?
From Flushing, Queens. It was a really organic thing. I was hearing the music out here on the streets, then they started doing jams out here and eventually I started deejaying.
Where were you getting your records? From the city or locally?
It was the era where DJ’s was really secretive about the breaks that they had. Some of the stuff you would know, but you would have to be a sleuth like Sherlock Holmes to figure out what breaks. First you raided your father’s record collection, and you found the old funk and soul records from there. Of course I didn’t have a lotta money back then, so I used to go to stores in Jamaica, Queens and places that I knew out there that had record shops. (more…)
After a number of delays, the latest release date for Sha Lumi‘s posthumous second album is 1 April 2015. Considering that I’ve heard the entire thing at this point I can attest that it does actually exist and that it’s dope. Fingers crossed we can get an official copy in April.
02. ‘Full Command’ feat. G.O.D 3, Foul Monday, Ruc and Tragedy Khadafi [Produced By Shroom]
03. ‘Black N Understanding’ [Produced By DJ Rated R]
05. ‘Give It Up’ [Produced By Carnage]
06. ‘Pressure Up’ Feat. Tragedy Khadafi [Produced By Nick Speed]
08. ‘Stop Hating’ [Produced By Shroom]
09. ‘Tell Me’ [Produced By Carnage]
10. ‘1712’ [Produced By Jewelz Polar]
11. ‘Work It Out’ [Produced By ThoroTracks]
12. ‘Keep The Faith’ [Produced By DJ Steady]
13. ‘Cash’ Remix [Produced By Audible Doctor]
14. ‘Pressure Up’ Remix [Produced By: DJ Phantom]
Concluding the three part interview with Black By Demand front man CJ Moore, he covers working with Paul C, Ultramagnetic MC’s and Super Lover Cee, the importance of engineering and chopping, getting ripped off on the ‘Rump Shaker’ single and his deep crates of unreleased material.
Robbie: What was your involvement with Super Lover Cee and Cassanova Rudd?
Super Lover Cee lived in the building behind mine. He has a group called Future Four MC’s, which was Super Lover Cee, myself, DJ Rudd and there was another DJ named Tiny Tim. We did shows around the neighbourhoods and then we disbanded. I was the guy doing the beats and the choruses and putting the track together. When I did ‘All Rapper’s Give Up,’ I had not gotten a deal just yet. He was hanging out of his window, cos he lived on the first floor, he was playing some stuff and he said, ‘Yo C, listen to this!’ I’m standing by his window and I said, ‘Let’s put it together.’ He wound up putting it together and I wound up tightening it up. When I brought him to the studio to do the session and introduced him to Paul and Mick, Paul C. didn’t want to do the session. He couldn’t hear it, he didn’t see anything pleasurable about it. He wound up doing it. As far as the entirety of the project, when he did their album Girls I Got ‘Em Locked, I did not do any of those records. But a lotta those routines we had in the Future Four? He wound up using them. (more…)
Not sure how my extended interview with The Mighty V.I.C. from 2008 slipped through the cracks, but after using a couple of parts of it I never got around to transcribing the entire three hours that we spoke over a couple of days while Vic ran errands. As before, the full version will be in the Unkut book, but here’s an edited version which covers the major points in his career. V.I.C. discusses how he began interning as a recording engineer at Power Play in the late 80’s, before joining The Beatnuts and working with Godfather Don under the Groove Merchantz banner and later recruiting Mike Heron to create the Ghetto Pros.
Robbie: How did you get started in music?
V.I.C: I started deejaying when I was fifteen years old. I was at the local bagel shop and one of the local kids who worked at the bagel shop showed me a mixer. I was in the tenth grade and I remember being home, sick at the time, and the guy came over after school – and after he was done at the bagel shop – and showed me how to DJ. From there, I found out you can actually go to school for engineering. I was like, ‘You can go to school to edit?’ So I did that a short time after. I went to an engineering school in the city, which I learned zero from, and I started interning at Power Play. That’s where I met Ivan ‘Doc’ Rodriguez, I met Norty Cotto, Patrick Adams – the guy that used to play on all those Eric B. & Rakim albums. At that time there were guys like Just-Ice recording there, you had KRS-One, you had EPMD. Hurby Luvbug used to record there too, Salt ‘N Pepa, Dana Dane, Kid ‘N Play. (more…)
The Mighty V.I.C. has been a part of some great production teams over the years, as part of The Beatnuts, Groove Merchantz with Godfather Don and Ghetto Pros with Mike Heron, in addition to his own solo work as a producer and engineer. I recently uncovered an extensive interview I did with him which was left over from the short profile that ran in Hip-Hop Connection in December 2008. I’ll be dropping that in the next week or so, but in the meantime it inspired me to revisit some of his best moments behind the boards so far.
Here’s the premiere of the new DJ JS-1 track which makes clever use of a Larry David quote to form the hook. Why has it taken this long to incorporate the genius of Curb into rap songs? Talk about a sure-fire way to gain instant Conservative Rap Coalition approval! Taken from JS-1’s latest LP, It Is What It Isn’t, which is now available from UGHH.
Dr. Butcher, who you may remember as the guy who did all the scratching on Kool G Rap‘s second album (as well as rapping at the end of ‘Jive Talk’), has also contributed a number of wonderfully brooding soundtracks for MF Grimm, Akinyele and G Rap to unleash speech over. Here are fifteen of my favorites.