Microphone King Donald D has had a long and varied career, spanning back to the park jam era, onto the downtown club scene, radio and then records, both as a member of The B-Boys and as a soloist with the Rhyme Syndicate. Now residing in Italy, Donald took some time out to detail some of his experiences during the formative days of the culture.
Robbie: How were you first introduced to hip-hop?
Donald D: Going to the parties, watching Kool Herc in the parks and Afrika Bambaataa in the parks. That was my first experience seeing these DJs out in the park.
You were living in the Bronx at the time?
Kool Herc used to play at a park called 129, which is not far from where I lived. Then I would go to Bronx River Center and watch Afrika Bambaataa throw down outside. All of this took place in the South Bronx, where it all started.
How old were you at that time?
You’re talking about junior high school when I was seeing these guys play. At the time we was going to a local place all the kids would call The Boy’s Club. We would go there basically to play basketball, swim. I had other friends who would become hip-hop legends and superstars, so you’re talking about at that time Easy AD, who became a member of the Cold Crush Brothers; you had Lil’ Rodney Cee and Jazzy Jeff who were part of the Funky Four; you had Master Rob and Waterbed Kev who became part of the Fantastic Five. There were a lot of these guys who were at the time unknown who became legends in hip-hop. We all would be playing basketball together as kids [chuckles]. (more…)
There’s nothing like pretending to rap like it’s 1985 (or better yet, 1977) well after the fact, or recruiting some veteran MC’s to kick some old styles. While some of these attempts have fallen flat (Ugly Duckling and People Under The Stairs being two examples that spring to mind), others have made an entire career out of it (J-5). So break out your Lee jeans, mockneck sweater and Puma suedes for this faux trip down memory lane. Special shout out to Dr. Butcher‘s old school style freestyle at the end of Kool G Rap and DJ Polo‘s ‘Jive Talk‘ and the first verse of The Arsonists’ ‘Rhyme Time Travel.’
I purposely waited for the album & mixtape to drop before putting this up, there were alot of tributes but NONE can ever compare to mines. Heres the 2hr Tribute I did, no Tracklisting, Enjoy the music for what it is. If you take this mix and try to sell it in any way shape or form, you will get sued! I miss you P. Love u brother
Sean Price exemplified everything that the Conservative Rap Coalition stands for. He was a fan of self-depricating humor, blocking people on Twitter for the slightest of infractions and refused to catch buses since they’re basically for old people. He was also one of the few MC’s who managed to improve with age. As much as I enjoyed the music of Heltah Skeltah, I can’t quote a line from either of their first two albums from memory. Sean P solo, however, was a cot-damn quotable machine. I saw him perform twice, and both times he delivered a strong, no gimmick display of great rapping. The first time in Melbourne, backed by PF Cuttin, and then at S.O.B.’s in 2013 for the Statik Selektah album launch. Later that evening Dallas Penn introduced me to Mr. Price, who appreciated my firm, man-style handshake and kept it moving, just as it’s supposed to be. (more…)
Just got put onto this by the homie Konny Kon. Produced by QB Rap P, it’s sounds as if the One-Eyed Maniac may have suffered a minor stroke since I don’t recall him having a speech impediment last time he rapped. Or maybe he just drank a lot before he recorded this. Either way, it’s great to hear from the former Screwball soldier again.
As most of you already know, long-time indy rap champion Pumpkinhead passed away this week at only 39 years old, tragically leaving behind his pregnant wife and two kids. I’m not really qualified to speak on the man’s numerous contributions, but Chaz Kangas has put together a fitting tribute to the man for Complex, while some of his friends shared their fondest memories on Facebook:
DJ Eclipse: Some of us spend countless hours, days, months, years and even decades promoting others more so then we do ourselves. PH was one of those guys. Even though he made a name for himself in the battle scene and even made some records, it was his work here in NYC that I’ll remember even more. An integral part of the 90’s indie movement as well as today’s battle scene and a promoter of authentic acts and events, PH cared about the culture of Hip Hop. For him it was about your skills and how to improve on them. He was one of the ones that helped keep the foundation strong for others to go on and build careers. (more…)
Editor’s note: The following interview was conducted by Bill Zimmerman in 2007 for the now defunct print edition of Modern Fix magazine prior to the release of Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Vol. 4: The Hip Hop Jazz Messenger. This Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of Guru’s passing.
The self-proclaimed “king of monotone,” Guru possessed one of the most unmistakable voices in hip-hop. Honest and authoritative, he delivered music over three decades, most notably in Gang Starr with DJ Premier as well as through genre-bending Jazzmatazz solo efforts. What follows are excerpts from an unpublished interview with Guru and Solar in 2007. It’s a snapshot of Guru’s late 2000s, post-Gang Starr career. It shows two men focused on making their own lane and taking creative chances in the leadup to what would be Guru’s final Jazzmatazz project. Despite all the drama and confusion that would ensue, Guru made a mark on hip-hop. That’s indisputable.
Bill: Guru, one the previous Jazzmatazz projects you were working with multiple producers. What was it like just sticking with Solar on this one?
Guru: Actually, the only one with multiple producers was the third one (Street Soul). The first one (Vol. 1) I produced, the second one (Vol. 2: The New Reality) I produced and then the third one multiple (producers). Actually, after the third one I said I wanted to go back to working with just one producer because I left like the third one – even though I had like a lot of big name producers – it came out more like a compilation than it did an organic work. It’s still one of my favorites joints, but it was something about the cohesiveness of one producer bringing everything together. After teaming up with Solar – first of all when I first started hearing his music that was after we were friends already for two years. Then we decided to do the label. We were introduced six years ago – he took me to his lab so I could hear some tracks, and it was crazy because it was almost like he read my mind because I was looking for a future sound, a new sound for myself. All my favorite artists are able to do that – to recreate and renew and then reinvent. So, when I heard his tracks, I was like, “Oh, man.” I was blown away and actually took some stuff home right then. Our first release came out in 2005 on 7 Grand. That was called Guru Version 7.0 The Street Scriptures, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. That was just the introduction to this new chemistry. Now, at this point, the chemistry is just more intense, so this album is definitely proof of that. (more…)