The story of Charlie Rock aka DJ Stitches is a classic example of how brutal the music industry can be. As a founding member of De La Soul, only himself discarded once they signed their first record deal, he went on to score a contract with Mercury Records for his next group – Class A Felony – only to have the album stuck in limbo for two years after his MC was brutally murdered in a bungled robbery attempt. Having also been involved with records for Uptown and Ilacoin, Stitches shared a number of behind-the-scenes incidents during his extended tour of duty in the rap world, and revealed some untold Long Island hip-hop history.
Robbie: What inspired you become a DJ originally?
DJ Stitches: I’m from South Jamaica, Queens – Southside. The hip-hop scene in Queens – 1978, 1979 – I seen some DJ’s, and my cousin from The Bronx, Mixmaster TC and the Soul City Crew, he used to let me mess around on his turntables. I mighta been like eleven or twelve. Me and my cousin Blinky kinda had the bug since then, and I migrated to Long Island in ninth grade and then came to North Amityville. (more…)
KMD‘s Mr. Hood album was something else when it first hit the streets. Set out like some Sesame St. style concept LP that threw Ansaar teachings, light-hearted skirt chasing and De La Soul-infused coded lyrics into a blender over some of the most diverse sample sources of the day (everything from blues to Bert and Ernie) made for a compelling and rather unique experience. Special mention for the genius that was “Plumbskinz”, a b-side cut that expanded on the “Peachfuzz” concept and remains as one of the dopest dedications to broads ever set to a beat. The skits dealing with local knucklehead Mr. Hood were one of the many highlights, filled with quotable’s that still come off over two decades later, as both Subroc and Onyx The Birthstone Kid dealt with this character in their own ways. Some dude recently felt compelled to recreate the barbershop scene in classic lo-fi YouTube glory… (more…)
For the final part of this interview shot in Strong Island, The I Dot U Dot rags on bar patrons and his brother in between explaining about a bar room brawl against Treach and Tupac, the inspiration behind his first album cover and touring antics with Kool G Rap.
Marcberg madness continues with an official clip for this Madlib-produced The Pimpire Strikes Back cut. Speaking of, I need to go and film a bunch of hookers working the corner for the Unkut TV “Ice Cream Man” video this weekend.
I.U. is joined by his brother DJ Kay Cee as he discusses the making of Smooth Assassin, why he changed his style up for Lead Pipe, record label problems and why shit went bad with Treach from Naughty By Nature.
Here’s a new tape from Marciano to prepare for the release of Marci Beaucoup on 12 November through Man Bites Dog records. Beats from Madlib, Evidence, Arch Druids, Lord Finesse and Alchemist. The CD version is available when you cop a shirt.
Trying to interview R.A. The Rugged Man without treading over the well-worn ground of his expulsion from Jive Records and working with Biggie Smalls was challenge I was more than willing to meet. Having experienced the major label glory days, the independent vinyl boom and having managed to not only survive but actually thrive in the YouTube era, R.A. is a perfect example of how to adapt to the ever-changing landscape that is the Rap Game. As usual, Rugged Man was able to combine hilarious stories with serious rap trivia obsessiveness and actual facts, which is a good combination, as Pos K once told us. His new album, Legends Never Die, is out now through Nature Sounds.
Robbie: What made you start rapping?
R.A. Rugged The Man: I met my boy Bub, who was a neighborhood beat boxer – Human Beatbox Bub. He was like fifteen, sixteen and I was like eleven. He was in a shopping center and I seen this kid blowing-up a shopping center window with an M-80. He was like, “C’mere kid, watch this!”. He blew off the window and we were friends ever since. He’d say, “Yo, check out this tape! It’s Whodini ‘Escape’, it’s the best album ever!” Then there’d be firehouse dances and he’d start beatboxing and those bitches would be on his dick, and I’d be like, “Yo, I can rap and you beatbox!” I was terrible, but by the time I was thirteen, I got really good and started battling a lotta kids in the neighborhood. (more…)
To be honest, I’ve found post-Prince Paul De La Soul to be hit and miss. They basically lost 90% of their sense of humor and became Mad Rappers with sometimes questionable beats. That being said, this new song has ESG‘s “UFO” on it, so it’s good money.