Archive for October, 2002

Jay’s like King Midas, as I was told,
everything that he touched turned to gold.
He’s the greatest of the great, get it straight he’s great.
Claim fame cause his name is known in every state.
His name is Jay to see him play will make you say:
“God damn, that DJ made my day!”

Run DMC… ‘Peter Piper’

by Davey D

I’m not sure what exactly can be said at this time…All sorts of
emotions are whirling inside my head and to be honest its hard to
believe Jam Master Jay [Jason Mizell] is dead…Dude was 37 years old,
had a wife and 3 kids.. I believe his oldest son is 15.. And if you
ever met Jay, you knew he was a cool cat.. He didn’t bring a gangsta
persona to the table. He wasn’t the type of cat who needed a bunch of
body guards when he walked down the street. As far as I knew he
wasn’t living foul, causing drama or somehow instigating any sort of
‘rap feud’ which are all but too frequent..

Jam Master Jay was a cool cat and it’s for that reason I don’t wanna
do what we always seem to do when we encounter violent death….I
don’t wanna simply ‘keep it moving’ and act like him being killed is
no big deal..It is a big deal. I don’t wanna put a good face forward
and stick the emotions of yet another violent death of another brotha
in the back of my mind. There’s been one too many deaths and I no
longer have room in the back of my mind. I don’t wanna fall back on
old tired clich s and say things like ‘death is a part of life’ or
‘when it’s your time to go its your time to go’. That don’t cut it
for me anymore. I don’t wanna act like this doesn’t bother me cause
it really does. . I don’t wanna give into this unwritten code among
us as Black men to not be phased by violent deaths because it’s an all
too common occurrence..

I don’t wanna hold a candle, pour liquor on a curb or go on the radio
station and play all my Run DMC records and rebroadcast all my old Run
DMC interviews. I don’t want Jay’s death to be reduced to yet another
tribute. It seems like in the past two or three years we’ve been
doing a hella of a lot of tributes. In the past couple of year alone
we’ve lost Big Pun and DJ Screw out of Houston to heart attacks. Too
Poetic of the Grave Diggaz passed from cancer, but he courageously
recorded his last album while he had the disease. We lost Aaliyah to
a plane crash and Left Eye of TLC to a car crash. We lost San
Francisco pioneering rapper Cougnut and San Jose’s D-Mac who died
together in a car crash just days before the Sept 11th attacks. Days
after the attack we lost Boogie Knights of the group The Boogie Boys.
Many of us are still grieving from last moth’s the sudden death of
Money Ray of the Cold Crush Brothers. He was diagnosed with cancer in
August and died 5 weeks later.

And, Yo, I gotta be honest, I’m still recovering from the emotional
upheaval of the sniper killings which just ended last week… I’m
still asking questions with regards to Kenneth Bridges-co-founder of
Matah. Why did this community activist and community leader have to
be killed? Why was it another brother to be the one to take him out?
I’m still trying to get over the haunting images of the distraught
mother of the 35 year bus driver who was the last sniper victim. I’m
still trying to process those heart breaking images….I’m still
asking why? I’m still asking why there are 94 murders in Oakland?
And I’m really bothered by the fact that damn near everyone I know
knows someone who has been killed in the past few years.. And I’m
still asking why we seem to take death so lightly? Why do we see life
as so expandable? I keep asking myself what happened to the promises
and commitments we all made when we came together in ’95 during the
Million Man March? We promised to uplift and affirm life. What has
happened since then? Why is loss of life no longer a big deal
anymore? Why is Black life so cheap? What are we doing to ourselves
and why? What’s going on? Will we ever get it together? Will we as
Black people ever get it together…Will we ever get it together? I
keep thinking about a song that poet D-Knowledge did a couple of years
ago where he asks ‘Does Anyone Still Die of Old Age’?

I don’t know if we’ve been able to fully grieve and process all this
death. Many of us are still left with unanswered questions as to why?
Why did this have to happen? It seems like as soon as we start the
process we’re hit with another sudden death which means we wind up
shoving a lot of feelings and emotions in the back of our minds, doing
another tribute and moving on. This time around I don’t just wanna do
another tribute.. There’s just too many tributes to the point that
it’s becoming routine and that’s bothersome for me… Jay’s death and
for that matter anyone’s death should not be routine…

Maybe I’m feeling this way because I’m realizing that in many
respects, I still never really got over the deaths of Pac and Biggie
and Jay’s death is making me realize that.. There’s really been no
closure despite all the VHI documentaries, articles, movie etc. This
morning I was talking to my boy Pharrel over at Roc-A-Fella records
and he pointed out something that really hit home.. He told me.. ‘I
hope they catch the guy who did this.. I hope they catch him because
there have been way too many unsolved murders in Hip Hop’. I kept
thinking about that and all these names that ran through my mind..
Scott La Rock, Freaky Tah of Lost Boyz, East Palo Alto’s Karisma, JoJo
from Bored Stiff, Ray Luv’s Dee jay DJ CAE, The Mac out of Vallejo, DJ
Quick’s partner Mau, Pac’s homier, Yare “Kauai” Foal, Oakland’s
Seagram, 2 Pac and Biggie… The list goes on…There’s a whole lot
of unsolved murders in rap and I don’t care what anyone says, that
lack of closure has an effect.

And while one can easily make the case that there’s a lot of unsolved
murders in our community in general, one would hope that we would be
able to get to the bottom of some of these high profile slayings…
The fact that we never seem to solve the murders of some of these
artists the same way we don’t seem to be able to solve the murders of
‘Pookie’ or ‘Ray Ray’ from up the block, underscores the notion that
in many circles the loss of Black life is no big deal…It don’t
matter whether you’re a high profile artist or a d-boy on the local
corner in the hood. It’s like we’re expected to die a quick and early
death. And even sadder is the percieved circumstances of our deaths
are all the same. In other words since last night, I’ve been fielding
a lot of calls from local reporters who seem bent on making this
connection to JMJ’s death with the deaths of 2Pac, East-West coast
feuds and on going beefs in rap like Ja Rule vs DMX and Nas vs Jay-Z.
This is not the Jam Master Jay I know.

It’s like cats are trying to make the case that perhaps Jay lead a
crazy lifestyle that somehow invited the violence that befell him..I
don’t wanna put JMJ in that category. Almost all the newscast and
stories I’ve heard end with reporters trying to make that connection..
“Jay Master Jay like 2Pac and the Notorious BIG’ is in a long line of
rap stars who have died violently in a violent rap world”. Heck CNN
has a poll on their website as we speak..asking who has the most
musical influence 2Pac, Biggie or JMJ.. As innocent as it may seem to
some, there’s something about that poll and the overall approach and
questions raised that don’t sit well with me.

I don’t wanna say Jam Master Jay and 2Pac in the same breath. I don’t
wanna compare him to Biggie. I don’t wanna say JMJ is in a long line
of rap stars who died violently…Jay deserves his own space in our
minds and hearts. We all need to take time out and reflect on Jay the
musician, the pioneer, the man, the father, the husband, the friend,
the associate and not categorize and compartmentalize him. I don’t
wanna see him reduced to another violent casualty in a ‘violent rap
world’ as one TV reporter described it.

Before asking questions about Hip Hop and violence let’s began by
asking ‘Did you know Jam Master Jay?’ ‘How are you coping with this
sudden loss of life?’ Are you sad? Are you angry? How will you deal
with it and what changes will you try to bring about? ‘What type of
man did you know JMJ to be?’ What did he mean to the community? What
did he mean to his family?’ .. Words cannot express the hurt,
sadness and anger I feel for this loss…

Please take time to hug those you love.. It should be obvious by one is promised tomorrow.. Please take time to say a prayer
for Jay’s three kids and the wife he left behind Pray for the rest of
his family and friends. One can only imagine what they must be going
through. Pray that God gives them strength to get through the pain of
his death..Pray that they be comforted..Lastly take time to reflect
and allow yourself to grieve. Allow yourself to heal.. We’ve been
hit with a lot of stuff over the past few years..

If you wish to post a reflection head on over to their website:

Your truly
Davey D



JayQuan : Peace ; its an honor to speak to you , what year did you start Emceeing and who made you want to Emcee ?

Creole: It was around ‘ 75 , Mel was hangin’ out with Flash & them – thats how I got associated with Flash. We used to go to Kool Herc parties ; really anybody that had equipment we would go see them in the parks. Herc was one of the few Djs that had legitimate equipment and he would have inside parties and charge people . They didn’t have a distinction between who was the Dj and who was the Emcee , because all the Djs Emceed .

Pete Dj Jones and those cats had the Hank Span Disc Jockey voice. Timmy Tim , Clark Kent and Coke La Rock were three guys who were down with Herc . Tim & Clark Kent would say phrases like ” on down till the A.M. “or ” back & forth / forth & back ” – just lil phrases , not full rhymes. They would say either nursery rhymes or stuff that the Last Poets had said.

My sister Linda used to write poetry , so thats how we were introduced to it in general . Tim & Clark Kent would say it to the beat ; even though it wasn’t that rhythmic. It was like ” A taste of the pace with the bass in ya face”. Because it was done in that pattern we wrote rhymes that were to that pattern. So for me it was Timmy Tim , Clark Kent , My Brother (Mele Mel) and my sister.

JQ : Im told that you and Mel were the first to split words between each other & go back & forth.

CR : Yeah , when we first started rhyming we wrote everything together , so it was a natural progression.

JQ : How about the ” throw ya hands in the air ” and all the call and response tactics ; are you all responsible for that ?

CR : We weren’t the first , but it was an evolution. Hollywood had mad crowd responses like “where’s that place we work it out?” And the crowd responded “at the Alps (hotel) is where we work it out”. We thought it was so fly . Cowboy really excelled at that kinda thing , lyrically he wasn’t at the level of me & Mel , but he had no fear of asking the crowd to say this or do that.

JQ : J.D.L from Cold Crush told me that at one time in the early 80’s Furious 5 flipped on all the crews at Skate Fever including Cold Crush , Treach 3 & Fearless 4 is that accurate ?

CR : Yeah its true , we had left the streets to tour ; and Cold Crush took over the streets in our absence. We felt that people were disrespecting our street credibility , so yeah we did it.

JQ : What happened with ” We Rap More Mellow ” why were you called the Younger Generation ?

CR : The guy who put it out was Terry Lewis , not the guy thats down with Jimmy Jam . He didn’t think that our name was marketable . He was shady he just released it and tried to get money from the record company so that fell through , but we didn’t let it affect us we just moved on to the next man.

JQ : Was that Bobby Robinson at Enjoy Records?

CR : Yeah we recorded Superrappin’ with a band . He came to this spot that we played over on 125th, a bingo joint called Randys place and we hooked up that night. People in the streets probably told him about us . After Rappers Delight came out within months there were like 20 rap records out , and he got into recording rap. We were already established and didn’t need to be groomed or none of that , he just put us right in the studio.

JQ : What was the climate like at a jam before rap records ?

CR : When we first started givin’ shows inside ; we didn’t have any concept about strong security and these kinds of things. When we did shows in the parks it could get a little rough in certain areas of the park if people didn’t know you. Every now & again you could get robbed by someone who knew you. Kids were runnin’ around with pistols in their pockets and if there was a person that didn’t have much respect in the neighborhood they could get taken advantage of. In general people gave everybody respect , take a person like me who wasn’t very large and didn’t have a big family of brothers even though we did get in gangs we wasn’t no real gang motherf*ckers that were going to jail and comin’ out establishing reputation like that.

If it wasn’t for rap I would have gotten taken advantage of. I rhymed and I said these guys names on the microphone so I was in. Even when we were giving shows in ‘ 76 and we weren’t a real group yet – we were a loose group , it wasn’t hazardous it was relative . If the stick up kids were comin’ to the party to rob somebody , somebody was gonna get robbed. It wasn’t enough to keep anybody away . If you came to the neighborhood with a gold chain on , that wasn’t a normal thing ‘cus people wore silver. So unless you could do somethin’ to stop them you were gonna get robbed. As we started goin’ inside to do parties we never gave parties for people that were older than us .

The Djs in the clubs were playing Diso music and they called us “Hiphoppers” . Flash got down with this woman – Ms. Montague , she had a system and he had records so she let him play on the system and we used her security . Its not like it was a strong security , but this kid Ray Chandler had a club on Boston Rd in the Bronx called the Black Door . We played there with Flash under Ms Montagues security , which wasn’t high powered security , but it was enough to keep Niggas in line. No real things happened there when we played ; then when we got down with Ray , and he managed us , he put together a group of strong armed guys from the neighborhood and us , and we played different High Schools – we had our own high powered security , and the only people gettin’ robbed was the ones our security was robbin’. Once we started charging $5 for guys and $3 for women people came to our parties knowing that nothing would happen to them inside. Outside wasanother thing ! If someone came from an outside neighborhood to one of our parties and started something there would be hell to pay.

JQ : D.L.B from Fearless 4 and Kool Moe Dee both told me that you were known as the king of the echo chamber , and how you had this greatest show on Earth announcer voice. How did that start , was it just stumbled upon from experimenting ?

CR: Most of the time Flash used a collection of things , until right before we started making records and we had a legitimate system. Before that if we used an echo chamber and turned it up to a certain level it would hum because everything was so haphazard , so we didn’t like to use it. But when we could get it to work right we would use it. When you used an echo chamber all you got was echo , there was no on or off. Flash found out that if you plug a foot switch into the back of the chamber that would turn it on and off. But Flash was the king of the make shift electronics so he took a light switch , and found the same kind of plug that would go in the back of the echo chamber . With the foot switch you would have to step once to click it on , and once again to click it off. With the light switch you could click it on or off. This gave the echo chamber a different quality. With this you had a certain energy that you could just unleash on motherf*ckers !! And I felt that . I was the only one who actually felt that the echo chamber could have an advantage.

JQ : What was the difference in Hip Hop in the Bronx and Hip Hop in Manhattan?

CR : Starski still had that disco influence . You could tell that Starski had seen Hollywood play a few times . He had the same cadences and rhymed rhythmically but he didn’t make up his own rhymes. Those Disco Djs they always used nursery rhymes mixed up with their own stuff. When you heard us there would be nothing familiar that we said unless you heard us say it before. We would write everything and it was our own creation.

JQ : What was your reaction when you heard Rappers Delight ?

CR : I was of the mind set of everyone else who heard it – I felt that these guys weren’t all that talented , but I didn’t understand mass marketing . I didn’t think that it would do that well ; it surprised me to no end. But if you take something thats the least bit new and catchy , despite how rudimentary it might be – to those who never heard it it’s the cream of the crop. But I was infuriated because these were people who stole lines from other people – I wasn’t bothered by the fact that they made a record because I knew that if they could , that with our talent we would get an opportunity to do it . What disapointed me was that they weren’t that talented and they stole lyrics from Caz , Rahiem and other motherfu*kers too and it was successful.

JQ : Yeah I thought that Superrappin’ was technically a better record , but Rappers Delight was more catchy and interesting.

CR : Oh yeah , I started liking it my damn self after awhile.

JQ : What was it like at Sugarhill Records ?

CR : Well of course she (Sylvia Robinson) showed us the big house and studio. She came & picked us up in big cars ; had us open. But there was an undercurrent of this is OUR family , the Robinson family is first and foremost. If you acted up they would replace ya ass. That was underlying in everything. When we first signed with them they were supposed to give us the information for us to register with BMI & ASCAP so that we could get writers royalties. We never got any writers royalties , maybe Mel did after awhile , but I know that I never got any writers residules while I was signed with them. Like any good relationship at first when we were selling records it was fine . But if we did something that they didn’t like they sat us down for like 6 months .

JQ : How was it at Enjoy ?

CR : He (Bobby Robinson) wasn’t really thinkin’ on that level of promoting us and gettin’ us out there. He had his record store on 8th ave and that’s what he was focusing on. We had recorded another single with him and we started pressuring him to see a royalty statement. He was through with us. Sylvia approached him with $10,000 to take our contracts off his hands and he said bet.

JQ : What is your favorite song by the original Furious 5 on Sugarhill Records ?

CR : Freedom

JQ : Did you get along good with the Sugarhill Gang ?

CR : We never had any problems. Me & Hank used to get high together , they knew if they acted up we would kick they ass. We never acted like they were imposters and they never turned their noses up at us . That was Sylvia’s group and they took precedent , and for sure if we acted up on them she wouldn’t have it .

JQ : Did the rest of the group feel like it was a smack in the face for Sylvia not to include you in the Message ?

CR : Hell Yeah , I thought it was unfortunate when Mel wrote most of Freedom , I didn’t have nothin to do with that , I was like Mel let me help you and he was like nah I got it . After they did the Message with just Mel & this outsider that’s all Mrs. Rob. heard. After that point on my voice was effectively silenced ! I was very dissapointed about that. That was a point in our careers when we should have held it together and continued recording , we would probably be together right now . I remember I was living uptown in the Bronx and Mel & my Lil brother (King Lou) came to the house and asked me to go on the road with them. I couldn’t do it , it didn’t make sense ; plus I had signed with Elektra with Flash & Rahiem . That was a low point in our careers it was confusing to the public ; it was just pathetic !

JQ : How did your faction feel about Mel & his faction ?

CR : We didn’t have any ill feelings towards them , its not like we made songs with their names it , but we were a little puzzled as to why they chose to stay with Sylvia. It was no real animosity.

JQ : For you on a personal level how was it to have your brother in one group and you in the other ; or were you close as brothers ?

CR : When we were young me & Mel did everything together we were real close. As we become adults we take on different responsibilities , thus changing our lives. Like Mel has a few kids , I never had that. He got married when he was 17 years old , in fact my mother had to sign for him to get married. He has a lot of responsibilities which makes it impossible for him to make decisions that won’t put money in his pocket for principle. He has never been able to do that due to his responsiblities. When you want to make sure that your kids have ; you have to make tough decisions . I understand that so I dont have ill feelings towards any of them. Flash gets a lot of work today because people thinks he is a rapper. I know that they have great responsibilities so I don’t hold ill feelings. Many times they have to make tough choices and that’s not always condusive to what the other guy thinks. We could get back together now and let it be known that we are back together and we could tour overseas for months. But then the money that some guys are making now would have to be split 5 ways and who would want to do that ? And its not just Mel & Flash the reason that we are not together. That is a major part of it , but everybody has little animosity towards everybody else.

JQ : What made Furious go back to Sylvia for the Piano Lp?

CR : We had gotten away from Elektra and about 6 months had passed . Mel called and said Sylvia wanted to sign us again. I didn’t wanna do it at all , I asked Mel did he think that it was smart. He said that they were the only ones offering us money at the time.

JQ : Who came up with the melodies for Furious 5 routines and songs ?

CR : Rahiem was a real factor in the harmonies , and Mel wrote a lot of the songs.

JQ : How was your experience at Elektra ?

CR : They treated us good and gave us a lot of money , but they didn’t know how to market rap. I guess they thought that you could just make a record and release it and people would buy it just because.

JQ : What made you guys remix ” Larrys Dance Theme ” ? Back in those days a remix was rare .

CR : That was the shit that was sellin’ that album. Niggas was buyin ‘ the album just for that little instrumental.

JQ : I have a video for ” It’s Nasty ” , Kevie Kev from Fantastic 5 is performing with you guys , whats behind that ?

CR : Me & Mel were goin’ through one of our things and I was kicked out of the group and he was my replacement . After awhile they didn’t get along with him either , and they hadn’t put him out yet when I came back . So for a while he was with us.

JQ : They called themselves Furious Lovers in your absence right ?

CR : Yeah , I had nothing to do with that .

JQ : It’s been the highest honor ; I have actually now spoken to Grandmaster Flash & all of the remaining members of the Furious 5….thanks for your time.

CR : No problem anytime…..

As told to JayQuan on 10/14/02 © 2002 JayQuan Dot Com No part may be reproduced without authors consent.

* Special thanks to Grandmaster Mele Mel *