Originally posted on March 23, 2006

Well here it is the part 2 of a roundtable discussion with Hip Hop legends Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Herc, Jazzy Jay, Grand Wizard Theodore & Kev E Kev Rockwell, Charlie Chase & Tony Tone,Grandmixer D ST, and DJ La Spank.


Grandmaster Flash, Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa

By Chairman Mao April 1996

So what else do you all feel has most significantly changed that needs to be recognize now?
Grandmixer DST: The commercial aspect. I mean,ultimately it's not even Hip Hop anymore,it's "Rap Music" And the rap music aspect of it totally annihated the cultural ofhip Hop,because it's all about money.[making records] tore eveything apart. "Kim Tim III" [ Kim Tim III by FATBACK was first rap record released] was the beginning of the end of it for all of us. People who had no knowledge of business aspect got control of the shit---
Tony Tone: And messed it up
Grandmixer DST: And messed it up. The whole art form of the DJ seeking beats, and the love and respect for the records that you find and the respect for the other DJ who has that same ability--it's like we're all Jedi Knights and shit and only a few peole believe in the force and shit. But we made one terrible mistake, and all due resect to Lenny [Lenny Roberts, Beat Street Records] , that was our undoing. because we did not understand what he was doing at the time.

With the Ultimate Breaks and beats volumes?
Grandmixer DST: Yeah. He knew all of us, and he would come to all of us and say,"What record was that?" But what he did was he networked between all of us, so he ultimately ended up with everything. We wasn't thinking about making money like that, our love was just for the art form itself and being recognized in the community and the street.
Jazzy Jay: We was selfish though, remember? We wouldn't want nobody to have the same record. We'd always cover'em.
Tony Tone: I don't think it was selfishness....
Grandmixer DST: That was part of the whole shit. It wasn't selfishness, it was the fact if you wanted to go to a Bambaataa party and hear certain records,he had his crowd who wanted to hear those certain records.I't's just like the Bronx was a huge radio dial. You tune uptown you get BREAKOUT, you tune to the westside you get FLASH, and it was like that. Each DJ had his own [repertoire]. We had the generic records that became generic once everybody in our circle had 'em. The whole thing was the obscure records. Everybody always came up at their next party with the next new obscure record. And that cycle would go for at least two or three parties before the next DJ got that record. So then everybody's like "Yo, we're goin' to hear so-and-so. You heard that new shit that homebody's playing?"

How do you respond to the notion that when Lenny Roberts came around to get tiels to license for Ultimate breaks and beats compilations, it kind of killed things?
Bambaataa:Well, me and Lenny worked close together, so it didn't bother me--'cause whatever I'd give him,he'd wait to release. I always had many more where they came from anyways. it didn't bother me, it was those dJs that didn't have no big selections that it bothered. When I first gave the list out in England at the time when nobody would say the names, th whole England went crazy trying to find those grooves. It was good, 'cause I felt it was time for all these other DJ's to have things that help them. You see , I had vision. Alot of other people were selfish and wanted to hold stuff to theyselves. I had vision to try to make this whole-world phenomenon andmovement. My vision was try to get Hip Hop across the world as muchas possible. And everything fell in place the way we did it. [Kool Herc enters the room]
Everybody: We're not worthy! We're not worthy! We're not worthy! [General Laughter and greetings]

What else strikes you that's missing from today's Hip Hop scene?
Tony Tone: I'm still upset about how parties go. Back inthe day, you paid $3-$5 to get ina party and see who you want to see all night long. Now you pay $25-$35 to go a concert and see somebody's for 15 minutes-20 minutes.
Kool Herc: Some little ragged motherfucker witha backpack walking back and forth on a stage--ain't doin' shit. Ain't got no little honeys up there doin' their thing or nothin.
Tony Tone: And everybody thinks that's the thing!
Charlie Chase: You know what the problem is?
Grandmixer DST: No More DJ's --DATs!
Charlie Chase: Too many middle of the road DJs. They all there waiting for the biggest artist to get they next record out. They wanna be the first to play it. Instead of going there and finding something that nobody has that's the bomb and just rock off that.

KevGive me an example of one of the more memorable show routines.
Kev E Kev Rockwell: Theodore - when he used to brek out with the handcuffs. It was like when the MC's would battle the other MC's,we used to put the handcuffs on him, and at that point Theodore used to show off on the other DJ of the crew and make him look very foolish. The other DJ, he's got the earphones on and he's got his hands loose. We'd take the earphones off Theodore with the handcuffs on him, and we'd tell him to go to work, and he used to to tear it up and bring the house down. Everybody used to be shocked and amazed. We were just takin' it to another level because each time you'd do a performance they'd wanna see something different.

Describe for me the process of what you had to go through in preparation when you had to do a party.
Bambaataa:We was one of the first crews really started touring all over the city, as well as other cities,as DJ's, so the first thing was picking where you was going. We were like young entreprenuers at the time. We couldn't drive cars and all that, so we had to get older guys that would drive us around. We'd get the place,rent it,then we had to the fliers made, then we had to get them back to the place where we were having the function and just flood they town with the advertisment of the event. And also sell what you'd call our album-cassettes. You would play from nine to about four in the morning, so you had 60 minute or 90 minute cassettes that would become like your records. Everybody would wanna buy your tapes between the different areas and luxury cabs. Or you'd mail out tapes to your cousins and other friends in other places and they would make copies. It was alot of work involved.

La Spank,share some of your own reflections coming up as afemale DJ.
La Spank: I'd go to the jams and se herc and Flash. Go to the T-Connection and see Furious Five,Theodore,El Brothers. Just seeing, iI was like, "Hey, I could do that" And then Baby D came along and she saw my talent and put me down. My true love has always been DJing, and Mercedes Ladies are the original MC-DJ group. You had Sequence, but they were MC's and singers. They were not DJs. Between Baby D,RD, Smiley and myself, we were the three female DJ's that really out there doin' it.

Did you see people intimidated by you as females?
La Spank: They gave us a hard time.
Herc: Yea - If a guy didn't have his shit together,can't go up against a girl who's rockin' it.
La Spank: Yeah, cause I used to rock - me and Baby D. When I came in, I was doing disco, Baby D was Hip Hop. She was cuttin, and then Theodore liked the way I mxed so well as far as disco, so he started gettin' me into scratching a little bit. We were down the El brothers, [Grand Wizard Theodore & Mean Gene] and our manager Trevor, he treated us just like the guys. Believe me!! We had to pull crates of records and carry equipment just like everybody else, and we had to rehearse three times a week - 168th Street and Franklin. Just like everybody else. That was something phenomenal back then that we don't have now. You can never replace that replace that excitement of actually being there and watching Theodore do the mix and turn around and say,"Spank,hit it!" and I gotta jump on. And us messin' up and everyone lookin' at each other, and our manager goin' "five dollars!" Every mistake we made, we got docked $5.

What is the greatest misconception about the early days of Hip hop that people have now?
Bambaataa:That everything was strictly all about fun. There was alotof fun,but it was a struggle just to get Hip Hop moving. Sometimes there was violence involved.
Charlie Chase: I remember one day when Herc got on the set and there was one stampede. He got on the mic and said "My speakers are not a force field! Run the other way!" Another time,we set up in Arthur Park when Caz did something. And Herc popped up with this 27" panasonic bicycle, and a stampede broke out and somebody took the bike. He was crazy heated. Herc was on the mic:"Yo, man, bring me back my bike!"[Laughing]
Tony Tone: That was when people wasn't returning shit.
Herc: But I did get it back? I got it back. I tracked that shit down.
Charlie Chase: Arthur Park was good for that though. Remember when Richard T set up in the park? He was playing music and these kids jumped up on the shit where he was. Pow!Pow!Pow!. The next day when they took the set down and he lifted up that Dynacord,there was a fucking' slug in that shit-- a hole this big in the motherfucker. Word. And it was still working! Them shits take a licking.[General Laughter]

Herc tis is another chance for you to speak to the new generation of DJ's and Hip hop listeners. What word do you have for those following the trail of what you've establihsed?
Herc: My thing is about staing true to the game. Stay drug free. Listen to your parents. If you ant get in this game,better get some background about it.Get somebody who gonna look out for your interests. Promote yourself. Don't forget where you come from. I'm one of them guys they want to come back and pay homage. Stop saying thanks to old school and do something for the old school. Get together,say"I wanna do something with Kool Herc or Bambaataa or Theodore or Cold crush Brothers. I want to be ina show with them". Do something like that. Give it back. If we did all that for you,come back to the scene.

To hear how they used to do it back in the day check the infamous battle of Busy Bee vs Kool Mo Dee and Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel RIGHT HERE.
Also check DJ Mane One rocking old school style spinnin it the way used do it in early days of Hip Hop RIGHT HERE

Next Week:
Graf Legend PHASE 2

The Dynamic Hamza 21®

Hip Hop since 1982.

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