Thursday, December 9, 2010

..Bit Of A Ramble But You'll Get The Point..



..It's been a minute since I wrote a blog.I've been converting my blogs into a book, making it a memoirs of my life experiences in the music industry and the entertainment industry as a whole.Recalling all these memories has been a great exercise for myself,  and surprisingly others.The feed back I have been getting has not only been positive for the most part,but also it's inspiring me to do more than just blog about the past.I plan on blogging about the current state of the industry,or what's left of it.So let's start with this shall we?The best part of blogging for me was reconnecting  my some of my old comrades,people who worked those sessions and lived that life with me.Who walked the path alongside me back in the day,saw what I saw and felt how I felt.Catching up with my "Industry Fam" has always been a goal of mine,to see where their lives has gone,what paths they have taken and to just maintain contact.Some have found me through Face Book,others through word of mouth about my blog,however it may have been, it is great to catch up with my fam.Some of us,not me of course,did the "adult" thing,got married, had kids,GOT A JOB,you know..all that grown up stuff.Others,like myself, remained on the entertainment side,though not as heavy as we once were.The hardest part of being in the industry is getting out of it when you think you are ready to,the thing is you never really feel like you're ready to.There is always one last project you wanna do.The industry lifestyle is addictive on so many levels and is hard to walk away from at times.Once you walk away you should never turn back,but we do sometimes and it ends up however it ends up, good or bad,it is what it is.As hard as it is to stay away, it's equally as hard to stay in once you're already in.You spend a lot of time hanging on.Mostly due the fact that we get older, the new faces start to run the game and us old heads get fazed out. Nowadays it's easier to get fazed out more and more frequently due the fact that technology changes rapidly and a lot of us refuse to change with it.

..Since I entered the game in the 90's,technology has indeed changed several times over, right before my very eyes, and the industry changed with it for the most part.There are some that try to maintain the old way of doing things which just doesn't add up to much.They go with the flow in the hopes they can still make a dollar and live the dream.The rest,they do what's necessary if you want to stay in game and win,they change with the changes and don't complain about it.Eliminating some of the human element from the music and how it was done is a major way that this thing of ours has changed dramatically.Believe it or not,people used to actually talk to each other in this business, not just on text,orIM,or Skype.. but over the phone or in person!Shocking isn't it?!They had meetings about the music and making albums,how to sell them and who was going to be on it.Long discussions about art work and radio play,promo tours and in stores,promo items and release parties..the list goes on and on and on.There was a lot of aspects that went into making an album and eventually making that album and the artist a success.There was lots of hard work and sleepless nights,or at least nights sleeping on the couch of a studio.And of course recording the album has changed,because now,thank you technology,the artists are not required to be in the same room, let alone the same state to be on a record together.Back in the day,artists actually had to collaborate on a record.Subject matter mattered...it wasn't the obvious lets just throw verses together non sense we have today..there was actual artist to artist collaboration.On a few occasions a reel would have to be flown somewhere to someone,but that was often rare and due to scheduling, and even then, there was a phone call to sort out the particulars.Nowadays the music that's being serviced has no feeling,nothing human,very robotic and microwave driven.This stems from the fact that most music is being mass produced in the homes of the artist,simply in order get the music out there faster,which ultimately leads to music that sounds redundant and boring.They email music back and forth because it's convenient,and it's all good,but the music suffers and as a result the consumer/fans suffer.No wonder no one buys music any more,why should we?The artist might as well just email the fans the music as soon as they finish it..save us the trouble of  downloading it ourselves.Sales don't matter anymore anyway so why not?

..The ultimate question is where are we going with regards to music and entertainment media as a whole?Does creativity have to suffer because technology has made it so easy to "create"?So much emphasis has been made on file sharing and downloading that we lost sight of the fact that we create to make an impact on other human lives.To reach out to others who feel like we feel,who are looking for a relatable voice,face and way of being.Besides the fact that it is sooo easy to make and distribute artistic forms of expression without relying on the " corporate machine" as much,does that mean that the human element in the work has to be removed as well?We need people to want to have it,that much is obvious,and everyone wants to be compensated for their work,but that doesn't mean that there should be no soul in your work.When I worked in the big studios, there was a lot of emphasis on how music felt.Sound as an art form conjures up emotions, and as one of my former clients used to say.."I can't make music if it don't feel right".Today's music has no feel,at least not to me.Apparently my generation lost our opportunity to teach the new generation about what it like to be a part of something bigger than ourselves,because we were to busy doing"us".A lot of the artists I worked with came from not having much,if anything at all, so when they got a chance to have something, they wanted to have as much as they could.This in most cases is never a good thing and most will end up right back where they started,because usually,but not intentionally,certain things get over looked and left behind for later.So fast forward and imagine waking up to a whole new way of being and doing, when all you ever knew,all you ever taught yourself to know is no longer relevant.You have to get with the new program,literally.What do you do?People still rely on you,so you do what you have to.A whole new generation is upon you and they look at you with"entertain us" in their eyes,and you have about fifteen seconds before someone sends them a text with a link for the new hot shit.So you go along with it in the hopes to maintain what little you have left and a little bit of yourself goes away and slowly you don't even remember who or what you were before you got here.This is the fear of most artists.Artists who refuse to bend, get broken and if they try to be what they are not, they get discarded and if they don't embrace the now and the future they get lost and forgotten.So where do you stand?How do you compete?Where do you go from here?....

Friday, August 27, 2010

..D&D Studios Part Seven..WORD IZ BOND!..

..This is probably one of the most difficult memories to write about,but it wouldn't be right if I didn't do it.Just a lil history on my man HeadQCourterz.I first met HeadQCourterz during the making of Group Home's Livin' Proof album.He was one of many crew members that rolled with Dap and Mal back then.Always a lively dude..loud and boisterous..but remarkably intelligent and well spoken when he wanted to be.Most of the time he was just a knucklehead,having fun with the crew doin dumb shit like we all did from time to time.When the Group Home album was done the crew dispersed to do their own thing i.e. go on tour or do time or whatever.As a result, I wouldn't see Head for a few years.He popped up at the studio one day out the blue and planted himself on the couch in the main lounge.."I'm here to see Premier"..he said as if I wasn't gonna let him..."Whatever just stay out my room son till he get here"..him.."Oh I can't go in there son?!"..me.."Nah you good where you at.."..he laughed at me saying.."Aight G..I can respect that."Him and I would have lots of verbal sparring matches when he came through to the studio,talking about each others clothes,shoes,if either one of us took a shower this week,stupid shit.One day I asked him,cause I had to frigging know.."Dog why they call you HeadQCourterz?"..him.."Cause I got a big ass fucking head!"..we both fell out laughing cause he was good at making fun of himself as well as others.

..Head had been M.I.A. for a few years as I said before.During his hiatus,he had decided to restructure himself .He was now hustling T-Shirts and hats outta this humongous back pack, as well as doing promo work for GangStarr.Dude would come through to the studio  and sell a shit load of merchandise,racking up a couple hundred dollars at D&D alone."I'm buying you lunch today you fat bastid.."he said to me one time counting his money.."Good,dealing with you is a full time job nukkah..and stop blocking the light with your dome piece"..him(voice raised and laughing at the same time).."Yo word to my mother I'mma smack the shit outta you son..WORD IZ BOND!"..me.."Cool..can we eat first though?"..him.."No doubt".His hustle eventually paid off.While selling tees and hats and doing his promo for GS,he landed a gig with Rawkus doing their street promotion,ultimately becoming the head of that division.I remember him coming through to the studio with a Dodge Durango that Rawkus purchased for the Street Team.."I told them niggas get me this shit!"..he said sitting in the drivers seat.By this time, he had made a name in the industry as one of the most aggressive street promoters for Hip Hop.Everyone knew Head,and respected the way he did his thing and handled his business.You always knew when he was in the building.His voice was loud and distinctive.One day while in the studio he told me he was going to go back to school and get his degree,as well as start his own promotions company.Almost as soon as he said he popped up with a mini van he copped and had it wrapped for his promotional push for Large Professor's solo debut..."Look at this shit nigga,I'm doin this on my own!WORD IZ BOND!".Yo I gotta run but I'mma catch up with you fat nigga.."..me.."Aight moon face be easy!Peace!"..him.."PEACE!"...

..On Wednesday 30th,October,2002.Jam Master Jay was tragically and violently gunned down in his recording studio in Queens,NY.Hip Hop mourned the loss of one of it's forefathers,mentors,idols,heroes the list goes on and on.Ironically,that was the last time I saw Head alive.He told me about an up coming show he was going to, to promote for Large Pro and that is was supposed to be on Friday night.That Friday night/Saturday morning my dude was also gunned down.I was in the studio with Malachi(Group Home)waiting for Premo, to do whatever the fuck we were supposed to do that day.I got the call from Flippah of M.O.P.,who were on the road at the time.It took me about 2 minutes to really understand what he was saying to me.I guess I didn't want to hear it,but he made sure that I did.."The same thing that happened to Jay happened to Head Dex..".Malachi saw my reaction and was asking me what happened.When I told him,he lost it.Punching walls and screaming at the top of his lungs.."What happened to you Kenny?!..What Happened To You?!".I calmed Mal down,locked up the studio,went home and went to bed and stayed there off and on till Monday.No one could answer any questions.The who's,whats and whys were just that..who,what and why.Who would do this to my dude,a dude who had given himself a second chance to be great.A dude who had brought himself back up from the bottom.A dude who loved his family and friends as much as they loved him.What did they gain from it?Why now,just when he was about to excel past even his own expectations.My best friend Samantha picked me up to take me to Head's wake.I sat in the car ..frozen,I couldn't get out.I couldn't look at him.It was too final.At some point though,I'm out the car,but I still can't go inside.I'm standing outside BS'ing..talking with the fam reminiscing,laughing,drinking a lil henny someone had.Sam comes over.."You have to say good bye to him Dex.".Reluctantly I go in,the first person I see is Guru, tears running down his cheek.."We gonna miss him Dex,but he still here wit us..Word IZ Bond!".Walking down the pathway I see his sister.I met her briefly once at the studio,but I knew it was her because she was wearing a wooden necklace she had brought back from Africa for Head.He wore that necklace with pride.."This joint straight from Africa nigga...can you say that bout your bullshit gold chain"..he said to somebody once.I didn't realize I had reached the coffin when I did.Looking down on my dude for what would be the last time.."Look out for us Head..watch our backs down here".As I was leaving,Premier pulls me aside and says to me.."This is Head's mom.."..with tears in my eyes I said to her that I was sorry for her loss,to which she responded.."We all lost that day son"..Preem interjects.."You see mom,you see how much we loved him?!".She nods in agreement while giving me a hug.Bumpy Knuckles takes the podium to speak about Head,he was preaching rather and as he spoke I went outside.The reality of my dude passing had struck and now we have to regroup and carry on his legacy.I know he wouldn't want us to mourn him to long,but rather use him as a source of encouragement when we need it.His murder was never solved but his name however lives on.In "03 D&D closed it's doors,later to be reopened and renamed The HeadQCouterz,in honor of our fallen family member,and those of us who remember him will continue to carry the torch of him.We Love You Head..WORD IZ BOND!!!...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

..D&D Studios Part Six..Heinekens & Nag Champa..

..One summer, at least I think it was summer,I went to the Bushwick Brooklyn HQ of Da Beatmierz,to link up with Evil Dee to go label hopping.Got to the lab,rang the doorbell and was greeted by Mr.Walt..."What Up Boy!"..me.."What Up Boy!".Walking down the hall way to the studio/kitchen area..he was muttering something to me,but I couldn't hear much, 'cause there's a beat playing and somebody yelling at the top of their lungs.."C'mon on man,you supposed to make those baby!".We walk into the kitchen and the intros commence..Mr.Walt.."Yo Dex this is my man Rashied..Sheed this my man Dex"..him.."Sup Joe"..me.."sup man pleasure to meet you"..him.."Likewise brother likewise..you got next on here or what?".By the way the person I met was Common Sense,the next he was referring to was NBA Live and yes he can whup anybody's ass on there.I don't think we made to the second quarter before three of my starting five were in foul trouble.That's what you get for picking the Knicks!Back to the studio/kitchen..Walt.."Dex I would offer you a Heineken but..."without uttering another word, Walt tilts his head sideways like three or four times in Common's direction..Comm.."Man whatever I didn't drink that much"..Walt.."Dude there were like twelve beers in here an hour ago!"...Comm.."Whatever whatever".We chill for a minute,talking about whatever the hell til E comes down.BS'ing continued for a lil while longer,then me and bounce to Manhattan and leave Walt and Comm Sense to it.

..Move along to another summer,I think,and I'm at D&D,working with Premo on one of several "side" projects we had for that year.It was a hectic year already with the fact that on top of the side joints we had to do we had to finish up an M.O.P. project..I think it was 'Worriorz"..not to mention GangStarr was also on tour,Smokin Grooves I believe,so alotta the times it was just me printing Primo's beats and recording vocals with artists while Preem was on the road.Today he was in town for a minute..I get the call while I was waiting for him at the studio.."Yo find me a reel with some room on it..I gotta lay this beat down for Common.."..me(as I have done so many times before)replied.."Gotcha"..I go find a reel..did my engineering thing and waited.Preem shows up a lil later,the beat is laid to tape and Preem goes.."So listen I aint gonna be here for the vocals you think you can handle it for me?"..me.."Yea why not?"..him.."Cool, cause you know we go on the road tomorrow and all that..."..me.."It's cool,I got it".After a day goes by I get a call from Sarah Honda and David Carpenter to confirm that Common would be coming in to do his vocals the following day,which was like a Tuesday or something."Cool whatever as long as he shows up!".The day is here and so is he,early,and I can't believe it's the same guy I met maybe a year or so ago at E and Walt's crib.No more baggy ass gear,now he all slim fitting and shit,making my fat more apparent.He walks into the "B" room with his manager and looks at me like "I know this cat!"...me.."Sup man,met you at Walt's crib that ti..."..him.."Yo that's right how you Brother?"..me.."I'm chillin,I'm chillin..you need a minute or you good to go?"..him.."yea lemme get a few seconds to get my thoughts together"..me.."cool".He reaches into his back pack and pulls out a box of Nag Champa(incense for those of you who don't know) and lights one up as he chops it up with his manager."Can you run the beat for me right quick,this aint gonna take me long"..he says to me,to which I was like.."Cool".So now the beat is playing,Nag Champa burning and he's vybing out,I'm in the main lounge like.."Man this dude has changed!"

A few minutes go by and Common calls me into the room.."I'm ready"..and he literally ran through the song verse by verse.No punch in's,a few take it from the tops(maybe twice) and we were done..just get in and get it done!The delivery to me was flawless.He gets out the booth to listen to the entire song on the studio monitors..he's pleased as is his manager and they ask me my opinion.."You think Preem gonna dig it?"..me.."Hell yeah..that shit is perfect son".."Cool".I give him a copy and make one for Preem to be FedEx'd to him the next day..we say our goodbyes and we leave the studio...and the "6th Sense" is almost done...but it's never that easy!On my way back to my crib in BK, I get a call from Comm himself.."Yo do you think we can get into the studio tomorrow..I wanna do the verses over"..me(to self).."Nigga are you crazy?That shit is dope as is"..but to him I say.."Yeah no doubt,same time?"..he agrees to it.."Cool,Peace!"Next day..he's in the room, does his Nag Champa thing and goes into the booth and  recites the song,slightly different on the delivery.Glad I kept the first take,which I liked,he loves the new take..him.."We gonna have to wait for the man to say what he wants to do huh?"..me.."Yup..I think he gonna like it though,shit is tight,trust me"..him.."Aight Joe".Before we leave that day though he lets me know that he's gonna have his boy come in and lay a reference vocal for Mary J who's agreed to do the chorus for the song..."Bet!"The next day he arrives with his man Bilal,looking like a mini Lenny Kravitz,cool dude though..didn't say much.He lays the reference down and I'm like that damn was easy...but of course NOT!Comm wants to do the vocals over again!.."Last time brother last time,I promise,I promise".Third take recorded and copied now with chorus ref and sent off.We again part ways.Now remember I said it's never easy...well it isn't.Ya see Common was signed to MCA/Universal Records at this time,as was Mary J.However Mary was in contract re-negotiations and things came to a head,so she couldn't record for anybody,not even a label mate,as her old contract was still in place,valid and binding.So we now have to switch gears,and put Bilal in place of Mary.Easy enough because he wrote the chorus.He sailed through it and even added some unexpected ad-libs and riffs along the way.Everyone present loves it and all we need now is Preem's approval.Several FedEx packages and phone calls later the man is back in town and me and him go through the song take by take.He likes parts of one and not the other..so we kinda mix and match the one's he's feeling..and the best part?Comm didn't have to come back and re do a thing,which he,Common, was nervous about."You really think Preem gonna dig this?"..he would ask me.."Yeah son you gave him enuff takes that he can fuck around with it and Bilal slayed the chorus so we good"..him.."Aight Joe,if you say so.You know him a lil better than me.."..me.."If he says do it over I'm buying you a Heineken!"..and he replied with a slight grin.."Bet!"..

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

..D&D Studios Part Five..What's For Lunch??..

..When people think about D&D,one name comes to mind.DJ Premier.His contribution to Hip Hop and music in general is without doubt well documented and appreciated.What he did to build the D&D sound and mystique is also undeniable.I mean GangStarr,Group Home,Jeru and countless other artists made their landmark albums and names there thanks to him.However there were other patches in the D&D quilt,and they should never be forgotten.Mr.Walt and Evil Dee collectively known as Da Beatminerz were a big part of the D&D sound, as well as the sound of the culture..period.. then and now.Shit, even Kanye had to admit he used to get dressed to "Got U Open" remix before he went to school..listen close you can here Da Beatminerz influence on "The College Drop Out".We're getting ahead of ourselves a bit,or should I say I am.I met E first, as most of you should already know.Walt I met a week or so later.Around this time"How Many EMCees" was in heavy rotation on the radio and on "The Box".(damn did I just mention "The Box")..and they were just about to get started on "Dah Shinin'".Like KRS,Evil was one of the few dudes that knew what it was to be an intern and would constantly look out for me when he was up there..."Yo man I used to be an intern so I know what it is already!".Walt on the other hand was more of the big brother/bully type.Never subtle and always quick to punch the crap out you.

..One late night session during the making of "Dah Shinin'", Walt runs out the "A" room and into the main lounge area, where I was sitting watching one of three VHS tapes that were there(cable didn't appear in the studio till much later).I knew for sure this fool was gonna mess with me.."Hey what you doing..Nothing?..Good get in here!"..me.."Huh?!"..him.."C'mon, c'mon I need you to do something for me real quick."..me.."Aight"..I follow him into the "A" room,past the usually smoked out "A" room lounge that was almost always was filled with BCC affiliates.Today there weren't any PNC's there,just Tek, Steele and Dru Ha..who is sitting behind the board with Kieran Walsh the engineer."Is he gonna do it?"..Dru asks Walt.."Nah I aint ask him yet"..me(to self).."What The Fuck?"..Walt.."OK look we need you for this chorus,its only the five of us on it but we want it to sound like a big crowd..you feel me?"..me.."Yeah..what you need me to say.."..him.."BuckTown!"..me.."Cool".We...meaning me ,Tek,Steele,Walt and Dru,pile into the vocal booth and get behind the mic.Several misfires of "BuckTown!" later we get the right energy and takes that Walt and E were looking for.."Yo yall sound like some bitches!"..one Evil's many comments during the process."Good lookin out"..Walt goes.."No doubt"..I reply and go back into the main lounge to finish watching the movie that I've seen like a thousand times before.Few seconds later Walt comes back out..laughin.."Yo!..you gotta hear this"..we go into the control room and Walt says to Kieran.."Play it for him"..they play me the chorus.."BuckTown!"..it sounds like a stadium now..what they wanted..but I'm confused..what's the beef?Walt to me.."Duke you don't Hear That?!..me.."Nah what?"..Evil.."Money..YOU are the Loudest nigga in the bunch!"..I'm like(ahhhh shit!)..they rollin..I'm thinkin I fucked the shit up..their like.."Son all we needed was you in there like twenty times for real"..me.."Yeah aight"..now I'm laughin' cause Walt is on the floor.."Play it Again!..This nigga goin crazy!"..me.."OK I'm out".Later on that night Walt comes back out.."For real good lookin out on that,that shit was funny as hell..You're still a nigga though."..

..So like I said,Walt was a big brother and a big bully..and he made it his business to mess with me.Being the" intern boy" at the time,I had clean up duty on a daily basis,and on a daily basis,Walt would come in and purposely wreck what I took an half hour to clean.Kick over the tables...toss the magazines..topple over the trash cans..then look at me and say.."Clean this shit up now!"..and walk away chuckling.I would be fuming mad at this dude.Is He Crazy?!One day after he is routine "Hurricane Walt" impression he then asked everyone in the room.."What's For Lunch?"(that became a part of Da Beatminerz session routine,before we started to work we'd ask "What's For Lunch?").Anyway..I was like.."Wait...What?..Yeah he's nuts!".Evil took me aside one time and was like.."Yo you gotta whup his ass B..."..me.."Huh?"(This is a set up)"..Evil.."Nah he does that shit all the time,he just wanna see how much you gonna take before you snap and bug out...Next time just smack him.."..me.."hmmm".Saturday rolls around and Beatminerz have a session and I'm on my clean up duties as usual.Walt and E arrive and enter the "A"room lounge...Evil.."Sup Dex!"..me.."Sup E"..Walt.." What's Up Nigga!"..and scans the room and focuses on the coffee table with neatly arranged magazines on it...and smacks them all onto the floor.."Clean that sh.."..before he can finish I'm on him,choke hold city..Evil.."Oh Shit!He's Wildin'".I got Walt in what has got to be the best choke hold ever!He can't get free.."Stop messin wit me Walt!..him(tappin on my arm).."Aight Nigga I'm Done..."I let him go..he catches his breath..and says.."We good?"..me.."Yeah we good"..him.."Good nigga..What's For Lunch??"...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

..D&D Studios Part Four..Yikes!..

..One of the best things about being in the industry or any creative forum,is being there when something great happens.I guess it would be the closest thing to seeing a child being born,minus the yelling and screaming.To say you were there when it happened,at the beginning of it,you can't beat that.Being at D&D in the greatest era of Hip Hop,I have had the privilege of "being there" on many occasions. I cant really recall the exact time of year we started but it was around the time that they had their lil deal with Pay Day Records.It was then I was put into the whole Roc A Fella Records mix.The epitome of do it yourself,these cats were really bout their hustle.I mean they had every door shut in their faces.Not a lot of folks at the labels were messing with em,and if they were, they giving em low ball money.The streets loved em though and that's all you really needed back then.Street love equaled big money interest..eventually.Now this was before Beans,Freeway,Kanye and all that.It was just Jay heading the bill with Memph in the wings awaiting his turn,soaking up everything.The dynamic was simple..Jay did the music...Dame and Biggs did the business.More than often as most would find to be true,Dame was the one who did most of the business dealings and handling the day to day,cause Jay needed to focus on the music.Jay would have his say of course,as did Biggs,but Dame was the one who had to carry out the missions most times.Cause that was his thing!

..Don't get it twisted,they did have tough times in the beginning.It wasn't always peaches and cream.I remember getting paid for sessions in singles and fives,maybe a ten or a twenty will show up,but yall get the idea.One time in particular will always stick out. Dame came to me when he was ready to pay with his Dame Dash shit on full tilt,as usual .."Yo Did-Ex..my nigga..how much we owe?"..me.."$2,500"..him.."Aight hold up"..Now Dame was good for wearing sweats all the time, unless he had to carry money, back then.Depending on the amount it was either cargoes or fatigues, cause all the loot was loose bills.Today it was cargoes.He's reaching into every possible pocket pulling out money and putting on top the piano in the "A" room vocal booth.Now there's a pile of money sitting in front of me, he points at me and says.."It's all there..Peace"..me.."HOLD ON MONEY!"..him,real calm.."Wah?"..me.."You stay here while I count this madness,you always do this shit Dame"..him.."Aight Aight Calm Down..Lemme get Biggs and Jay we gotta sort some shit out with this kid"..me.."Sort away nigga".

..Few seconds later Jay and Biggs walk in,with some kid,I can't remember who, but he was lookin a lil disgruntled.Dame.."What's the problem Nigga?!"..me(to myself)..(yikes!)..dude.."Yo I aint makin no money with all this shit yo,I'm sayin,this shit is crazy right now man ..I dunno.."..Dame.."Yo HOLD ON!"..(me again to self)..(YIKES!)..back to Dame.."NONE OF US ARE MAKIN MONEY RIGHT NOW NIGGA!"..Dame proceeds to lay into this kid with a series of "Shits" "Damns" and "MotherFuckers",not in any specific order.The kid is now nervous as all out doors and the room is a lil tense..and I lost count of the friggin money..DAMMIT!Dame now thoroughly heated,begins to poll the room.."Jay you makin money yet?"..Jay.."Nope"..Dame.."Biggs you makin money yet?"..Biggs.."At all"..Dame back to dude.."nigga we tryin to make this money nigga but we gotta sacrifice!We the only ones payin up this bitch anyways...why you complainin?!..I don't see you complainin when everybody up here having a ball and shit,so what's the problem?!"..Dame then turns to me.."This nigga here is probably the only one makin money!"..my reply.."yea right!".Few more words are spit in dude's direction by Dame as Jay and Biggs look on and occasionally chuckle at Dame's antics.Homie's train is now derailed and my money count is done..$2,500 is present and placed in the envelope..me.."Dame we good"..him.."I told you nigga..fuck outta here..I ain't that type"..me.."I gotta do it son,you know!Nigga You Know!"..him.."Yea yea nigga I got you..Fuck outta here though(ha ha!)"..me.."Asshole"..There's more about my Roc days..Lots more,lemme get my thoughts together..Stay Up..

Thursday, July 15, 2010

..D&D Studios Part Three..Maybe Tomorrow..

..September 10th 2001..starts off like any other Monday.Dollar cab ride to the "D" train,"D" train to 34th st., walk to the studio, set up for Preem and waaaaiiiiit.While waiting,the phone rings and Preem is on the line.."Yo what reel you got up now?"..me.."Nothing,waiting on you.We doin GS today right?"..him.."Nah we gotta do a remix for this kid Craig David"..me.."Fuck is a Craig David?"..him.."Some kid from London,supposed to be big,find a reel with some space I'll put something together by the time he gets there"..me.."Aight."So I find my reel,set my space,lay the SMPTE,all that good engineering stuff and resume waaaaiiiiting.Preem walks in a few minutes later,kinda early for him but from his tone earlier it's a rush job,gotta get it done quick!He's in there doing what he does and then Craig David walks in.Tall,light skinned "good hair" having R&B cat I saw on MTV just that weekend,making chicks loose their minds along with their underwear.OK,now I can put a face the hype.He's a cool cat though.Me,him and Preem kick it for a minute while he tells Preem what he wants the remix to sound and feel like,that he plans to have Mos Def spit on it and that he can't go to the mall without a police escort nowadays..WOW!..A little while later Preem comes up with a nice lil something for dude to vibe to,he goes.."That's it right there,I'm going to the hotel and write my part tonight.I got pro tools on my lap top so I can do a reference vocal, and we'll see if you like it"..Preem.."Aight then"..looks at me and we concur without speaking.."We don't have pro tools here".Time is set for the next day,which no one shows up on time for anyways, and Craig takes off to his hotel with his lil pro tools and me and Preem leave shortly after,him to Queens,me to Brooklyn.It's around 2am September 11th and my session is at 11am,I'm taking a cab home...

...September 11th 2001, around 8:30ish in the am.I just stumbled into my lil BK basement apt a few hours ago.Phone rings.All types of mental expletives are flying around in my head.Can't go off on who might on the line,could be moms...me(groggy voice).."Hello"..my then girlfriend.."Dex turn on the TV...the World Trade Center is on fire!"..me.."Shut up yo,it's to early for these games you playin"..her.."Dude I'm serious,turn on your TV"..me.."Aight"..fumbling around for the remote,on goes the TV,quickly switch to NY1....SHIT!IT'S ON FIRE..me to her.."I'll call you back".As I'm sitting there watching the coverage of the tower bellowing smoke, a small figure appears out of nowhere.I thought,because I'm still groggy eyed, it was a bird.No sir it was a commercial airliner,similar to the one that hit the the other tower moments before."What The...!!".."How is this happening!"On my block,people are going cookoo!In my apartment,I'm remaining calm.The phone rings..it's her.."They evacuating the city,no trains,buses,nothing,I gotta walk home"..me.."Get to walking babe,call me when you get home!"..click!..My mental rolodex is on 100 right now.Who do I know that works in the Towers?Shit who works in that area?I'm watching people scampering for their lives,diving out of the towers and thinking damn,this is crazy.This is CRAZY!.Soon after there is no phone service what so ever,and only one channel broadcasting.I'm hearing about planes crashing all over the place,the Pentagon got hit,supposedly LA was gonna be next,all types of madness."Stay calm dude and stay in your crib".My landlady knocks on my door.."Are you seeing this?..me.."Yeah'..her..'My God what is this".."I wish could tell you something Paulette,I really wish I could".New York stood still for the next few hours and it felt like an eternity.At some point,I managed to fall asleep..not sure what time but it seemed like only seconds before my phone rang and woke me up.."Yo..sorry but Preem said we may have to go in tomorrow"..me.." Eddie you jokin right"..


..September 12th,2001,10 am.Another day but not like the others.You can feel the tension.People are scared to death, as we should be.We just watched a landmark crumble and lives lost and couldn't do anything about it.There no answers but a slew of questions.NY is resilient and bounced back quick,not at full strength,but we back at it.The routine ensues..dollar cab ride to "D" train,"D" to Manhattan.Damn...look at this.As the train crosses the bridge to my left I see what's left of the towers.Still smoldering.Everyone on the train is silent for a minute,or sobbing as they look out the window."What the hell happened yo?"..this kid across from me asks looking dead at me like I had the answers."Duke I dunno"..Few minutes later here comes my stop.34th street..I exit the train..exit the station..go out on to the street and pause.Silence.34th street at 11am..and nothing is happening.All the stores are closed,there is no traffic in any direction,literally I was walking down the middle of 34th st without dodging a vehicle.It was surreal.The air was filled with the smell of smoke, it felt eerie.Yet here I am in the city on my way to work!Got to the studio,second routine done and I wait..Eddie shows up and we wait.Gordon shows up and we wait..Preem shows up and says.."Let's get this done,I wanna get outta here!"No shit we shouldn't be here in the first place bruh!But we gotta get this shit done regardless.Mind you the kid David..he was on the first thing smoking outta the US...like Fuck u guys I'm going Home.So we working,Preem's making music..me, Gordon and Eddie are watching TV for coverage,well repetitive BS about yesterday's events."What a mess"..I'm thinking as I watch expert after expert dissect this thing.All of a sudden Preem bursts out the room.."Yo they just called in a bomb threat at the Empire State Building...Let's get outta here..fuck this!"..I don't think I ever locked up the studio so fast,cause Gordon was giving me a ride home, and any second less than the time he said to be downstairs he woulda left my ass...no joke.We zoom outta Manhattan,cross the bridge and Gord drops me off at my crib..."Good Lookin"..him.."Yea Laterz"..He's out and I'm in my basement apt.Sits on the couch and turns on the TV..nothing new..I turn it off.Cell phone rings..answers.."Yea?!"..then girlfriend.."you aight?"..me.."yea I'm home,we gonna do the joint another day"..her.."You know when?"..me.."Hmmph..maybe tomorrow..yea..maybe tomorrow"...

Friday, July 9, 2010

..DREAM REALIZED..I LOVE MY MOM!

..This is all...My mother...my lovely,lovely mother...started buying me vinyl instead of toys when I turned seven.Had a pretty decent collection of music,Reggae,Soul,Funk,Calypso(I am Trinidadian..and I don't need a T-Shirt to prove it!).Get it straight..I AM HIP HOP!...Don't need a T-Shirt to prove that either.1982,my mother helped to create a monster though.You see back home on my lil island,we had one decent record store in my area of San Fernando,Jimmy's Record Shop..and my mother knew the guys who ran the store.Her bright idea for my birthday present this year way to let the guys pick the record for me..their pick..Planet Rock Afrika Bambaataa...yeah ok,what were you thinking my friend!I think I played that record all of seven straight hours before my grandfather told me to "STOP IT BOY!!"..young me.."OK OK"..but I knew that I loved that shit from the moment I heard it..where can I get more of this?Believe me that my allowance went to records,specifically anything Hip Hop..I cared about nothing else.Honestly I only cared about the music..the rappers annoyed the shit outta me..for real.I learned every lyric though,had to..why not.Not until "The Message"did I really care what dudes had to say but that goes without saying right?

Now here comes my Happy Birthday of 1983..Style Wars and Wild Style,sweet Jesus!..I know a lot of people would say Beat Street was the quintessential Hip Hop movie but that's like listening to commercial radio to me.Style Wars and Wild Style was some real Hip Hop shit..aint no body falling in love and living in abandoned friggin buildings with their pregnant baby momma..just hit the train yard and BOMB THAT SHIT,write a rhyme SPIT THAT SHIT!.Those movies showed a real side of life and why dudes was turning to the Hip Hop lifestyle.It was crazy to think that people dealt with stuff like that..and back when I only visited the states,didn't look like Beat Street to me...but I LOVE THIS SHIT!..Who cares if it not exactly like it was in the friggin movie.How do I get in this!There's gotta be a way to,there has to be!My father discouraged me but my mom's, as always, pushed me in the direction of my dream.

So we had to come up with a plan,me and my mom's, to get me into what I wanted to do.I was serious and she knew it,so she pulled out every STOP sign that we came across...Brainstorm!I had a uncle that lived in New York,so I wrote him for months telling him what I wanted to do.He too was like.."are you sure this what you wanna do,Don't make me waste my time finding you a school and so on"..I was like.. "maaaaan I want off this rock in a bad way!"..."Get me the school info so we can get this going..I graduate high school in 3 months"...Weeks go by,seemed like months though.I get home from school one day and my mom was like you got some mail on your bed..feels like some books or somethiing"...runs to my room..rips open package..in it..brochure for the Institute of Audio Research..dream in formation!Now I gotta get outta here!.My father as always not with the program and shows no support...but God Is Good!From the day I was born,my parents started a savings account for me.By now I had enough in there to make it outta my homeland and on to my future.Cleaned out the account in one fell swoop.Got all the necessary paper work for me to leave the country and to start my schooling in New York.Of course there was a curve ball thrown.The Muslims in my country,upset with the party in power,decided to overthrow the government.How?By running up into the main parliament building known as the 'Red House' and hold all politicians present hostage until they meet their demands.Basically a Coup..the result..Martial Law...No One Goes No Where To Do NO-THING!...DAMMMIT!Dreams squashed?Nope.After maybe 2-3 weeks of bullshit curfews and looting and military siege,coup over,martial law lifted,Dex and mom on plane...out!Touch down in NY on Friday,shop for new clothes and shoes Saturday and Sunday,orientation on Monday,classes on Wednesday..Dream  Realized..And All Day.. I Love You Mom!..