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!..

Friday, July 2, 2010

..Random Industry Reminderz Pt.1..Brandy..

I remember being at D&D when Kid Capri had a radio show which was mainly aired outta state.In order for the show to seem live he would record his part,spinning the hot new stuff first and do his interviews at the studio.Most times he couldn't be  there, so his then manager would take care of the interview portion of the show.A lot of people came through there for the Kid,showing support for the show and of course to build their buzz...The Fugees, The Diplomats.. countless amounts of people I cant remember all of them.One particular person has always stood out from the rest of them.That would be Brandy.

This was around the time that the show she was on ,"Thea", got canceled,and she had just got signed to Atlantic Records.To me she was just a sweet girl,she had to be all of 14 at the time or what ever,but even still she was real humble.I kept thinking to myself that she was real shy, or maybe nervous as hell, cause D&D was a grimy spot.Even grown ass men were scared to roll up there,so imagine this young girl from CA getting a big mid day dose of that place.After her interview we spoke for a lil while and she seemed a lil out of it,cause like I said her show got canceled and not to many people were giving the single she had just released that much love.Matter of fact I cant remember if there was a rep from the label there with her...but she kicked with me for a minute while she waited for the car service to come get her.When she was leaving she gave me two copies of the single"I Wanna Be Down",vinyl of course,said her goodbyes and broke out.

Around this time Evil Dee had Monday nights on HOT 97 in NY.Evil's show was notorious for breaking new records,it had become his trademark.I went up there to the show that Monday and told I met Brandy and all the blah blah blahs.He was like..."yeah I got the record and I kinda like it"..me.."You gonna play it on the show?"..he looked at me like You Already Know!..I told him how she felt like the record wasn't getting that much love and that she really wanted it to go well..E was like "Fuck It I'm Playin It,It's What I Do!"..he sarted the show off with that record that night.The funny thing about that whole scenario,all the HOT 97 dj's were coming up to him that week like"Yo where'd you get that Brandy joint?"..him.."In the mail like the rest of yall""Check your in-boxes"..Just so you know my dude was the first, if not one of the first, dj's to play that record in NY...Word Is Bond!..

Till The Next One...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

..D&D Studios Part Two..Not All Rappers Are A$$e$..

..So by now yall know I worked at D&D Recording Studios.Good,GREAT.It was the best place to work in HipHop at the time for sure.We made more than hits there we made classics.Not to say that classics weren't made anywhere else but,let's face it, if a client ate ramen noodles for almost a year just so they could mix their record in the same room Premier mixed "Mass Appeal",that says a whole lot..right?!I'm also a fan of Rap music,I got my faves,my top ten,Blah Blah Blah..but a lot of times,these rap dudes will let you down.This time we won't get into those dudes.However one cat will forever stand out as the most humble, down to earth dude I have ever met...KRS One.To this day I can't say a bad word about my dude Krs...(or Kenny his brother for that matter)..

I'm a big fan of KRS,one of my favorite Emcees without doubt.So of course the opportunity to meet your favorite artist would make anybody's day.Imagine getting to work with your favorite artist on their new project...yeah exactly!I'm still an intern at the time mind you but who cares, I get to sit in on the the sessions and learn a few things and get a preview of the new KRS album.Can't get no better right?Wrong!Here's  why.Everyone has their favorite snack food..KRS Loved cashews...I mean he LOVED them joints.In particular the ones that came in the slim pack that would be on the counter of every corner bodega in NY. He would have me go to the store about every two hours or so to get him five packs of cashews,which were like a buck a piece.Why he didn't just buy a big ole can of em is beyond me,nor did I care.He would give me $20,each run,to buy five packs of cashews.So on my first run, me being the good intern, I bring him his cashews and hand him his change.He looks at me and says" What Are You Doing?".. In my mind I was like.."FUCK! What Did I Do?...'This Cat Is Gonna Chew Me Out!".Oh by the way,Preemo is the room,Kenny,ICU,Willie D,Pal Joey..it was packed in there and I'm expecting to be clowned thoroughly.He says.."The Change Is Yours".....me..(whew!).."OK!"..Now mind you intern status means you work for FREE!If you're lucky you'll get clients that give you tips but basically you're free labor.And $15 for a dude that been working since 11am and it's now like 9:30pm(cause the night intern flaked so I had to stay) was alotta money!I could get chicken fried rice instead of plain!...Repeat the Cashew scenario, and this time I'm sure he wants his change,he just gave me $15.,no way he gives up another $15.WRONG AGAIN!..He gives me the same look and laughs at me.."Yo This Kid Is Buggin'" he goes.."Take The Money Man I'm Good"..From that day forward I worked on every KRS One session they put on the board,and he worked daily!

So let's fast forward a bit to when Krs is working on the"KRS ONE" album.I'm still an intern but they let me assist certain sessions. This day I'm assisting,not on Krs' session, but I'm still in the studio cause my session got cancelled or whateva.Krs  is working with Norty Cotto and Luis Tineo(engineer and assistant engineer).Luis comes out the room and says to me" Krs needs you"..I go into the room..."Whuddup Krs?"..him.."Yo could you go to that store up the street and buy me a cheap pocket recorder..you know the ones you tape your voice notes with?"..me.."Sure no problem."I go to the store, come back , drop off the recorder,bounce out the room.Louie comes out again.."Krs needs you again"..me.."Sup Krs?!"..him.."OK this is what I need you to do for me..."..his instructions.. I was to go out into the street and record street noises and say as loudly as possible.." These Are The Streets..Shit Is Real Out Here..This Ain't No Fucking Joke!"..apprehensive and feeling a lil silly I did it anyway(plus Louie went with me so I wouldn't look completely bonkers) ..and that's how I ended up on the song "R.E.A.L.I.T.Y." off that album.Oh did I mention I got to keep the change from the $100 he gave me get the $15 pocket recorder?And got another $30 for looking out?How could you possibly hate a dude like that?My point?..not all rappers are A$$E$!(But Some Are!)...One!..

Thursday, June 3, 2010

..Commercial Radio..

..I recently went on a trip with my lady to New York.Usually when I drive I don't listen to anything unless it's gonna keep me up.My girl on the other hand needs to either talk or listen to music.Seeing as I was catching some sleep on the way back..I wasn't much for conversation.So on came the radio,yeah the freakin radio.I heard the same Drake,Nikki Minaj,Usher,Rick Ross songs on every "Home of Hip Hop and RnB" station from New York to South Carolina.THE SAME SONGS!It was unreal!I went to sleep Rhianna was singing "Rude Boy"..I wake up the broad still singing the same song!...Can we say "Programming?"Now I have nothing against the mentioned artists or any other artist pounded to death into the ear drums of the masses..but now that the record label is pretty much a thing of the past,shouldn't radio programmers take liberty to explore all the Independent Artists out there?Give them an opportunity to shine a lil bit?I mean "the suits"aka the record labels don't hold that much power anymore seeing as nobody wants a deal.So why not?There are a ton of artists with great material that the masses would be able to latch onto...and I know that the programmers know this.So again I ask..WHY NOT?..Why play the same crappy music every hour on the hour?Does anyone else feel this way?..

Trust me I am not here for a boycott of commercial radio.We need it for those who are to lazy to go out and find new music on their own.And now that record sales mean absolutely nothing to the signed artist,the labels cant say its to help promote the artist and boost their sales.Sales of what?No one is buying it anyways.Radio should be an open playing field,like it is for lil kids now,no one cares who wins just as long you get your turn.You don't need a deal to get your music out there and if commercial radio still exists it should reflect that in it's play-lists..When one hundred thousand sales gives you a number one album, you can see the forest for the trees.Times have changed,the industry has changed,the public(well most of them)is changing.Do you remember the last album you bought?No?I remember what I bought..the IdleWild soundtrack by Outkast.Yeah..that long ago.I'm sure for some it's been even longer than that, but the fact of the matter is if you want new music there are easier ways to get it than going to the record store..wait...are there anymore record stores? Hmmmm..Well..all I'm saying is if there are new ways of getting music,and a greater variety of it,then it should be greater variety of music on the public airwaves....Done.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

..D&D Studios Part One..


D&D Studios was legendary for the sound that came out of that place.You couldn't duplicate that for anything,with anything and I'm glad to have been a part of the era that was the Golden Era of Hip Hop and to be where alot of it went down,and even more so, to be a part of the process on a lot of those classics.A question I get asked a lot of times by Hip Hop cats,"What Was It Like Working In D&D?".I tell 'em.."D&D was like high school,and hazing was a must for everyone..EVERYONE!"Believe me clients weren't immune to the pranks or getting in on it.They were worse than the staff half the time.If we had camera phones back then..well let's just say the D&D antics put "Animal House"(that's a movie for some of you who don't know) to shame.I was quickly schooled by everyone at D&D.."Don't Sit In The Back Ground And Say or Do Nothing..We'll Murder You If You Do That!". Through out my ten years over at D&D,I got to do,see and be a part of alot of things most engineers never did or can say they did.I mean it's not every day you get to work with people you looked up to and inspired you to get in the game.Alot of names are gonna be mentioned when I really get Blogging but all can say for now is..I met Donald Byrd and Roy Ayers there...WHAT!...a handful of people can say they walked into a Hip Hop studio and saw Donald Byrd sitting in the room with a collection of original quarter and half inch tapes of his master recordings...try and find em..I'll be here.And he was sooo friggin' cool.Said to me once and I'll never forget this.."Some Stuff He Did Had No Real Plan,Just An Idea..We Just Went With The Vibe At The Moment.We Just Wanted To Make Good Music"..how many of you so called artists can say that?...

First Day..11:30 am..I didn't really know who was gonna be walking through the door.Yeah they told me who was gonna be having a session that day,but one of the other interns said that anybody could show up at anytime.So here it is..first day,in the A room session Nikki Nikole..working with Nefertiti from LA.Never heard of 'em,but they were both sweethearts and great people,lots of fun to be around.Frigging door bell rings,sounded like a old school bicycle bell.Somebody yells "GET THA DOOR!"..(sidenote;yelling was mandatory at D&D,you got yelled at for not Yelling)..I open it..there's Guru,Lil Dap and BlackStar.I'm like (to self)"WOW..Guru!"..he's like "Whuddup Yo You New Here?"..me.."Yea Man First Day..."I snap outta it quick.Not cause the initial shock of meeting one of my favorite HipHop artists has faded that fast but because of what dude asked me to do right after kinda introducing himself.I say kinda cause he never said.."I'm Guru"..he said.. "Whuddup Yo.."Anyway my dude instructs me to go to the store for him and get four Phillies and two forties of Budweiser.OK...it's 11:30 in the morning...and you already have a forty in your hand and you want two more...all I could think was.."WOW!...This Dude Is A RockStar!"..Lil Dap was like .."Yo Son By The Time You Get Back That Shit He Will Be Done With This One!".And that did turn out to be the case.Really doe!

Back from the store,had to finish up my shit detail(dudes didnt know how to flush after themselves half the time..no joke)..the dammed bicycle bell rings again."GET THA DOOR!".."AIGHT I GOT IT!"..didn't take long to get into the yelling over there..door opened..tall dark skinned dude standing in the door way..walks past and turns to face me.."SUP,I'm Evil Dee"..me.."Sup I'm Dex"..him.."I Got A Session In The D Room"..me.."OK Lemme Get Somebody To Help You Out".I'm walking away thinkin to myself that's a big dude..why his voice so high pitched? He must have laryngitis or something.I get his engineer,tell him Evil is here..the engineer says.."You Met E?"..me.."Yeah"..engineer.."He's A Mad Cool Dude And Yeah His Voice Is That High"..me.."OK Then"..engineer.."Come Sit In On This One,It's Easy..He's Doing DAT Copies For A Show Black Moon Got Coming Up".Evil is in there talkin about the last show they did some friggin where and how somebody got punched in the face for doing the most when it really wasn't that serious..I'm dying laughing cause E is real animated for a big dude.Trust me when I tell you Da Beatminerz along with a few others have become my big brothers in the game,we'll get to that soon,along with other lil gems from my years of working at the Infamous D&D Studios.Till then..

Monday, May 24, 2010

..Above The Clouds..

..My apologies to everyone who has been waiting on new blogs from me.It's been a rough start to the year and I have been dealing with alot of personal stuff..suffered a few great losses and gained some new strengths at the same time.Funny how that works sometimes.So to let it go I'm gonna talk a lil about one of my losses,the one most of you know about my big brother Guru.When the people over at Brooklyn Bodega asked me to speak on my experiences with Guru,after his passing..I jumped at the chance.This is the end result of that request...

I first met Guru during my internship at D&D studios in '93.I began working as his assistant engineer on his solo projects soon after and ultimately, with him alongside DJ Premier on GangStarr projects from '97 till ‘03. I have countless memories of Guru and Preem working on music for GangStarr or JazzMaTazz…sessions that seemed to go on forever but the end result was pure magic. During all of this he became a great friend and mentor to me. Guru was overly kind and generous, he loved helping others achieve their goals anyway he could. As an artist he remained student of the game, despite his own impact, knowledge and status in the Rap world. He loved Hip Hop and everything that came with it. He listened to every album he could, cover to cover, without prejudice and appreciated what every artist brought to the game.

Guru spent countless hours recalling his experiences in the industry, guiding his protégés in hopes they would not make the same mistakes he did and avoid the trappings that came with this life. He was also a kid at heart, pulling pranks on everyone and anyone who came to the studio. It didn’t matter who you were, if he decided you were his target it was on. He loved cracking jokes even if most of them were mad corny. His favorite thing to do though was rank on your gear, he lived for that, from your hat to your sneakers, and everything in between, he broke you down.

The birth of his son was the happiest I had ever seen him. His lil man was a catalyst for him to change his own life and as he said to me “be a better man for this kid”. This was one of the last times I remember seeing Guru before D&D closed and I left for California. His impact on the game will never be duplicated. His rhyme flow was impeccable and his perspective on life was optimistic. He always thought we as people could turn things around, if we wanted to. He pressed the importance of educating the young generation so they could excel past our accomplishments and continue a legacy of great Black leaders.

The news of GangStarr splitting was a shock, I figured they would regroup and make another hit. Guru being in the hospital was devastating, I prayed constantly for his recovery. His passing left me speechless. It hit me that I would never again see my dude or work with him or hear his corny jokes again. The monotone voice will forever live on in all of us, his family, his friends and his fans. Rest In Peace Big Brother. Keep an eye out for me..”Above The Clouds”.

Monday, March 15, 2010

..NY/LA/FRENCH Connection..

In and around '99 I began to have a genuine dislike for music and the music industry,which is weird to say because it was my entire life,literally.In 2003,when D&D shut its doors I took it as a sign for me to move on and do something new.I did.Loved the new experience and all but,couldn't shake the music that still played a part of my life.I could never get away from it,couldn't deny it so I said give it another try..the entire industry has changed and the artist has more say.Fuck a label we are own Movement....Great!....Now what.


Pretty much everyone I know that had a label job just kinda faded out..the ones who remained don't answer the phone or BS you to no end.There are the few that felt how I felt and were willing and ready to utilize the tools available to us today.Now it's just got to make sense.How do I do that?Thank God for FaceBook,the new high school hallway.I was able to reconnect with alot of my old homies in the game.One of those reconnects was with my home girl T-Love.We met in the 90's somewhere at sometime through somebody(I'm gonna say Evil D).She did marketing for many labels back in the day,was responsible for the launch and  helped to sustain the careers of many HipHop Artists.She's a Real B-Girl.Anyway,her and I have always been able to just chop it up for hours!In the midst of one of our phone conversations she came to the realization that I was a Recording Engineer.I've known her for a decade or so and she never knew what I did..LOL!Love her still.She got super excited when it sunk in what I did and was super amped when her husband co-signed,cause apparently they read credits overseas.


So she starts in on what she's doing now that she has moved to France and all that,married and a mother but still working on music and plans for new projects and getting back into marketing,her company "Pickininny", and..I sit..I listen..I'm loving what I'm hearing.It's the movement that can make it all make sense.Fresh view on old structures.Perfect.."Sign Me Up When Do We Start"."Now'..she goes.."Great Let's Get It!"..We are on the path to revolutionize the way things should and could work for the indie artist.Face facts that the money train is still running but alotta you cats are waiting at the wrong platform"Gimme A Deal!"..WHY?!..Time to tear down the prehistoric notions of how things ought to be.So many other ways to make it out there.Pay attention and become a student,shut up and listen..nothing wrong with that.You don't stop learning until you die,if you feel differently,you are missing out on a lot of life.


So be on the lookout for us this year..yes this year...we got alot going on that will have everyone rethinking their formulas.Till then check us out : http://pickininny.com/BGirlChronicles/

Thanks And Stay Tuned!

Peace...

Friday, March 12, 2010

..Thanks & A Brief Note..


I'm getting a lot of support from people regarding this blog,and I am very appreciative.I wasn't even sure I was going to do a Blog,but the day I started it I just felt like writing.People always ask what it was like being a part of the industry in the era when expression meant something and the money wasn't the main aim.Others said I should write a book about my life working in D&D,which I'm still thinking about doing.Maybe I'll just compile all these lil blogs into one book,I dunno.I already started to write about my first day at D&D and all,will post that later.Somethings have to be left out,because I am not on here to make folks look bad,spread rumors,gossip etc...it will however reflect what was going on at the time I was going through it,so its all facts,NO BULLSHIT.I will talk about studio sessions(working on Da Shinin & Moment Of Truth..Yeah!),road trips(every time we went to Chicago and Connecticut it was crazy).As it comes I'm just write and post..Cool?..I'll holla at yall..thanks again..


LATAHZ

..Guru..

Aight I'm gonna be as brief as possible with this.Most of yall know Guru from GangStarr is not in the best place health wise and I just want to say to everyone who has been praying for him,thanks for supporting and showing love for my dude.I met Guru in late '93 and consider him a really close friend,brother and mentor.I was able to work on alot of Guru's solo stuff and with him and Premier on three GangStarr albums.A lot of speculation has been circulating regarding Guru's current situation but it really is just speculation, so all you sidewinders please knock it off.No one really knows whats what,keep your rumors ans hate to yourself.Guru is a good dude and he's had his moments where he made bad decisions,but who hasn't?

I pray that my dude makes a full recovery and thank all the friends and fans for praying along with me.



..ONE..

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

..My Intro And Re-Intro To This Messed Up Game..



My first recollection from childhood besides my great uncle's funeral was playing records on my grandparents' record player.That same record player cut off the top piece of my thumb,but that's a different story.I got pictures some where of me holding up Betty Wright's Live album and albums by Isaac Hayes and Millie Jackson(yeah do your research),Hot Chocolate,Bob Marley,Jacob Miller..all those and others opened me up to what music can really do as far as expression of thoughts,feelings and everything you could want to do was concerned.I didn't really see where it would fit into my life as a career until my teenage years.I never wanted to be a performer or a musician,but I wanted to be involved in music somehow someway.Watching TV one day,can't remember who's video or documentary it was,but they were in the studio messing with the music.Creating shit..I was like yeah that's me all day right there...

Fast forward to fall 1990..NYC..University Place above D'Agostino's..I'm enrolled in the Institute Of Audio Research.Nine months and several agonizing episodes later I'm out and looking for an internship.My big sister Kim got me my first gig(and my second)..the first was "The Writing Room",where I worked with Lord Finesse,who at the time was working on Big L's demo.This was my first actual session.Then "The Writing Room" shut down(shady dealings),and along came the Apollo Theater.Loved working there.Got to work with Onyx on their first album so of course I got to meet Jam Master Jay(yall know him right?).Did live albums for Public Enemy and Patti LaBelle.Niceness.Then the Apollo got new "Mangement"..everybody's fired!Months go by,I'm living in the Bronx(Parkchester off Metropolitan) and nothing is happening.What the hell?!

1993 Brooklyn,29th & Ave.D.Pager goes off..hit up the corner pay phone."What Up?Who Dis?"..answer.."It's Swift Yo..What You Doing?"..my reply.."Nothing..What You Got?"..his reply.."Umm You Ever Heard Of D&D?".




Few days later I'm sitting in the then office of Doug Grama(studio owner and partner with Dave Lotwin)..brief meeting,showed him that I knew what I was doing.He said "I'll Call You"..I'm Like(to myself of course).."Aight Money"..I'm thinking this cat aint calling nobody,lemme get back to BK and go smoke away my troubles.Get of the train 30 mins later..pager goes off.."212 736 7774".."Hello?"(can't be ghetto might be a job on the other end).."Yeah This Is Doug Grama From D&D"..me.."Hey Doug"..him.."So We Wanna Bring You On,When Can You Start?"..me.."Tomorrow!".."Great..See You At 11am"..Next day I'm there and shit is what I wanted to be messing with from day one..EVERYBODY WAS THERE!..And for any real HipHop head you know that in the '90's D&D was the spot..period.Met every single artist I ever wanted to meet.Couldnt be in a better place..worked on some of the most influential records in Hip Hop..(didn't get credit for most of it but who cares now)...I mean I worked on Classics..Thank God For HipHop.Fast Forward To 2003(yeah I know some of yall want dirt but this Blog aint for that..maybe later..)..end of an era as they say..D&D is shut down..people fade out..change their mind about their life's direction..get old and tired of the bullshit..basically we grow up and see a bigger picture.Me,I move to CA...I worked on One record while I'm out there(Da'Kah,a HipHop Orchestra)..and stayed away from the studio for 3 years.Why?Cause I got tired of the music cats was putting out.I stayed in entertainment..working with a production company that did documentaries and TV shows for Discovery Channel and ended up working for a porn website.CA was a great experience for me,but I was ready for change again...

Now I'm in GA and my industry homies are reaching out to me...them.."Son You Need To Get Back In The Game!"..me.."The Game Is Dead Yall"..them.."Nah Son We Just Gotta Re-Focus And Use Our Knowledge With The Technology,We Can Still Make Paper"...me...."Oh Yeah?..them"YEAH SON!"..me.."Aight What You Got"...

.....Keep Checking In..You'll See What I Been Working On.....Till Then..


LATAHZ