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" 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?""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'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 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""Sup I'm Dex"..him.."I Got A Session In The D Room""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?""Yeah""He's A Mad Cool Dude And Yeah His Voice Is That High""OK Then""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”.