I'm here chillin with the one and only Dr. Butcher, what's good bro?WAIT... THERE'S MORE STUFF
Nada, just taking it EZ-Breezee.
So take us back to when you first got your start in music, a lot of people might not know today but you were originally an emcee right?
Definitely. Because of my age my parents were reluctant to buy me a set of turntables. I figured that if I wanted to get involved with hip hop on some level then I needed to find another medium. Emceeing was the route to go. I met a cat named Cutmaster Vinnie Vince who was one of the fastest dj's and best writers that I have ever met. He had a severe case of Asthma and was confined to his house on a regular basis. Because of that, he did a lot of reading and writing. His parents bought him a set of B.I.C (straight arm) turntables and he would practice all day. My cousin lived downstairs from him and I would stop by after school on a daily basis. We became good friends and started a rap group called the Devastating 3 (we could never keep a consistent third member, so don't ask for any names...lololololol). Vinny is the one who actually helped develop my lyrical and turntable skills.
Around the same time another cat moved across the street from me named Phil. We sparked a relationship and unbeknown to me he was a dj as well (actually I could see him cutting from his living room window, so I found a way to introduce myself). Everyone thought I was crazy...lololololol. Here I was a little 12-13 yr old kid with a crazy afro asking if I could get on there set. He was a few years older but took a liking to me and treated me like a younger brother. That situation worked out even better because it gave me access to TWO sets of turntables...lolololololol. There problem was, once I got started I was difficult to stop...lolololol. They would basically have to pull the plug on me...lololololol. Phil would later become know as LL Cool J's dj, Cut Creator Philly Phil. I am not talking about the imposter that the world has come to know, he is the original dj. He did the scratches on "I need a beat" and "Dangerous". The other cat was a fill in who became permanent. Phil being a really bright cat studying to be an engineer didn't see a future in music and decided to continue with his education. LL's road manager Phil Pot filled his spot and kept the name.
I was still Em Ceeing and actually gaining momentum in my neighborhood of Corona, Queens. I met JuJu of the BeatNuts and we started making tapes with me emceeing and him djing. (He wasn't aware of my dj skills at the time). With my popularity as a rapper growing I decided to focus on my writing. I entered a talent show in my freshman year of high school called the "Rap Attack"...loloollolol. It was a great thing because there is where I met Royal Rich, Mikey-D, and LL Cool J. We were all impressed with each others talents and Rich, LL, and my self decided to form a group called the Extravagant - 3. Rich's brother (Ray Romain) had a studio in the basement of there home and there is where we would rehearse our routines. It was Ray who introduced me to his partner Paul who later became the legendary producer Paul-C (rest in peace my brother). Those were memorable times. I could go on and on.
Back to Corona. A friend told me that he wanted me to meet his partner who was really good. I had started hearing whispers about a cat named Abdul. We finally met and money was incredible. He talked and rapped with a lisp. I had never heard that before...lolololol. Of course it was no other than Kool G Rap. The rest is history.
I don't know where to stop...this story could go on forever...lololololololol.
When you were more involved in emceeing and recording, was Paul-C your producer at the time?
I guess you would say that. Professor KB also did a lot of beats for us. Remember, he and Paul C were partners. I spent a lot of time at Rich's house so it was just more convenient to work with his brother Ray (Professor KB).
Were you djing and producing at the time or did that come after?
I was only djing. I started producing after meeting the Large Professor.
So would you say Large Pro was a big influence in you becoming a producer?
Absolutely. It was during the "Wanted Dead or Alive" sessions that he took notice to my ear for music. DJ Polo had already been telling me that the money was in production. Large showed up at my house one day with an SP1200 and some instructions and told me to "get busy". I started attending record conventions and built a pretty substantial vinyl collection. I later teamed up with CJ Moore and he was a big influence as well.
Was the first Artifacts LP your debut appearance as a producer?
Yeah. I remember Rob Tewlow calling me from his office at Atlantic Records asking if the track was still available. The Artifacts had just completed there album but was in love with the beat. They had exhausted there recording budget, and with no money to record Rob asked if I would accept $750 for the track. They wanted to use it as the album's intro. The fee was small, but I could buy $750 worth of vinyl. I only needed to make ONE hot track to flip my money ten times! So the deal was done and the rest is history.
How did the X-Men come together and what was your role with them?
Ugh....let me think back on that one. From my side, it started with DJ Ekim taking me too Steve D's house to practice. One practice led to another and we just decided to form a legion. We were tired of the praise that the Supermen were getting and wanted to combat them with our own alliance. We figured that we had a strong foundation (Steve D, Myself, Sean C, Diamond J, Rob Swift, Roc Raida, Mr. Sinister, Johnny Cash, and C-4) and believed that they were no competition for us. It was all in good fun. The Supermen were actually VERY good dj's. I take my hat off to them cats.
What was your role with the X-Ecutioners?
My role with the X-Ecutioners was mainly one of production. Remember, that was post X-men. We (Sean C, Fatman Scoop) were finding our niche in this music game. The Xecutioners (Rob, Sin, Raider, Eclipse) were focusing on there dj careers. When the deal at Loud came into play Sean C and I took production roles and attempted to produce an album that would be commercial but with a raw hip hop feel. I normally worked hand and glove with Rob, while Sean worked with Raida. It wasn't a preference it was more of a convenience. We all had great relationships with each other.
On the production side, what song would you say is your favorite?
That is a tough one. I would have to say "Emotions" featuring B-1 and MF Grimm.
Would you say the production work you did on Kool G Rap's "4, 5, 6" album was one of the first big highlights of your career?
It was "THE" biggest at the time. I had never produced on that stage before. Attending studio sessions and watching others work is very different from you being behind the boards. I was use to watching Large Pro, The Beatnuts, CJ Moore, Todd Ray and my man Disco Twin work the beats and boards. With the spotlight on me I knew I had to deliver.
As usual the sessions were memorable. World renowned engineer Steve Ett mixed the entire project and his experience made everything easy for me. Epic Records had big expectations for G-Rap, so the pressure was on. Most of the tracks were developed in the studio, unusual for me. I prefer working in my home environment. Working with G-Rap is like working with Richard Pryor. Non-Stop laughs. He believed in my ability and knew that it was a big stage for me. I thank him for his patience. It helped immensely.
The album received mixed reviews but we were happy with the outcome of the material.
You also been heavily involved with a lot of Akinyele's album on the production and recording. Any chance of some new stuff coming together with the both of yall?
That is ALWAYS a possibility. Our relationship is of the brotherly type, so those doors are always open.
So now you have an upcoming release with Understanding, tell us about that?
No doubt. Understanding would frequently hang out with me during the Kool G Rap/Akinyele days of recording. I would use him as my test rapper to see how various flows would work with particular tracks. We would simply plug in the microphone and record. NO MIXING! There was a sampler, drum machine, Understanding and my DAT player...hahahahahahahaha. Everything was done in one take. I had long forgotten about the sessions but Understanding maintained cassette versions. When he played them I was like "wow, we have to do something with this material". I decided to gather whatever I could find in the form of tracks from that time period and compiled what is to be released as the "Vintage Vault Series".
Before we wrap up here, I gotta ask you this, can we expect you to come back with the rhymes anytime soon?
Ha! Very possible. Hip-Hop is full of surprises...lololololol.
Alright sir thanks again for taking the time out to sit down with HipHop-Elements.com for this interview. Do you have a myspace page for heads to check out more of your music?
MTS Centre, Winnipeg - May 26, 2008
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