Happy born day to OG Iroc

Ok, so I get a notice on fb that it is Iroc’s born day and immediately I check to see if my blogs are available to download from the old myspace which I mentioned I requested in my last blog on the 1st so I could include my interview with him and they were! So here it is, one of my most fav interviews I have ever done, my interview with Iroc that I posted on 8/5/08 after the jump.

Wait a min wait a min wait a min, let me plug something of his real quick being that the new album is not out yet, I want to thank Iroc again for helping me get my first credit on imdb with his movie Blood Ink, The Tavalou Tales in which I got to have a nice short speaking role in. It was a great experience and while I STILL have not worked with him in a musical capacity yet, not everyone can say they were in his first movie and it’s not like he didn’t reach out to many well known folks in the hip hop community of Phx cause he fit a TON of folks in it. Make sure you get a copy by clicking the title of the movie above……………..where mine at though Roc? Lol, j/k. Ok, interview, the way it appeared originally without any changes made is below (d’void of the pics that didn’t transfer unfortunately )after peace, so there will be links that are now defunct.

PEACE!!!

My interview with AZ hip hop legend Roca Dolla

I’m sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on the I-10 freeway going west as the heavy rain continues to pour.  Looking up ahead at the lanes being forced to merge towards the off ramp, I think to myself……..I bet this would not be happening if I wasn’t trying to orchestrate an interview with one of if not AZ’s greatest hip hop legend Roca Dolla.

Being the considerate person that is Roc, earlier when revealing to him how far I was coming from in Queen Creek (basically the outskirts of New Mexico for those that don’t know) he suggested that we could conduct the interview over the phone, but this was a chance for a more personal and intimate conversation to chop it up with the O.G. in the physical.  To me this was the only option on how it would play out, especially with some of the topics we had planned to discuss.  There is a lot of history in AZ hip hop that is basically unknown or untold that Roc wanted to shed light on plus this was an opportunity for my 6 year old son who was in tow to have a great experience up in a studio and see where all the magic artists he’s into make it happen.  However, the weather and traffic situation is compelling me to doubt my decision and think…maybe I should have took Roc upon his offer.

As I continue to update Roc with texts about where I’m at and how long it may be before I get to his kingdom, his replies of “It’s all good” here and a “fa sho” there keep my attitude positive, it doesn’t detract from the embarrassment that is my tardiness though.  My embarrassment would continue as I ring the doorbell to what I think is Roc’s home only for some stranger to answer which leads me to call Roc yet again to figure out where I went wrong.

While he is speaking to me on his cell, he comes out the house and tells me to turn around.  As I do, I see Roc with his classic half smirk half smile looking like the O.G. who stands firm on the block surveying the neighborhood on his post.  It’s an imposing yet inviting demeanor only a few have that Roc has had for as long as I have known him, the type of quality or presence that when he walks in a room demands respect and a three piece suit is not needed here, jeans and a black tee will do.

As we exchange hugs and pounds I make sure my son says peace.  Roc greets me with a comment about the length of my locs and compares them to an artist he’s friends with named Sonny Black.  It’s the first time Roc and I have had a chance to build since the viewing of the Hip Hop Project I did a blog on last year here, http://artofrhyme.com/aorblog/AORBlog.php?id=42

When welcoming us into his humble dwelling, at first I’m thinking what an honor.  In 96 when I first bought his independent debut Finally on the Map (which will be referred to as FOTM for the rest of this piece), never did I think that one day I’d be interviewing him in his own home.  This definitely beats doing the interview at his studio away from home which was the original plan.  He introduces his lovely fiancee who I say peace to and make sure my son says peace as well and then Roc briefly shows me a hip hop award he won that sits in a display case which looks to contain even more awards.  Usually I would of extended my hand out to shake any other person’s when introduced to them and would show more interest in anything in someone’s home they are proud to share with but my manners seem to have left me at the moment.

I guess mixed with some nervousness as well as sub consciously feeling guilty about being late I just want to get down to the interview and bang it out real quick so Roc can get back to doing music or spending quality time with his woman or whatever he does in his spare time.  My reasons are baseless as Roc is clearly showing genuine gratitude and has made my son and I feel more than welcome.  I have to remind myself, this is not one of those self centered ego driven narcissistic diva males………this is Roca Dolla and this is part of what separates him from many others and why so many love and respect him out here.

Roc leads us to the back where he has his home studio which consists of your essential requirements, your mpcs, keyboards and monitors etc etc.  There’s enthusiasm in Roc’s voice as he details how he is supposed to be hooking up with Juice (an up and coming AZ mc who is on Game’s Black Wall Street label) and goes through some beats I’m guessing are for Juice.  If my son was feeling down cause there was no one here close to his age to play with, he sat up at attention on the couch as Roc’s banging instrumentals started blaring from the monitors.  Roc hits me with some goodies and we briefly discuss small things local before we get into it….

TRUE: To start off, for those who are not aware of your vast work, can you give a brief history of a few things you have done in hip hop and some of the people that you have worked with?

ROC: Ok, some of the people that I have worked with professionally, well first of all, recently Kam and I, we are forming a group.  You know they say Kam is like the O.G. in L.A. and I’m considered to be one of the O.G.s out here so you know, Kam approached me about putting something together.  We’re supposed to be putting a little group together.  We are still in the process right now but it’s going to kind of tie things together, so Kam is a good friend of mine.

I’ve worked with Big Mike from the Geto Boys, Kool G. Rap, C Bo, MC Eiht.  Did a track with DJ Quik and El Debarge, AMG and cats like Too Short, Guerilla Black, Chingo Bling, Stat Quo, Mela, 702, Daz & Kurupt of DPG, they have all featured on tracks I’ve done…a lot of old school cats too…. Battlecat.  I’m trying to think of all the people, just a lot of cats.  Then a lot of cats come and I sell studio time, you know Sha Money, I worked with him and he brought Young Buck, Outlaws, JT the Bigga Figga, Glasses Malone, Dolla, Lazy Bone and many more.

TRUE: That’s interesting because I was going to ask you about Kam, how did you guys hook up?

ROC: Kam kind of got out to Phoenix and he did his homework basically.  He said he kept hearing my name and we met through a cat named Cinematic.  When we met we just clicked up and was hella cool with each other.  He showed me nothing but love.  He put me in his top friends on myspace and he in Snoop’s top so I get a lot of L.A. cats hitting me up and all that just off of Kam.

TRUE: That’s peace, so how long have you been rapping for?

ROC: I would say about since 86 but I’ve always had love for rap.  Back then I didn’t really take it seriously.  Professionally I would say about 90 or 89 is when I actually started looking at it as a profession.

TRUE: When you first invited me into your home you showed me an award you had on display.  What were you recognized for when receiving that?

ROC: That award was for when all the local rappers got together.  It was a big award for me because it was like 200 people that voted, 200 rappers that voted from different cliques and they voted me the producer of the decade from 1990 to 2000.  They gave me an award at the Web Theatre.  It was the first Rhyme and Reason.  It was a big big award for me cause it was so many involved and I won by a landslide.

TRUE: I wanted to get into that because in AZ I’ve noticed……. there’s hate everywhere but I mean there’s an abundance of hate out here….

ROC: Yeah, always has been….

TRUE:…you are kind of like an exception to the rule where as people actually respect you and you don’t hear too many bad things about Roc.  Why do you think that is, that so many people when you say Iroc’s (Iroc is Roc’s former mc name he first gained notoriety with) name it’s always, “oh that’s my man, that’s the big homie” and usually nothing but respect?

(looking very anxious and eager to reply forcing myself to speed up the sentence to finish it, Roc enthusiastically responds…)

ROC: Because I give!  I mean, I had the new chairman at PC (Phoenix College) sign up on myspace and ask me to come teach a music business class.  I taught two music biz classes at PC.  One of them I taught had Bookie in it, J Times 3, Trapp, a whole bunch of cats.  That was a few  years ago, and I brought in Bruce St. James and I brought in a lot of industry people that they never would have probably met.  So PC been wanting me to teach, I like giving back to the community.  I like teaching classes when I can.  I’m actually teaching some Pro Tools classes right now.  The reason I got into education is because I want to start my own hip hop school and I been approaching a lot of industry cats, I want to start my own producer’s school.

TRUE: Like the Conservatory? (Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences)

ROC: But different where it’s more straight about production, mpcs, how to make beats bigger.  That’s my goal because I look at some of these colleges selling programs for $20,000.00 a year and they have over 1,000 students.  You do the math 20,000 times 1,000.  So I’m trying to get to that level where I got a school that hip hop artists can go to.

I been in this community and I’m always in the community and I’m always giving to cats and putting cats up on game, a cat can’t hit me and not get some kind of game from me.  I’ve always been nutritious, I aint never been like this is just mines.  I think that has a lot to do with it is the fact that you nutritious widdit!  I mean it is a business, I still separate business from that but I always give to the community.  I truly believe you are put in your situation to turn around and give it back to the people who deserve it.  I just did something last year where I gave to like 10 kids where they can get in the studio for free.

TRUE: I wanted to ask about that because I do knowledge that you do a lot of things in the community and I did want you to speak on some of those things because it seems like a lot of artists when they are doing something positive they’re involved with, they don’t want to talk about it, like it’s going to mess up their image as far as being rough and tough or they don’t feel that it’s as newsworthy as some of the negative ish they get condemned for, so I wanted you to speak on some of the things you do in the community cause I know you had some workshops right?

ROC:  Oh yeah, did you go to the one at Phoenix College?  It was phenomenal, a lot of mcs came up there man, it was about 300 mcs, we made all of them register for classes.  I held workshops, I had like 6 or 7.  Cats came in with mpcs, showed the young producers how to work on their beats.  I had the music business class.  I was teaching them about soundscan and how to do their upc codes and pretty much stuff they didn’t know and I mean I’m telling you there was like 300 mcs there, a lot of mcs and it was phenomenal that day, just the spirit, and it rained that day too!  A lot of older heads came out.  I had a panel, the Watts Prophets was up there, they was on a panel.  I had Swindoe from Tucson and his brother, Wax, Johnny 2 Gunz from Ill Streets.  We was talking about the state of hip hop.  Dr. Westenberg (teaches a hip hop class at the community college) helped me out with it.  It was a big event man, but stuff like that man has helped me, just the fact that I always try to give cats some game.

TRUE:  I also remember a while back on 602 streets (a now defunct local hip hop website in AZ that was very popular) you posted a very important list of things that’s essential to have, understand or take care of in the music business for those that weren’t aware of them.  What compels you to do things like that?

ROC: I always do just because……you know what?  To me a lot of cats  need to unite and put it together and that’s my album.  It’s pretty much everybody united and putting things together and they aint even realize it.  I drew everybody in and now we all on one project, a whole bunch of mcs from different cliques is on one single project, my album and I did that cause I always been pushing unity because we can go one direction……you got other places like the Bay area and Texas where for the most part they support each other and we can go that direction or we can separate and everyone can just be crabs in a bucket.  It’s like as soon as somebody get on then they a target…for a dis track, it’s just ridiculous, it’s time for cats to get on some grown man stuff.

TRUE:  Word, I want to talk about the song Memories now.  When I saw the Irocumentary video presentation you put together ( http://www.arizonabeats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13546 )….I remember that song when it came out and it was funny because you were talking about a lot of people came up to you….

ROC: It was like late 91, it was on the radio.

TRUE: Right, and I remember hearing it because I didn’t know too many mcs out here and I remember that inspired me and helped me to see that it can be done out here and I don’t think… FOTM came out in what, 96?

ROC:  Yeah…

Briefly, Roc and I discuss the differences between the original version of Memories and the one that was on FOTM.  Then I’m informed he plans on making it available for download on his myspace, http://www.myspace.com/icild

Next, we discuss the Product Click which consisted of who Roc has described in the past as a beast on the mic, Price Capone as well as other mic rippers Dame, Swin and E Dog and how the project was never released due to some “hard times” with the system a couple of members would fall victim to here and there.  He hands me a snippets tape of the Click’s entitled Terrazone from 99 and broke down how factions from the scene argue over the origin of heads calling Arizona, “The Zone” when this crew was calling it that way back then.

TRUE: How would you describe FOTM as far as where you were at artistically and how do you look at that album in comparison to what you are doing today?

ROC: I think FOTM was way ahead of it’s time and still we kept it all musical.  We had live instruments back then and we was just doing something different.  When I first met Justus ( a local cat who’s part of a group that has been putting it down out in AZ for over a decade called Cut Throat Logic) he was on the mic and he said, “you know what Roc?  I aint gonna lie I was in Westridge Mall and stole FOTM.  I couldn’t afford it and stole it dawg.”
FOTM was something I put a lot into.  I mean I had a studio but I was trying to use the best studios as possible.  I remember I put like 30 grand into just studio time, trying to get the album done and get it recorded with bigger microphones and all that.

FOTM was the number one album in AZ at that time, we was on the road and…you know what, it probably would have worked if another group had came right after that and another group came right after that and right after that… that’s the problem, people are so busy trying to get signed right now which is like to me the last thing you want to do.  You want to build your own thing!  Everybody is so scared to just get out and hustle and grind and instead on some, “man I need to get signed.”  When you get signed a lot of times you just sitting, you know what I’m saying?  I know 3 people that signed to Interscope and I know 3 people that got dropped from Interscope this year that the world has never heard about so…it’s about the independent game man, independent game getting ready to come back real strong man.  You need to understand your publishing, how to put out records and understand soundscans and all that kind of stuff, it’s really really important man.

Roc and I discuss the Product project again (while typing this I’m kicking myself because I realize out of all the things he gave to me I left that snippets tape at his place) and it’s a mix of much exuberance and frustration on Roc’s face as he again relays instances of cats getting caught up, which stifled the release of the project, as well as detailing how incredible the snippets on the tape were, primarily a joint called Verbal Kung Fu

TRUE: Now I know one thing you really wanted to get into was as much as everyone looks to you as “the man” when it comes to the AZ hip hop movement, I know you wanted to talk about some other pioneers that don’t get recognized as much.

ROC: Yeah, because people talk about me but you know, before me there was some cats that I looked up to that was grinding and one cat I put on my album.  He had a song called Just My Imagination, that had to be like 1986, that was like ridiculous.  84-85, it was Fun Time Crew which was Domino and Paradise, you had the Exotic MCs which was Sean Beasley, you had Rock House and Rock House is still around, he one of the few producers that’s still around.

Producer wise you also had Wax, RK, Greg Washington who was a hot producer, he one of the hottest producers man, he taught me a lot.  You had T-Bone, he taught me how to use a mpc.  Doing the parties you had Kenny P and Phillip Jefferson.  Then there was the Good Times Breakdancers, the Wall Street RockersDave Hollins was the pop lock king, he shut down a talent show at South ( South Moutain in AZ) in 1987 something terrible.  Scratch teams you had WRST, World Reknown Scratch Team, Gerald Dye, umm, Brian Craig, you know….it was, I mean, hip hop was big back then, like the culture was big!  It hasn’t been like that since the eighties.  Terry Smife, beatboxin’ rapping.

Then later .. that period you had Pooch, Overweight Pooch, she was the first rapper to get signed to a major which was A&M.  Then HBO came with their crew, that was early on.  Lloyd, DA, Jabar, Mike, Mikey White, rapping..dance crew and then I was working with Ronnie Gilford, Pound for PoundJabar called me one day and asked if I could produce some cuts for them and I was like…you know what, I’m starting to produce but I don’t think I’m ready.  So I connected them with Pound for Pound and that was history, that was the Weirdoz put together and then they turned into Big Five.

In between time you had MC Magic who put out the first song that was on the radio, that was Lost in Love.  The first vinyl I ever saw was Po Boy Rappers, that was early on, that was T Wax.  They was one of the first cats to put something together.  You had female mcs, Tasha, Kriminals of Poetry who put out a joint in 91.  Nobody ever talks about Kriminals of Poetry, major factors in the hip hop industry out here.  Boys in Black, you had Lady X, Sugar and Sweet.  Then later on Magic put out his, I started Iroc Records, then Soul Sauce came about, their main group was Boondocks.  They also signed Kool G Rap, they had Tech Nine and Nutmeg.

Then you had Time is MoneyTime is Money was Low who was working with Mayhemm who was my peoples, my little homies.  They dropped a record with MC Eiht.  I was working with Big Shot, that was the main cat from Mayhemm and Laru.  They hooked up with one of my homies working together, Tim Wright.  To me Mayhemm got further then a lot of people, you know, the fact that they got their album reviewed, they only got two and a half mics in The Source but they got their album reviewed and they made it on Rap City.

I remember Tim’s grind on that project was phenomenal and there aint hustle like that these days, everybody’s like I need to get signed.  You had other labels coming up Time is Money went to Our Mills, you had Major Players, Teki and Mark Dark, Rich Rollin, on 75th, you had Come On In Productions, Baby G, Fo Life Records put out Vontel and Bookie who have the same over seas following I have… and Grim Reaper, RIP, he would of been the biggest artist to blow outta Phoenix but he was tragically killed in the Vistas.. I still miss dude..he gave me a lot of game…these are many of the people who are hardly mentioned.

TRUE: Tell me about your creative process.  How do you come up with concepts as far as putting songs together?  I know some like to make ish on the fly up in the studio, do you favor that or prefer to have some kind of direction where it’s going already before you come in the studio?  I mean a lot of times……. and you can tell, it just sounds like cats just smoked some good and was like….. play the beat.

ROC: I mean sometimes it’s like that, usually I start with the music, I start with the drums.  I’ll be here at the house, start with the drums then put the bass lines and keys on it and then I’ll take it into the studio and I might put some singers and live instruments on it.  Then I’ll ride around and try to come up with the hook and once I have the hook I’ll build the concepts around that.  Sometimes it’s instant, sometimes songs come like in 5 minutes.  So you know it’s both ways.

I been fortunate to be around.  I got family members, a fourth cousin of Cab Calloway and then I got Vincent Brantely who produced on New Edition’s first two albums, you know Cool it Now, Mr. Telephone Man, Candy Girl, so I was around him and he also used to do vocal arrangements with Boyz to Men and all that so early on I learned how to structure  songs through him, through his ears and stuff.  So to me I just, it’s however it comes and now I’m fortunate enough to have my new business partner Che Vicious who works with Aftermath as  Dr. Dre’s right hand man, he did the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

TRUE: So is he one of the cats who sued her (Lauryn Hill) for not getting album credits?

ROC: Naw, he got his credit on the album.  He did like 85 percent of that album.  He’s done work on Santana, Game, 50, Fugees album, like all the big records, he’s done a lot of big records.  He liked what I was doing with 5th Coast so he came aboard and he’s out there working on the Detox with Dre right now, that’s pretty much how Ocean ( another young up and coming AZ mc on the 5th Coast roster http://www.myspace.com/youngocean ) met Dre.

TRUE: How did becoming a father change your perspective in making music, didn’t you take time off?

ROC: I started getting more into production.  When my son and my daughter was born was right about that time, well my daughter was born in December 95.  I was done with FOTM in 95 but it came out in 96.  When it was coming out my mindset was already changing, we had been working on FOTM in 94 and I had my kids, two kids in 95 so I was doing too much you know what I’m saying……?

Roc pauses for the first time in our discussion in deep thought for a second like a weathered war vet reminiscing on past battles, then continues after seemingly getting his thoughts together with the right words he wanted to come with next…….

That really started making me take things a little more serious.  I took some time off, sold my studio for a minute, then I really started messing with Battlecat, I sold my studio for like $50,000.00

TRUE: When you hear about artists saying things like they couldn’t be in a relationship with their children because it took away from their craft or artists that got mad at partners in their group for being a family man, feeling it would have diminished the quality of the music being made, what are your thoughts on that?

ROC: I mean to me you got a seed, that’s your responsibility to handle your business as a man.  If you aren’t handling your business as a man you’re going to have bad karma in life.  If dude felt like….you know, not everybody got they priorities straight in the music game too, a lot of cats is really messed up, I know nothing come before my shorties.  My son live with me, you know and I grab my two daughters every weekend.

TRUE: Many times people go through a metamorphosis when they change their names often and it signifies a new perspective or outlook if you will.  Would you say it’s the same case from when you went by Iroc as to now Roca Dolla?

ROC: Yeah, I mean when I went by Mr. Iroc that was like to me the old school and Roca Dolla is more like the new school, just reinventing myself and changing the name, cause Iroc was kinda like the old school and I just wanted to put that to rest because when people think of Iroc they think of… (Roc starts reciting the sing songy chorus to Memories that I can’t help but to join in and assist with as we both have a good laugh)

Roc briefly discusses running a recording studio on ASU West College campus as well as the vast differences and extreme opposites of the two sides of his family growing up.

The reason my mother’s side was so influential was because my cousins was so gangsta back then.  You know, that fight the power mentality back then, they going against the grain basically, knocking out police and all kind of stuff man, so I was all into that.  I mean I see my uncle knock out the police and then running down the streets with handcuffs on (We both bust out laughing at this point)  so I’m sitting there like that’s gangsta!  I’m idolizing that, I aint even going to lie to you.  My uncles getting out the pen swolled up, you know, the same thing.

This was glorified back then you know what I’m saying and maybe it shouldn’t have been and hopefully it aint now, I would never want to glorify that now, but when we was young?  My uncles getting out like, boom!  Swoll up with the afros?  You know what I’m saying?  Knocking out police?  The police stopped messing with my family cause they ended up getting scrapped.  That was one of them things now that I look back, I still…….it kind of gave me a certain kind of pedigree though where I can go into a professional environment and I can still go into the hood, so it made me who I am.  It definitely made me where I can go into the neighborhood and I can go over here and talk to somebody about a multi million dollar deal.

TRUE: You rep AZ to the fullest and you have a lot of state pride……

ROC: I have pride in the hip hop culture but I don’t have pride in a lot of things that AZ has done from a legislative standpoint.  Like John McCain is up for President right now and I don’t see how one black person could vote for McCain who voted against the Martin Luther King holiday along with Mecham…

Seeing that the usually very calm and laid back Roc is starting to get riled up about what he is getting into here, I quickly try to push the topic to something more hip hop based as getting into politics and black people voting republican could open a whole can of worms that would take focus away from the subject which is the man speaking.

TRUE: Let me ask you this, how did you feel when you first heard Public Enemy’s By the Time I Get to Arizona cause I mean it was all over the news and….

Unable to wait for me to finish as if this was something brewing up in Roc ever since Mecham ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evan_Mecham ) made AZ a sore eye on the U.S. map, Roc gets the most animated yet as he replies…..

ROC: I felt the same way!  Like, I mean I could of….

TRUE: But didn’t you feel like, aww, they gonna make it hard for us, cause the number one group in hip hop right now is……

ROC: Naw, I didn’t feel like that, I mean they was talkin’, I mean I was with them!  You know  what I’m saying, like…man!  But at the same time I’m not gonna say I’m not from here.  I’m gonna say it’s b s out here and the police is sending blacks to jail at a phenomenal rate and we gonna talk stuff about em. I’m not going to say that I’m not from here.  Somebody ask me, I’m going to say where I’m from.  A lot of people say they’re not fixing to represent, I don’t blame them or fault them but for me?  This is where I’m from.  I might not like what’s going on out here with those particular folks in legislation like Mecham and them but at the same time…I’m from here.  So what I’m supposed to do, say I’m from….Virginia?  You know what I’m saying, I aint got no options, you know, this where I’m from.

TRUE: Why do you think that is, why do you think there’s this whole stigma that when people ask heads where they from they don’t want to say AZ born and raised, what’s that all about?

ROC: It’s because of the negative, I’m telling you man, that set us back, the negative stigma they made, they put a real dark shadow, a dark cloud over AZ for years man.  McCain, Mecham, everybody else within those administrations by just going against the grain and against most of the rest of the 50 states.  They put a negative image over us so bad that I don’t blame anybody for not wanting to represent this mug but for me I’m like this is where I’m from, I’m from Phx and I’m a rep it.  Everybody else like eff Phx!  Back then you go to the club and they say where my N.Y. cats at and it’s rah rah rah, and everybody screams and that’s in Phx!  Then it’s where my L.A. cats at and it’s rah rah rah.  It wasn’t nobody from Phx screaming Phx at the club, period!  Where my Chi town cats at, whoop whoop rah rah rah.  If they said Phx, wasn’t nobody…….it be quiet.  Wasn’t nobody reppin’ Phx.

TRUE: Would you say it’s different now though?

ROC: Oh yeah, you walk around now, I trip now!  I trip at it now cause I was one of the few cats reppin’ this mug and back then you wouldn’t see nobody wearing no birds and no 602 hats.  Now everywhere you go, AZ hats, it’s ridiculous how much pride and joy people have in their city and so now it’s finally in the environment that rappers can sell independently and everybody trying to get signed.

Back then it was like a melting pot and there was no cats from Phx, everybody was from other places.  I’m from Boston, I’m from L.A., I’m from blah blah blah because it’s a military city and a lot of people was from other places but now we in a situation where people have been born and a couple of generations have come up.  So now there’s a lot of grass roots from AZ and so we finally can sell to these people.  We have our own people that love 602 and everybody repping this mug so we can sell within our own community now but instead of selling cds everybody trying to get signed and not pushing that indy.  Right now everybody need to be Master Ps in AZ and they can get some money.

TRUE: How did 5th Coast come about and if you could speak briefly on some on the artists on the roster like A State ( an AZ super group featuring other local staples in the hip hop community like Jabar from Big Five, Bookie and Swindoe) for instance, is that coming out?

ROC: A State is kind of on the back burner right now because everybody’s been doing their projects and when you got cats that’s that high up where they in the game like as far as out here, everybody scrambling to do their own thing right now.  Eventually A State will come together, I might even work on that project with Kam.

TRUE: Would you say 5th Coast is sort of an upgraded version of your first label venture Iroc Records?

ROC: Yeah, somewhat, just moving in a different direction.  Now I got business partners, back then it was just me by myself, now I got Che Vicious of Aftermath and  RTZ.

TRUE: I know you had the song Swell that got a lot of radio love in 06, but what was the first official project to come out on 5th Coast?

ROC: The first project was the Remedy Compilation.  That came out already and we moved 5,000 units of that on the street so far.  Swell is on my album.  So we’ve had the Remedy Project come out, Tray Gutter mixtape and Ocean mixtape I Am Not  A Rapper.  We shot a video for Skate On and put out over 4,000 with I Am Not A Rapper also.  Shouts out to Todd A for that one.

TRUE: Speaking of videos I saw you in that Hip Hop Lives KRS video, how’d that come about?

ROC: Oh shoot, because me and Todd, Todd’s my dude and I went out to L.A. and I sat on the set with him.  I played….

TRUE: N.W.A.?

ROC: Oh U seen that!? (laughs), dang, U got some good eyes to see that!

TRUE: What would you say is your greatest achievement as an artist?  What are you most proud of in your career musically?

ROC: Musically?  Ummm…(Roc has his longest pause of the interview thus far as he contemplates on what I can only imagine is numerous great achievements)

…probably shoot, I’d say FOTM because so many people out the country… Mr. Iroc has a cult following.  You go on the internet you see it in Japan and Europe.  You go on ebay and I guarantee you somebody selling FOTM for like $200.00

TRUE: So you saying I put my FOTM on there, I can come up?  Cause gas prices aint no joke!

ROC: Put it on ebay and watch what happens.  I guarantee you you going to get at least a buck 50 for it.  They trade em like cards man!  It has a cult following, just type in “finally on the map Mr. Iroc” and see what comes up, it’s crazy man.

TRUE: Who would you like to work with that you have not had the chance to yet?

ROC: Well Juice just called me and was like I got to get you on my project so that’s one cat I want to work with that I haven’t worked with.  Hmm……let me think for a minute…you see the only MC hanging on my wall right?  (I look above my head on Roc’s wall to the right above my son where Rakim’s infamous Hennessy ad with the mic stand draped across his shoulders is posted, the image that is similar to Bo Jackson’s famous pic wearing the football shoulder pads with a baseball bat draped across his shoulders) Ha ha ha!  That’s the only mc hanging on my wall, Rakim man!  Shoot, you know, I worked with Kool G Rap too, that’s my dawg.  But yeah I’d like to work with Rakim, that’s the only poster I got on my wall besides Bob Marley.

At this point of the interview Roc starts to yawn and I’m thinking it may be time to to wrap it up with a last question as I’m not sure if Roc said he was going to be working on more material later that night, I’m just glad my son who only interrupted once to use the restroom showed discipline and did not embarrass me in front of AZ hip hop royalty.  So I skim through my questions to find a fitting one to end this dialog that I feel for Roc fans is one for the ages and history books to archive.

TRUE: For young cats coming up what kind of advice would you give in succeeding in the music business?

ROC: The main thing is BUILD YOUR RELATIONSHIPS MAN, go and meet people.  Don’t be afraid to network and shake somebody’s hand and get an opinion on what they feel.  Don’t be all hollywood and DON’T BURN BRIDGES!  Don’t, excuse the term, shit on people unnecessarily because you never know where that person is going to be later on in life.

I remember a time meeting this cat who was a producer or  promoter and I was like 16, 17 years old.  I was like man I’m getting ready, I’m fixing to move into this studio, I’m a do this I’m a do that.  He was like alright whatever, I’m just a little kid, he older than me.  Then about 4 or 5 years later, here he come walking into the studio and everything I said came to fruition.  He didn’t dis me or anything like that but he just blew me off cause I was young, but everything came to fruition, he walked into the studio and was like……….man!  You know?

Aw yes, I definitely know.  Roc and I exchange pounds again after wrapping it up.  We do not leave the studio though before Roc gets a chance to do something he loves first, and that is teach.  Bringing my son over to the mpc he shows him how to build up a beat and put tracks together, going through selections and letting my son choose which sounds he likes best as he subsequently goes through drums, snares, hi hats and and then horns I think one at a time.  Roc being the perfectionist that he is even changes a snare my son chose that he didn’t think sounded right thus my son was helped in creating his first beat at 6 years old, something I had yet to teach him, so jealous, lol.

Walking out of the studio, Roc and I reflect on a beautiful brother we both had love for in Dominant Born who was a fellow writer and avid supporter of the local scene.  While we both agreed on the small turnout of fellow hip hop Phoenicians and Arizonians at his funeral as being unacceptable, leaving his home I think the excitement in the atmosphere of AZ with the release of another incredible project by AZ hip hop’s favorite son will help to create more lovers and supporters for the movement out here.

On my way to Roc’s spot earlier, driving in the pouring rain I was skimming through his first two lps to help me warm up to our meeting and now on the way back home listening to an advanced copy of the new joint Roca is a Classic, just like when Memories was first being played on the radio way back when, Roc continues to make history close to 20 years later cause from what I am listening to now, Roc is in the zone and has never sounded as sharp or swift, a definite seasoned vet getting better with age like everyone should.

The ride home ended up less eventful but as far as all the drama on the way to Roc’s beforehand, all I can say is……. it was worth it.  Roca isn’t just a classic, after sitting down and building with him anyone could see he’s a TRUE classic.  It’s like he said, “a cat can’t hit me and not get some kind of game from me.”

Indeed, each one teach one.

Don’t forget for more on Roca Dolla and his latest lp Roca is a Classic make sure to check out http://www.myspace.com/icild

PEACE

So, I visited OG Iroc today…

and no the above reflection is not current. It is actually from the last time I saw him before today at the 10,000 Fearless Phx headquarters for a clothing drive. Sometimes you just wanna build with the homies and aint got time for all the vanity that comes along with taking pictures. ( I have never taken a selfie in my life, something I’m proud of, lol) If I was doing an interview or something of that nature it would have been different.

Anyways, I am super heated because included in my original idea for writing a blog about my visit with Roc today I had planned on posting a link to the interview I did with him around the time his double cd Roca Dolla is a Classic came out which was about 10 years ago. That interview, while I may have printed it out and is stored somewhere in one of these boxes filled with articles, magazines and other printed materials was posted on my myspace and a few other sites I used to write for which are all now defunct (I’m speaking of the old myspace) I was hoping that I may have copied and pasted it as a note on fb like I did some other material I had on myspace but looks like I didn’t. NE wayz, I requested to access my old blogs on the “new” myspace which it said to check for to download within 72 hours. So fingers are crossed because I was very proud of that interview. There are individuals like Professor Griff and Immortal Technique who I did face to face interviews with that never saw the light of day (that I will one day print before I return to the essence, that’s my word) but I made sure I finished Roc’s interview because what he has done in the hip hop community out here and abroad earned that special treatment. As Roc told me, he has seen me involved in a lot out here for years and hip hop taught me to be an activist and to be involved in the community and give back, it’s something I have known Roc to do often and something I just don’t see other members of the hip hop community doing unless they are performing or getting paid unfortunately. And I’m speaking primarily about the mc element and care about as much as they do about these comments as they care about being involved in community initiatives. It’s not like they gonna read this anyways, ha haaa. Shouts out to those that have come by the School of Hip Hop Phx to do workshops with the youth and those that have been on our show though, love yall.

The reason for my meeting with Roc was to receive a donation for the S.O.N.S. program that he wanted to contribute to by giving cash in person because of the gofundme I set up taking 10% of all donations and I truly respect him for that. The total funds we have received now will be able to pay for the materials of 3 young men who are participating so far so we are doing very well and I am sure that we will achieve our goal before the graduation ceremony that takes place after the 15 week program is over. The gofundme is primarily for those who want to contribute that are out of state anyways. It only makes sense for those in the Phx community to want to contribute the way Roc did, but however they want to will work for us.

I was very shocked to find out that Roc was in a car accident recently over the weekend in which he got spun around several times and informed me that his hearing in his left ear is kind of messed up which made for him to have to get testing in a hyberbaric chamber. I told him welcome to the party as I have had severe loss of hearing in my right ear due to getting meningitis twice as an infant. I have never been able to have the full listening experience not only when it comes to music but just life period. Hard to miss out on what you never experienced though. Roc detailing as he spun and seeing oncoming traffic coming towards him was horrifying I must say though. Glad he was able to walk away with no injuries, wow.

After discussing a recent business venture he’s partaking in I had to inquire about some new music he is working on. He smiled and said “fa sho” and we walked around the back of his facility to the studio where he played several tracks that were all stellar. It was real cool to see my OG bopping and grooving to the music as he was reciting his lyrics along with it. It was probably the most enthusiastic I have EVER seen him which is real cool when you take in to account during the interview I had with him all those years ago he said the double cd he was working on at the time was going to be his last. I was just like yeah right, lol. Sure enough, 10 years later…..

Part of the reason for the enthusiasm could be the fact that his upcoming project is one with his son which I don’t ever think has been done in hip hop, that Baby/Weezy ish don’t count, and while there may be several songs in which artists have collabed with their offspring like Cube, Rakim and Ghostface, to my knowledge there has never been a whole album. Best believe we will be getting Roc on TSR for an interview around the time when he is ready to promote or maybe even sooner, he has a lot going on to talk about as always. Roc is one of those rare hip hop cats that seems to improve over time. While many artists like Snoop and Nas tend to live in the shadow of earlier projects, you can listen to Roc’s first project Finally on the Map that came out around 97 which many of us consider an AZ classic and really does have a cult following selling for crazy amounts on ebay back in the day, you can listen to that and listen to Roc today and it’s constant growth with his craft. Oh yeah and his son, ewwwww boy, wait till yall hear this young man. Kendrick and King Los come to mind. He is definitely swift with the gift, the challenge will be to stand apart from those he is inevitably going to be compared to. So yeah, if you a Phx hip hop head, make sure you go ahead and share this piece with your networks and if you enjoyed this read, enjoy listening to TSR and just want to support what we do you can by clicking here.

PEACE

New Edition is Hip Hop

That’s right! Not just hip hop smoothed out on the R and B tip with a pop feel appeal to it as the BBD ( Bell Biv Devoe) slogan states, but hip hop PERIOD! I wrote an early draft for this piece after first reading Bobby Brown’s memoir last year but wanted to wait closer to the airing of the New Edition mini series to post, plus today they FINALLY get their name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame so now it’s only fitting.

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling

The earliest I remember hearing rap was when I was 5 years old and heard NE’s Candy Girl in 1983. They were the closest thing I ever heard in music to my age so I gravitated immediately to them. Not only were the brothers rapping on tracks like Candy Girl before legends such as Run DMC, Chuck DLL Cool J, Rakim, KRS and Kane were ever heard on wax (think about that) you can even read in LL’s book I Play by My Own Rules how he would eagerly await to see what would be New Edition’s next single. They actually inspired rappers to rap with their raps including myself. Because I really did not become a hip hop head till 91, I used to think the raps by various members of New Edition on their songs were the dopest bars and that I was cool as shit for memorizing and reciting them as someone more into dancing. LL would end up in the future writing the rap for Mike Bivens on the NE Heartbreak  rmx and do his own version of Candy Girl called Candy off his album Phenomenon that featured Ralph Tresvant and Ricky Bell. As a matter of fact, when you listen to NE’s Candy Girl album, the first time you hear any of their voices on the album is in the form of a rap by Ralph Tresvant on Gimme Your Love. At least I think it was Ralph, him and Bobby sounded very similar back then.

But who came up in the 80s and does not know what lines like, “Ronnie Bobby Ricky and Mike, if I love a girl who cares who you like” or “Too hot to handle to cold to hold, they called the Ghostbusters and they in control” came from? I can continue referencing all the popular raps on numerous Bobby Brown and Bell Biv Devoe songs but how about when Ralph Tresvant’s album opened up with a full rap song Rated R for his solo debut? A lot of us remember the House Party 2 intro that featured it during the nightmare sequence. And who can forget Bivens and especially Devoe’s raps as well as Brown and Tresvant trading bars on the NE reunion song Word 2 the Mutha? (not to mention Bivens slobbering down Free from 106 and Park fame in the hallway in that vid? Wasn’t she kind of young back then for Biv? Nevermind)

I say all that to say this, for those who wondered why were New Edition members doing a cipher at the last BET Hip Hop Awards? Well, why not? I say they ARE hip hop. Ever since they were popping and locking in videos while they still lived in the Orchard Park projects in Boston. They are trendsetters, they pioneered the featured rap in r and b songs before Chaka Khan’s I Feel For You with Melle Mel, Jody Watley’s Friends with Rakim or even Method Man’s All I Need which won a grammy featuring Mary J Blige and pretty much flipped the formula. New Edition was a precursor to all of the latter. Instead of always having a guest rapper on songs they would handle the raps themselves. Shoot, sometimes they were featured guests on songs as rappers like Brown on Glen Maderios’s She Aint Worth It, or Janet Jackson and Luthor Vandross’s The Best Things in Life Are Free featuring members of BBD and Ralph Tresvant.

With all that being said it’s great to FINALLY see NE’s story being told on the lil screen because a 2 hr movie on the big screen just won’t do it justice. Being spread out for 3 nights on BET should be able to cover more of the amazing career of NE that has spanned over 30 years. 3 years after his major record label debut Eminem had a movie loosely based off his life, years later there were biopics released covering the careers of The Notorious B.I.G and N.W.A. with one coming out about 2Pac on his born day this year, shoot even Michel’le had a movie based off her life so this series on NE who came out before all those acts and influenced just about every r and b group that came out since that matters is long overdue. I fast and pray it’s better than that Aaliyah mess, never saw it but from what I heard…

Before this series all we really had to go off to tell the NE story besides the typical Behind the Music and Unsung episodes was Brown’s autobiography Every Little Step that just came out last year which was very revealing and of course divulged much information one of the biggest NE heads like myself did not know of like when he revealed a Catholic priest tried to molest him. His sexcapades with the likes of Janet Jackson and Madonna is not really surprising especially with Madonna. Seems like it was a rites of passage for any artist, movie star or athlete to have a fling with her as they reached super stardom over the years from Sean Penn to Vanilla Ice, Big Daddy Kane, Prince, Michael Jackson2pac, Dennis Rodman, Guy Richie and Alex Rodriguez. All I’m saying is getting with Madonna is nothing to brag about, just get on tv or the radio and you good.

Image result for bobby brown book

Anyways, while stories like Brown’s have much embellishing (don’t know about that sex with a ghost thing, really Bobby? Cocaine IS a hell of a drug) one thing I used to tell folks all the time was in the union of Brown and Whitney Houston, is that she was the problem. Ultimately as chronicled in the book when Brown wanted to get away from drugs, Houston wanted to keep using and that eventually lead to her demise while Brown is flying high with a beautiful wife today ( which was the bad sista on the trumpet in Wrecks N Effect’s Rump Shaker, fellas I’m sure you remember). People say Brown ruined Houston’s career and wanted her money, smh. As the book details, when they met Bobby was on top of the world and making more money than her. After they married, Brown’s record sales slowed down tremendously, meanwhile Houston’s Bodyguard Soundtrack became all the rage and her bestselling album. Who really benefited? Rumors were flying around of Houston being a lesbian and not black enough, hooking up with the “bad boy of R and B” fixed all that. Not saying she only used him and did not love him but read the book and you can clearly see Brown got the shitty end of the stick.

While Brown’s book did not have enough NE in it for me to get my fix on my favorite musical group of all time and to me the greatest r and b group since they came out ( look at all the groups that have come and gone since they emerged, just staggering) there ARE some golden moments like on page 50 when Brown discusses their work ethic…

“The dance steps needed to become so familiar to us that we could do them without thinking about them. And if we didn’t have to think about them, then we could focus our energy on the crowd and the show. It was  a work ethic that became second nature to us. I think that work ethic has been largely lost with the current generation of performers. In R and B, there are only a handful of performers who I can say without a doubt share that devotion to the work…..

The rappers? Not so much. Thirteen mics onstage, dudes wandering around everywhere-there’s mostly performance but not much show. Sometimes you can’t even tell who’s rapping the verse because everybody is singing or chanting along. I’m thinking, shut up and let him do it!”

Another highlight is when he discusses his relationship with Michael Jackson which was good to read as I used to think their was tension between them when I read (or saw, can’t remember) an interview of Brown’s in which he critiqued Jackson’s Dangerous for being “too street” for Michael (the Teddy Riley tracks of course). Parting ways with Jackson, I once read that Quincy Jones referred Riley to him as the next young up and coming producer for Mike to work with. Makes sense, from 1988 to the release of Dangerous, Brown had made the world forget about Michael to some extent. Don’t Be Cruel that came out in 1988 was the biggest selling album of 1989. Funny thing about that is many people buying the album was probably due to the remixes of singles and On Our Own ( a video which among it’s many cameos included the now POTUS Donald Trump. Who would have thunk it?) from the Ghostbusters 2 Soundtrack that Don’t Be Cruel did not include. So it makes sense that MCA would jump at the chance to release a remix/dance album of previously released Brown material called Dance…Ya Know It! to ride the wave of the cash cow that was Brown at the time and it also made sense that Jackson would try to jump on the wave of the New Jack Swing era’s sound and hire Riley, the author of that sound, to lace him with some tracks. When you listen to the tracks Riley had on Brown’s follow up to Don’t Be Cruel called Bobby, while the majority were ok, they were just inferior to the production he did on the “king of pop’s” album. I can’t help but think about Brown singing some of those joints off of Dangerous and how much more credibility it could have given them. That’s saying a lot when you compare him to Jackson like that………..and I just did. Sometimes I feel people forget just how big Bobby was at his peak as he could never seem to get out from under Whitney’s shadow after they married, for she was “America’s sweetheart.” I think these reminders may help anyone who forgot.

There really was no tension like I thought between Brown and Jackson though. In Brown’s book he mentions all of NE visiting MJ at his house around 1985 where I’m sure MJ picked up a dance move or two. I mean just look at the popping and locking NE do in their earlier videos starting with Candy Girl and then look at the way Jackson danced during the Thriller era vs the Bad era…..yeah, he kind of changed up his repertoire. A favorite part of mine in the book is when Brown reveals one time after he married Whitney, Michael told him that he (Michael) thought he was going to marry Whitney and Bobby would respond and tell him that he (Brown) thought he was going to marry Michael’s sister (Janet). Good stuff man, the book is full of that.

Another good part is when Brown tells about hanging out with Mike Tyson during his (Tyson’s) heyday. However, it’s Brown’s fault why Tyson lost to Buster Douglas. The night before Tyson’s fight with Douglas in Tokyo, him and Bobby were up the whole previous night having sex with a bunch of geishas. I’m just joking about it being Brown’s fault. Ultimately everyone is responsible for their own actions and Brown did try to talk some sense into Tyson that night according to the book and Brown felt like shit when Tyson went down in the 10th against Douglas and could not get back up during the fight. Damn you Bobby! Lol, I cried like Brown when I found out Tyson lost, Mike Tyson’s Punchout was my joint! Had to hear a lot of jokes and nonsense from the white boys at school after that.  At least it wasn’t as worse as the drug jokes after the numerous arrests of Dwight Gooden who was my favorite baseball player. Brown and Tyson are still good friends ( remember this? ) and in Tyson’s book he admits to doing way too much partying and not enough training before that infamous fight in which he lost the belt. Brown was pretty good at boxing in his own right and tells a pretty humorous story about his brief career in boxing as well as another story about sparring with Tyson that did not turn out too well, lol.

Towards the end of Brown’s book he critique’s his own health and weight and jokes about getting back in to the shape he was at the height of his career and questions if he will ever get there again and then mentions he will one day without question. Well, just like I rooted for him and Whitney to work out, I’m rooting for him on getting in better shape as well. I had the gumby hairdo often from 88-90 and just in the last year saw my son adopt a pretty lousy version of one after his locs were cut off, lol. It’s not his fault though.

Last time I saw New Edition perform live was at the Celebrity Theater in late 2011. It was the first time my wife at the time who used to to make fun of my fondness for NE and swore groups like Boyz to Men and the Jacksons were better got to see their greatness up close and the first time I got to see all 6 of them together since 1997 during the Home Again tour which I thought was incredible so it was alarming to find out how much of a horror story that tour was behind the scenes and I didn’t even know about the gun incident on stage until their Behind the Music episode. But yeah, at the Celebrity they even sung Boys to Men, quite possibly my most favorite New Edition song ever which I also came down the aisle to during my wedding. There was one point where I saluted Brown when he was on stage and he saluted me back. It was funny because I remember when he tripped off the stage and tried to play it off by running down the aisle. My wife and I were in the 2nd row right next to the aisle and she said when he ran past her he wreaked of alcohol, lol. It did not hinder the performance at all, like they do every time, NE turned that venue out, they are the best!

Enjoy the mini series that starts tomorrow, been reading nothing but rave reviews. The Five Heartbeats was good and one of my favorite movies, but THIS is the real deal. Also enjoy some of my fav NE moments after the jump to prime you for the mini series and if you enjoyed this read and want to show support or appreciation for all things TRUE SKOOL RADIO feel free to leave a small or big donation by clicking here….

PEACE

Check out all 4 parts of this interview
New Edition on BET Silver Anniversary
New Edition recieves lifetime achievement award

S.O.N.S program requests your assistance

What is S.O.N.S.?

S.O.N.S. is a 15 week Leadership Development Program designed specifically for African American boys, ages 12-17.

Who?

S.O.N.S. is a collaborative effort between several local organizations that have a history of committing their time and resources to the African American community. They include: Fatimah Halim, President/CEO of Life Paradigms, Inc., Qaadir Muhammad and Bilal Rahim of “Fight For Life” No Excuses and Our Black Fathers Committee LLC and Gung Fu Specialist, James Sesay.

Classes

In addition to weekly Gung Fu Martial Arts training, Spoken Word, writing lyrics and poetry, learning to play Chess, and developing Public Speaking skills, classes include the following:

  • Digital Branding
  • Community Service
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Mental Wellness –mental self care; hygiene
  • Community Activism
  • Political Science
  • College Preparedness
  • History of Political Movements and Activism
  • Sex Education
  • Digital Branding
  • Personal Finance; stocks & bonds; investments; brokerage accounts; mutual funds, saving and banking, etc.
  • Gardening
  • Police Interaction
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Creating an App
  • Camping Retreat

Classes will begin at 10am for the boys at South Mountain Community college but the instructor expects them to be there at 9:45 in which they will start stretching for Gung Fu class. Here is the important part where you can help, the organizers are looking for any generous donations you can contribute to help aid for acquiring…..

*Uniforms\Ceremonial Sashes

*Tents\Sleeping Bags

*Field Trip

If parents can’t afford to pay for the above, we really don’t want to turn their children away that NEED this. The cost for all the above would be around $75 and does not necessarily have to all be paid up front. It can be spread out through the length of the program. African American boys have the opportunity to receive some of the best and most comprehensive leadership and life skills training afforded young black men in Arizona. More info can be found here at www.life-paradigms.com in which you can find information on a sister program for our young women that caters to the roles of responsibility the woman play in in our culture as well called Blueprint for Womanhood. Classes for the girls starts at 10:30am at Eastlake Park.

From what I understand they pretty much have the funding for the girls covered, hence the focus on the boys program in this blog. However, I implore you if you have young girls/know young girls between the ages of 12-17 that can benefit from learning more about African Dance, how to love themselves, talking about boys and sex in a mature setting, politics, public speaking and communicating clearly ( Come on now sistas, you know how much YOU need to work on that, lol) STEAM, sacred body care, personal finances, maximizing the HS experience, how to boost their confidence, storytelling and entrepreneurship and starting your own business, by all means……do the knowledge to the link and sign them up!

Something important to know is that no one participating will be allowed to miss 3 classes. So if you miss the first week, cool, 2nd, kinda pushing it but 3rd week, won’t be able to attend. Other than that, can’t miss a total of 3 classes. Throughout the program which runs from 1/21/16 through early May we will have some of the teachers involved sprinkled throughout numerous TSR shows. I have noticed through my getting the word out and passing this on to others that the young women are more excited to be a part of their program than the boys are to be a part of theirs. A sista I was building with made a great point and said that you need to have a young attractive girl introduce it to them. Good point, but regardless I have a couple young brothas participating including my son and I know they will come out better young men than how they came into it. All our young brothers and sisters should go through some rites of passage like this and truly learn about themselves, not just how to be slaves and hard workers for a capitalistic society.

Donations can be made here

PEACE

TSR 1/8/17 with Abdul Speaks about his Self Defense Classes for Women

( please listen to this show by clicking here first if you don’t want it to be spoiled. Also for more information on the self defense classes click here )

On our first show of 2017, we welcomed another great luminary in the community of Phoenix, AZ in Bro. Abdul Speaks mainly to speak about the self defense class he had for women the previous day at Eastlake Park.

We started off with a drop by Mr. Roqy Tyraid, then got into the intro of Stic.Man’s incredible album The Workout called MVPThe Workout holds a high place for me in hip hop culture. Never has there been a hip hop album to my knowledge that also worked (pun intended) as a fitness/nutrition/health album. In order for a culture to grow it has to be healthy as well right? To me this type of hip hop album which can literally save lives was long overdue (it came out in 2011) and shows the potential of what hip hop music can be. Stic is one of the most innovative brothers I have listened to in hip hop and I love what he has done with his “celebrity” ( RBG FitClub for one) and this is nothing new for Stic who has helped to pen other pertinent gems dealing with health both mentally and physically like Be Healthy, Mind Sex, and 50 in the Clip. Just check out the titles to songs on the album like the aforementioned MVP which challenges the individual to be focused and consistent with their well being without making excuses, Blood Pumpin that speaks to the importance of kinetic energy and staying in motion ( all my call center and office people, hope you have some type of cardio you are involved in whether it’s working out, going to the park to play basketball or have a very good sex life because sitting at a desk all day on the phone……not healthy, lol) Back on My Regimen is very dope and great motivation for those who fell off track to get back on like myslef, just click on the link to check the visuals, as a matter of fact click on all the links if you never heard them, many of them have great visuals as well. Let it Burn is another fav of mine which speaks to killin’ calories in various ways of working out and goes so hard, I love it. Peep below

How many times have we made playlists to workout to? Gotta thank sticky icky for making a whole album I can always turn to that gets the job done. The album has other songs that pay tribute or homage to the likes of Bruce Lee and Joe Louis, check it out!

After MVP, we moved on with Skillz’s 2016 Rap UpMy fav part of the song has to be when Skillz talks about not wanting to see another girl with a dog on her face, lol. Don’t know what is so appealing about that with snapchat for folks, maybe some sistas really DO see themselves as bitches, and brothers see themselves as dogs, smh. The woke vs Pokemon Go line was cool too.

Anyways after all that, my cohost Shaka and I clowned around a bit with the gunshot sound effects, I then shared some info about our guest and introduced him. I build that many people take heed to how he came up as a self employed entrepreneur with his painting company Pro Tech Painting. Do for self yall, no one ever got rich working for someone else………now that quote may not be ENTIRELY true, but I like it because it pushes you to NOT work for anyone else and I love having everyday people like Abdul on my show that put all these celebrities people worship to shame.

We had a little technical difficulties when Abdul first came on but eventually got past it. I first congratulated him on living to see another born day ( just recently had another one myself on Jan 6th, #SelfishPlug) and he attributed some of his youthfulness to the youth which I feel hip hop has always been a great bridge for me when it comes to them. Every time I come across young brothers who may be in the streets like I was at their age, usually they have an affinity for spitting rhymes and I always know the type of material to spit when we have ciphers that creates a connection or bond. I guess it helps that being of the 5% many have not come across my ilk and have not heard the type of knowledge I am sharing, but guess what, I was introduced to that through hip hop! Not school but hip hop. Those from that type of school of thought ( the 5%) SEEM to be missing from more popular rap acts, but we still out here, in the streets, in the schools, the workplace or wherever we be and many of us ARE hip hop, so we STILL teaching, don’t get it twisted. #GODHOP lives baby!

   Brother Abdul later goes on to credit poet Christopher Owens bka Truth B Told to some, for being a catalyst to starting the self defense classes at Eastlake. He then speaks on some of his history and credentials in the world of martial arts, talked about the success of the class the previous day, the importance of boxing and how that was his introduction to martial arts due to his father being a prize fighter.

We continued by discussing the fear some have when it comes to combat. Something Abdul once told me was to the effect of everyone is scared to get hit until they get hit. Once you get hit it can be bad for some, but for others you realize that fear was all for naught and it’s something you CAN handle. The key is to get started or like he said, show up! Martial arts should be just essential to one’s way of life just as much as cooking, sewing, showering, brushing your teeth etc etc which our guest touched on as well. Something very key for those that may be hesitant to  attend one of the classes is that no one is going to be getting hit because you really have to take baby steps as you make your way up to serious sparring.

Another part I found humorous was when Abdul spoke about in a real life situation going to the ground on your back is not really practical. It reminded me of a story some of 2pac’s buddies from back in the day told about how when they would spar, Pac would immediately get on his back trying to do something some older Black Panthers taught him, lol.

Next we talked about Abdul’s organization Good Positive Brothers and what they have been involved in. As a matter of fact, once at a community clean up they were involved with at the George Washington Carver Museum, my son Born Justice, known as Xeno in the dance community, was awarded a free laptop from GPB for his participation. So when Abdul said on the show he wants to high five the youth for doing something positive and award them, he is real about it.

( Bro Abdul is on the far right in reflection above and this vid for those with fb)

Instead of being an old and bitter elder, Abdul then touches on why it’s so important to be involved with the youth because they know how to make things “cool” and can reach other youth like we can’t. As we get older we tend to get out of tune with what is cool, so again, I attribute hip hop for helping me bridge the gap with younger brothers and sisters and staying hip no matter how much my son thinks I’m not. The truth is I’m cooler than him, ha haaaaa.

As far as the phenomenal pamphlet the Black Code that Bro Abdul put together, PLEASE click on it and check it out. When it comes to self governing and holding others accountable (which we really need to do more of, tough love aint dead, yall sensitive boys in mens bodies are going to have to learn how to deal with it) The Black Code is the epitome!

Brother Abdul can be reached at goodpositivebrothers@yahoo.com and below are the other links he mentioned on the show
Abdul Speaks fb page
Good Positive Bros fb page

Last but not least, I cannot speak about how important much of Abdul’s closing words were in which he spoke about the individual vs the group especially how idiotic the individualistic mind state is. When you study you know that capitalism was never really our way as most Africans came up in socialist societies in which what one obtained or did was for the betterment of EVERYONE. Like Abdul said, people do things to us because they know they can get away with it for there are no repercussions. How many vids have we seen of young sistas being brutalized while other brothers just stand around filming or whatever besides doing what they should be doing? Learning self defense will help to prevent you from being a victim as depicted in  this vid and instead be more of a victor like in this vid.

So to all my sistas, take the opportunity to participate in the classes Abdul has at Eastlake if the men in your life are too much of punks to protect you or you FEEL there are no men in your life or THINK there aren’t any good positive brothers. You can find at least one at the classes who has put time aside to teach you something that is vital to your well being. Here is an article that details something I wanted go into that we just didn’t have enough time for and will answer a question I posed to our guest that may have puzzled some listeners.  I don’t think our guest knew where I was trying to stir him as well and this happens often when you’re short on time but I really appreciate his build on nepotism because leaving a legacy for our seeds doesn’t appear to be of much importance to many of us. This is why I really dug Ice Cube’s son playing him in Straight Outta Compton.

We would end up closing the show with this nice lil jab at played out rappers with limited skills by J. Cole, Everybody Dies

Of course everything that was spoken on I am not mentioning so make sure you listen here. One of my favorite parts was when Abdul speaks on utilizing what’s learned in martial arts to applying the same techniques and lessons in other aspects of life such as when you verbally joust with someone.  Many mcs could learn a lot from martial arts, maybe that’s why those that partake in the arts like RZA, Afu Ra, Stic.Man, Jay Electronica and Lupe Fiasco are so superior to the wannabe thugs, posers and sellouts but you have to listen to the show to hear how Abdul breaks it down. The good news is that we will continue to have shows covering what’s going on in the classes in which there will be general classes for everyone to attend as well which will be the second Saturdays of every month.

A couple more vids I wanted to share for motivation by Stic.Man that was not played on the show

I Believe
“I got things I wonna do with my life I ain’t did yet
I know I’ve been close to the egde but I ain’t dead yet
It’s never too late to make a change for the better
And I really mean it this time I’m bout to get myself together
I know it’s not just me I’m not the only one
Everybody got something that they need to over come
You ain’t got to smoke crack to be a fiend
A fiend is just somebody that’s addicted it can be anything
Too many of us addicted to the American dream
We high from the lies on the TV screen
We drunk from the poison that they teach in the schools
And we junkies from the chemicals we eat in the food”

We Run These Streets

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read as well as those who listened to the show, please share. Also the rest of the shows for this month will be an hour long which costs. If you want to help us continue to have shows that length or just want to show support for what we doing and other future endeavors feel free to leave a lil or big donation at our following paypal link PayPal.Me/TrueSkoolRadio

Lets continue to work towards getting free in 2017. Down with capitalism up with unification and peace to all the TRUE brothers and sistas that think positive and most importantly DO positive things.

PEACE!!!

 

Self defense training for women

Ok, after two poor showings of her boxing defense can we all agree now that Rhonda Rousey (more like Rhonda Lousy) would probably get killed if she went toe to toe with Money Mayweather in a ring? I mean Nunes is no Mayweather and look what she did along with Holm, what yall think….

and those memes were just cruel, this one below was my personal fav for the simple fact of how much I detested the intro to Street Fighter 2 where the brotha gets knocked out, lol

A post shared by julian. (@blackdynomiiiite) on

Anyways self defense is a must, just like brushing your teeth and taking a shower. With that being said, a good brother in our community out here in Phx, AZ that I call by the name of Bro. Abdul is setting some time aside to share and teach his knowledge of self defense for women starting this Saturday at East Lake Park. Info can be found in link below
https://apm.activecommunities.com/phoenix/Activity_Search/self-defense-for-women/15966

He will be doing this every first and third Saturday of every month until things change, how peace is that? So to all my sistas especially those with professions like being a stripper that attract many creepy stalker types please do yourself a favor and come out to these seminars and get your defense skills up, don’t go out like Rhonda Lousy.

One last thing, best believe we will be getting brother Abdul on TRUE SKOOL RADIO to discuss this determined idea among many other great things he has going on. He may not title himself some type of prince like Umar Johnson or a general like Seti but I never heard of anyone saying those two individuals have taught self defense to ANYONE. I could be wrong. All these incredible luminaries we have in our communities and we caught up with “famous” individuals we may never come across in life in which most tend to be poverty pimps. Anyways, instead of getting caught up in youtube celebrities that only like to hear themselves talk, and bickering about the state of black consciousness because two individuals had a disagreement and have to air out all their grievances online looking like some whining ass babies, do yourself a favor and share this information instead of those childish vids because more of what Brother Abdul is doing is what we need. That’s an example I think is worth followinging. Less talk more action.

Peace to all the Nat Turner types, all you Isiahs in the big house talking that don’t worry be happy, don’t rock the boat, don’t be a grinch during holidays ( you DO realize who you are when watching Birth of a Nation with that bs, you aint Nat Turner, you Isiah) stay in line, don’t mess it up for the rest of us…………….go kill ya self! Because you in the way

PEACE

Break Beat Poets workshop

This incredible event took place 12/3/2016 at Cesar Chavez Library/ Park. It started off with an amazing dance cipher presented by Cyphers which is a well respected hip hop organization who’s name rings bells out here in the valley of the sun.

One of the dancers was my young god Born Justice Allah who is now going by the stage name Xeno and has been dancing professionally with his hip hop crew Beat Drop Kidz for only 9 months and is a much better dancer than I ever was in my hey day. As many hip hop fathers that watch their seeds do hip hop can attest, to see them grow in the craft of the element that resonates with them most is a feeling that words just can’t describe. Some of the other dancers who participated in the cipher I have been seeing rock often through out the year and they always spark awe in a brother who has watched some of the best do this for over 25 years.

After the cipher some poets that included Black Poet Ventures and Phonetic Spit, which consisted of a 16 year old sista who was many years wise beyond her age dropping some heavy knowledge on the exploitation of too many rap artists that sell their soul for fortune and fame, shared some pretty powerful pieces.

Next some young brothers representing for the School of Hip Hop Phx mesmerized the crowd with some hypnotic hip hop music that took it back to Africa at one point with a rebellious joint that evoked tribal jams around a bonfire in which one half of the duo, Saadiq the Misfit frustrated with the microphone, put it down and started orating loud enough from his lungs for the whole audience in the park to hear. It’s brothers like them that just make me shake my head at these XXL freshmen types that are lacking because I see way too many young cats who are swift with the gift like these brothers along with other artists like Products of Infamy that are just as worthy of having the torch passed on to them as much as heads like Kendrick and J Cole are.

Eventually it came down to a point where the sun went down and it was dark and cold but after the crowd got some nourishment that was provided, the majority of them sat in a circle on stage as the main performance took place that was preceded by a poet by the name of Myrlin who I first saw perform at an anti Arpaio event put together by Artistic Reason AZ at the Puente Rights Movement center I was honored to host via request of my brother V Prolific. Myrlin spoke of how he was teaching those locked up the importance of public speaking which it is said is peoples no. 1 fear above drowning, marinate on that.

Break Beat Poets performance was so damn inspiring I don’t know where to start. I can just say it’s great to hear people talk about what made hip hop important to you and the same appreciation shown, especially when so many are ridiculing it and trying to tear it down. It was hip hop music that shook me awake, introduced me to Malcolm X, told me to Fight the Power, not to Believe the Hype and that I Can’t Truss It. It was hip hop that told me in 88 Fuck the Police! There was one point where one of the performers said we have Apartheid here in the U.S. and our Nelson Mandela was Chuck D. Another part I remember was when the same artists spoke of learning about people other than old white men that got lost in the woods. I kind of chuckled because I recently had my son, who I homeschool, read Walden by Henry Thoreau but I don’t think he got lost in the woods…….did he?

Break Beat Poets often took time out to speak to the crowd and one question asked was where people in Phx learned to dance out here, I wanted to yell MJ and New Edition videos along with Soul Train but someone yelled youtube before me which tickled us all a lil bit because of the reality of it. I can tell you what my son did that I didn’t because I didn’t know of any around me. He asked me if it was ok to join the Beat Drop Kids who’s members he saw perform at the very first battle he participated in and he started to train with them. Yes I said train, practice is what he does at home and he took it real seriously. Steel sharpens steel. The speaker refered to how in his days coming up that is what dancers did, they challenged and battle others to improve or sharpen their own moves. This can apply to mcs as well. So many be on that doctor seus mother goose simple minded bs because they have never been challenged, I’m just speculating though, otherwise their ish wouldn’t be utter trash. Mumble rap, mumble crap!

All in all, I just wish I had a camera man to come along with me for these type of events because I refuse to experience them through some grafted device while I am there in person and because of that I missed recording the second half of Cyphers performance in which my son gave one of the best performances I ever seen him do. So………with all that being said, if there is anyone who is reading this that got that whole performance recorded, please share it with me so I can keep reliving it, lol.

To learn more about Break Beat Poets start with the link below, PEACE
http://www.breakbeatpoets.com/