Interview with MC Barry B (The Mean Machine Crew)
|MC Barry B (The Fabulous Four MC Connection / The Mena Machine Crew)|
conducted by Sir Norin Rad (The Intruders / Germany)
SIR NORIN RAD:"Where exactly did you grow up at?"
BARRY B:"I grew up in East Harlem, Wagner Houses.. on Pleasant Avenue."
SIR NORIN RAD:"How old were you when you encountered Hiphop for the first time?"
BARRY B:"I don't know...I had to be about 11 or 12 because we actually listened to cassette tapes and one of the first cassette tapes was Flash but then the next cassette tape we heard was Funky Four and then we heard Sha Rock (female MC of the Funky Four). "
SIR NORIN RAD:"Oh..."
BARRY B:"Right! That's what we used to listen to on the bench."
SIR NORIN RAD:"So someone from your neighbourhoood used to bring live tapes along from BX groups like Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five?"
BARRY B:"Yeah, well actually it wasn't The Furious Five, I think it was The Furious Four."
SIR NORIN RAD:"I see. So this must have been around early 1979 or even earlier before Rahiem left The Funky Four to join The Furious Four?"
BARRY B:"Around that time I believe, I cannot give the exact date when Rahiem went to The Furious Four but I know that when I heard those tapes Rahiem was still with The Funky Four. Then later on down the line he was with The Furious Five. That's my man!"
SIR NORIN RAD:"Did these tapes inspire you to start MCing?"
BARRY B:"I just didn't hear them and did it because actually you know what inspired us? We had a group on our block. It was a guy his name was DJ Kid Flash. Marvin Major....his name was Kid Flash. Not being the guy from the Bronx, he was from East Harlem. His MCs were Eddy Ed and Greg G. So those were the three..."
SIR NORIN RAD:"Where did you see DJ Kid Flash and his crew perform at?"
BARRY B:"They was on 124th Street park. We called it Woodland Park."
SIR NORIN RAD:"When you saw them perform in that park what kind of impression did that leave on you?"
BARRY B:"That left a good impression because after that I wrote (rhymes). So when it was time for Kid Flash and his MCs to take a break they had me on the mic, me and I think it was Master Z. We helped them, we backed them up. So I guess to give the MCs a break. We did shows like in Chuck Center with Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. So we was over there doing shows with them. Like I was secondary, you know I was starting so it's like I'm secondary. You know I mean when they get tired Kid Flash would be like,"Yo, get ready!" So I'mma go in! So my father had other children and I didn't really know them because I'm on this side. My father never let us know he had other children. I had an older brother named Darryl, so when Darryl went down south I was upset. My pops came through he saw I was angry because my brother Darryl had left to move down south. That's when he told me about my other siblings. He said, "You ain't the only one. I just met your brother. He's downstairs." I tried to figure out what brother. He said he had blue and white on. That's my brother T-Bird. So me and my cousin Kenny ran down and I seen him. He had on a blue and white sweatsuit. I said,"Yo, kid! There you go! That's T- Bird!" So when I walked up I said, "T-Bird?" And he said,"Darryl?" I shook my head, "No." He said,"Barry!!" I said, "What up? How you doing?" 'cause that's the first time I'm meeting my oldest brother. At he first time I ain't know 'cause you know it's on my father's side, not my mother's side. So anyway he gave me the adress to come to the house. They had a party in his house in the Bronx the next day 'cause it was his birthday but I didn't go there because there was a party in Woodland Park. We partied in there, breakdancing and all that!!! You know, we had a good time in there. Even Ski Jump (The Floor Masters) came through. Everybody came through. That was our East Side little corner besides other places. So I didn't come that day, so the next day I seen my brother I said, "Yo, I ain't come. I come today." I was young, so I hit my mom up, "Yo, ABCDEFG." I better let her know. She knew who I met. I said, "They told me they would like me to come over. What's up?" She said,"That's your brother. Yeah, go on over the bridge. Just make sure you know the address." Now I get over the bridge, they told me to look for the white water tower. I looked for the white water tower, I didn't really image that. We never really went over the bridge, we were young. Everything was about the East Side. You never crossed the Willis Avenue Bridge unless my mom took us shopping. So when I came over the bridge I'm stuck but God is so good and powerful that I can't understand how powerful he is and I love it. I'm right there on 141st Street at the yellow church, it's right on the corner...Willis Avenue. So I ain't seen no white water tower and then it so happened I seen the girl my brother was with over my side. I said, "You're Linda?" She said,"Yeah, you're Tony's brother." I said, "Can I ask you a question?" She said, "Yeah!" I said, "Where is the house?" So then she brought me up to the house and we all met each other and then I met my other brother Tiny (RIP). I met my sister Hazel...that's MC Lil Bit..and I met my sister Trudy. Trudy was on the turntables. So Tiny came in the house and then he found out that I'm his brother. He asked, "Yo, you're hanging out?" I said, "Yeah!" So he just snatched me, we went to my aunt's house, we hung out. So me and him were walking over the Willis Avenue Bridge 'cause I wanted to get some clothes. I'mma stay for the weekend. So he asked me, "What do you do?" I said, "I rhyme." He said, "You rhyme?" I said, "Yeah, I rhyme." Remember I'm secondary, remember I'm secondary over here. So he said,"Go ahead! Rhyme!" I said, "I need a beat." He said, "Alright. I'mma play Bongo Rock for you."'Cause my brother Tiny was a DJ (DJ Tiny Tine of The Mean Machine Crew) and he learnt how to MC later. So he said, "I'mma play you Bongo Rock!!!!" He was beatboxing through his mouth but just saying it not like a Doug E Fresh beatbox but he kept that beat. So me and him stepped on the Willis Avenue Bridge and I rhymed that whole Willis Avenue Bridge non-stop! Non-Stop!! Rhyme for rhyme for rhyme for rhyme...ain't no talking about yes yes y'all....rhyme for rhyme for rhyme.....He said,"Wow! You my MC now!!!"
|DJ Tiny Tine (The Mean Machine Crew)|
SIR NORIN RAD:"How long did you serve as back-up MC for DJ Kid Flash? How many parties did you do with him?"
BARRY B:"Could have been about three, maybe four parties. If they needed us, it's when they get tired, you know what I mean? They rhyme the whole party but if they get tired, "Yo, you're ready?" So we're coming in, so they get a second breather...they can get their breath and come back in. So it may have been about a year, could have been about a year. Maybe about four parties if that. I'm not too sure about that. I was just happy to actually get on. You get on and say something little, you're not saying what they're saying because you're not ready yet. I'm secondary, I'm not ready yet. They're polished, they know their stuff. We're just coming in and make sure we got that beat and we're holding it. No routines, just a rhyme, you know what I'm saying???"
SIR NORIN RAD:"Did you have to audition in front of Kid Flash to become one of his back-up MCs? How did that come about?"
BARRY B:"Because everybody rhymed outside! Everybody rhymed! Like I told you we were sitting on the bench and we were listening to other MCs."Oh, we gonna write something! We gonna try!" Then we started with a little bit or whatever. I don't even remember what my first rhyme was 'cause that's many, many years ago. The crazy thing is... now we got over the bridge back now and I rhymed back across the whole bridge. When I realized that's a long bridge to just rhyme...once I learnt that pattern...and I'mma tell you what happened next.....that became my practice, you know what I'm saying? So when you get on the stage there is no way in the world you're winded because you rhyme that whole bridge...non-stop!!! So when we got to the house, he (DJ Tiny Tine) told them about me. Remember they already met me. Tiny came with me to get my clothes, now I'm coming to spend a whole weekend with them. I'm their baby brother. They want to get to know me. So everybody is in the house.... Rockin Rob, Crazy Eddie, my partner MC Little Rich...everybody is in the house.....The Mean Machine Crew!!! They played music 'cause they did a three-day-party. I ain't never seen that in my life. Now when I say a three-day-party in the morning you go home. What I loved about my stepmom and I loved her the best... she kept us out the streets. We can go, we do our business but if we wanted to party she let us up in the house. Just you ain't smoking in here, none of that and she let us party so that kept you out the streets. We had our own crew, you know what I'm saying? We had a big crew...Mean Machine Crew, South Bronx!!! Not the ones from Sylvia Robinson with Sugar Hill. We are talking about the original Mean Machine Crew from the Black Door!! DJ Rockin Rob, DJ Tiny Tine....my brother...rest in peace......DJ Tin Man, The Fabulous Four MC Connection: MC Crazy Eddie, MC Little Rich, my sister MC Lil Bit, myself the Playboy Kid, the MC Wiz MC Barry B!!!! You know what I'm saying, that's how we became that!! So they asked me to come in the room. They heard me rhyme and all of a sudden everybody disappeared one by one from the room. I'm in the living room. So they came out and said,"Yo, come here!" I said, "What's up?" They said, "Hey, I wanna ask you a question...You are family from the same blood. I know you secondary with Kid Flash but would you like to be one with us?" I said, "My family? Yeah, I'm with y'all. You're my family, we're blood! We are literally blood! Our father's blood's going through everybody's veins. Yeah, I'm down." And that's how I became part of The Fabulous Four MC Connection, of the Mean Machine Crew."
SIR NORIN RAD:"The Willis Avenue Bridge connects East Harlem with the Bronx, right?"
BARRY B:"It's two bridges if you really want. It's two bridges...3rd Avenue Bridge that brings you back from the Bronx and it's the Willis Avenue Bridge that brings you across to the Bronx. Like if you're driving you go over the Willis Avenue Bridge, that's the long bridge. I loved to walk that bridge, I still walk that bridge and if you're in a car you can't go back over that bridge, you have to go through the 3rd Avenue Bridge. One bridge brings you in, one bridge brings you out. There is other bridges that bring you out but you said East Harlem."
|Willis Avenue Bridge|
SIR NORIN RAD:"Could you please describe how you as The Mean Machine Crew rehearsed for your live shows?"
BARRY B:"Okay, my stepmother.....I talked about her before....I love her she kept us out the streets. So instead of us being somewhere in the street doing something, we practiced in the house. She let us practice everything in the house. We would do some words in the house, you know, because we learned to put routines together. You gotta put routines together 'cause the hot boys got routines!!! You have to put routines together! Ain't about you getting on no stage just rhyming and then the next MC....NO!!!!!! You have to put a routine together! You had the Force MCs, they had all the routines. You had the Fantastic Five, you had the Furious Five...so we are Black Door now!! We gotta say something on stage to make somebody look at us!!! My DJ Rockin' Rob had his thing going and he was very excellent at his thing but we all perfected at the same time. The perfection was so crazy I loved it, you know what I'm saying!!!! We practiced so hard!!! Now we got the words together in the house 'cause we all wrote together. A piece, a piece, a piece..we all got a piece!! That's how the routine went right or switch it back up. That taught me a lot about putting things together. Now I'm learning how to put routines together, so once I learned how to put a routine together I said, "Now I gotta perfect this craft!" So by perfecting this craft I'm listening. They had a lot of things going on out there!! You can hear it, you hear the Fantastic 5....I love the Fantastic Five on the mic.....(sings a Fantastic Five routine) Fantastic Romantic Five! Each one is qualified.......and they tore it up live!!! I been on stage with them.....Lord!!!! The Furious Five....they tore it up!!! I haven't been on stage with the Force MCs but they were nice!!! Stevie D is my man!! He a cool dude! They had F Troop!!! Hold up, hold up! Ain't nobody tear up F Troop!!! (sings a routine of the Force MCs)......We came, we came. Yo, they had F Troop, B???? Come on, man!!! They came out with a lot of stuff. So we loved that and I said, "I gotta write something different!" So I started going into different thoughts. At the same time I said, "I gotta find something ain't nobody got!" So I'm into movies, Im good. So I went into "The Education of Sonny Carson".
SIR NORIN RAD:"Damn!"
|December 24th, 1980: DJ Rockin Rob & The Mean Machine perform at the T-Connection along with Grandwizard Theodore & The Fantastic Five |
BARRY B:"Right! I gotta get something! I gotta get something!! And our crew is the Mean Machine....so you know my family and them they was from Brooklyn,so there was gangs down there....Tomahawks and all that...and in that movie they had The Tomahawks and they sing, "We are the Tomahawks!!! The mighty, mighty Tomahawks!!" I thought about the Mean Machine!!!! (sings) We are the Mean Machine, the mighty, mighty Mean Machine!!!" Yeah!! (continues) Stay back now, sucker, sucker!!! The L-I-L..yes the B-I-T!!! Stay back now!!! Yeah, my sister..all of us!! So we were just putting routines together and so we got a lot of routines going on. Then we even started getting together...me and my partner Crazy Eddie and Lil Rich and we put "Seven Minutes Of Funk" together. Crazy Eddie would initiate it...I gotta little tune that I do miss and it goes something, something like this: One for the crowd, two for me! I wanna hear the voice of the Barry B! He is the man with the masterplan. He can rock the mic all over his hand! Lil Rich, Lil Bit, the female MC that is the sure shit!! And there's one more, that is me! The MC man called Crazy Eddie! Then we came right behind! We aaaaarrrreee the Four MCs and we rock you on down to your knees! Yeah!!! So it's of the rhythm!! So that made it more....now we ain't puppies no more!! You know when you're growing up, you're like first the puppy, then the middle sized dog, then the big dog. So we're getting stages through and now we're in a new stage. We're putting songs together, all of us! Mean Machine Crew! And then now we're adding up, we get on stage. My brother Tiny (RIP) and them, they used to have dance routines. So everybody (all the DJ /MC crews back then) had a dance routine that they posed. You know they're just posing, we didn't have that, we danced!!! We had a crazy dance routine and it was hard. It was a full-blown shuffle, we busted ass when we did it. We killed them and I remember one time we did it in the P.A.L.......183rd. I remember my sister (MC Lil Bit) she set it up, "Clap your hands everybody and everybody clap your hands! Clap your hands everybody and everybody clap your hands! We got our one DJ and our three MCs who gonna rock the step with no delay! And if you really wanna see them get on down just clap your hands to the funky sound!!! Say one for the money, two for the bass! Come on Rockin' Rob let's rock this place!" Now when she said,"Place!" the lights went off, the place went black.....blink of an eye black and then the strobe light came on..and at the same time she said that our right foot went in place and we went right to the routine and we tore their asses up on that stage!!!! They ain't seen nothing like that 'cause they're looking at posing! We ain't posing, we move, we do some funky stuff! We won the trophy that night!"
SIR NORIN RAD:"I think you told me once that your crew was affiliated with a squad called The Mix Masters which basically consisted of your students. How did that affiliation come about?"
BARRY B:"Ok, when I first came the umbrella was Mean Machine. We had Mix Masters and we had Disco Masters. Disco Masters consists of my big brother Moe. DJ Moe Start The Show and then my older brother Tony...T-Bird...... and we had Stretch. That's the Disco side. On the Hiphop side we had Rockin Rob, Tiny Tine and Tin Man. That were our DJs and The Fabulous Four MC Connection."
SIR NORIN RAD:"The Mix Masters were Hiphop though, right?"
BARRY B:"Yeah. One of their DJs was DJ Master Maze. He was a very good DJ."
|August 10th, 1979: The Mean Machine Crew and The Mix Masters perform at Mitchell's Gym|
SIR NORIN RAD:"I guess you were the only member of The Mean Machine Crew that came from East Harlem, is that correct? All the others came from the Bronx."
BARRY B:"Bronx, yeah. Everybody I met at my brother's house was from the Bronx."
SIR NORIN RAD:"Did you wear special outfits when you were performing on stage?"
BARRY B:"When we started performing we had sweatsuits with our name on it at first."
SIR NORIN RAD:"Would they have specific colors?"
BARRY B:"Red and black. Our Mean Machine crew is red and black but at that time it wasn't 'cause they had different colors sweatsuits, you know what I'm saying? But when we really settled Mean Machine is red and black. Just like that movie "The Longest Yard" with Burt Reynolds..yeah, Mean Machine.....red and black and they said Mean Machine on that, too, when they're playing football, "Mean Machine, Mean Machine!!!" Right!"
SIR NORIN RAD:"In which parks did the Mean Machine crew perform on the regular?"
BARRY B:"We had Clark Park. That's ours!!!"
|Clark Park (Mott Haven, BX) - Home of the Mean Machine Crew|| |
SIR NORIN RAD:"Where is Clark Park located?"
BARRY B:"Clark Park is on 3rd Avenue between 144th & 145th Street."
SIR NORIN RAD:"How many people would come there when your DJs set up their equipment and started playing music and you got busy on the mic?"
BARRY B:"A lot of people! A lot of people! A looooot of people!!! Let me tell you when I first rhymed out there I was nervous. I don't lie, I'm a man but I was nervous. So I had a practice that I would do as a practice that kept me hot besides the bridge, you know what I'm saying? I would be in the mirror in the bathroom and I' go off!! I'd go off in that mirror! I practiced! See MCs nowadays don't know...you have to practice!!! You have to be a one-verse-person meaning one take. That's the point of rehearsing your rhymes because when you get on stage you can't redo that!!! So you got to know your stuff, your part from beginning to end and then as knowing it so much you can put your feelings into it as you're saying your rhymes. You gonna sound like you're ready 'cause you practiced!!!"
SIR NORIN RAD:"I think that's something that many people today fail to understand about the golden era of original DJs and MCs. Crews had to build their reputation in the streets by constantly delivering fresh and impeccable live performances and so they couldn't just stop in the middle of their performance and say, "We're sorry! That obviously didn't work out well so we have to do it again." They had to come correct..."
BARRY B:" Nah, you crazy??? No, no,no, no!!! If you wanted to be alright the next day and nobody sayin' nothin' bad you better know your work!! They gonna know you messed up, you feel me??? They gonna know you messed up!!! They'd be like, "Oh, he don't even know his rhyme!!!" or "They messed up on stage!" That's what you gonna get! That's what you really gonna get! We never got booed but people did get booed."
SIR NORIN RAD:"Please describe what went down when your crew performed with Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five at Mott Haven Center!"
BARRY B:"That was my sister's birthday party, that was MC Lil Bit's birthday party. In that night...on the flyer was Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. So we up in there 'cause that's Mott Haven, we're Mott Haven. Ain't nothing, a regular day but we're having a party that night. Man, let me you something! I ain't gonna lie..I love me some Furious Five!!!!! I told you that. I love The Fantastic Five, I love The Force MCs, I love a lot of groups....I love the Cold Crush...don't get it twisted but the Furious Five came with the best shit that I seen when they came in with some other shit!!! (laughs) Listen to me! It was a party, we wasn't thinking about nothing. You know it's music.....Man, let me tell you something, when Flash and the Furious Five came in there they had every color sheepskins in the world!!! Them colors never was out! When they walked in with Flash, them sheepskins they had.....beige and brown were the regular sheepskins colors.... they came in there with grey, blue, green. Colors that you ain't never seen and with the hat to match!!! I said, "Oh my god! This shit is fly!" and they coming in as The Furious Five!!! I'll never forget this night.....Mott Haven Center. And Rockin Rob and Flash got into a DJ thing, it was crazy! The MCs were MCing, it wasn't a battle for us. We had already been on, then the Furious Five came on and did their thing. Then Flash got on (on his own without the MCs) and he asked Rockin Rob to get on, so he could cut one, then Rob would cut one on the turntables. That went crazy that night!!! That went crazy, you know what I'm saying?? They're playing what they're playing... Flash is tearing up his records and Rockin Rob is tearing up his records! They're all tearing them records up!! The best showed the best! See like back in the days when I was younger like when I told you with Kid Flash. His record was "I Like To Make It Right" ("Well, Have A Nice Day" by King Erisson) He cut it up like "I like to make it.....I like to make it...I like to...I like to..." Yeah, that was then, that was like slow brewing. Nah, it got different over here. They were tearing it up! Very impressive! I love that night."
|March 8th, 1980: DJ Rockin Rob' & The Mean Machine are performing at the Ecstasy Garage along with Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five and The Cold Crush Brothers|
SIR NORIN RAD:"There is this very interesting flyer which advertises a battle between the legendary MC Sha Rock and your sister MC Lil Bit. What do you remember about that event?"
BARRY B:"I don't really like to talk about it. Sha Rock is kool, I like me some Sha Rock. Remember she was my idol before I knew that Hazel (MC Lil Bit) was my sister. Remember I told you we used to sit on the bench and listen to Sha Rock, "You rock the hip, then you rock the hop and you rock Sha Sha Sha Rock!!!!" Yo, that was everything!!! First of all you ain't heard a girl and then the girl tearing it up worse than some dudes?? So anyway my sister did her business like in time coming, so the battle came, you know what I mean? So I seen Sha Rock there for the first time. I don't know her, remember I was a kid. So when I did actually visualize who I had been listening to I was like, "That's Sha Rock????" Remember we idolized her sitting on the bench eating pumpkin seeds, listening to that. Got the Old Grape sodas and the Onion & Garlic chips, "Yo, play that again!!!!" Right. So now we're bigger now and actually see the person who's on this tape. "That's Sha Rock?" Okay, but Sha's back was to me, she was sitting over there on the side and then I called myself back because I said,"Wow! That's Sha!" Then something said, "Bloop! You're here with your sister! This is your fam." Right! My whole image turned back, you know what I'm saying? That's just a response because before I even knew about my brothers and sisters I knew about her. My sister didn't want to get on at first and then they talked to her and she got on.
|MC Lil Bit (The Fabulous Four MC Connection / The Mean Machine Crew)|
She said whatever she had to say and then they called Sha Rock up but she never came. They called her up about five times......I don't know anything about that, I don't know anything why. I don't know, I just know they called her and when they called her she never came and that was the end of that battle. After that my sister retired. My sister didn't want to do it anymore, she was getting older, you know what I mean? She was like, "I ain't doing this forever. I'm tired. I did it, we had fun." So my sister stepped out. Now listen, it's not like they had a beef or argument. It was nothing and ain't nothing. Just two people rhyming...."
|December 19th, 1980: MC Lil Bit (The Mean Machine) vs. Sha Rock (The Funky Four Plus One) at The Ecstasy Garage, BX|| |
SIR NORIN RAD:"It seems MC battles were totally different back then from what they are today with all this gun talk and verbally abusing each others mothers that is going on now. Plus there are no beats involved anymore."
BARRY B:"It's not the battle style we had. It's a huge difference. Now they're talking but they rhyme. I don't know it's a difference, you know? I listen to them but I only listen to these new battles because of my nephew Fettucine 20 'cause he's on it 'cause when I listen to other people I be like...... you know, it's different than me!!! I give everybody a chance. I give everybody what it is but it's totally different than me. The more you listen to it you might get a little closer to it...a little, you know what I'm saying? Their punchlines sometimes be crazy what they say. Then they repeat it, then come back and do it. I mean yeah, they call that battle rhyme, yeah.......I'm not really into it. They're different."
SIR NORIN RAD:"Did the Fambulous Four MC Connection have a leader?"
BARRY B:"We was a team. Nobody was above no man and nobody was above the group. We did everything together. Nobody was no higher, nobody was no better. So it was a crew effort and right now to this day I still mess with my partners 'cause we still got joints."
SIR NORIN RAD:"Please describe the role of each MC within your crew!"
BARRY B:"We was all in the same barrel. First of all, Crazy Eddie used to open it. I didn't feel comfortable open it, so I rather let Eddie open it. That's how it went. He used to say something like, "Ladies and gentlemen, how y'all doing? We're the original Mean Machine Crew!" Then Little Rich would get on, then I would be next. My sister is not gonna be on that like that. Just when her time comes...banger!!! She gonna knock it out the park! Home Run! Do another hit....bang!!!! And she out! That's it, unless we needed her for something. It was always me , Eddie and Rich. That's why my sister faded after a while. She was involved in everything but certain things.....routines?? She was in every routine! Every routine my sister was part of that. Actually, like with me...my sister is my energy. You know how you got a big sister and you try something and you're good at it but she's on fire with it, so you better get on your shit."
SIR NORIN RAD:"So she was pushing you to become a better MC?"
BARRY B:"Oh, we were pushing each other! We pushed us all but by me being the baby...I'm the little one...I had to show them that I'm playing no games, I ain't missing no beat. My stepmother kept us in the house, we practiced, we wrote our rhymes, we said it together then we went across to Rob's house. We went there, that's when we really started practicing with his DJing and the music and we know we're getting ready to do a show. Yeah, we're practicing and now we come back to the other house 'cause now we're doing our routines, our dance steps. That's how it went, it's a family effort!"
SIR NORIN RAD:"Who was the lyrically strongest MC among you?"
BARRY B:"All of us. Listen to what I'm saying...we sat together! "Yo, what you think? I got this concept!" "Alright!" "Follow behind me! Yo, what you got?" Let me throw this rhyme in!" "Nah, this sounds better." So you'd rewrite it."
SIR NORIN RAD:"Did you keep your rhymes and your concepts for routines in specific books?"
B:"We kept rhyme books, we didn't worry about the routines, 'cause all
you got to do was remember the hook. Now if you're gonna do a routine
routine...like what we would do..we would do a routine and switch in and
out...for that you had to have a book but not really because when we
practiced in the house we practiced so frequently you knew your part!
You knew your part!"
SIR NORIN RAD:"How often would you get together and practice your performances per week?"
BARRY B:"Practice your lyrics? Every day!!!! You would practice your lyrics every day! Listen, I told you I didn't care if somebody thought you was crazy. Go and walk by yourself, have your earphones on and rhyme! You're practicing! I ain't care what they think about me!! I'm walking...say I get on the Drive......the FDR Drive...just to walk. Everything ain't Willis Avenue Bridge 'cause this is right here by my house. I got on my earphones, I'm going through my routines!!! I like to be by myself when I'm going through it. I want no interruption, let me just get this. I'm getting my mind ready 'cause we're getting ready to do this. No mistakes! We don't do no mistakes! Practice do make perfect but ain't nobody perfect but you ain't mess up if you really practice!"
SIR NORIN RAD:"Did your rehearsals sometimes last for several hours? Like from afternoon to nighttime?"
BARRY B:"Yep, after we got out of school......well, it was me after school 'cause remember I was 15, so by that time I'm 16 whatever. At 15 I got out of there and went to Julia Richman HS. They'd be waiting for me. "Where's Barry?" "He's coming out of school." "Aight." "He's on his way." From up there we're going to my stepmother's house. We eat. Everybody start coming in, then we start getting ready to work. Play the cassette from the house and go through our routines. When it's time to go crazy, " Let's go across (to Rockin Rob's house)!"
|DJ Rockin Rob (The Mean Machine Crew) cuttin' it up....|
SIR NORIN RAD:"Who was the main DJ that would cut up beats for the Fabulous Four MC Connection when you were performing?"
BARRY B:"Rob! But don't get it twisted at a certain time Rob needed a break, too, so then Tiny would get on. But we weren't going crazy, when we go with Rob we're going crazy!! That's it!"
SIR NORIN RAD:"What are your top five beats to rhyme over?"
BARRY B:"I tear up "Apache"! I tear "Funky Drummer" up! Give me "Got To Be Real" and you can give me "Seven Minutes Of Funk". It really wasn't mine 'cause I'm the hyper one. You know like when you hit them beats I'm the hyper one. Like my sister is a hyper one. My sister used to tear up "Do The Funky Penguin" and she would do "Funky Drummer". She gonna rock that crowd!!!"
SIR NORIN RAD:"By looking at all these flyers I noticed that The Mean Machine Crew would not only perform at all these big venues in the Bronx but also in Harlem. How did that come about?"
BARRY B:"Let me tell you something......there was a guy called DJ Mr. Freeze, he knew who we was but before that it was Kool DJ AJ. I love him...may he rest in peace! I used to go to Julia Richman High School. Remember it was 1979 when I graduated, so when I graduated I ended up going to high school. So when I went to Julia Richman HS, AJ was always outside giving out flyers. So I approached him one day and said,"Yo, What's up, B???? Why we ain't never on them flyers?? What's up?" He said,"Barry, I guarantee you one thing if y'all guarantee to come I put you on a flyer." I said, "Alright, give me a minute! Let me go holler at the crew." So usually we would have our meetings......I told you three times a week...and I asked, "Yo, DJ AJ is putting these joints on. He wanna know if we wanna get down. Let me know now so he can put us down for the next joint." He was putting us on all them shits after that. So when we did those Mr. Freeze realized who we were.....BOOM! He got us in C&C Disco. C&C is on 125th Street & Lennox Avenue. Now from C&C Disco they did more parties which became B&B. B&B was a karate school, it was on 122nd Street & 3rd Avenue. Everybody performed up in there!!! Master Don & The Death Committee..everybody!"
|September 26th, 1980: The Mean Machine Crew performs at C&C Disco in Harlem|
NORIN RAD:"What did your crew do to prevent stick up kids from robbing
you in the parks? Did you have some sort of security that had your
BARRY B:"Yes, we had Fat Tiny. Tiny was the leader of the Casanovas. The Casanovas ran that area. You ain't coming doing nothing! You better come and be quiet and enjoy the music. Fat Tiny was also our manager. That's why we definitely was on stage with Flash and ervery single body that was somebody.....and we was good as kids."
SIR NORIN RAD:"Would youl like to give shout outs at the end of this interview?"
B:"To my Mean Machine Crew family....the incredible DJ Rockin Rob, my
brother Tiny Tine (RIP), Tin Man...... The Fabulous Four MC Connection
and my Wagner family!!!!"
|The Mean Machine Crew|