Dienstag, 17. November 2020

                                            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?"

BARRY 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


SIR 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 back?"

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?"

BARRY 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









 

 

 

 








Sonntag, 8. November 2020

                                            Interview with B-Boy Wizard Wiz (The Disco Kids)

                                                

Wizard Wiz (The Disco Kids)

                                          conducted by Sir Norin Rad (The Intruders / Germany)

 

SIR NORIN RAD:" From which section of the Bronx are you?"

WIZARD WIZ:"I lived in various parts of the Bronx. From 175th Street & Bathgate Avenue to 183rd Street & Creston Avenue to Forest Projects. Pretty much throughout the Bronx I circulated growing up as a child."

SIR NORIN RAD:"How old were you when you witnessed DJs setting up their soundsytems in the parks and playing breakbeats for the B-Boys for the first time?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Okay, I was about thirteen years old...something like that (laughs). It was in 1977 when I first got introduced into the culture of Hiphop. Actually, that was around the time of the Blackout. Yeah, that was around that time."

SIR NORIN RAD:"So who were the DJs that you noticed doing their thing at that time?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Well, you know, the DJs that I took notice of weren't popular. You know, they were local guys who had soundsystems and who brought their equipment out in the parks in their neighbourhood or on the block in front of their building, you know something like that. They weren't really popular like the ones who may have went on to further their careers as you know your Grandmaster Flashs, your Afrika Bambaataas, your Grandwizard Theodores and your Kool Hercs and brothers like that. It was a lot of local guys growing up at that particular time they just came outside and did their thing It's so far back... I can remember DJ Ray Ski, I can remember DJ Lil Angel, DJ Lay Lay...just a few local guys that never really got to grow up on that status but definitely contributed to the culture."

SIR NORIN RAD:"Do you remember how you felt when you went to your first jam? What went through your mind when you saw what was going on there?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Well, at that particular time I was a B-Boy. I got introduced into B-Boying and that was because of a brother who lived across the street from me..his name was Mongo Rock..a latino brother.......and we lived across the street from each other. I was new on the block, I was young. I don't know how we met or what sparked us to inquire about breakdancing or something but he might had on a shirt or something like that but anyway I was a B-Boy at that time, too, but I wasn't mixed in with no organzation or nothin' I was just getting into the game. And Mongo and I had a challenge. You know he challenged me and we went into the back of some abandoned building or something and we went one on one. You know at that particular time one man would go down, then the next man would go down. So we had a little battle and I did this move on him called The Frog. You know just some hippedy hop froggy type of joint and so I had won the challenge but that made us become best friends and then we also became partners that day."

SIR NORIN RAD:"What's the name of the street that you lived on at that time?"

WIZARD WIZ:"We lived on 175th Street & Bathgate Avenue. He lived right around the corner. It's by Tremont Avenue.....in that section."

SIR NORIN RAD:"So you and Mongo Rock became real close after that battle. I guess you also know his brother Jesus then?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Yes, yes!!! We became family! We were not just partners (Mongo and him) but family!! You know I began to know his brother, his mother. He has two brothers, I met both of them. We grew up together! In fact his brother Jesus was breakdancing, too!! He liked to do a lot of Toprocking, you know? But he could get on the floor and do his thing on the floor, too!!!! But yeah, that's my family!!!!!! That's my family right there!!! We'd go to each other's house...I'd sit with his mother, I'd hug her, we'd talk......he'd sit with my moms. We would eat in each other's homes.  We practiced together. We went out and battled other guys together!  In fact, Mongo Rock started a crew called The Casablanca Crew. That was our first crew.....Casablanca!!!!" 

SIR NORIN RAD:"Was Jesus also part of The Casablanca Crew?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Jesus wasn't with that crew. He was doing his own thing. We were still family though...no matter what, you know? If we was breaking on the floor and he happened to be there, he came and got down and did his thing, too! So yeah! But Jesus was doing his own thing."

Jesus (The Disco Kids)

 

SIR NORIN RAD:"How long did the Casablanca Crew last?"

WIZARD WIZ:"The Casablanca crew was something Mongo Rock created which didn't get no real growth...this led to us joining TDK."

SIR NORIN RAD:"Since you have just mentioned that you and Mongo Rock became real good friends instantly I would like to ask you whether you did ever experience any kind of animosity  from Puerto Ricans at that time? I'm asking this question because DJ Disco Wiz among others stated that there were Puerto Ricans in the Bronx at that time who felt that Boriquas shouldn't mingle with Blacks and therefore also shouldn't embrace Hiphop."

WIZARD WIZ:"Nah, nah, not at all. I mean because Hiphop was Hiphop, you know what I'm saying? I mean that ain't in my nature anyway.....to discriminate against someone or to look down on someone. I felt like,"Yo, first of all we're all in the ghetto! We're all in the hood! We're all right here! We're all right here together!!" You know what I'm saying? There was that going on, you know? There was that going on, I admitt that. Yeah, I saw that but that wasn't in my nature and I never had no encounters at all with that. Plus, you know, my moms....I have latino in my culture as well, I have that in my bloodline as well. You know, I don't speak the language but I do have it in my culture as well. I didn't see no difference, we were all just family, man! And if you did bring that kind of stuff that wasn't accepted."

SIR NORIN RAD:"Thank you! When did you meet Mongo Rock? That was in 1977, correct?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Right."

SIR NORIN RAD:"Okay, so please describe the process through which you became such an excellent B-Boy! I mean Trac 2 and others they all speak highly of your B-Boying skills."

WIZARD WIZ:"Well, the whole thing that we got to understand about Hiphop from our perspective....when we was doing it from the beginning...it was a competitive thing. It was a way of expressing of what we felt inside. It was a way to say who you were and it gave you identity. So everybody wants to be respected, everybody wants to be seen, everybody wants to be the best at what they do. Everybody wants that respect and people cheer for you. So this was a way of settling beefs, this was a way of communicating. This was a way of making friends. This whole Hiphop thing was a way of just self-expression and, you know, creating a identity for yourself. It was fair playing ground, everybody had the opportunity to express themselves to the best of their abilities and, you know, some brothers worked harder than others and some brothers went extreme. You know, I happened to be around a lot of the greats......all of the greats! All of the greats from the B-Boys from Batch, Aby, P-Body, Me 2, Trace 2 (RIP), Jojo, Trac 2, Spy, Shorty Rock, Weebles, Rubberband...You know, we was around the best. We was the best so it was a lot of competition. Everybody was good, so you had to be good and you had to be on your craft! You had to make sure your thing was tight 'cause these guys was tight!!!! They were serious about it, so, you know, I was a little chubby guy, too. I used to have a little weight on me growing up and I still had to be able to hold my own and be able to compete with these brothers who were slimmer and trimmer and could do flips and all that kind of stuff. So I was just competing there for my name and my identity."

SIR NORIN RAD:"So a lot of practice went into that?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Extensive...extensive practice. That's all me and Mongo did! And Mongo was nice. I mean, Mongo was like...he had his own thing, too. I mean he was nice. We always had to compete, we always had to be nice, man! This is what we did! This is what we really did every day!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"Where would you practice at?"

WIZARD WIZ:"We had different places like we would meet in hallways that would have nice smooth floors and it would be warm in the hallways. Not too many people were going in and out of the builing and stuff like that. We would do that. We would do it outside, you know, in the parks, too. Create a circle... and when they would have a jam we would go inside the spots. At that time TDK and them would have parties and was throwing events and stuff like that in different locations and they had their little spots. And La Familia had a little club....so we had places we would go to on Saturday nights and the weekends or even we would just have battles in the street with other crews that wanted to challenge us and it would go down like that."

SIR NORIN RAD:"I guess you would also practice to breakbeats coming from a boom box back then?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Yeah, absoluteley! Somebody walked around with a boom box, somebody had a big radio or something that everybody would get down to. So that's what brought the whole event alive when we were all be chilling on a car or on the block just not doin' nothing. Somebody came with a radio and it was on!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"How important was it to dress fly as a B-Boy back then and to keep your gear clean?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Oh, that was very important. I mean in fact I still practice those traits today like I still spray my sneakers, keep'em brushed up with a toothbrush and, you know, every night make sure my shoe strings is straight......you know clean. You know, I still practice those old ways from back in the days. It was very important because fashion is a part of Hiphop and again it was a very competitive thing. It was another way to express yourself and for people to identify who you was. So what you wore was a way of speaking and to let people know how you felt about yourself, your status and this is how you do your thing. So fashion and being clean....keeping up with the latest peacoats and Adidas and sweatsuits and the Kangols and the Cazals and having all of these things was a part of the culture. So it was very important that you dressed the part."

SIR NORIN RAD:"I heard that B-Boys would even iron creases in their Lee Jeans."

WIZARD WIZ:"Yeah, absolutely. At one time Lees was very popular. In fact, we had bell bottom  Lees, you know, where we had the big cuff at the bottom and that was the style. And yeah people would definitely iron the crease up in their joints and keep 'em creased out like that with the starch and everything. You had the starch...starch them joints out, you know, hit that joint with the iron. That was the style at the time."

SIR NORIN RAD:"B-Boys would also iron the letters of their crew's name on their sweatshirts, right?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Yeah!!! (laughs) That was very big! That was....again....giving you self-identity and self-expression, you know? The particular color that your crew wore and the particular name that you had...on your shirt. It was a way to let people know who you were, you dig what I'm saying? 'Cause you basically had your name on your shirt and your crew on the back. So again self-expression...this is who I'm rolling with, this is me, here is my name and this is what I do. You already know I'm a B-Boy yada yada ya!!!! And yo..this is where we at!!! That was the whole thing with the Lees, the Pro-Keds, the Adidas, the sweatshirts with the ironed on letters, the Kangols....whatever!!! That was the whole flavor right there!!! That was Hiphop!!! That was the Hiphop dresscode!!!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"So is it accurate to say that B-Boys held their crew colors in high regard?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Absolutely! I mean I'mma tell you how deep it was...sometimes when dudes had beef and they solved it dancing......you know we wasn't fighting and all that when we had beef on a B-Boy note....but when dudes had beef on a B-Boy note what dudes had to do was give up their shirts if they lost. On some occasions you had to give up your shirt. You know what I'm saying, now some dudes held on to it and kept it as a trophy. In some cases that's the embarassment of it... of you losing your shirt and being stripped of it because your skills wasn't good enough on the dancefloor! You know I mean, homie got you, man........won the battle, took your shirt and now he is flagging it around. That's a big thing! That's like your flag, you know what I'm saying? So that's why everybody had to be good and be tight in their game because it was real. It was real!!!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"Damn!!! To those that are going to read this interview, this goes to show you that cats back then took Hiphop extremely seriously! What were your top 5 breakbeats back then?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Yeah, let me just back up a little bit before I answer that question because it is very important...like you said...for those who read this that they see how much we love this culture, how much it meant to us....You gotta remember this came from nothing!!! Can you just imagine your life is just...you come outside, you got domestic issues, everybody living in the projects...apartment buildings on top of each other.  It's trash in the hallways, trash in front of the buildings, neighbours fighting......you know, everybody's business in the open, drug dealers on the corner, gangs over here, abandoned buildings over there......That's the life! Going to the grocery store this is what you got to see every day...gloom....just basic gloom, you know, with nothing else. No parks, no recreational centers, no hope, nothing to inspire you to find out what greatness you got in yourself. Just a hopeless situation...just walking from your house to the grocery store. So here comes music, you know, a whole new thing called DJing and you know music is a very powerful thing. So music comes along with the art of dancing and poetry and DJing and all this new technology 'cause now DJing is a technical thing. Now records are not just being played...you know, the whole length of the songs....now the beats are being chopped up and cut up!! A whole new culture is created from out of this gloom! You know, when there was nothing!!! So here comes this Hiphop thing in the park. You know somebody brings some equipment out in the park and you can hear it from blocks away and he's just playing beats and beats and beats!!!  So you're just like, "Wow!!!!!" It blossomed from nothing!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"Like a rose that grew from concrete...."

WIZARD WIZ:"Beautifully put, yeah! Absolutely, I agree with you. So for us who have greatness inside of us...all these people who have greatness inside of them don't even know how to look within themselves to discover that greatness in them. Here comes Hiphop!!! Here comes this new form of music and dance and graffiti and poetry that gives people the opportunity to discover the greatness in themselves whether it be art, poetry, dance or music. People are discovering who they are and they're evolving! Evolving into this new way of being, this new culture and perfecting it and being creative and being more creative as years go by......being more creative and elevating it. So it's blossoming and it's becoming a way of life now where everybody is dressing this way and we got the swag, the ebonics we're talking....That's fresh! Thats's fly! That's the joint! Yo, they're jamming over here!!  You know we're talking the same language. We are creating our own new system from nothing, from that gloom!!! So now we got hope! Now we want to improve, now we wanna enjoy this thing, now we wanna express ourselves!!! To answer your question one of the main beats that I still love today...even if they play it it drives me crazy...my number one beat from back in the days is "Apache"! That is my number one! After that I would say "Catch A Groove". "Apache", "Catch A Groove", "Bongo Rock", "Scorpio""

SIR NORIN RAD:"What about "Let's Dance"by Pleasure? The late Trace 2 (RIP) told me that he really loved this beat..."

WIZARD WIZ:"Oh yeah!!!! (sings) Let's dance! I know you got the feeling.....Yoooooooooo! Oh man, that was one of my top joints right there!!!! Oh, you just took me back, man!!!!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"Would adrenaline rush through your body when you walked towards those jams back then and you heard those beats from blocks away?"

WIZARD WIZARD:"(laughs) It's funny you've said that because as I think about it I'm looking at myself and a few of us as we're walking to the jam. You know, we're walking 'cause we're young..we did a lot of walking back in the days. Anyway....I mean that's one of the things we listened for as we got closer to the neighbourhood or wherever the location was where they was jamming at. That's the thing we were listening for and when we heard that sound from the distance we knew that when we get there it was on!!! So now we wanna walk faster! You know, we're getting more excited, we're stepping up the pace. The beat is getting louder as we get closer  with anticipation..the thump is getting louder and yo.....BANG..we turn the corner and yo we're in the schoolyard and it is crowded and there is the DJ and yo now you're walking in the jam and you're looking for everybody you know. So you're home now. You're home! You just took me back for real, man!!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"You're painting a very vivid picture! Thank you so much! So then I guess you would give your friends a dap and check out which other B-Boys were present at the jam?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Yeah, as soon as they played the B-Boy records. You know, something that got the B-Boys ready to go. That's all it took. The DJ threw that joint on, man....whenever he threw a joint on that was relative to what the B-Boys liked to get their groove on to a circle was formed and yo every man went for himself! That's how alliances were made, that's how enemies were made. That's how we got to know one another. Everybody is flying their colors, their shirts, doing their moves yada, yada, ya and yo, it was a beautiful thing! It was beautiful thing, man! It was just like the analogy that you used earlier, man! A rose that grew from concrete! To see the unification of it and just to see the talent in everybody! People were talented, man! It wasn't about the money. We wasn't about it for the money, we were just about it to enjoy the moment to express who we were. That was the biggest thing, man! I miss it, man! I'mma tell you the truth and I'm grateful that I was born during that era! "

SIR NORIN RAD:"Since you spent so much time with Mongo Rock back then did you and him have routines that you would do together at those jams?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Nah, we never did no routines like that we was just for like doing moves. You know, creating new moves to just add on to our arsenal. He created his moves, I was making my moves. Whenever we met up or something or decided to go somewhere together, people knew we were together. They knew we was partners and stuff like that."

SIR NORIN RAD:"How important was it to you B-Boys back then to impress the girls at the jams?"

WIZARD WIZ:"(laughs) Of course it was important.....we was young, man!! So dressing and making sure your shit was fly and making sure you're looking good and making sure, you know, you can hold your own whether it was MCing, DJing or B-Boying......That was very important 'cause that was one of the main goals now, you know what I'm saying? You would go there to meet girls and try to get her number and you know, try to get something poppin'. So  every man was there for that! That goes without saying. Yeah, you had to be right. Everybody was right, everybody knew what you had to do. Even the girls..they was right! They knew what they had to do. They had their big bamboo earrings, their hair nice, you know what I'm saying?? They had their little jewelry on, looking all nice!!! Yeah man, we all knew how to roll, man! Women played a very big part!  Dudes showin' off and dudes wanna compete more."

SIR NORIN RAD:"I was told that in the late 1970s cats did the Freak Dance to the breakbeats that were being played by the DJs. They were mimicking some sort of intimate action...Would you do that dance, too?"

WIZARD WIZ:"(laughs heavily) Well, yo the word Freak, man!!! It's self-explanatory! Everybody was interacting with their natural ways of being. Here's a male, here's a female! This is what we're supposed to do! We're supposed to mingle, meet, you know? And now we're dancing and we're doing this particular dance called The Freak and we know what that this when we're touching, rubbing and grinding and you know we're enjoying it though. We're enjoying it and everybody's doing it and there ain't  nothing wrong with it. Wow, man!!!! (laughs) But I wasn't much of a dancer like that to be honest with you, man. I dance and do my thang if I gotta do what I gotta do but I really wasn't much of a dancer like that. That wasn't too much of my thing but I made sure I stayed on top of it when I had to."

SIR NORIN RAD:"I see. Would people still do The Hustle at the jams during your era? I was told by many early original B-Boys that this dance was an integral part of the parties of Kool Herc and even of those of Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaata."

WIZARD WIZ:"Yeah, man!!! That was fly, man!!! There were people that would still freak that! We used to stand back and watch them. That was a whole 'nother level of dancing. It was amazing, man!! It was one particular guy, his name was Slick Watts!!!! He reminded you of Sammy Davis Jr.. He was like that. He was small like Sammy, dark like Sammy and talented, too, like that on the dancing tip. This brother was so nice with the Hustle, man!! He could dance with two or three girls at one time!!! He used to have girls that he practiced with. You know, when they came out to the park they had these routines where he danced with two or three chicks, changing partners, flipping 'em this way. All kinds of crazy moves, nobody could fuck with him on that note, man! He was the best I have ever seen doing that, man! If you ask anybody about Slick Watts that was there...He was...oh man.......he was talented!!!! Not too many people were on that note unless you was in the clubs. Outside they wasn't really doing the Hustle like that in the parks, it was about breakdancing. But you go inside the clubs with TDK and them, a lot of that stuff was going in there."  

SIR NORIN RAD:"How would you describe your style of B-Boying back then? What were your signature moves?"

WIZARD WIZ:"I was more of a technician. You know, I liked to do footwork on the floor. Stuff like that...sweeps, kicks in the air...all that kind of stuff. I was more of a technician, I liked to do crazy body things....knee rocking,jumping back into another position and continuing. I wasn't like the clowny guy doing The Spider and all that kind of stuff. I was more of a technical B-Boy, I would like to say. Like Spy, Trac 2...those brothers I call technical B-Boys and that's the category I was in."

SIR NORIN RAD:"How would you start your dancing? Did you use that crossover step which is commonly referred to as the Indian Step today?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Yeah, yeah absolutely! Yeah, you did that two-step, that jump.... I don't even know the name of it. It's just a habit, there was no name for it at the time. We just started off every session before we went down with that toprock kind of thing. Yeah, most B-Boys did that! It's amazing that you brought that up because that's the way we all initiated our dancing! That two-step before we hit the floor!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"Did you have some other ways of toprocking?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Yeah, I had a few variations before I went down.  Like I did this thing called the Rubberband Man where you wiggle your whole body like a rubberband and jiggle all over, then you freeze while you hold the top of your head. then you go back to the Rubberband Man...jiggling throughout the circle...then you go down.  Little shit like that, man!  You had a few things that you would do on top. Or either the one...we would call this....where you kick off.....what the hell we called that, man???? You would just kick out into the air and you'd just twist your whole body and go down on the ground and go right into your move, man!! It was called The Flying something....I forgot what we called it but yeah I definitely had some variations to the way I initiated my dance on top."

SIR NORIN RAD:"How important was it to match the beats with your moves back then?"

WIZARD WIZ:"That was very important! I mean, the music is what motivated the B-Boy. You know, when the beat was banging....."Bongo Rock", "Apache"....whatever was on the turntables  being played that was what was motivating the B-Boys. You gotta understand I come from the best! I come from the generation of B-boys when it was pure, when it was genuine, it wasn't cut with nothing, it was authentic, it was original. So that's all we bred back in that day. In that day it was nothing but original. You had to be tight, you knew what you did and you had to be right because this was brothers' lives man!!!!!!!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"What were some of the venues that you would dance at? Since you were down with TDK I assume you would dance at The Dungeon, right?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Right."

SIR NORIN RAD:"I guess you would also go to 129 where DJ Lay Lay played at?"

WIZARD WIZ:"That's right! We would go all over, wherever the jam was at. We lived for that! It's like we lived for that, man!! If we didn't have a way to get there on a train....we hopped the train if we had to....or we walked. There was main spots where we knew they would be jamming at. 129 with DJ Lay Lay and them (The Fun City Crew), 118 with DJ Charlie Chase, 82 up on University Ave with DJ Whitehead and them....DJ Dr. Pepper and them (The Triple A Crew). What else? 115 where different DJs came out and played over there. The Aqueduct over there with DJ Ray Ski. DJ Lil Angel and them on Belmont Avenue. Webster Park......So it was different hot spots where these DJs would now make it a regularity to come out and set up and play music. So we knew where to go, you know what I'm saying? Either there, there, there or there...."

SIR NORIN RAD:"How did you become a member of the TDK Crew? I was told that Mongo Rock was very important for TDK because he was instrumental in elevating the B-Boy skill level of that whole crew."

WIZARD WIZ:"I cannot remember how or when I met Joey and Kid and how we got down but I think Mongo introduced me to them. I don't remember how it all initiated I just know that I became a member of TDK and we all was down with that. You know, a lot of us was TDK and Mongo and Jesus was, too. That was like the beginning of me as a B-Boy...with TDK. You know that was my first crew besides Casablanca which didn't last long.....then TDK came and with TDK I had a family and a home. So you know we had a family, Big Boom, Little Boom all of us......We had a place of refuge, we had a place where we could hang out and express ourselves and meet new members that came in. You know, girls included....and sometimes we had to be there when we had beef, to hold it down. That was my first base right there...TDK!!! Joey and Kid that was my first home, that was my first family that gave me a place where I could continue to increase my talent and gave me a place to compete at and gave me a place where I could have a name and be respected, you know?"

SIR NORIN RAD:"I was also told by Kid and Big Boom that the Dungeon did not not only have a huge space where people used to party at on the regular but even apartments. Nicely decorated apartments.......Aby (TBB) and others used to stay over there. So it was something like a B-Boy mansion."

WIZARD WIZ:"Yo!!!!!!!!!!(laughs) I'mma tell you something, man!!! That was so creative, man!!! Back in those days the way we survived and the way we popped off things...I'm glad you brought that up because we would take an abandoned building that everybody had disregarded and made that into a home, man!!! I mean with electricity, food,  furniture...the whole nine!!!! And this was home. Nobody would intrude on us, we could go there, you know what I'm saying? Some guys took their girls there, everybody had their rooms. Some dudes had candles, some dudes had electricity and all that. This is where we lived, this is where we did our thing at, this is where we threw our parties at on the weekend and sometimes we did hookie parties on the weekdays, too. And yo some people actually lived there. Dudes ended up putting locks on doors and bringing couches in and turned it really into a place that was ours! That was genius though, man!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"Who do you regard as the best three B-Boys of your era?"

WIZARD WIZ:"It was a lot of great B-Boys out there but of course I got my favouritism because that's the way I saw it and I was probably family with them as well. So that's kinda not fair to ask me that question because there's a lot of people out there that I didn't get the opportunity to see them do their thing and things of that nature so I don't wanna take nothing from those people. I'm just gonna say the names of the brothers I ran with...Spy (The Crazy Commanders), Mongo (The Disco Kids) and Trac 2 (Starchild La Rock). You know those were the top dogs to me. We even became the Fantastic Four, you know?  Me, Spy, Mongo and Trac 2 was the Fantastic Four. "

SIR NORIN RAD:"When did the Fantastic Four Crew form? After the Dungeon had burnt down in 1979?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Yeah, that was way after that! 'Cause we was like the top dogs, you know what I'm saying? Trac had his reputation, Spy had his reputation of course and me and Mongo we was nice, too.  So you know, we all was friends and family, we did so many events together dancing and doing moves and practicing in hallways so we just said,"Yo, we're The Fantastic Four, yo!!!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"How would you characterize Spy as a B-Boy and generally as a human being?"

WIZARD WIZ:"One of the things I love about Spy was he was very humble an modest. He wasn't  a show-off, he wasn't a blabbermouth. He was very humble, always smiling, always encouraging other brothers, you know? Even though he was nice and other brothers wasn't as nice as him. I never saw him look down on nobody unless, you know, you made a fool of yourself and deserved it but otherwise it was just competiton and fun. So I loved that about him and he was nice with his footwork and skills. He was articulate, precise..you know, snaplock into whatever freeze he did, whatever move he did and when he got aggressive on it he got turned up even more.  And he was a good brother, I mean we were very close. I'm in his house all the time...we're going to jams together..we was like that. I got to know him personally, you know what I'm saying?"

SIR NORIN RAD:"Spy was called The Man with 1000 Moves back then. Was that name well deserved?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Surely!!! Absolutely!!! He pulled out stuff, you know, that nobody had ever seen before and that would throw people off. When you thought you had his game plan figured out he would come out with something that much more mindblowing that would just add to your amazement checking him out."

SIR NORIN RAD:"Okay, what stood about Trac 2?"

WIZARD WIZ:"Well, Trac was like gymnastic and acrobatic and mad footwork. You know, just technical with it. I'm a technician guy I like a guy who's technical and precise with his shit and tight with it, you know? You could tell that guy Trac was this guy in perfection! I like that! I don't like a guy who's sloppy, off-beat. I'm talking about perfection to the point where you finish your freeze on the floor, you jump up in a stance and salute the crowd with such perfection...snap your legs together...you know, it's just tight. He was just a tight technician with it, man! Yeah, and he was a good brother, too! Always showed me love and he loved B-Boying, so I salute him."

SIR NORIN RAD:"How would you rate your partner Mongo Rock as far as his B-Boy skills are concerned? Several people told me he was almost as good as Spy."

WIZARD WIZ:"See with Mongo....I saw where Mongo came from to where he went. See I was there with him in the beginning when he only had like two moves. We were both just playing around, battling in the park just to see which one of us was gonna end up on top and I saw us come from that to where he went. Like see the reputation you have heard about him that he was almost as good as some of these brothers that were well-known. And yes I seen him come from that, you know what I'm saying??? We was together in that journey! We both had that drive! We both loved it that much and yo man we had to be one of the best, we had to be known, our shit had to be tight and yes Mongo was definitely one of the best!!!"

 

                                                    

Mongo Rock (The Disco Kids) and Spy (The Crazy Commanders)  


SIR NORIN RAD:"Did you run into the Little Zulu Kings back then? One of their members Lil Boy Keith told me that TDK was the first Puerto Rican B-Boy Crew that he encountered."

WIZARD WIZ:"Nah, I never ran into no Zulu Kings on the B-Boy tip or nothing like that so I can't really comment on that. I heard of them but I never had no personal encounters with them."

SIR NORIN RAD:"By 1978 most Black B-Boys stopped Breaking and transitioned into MCing or DJing. They had gotten older and started to dress extra fly, girls became more important. Were there any Black B-Boys in your era that you recall?"

WIZARD WIZ:"During my time it was the Latino culture who was dominating the B-Boy era. It was never dominated...from my perspective..by African Americans, by my Black culture. They was more into DJing and MCing. That's one of the things that inspired me to transition. Of course I liked to dress and look good and you can't do that and then be on the dancefloor doing breakdancing. You can't go down with British Walkers on and expect to keep your shit nice. Impossible! I went through a few bad experiences..I'mma keep it real..I scuffed up some British Walkers and I was mad about that shit, man! On certain days when British Walkers and getting fly and talking to the girls started becoming more of my drive, being seen on that note I started fading out and discovered"Yo man, I'mma grab that mic!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"Would like to give any shoutouts at the end of this interview?"

WIZARD WIZ:"First of all I'd like to give praise to the Most High! I give you a shoutout, my brother Norin, for taking the time out, you know, reaching out to me and adding this moment of Hiphop to Castles In The Sky. Basically my family, my loved ones, my queen... the mother of children, to my my sons and daughters and all those who stand for righteousness, man, and who want for their brother what they want for themselves they can get a shoutout from me!!!



 

 

 

 

Donnerstag, 22. Oktober 2020

                           INTERVIEW WITH B-BOY BIG BOOM (THE DISCO KIDS)

 

                                                                                                         

Big Boom (The Disco Kids)

    

                                         

 

                                 conducted by Sir Norin Rad (The Intruders /Germany) 

 

SIR NORIN RAD:"From which area in the Bronx are you originally?"

BIG BOOM:"My moms lived on Daly (Avenue) and my grandmother lived on Mohegan (Avenue). I had problems with my stepdad so I went to live with my grandmother. That's when I started hanging out on Mohegan (Avenue) and that's where I met Kid (TDK). Kid used to be a member of The Flying Dutchmen. I became a Baby Dutchman. It was, you know, a gang...from the neighbourhood. We used to take care of the neighbourhood and stuff like that. Since they went to the same school, I used to see them with the jackets and everything. So I said, "Wow, that looks kool, man!" So I decided to join them."

SIR NORIN RAD:"On which side of the Bronx is Mohegan Avenue?"

BIG BOOM:"The East Side. Like East Tremont."

SIR NORIN RAD:"So you're saying that you were a member of the Baby Dutchmen?"

BIG BOOM:"That's correct. In order for me to join the gang......you know, back then you had the Apache Line....me they put to fight this big, big fat kid! Yo, and this kid beat the shit out of me, bro! He put it on me, bro! I don't know if they didn't like me or they did that to all their members but that kid put it on me, bro! That was like my initiation to get in, you know what I mean?"

SIR NORIN RAD:"What did the logo of The Flying Dutchmen look like?"

BIG BOOM:"The Dutchmen logo was like a Dutchman. It was like a guy with a hat on, with a long cigarette coming out of his mouth and it was like a Dutchman, you get it? That's how the colors were. They were beautiful! The person who did those colors was real good at what he did."

SIR NORIN RAD:"How old were you when you joined The Baby Dutchmen?"

BIG BOOM:"I was like ten years old."

SIR NORIN RAD:"What year were you born?"

BIG BOOM:"1963. That makes me 56 today."

SIR NORIN RAD:"So you joined the Flying Dutchmen in 1973?"

BIG BOOM:"That is correct."

SIR NORIN RAD:"Now you have already told me that you were a part of The Bronx Boys (TBB) before you joined The Disco Kids (TDK). Now from what I have been told TBB started out as a Writing Crew. As a matter of fact, TBB is listed in that book "Getting Up" (written by Craig Castleman)  among the most prominent Writing Crews of NYC. So before they got into B-Boying they were basically a Writing Crew with Batch, Cash and Shark. They would primarily hit bus depots...." 

BIG BOOM:"Exactly!  I met Batch in 1975 and then I used to write Boom TBB."

SIR NORIN RAD:"So you were already a part of TBB when they were still strictly a Writing Crew?"

BIG BOOM:"Oh yeah, I was one of their original members. Like when Batch first made the colors and evrything..'cause we used to go get t-shirts......and back then we had to go to either an Army & Navy Store or something like that. They was printing the letters on the t-shirts. That was really famous back then. So when Batch started TBB I was one of the original members. The shirts were blue and white and black and white. The girls had blue and white, the guys had black and white." 

SIR NORIN RAD:"I see. How did you meet Batch?"

BIG BOOM:"Ok, this is gonna be real funny. I met Batch through his sister. I used to see his sister, her name is Elizabeth. So she took me to the house one day and I met Aby, I met Batch, I met his other sister Esther. They were all little. The biggest one there was Batch. He was like 13, I was 12. He asked me,"You wanna come with me?" I was like, "Where are you going?" He said, "I'm gonna go bombing the busses and stuff like that!" And then after we did that...you know, tagging up on the busses....we would be tired so Batch said,"Come on, I got a club!" So we had a club called The TBB Club but it was in a abandoned building. We would find a way to get in and that's how we would sneak the girls in and all that. We would get mattresses, you know, from the street. We would bring the radio and steal electricity from the lamp post. Yeah, we would bring electricity to the abandoned building and we had lights, we had everything, man! Matter of fact Batch was the one that gave me the name Boom. We was looking for a name for me 'cause at that time I didn't have a name. We started looking in a comic book and you know that name BOOM kept popping up. I said, "Yo, what about this? Does anybody write that?" He said,"Nah! Nobody writes that name."  So I said, "Oh, so I'm gonna take that name then."So I started writing Boom TBB."

SIR NORIN RAD:"What kind of influence did Salsa music and dancing have on you?"

BIG BOOM:"Salsa was one of the first dances that I learned. My first dancing partner was my little sister, I still remember it to this day. The second dance I learned was The Freak. That's when I was hanging out with TBB. I also did The Spank. In order for you to know how to dance with a girl you had to know how to do The Freak and The Spank." 

SIR NORIN RAD:"When one listens to these old tapes from the late 1970ies one quickly notices that the MCees at that time used to say things like, "Yes, yes y'all!!!! Freak, freak y'all!! To the beat y'all!" Thus they were inciting the party crowd to do The Freak. From what I have heard that was in late 1977, 1978 when most black B-Boys stopped B-Boying and picked up MCing or DJing. The Freak was like grinding, right?"

BIG BOOM:"Yes, yes,  there you go! The Freak is you getting with a girl and starting to grind her. And sometimes another guy would come and get in front of you. Like, "Oh shit!!!" So you had her through the back and he had her through the front!! (laughs) That was one of my first dances that I learned how to dance."

SIR NORIN RAD:"To which jams would you go in order to do The Freak?"

BIG BOOM:"I would go to 129. That was a famous place to go. Mohegan is like two blocks from there."

SIR NORIN RAD:"That's the park where DJ Lay Lay (The Fun City Crew) used to rock at."

BIG BOOM:"Riiiiiight! DJ Lay Lay was the one! Lay Lay would be the DJ. We were always there. You know the funny part? He would come outside with house turntables. You know those house turntables that we used to have in the house back then? We used to call them radiolas. A radiola is like a audio house turntable. Matter of fact I remember the name of those turntables. They were called Garrard."

SIR NORIN RAD:"Kid (TDK) told me that before him and his crew picked up B-Boying they were heavy into the Toprocking Dance which entailed doing certain gestures in order to intimidate their opponents. Would you also do that type of dancing?"

BIG BOOM:"I picked it up from Batch. Batch had a good way of doing it. He used to grab your head...like when he would come to you and grab your head...he would act like it was a ball and then throw your head up in the sky and hit it with a baseball bat, you get it? Or he would crawl up to you like a dog and lift his leg and piss on you (laughs)."    

SIR NORIN RAD:"Where did you witness B-Boying for the time? Did you encounter the black B-Boys back then? I'm asking this question because Lil Boy Keith from the Little Zulu Kings stated in the interview that I did with him that TDK was actually the first Puerto Rican B-Boy Crew he ever ran into."

BIG BOOM:"No, I don't recall running into the Zulu Kings back then. I heard about them though. I remember being in 129 and seeing TT Rock when he went down. I think Batch talks about it that TT Rock threw himself on the floor and did that breakdance move. I was there in 129 when that happened. After that everybody was like,"Yo, you seen that?!?! Oh shit!!!!" That was new to us!!! We were like, "Yo, we gotta start doing this!" Then we started seeing a lot of people doing that. For me that's when I started seeing breakdancing. Before that I would see people rock to the music...in the gang, too...in the Dutchmen Club...grab each other by the head stuff like that but nothing as far as the floor was concerned, you get it? That came a lot later when B-Boying evolved to another level."

SIR NORIN RAD:"So after you had witnessed TT Rock going down to the floor you started to elaborate on the moves you had seen? Like coming up with your own footwork patterns, right?"

BIG BOOM:"Exactly! There you go! Right on the head!"   

SIR NORIN RAD:"Did you pick up Breaking after the Freak Dance?"

BIG BOOM:"Yeah..the Freak Dance and also the Spank I knew that way before breakdancing."

SIR NORIN RAD:"Please describe how your brother Little Boom got involved in the dance? Did you teach him?"

BIG BOOM:"Yeah! He was good! He would pick up stuff real fast. Faster than me cause he was smaller than me and more athletic than I was, you get it? I was taller. I'm like 6 feet. My little brother is like 5'6, 5'7. Back then he was smaller so he could spin faster than me, you get it? He used to do a headspin like eleven times. Like that! And that was incredible for you to do that back in the days, you know. And we had the big afro, they knew us as The Afros. Me and him we were the only ones that had big afros and my other brother....may he rest in peace......they used to call him Fat Boom. He passed away. It was me, Fat Boom and Little Boom." 

SIR NORIN RAD:"But out of you three only you and Little Boom started B-Boying, right?"

BIG BOOM:"That is correct. No, the other one he wasn't really into that. My other brother..his stuff was working and.....you know? I mean he would go to the jams an stuff like that but he wasn't into the breakdancing. Me and my little brother.. we were the ones that loved it. We'd first seen it and it like took us by storm."

 

B-Boy Little Boom (The Disco Kids)

 

SIR NORIN RAD:"By how many years are you and Little Boom apart?"

BIG BOOM:"Two years. That's it! Two years apart."

SIR NORIN RAD:"I guess he always looked up to you?"

BIG BOOM:"Yes. I'mma tell you what happened.....My real name is George, right? But like I told you I started writing Boom and I started becoming real famous with that name. So that's how my brothers said,"Wait! Look at all the people my brother knows, man!" So that's when they switched their names to Boom also, you get it? They saw how many people I knew in the jams and stuff like that so my little brother started calling himself Little Boom. And they called us The Boom Family. Remember there were three of us so that was like the Boom Family, you know?"

SIR NORIN RAD:"When I spoke to Kid (TDK) he gave your cousin Eddy (TDK) mad props. He said he was an outstanding B-Boy. Was he your real cousin?"

BIG BOOM:"Yeah, Eddy.....he was my real cousin. The one that passed away...Eddy. We used to call him Eddy Rock Steady. He used to breakdance real, real good. He had another standard for that! We couldn't touch him on the floor, man. He was real fast."

SIR NORIN RAD:"Where was he from?"

BIG BOOM:"He lived on 180th Street & Webster Avenue." 

SIR NORIN RAD:"Do you know where and when he picked up B-Boying?"

BIG BOOM:"I think he caught the bug at the same time but the only thing he learned it much faster than I did. What would take me maybe a month to learn he would do it in one day. He would pick up stuff like real quick. I would be like, "Yo, how you did that, man?" Then he would spin on his back and go to his head. I was like,"Yo!! How you do that man?" Like I said I was big. It took me longer to learn stuff, you know what I mean? "

SIR NORIN RAD:"Would you practice together?"

BIG BOOM:"Oh yeah, yeah! I was always in his house and he was always in my house. We would take the furniture, move the furniture over...you know how that goes...make room and put the record player on and start breakdancing in the house. And you would hear your mother,"Hey, you gonna break something over there!" We'd be like, "No, no we got this!" (laughs) You know that all b-boys got like a burn mark on their back from doing that backspin. I still got that burn mark on my back. You would also have scuffs on your hands from doing the footwork."

SIR NORIN RAD:" Was it important to you to look fly when you showed up at the jams back then? Did you iron creases in to your Lees? Did you carefully clean your sneakers with a toothbrush? Stuff like that?"

BIG BOOM:"Oh, yeah! Every Friday that would be our day, you get it? Because the flyer would come out maybe like Wednesday and we already knew that Friday and Saturday it was jam, you know? So we had to go home, get sharp and go to the jam. It was either there or the Dungeon. Once the Dungeon opened that was an everday thing, you get it?? That place was open every day. There wasn't a day there wasn't a party in there." 

SIR NORIN RAD:"The Dungeon was the homebase of the The Disco Kids Crew. Kid (TDK) told me it opened in 1977. It was located on 176th Street & Belmont Avenue."

BIG BOOM:"That's correct." 

SIR NORIN RAD:"Please describe how you joined the ranks of the TDK Crew and how that name TDK Zodiacs came about!"

BIG BOOM:"Ok, ok....I'm gonna tell you exactly what happened. We had met Kid on University Avenue 'cause I used to fly birds. So I took birds for check up over there to University. There was a guy over there that we knew.  So I would take birds to see how smart they were to come back to my neighbourhood. And I would see Kid with a TDK shirt and everything. So I said, "Yo, Kid!!!" You know, I knew Kid already from the Dutchmen. Batch had went to prison already, so TBB was like at a standstill. So I told Kid, "Yo, since you got TDK over here on University Avenue why don't we make a crew on the East Side?" So he was like, "Alright! Elaborate on the name and come back to me!" So it took us like a week. Me, my cousin Eddy, Little Boom and Fat Boom we was sitting down with a piece of paper and we would do like brainstorming, you get it? You know how do brainstorming? And we came up with Zodiac. We said, "You know what? Why don't we call it The Zodiac Lovers?" "Oh, shit!!! You know what??? That sounds good, bro!" So that was it. It was red shirts with black letters and it was TDK Zodiac Lovers. On one side of the arm we had TDK and then on the other side we had East Side. So we represented the East Side, you get it?"

SIR NORIN RAD:"So TDK had two divisions. One on the West Side and the other one on the East Side?"

BIG BOOM:"Yes, that's correct. I was the president of the Eat Side division."

SIR NORIN RAD:"What was the function of Little Joey in TDK?"

BIG BOOM:"Little Joey was like the treasurer. He was like the guy when you'd come he was at the door collecting the money, you know? He was like the doorman at the Dungeon, you know what I mean?"

SIR NORIN RAD:"What kind of a place was the Dungeon? What did it look like?"

BIG BOOM:"Okay, the Dungeon....it was a private house. So you would walk into the house, you would go to the first door and that was the Dungeon. You opened the door....TDK Joey would be right there.....you'd come in and you would see furniture like in a regular house but the jam was downstairs in the basement!!  There was a secret door that you had to open to go down to the basement. That's where the jam was. Until we took over the building...when we took over the building then they made the whole thing a disco, you get it? That's when the construction came when they bought the whole building for a dollar.  They started working....it took'em maybe like six months, man. Putting work into it like every day until it was done. The Dungeon was bad!!!!  I'm talking about you walk in there the floor was all plywood...nice....shellac floors...real nice. It was furniture, everything man. There were couches for you to lay back. There were curtains, you know, like in a regular house. There was no walls, they knocked down all the walls. So it was just one big open place for you to dance."   

SIR NORIN RAD:"How many people could fit in there?"

BIG BOOM:"I'd say a good 900 to 1000 people could fit in there! That's how big the Dungeon was! It was big! And let me tell you every given night that place would be packed like that! On a bad day there would still be like 200 people there. Every day! It would be somebody's birthday party coming up or Valentine's Day. Whatever occasion came on we would throw a party, you know what I'm saying? The word would spread like wildfire! You'd be surprised how fast the word would spread around. The Dungeon was popping that night, you know what I mean?"

SIR NORIN RAD:"Who were the DJs at the Dungeon that you remember? Kid (TDK) told me about DJ Jimmy who used to play there."

BIG BOOM:"Yeah, that's correct. That's who I learned from.....DJ Jimmy!! Yes, he was real, real good! This guy....he could mix the records, boy!!! I mean he fascinated when I first started to play. I said, "This kid is nice!" So I told him to teach me, he wouldn't teach me. He said, "Just watch me, man! Just watch me!" So I would just stand there and watch him and watch him. Then he said to me,"Yo, you wanna hand me those records?" So I became his record boy, you know? I would be there looking at him, "Damn, how he did that?" And I would write the songs down. Little did he know that I would write the songs down. So when he would leave, I would start DJing, you get it? That was nice. People would wake up and go, "Who's that? Jimmy is here? I didn't know Jimmy is here." I said,"Nah, that's Boom, yo!" They would be like,"Get outta here! That's Boom??? He's getting good like that already?"

SIR NORIN RAD:"What kind of music did DJ Jimmy play?"

BIG BOOM:"Disco, that's disco! Hustle music!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"Kid (TDK) stated that in the beginning The Disco Kids Crew wasn't into B-Boying. When it started all it's members would do was the Hustle and Toprocking. Then by 1978 they picked up B-Boying and took it very seriously. Having regular practice sessions at The Dungeon....."

BIG BOOM:"Yes, that's correct!"

Kid (Founder of the TDK Crew) 


SIR NORIN RAD:"So as far as the breakbeats are concerned who taught you about them?"

BIG BOOM:"DJ Lay Lay! Yeah, when I used to go to 129 and see DJ Lay Lay that's when I learned about the breakbeats. Sex Machine, Yellow Sunshine..... I would look for these kind of beats." 

SIR NORIN RAD:"From what I have heard The Disco Kids had a fierce rivalry with The Rockwell Association back then. What do you recall about all the battles that went down between you and them?"

BIG BOOM:"I'm gonna keep it real with you not because I was a part of TDK or nothing like that but I think out of all the battles that we had with them I think we took them all! But there was one thing that they used to do better than us and I'mma tell you what it is: They used to buy the judges!" 

SIR NORIN RAD:"Yes, I have heard about this allegation before." (laughs)

BIG BOOM:"We was ignorant to that, you know? Since we had the baddest dancers, you know, that wasn't important to us. We knew we was gonna win no matter what!!! But then when it was time for voting the people, even the crowd (when they heard that Rockwell had won) they were like,"Nah, man! That can't be, yo!!! How the hell these ni****rs beat ya?!?!" You know what I'm saying?? Everybody was like, "Nah, nah, man! This shit is bought!!!" And it was that!!! They would fucking buy the judges and we wasn't aware of that! We had no control over that" 

SIR NORIN RAD:"When I spoke to Willie Wil (The Rockwell Association) about that legendary battle that took place between you and them at St. Martin's Church in 1978 he said he was aware of these accusations but dismissed them as pointless. He said the judges were Catholic priests, respectable men who couldn't be bought."

BIG BOOM:"Yeah, but they knew them more than they knew us. They grew up with them and all of that! You know, Willie Will was really good though, man! He was real good!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"How do you feel about that statement that TDK was notorious back then for starting fights after losing in B-Boy Battles? Kid TDK stated your crew had certain members that were known for getting into beef with other B-Boys."

BIG BOOM:"That's true. Yeah, we would react. I was probably one of them. Little Joey he  punched one of the guys from Rockwell in the mouth when we found out that they bought the judges 'cause we knew that we took that battle. That's the one I remember perfectly, the one at St. Martin's. Little Manny was there, we had Spy, we had everybody with us that day. There was no way we was gonna lose that battle!!! And at the end of the day they gave it to Rockwell and it was because of that...they bought the judges!!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"So you 're saying Spy was on your side that day?"

BIG BOOM:"That's correct. You see that battle I remember perfectly........"

SIR NORIN RAD:"Please describe how that battle went down!"

BIG BOOM:"Ok, that day I remember it was TDK against Rockwell. It was in St. Martin's Church. Everything went well, everything...the jam....everything. Everybody breakdanced.....at the end of the thing they gave the score to Rockwell, you get it? So TDK got tight. I didn't know what was going on. Then all of a sudden I see commotion in the bathroom. Come to find out... Little Joey came out and said, "Yo, man! Just found out one of the judges snitched on us!" I said, "Oh shit, you're kidding me, bro!" So we went through all this shit for nothing 'cause sometimes that would take a lot of work, man! Gathering people, you know, to come battle. It wasn't easy to get Little Manny or Spy. Sometimes it would take weeks to gather all these people to go to one event, you get it? And then to get cheated on at the end, you understand what I'm saying? I remember we won that batte, man! Straight up and down, we won that battle. The last B-Boys that danced was Spy against Willie Wil and Spy took him hands down!!!!! Spy was like The Man With 1000 Moves!!!! That's what we used to call him and he was real fast. Spy was like.....forget about it! In those days he was like too much, man! I never see nobody beat Spy!!! That's why I knew we took the battle, you know what I'm saying?"

SIR NORIN RAD:"If I remember correctly Willie Wil said that he acknowledges Spy as an incredibly nice B-Boy but he also said that Spy messed up his last move in that battle and then Willie Will defeated him with a nice combination of moves."

BIG BOOM:"Nah man, that's not true, man! That guy it was hard for him to mess up a move, man! He was like a perfectionist. Forget about it, man!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"Did you also participate in that battle?"

BIG BOOM:"Yes, we both went down. Me and my brother (Little Boom). We had a routine that we used to do...me and my brother. I'm gonna tell you what it is .....We used to start off looking at each other. He does a routine....my brother goes down, he does a spin on his head and he falls. It makes him look like he got hurt in his routine, you get it? So I go up to him.....people think he's hurt now...I go up to him and start giving him a mouth-to-mouth...you know, I start pumping his chest.....CPR...and now  the crowd goes, "Oh shit!!!!!" They think he's really hurt!! They already start to come at us. And then when I pump his chest he starts going like.....you know, jumping up and down. Yoooooo, and that's when he starts breakdancing! The people go like, "Oh, shit!!! These ni****ers are crazy!!!!" You know what I'm saying. This is one of the routines we had." 

SIR NORIN RAD:"Kid said that one of the best b-boys that TDK ever had was Mongo Rock. What do you remember about him?"

BIG BOOM:"Oh yeah, Mongo was good!!!! Mongo was like ten times better than me. He had his brother, too. They used to breakdance!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"His name was Jesus, right?"

BIG BOOM:"Yes, yes. That's true. His brother could dance, too. This kid could dance, bro!!!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"He was also down with TDK, right?"

BIG BOOM:"That is correct. In order for you to be in a battle you had to have your crew shirt on or you couldn't battle. That was one of the rules also.  You couldn't come that day and put on the shirt of somebody else just to win that battle, you know what I'm saying? You had to be registered, too! You had to be registered on paper."

Big Boom (left) and Mongo Rock (right) of the TDK Crew


SIR NORIN RAD:"How would you rate Wizard Wiz (TDK) ?"

BIG BOOM:"Oh yeah, Wizzy Wiz!!!! He was good! He was a little chunky but he was good, he was fast!"

Wizard Wiz (TDK) 


SIR NORIN RAD:"So before a battle started each crew had to present a list featuring all it's members?"

BIG BOOM:"Exactly. It would be like ten against ten. So back then another person could not fill in for let's say Mongo and his name is scratched off. Like,"He's filling in for him." No, it's not gonna happen. Mongo has to be there or he has to let us know before the day of the battle. That was one of the main rules, too. 'Cause that's like cheating, you know what I'm saying?"

SIR NORIN RAD:"I was told that the Dungeon burnt down in 1979. What do you remember about this tragic event?"

BIG BOOM:"To be honest with you I wasn't there when the Dungeon burnt down. I was at another house party. I had went to another house party but this is what I heard happened though...I heard that a guy was getting high.....he was tripping or something and he put the curtains on fire. He didn't think it would ignite the way it did, you get it? He thought he had control over it and he could turn it off but the shit ignited so fast that he didn't have control over it. You're not gonna believe what they were saying outside when I got there. When I came and they were outside crying....'cause there were some people that were crying.....they were saying, "The Dungeon is burning! We'll be back!" While the building was burning, yo!!! They were outside chanting, "The Dungeon is burning! We'll be back! The Dungeon is burning! We'll be back!" I said,"Oh shit, these people are crazy, yo!!!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"Was there also slow dancing going on at The Dungeon back then? Like the 500s?"

BIG BOOM:"Oh yes, man! We used to always end the jams that way! Always! Yup, that was at every given night 'Cause you know you wanted to leave with a shorty (girl), you know what I mean? So every night it was either you're looking at somebody or she was looking at you and that was your move, that chance right there and if you couldn't do it then you wasn't gonna do it no other time. That was your chance to move and say,"Hey, you wanna dance?" And if she said, "Yeah!" Oh man, you was taking her with you. You feel me? If not you blew it 'cause then somebody else would step and he would snatch her up."

SIR NORIN RAD:"So is it accurate to say that a B-Boy back then also knew how to dance with a girl?"

BIG BOOM:"That's correct 'cause you know back then they said that if a guy could move, he could move good in bed. That was something that the girls always talked about and if you was a good slow dance dancer...you know like the 500....if you could grind real good you was taking whoever it was home that night, you know what I'm saying?! And that was my thing, bro!!! My 500 was nice!!!! Call me whatever you wanna call me but don't call me late to dance 500. That was my thing, bro! Righ there!" 

SIR NORIN RAD:"So all these slow joints by groups like The Dramatics or The Moments were also played at The Dungeon?"

BIG BOOM:"Yeah, you know my favourite slow joint was..... you heard of "Float On" (by The Floaters) That one! It says all the signs...Libra!!!! My hair is standing up right now thinking about that shit. Ah man, that's my joint right there!!!"

SIR NORIN RAD:"Is it true that stepping on somebody's sneakers back then lead to a fight?"

BIG BOOM:"That's like taboo, bro! Yeah man, that's like taboo!! Cause remember like I told you you were saving money to look fly at the party. Most of us were still going to high school so you had to save up your little money to get your little kicks or whatnot. Remember we all dressed up! Come Friday everybody is dipped to go to The Dungeon. You know, to represent your crew! That's what it is all about... representing your crew! And if somebody walked by and stepped on your sneakers he either didn't like you or he was looking for beef, you know what I'm saying?"

SIR NORIN RAD:"Would you like to give some shoutouts at the end of this interview?"

BIG BOOM:"Oh yeah, most definitely! I'd like to give a shoutout to my cousin Eddy Rock Steady! May he rest in peace! We miss him dearly! I also wanna shoutout the whole TDK Crew! Another shoutout to TBB, man! Most definitely! Without them I don't know where I would be today. And I definitely wanna thank  you also, man! You're doing a great job! Not a great job, you're doing an outstanding job! With your interviews and the knowledge that you have. You took me way way back!" 

 

 


 


 


 

 

 

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