JayQuan : Its an honor.....what year did the Fearless form and who are the original members?
DLB : Around December of 79. Originally it was Mike Ski , Mr Troy (of Disco 4) , Tito & Peso . On the wheels were Master OC , Bo D & Grand Supreme...they were the House Rockers Crew . Mike C had a record out on Peter Browns label ( Sound Of New York ) with his group The Family. Mike was hosting a talent show at the Celebrity Club and needed Emcees so he held auditions . Mike was a local celebrity , having a record out and everything so we were all down to do the show . When Tito found out that I was auditioning he said he didnt want to even be in it....he said that he respected my skills like that. I said lets both do it and see what happens . Me & Tito made the audition and I met Peso that night . Peso was a fashion designer , and a lot of people dont know that he is one of the original Graf cats from back in the days . Peso had a bad stuttering problem , and I had never really heard him talk much because of it ; but it didn't affect his flow . Mike Ski left the group and Mike C left the Family and joined us.
JQ : Who was the first person you heard Emcee?
DLB : It was Dj Hollywood....he said stuff like " Mickey Mouse gonna rock the house , Donald Duck dont give a f**k ". Little simple stuff like that...I thought thats all that there was to it...just the nursery rhymes. Then I heard D.ST....who later became Grandmixer D.ST....he used to Emcee...my cousin Ice had a tape of him. He was rhyming about how some cats in his neighborhood were suckers . At That point I knew that this was something that I wanted to do . D.ST made the rhyme personal ; it was so different from Hollywood.
JQ : How did Fearless get the deal with Enjoy Records .
DLB : The Treacherous 3 were on Enjoy , Mike C used to hang out at Enjoy and wait for Bobby Robinson, he bugged him until he let us rap for him.....he heard us and put us in the studio that weekend.
JQ : Fearless seemed to be tight with the Treacherous Three....was that because you were both from Harlem?
DLB : No doubt , we were from the same block....if you listen to the " Wild Wild West " by Moe Dee , all of those cats that he names were from our block. L.A. Sunshine & Spoonie Gee were the first to give me a mic and tell me that I could do this. When Treacherous got their first royalty statement Moe & LA came to my house and counted their money out right on my bed !!!
JQ : How did you become the frontman and spokesperson for the 4, being that you were the youngest ?
DLB : Mike Ski called me and said " I know we said that there would be no leaders in the group , but I want you to be the leader , and write all the routines , and rap first . He cautioned me as leader to stay level headed .
JQ : How did the song " Its Magic " come about ?
DLB : That was a routine originally . We used to do it to the melody of " Cant Get Next To You " by the Temps. They were singing about performing all these incredible acts .....we took it from the routine and made a song of it.
JQ : Your second single "Rockin It" did very well on New Yorks WBLS right ?
DLB : Yes it was one of the few rap songs on 'BLS . We were even mentioned on the promo commercials...it would say somethin like "WBLS where you can hear Cameo , D Train , Earth Wind & Fire and.. Fearless 4.We were up there with people like that . "Rockin It " was #1 on BLS for months...they had to finally retire it from #1 .
JQ : You wrote that entire song right ?
DLB : Yeah I wrote that song in like an hour.
JQ : Fearless 4 was the first Rap group signed to a major label....how did the Elektra deal take place ?
DLB : Our manager KC Pearson said that he could get us out of the Enjoy deal . He hooked up a meeting with the head of Warner Bob Krasnow . I did the talking , and he liked what he heard . Bob moved over to Elektra / Asylum to head things there and he took us with him . Fearless was also the first Rap crew on a talk show - the Joe Franklin show .
JQ : Was it easy to get out of the Enjoy deal ?
DLB : Yes basically we told him (Bobby Robinson) that the money wasn't right .....he said that "Rockin It "didnt sell (chuckles) .
JQ : The " Something New " Ep was good but " Problems Of The World " was classic...tell me about F - 4000....did you initially plan for the whole song to be done in the computer voice or was that an after thought that just sounded good .
DLB : No it was very intentional . It was supposed to be futuristic....everyone was talking about the year 2000 , but I was on the year 4000..and F of course is for Fearless . I had the video concept in my head where we were frozen until the year 4000....and it showed the change of climate , humanity, etc while we are frozen . In that time Hip Hop has turned to garbage , and it takes Fearless to save it . No one was making videos like that back then ; so it never happened .
JQ : "Fearless Freestyle" was so far ahead of its time . You cats came off on that especially your verse about the ice cream....whose idea was it to throw that one on the ep .
DLB : Mr Magic , Kurtis Blow & Davy DMX were all in the studio with us . Magic told us they needed to test the sound level on the mics...so Magic said " just ryhme , as we get the level on all the mics. Just rhyme and pass it to the next guy . " The whole time he was recording ; we said that we thought it was just a test for the mics ; and that we didnt want to keep it.....Magic said " we had levels a long time ago...so we have another song" . In fact if you listen to the beginning of the song me & Mike C were joking around . Mike asked me why I did something....there was this episode of Bugs Bunny where the character Pete Puma tells Bugs " Well you told me to- you told me to-you told me to". I was saying that in this silly voice....then the track came in...thats why I got all serious and came in strongon that track .
JQ : Thats kinda dope..you didnt know they were recording what many people see as your best song ever. How did " Problems Of The World " come about ?
DLB : Even before the Message came out I wrote political rhymes , but no one rapped like that . After the Message came out ; and was so succsessful I knew that it could be done . I wrote that and F - 4000. Everyone wrote their own part to Fearless Freestyle .
JQ : That was the last thing you did with Elektra what happened ?
DLB : The Furious 5 split and Flash and his faction were signed to Elektra . Elektra didnt know much about Hip Hop anyway....so they thought that they had the best thing in the world to have Grandmaster Flash not knowing it wasn't gonna work without Mel & Rahiem on the same team . The label started to neglect us. First they said our new material would come out in August....who releases material in August? Either you release for the summer or right at Christmas . I told the guys we are never gonna come out they are gonna put us on the shelf .
JQ : How did you end up on Tuff City for the " Dedication " single ?
DLB : We didnt sign to Tuff City...we just signed that song to Aaron Fuc*s (laughs....Fuchs... Tuff City CEO) We needed something to keep our name going . That record took forever to come out and wasn't promoted at all . It was supposed to come out to prevent a dry spell and it didnt come out until my spring semester in college , which defeated the purpose.
JQ : Fearless signed to another major label - Polygram/Mercury for " After Tonite" and " Cant Rock Us "..
DLB : We signed with a producer who had a deal with Mercury ; so we werent directly signed . We didnt see any royalties or anything from that. It wasnt properly promoted , so it didnt do well .
JQ : Did you feel that when Kool Moe Dee started to blow in the mid to late 80s that a lot of first school Emcees would be next ?
DLB : Yeah we thought so..........( chuckles )
JQ : Im gonna name some Emcees rate them 1-10 ; 10 being higest.
Melle Mel - 10
Kool Mo Dee - 10
Caz - 10
Busy Bee - 5
Dotta Rock - 8.5
LL Cool J - 7.5
Run - 5
DMC - 8.5
Lil Rodney C - 7
T La Rock - 8
Kid Creole - 10 ( 10 as an all around Emcee he wasn't very lyrical....but he was the king of the echo chamber.....and the " Lets get ready to Ruuuummmble"...that voice . He did that 20 years ago.
Doug E Fresh - off the meter....20 or more he is perfect in everything he does .
Mc Shan - 4.5
KRS One - 10
Rakim - 10
Mike C - 8
Peso - 8
Tito - 9.5
Jay Z - 8
Nas 9.5 ...with potential to be off the meter
Biggie - 10
Tupac - 8.5
Pharoah Monch - 9.5
JQ : What do you think of current so called Hip Hop ?
DLB : I don't like it....thats why I have reservations about coming back into the business. I want to make musicthat I can listen to with my kids....to me these rappers arent saying anything but bling bling etc....one cat might bling with more skills than the next , but its still bling bling .
JQ : What is DLB doing today ?
DLB : Im Married with 3 children ; and im an educator in Hollis Queens . I have a Masters in Education and Communicative & Creative Arts . In a few months I will become an adjuct Professor at a local college.
JQ : Its good to hear that ....congratulations..good luck...Peace
* Thanks to my man Troy L Smith (once again).........*
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