FUNKY 4 + 1                                     
 

 

JayQuan : Peace ...Definitely honored to speak to you.

Lil Rodney C : Thanks

JQ : I understand that you originally started in a crew called the Magnificent Seven.

LRC : Yes I was down with them from 1976-79 . It was Stevie Steve , Shaft , Calipo 9 , Lil Rodney C , Shotgun , Davey Dave and Jazzy Jeff . Kev Kev was the record man and Pookie Dee was the record man from Bros. Disco.  Funky 4 was originally Sha Rock , Rahiem , KK Rockwell and Keith Keith .  During a 3 month period in 79 all the groups were changing membersfunk_e_4.jpg (25630 bytes)....Busy Bee was down with Fantastic & Cold Crush for a minute , Caz & JDL were doin they thing....Rahiem left Funky and went to Furious (5). No crews were formed at this time....the only actual crews were Furious and Funky .

JQ : So who was the first person you ever saw Emcee...and who influenced you ?

LRC : The first person I ever saw Emcee was Keith Cowboy . He was a crowd motivator....he was mostly doin chants . The person that made me say that I can do this is Melle Mel....he really influenced me . Kid Creole was an early Emcee too . Hollywood and Starski and all those cats will tell you that they were first . They are right to an extent , but there were two classes of Hip Hop at the time...Disco & then the hard B Boys that used breakbeats . Hollywood and them were Disco Djs. Also Mel & Creole were the first Emcees to do back & forth rhyming.

JQ : What made the Funky 4 Break up....and when did you officially break up ?

LRC : We broke up May 9 1981 . See Wild Style was gonna originally be a documentary on the Funky . Fab 5 Freddy used to hang around in Soho....and he knew all the art people...he was down with Debbie Harry ( Blondie ). He used to play Hip Hop tapes....and she heard a tape of us and was interested....she hooked us up with the Saturday Night Live show....we were the first ever Hip Hop crew on national TV . Well she wanted us to tour with them...but we couldnt as long as we were signed to Sugarhill . She had a good lawyer that could get us out of our contract....but we all had to sign.....no one was willing to sign but me & KK....that was the birth of Double Trouble.

 

JQ : So on Wild Style when yall are on the stoop and you say "they tried to hold us back , from fortune & fame"....was that the other members that you were speaking of ?

LRC : That was directed at anybody who stood in our way.....record labels....whoever . See people misunderstood the message we were sending . When we came out at the Ampitheatre with guns and suits it was directed at the industry....it wasnt "gangsta rap"  .  Then two years later you sawRun Dmc on the  " Rock Box " video looking just like us , except thier jackets were leather . Many crews that came after us took something from us .

JQ : Along those lines how do you feel about the Sprite commercial with Nas & AZ ?

LRC : We are in court with Sprite now....and we are taking Nas & AZ to court also.

JQ : Did Funky 4 record anything for Sugarhill other than " Thats The Joint " ?

LRC : Thats all that me & KK recorded with them...after we left they did " Do You Wanna Rock ", " King Heroin "  , " Superstars " , " Square Biz " and " The Mexican ". They just called themselves Funky 4...they dropped the Plus One.

JQ : Its always been my belief that the Sugarhill label would have survived longer if they moved more into the drum machine era......by 1983 people were into the stripped down sound . But Sugarhill was still using a band....the band was dope....but the sound was kida out dated. Do you agree ?

LRC :  No.....what Sugarhill was trying to do was create an original sound that would be identified with them.....like what Motown did.....and it worked . Till this day if you put on a record on that label you know its them .

JQ : Yeah they played some stuff better than the original bands that made them....like " Freedom " , " Disco Dream " ...and " Thats The Joint "....that sounded better than Taste Of Honeys version.

LRC : Thats right.....and they are getting back together...im gonna do some stuff with them.

JQ : I read that you dated Angie B from Sequence....who of course is Angie Stone now.

LRC : Thats my ex wife ; we have a 17 year old daughter together...we are the first Hip Hop couple. ....I see some magazines say that Treach and Pepa were the first....thats not true.

JQ : How was the experience on Enjoy records ?

LRC : Not bad actually ...he just didnt promote us properly....he just was into Hip Hop just to see what he could get out of it .

JQ : Ok....I noticed that you and KK went back to Enjoy as the Deuce 2 .

LRC : Oh yeah we did are you ready . We couldnt use the name Double Trouble anymore...Stevie Ray Vaughn had the rights to it . We had a song on Capitol called " Think About It" . We didnt stay there long...it was hard making the transition from working with bands to drum machines .

JQ : What do you think of current Rap ?

LRC : Its too negative . I dont like the subject matter . I like some voices and some music....like Jay Z , Jadakiss and Nas...they all have good voices and beats....but i dont like what any of them talk about.

JQ : What is Rodney C up to today ?

LRC : I helped to organize what we call Safe Night Talent Search . Its an outlet for youth to express themselves in a positive , non violent environment . Today youth dont have many options as far as music ...there is no balance....either you liten to whats out there or nothing at all . I have been involved in srtting up 6 safenight sites .

JQ : Keep me posted on that....its good to hear cats doing something positive .  Will the Funky 4 ever get back together ? Do you all still talk ?

LRC : We talk periodically.....but there isnt much chance of a reunion....some people would have to change....every time we try to get together there are differences that keep us from doing it .

JQ : At what point did you know that Hip Hop was gonna be around for some time ?

LRC : When we first formed Double Trouble we were rehearsing at a friends house. There was a kid there maybe 10 or so ....when we got up to go to another room he was repeating word for word what we did ....in that little time he could repeat it. I knew at that point that it wasn't going anywhere .

JQ : Lastly were there any rivalries between Funky and other crews....any battles ?

LRC : There were no crews....they literally hadnt formed ...by 81 when we did  " Thats The Joint " Cold Crush , Fantastic....all them were just forming . Emcees were scared to death of us . We put out a flyer around Christmas time calling out Emcees.....it even had a little ryhme on it inviting them to battle us .

JQ : You schooled me to some facts....good luck with the Safe Night project.

LRC : One.

 

 

2002 JayQuan Dot Com    No part may be copied without authors permission .

As told to JayQuan on 1-13-02

 

* Special Thanks to my man Troy Smith *

  www.jayquan.com/foundation.htm

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