GrandWizzard Theodore

Of the Legendary L- Brothers, Fantastic Four & Fantastic 5 Emceeís.

Told to Troy L. Smith

End of Summer 2005

 

TS: Thank you for your time Theodore. I'd like to get right to it. Where were you born and raised?

 

GWT: I was born in Harlem Hospital. Raised in the South Bronx, on Boston Road and 168th  St.

 

TS: What inspired you to want to DJ?

 

GWT: My brother Mean Gene and Grand Master Flash. Flash and my brother were b- boys first, break dancing at the Hevalo, Psychedelic Shack and other spots, even house parties.

 

TS: So while they were break dancing, who was the DJ at that time? Pete DJ Jones, Disco King Mario?

 

GWT: Well see, Pete only played Disco music. You got a lot of people that say they was into Hip Hop, but Pete played Disco music. Hollywood played Disco music. When we tried to get into Hollywoodís parties, they would be like, ďOh no!  You have to have on suit jackets and shoes" and all that. Sometimes we would get into the party and some of the guys would start b-boying and they would turn the music off and say, ďOh we donít do that in here.Ē

 

TS:  (We start laughing.) Tony Tone told me that. He said Hollywood would say, "Take that s--- down the block to Flashís party."

 

GWT: Yeah talking about, "We donít do all that.Ē  I got a lot of love for all the pioneers, but if a DJ was playing Disco music back in the days, then Disco got killed by Hip Hop, then they start doing Hip Hop, you really canít say you was into Hip Hop. You have to keep it real.

 

TS: How many years does Gene and Cordie-O have over you?

 

GWT: Well I have four older brothers. My brother Gene is the oldest. Then there is my brother Isaac, Larry, then Cordie-O. I have a big a sister and a little sister.

 

TS: So Larry and Isaac didnít want to get into this DJ thing?

 

GWT: No, everybody else was into thier own thing.

 

TS: So why is it that Cordie-O isnít getting as much recognition as you and Gene are? You almost never hear about him, the tapes I have he barely gets on to DJ.

 

GWT: My brother Cordie-O was and still is laid back, he mostly helped hook the equipment up. He usually played music, like, if I wanted to take a break or go to the bathroom or something like that.

 

TS: So who started up the L- Brothers?

  

GWT: Gene and Cordie-O. Flash and my brother Gene originally had their own group, they simply called themselves Grandmaster Flash and the Amazing Mean Gene. After that, Flash formed his own group and we became the L- Brothers. People already knew who we were, they just had to get used to the name L- Brothers. Once they saw me and Cordie-O DJ, people realized that we were ahead of our time. We were ready like overnight. Then we put Kevie Kev on. Kev was in my class in 3rd grade. We were doing a block party one night, and he came up and he wanted to get on the mic. My brother Gene didnít want to let nobody get on the mic. Finally he let Kev get on the mic and Kev started saying some rhymes. The people started feeling him. After that, he was like, ďYo I want to get down with the crew.Ē I was like, ďWell come to the house, we will have a little meeting, then we will make a decision.Ē I came to find out that Master Rob was writing the rhymes and Kev was saying the rhymes. When I found that out, I said, "We might as well put both of ya'll down."

 

TS: So why did Busy Bee leave the L- Brothers?

 

GWT:  Busy Bee is the type of person that just flows from DJ to DJ. Whatever DJ is bouncing at that time, that is where you will see Busy. One week you will see him over there with Cool Dee, the next week you might see him with Disco King Mario. Next week you might see him with us.

 

TS: So was he really a member of the L- Brothers?

 

GWT: Yes he was.

 

TS: Kevie Kev said he fired Busy because there was a contract stating that no emcee in the L- Brothers was allowed to play on anyone elseís set except the L- Brothers. Busy still choose to emcee on other people's sets, so he had to let him go.

 

GWT: I wouldnít say it was a written contractÖ.

 

TS: ÖNo, I understand thatÖ

 

GWT: It was a verbal contract.

 

TS: Exactly.

 

GWT: But Busy Bee is going to be Busy Bee. Back then for him to get on other mics to get more clientelle for himself, thatís what Busy Bee is going to do. Busy Bee is always going to be like that. Even now, he flows from DJ to DJ just to get his paper up. If a person is a certain way, it is hard to change him.

 

TS: So how did you feel about him leaving, did you really like him, did you think he was really a skilled emcee, was he needed for the crew?

 

GWT: Well Busy BeeÖis very talented.

 

TS: Man, I dig Busy today. When we were growing up we used to all say he is saying the same thing over and over and over. But even right now he can rock a party. At one of the recent Zulu Anniversaries he killed it, and this is with records of today, he was rocking right along with the record, and he was still doing pretty much his same formula.

 

GWT: He is an entertainer, man. He is the crowd motivator. As far as how I felt when he left, I donít let things like that bother me, you know what I am saying? I just kept it moving, man. I am not going to let anybody get in the way of my goal. My goal was to keep DJing, get my skills up to par and just go where ever it is going to take me. I was just ready to go!

 

TS: Where did the name GrandWizzard come from?

 

GWT: The emceeís gave me that name. The Fantastic Five. The way I flipped the records, I was playing Hip Hop records with R&B records, mixing records back and forth, mixing a pair of records. So they was like we should call you "GrandWizzard". So the name just stuck with me.

 

TS: You know what? As I listen to all these tapes that I have, I told you I have over 160 tapes, and you know how they say Flash is this and Flash is that and certain other DJs, but I never seen these guys when I was growing up. But how I could tell who was a great DJ was through listening to the tapes. When you did that cut where you broke down "Super Sperm", ďSup, sup, sup, sup, per, per, per, sperm, sperm, sperm.Ē (Theodore starts laughing.) I said ďOh man, this is unbelievable.Ē So I give you a lot of props on that.

 

GWT: Thank you.

 

TS: You, Afrika Islam, I can hear it through the tapes. Krazy Eddie, Jazzy Jay. But I canít say Flash. Although I am sure he did some awesome work back in the days and I say that because through the tapes the crowds go berserk when he does something visually nice for them. But I do have friends that are DJs that can really hear what I canít because I am not a DJ. so I really canít take from him. Although I do have a Monroe High School tape were he goes off. But he is cutting I think Good Times a thousand times.

 

GWT: Right.

 

TS: I read in an article that Gene originally didnít want you to DJ, you ended up having to sneak it to do it. Flash put you on to it. Flash showed you how to do it?

 

GWT: Gene and Flash were down together and people were trying to say that Flash taught me. I taught myself how to DJ. Nobody taught  me how to DJ. The only thing Flash taught me was, you know, there are so many different mixers out there..you have to know how to turn the mixer on, turn the mixer off..,this is this cross fader, for that turntable, this cross fader for that turntable..these are the ear phones.. thatís about it. He never sat me down and said, "O.K. This is how you mix these two records together.  It was nothing, never like that. All the skills that I have I taught myself. Nobody taught me all the skills that I have. That is why my style is like no other. If anything, Flash taught me - this is the left turntable, this is the right turntable, this is the mixer, this is that for the mixer, and this is that for the mixer - but I pretty much knew all that already, just by watching.

 

TS: Your brothers were already doing this before Flash even came to your house, didnít Flash stay at your house for a minute as well?

 

GWT: Flash was down from day one with Gene. Flash couldnít keep the equipment at his house, so the equipment was at my momís house. Flash was able to come any time he wanted to DJ. If he came and he stayed till 3 or 4 oíclock in the morning, he had a room were he could just stretch out. My moms was like,"You can come and go as you please."

 

TS:  So she had a love for him like he was one of hers. Thatís good.

 

GWT: Yeah, my moms is the kind of person where when she cooked, who ever was in the house, got to eat.

 

TS: So whatís up with this other rumor that Flash disobeyed Gene by trying to show you how to DJ on the low?

 

GWT: I guess my brother probably felt we already had two DJs, why do we need with another one? As far as Flash sneaking me in and putting me on a milk crate and teaching me, that  is a bunch of bull.

 

TS: Thatís what I needed to hear, not trying to play him, but what is the truth and what is myth.

 

GWT: No, it is what it is.

 

TS: So why did Gene and Flash separate from each other?

 

GWT: They probably out grew each other.

 

TS: So whatís the relationship with you and Flash today? Because we getting reports here and there that you are not feeling him and he might not be feeling you, and its almost coming to that moment were yaíll are going to battle each other on the turntables. Is this valid?

 

GWT: To be honest with you, I donít sit back and worry about what the next DJ is doing. Even back in the days, when we used to battle and there was so many other DJs doing the same thing that we was doing, as far as doing parties and stuff like that. I donít sit back and worry about what the next man is doing, I just focus on what I am doing. You have a lot of DJs that wanted to battle this person and they want to battle that person. I wasnít looking to battle nobody. All the battles that I had, the DJ pretty much came up and wanted to battle us.

 

TS: Your crew was the hottest anyway so they supposed to want to bring it to you.

 

GWT: I am not into worrying about what the next DJ is doing. I am just worried about focusing on what I have to do. I donít have no time for that s---.

 

TS: So yaíll not really cool the way yaíll once were?

 

GWT: Oh we cool. We just donít get to talk that much. We donít do parties together or nothing like that.

 

TS: Is it because you not trying to do no parties any more, or time wonít allow?

 

GWT: We have talked, I have asked, ďWhat up? We need to do a tour or something together.Ē

 

TS: o.k., that would be real good.

 

GWT: He knows that I want to do that and he hasnít gotten back to me, so right there that has told me that he ainít trying to do anything. I donít know if he is scared to be on the same stage with meÖÖ

 

TS: You a funny cat nowÖ(Troy starts to laugh.)  you going to amp it now.

 

GWT: People will find out that our skills are totally different andÖ..and ..how can you say you taught this person how to DJ when yaíll skills is like night and day?

 

TS: What does that mean thoughÖ.your skills are like night and day. (I really didnít expect what he was about to say.)

 

 GWT: His skills are just basic and limited. You know what I am saying? My skills stretch a long way. I can rock a party like I used to, or I can turn into a turntablist. I can flip with cats in Italy and Japan. They flipping the music really crazy these days. I just keep it real. I come to entertain. I am not here to worry about what the next DJ is doing and calling out DJs to battle. I donít have nothing to prove to nobody.

 

 TS: Thatís what I wanted to ask you how many battles and who have you battled back in those days?

 

GWT: We didnít have too many battles.

 

TS: Well who did you battle, other than Cold Crush?

  

GWT: I battled Afrika Islam.

 

TS: With the Funk Machine or by himself?

 

GWT: By himself, at the Sparkle Club. He came to the Sparkle one night and we battled and he was f----- up, because that was when I first started scratching and stuff like that.

 

TS:  Oh o.k. so you were really young at this time.

 

GWT:  Yeah I was like 12 or 13 years old

 

TS: What? And he got you about 3, 4 years

 

GWT: Yeah.

 

TS: And you tore him out the frame?

 

GWT: I mean my skills were really advanced.

 

TS: Yeah like you was true ball player.

 

GWT: Yeah,, cats was like ďiI you want to get your weight up, Theodore is the person to battle.Ē

 

TS: I got to give Afrika Islam props, I have a tape with (tape 11.) him cutting Impeach the President along with Mardi Gras, and he is killing it, it sounds like art. Who else did you battle? What about Bam or Mario?

 

GWT:  I was actually down with Mario. I used to go over to Soundview (East Bronx) and DJ for him. Then we battled Kool Herc in the West Bronx. Herc had his system there and we had ours.

 

TS: Thatís what I wanted to ask you too. I got that tape also (tape 56.) but where was the battle at? Was it the Galaxy?

 

GWT: We were at the Galaxy. That was a crazy night. To be honest with you, all Herc could do to us was turn his system up on us.

 

TS: I understand, but did he do any type of show when it was his turn other then turn up his music? Did he get on at all?

 

GWT: He mostly let Clark Kent come on. Clark Kent is not a bad DJ.

 

TS: So Herc really didnít get on?

 

GWT: I think Herc got on at the end. He just turned his system up and stuff like that.

 

TS: How old were you when you first did the scratch?

 

GWT: I was like 12 or 13 years old.

 

TS: Do you remember what the record was that you were using when you first scratched?

 

GWT: I was playing with "Passport" and "Bongo Rock." It was the beginning of the summer almost because I was just getting ready to get out of school. So the weather was just getting real nice.

 

TS: So that would be a May or June. Say 1978?

 

GWT: 1975.

 

TS: Damn that early? I didnít know it was that early. So the first time you did it was at an out side jam, how did the crowd respond?

 

GWT:  The crowd was hyped! Everybody already knew that I had good skills on the turntables, after they came to the park and saw me needle dropping a record and stuff like that. They were even more amazed when I did the scratch for the first time. Everybody was amazed. It hyped the crowd.

 

TS: Do you remember the record you played that day at he outside jam?

 

GWT: It was "Jam on the Groove" definitely.

 

TS: The needle drop, how did that come about?

 

GWT: My moms had a little turntable in the house that she played music on. I used to play 45ís on there and just basically skip the 45 back to the break part. When I finally got to the big turntables, I already had the skills.

 

TS: Who else did you battle?

 

GWT: I battled Jay Cee.

 

TS: I heard Jay Cee. That was with Kool Herc and The Herculiods and was pretty good.

 

GWT: Yeah, he was cool. I battled Whiz Kid also.

 

TS: Damn Whiz was nice too. He won some trophies too. I got one with him, Jazzy Jay and Charlie Chase battling at the New Music Seminar. (tape 119.) He went on last. He tore it up. He won.

 

GWT: Yeah he was a good DJ

 

TS: What about Bam?

 

GWT: When we went to play at Bronx River, it wasnít really no battle. It was just two DJs. We brought our system in and he brought his system in. Everybody was looking at it like me and Jazzy Jay was going to go at it and stuff. The crowd is always going to make it into something when it is nothing.

 

TS: You mean Jazzy Jay or Bam?

 

GWT: Jay.

 

TS: What about Bam?

 

GWT: No, never battled.

 

TS: What about DJ Lovebug Starski.

 

GWT: No.

 

TS: What made you separate from Gene and Cordie-O and make the Fantastic 4?

 

GWT: It was getting to the point were they wasnít into it like they once were. Also it got to a point were the style of the DJ was changing. It got to the point were DJs were mixing and scratching now, all kinds of new stuff. They just couldnít keep up with it.

 

TS: How did Dot and Whip get a shot with yaíll?

 

GWT: We knew them when they were running with Charlie Chase and Tony Tone. Originally, Fantastic wasnít trying to put them down. Kev, Rob and Ruby didnít want them in the beginning. I told them that all it could do is make the crew better.

 

TS: Did Kev say why he didnít want them down?

 

GWT: No, Kev was just being Kev at that time.

 

TS:  (starts laughing) Read the story I did on him, boy, that kid is crazy. He said if Kool Moe Dee did to him what he did to Busy Bee there would be some drama. I said "What?" He said, ďYeah, because that was some real bull $%#* he did, donít  nobody do anything like that, he called Busy Bee out. That was disrespectful, thatís not how you have an m.c. battle, you go by rhyme skills. Not trying to disrespect somebody.Ē I said, "Damn you have a point but I never heard it like that." Everybody else loved that battle, I say he is right but thatís Kev!

 

GWT: Yeah well what Busy Bee and Kool Moe Dee did was classic.

 

 

 

TS:  Exactly, but Kev felt it was too insulting.

 

GWT: But if Kool Mo Dee called Kev out, Kev would have had to step up to the plate.

 

TS: He would have had to, exactly. There probably would have been some beef afterwards.

 

GWT: Back then I donít think Kev was like a battle emcee, he was more like he is going to rhyme for the ladies.

 

TS: Exactly.

 

GWT: You have some guys that write rhymes for battles, and you have some who write rhymes forÖÖ

 

TS: Just to be cool

 

GWT: Right, just to be cool, and rap for the ladies.

 

TS: Right, Spoonie Gee type.

 

GWT: Emcee Busy Bee, didnít write battle rhymes either. Busy Bee didnít write battle rhymes. Kev didnít write battle rhymes. Rob didnít write battle rhymes.

 

TS: Maybe Dot wrote battle rhymes. I say that because he had that type of personality, as well as he was a very good writer as well.

 

GWT:  Dot wrote battle rhymes and Whipper Whip wrote battle rhymes, because thatís where they came from, thatís the side of town they came from. If Kool Moe Dee would have called out Kev there is no telling what would have happened.

 

TS: You right.

 

GWT: But sometimes when som one calls you out, you have to go for it,  because if somebody calls you out and you donít go for it, people will be look at you like, ďAh man!. So sometimes you have to go for it.

 

TS: During the CC4 Fantastic battle what made you put the handcuffs on? (Theodore starts laughing.) Were you practicing this all week, all month, before the battle, did you do it at another show before the battle?

 

GWT: No  I mostly used to do it in the house. I was in the house fooling around one night, I had some ladies in the room with me.

 

TS:  You is a funny cat. (starts laughing)

 

GWT: We was smoking some weed and drinking some beer and stuff like that. They pulled out the handcuffs and handcuffed me. I started DJing with the handcuffs. They both were saying the other one had the key, at the same time I am trying to finish a tape I was making for them. They want to b.s. while I am trying to finish up, so I just went with it.

 

TS: So you are actually the very first person to use handcuffs while DJing?

 

GWT: Yes.

 

TS: I say that because I know about Master Don doing it with his sneakers and other objects. In fact, nobody was known for these things. You were the very first DJ to use anything other then your hands?

 

GWT: Yeah.

 

TS: Alright this for the fan that never been there: What was it like in the dressing room before yaíll would go on to perform? Say Harlem World was the dressing room big enough for all of the crew?

 

GWT: The dressing room was just enough for us, the Fantastic 5 to get into and chill before the show. Basically in the dressing room we were doing our last minute practicing, and stuff like that. We probably would be smoking our little weed or what ever. And just practicing and making sure everything is tight.

 

TS: Who in your opinion were the 5 best DJs, other than yourself?

 

GWT: I would definitely say Jazzy Jay, and I would easily give him a 9.

Then there is Whiz Kid. Whiz Kid was good. I would give him a 9 also.

Then I would say my man Krazy Eddie.

 

TS: Krazy Eddie from the Fearless Four, Word? Thatís good.

 

GWT: Yeah, Krazy Eddie was a good DJ.

 

TS: Yeah, I know he is going to love this when I tell him.

 

GWT: He was a good DJ because he not only scratched and DJ'ed, but he mixed too.

 

TS: Itís amazing because Tony Tone said he never seen him. I said "How in the world you never seen this dude?" He said he just never seen him. Alright, you got 2 more to go.

 

GWT:I would have to say Barry B!

 

TS: Barry B? Damn. Everybody is giving him props. Damn, you ainít lying.

 

GWT: Yeah, Barry B is a bad boy. I would give him a 9. Same thing for Krazy Eddie too.

 

TS: Who is your 5th?

 

GWT: Master Don.

 

TS: Master Don! Damn they going to love that, I am working on a story right now about him, I just got finish talking to his mother, Mrs. Martin. Salt of the Earth. She is going to give me pictures and the whole 9. So what was it about him that made you think he was up there with the elite?

 

GWT: Well when he DJ'ed it looked like he was having a good time.

 

TS: Damn thatís like the Disco King Mario. I heard he used to be dancing while he DJ'ed.

 

GWT: Yeah, he also made sure to excite the crowd. I mean you have some DJs that have it and some DJs that just donít have it, but they think they have it.

 

TS: (Troy starts laughing.) What is that undercover low blow?

 

GWT:  DJing is 50 percent physical, and 50 percent mental, you know what I am saying? If you get up on the turntable and you playing the right record that doesnít mean that the people are enjoying it. It is how you transition into that record. It isÖhow can I say it, how you attack the record as you are playing the record. Thatís why I always study DJs when I go see them play, because all DJs have weaknesses. You got some DJs that when they DJ, they're not watching the crowd, they just got their head down at the turntables and aren't watching the crowd and seeing if they feeling what they doing. If you're DJing and the crowd is not feeling what you're doing, then you got to go somewhere else.

 

TS: Right, move on.

 

GWT: But some DJs donít do that, they act like they still up in their house DJing.

 

TS: So can you remember what the crowd looked like the first day you did the legendary scratch?

 

GWT: Yo, it was up in 63 park, half a block away from where I lived at. Yeah, people was just so hyped. When I created the scratch it wasnít like it took three, four weeks for me to actually bring it out to the public, it was like an over night thing. The next time when we came out is when I did it. Everybody was like going crazy, people were saying "Oh s---!" You had some people that stopped dancing and came up to the front by the turntables to see what I was doing, other people were like saying its on.

  

TS: Other then your Fantastic 5 emcees, who are your top emcees from back then?

 

GWT: Mele Mel, Raheim, Cowboy.

 

TS: What you just going to say the Furious 5? (as we laugh.)

 

GWT: Caz and J.D.L. were my next 2 emcees.

 

TS: Looks like you really just talking about original emcees that Dota Rock would call Masters. As if Grand Masterís in the Karate flicks.Alright what about the 5 best DJs of today, since you have been all around the world, and people respect you I know you have seen a whole lot of DJs come and go.

 

GWT: Oh man! I have seen a lot of DJs. I would definitely say the X-ecutioners.

 

TS: Thatís a crew of guys right?

 

GWT: Yeah, I also say Roc Raida.

 

TS: I know him, well not personally, but I have heard of him.

 

GWT: I would next say DJ Domination.

 

TS: I donít know him.

 

GWT: This guy is really crazy, he is like a DJ exhibitionist. He has a video were he bought his turntables to a basketball court and put his turntables right under the net and hung him self upside down from the net and started DJing upside down. It was crazy.

 

TS: Damn sure was.

 

GWT: Then he did a skit with Heather Hunter, were she put her legs around him and her back was to the mixer and he was DJing holding her up like that.

 

TS: Were is he from?

 

GWT: Florida.

 

TS: Who is the other 3?

 

GWT: I would say this guy named Z-Trip. He will mix Elvis with Run-DMC.

 

TS: I hear you, and he could make it sound good?

 

GWT: He would just mix records together that you wouldnít think mixed. He will mix Rock and Roll, he will mix Motown s--- with Rock records. He will mix everything!

 

TS: The other 2?

 

GWT: I would say DJ Q-Bert.

 

TS: I heard of him.

 

GWT: Yeah Q-Bert is bad.

 

TS: What separated him from the crowd?

 

GWT: Well basically what he does is use 1 turntable.

 

TS: What?

 

GWT: He will play the beat and he will scratch through out his whole routine. If he plays for 2 hours, he will scratch for two hours.

 

TS: The last one?

 

GWT: I definitely would say Jam Master Jay

 

TS: Jam Master Jay. God bless him. So what is your feelings on Kid Capri and Brucie Bee?

 

GWT: Capri and Brucie Bee are definitely on. When Disco King Mario used to live up on the Westside (in the Bronx), in Kid Capriís block in Sedwick Avenue, Capri used to come in the basement and watch me play.

 

TS: This was way back, little boy days.

 

GWT: Yeah, before he even started DJing, he used to come down and watch me play. He said, ďI am going to be a DJ one day.Ē I said, ďWell good luck.Ē

 

TS: I bring up Capri because you spoke about Z Trip saying how he would rock music that other people wouldnít think of. Capri is some what the same, I heard him rock Jackson 5 records like no one else, I say that because you grew up hearing Jackson 5 songs all your life, he turned it into an art form, so you continue to appreciate the Jackson 5 music.

 

GWT: I say Brucie Bee also because they were somewhat the same. They really knew how to rock a party and he was also from the Roof Top and they, along with Kool Kyle, started that mixtape legacy. Brucie Bee played for my birthday party at Willie's in Harlem (which moved across from the old Disco Fever in the Bronx.)  He did his thing.

 

TS: On the subject of the movie Wild Style, how did you and Charlie Ahearn get so cool, you are still kool with him today?

 

GWT: Yeah, I still talk to him, his wife and son.

 

TS: At that time he treated you like family, am I right?

 

GWT: Yeah! We met Charlie Ahearn through Busy Bee.

 

TS: And Fab 5 Freddy?

 

GWT: Yeah and Fab 5 Freddy. They met Busy Bee, and he used to bring them around to all the parties and stuff like that. Charlie used to take a lot of pictures and stuff like that, then he decided he wanted to make a movie.

 

TS: Why did he pick you to do the sound track to Wild Style? I know this had to be the first time you or any DJ did something like this. So how did you feel doing this when you were not experienced in this field?

 

GWT: At that time, I was one of the hottest DJs, and we got pretty close. One day he said, "Since you're doing so many parties and pretty much know what the people want - I donít want to put none of the original breaks on there, I want  to do something totally different." So we went in the studio and I laid down some foundations and they took it from there. I didnít really just sit in the studio and see the project all the way through, I just laid the foundation down and they did the rest.

 

TS: I ask you this because my man JayQuan says he really appreciates how you mix the music to the opening scene. It appears the film was already done and then as you are watching it youíre adding the music into it.

 

GWT: They wanted each scene to have certain music, so what I did was watch each scene. The copies of the soundtrack were already pressed up. I already had two. Basically what I did was watch each scene of the movie and put the music to the scene.

 

TS: So how did you feel about this music that they presented for you to use?

 

GWT: At first I wasnít feeling the music, because I felt they should have used a lot of the original breaks, but Charlie didnít want to do that because he would have to clear a lot of samples and they were only working with a certain budget. After time went by I started to get a soft spot for the music.

 

TS: I understand. Why were you picked to do that job instead of Flash, Charlie Chase or Kool Herc or somebody like that, being as they were just as popular as you were and older?

 

GWT: It probably was the relationship I had with Charlie, we was really close.

 

TS: Right off the back yaíll hit it off soon as yaíll met?

 

GWT: Yeah. Yeah definitely.

 

TS: So do you know if Flash was a little slighted since he only had that little piece in his kitchen?

 

GWT: I think that was the best scene in the movie.

 

TS: It was real hot, I dug it. but I felt because he was Flash he should have gotten a whole lot more, and why werenít the Furious 5 involved?

 

GWT:I really donít know. I think Busy Bee was the one coaxing Charlie who to put in the movie and who not to put in the movie, I believe.

 

TS: But Busy was digging the hell out of Furious too, wasnít he?

 

GWT: Oh yeah but I think being as Flash and them had their records out, it might have been time to let somebody else get some shine.

 

TS:  How long did it take for them to shoot it?

 

GWT: Ah man like two years.

 

TS: Two years? I had no idea. It is not like it is a very long movie.

 

GWT: What happened was Debra Harry, (Blondie) and her husband were the ones that financed the movie.  He got sick, Chris Stein her husband. He got so sick it was touch and go for a minute. So the funding for the movie had stopped.

 

TS: (Damn almost didnít have a Wildstyle.)

 

GWT: So they put it on hold for like 4 or 5 months then once he got better we resumed with the movie and stuff like that. I feel I should have had more acting parts, but I was pretty much satisfied with what we did.

 

TS: How did yaíll fill up that amphitheater?

 

GWT: Basically what we did was send out flyers.and people are always hanging out at the amphitheater so once they seen the cameras and the people... to be honest, most of those people were people that were just walking by and just walked in off the street. I have to say D.ST had the best part at the end, which is really cool.

 

TS: I am going to switch lanes now. What happened in the dispute with Heineken beer?

 

GWT: People say I was going to sue them, not true. I never really came out and said I am going to sue them. Today we are trying to educate people about the early days of Hip Hop and who were the true players and stuff like that. For Heineken to go and do something like that was out of order. They never called none of the pioneers to come and do any benefits for them. When they do shows, they donít call Kool Herc or Afrika Bambaataa or Flash or me to come and M.C. the show or open up for anybody. They never did anything like that. Then they did that little spoof commercial. It's really crazy, because how could you do some commercial like that and make money off of us and you not trying to hire us to come down and do anything. Then when I came down to speak to them, they had their little lawyers there, 3 or 4 of them sitting there. So now the reps are saying ďUeah we at Heineken do a lot of things for Hip Hop and stuff like that.Ē I said, "You guys donít do nothing for Hip Hop. You guys do things for Rap. You donít do anything for Hip Hop. I donít see Bambaataa, Flash, Herc or myself doing any shows." They said ďWell we do basketball games for the kids, baseball games for the kids.Ē I said. "OK, let me get this correct, just to see if we are on the same page here. You mean to tell me you guys do basketball games for kids 9, 10, 11, 12 years old. You do baseball games for little teenagers, and when they come to the park they see a bunch of Heineken signs all around the field, is that what you are trying to tell me? That doesnít make any sense.

 

TS: What was their response to that?

 

GWT: They didnít know what to say, while I was speaking to them, the lawyers were getting up and walking out one by one, because they knew that my argument was relevant. I said you guys canít sit here and tell me that you are doing all this stuff for these kids, because when the kids come to the park what they going to see, sponsored by Heineken.

 

TS: You are exactly right.

 

GWT: That is bull s---. I donít want my son coming to the park and he see a bunch of Heineken signs.

 

TS: (Note: the commercial went like this. The party was rocking and stuff like that and the guy spilled a Heineken bottle on the record then he took a towel and dried off the record while he was drying it, he was mistakenly at first moving the record back and forth, forth and back and it was the scratch. The crowd was going off . It amped the party more. Then the commercial said the scratch started in 1982, another mistake on their part.)

 

GWT: I just went there to let them acknowledge that they were wrong for what they did, nothing more.

 

TS: What were the turntables you were using back then and the turntables you are using today.

 

GWT: We were using Technics back then, the 2300ís. Today you have the pitch control where you push it up or push it down, back then you had the pitch control were you had a little round knob were you twist it. I think they were belt drives back then, today they are direct drives.

 

TS: All through your history of DJing how many pair of or single turntables have you had?

 

GWT: Ah man! Thatís a good one, I donít know, probably about 10 pair.

 

TS: Thatís all, 10 pair all your life? So they always go wherever you go?

 

GWT: Yeah.

 

TS: So do you ever experiment with the CD turntables?

 

GWT: Yeah, for sure I have a pair of those as well.

 

TS: How many crates of records did you have back then, before

Wildstyle?

 

GWT: Before Wild style I probably had about 60 crates of records.

 

TS: 60 crates dam! So how many do you have today, combined?

 

GWT: I stopped counting, at about 210 crates. Something like that.

 

TS: What are you doing today with yourself?

 

GWT: I am just traveling, but when I am in town I work at Jam Master Jay's Scratch Academy.

 

TS: Where exactly is that?

 

GWT: That is 430 East 9th St and 6th avenue. A block away from Fat Beats record store. (A few more blocks a way from the legendary West 4th basketball courts.)

 

TS: So who comes in there, young children? College students?

 

GWT: All kind of people come in there. We did a class were juveniles came in there. We had a class were 80, 90 year old people came in. We had them sitting in chairs scratching. It was a sight. I still travel around the world.

 

TS: Still doing shows?

 

GWT: Yeah, I have been to Malaysia, Afghanistan, Spain, London, France.

 

TS: So let me ask you this, when you go into these other countries do you mix their records or you just keep mixing American records? Do you ever mix those European or overseas records for them?

 

GWT: I always take my records, but I also have their records as well. Each time I go there I have DJs that give me records, I go to the record shops there and shop for records, so when I go back there I will have their kind of music, and mix it in with my music.

 

TS: So you have found dope beats at say Afghanistan or Spain?

 

GWT: Oh yeah.

 

TS: And rock it together in another language and all that?

 

GWT: Yeah man.

 

TS: Damn, thatís very interesting. I know pretty much whatís up with the whole crew, but what in the world is up with Ruby Dee? Cats is  always asking me about him?

 

GWT: He is living out in Florida. Dot and Kev are doing their thing. Whip is back and forth to New York coming from Detroit. We were supposed to go on tour with KRS1, but the paper work didnít fall through.

 

TS: So how do you feel about this Federation of Hip Hop that DJ Yoda, Bam, Lucky Strike, Caz, Kurtis Blow, Peeblee Poo and so many others are a part of, to make Hip Hop a better situation?

 

GWT: Oh yeah man, of course that was long over due. I know about it and I fully support them. What ever they need me to do. All they have to do is let me know.

 

TS: Before we conclude this where do you see Hip Hop going today as far as the 50 Cent, and all those other guys that represent Hip Hop in the mainstream?

 

GWT: I see people are able to recognize what Rap and what Hip Hop are today. I think it is getting to the point where people are rapping about violence and stuff like that, that it is getting to the point where the record companyís donít want to sign anybody unless they been shot or stabbedÖ..

 

TS: (starts chuckling.) Yeah right, make your bones.

 

GWT: And I hope it goes back to you know peace, love, and having fun.

 

TS: Exactly, but you donít see it in that direction just yet?

 

GWT: No.

 

TS: Who do you like today that is making music?

 

GWT: I like Common, the Dead Prez, Mos Def.

 

TS: So you like the guys that are not talking whatsoever about violence but concise and positive Hip Hop?

 

GWT: Yeah I like that kind of Rap where you can learn from it. I like Kanye West. I donít like some of the things he says publicly. Far as if you hate the President of the United States, and saying that the President doesnít like Black people, keep that to yourself.

 

TS: Why do you feel he should keep that to himself?

 

GWT: Because talking about isnít going to make it any better, it is going to make it worse.

 

TS: So you are saying show some action?

 

GWT: Exactly.

 

TS: I hear that, I like that part you said.

 

GWT: I mean Master P pretty much said the same thing. I talked to him and he said you canít say the President donít like Black people. We all know that there is racism in this country. Everybody knows that, so he is not saying anything that we donít already know.

 

TS: But you donít think that maybe sometimes somebody needs to say something to let the politicians know that we are not asleep over here and we are still angry? You donít think just looking at it two ways that could have serve something good?

 

GWT: I just feel that if Kanye West wasnít in the position that he is in, that he wouldnít have said what he said. And me and his DJ is real cool.

 

TS: Whatís his DJís name?

 

GWT: A-Trak, whenever I go to the West Coast we end up hanging out together.

 

This concludes this interview. Theodore, thank you for your time. When you get a chance please go to oldschoolhiphop.com click on the message board. They helped contribute to this interview also, they have a lot of respect for you and your craft. Peace to my man JayQuan because he also contributed to the interview.

 

Peace Troy. Thank you also.

 

Peace and blessings to you family. praise God and God bless you.

Troy L. from HARLEM, OneÖÖ..any extra questions or comments hit Troy at troylsmith21@hotmail.com

 

Photos from July 28, 2005 at The Crotona Park Jams (Bronx) courtesy of
Joe Conzo (www.JoeConzo.com).

For booking:
http://www.premiereartistsgroup.com/roster/grandwizzardtheodore/index.php

Manager, Christie Z-Pabon at toolsofwar@aol.com.

 

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