the Legendary L- Brothers, Fantastic Four & Fantastic 5 Emceeís.
to Troy L. Smith
of Summer 2005
TS: Thank you for
your time Theodore. I'd like to get right to it. Where were you born and
GWT: I was born in
Harlem Hospital. Raised in the South Bronx, on Boston Road and 168th
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
TS: So while they
were break dancing, who was the DJ at that time? Pete DJ Jones, Disco
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
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
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
GWT: It was a verbal
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
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
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
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
GWT: Yeah, my moms is
the kind of person where when she cooked, who ever was in the house, got
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
GWT: No, it is what it
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?
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
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.
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
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
TS: Oh o.k. so you were really young at this time.
I was like 12 or 13 years old
TS: What? And he got
you about 3, 4 years
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
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
"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?
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
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
GWT: I battled Jay
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
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
TS: What about Bam?
GWT: No, never
TS: What about DJ
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
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.
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.
GWT: You have some
guys that write rhymes for battles, and you have some who write rhymes
TS: Just to be cool
GWT: Right, just to
be cool, and rap for the ladies.
TS: Right, Spoonie Gee
GWT: Emcee Busy Bee,
didnít write battle rhymes either. Busy Bee didnít write battle
rhymes. Kev didnít write battle rhymes. Rob didnít write battle
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
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?
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?
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?
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
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.
there is Whiz Kid. Whiz Kid was good. I would give him a 9 also.
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
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
TS: Other then your
Fantastic 5 emcees, who are your top emcees from back then?
GWT: Mele Mel, Raheim,
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
GWT: Yeah, I also say
TS: I know him, well
not personally, but I have heard of him.
GWT: I would next say
TS: I donít know
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?
TS: Who is the other
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
TS: I heard of him.
GWT: Yeah Q-Bert is
TS: What separated him
from the crowd?
GWT: Well basically
what he does is use 1 turntable.
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
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
TS: So do you know if
Flash was a little slighted since he only had that little piece in his
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
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
GWT: That is bull s---.
I donít want my son coming to the park and he see a bunch of Heineken
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
TS: What were the
turntables you were using back then and the turntables you are using
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?
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
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
TS: Where exactly is
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
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
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
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..
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?
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?
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
GWT: A-Trak, whenever I
go to the West Coast we end up hanging out together.
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.
Troy. Thank you also.
and blessings to you family. praise God and God bless you.
L. from HARLEM, OneÖÖ..any extra questions or comments hit Troy at firstname.lastname@example.org
from July 28, 2005 at The Crotona Park Jams (Bronx) courtesy of