Reggie Reg, the Captain of the Crash Crew
Spring of 2005
By Troy L. Smith
My man Reg, after bumping
into you numerous times on 125th street and talking about
doing this interview, I am glad to say, we are finally going to do this.
I am ready.
Alright my man, when did you and the rest of the Crash Crew know that ya’ll had a hit with your first single High Powered Rap? How did you know, did people knock on your door that never did before, did you have fans coming out of nowhere, calling you, following you? Girls on the regular coming up to you?
All that! just like what you said!
(we both start laughing)
All I know is after we did that High Powered Rap and it played a little while, and everybody and their mother was buying the record, I remember us walking into the projects, (Lincoln Projects where they are all from except Darrell C and D.J. Yoda, they lived across the street in the Riverton projects or Co op’s) everybody just stopped and said “there they go, there they go”. All of sudden my head just started getting big, my chest started getting bigger and s---, I was like these n------ are really on it. People were asking us to sign the record.There is this corner that we use to stand on which is on 135th street and 5th avenue, the corner of Lincoln projects, which is right outside the basketball courts. We used to be out there and everybody used to want to come out to that corner. People used to say “Crash Crew” is going to be out on that corner. They used to come to that corner and wait for us to come out there. In the after noon there would be girls all around us on that corner, chicks driving up in cars. I’m like 16, 17 with a 21 year old girl friend and she was driving. My mother was like who is all these girls calling? I had up to 15 girls calling the house. I didn’t have no cell phone back then. I used to have girls ironing my clothes while I am in the shower. The situation was very good. Then when I would come out side as I am going through the projects every body is speaking to you as you pass each building in the projects. I could call Touch of Class car service, say yo this is Reggie Reg, they say o.k. we be right there. It was crazy.
Alright lets go back to
Where you born and raised?
Harlem, U.S.A., Lincoln Projects.
Who was the first m.c. or
D.J. you heard?
The D.J. I heard was Reggie Wells, the M.C. was Hollywood.
Which one made you want to
do this hip-hop thing?
Neither one of them really, I mean at that time I was just listening to the music. When d.j.ing first started becoming a fad I used to listen to these tapes my man “Ridge Way” from the Bronx who was Barry B-Stro’s cousin, he used to have them. We used to be up in the projects listening to the tapes and it just caught on. See La Shu Bee was from the Bronx as well, and he used to talk about it too. So we wanted to know about this, we very interested in knowing what the hell is this.
That same year Mike and Dave was D.J.ing too. They was like Disco d.j.s. They used to do peoples birthday parties, a few engagements and stuff like that. Being as we all lived in Lincoln, one day we helped Mike and Dave with the equipment. By us helping them with the equipment it came to where we wanted to be more involved with how do you mix and everything else that came with it. We wasn’t really chasing the m.c. part, because there was like the little Hollywood type of rhymes that people was rocking. No body was kicking no sixteen bar type rhymes. Just say a little six bar rhyme, and that was about it. At this time I was like 15 years old.
After awhile we just used to totally hang out with Mike and Dave, we were turned on to that music thing. That is when there was like 15 of us. It was like everybody wanted to help with the equipment. We had people (security) that did the door. We had like 5 d.j.s, everybody would take a turn. We had a good 8 m.c.s.
So who were the two m.c.s that got left off when ya’ll were ready to make the record HPR?
Fly Guy was one, and he was good.
All right I remember hearing about him when we were growing up.
He left before we made records. Also their was Tracy Tee, she was down with us.
So ya’ll were all cool
long before this hip hop thing, growing up together, playing basketball,
baseball and everything else together as homies?
Yeah. Mike and Dave lived in the same building I lived in, two buildings down was where G-man and L.S.D. lived at, in the next building was where Barry and Mike Cee lived at. Then in the other buildings lived Buzzy Buzz, Colt 45., Mace G which our speakers were named after (Mace Monster’s, 10,000 watts).
45., what was up with him?
He was just down with the crew as far as hanging out and stuff, he was down before the records also.
What about Yoda?
Yoda was down with us also before records. He was the trusted d.j. after Darrell C. Both of them was from across the street from us, in the Riverton projects. Today Yoda is like the historian for the Crash Crew, a lot of that history stuff we don’t really remember but Yoda does, also you don’t want nobody in the crew to make a mistake and fluff the article with ego. So that’s why we really let Yoda do most of the talking when it comes to the history of the Crash Crew, because he doesn’t have an ego, and he represents us pretty good in that department. Not for nothing Yoda also used to manage Rob Base with Darrell then he took over the managing of Rob Base.
But Yoda and Darrell were down with us before records. This was during the time we were going to downstairs record shop. (used to be on 43rd street and Avenue Of The Americas, moved to 38th street and 6th avenue) we were just starting out doing the breaks because Mike and Dave they had more Disco records, and we were the young cats putting them on to the new sound. Mike and Dave was like this could be something good because they are starting to see a younger crowd now, and we are getting more parties. So Mike and Dave would supply the equipment and just let us work the show. That is why it became Mike and Dave and The Crash Crew. Mike and Dave were like the managers and we were the act.
But Dave would get on that
Dave would get on the mic, because he was close to our age.
He was pretty good too; I liked some of his rhymes.
With Mike he was the older brother and he wasn’t trying to get into that, he was more into the security, managing us, and doing the bookings for us. He was more into the business. We were just in it for the fun. We was young, put a few dollars in our pockets. We wasn’t complaining.
Where did the name Crash
Crew come from?
At first we didn’t have a name ,we were just helping Mike and Dave out with the equipment. So while we were partying we had Mike make the tapes, because everybody at the time was having these tapes with breaks and stuff on their cassette tapes. So Mike and Dave had this tape with a sound effect of a car crashing. So with these tapes sounding like that, I said lets call ourselves the Crash Crew!
Because of the sound
Because of the sound effect, you would hear a car driving, then screeching, and then crashing. So I said lets call ourselves the Crash Crew. Also at the time I was into the comic books, so I also added Cool Romantic Amazing Super Hero’s!
So you were the man that
named the crew?
You know one time I had a tape where Walter Cronkite of the channel 2 news opened up the tape by saying this is the evening news and that the Crash Crew busted out, and said who they were and started rocking their show. When the Crash show was ove,r Walter Cronkite came back on saying good night, and what ever else he said when he was finished doing the news, before he retired.
Mike and Dave worked at a commercial studio, type for editing. That’s where we spliced together High Power Rap. We did Freedom over a couple of times; we didn’t have no sampler back in 79 and 80. We had the splice machine.(as he laughs a little bit) we just spliced the record back and forth, which sounds like we sampled it, but there wasn’t any sampling back than.
That’s my word I thought Darrell C mixed it just like that, just because it sounded so good.
He usually cut it like that in a show, but to be honest we weren’t even keen operating in a recording studio. We wanted to make a record back then because that was what was starting to go on, and we wanted to keep up with the competition. Sugar Hill dropped a record, Spoonie Gee dropped a record, King Tim dropped. King Tim went to my high school, Charles Evans Hughes. We knew King Tim real well.
I never heard that cut,
but was he really an m.c.?
He was an m.c., he got hooked up with the Fat Back Band, and they made that joint, I forgot the name ,but it was the first hip hop record. …King Tim The 3rd
I remember people debating
whether it was really the first hip hop record, or Sugar Hill.
People were more leaning towards King Tim.
It was King Tim, and then Rappers Delight. I think Spoonie Gee came next.
…and then Mike Cee of
the Fearless Four, but at that time he was with a crew called The
Yes it was like the fourth or fifth record, ever.
I think he did it with Peter Brown..
I need to talk to him about that because I never knew that. Back to the record, we used the routines from the shows we were doing and put that together with what we spliced in the studio that Mike and Dave worked at. We pressed like 500 copies, and we put or stamp on it because at the time we didn’t have any labels to use, because they had not come yet. We stamped them and sold them in the parties for 5 dollars. We also sold them out of Mike’s car. We also used to go to the record stores on 125th street and play them for the store owners, and they would buy them right on the spot. The record became like a New York City hit.
For sure, everybody was
singing the words, right on the streets.
We got a little distribution, with Sunshine distribution. So we started getting on the coast a little bit. Down in Florida, D.C. and other places. Next thing you know, the record is being bootlegged. I was about 17 at the time I didn’t know anything about nothing. We tried to investigate it; a couple of people were saying people in our own camp were doing it. But we couldn’t place the blame on nobody, because we couldn’t get any proof.
How big was Mike and Dave getting as far as putting shows together. My man Gary Joseph (of Lincoln projects) told me Mike and Dave was one of the best promoters if not the best, during those days?
The thing with Mike and Dave is we worked with them for a long time, we helped Mike and Dave as far as we told them we need to put some other groups on with the parties. See Gary was right, we were the biggest production in Harlem, besides maybe Donald Dee and B-Fats. They had the Renaissance. Don and Fats were doing Shows before records.
So Mike and Dave used to ask us “so who do ya’ll want to be down on the flyer with ya’ll? We was like get Dougie and this was before Doug was making records. The Treacherous Three, maybe the Cold Crush. We mostly worked with Cool D.J. A.J., he was the one who introduced us to a lot of heads personally in the Bronx, I mean we knew them by name, but A.J. would take us up to the Bronx, he would say shake this man’s hand, introduce your self to this man. That is how got to know most of the Bronx cats. I think we left Mike and Dave in 1981, when we went to Sugar Hill Records. But from 1978 up until we left, Mike and Dave may have been first or second in the promoting, or of production of Harlem. They really did a lot.
The difference with Donald Dee and B- Fats was that they definitely had the Renaissance on lock and what ever was in Drew Hamilton area. (the 145th street area of Saint Nicholas Avenue to say 7th avenue.) Whereas Mike and Dave would do a little scaled down I.S. 201 jam. We might do Randy’s place or Celebrity Club or things like that. Don and Fats had their area locked but sometimes they would come down to where we were at and perform with us. It would be a Disco Four, Crash Crew Flyer for Randy’s place. I don’t remember them renting Celebrity Club or renting anything besides what they had Uptown. Not saying that they couldn’t, they just didn’t have to, because the Rennie was holding something like 700 people. They was making mad money with that. Where we would get a place that would hold 3 or 400.
How much was Harlem World
holding? The same amount or more?
I think a little less than the Rennie. I could be wrong. The best person to ask would be B- Fats or Greg G. it might even hold 1500. it was a big spot.
So how did Darrell C get on with the crew? Was he hanging out also long before he was a d.j.?
Darrell C was a D.J. and each project had their own d.j. crew. At that time it was a hot fad, everybody wanted to be a d.j. so every project had their d.j.. The thing with Lincoln and Riverton, (Riverton was right across the street from Lincoln) was Riverton was supposed to be the high sadidity side, and Lincoln was supposed to be the ghetto side. So cats from the Riverton didn’t want to come over to our side. They were afraid they might get robbed or some s---. You know little kiddy s---. So we used to bring the music out in Lincoln park. So Darrell and them would come over and bring a few records, we knew each other but he had is own crew. But he didn’t have any m.c.s, all he had was his d.j.s and records. So he would come over with his records and stuff and we would let him cut, we would let a lot of guys get on our set. Rob Base used to get on our set before he started blowing up, Doug, Biz Mark. We used to go out to Long Island and do stuff with Biz. With Darrell after awhile we was like damn he got all the breaks. His family used to spoil the kid, Darrell had all the breaks. During that time we not only the m.c.s but the d.j.s too. Mike and Dave would play a few records for a half hour each, then Mike Cee would d.j. for a half hour & I would come on for a half hour. But with Darrell C we could just m.c.. we didn’t want to d.j. no more. We wanted to get in the crowd, get a couple girls, so we let Darrell C do that s---. So we had a little meeting, and we said yo we should let Darrell C get down with us. When we asked him he said hell yeah. That way he had some m.c.s and everything would be cool. You ain’t going to believe this; he bought us that record “Get up and dance” by Freedom, because Bambataa was the only one playing that Freedom!
Nobody knew were to get that record from? Was ya’ll looking high and low trying to get it?
No, Bam let Darrell C get it!
Oh, he let him get it?
Yeah, Bam was cool with us, he liked us. In the beginning it was almost like that east coast / west coast thing. In the beginning Bronx didn’t like Manhattan, vice versa. I mean we was 17, 18 years old. Everybody was territorial back then. But some cats in the Bronx took a liking to us, we was cool guys, we didn’t drink or smoke. None of that stuff back in the days. Bam took a liking to Darrell C and hooked him up with some records, Freedom happened to be one of them.
So ya’ll must have
exploded when ya’ll heard that?
Hell yeah. We was like that Freedom record is hot. We were the only ones with that record in Manhattan, playing it. For at least a month, back then we used to cover up the records, so no one caught up with it , until a month later and by that time it was too late.
So who was Darrell’s
Like Caz, Mel and Moe are the captains of their crews. Were you the captain of your crew?
Yes. But I would really have to say the captain of the m.c.s,
Even though Mike and Dave
were older than you?
Yes but, I can say I was the leader of the m.c. division, as far as the d.j.- that was Darrell’s division, and as far as the management, that was Mike and Dave’s division. If it came to a record, most likely I was bringing the ideas to the table.
So there wasn’t any one
No, there wasn’t no 1 captain over the whole crew. We usually would take a vote on s---, but 9 times out of ten, if I bought something to the table and everybody was liking it, there was no need to vote on it. Which was mostly the case. I am not trying to brag, but if I bought something to the table, by saying lets add this or that the crew would mostly say it was a good idea. That was mostly how we would build our record.
Now what is up with this
m.cing thing, is this what you really wanted to do back than, did you
really have a care and love for this thing? Were you into poetry or
No I wasn’t into poetry, or anything like that. What happened was when the hip hop explosion came, and Mike and Dave were living right in my building with all the equipment, and we could go up there any time we wanted to practice our thing, or bring the equipment outside and do our thing. That is what really motivated me. I didn’t really have any interest in anything else at that time. I wasn’t too keen on baseball or football s---, I used to look at boxing, I did play on the baseball team for the neighborhood cleaners, when I was little. But I really wasn’t a jock or nothing like that, I was more an artist, I used to like to draw a lot. Once the hip-hop thing started, we went to see Flash and them, when they came down to Harlem. They played at Franklin High School over here on the east side. I finally got to see what I was hearing on mix tapes! A guy grabbing the mic, m.c.ing and a d.j. cuttin’. At that time Flash and them had the best show that you could see.
A Flash Show!
Yeah, a Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five m.c.s. show !
Do you remember anything from that show that night? I don’t necessarily mean the rhymes, but maybe the theatrics of the show, their showmanship. I remember Moe Dee telling me about the very first time he went to a Furious Five show, it started with Creole on the mic with the echo chamber sounding just like a circus ring master speaker to the crowd, he said Creole was truly the king of the echo chamber. While he was talking to the crowd letting them know who they were and what they were about to do, the spot light went from him, mind you it is completely dark in this room known as the Audubon ballroom, the light goes from Creole to Cowboy who is sitting in a chair saying his legendary rhyme about him being the C-O-W-B-O-Y, and then they just put on a hellified show, which also had Moe Dee in awe. Man even the way Moe was describing it I wish I was there to see for my own eyes.
At this moment all I could say is I just remember all of them up there, with Flash behind them, whether rocking the beatbox or on the turntables, it was a good look, and so I am saying to my self that’s how we got to look, damn it
(We both started laughing)
They was up there with A.J. Lester trenches on, sunglasses, girls were all around them.
What, they had the
Courdafeilds coats on?
Now those blue London fog type joints. They had the Courdafields too, they had flavors! That’s is one thing I liked about them too, they stayed fly and they always had chicks. They was just cool man, they was so f---in cool. They whole s--- was f---in cool. I can definitely say that them brothers were an inspiration to me; they made me want to m.c.. They were my favorite group, after them then it’s my man Lil Rodney Cee of the Funky 4!
Say Word, yeah?
For real. I like Mele Mel, because he was the best of that era, but my personnel favorite was Rodney Cee. The Funky 4 was second best group after the Furious 5. It was that long 14-minute record (Rappin & Rockin The House)that got me hooked on the Funky 4. I used to know that record front to back.
What about Caz?
We knew Caz and them, but they weren’t making records at this time that I am talking about. We had shot up so fast with the High Powered Rap record, and then down with Sugar Hill, which meant we were now down with Flash and them as well as Funky 4 and then later Spoonie and Treacherous came along, so with us being with Sugar Hill we was off to the races, we weren’t in the Bronx or Harlem no more. We were now on tour, because Sugar Hill was very busy. 80, 81 and 82 we were gone.
So ya’ll felt like
ya’ll were better than Cold Crush?
Naw, we didn’t feel that way, its just that we didn’t really get a chance to get know them.
After our first record we stopped just doing shows just in New York. We would be in Baltimore, Philly etc. and that is during the time when they started getting to be known in Harlem because they were mostly doing shows in the Bronx. The only one I got to really know personally was J.D.L.
( both start laughing)
That’s my man!
We used to blaze together and mess around with the same girls!
There was a little animosity with different groups, saying who was better than who, but I used to try to put that to the side and still get to know cats in the groups, like J.D.L. and I was cool with Flash and them, I was cool with the Funky 4, I never really knew the Soul Sonic and Cosmic Force when they were hot, ten years later I did get cool with them. Grand Wizard Theodore and Dota Rock I was cool with. There was at least one person in the click that I would hang with, I mean I would be chilling at the bar for about an hour or something or go up to the Bronx and chill with them or they would come down to Harlem and we would run into each other and run together. I never got to know Caz until maybe the 90’s. That is when I started hanging out with all of them, we real cool now.
So Reg, how did you
formulate your rhymes?
I would jut listen to what cats were saying, act like it was my turn next, and I had to have something to say, (Reg starts laughing) like I said I was into comic books, a lot of fantasy s---, I would make up stories on how we would be going to the movies and these guys were trying to kidnap me and I had to do this and I had to run this way, I had to call the crew, and the crew pulled out the machine guns, all types of crazy s--- I used to write
Did you have a rhyme book?
Yeah, I had a rhyme book. I used to write crazy like super hero like rhymes, I used to call myself “The Sinister of Sound , and my voice makes you feel in sensor round ,we taking off on a disco flight , so if you want to come just hold on tight”. You know little stuff like that; most of the stuff I wrote was party mode, I think that is where I had found my nitch. I love to f---ing party. Most of my rhymes were about partying and bragging on fantasy s---. I never really wrote any love rhymes, to girls and stuff like that. I had one rhyme for that. To me, we had to keep them girls at a certain level, I hate to say it like that, as if I was a chauvinist back then, I really just didn’t want the girls to think I was on there s---, I wanted them to be on my s---. I didn’t want to be always kissing up to the chicks, buying them earrings. That wasn’t my style (he starts laughing) you know what I am saying. As far as the battle rhymes I might have had one or two of those. But most of my rhymes were about partying and flying etc.
Did you ever battle any
We never had any battles, but we did get into some controversy with the Fantasy 3, over a beat that they had. We got a beat from Sugar Hill records, now Sugar Hill was famous for jacking n-----s beats. They even jacked Freedom from us and we was down with them. You know what I am saying (Reg is laughing.)
What up with that ;I remember ya’ll coming out first and then Furious Five, but they were trying to say Furious came out first?
Alright everybody in New York knows we came out first. But what happened, and this is the reason why we left Mike and Dave, Sugar Hill was trying to get us down with them, for the longest, but nobody was telling us. Who ever they was talking to in our crew was never relaying the message to the rest of us.
Who did they talk to in
We never found out. All they could say when we finally did get down was we been trying to get to you for the longest. One day we went to see them perform with some other groups and that is how we really bumped into them. We told them who we were, we all made our introductions, and that is when they said they been trying to get at us. They asked us to come up to the studio to see what’s going on. In the mean time we didn’t have a written agreement with Mike and Dave. Even though it was Mike and Dave records we didn’t have any written agreement.
But ya’ll are home boys
from little kids!
We were homeboys from little kids, but a lot of things were going on with Mike and Dave as far as, money wasn’t right, we started getting into fist fights and s--- amongst our selves. It got to a point, either you down with us, or you down with them? So the m.c.s walked. All the had left was the d.j.s
Mike and Dave and Darrell?
Yeah, so we walked, we said we tired of arguing and fighting over money, we know this, this and that is happening, we ain’t that stupid. Plus we now getting a little older. We knowing theres got to be more money than this s---, come on. So we was like you know what we tired of fighting these n-----s, lets go see what this lady is offering at Sugar Hill. When we go check them out, they throwing cash at us. We was like f--- this s---, cats got BMW’s in the lot…..
Hold up Reg, didn’t you hear about the horror stories about Sugar Hill Records before ya’ll got there?
Not in the beginning, not 1979 and 80. that was the place to be. (Reg is laughing) That was the Def Jam! We went to the lot and each one of them had a BMW. Sugar Hill Gang had cars.
Why did y’all not go to
Enjoy records also, just to see what Bobby Robinson had to offer?
We was going to go to Enjoy as well to see who had the better deal! Sylvia Robinson had the better deal.
Ya’ll didn’t even give
Enjoy a chance to make an offer to ya’ll?
We gave Bobby a chance, we sat down and talked to him, but he didn’t have paper like Sylvia and them had. Sylvia and them had the gloss, the smoke and the mirrors.
(Troy and Reg laughing.)
They snowed us in like a f---.
You said they snowed ya’ll in?
They snowed us in!
You a funny brother, I hear you.
Yo Master Gee came in the office, talking about he just got his pilots license.
Pilots license? Damn.
Pilots license, and he had a brief case full of money, we was like yo, where the contracts at?
How long were ya’ll sitting in there before ya’ll said lets do this, let’s sign the contract?
No more than an hour. It was actually the second time we came in there, because we were too young to sign contracts. Some of us had to go and get our mother’s. Our mothers were like you got to get a lawyer, blaw blaw, blaw blaw blaw. Being a teenager we didn’t want to hear that , the lady about to give us 10,000 dollars. The hell with that, that money is already split up. So I ran away, cause my moms wasn’t going to do it. I ran away for a few hours, you can’t run away far. I ain’t run away to another state or nothing like that, I threw a tantrum
What, you ran into the next housing project or something?
(Troy and Reg start laughing)
Yeah you know what I am saying, I ran over to grandma’s house. Tell grandma, mamma don’t want me to be a star, because I am going to be big and this is my opportunity. So after awhile my mother was like I am going to give you my blessing if this is what you really want to do, but you really need to get a lawyer. I said ma the rest of my friends are signing I am signing too. I was like I ain’t going to be the only one that doesn’t sign and they go make records and go on tours and get cars and what ever else that comes with it, come on. So she went with it.
Ya’ll never got that
Never got that lawyer, and we signed, and that was the beginning of the mother f-----g end. The ride was good; I am not going to lie. For at least 3 years. We rocked with them from like, 1980 or 81 to 1984, I think maybe 85. we never made an album
Ya’ll just kept making
singles, 12inch records!
Right, 12 inches once a year, and that was how long they were lasting. There wasn’t that many people making a album every 2 months, in the 80’s. to get a 12-inch was good enough. I can say we were lucky because 3 of them were good and 2 of them were so so.
What were the 2 that were
We did “We want to rock”, which was good, “Breaking Bells” which was good.
Yeah I love that one.
“We are known as m.c.s” was good.
I love that one too.
“On the radio” was good.
I like that too!
Damn what in the world was
We did this joint called “Here we are” (2468)
(Silence from Troy.)
you never heard that one, huh?
I don’t think so, was it like an instrumental?
We pulled that off the rack so fast. That was the one that came out after “On the radio”. It sounded almost like “On the radio”. But it was just too much singing. G-man and them got carried away on this one. At that time when the record came out everybody was switching over to the drum machine, nobody was using the live band s--- no more. Sugar Hill was like an old band.
They got stuck.
Yeah they got stuck, I tried to get them to sample the Jackson record, the one that goes “So bad, so bad”(Good To be Here). I tried to get them to sample that, and we can do this song over it. That is wher we came with the idea, because it was working with that song, but when they took it in the studio, and start using that drum machine that they was using to the s---, the cut was wack. We put it out for a month, we performed it one time. To me "High Powered Rap" and "On The Radio" were our best joints. Let me tell you about Sugar Hill. Once we got down with them she tried to make us were these skittle suits!
Yeah, since we got down with Sugar Hill, they was like yo we are going to show ya’ll how to do the entertainment business. Meaning we couldn’t come up there with no jeans on, you have to have a suit or a custom, at the time we were young so we were listening to what ever she said to do. We didn’t realize until later she was changing what it was really about. We were young and obedient at the time, she made these suits for us, the suits looked like something out of the Jackson 5, like the ABC album cover. But they were jump suits, one was like sky blue, one was red, one was green, yellow, it was like a rainbow. They made suits with rhinestones, I mean that s--- was not Crash Crew.
No not at all, in fact that wasn’t for Furious Five or any of those groups. I used to see some of the original groups in the mid 80’s and wonder what the hell are they wearing? Even with Bam and them, I used to say where did this come from.
That was that Hollywood s---. They put the bug in our ear and said we was Hollywood
now, so we had to dress like the other groups, like Gap Band, Lake Side. Not Tavares, but mostly like the hip funk groups.
One day I was listening real close to a tape, and I heard Kevie Kev of Fantastic say “yo we are going to battle the Crash Crew”. Kev even had the date when they was going to battle Crash Crew. So I asked Dota Rock one day what was up with that? He said “nah them kids was real nice, but they was a little soupped, because they had that record High Powered Rap”. He said that might havef tipped off the battle between Fantastic Five and Crash Crew, so I said what happened to the battle, why it never came off? He said he really didn’t know. Do you Reg remember this, the Crash having to battle Fantastic?
Nah, I remember Kevie Kev and them didn’t really care for us.
How do you know they
didn’t like ya’ll?
Because we were at T- Connection one night, like I said we used to go up to the Bronx and Bambaataa was cool with us, and A.J. and them was cool with us. But to me Flash and them had the Bronx groups under their wing, so it was a thing like ya’ll not going to let these Manhattan n------ come up here and take over our s---, how ya’ll going to let these Manhattan n------ come up here and rock ya’ll? I happened to hear one of them say this to one of the Fantastic 5. I happened to be up in the balcony when this was said. Man some times the Furious would disrespect you right there, that’s how bad they were, they did not give a f---, they was the hottest s--- on the planet. You ain’t going to come to a show and think you going to rock their ass. They would step to you in a second. I remember another night coming up to the T- Connection with our Quarter field coats, hoodies and white mock necks on. That was like part of our uniform. So chicks was biting, this was the first time Crash Crew was up there, they heard the record, girls was jocking and we wasn’t turning them down. Some of those girls happened to be the girls that some of the Bronx groups were messing with, but now these girls got new meat now, so now cats is getting upset and so they was like yo we are going to take these n------ out, meaning in a battle. But it never happened, and Fantastic never approached us with no battle that I know of. But that damn Kevie Kev used to be a trouble maker, (we both start laughing) and he know it, I tell him right now. He has changed a whole lot today, but back in the days he was a real mischievous cat.
Lets take it back to the
clubs for a minute. I.S. 201 on 128th street and Madison was
your home base?
Yeah, you can say that, but we had other spots like the Y, for Y.M.C.A. on 135th street 7th avenue. Also Randy’s Place on 125th street. Terrace Ballroom. Celebrity Club. We played Harlem World but not as much as I would say, 201 and Randy’s Place, we played those two spots like every weekend.
So who did the security for ya’ll?
We did our own security. We had a little arsenal, because we did have some equipment to look after. Most of the shows we were doing we did the door, we also sold food. But with the security detail the crew was called the Poison Clan, that we got from the karate flicks. We used to look at a lot of karate movies.
So how did you feel about
the Wu Tang using the name Poison Clan?
We were kind of honored, because for real, we didn’t make it up either! (Reg starts laughing). We both got it from the movies. The Five Deadly Venoms. Plus we knew one of there uncles. I think they call him Papa Wu.
Oh yeah, that’s the one they all look up to.
I think that’s the one, because when I was talking to O.D.B., he was like “yeah, my uncle used to play ya’ll joints all the time, we know the Crash Crew”. They kind of knew our history.
So did Cigar Mob have beef with Poison Clan?
No, they was cool with us, we was cool with them, but they was mostly younger than us, running around with guns out. In fact Rayvon’s brother was one of the leaders of Cigar Mob, he used to come up to my house to hang out. I got to ask Ray about his brother because I haven’t seen him a while.
So you and Disco Dave and
Mix Master Mike, cool
Yeah, we still cool, there is no bitter feelings between us, we see each other we kick it, we get down on law suits together. (We both start laughing.)
Now when ya’ll use to be on the road with Furious Five, how did ya’ll handle the situation with the record Freedom, because I heard they, the Furious Five, didn’t want ya’ll performing the record at all.
Nah, what happened was when ever we were on shows with Flash and them, we would go on first, play our Freedom, and two acts later Flash and them would come on, and play their Freedom. If we was on the East coast playing high Powered Rap, we got a lot of love. But if we went to Cali or Montana, we were moving away from our distribution of High Powered Rap, so Flash and them would get the love for Freedom. Since we had not recorded with the label, they asked could we not do our record and do something else, when we were at those locations. One time Mandiplite, a promoter did a party where it was Flash vs. the Crash, to see who had the best Freedom. It was held at the Audubon Ballroom. But the party never happened, because Flash and them never showed up, because they were away on tour. Mandiplite didn’t care he still did the party, we did our Freedom and got paid. We knew we wasn’t going to take on no Flash and them, they was our idols. We were just happy be getting down with the get down.
So what is the Crash Crew
Today it is just about giving back. We are working with Zulu with the Preservation of Hip hop. We do a lot of seminars on the history of hip-hop, how it started for us. Some of the mistakes we made, so others don’t have to go through them. We had an open mic show case, were artists can get up and perform their craft. We also work with Lil Rodney Cee who has a City Safe night, which is a talent show for the youths. As far as new material from the Crash Crew that’s not going to happen, because a lot of the Crash Crew members don’t want to perform any longer, and that’s because they have families today, and other obligations.
Thanks a lot Reg.
Alright Troy, Peace my brother.
Peace to you.
Praise God and God bless you readers.
Troy L. Smith from Harlem, the Grant Projects. One