SPOONIE GEE INTERVIEW Pt 1 By JayQuan
The Cold Crushin' Lover – This is gonna be one of my favorite interviews. Not just for the content , but the fact that 1. – I have never seen Spoonie G interviewed anywhere , someone else is always speaking for him. 2. “Spoonin’ Rap” was my sh*t back in the days, and third and most importantly – Spoonie G was a hard man to track down. Me & Troy have been trying CONSISTENTLY since 2002. Well persistence paid off. People have been asking about different rumors as far as whats up with Spoonie , and they heard this and that. This is just the facts on the music & the man. But I will say that Spoonie is fine and thanks everyone for their concerns. This is part one , the way that we do is , I always do the records / business side of things , and my man Troy L. Smith hits ‘em with the clubs/NY street side for part 2. So : One for the trouble , two for the time – come on y’all…….
Peace , its an honor. What year
did you start Emceeing , and who was the first person that you
Spoonie : I first started in 1977 , I first heard Dj Hollywood.
part of NY are you from?
I am from Harlem.
Your Uncle is Bobby Robinson (founder of Enjoy Record Label) , but you were signed to Sound of New York Records owned by Peter Brown. How was it that you signed with someone other than your Uncle for your first release?
Peter Brown came to my Uncles record shop , he knew my brother (Pooche Costello) , and he told my brother that he was looking for a rapper for his label. My brother called me upstairs ; at the time I was living with my uncle and his wife which is my mothers sister , because my mother had died. I came down and met Peter Brown , he told me that we would go into the studio in a few days. We went in and made Spoonin’Rap in one shot. The next week the record was out , and the rest is history.
What's the correct spelling of your name?
The correct spelling is S to tha P double O N Y (Spoony) , later on I spelled it Spoonie. A mistake was made on the record and they called it “Spoonin Rap” , but it was supposed to be “Spoonie Rap”.(Spoonie got his name from the fact that he always ate with a Spoon as a kid).
When did Bobby Robinson decide to scoop you up?
Right after “Spoonin Rap”.
And your first joint on Enjoy was “New Rap Langauge/Love Rap”. Have you ever heard any estimates on how many records were sold on that. I know that every dj has at least two copies , and that record actually became a breakbeat its self.
I can’t say an exact number , but it sold A LOT of copies.
How did it come about that you hooked up with the Treacherous 3?
I am the Treacherous 3. Me , Kool Moe Dee & L.A. Sunshine are the original members of the Treacherous 3. What happened was when Peter Brown asked me to make a record ; I went looking for them so that all 3 of us could make it. I couldn’t find them. If I found them it would have been the Treacherous 3 , there wouldn’t have been a Spoonie Gee. When I didn’t find them I went on without them. After I made the record I told them what happened . After it became a huge success , which I didn’t think that it would be at first – I just did it to be doing it ; I started doing shows and I took them on the shows with me , then I let Special K take my place , and it became Spoonie Gee and the Treacherous 3. Im original Treacherous 3 , I started rapping with them. We rapped all over Harlem , that’s how I got known - as a part of that group. Until I made “Spoonin Rap” , then I became a solo artist.
Why was “Love Rap” solo and the flip side “New Rap Language” with the Treach?
Love Rap was my idea , and I said on the other side lets do something together. At this time im already a solo artist. I said we can just split the money I will get half & the Treach 3 can get the other half ; no matter how much the record sells we split it.
Was “Spoonin Rap” a freestyle or just stuff you had written down?
It was just a couple of rhymes that I made already , and the rest was off the top of my head . The majority was off the top of my head. Like “I was driving down the street on a stormy night” that was written. I was an Emcee so I had plenty of rhymes written already. A lot of it just came.
That song was also released on Sugarhill. How did that happen?
It was a licensing deal. Peter Brown just licensed it to Sylvia Robinson (Sugarhill Records founder) for the “Greatest Rap Hits” compilation. In return I got royalties from that.
Then you signed to Sugarhill soon after that right?
All around what was the best label that you recorded for ?
Tuff City – Aaron Fuchs. My uncle told me a lot about the business , but business wise and financially the best label that I’ve been on was Tuff City with Aaron Fuchs.
How was it at Sugarhill ?
Me & Sylvia got along splendidly , and Joe Robinson , God bless the dead. Things didn’t quite work out well over there for me , I guess they had a lot of other artists to pay attention to. It didn’t work out – some things aren’t meant to be.
Whose idea was “Moster Jam” with Sequence ?
How was it in the studio with them. It sounded like fun , and the flirting sounded real !!!
Great !!! Angie B is a good friend of mines – who is Angie Stone right now. I was in the studio with her not long ago. We all became good friends. My friend Rodney C from Funky 4 has a baby with her. (They were also married – that’s were the name Stone comes from). Sylvia was telling me “sound more sexy Spoonie !!” and we had fun in the studio.
Ok you also did “Spoonie Is Back” on Sugarhill right?
Yeah , that’s a dedication to my mother.
And that was dope. Nobody got that deep on records yet !!! Everyone was still in party mode and you got real personal.
Yeah that was my best friend. She died in ’77.
That record had the exact same track as Busy Bee’s “Making Cash Money”. What happened with that?
I told Busy to use that. Me & Busy were friends. He would rap on different beats – this was before he even made records , and I told him listen “Funky President” is your record. I told him to stick with “Funky President” , and I started writing rhymes for Busy. When Moe Dee had the battle with him and said “my man Spoonie Gee used to sell you rhymes , remember that rhyme called Ditty Bah Ditty…”I wrote those for Busy. What happened was I was gonna sell him some , but he started sayin’ ‘em already without paying. I didn’t beef with him or nothing im like go ahead. Moe knew about that, and put it in his battle rhyme. He said "Busy B stole it like a fu*king thief". Me & Moe go waaaay back as little kids. I used to be shy and Milton Venable and Moe Dee were the ones that encouraged me to become a rapper. I would always rap behind the scenes , but I wouldn’t get on stage and do it. It happened at a place called “Spotlight” club that was over top of “Spotlight Bar” on 125th St in Harlem. We were called the Fantastic 4 it was a bunch of us – me , Moe , Shawn B before we became the Treacherous 3. We were all trying to find out what we were good at. Milton would say “ go ahead and get on the mic”. I would run my rhyme pass Moe & he would say “man you’re good , you better come on up here wit me !!!! One day I just started rapping with Moe & L.A. & we became the Treacherous 3 that day. I used to write poetry , and I heard Hollywood on a tape and said “he is nice!!” I always wanted to be a singer , but I couldn’t sing so I said this is the closest thing I can get to singing is rapping – im already writing poetry!!
And Easy Lee was the dj?
Yeah he started out with us , and we had Krazy Eddie and Reggie Reg. Those were our djs. Then in the end Easy Lee became me & Moes’ dj. We grew up together.Easy Lee is my God brother.
You came back on Tuff City with Davy Dmx on production and did ‘The Big Beat”. Was that a big record for you?
YEAH !!!(Spoonie sounds real happy – laughing hard). That one put me back on the map !!! That was a banger and then when “Take It Off” came !!!I was really flyin then.
I think that it was Mele Mel who told me that you wrote “Message II (Survival)” to get out of your contact with Sugarhill.
Yeah I did. That’s all my lyrics. “In jail they got a game and its called survival” I did that on “Spoonin Rap” then I put it in the “Message II”.
So you are a early ghostwriter for real.
How did your Tuff City deal come about ?
I met Aaron Fuchs (Tuff City records founder) through the guy who wrote the movie “New Jack City”. His name is Barry Michael Cooper. He told me that Aaron had been looking for me , and he introduced us.
Where did you get your trademark “One for the trouble , two for the time” intro?
People would say little stuff like “say one , two one more is three” or “say one, two , three , four” and I just did my own thing.
Everyone has used that from rock to Hip Hop groups – do you get paid from it?
Whenever you use that I get paid. Honestly. God has blessed me ; I made a record in 1979 and I still get paid for it right now. I have a very good lawyer and I thank almighty God in the name of Jesus Christ for everything that has happened to me.
Going back to Sylvia (Sugarhill) , how much input did you have in your recordings?
She is an artist first of all. I have to give credit. We were mad cool. When I was down she would comfort me – we were friends and I love Sylvia. My company & her company had misunderstandings , but it was all business. It was nothing toward her , just certain moves that her husband made while he was alive. One time I had to take legal action – but it wasn’t her. I have nothing bad to say about Sylvia Robinson. I don’t know what Mel or any of them feel , but Sylvia was alright with me.
Was there anything that you made while on the Sugarhill label that was never released?
Yeah – I think its called “Get It”. It was something we did in the beginning and it didn’t work so we nixed it. I made a joint on Tuff City called “What Is This” and it never came out.
You did a lot of recording on Tuff City right?
Yeah that’s the label – im tellin’ you.
How was the vibe at Sugarhill with all those future stars?
We were all cool. We did tours – me , Flash , Funky 4 + 1 , Sugarhill Gang , Sequence , Wayne & Charlie a few people.
When you came back with “Take It Off” and “The Godfather” on Tuff City you seem to have a new style and it was a lil more aggressive especially “Godfather”.
Yeah I was tryin to do something different. Like I wasn’t rhyming just the last words of my sentences , I was adding another word. Like “two just chilled they never say no to me always say that they will do whatever I want them to , when I confront them to , stay out the way or you just might bump into”. Or “when the time comes and it’s you im thinking of, your sign won’t make a difference only how you make love to me – you make me feel so good as a man oh baby you’re sweet as cotton candy.
Yeah I caught that , and I thought it was real fly.
You caught that huh? (laughing). I was just trying not to sound like anyone else.
You had a song called “That’s My Style” who was that for?
Schooly D came out with “Gucci Time”. I just wanted to let him know that was my style.
I thought so. The hi hats on the song were programmed just like “Gucci Time”/P.S.K. .
We were on shows together after that. He thought that I would hate him , but we winded up talking and I shook his hand & we were cool. I just wanted to let him know that everyone thought that he was me.
Did you ever do any videos ?
No we started one for the “Godfather” but never finished because we weren’t satisfied with it. We just never went back to it.
For the song “You’s A Old Fool” you used the Honey Drippers “Impeach the President” break. I know that Aaron Fuchs owns the rights to that song. Did you actually have them come in and redo the drums?
No he took it right from the master tapes !!!
During the “Godfather” time like ’87 or so , you were touring with cats like Public Enemy & The Jungle Bros. How were you received by that New School of Emcees?
Good , they showed me respect. KRS One ,Big Daddy Kane & Kool G. Rap were my boys!!! Also Fly Ty who founded the Juice Crew. I got along with all rappers. If they disliked me it was their own personal reasons. I did my show and I was out – I never hung around too much.
Which Old School cats were you cool with ?
Flash & The Furious 5 , Woody Wood , Kool Moe Dee , Busy Bee Starski…... Busy was my man. I am a forgiving person. If you do somethin’ to me that I don’t like – I will speak to you about it , and we might even fight , but I wont hold a grudge. We all make mistakes.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen you interviewed before. Do you do a lot of interviews?
The most I ever interviewed was in Europe. I’ve been in Right On! Magazine , but like I said I don’t hang around too much – it’s not real easy to catch up with me. People may see me in the streets and say “this guy in England wants to talk to you” I usually say that’s alright. It’s not I think im all that either…im just very private man. What I respect about you is that you don’t ask no real personal joints. You keep it respectful , like it should be. I mean who don’t know that I’ve used drugs. Yeah I’ve used drugs before.
Are you planning on coming back to the music business as a performer?
If I come back my style would change. Im not comin’ back talking about me or no girls. It will be glorifying God. If I get a chance to do an Old School show with like Doug E. Fresh or some of those guys , and do some of my old material then I would do that if God permits. Im not going back in the business to be the old Spoonie Gee that I used to be though.
What current Rap do you like?
I like G Unit , I LOVE Biggie , he was the man , The Lox , Jay – Z I love Jay Z , Ludacris , Outkast. A few of ‘em.
Why do you think you weren’t a part of movies like Wild Style & Beat Street. Were you just not interested?
I just wasn’t there at the time , and I don’t think anyone was looking for me at the time. I don’t know why I wasn’t in those joints.
I talked to Charlie Ahearn (Wild Style director/Co Creator) and I asked him if he could have had anyone in his movie who would it have been and he said you.
I would have LOVED to be in Wild Style !!! He could have got at Moe & them. But honestly I never wanted to be a big star. I always wanted the fortune but not the fame. I probably could have been much bigger as a rapper , but I never pursued it like that. I like my privacy. I would never want to not be able to go to the store , I would like to own somebody like that !!! I have a son & daughter and they can live a normal life. I can show them the value of money , both of them are in private school and have a regular life. Im just a regular guy that made a few records , but nobody is looking my way like I have a million dollars !!!I like it like that! I would rather be an entertainment attorney or producer , but now even they are gettin’ to be stars!!
Let me go back again. The first time that you heard Rappers Delight what was your honest opinion of it?
I loved it. Brother when I heard that record I said “Oh My God!!” Everytime they put it on I danced !! I was so proud of those guys. No diss here. Look im the first solo rap artist in the world !! A lot of people don’t know that.Spoonie G is the first solo rap artist on the planet. There was no solo rap artist on wax before me. Not Kurtis Blow, not Super Ryhmes – NO ONE. Sugarhill Gang came out with their record , and I was right behind them !!! Im proud of that !! if I never make another record I have done that. (Spoonie is kinda hype right now).
Mike C from the Fearless 4 said that you were the first person he saw that he personally knew who signed an autograph. He said the girls went crazy over you. Was it really like that with the women?
What was your favorite spot to rock?
Latin Quarters….Latin Quarters & Union Square. Before those days: Randys Place , Celebrity Club , P.A.L.(in the Bronx & Manhattan), Drew Hamilton Projects Community Center - I used to rock there with Disco 4 and Treacherous 3. I never played the Fever I loved the Fever , but I never played there.
Lastly , how was it working with Marley Marl & working with Teddy Riley before he blew up?
It was cool with both of them. We did a lot of recording at both of their houses , and did the rest in the studio. Marley did 4 tracks on the Godfather Lp and Teddy did 4 also.
Aight Spoonie , again it was an honor to speak with you….Peace….
Here is an article that Aaron Fuchs wrote about Spoonie recently