Tony Tone is the founder of the Cold Crush Brothers. He is also the back up D.J. to Charlie Chase and the Cold Crushing, Mother F------, Tough Ass, Four M.C.s.
Interview By Troy L. Smith Winter of 2004.
Where were you born and raised?
Damn how many of yíall are up there in the that one section? I was with Pow Wow one night and we was walking through the Bronx and he just starts pointing out, there go where Busy Bee used to live, and Breakout was over there, and Theodore was over that way, and the Black Door was over there. I had no idea so much history was right in this small section of the Bronx. I was thinking it was spread out through the Bronx.
I lived right across the street from the Boston road ballroom. Right by Wilkins ave.
So Kool Herc was by his self over were he was at?
He was, basically, but there was a couple of small little groups, but they never made any big names. When I got with Breakout and Baron I moved over to 175th and Prospect then I moved down to Lambert projects.
What or who inspired you to want to D.j.?
My man Mcadoo and Danny Nimes. He owned a cleaners on Boston Road. They were older friends of my mother. They were d.j.s. they let me run with them. I was thier little d.jÖ There was a guy name Doc Soul who used to have a lot of equipment so he would book partyís, and hire d.j.s to come in and play. He would have ten partyís a night. He would run around and drop off and pick up equipment all night long. He had a little racket going on. My man Mcadoo was one of his D.J.s. I was like 14 years old, Mcadoo used to be in the original Savoy on 149th st. off the Grand Concourse. I also worked in a record shop called 3 stop record shop. Thatís when I started hearing about Herc. A lot of people were talking about him, I was like who the hell is this Herc? One night my brother took me to the Hevalo, I was like oh sweat. Herc wasnít playing any top twenty records or anything like that. He was playing Bra (By Cymande) and stuff like that.
He wasnít playing any disco?
No, he was playing the abstract stuff that people still donít play. Not unless itís one of us. Like the J. Giles band the white rock group. Bob James, Etta James.
What made him pick those tunes?
He played what he liked.
But when you first heard it, was it like what the hell is this or something that had to grow on you?
Or was it like damn this sounds good, soon as you heard it.
But you never heard it any where else, until you walked into his party that night?
Never heard it before. I was like this s--- is funky. Still to this day, the d.j. of today does not know the history of hip hop to know what to play from that era. The only one really is Red Alert. You tell them other d.j.s to dig in their crates, they still donít know to play the stuff that we played back in the day.
Who had the best equipment back in those days? Was it Bam of Kool Herc?
Well Bam never really had a system back in the days! Bam didnít really start to get a decent system until later on. Not really until Superman and Jazzy Jay started building it.
I always thought it was Bam with the vicious system and others were latching on to him! I didnít know it was the other way around.
Herc was the one everybody had to compete with because he always had some s---. But when Breakout and them, came with the Sasquach, that was the turn of events right there. Nobody was f------ with that.
That was a combination of Baron and Breakout putting thier money together?
Yes, a combination.
Was Barron just as good as Breakout d.j.ing?
Well with Baron, if you get a good tape and listen carefully, you will hear that most of the time Baron did the show with the m.c.s., mostly because Brron kept the beat.
So you are saying that Baron was better than Breakout?
You can not think of it like you would think of it now. When we first started everyone was going for speed, and cutting back and forth, etc. certain people got the hang of, I got to be fast, but I also got to be on time with it. But a whole different element came into it when the showmanship had to be put into place. So now you have everybody looking at Herc just playing the music. Then you got Bam coming out with the break beats. Then you got Flash cutting it back and forth, faster than anybody. So you got three different types of d.j.s, to try and be like. So some people were focusing on ďI got to be fast like FlashĒ. But you have to be fast and keep it on time. Breakout was fast, but he wasnít always on time. So most of the time when it came to doing the show, Baron would do it because, even though he wasnít as fast as Breakout, he focused more on keeping the beat.
I got you.
Keeping the rhythm and tempo flowing, so the Funky Four can do their thing. So that was the reason Barron d.j.ed most of the shows.
Since you were there from the very beginning of Hip Hop, was the Furious three m.c.s the first group? Than came the Funky four than came the L- Brothers?
Yes to the Furious three, but the L- Brothers might have been out a little before the Funky Four. When the Funky Four first started it was just K.K. Rockwell. It was just the voice of K.K. Then it was just K.K. and Busy Bee Starski. Busy Bee used to float from group to group.
Busy used to hang out with Funky Four a lot?
Yeah, he used to come and hang out with K.K. and rock with him.
So Busy was always a free agent I see.
Yeah, so then the Funky Four started to come together.
So Master Rob and Kev were actually doing thier thing before Funky Four.
Right, Rob and Kev, than Busy, But Busy was always floating.
Any other groups Busy was running with?
Busy was with A.J., with Bam. Anybody, if he was at your party he was on your microphone. He be like ha ha ha let me get some. (Tone trying to mimic Busyís voice having me laughing). Thatís my man though. If he came to your party he is on your mic.
So of the three who would you rate the best between Furious, Funky and L- Brothers? One, two three. Since you was there.
I would say Furious, Funky and then the L- Brothers?
I say that because I donít have any tapes with the L- Brothers doing any routines, I just have them passing the mic. I always heard about Furious and Funky putting on a show with these routines. More so Funky 4!
Yeah thatís what I was getting ready to say. Kev and them didnít get on the job until we came about (thatís Cold Crush). They did do thier thing back in the days, but like you said you didnít hear them do routines or nothing until the Cold Crush came. We made them get on the job.
But the Furious was doing routines?
Also the Funky Four had routines.
Yes, but we made the Fantastic get on thier job.
So where did the name ďthe Cold CrushĒ come from?
One morning I woke up, I have no idea what I was dreaming of, or what bought it to my mind. But Cold Crush is what came out of my mouth.
Listen now I asked Dotta Rock the same question, and he said, he made the name up.
The name Cold Crush! He said you, A.D., and him were sitting in the room, and yíall were throwing a lot of names around, and the name Cold Crush just came to him and he said Cold Crush.
How Dot going to say that when we had the name before he got down with us?
Iím just going by what he said, and I put it in his story as well. But there is always different points of view to these stories. Whether time or date, or even actual event. Like J.D.L one of his stories he tells me that yíall had no idea yíall was supposde to battle the Force Mcs. yíall didnít even come there to battle them.
Then when yíall found out, yíall seen them at another club, took their money from them, than battled them at Harlem World and beat the hell out of them.
See because what they did is, Armstrong set up a party in Jersey. That night we had five parties in different boroughs. So we said we will go out to Jersey first. So we went out did our thing, got in a limo and left. The next thing we hear we battled them. People playing the tape for us, Force m.c.s acted like we battled. Even had the crowd saying f--- Cold Crush. We ainít there, so the crowd going with thier m.c.
So did yíall ever really battle them?
No we never really battled them! But when they did that bull s--- and we seen them later at Printing High school we chased them out of there. We told them donít ever play your self again like that. We used to tell them all the time they should just go ahead and be singers, yíall got to much talent as far as singers. I used to wonder why they even doing hip hop. Even Tom Silverman of Tommy Boy records used to say he had to get them choreography and every thing else that goes with that. He said that because every time he looks at them he sees Cold Crush. (Troy starts laughing).
When I spoke to Stevie Dee, he said that stuff that J.D.L. said never happen, but he did have a lot of respect for yíall.
Yeah he got respect for us but he need to tell the truth.
I havenít interviewed him yet, but when I do I will include you into this story that he says is not true.
It ainít nothing we was all kids, if you got reprimanded back in those days at Printing High school, it is what it is. And I ainít never lie.
See I am not trying to get deep on all this stuff about who made up the name Cold Crush, I love Dota Rock like you. But all these stories that go to the Foundation , we want it to be the Gospel. I hate for it to be twisted just a little bit.
Right. Have you been to the Shomberg Library yet?
What the Library on 135th st. and Lenox ave, here in Harlem. Right Joey (The Photographer of the Cold Crush) was telling me about that. I havenít been there yet.
Well they have an exhibit of Cold Crush there. With pictures, flyers. A.D. has one of our very first flyers there. Back to what you were saying about the name Cold Crush. Like I said I had a dream, and I woke up and that is were the name Cold Crush came from. That is the same way I made my graffiti name ďChain 2Ē.
Who was ďChain 1Ē?
Nobody! I told my man who was Chain 3, that I was going to stop writing soon because I was going to be a full time D.J.. Today he is a well known artist, known as Chain 3.
How old were you when you first started writing?
I was about 12, 13. I had just started when I got into Junior high. I first wrote T- Shirt. Then Black Baron for a while, I went through a couple of names. Then I got right, at Chain 2.
So you used to go to the train yards also?
So this is it, you woke up one day and said you are going to call your group the Cold Crush? Was Chase there yet?
Yeah. I told him we are going to call our selves the Cold Crush Crew! Than after awhile we said lets call our selves the Cold Crush Brothers, because we are always going to treat our selves like brothers. So we changed it to that.
Cold Crush Brothers, Yeah I love it. I ainít going to front kid, yíall was my favorite group. From day one. Aright, how did you come to the conclusion that Charlie Chase would always be the lead D.J. of the shows? Being as you were older, experienced and around before him, as well as being a very good d.j. yourself?
There was NO Hispanic hip hop D.J. representing at the time. So I said I am going to fall back and let him be the lead d.j.. Like I told Caz the other day, I could have went to him, because I knew him well back than, before he was down with us. I could have said Caz lets do this. I could have went to any other d.j. and said lets do this. But it wasnít any Puerto Rican d.j.s representing on that level, back then. Caz had Whiz, and d.j. S.w.a.t., he had a couple of Puerto Rican dudes down with him. They was alright but they didnít take it serious like Chase did at that time. I told Chase this is it, you the man, because the Puerto Ricanís were in the party, and they had no real representative. So I said if we do it like this, we might corner the Puerto Ricanís and Blacks. I figured we would fill our parties. So I said thatís not a bad price to pay, to sit back, and really let him be show cased, to the point where Puerto Ricanís can say yeah we got somebody up in there, lets go represent for him.
Even with Funky Four it seemed like you just took a back seat. I look at it more like, you really appreciated hip hop, and you wasnít trying to shine, but let hip hop shine it self.
Thatís what I am trying to explain to people now. A lot of catís that are hip hop are starting to look phony, because they are starting to get caught up into the money aspect of it. People are even changing stories around. I donít know who wrote this story but the person writes ďWhy Rahiem left the Funky FourĒ?. I am reading and I say ďOh S---, that mother------ liedĒ.
(Troy starts laughing) yeah I got three different stories. One, Rahiem left because the Funky Four werenít working hard enough for Rahiem. Two, Rahiem wasnít working hard enough for the Funky Four, and wanted to be with Furious Five. Three, Casanovaís and Mel wanted him with Furious Five.
Listen Rahiem left something that he was the head m.c. of!
He was the man from what I heard! I heard he made Funky Four what they were. He was not the founder, but the baddest entertainer there.
He was the Mele Mel of the Funky Four. But the night of the battle. See he canít say the rest of his crew werenít up for the battle because he was really the leader.
From what I heard he tried his hardest, and thatís what made Mel and them want him even more.
Listen I was there that night.
What did you see.
I seen everybody stuttering and intimidated. I was standing on the stage. The Furious Five didnít get on because they didnít have to get on.
Well Rahiem said Furious did get on. He said Furious got on first and they were so good, that is what intimidated the Funky Four!
It was fights, somebodyís girl got slapped.
Yeah I read about that in the Yes Yes Yíall book. Breakoutís girl got slapped?
So that was during that party?
Yeah! One of the Casanovaís slapped her. I saw it, I went and told Breakout. He said ďyo, I told her not to come.Ē So I said if you ainít going to do nothing, I ainít going to do nothing.
Yo, but Dot said Breakout is a Gully N----- too, right?
What, he just ainít have no crew behind him strong enough to go against Casanovaís?
Breakout is a black belt.
Oh man, whatís that about. Maybe he really didnít give a hoot about the girl than.
(Tone laughing.) Well when it came to the Casanovaís, you have to realize that when it come to them, you got to go all the way. If you got time to make that decision make that decision, because it is not something that is just going to go away. It is going to be an on going thing.
Every party you go to, it would just be beef, until somebody died.
Peanut and Tiny was there and others? (leader and members of Casanovaís)
Yeah, all of them, and Ray Chandler (Promoter, and manager of Furious Five, and a heard voice, of the Casanovaís.) Two of my boys were there telling me donít worry we got you. We got your back, we got two forty fives up in here. Donít worry we got you Tone. I wasnít worried because me and Ray Chandler were o.k. I am at one end of the stage, I hear yelling, and a fight breaks out on the other side of the stage. Itís Breakoutís brother Jazzy Dee, heís fighting one of the Casanovaís. I think it was Football, or one of them. So I run across the stage and grab Breakouts brother, to separate him from the guy he was fighting. I look at Ray and say thatís how its going down. I say that because all of a sudden a black bag comes out. I ask him whatís in the black bag Ray, whatís up, whatís it going to be? So he motioned for them to calm down. Thatís when the Funky Four was ready to start thier show. They was so shook, they had to restart three times. They could not get the rhymes off. But you have to understand the Funky Four to the Furious Five, were like Little brothers battling thier big brothers. They were in a totally different mind set. Breakout was packing parties and Flash and them was packing parties. That was why they started to become rival groups. But at the time Furious Five were strong. The Funky Four was strong also but not as strong as Furious. But Sha, and Rahiem were strong, Keith Keith and K.K. were decent. Like I said if something goes down with Cold Crush and Caz is head honcho, he the main m.c.. if the other three donít show up he is going to take it. He is going to take it on his back.
Thatís right. It seemed like he was trying to do that as well when they took on the battle with Fantastic.
Not to change the subject but since you want to talk about battles, I remember battling Furious at the Paramount in 1994 at the Old School Throw Down Three, at the Paramount. The Furious were put up against us, and they didnít even come at us like a real battle.
What they was just playing thier records?
Yeah, and doing push ups on the stage. Just acting like it wasnít a battle.
So they was just trying to keep it on the low, they werenít acting too concerned?
Right! But the day before, they was talking a whole bunch of s---. ďyeah we donít need to respect yíallĒ. We ainít never respect yíallĒ. ďWe ainít never seen yíall as any type of challenge.Ē This and that, blazay, blazay. Then when they get down to the Paramount they didnít do jack s---. Man we went at them, and we went on first. We went in the studio and made some new s---.
Yíall did new routines and all that?
Damn, I wish I would have heard something like that.
We changed clothes three times. All that.
How long were the sets?
They gave everybody twelve and a half minutes.
Everybody? Who else was in it?
It was us, the Furious, M.C. Shan, K.R.S.1., U.T.F.O. with the real Roxanne. Marly Marl and Red Alert. I think that was it.
So the Crush took the trophy home.
Yeah, we bust their ass. Then they asked Caz to come on their radio show to do things with them. They was on hot 97 at the time doing their show.
So bust it, did you ever have any d.j. battles, back in the days?
No, I didnít really get into that. But how I used to get Charlie Chase hyped up was, I used to bait Flash all the time. I used to say ďYo, he can take you FlashĒ, and Flash is my man. But you knowÖ...
You had to gas him up.
Exactly, I had to.
So the Crush and Furious played a lot of shows together?
No they ducked us for awhile. We was supposed to battle them two times, back in the days.
What! I never even heard that one.
They ducked us twice. Every time we did do something with them, Flash wouldnít show up.
Damn, I didnít know it was like that. So yíall only been on a flyer together about three or four times?
Right. Every flyer we was on together, I donít remember them showing up.
Well I got one tape with yíall together.
Which one? The one with Disco Bee playing for them?
Ahh, you might be right. Yes, youríe right and Busy Bee is there also.
Right that was Busy Bee anniversary. Flash didnít show up.
o.k., you are right.
Flash didnít show up. Another night we was supposed to play together at Roseland and he didnít show up.
But the Furious was there. Was they talking any junk?
No! when they come with out Flash, they ainít talking no junk. But when we see them and we ainít playing together, say like out in the streets, then they talking a little junk. Flash never showed up when we was supposed to battle them.
Yíall actually had a date to battle?
All these tapes I have (140), I never heard any one mention that a battle was coming. I have tapes were you hear announcements that Fantastic was going to battle Crash Crew, Treacherous Three openly asked Furious for a battle, Master Don was to battle Crash Crew. Kid Kreole was to battle Busy Bee. Doug E. Fresh wanted to battle Busy. But never did I hear anything about Furious and Cold Crush.
We was supposed to battle them at the Ecstasy garage one night, and Charlie got sick. Charlie had bad asthma when we first got together. We was still going to battle them, but they didnít show up.
I got another story I did with J.D.L. called ďThe Call OutĒ. J.D.L. said the first night ďThe Skate FeverĒ was opened, it was jam packed, and all the different crews were there.
So the party was fly and the Fearless Four were performing . Out of nowhere Furious Five pulls up in a bus, right in front of the Skate Fever. They step out of the bus, dressed in leather suits and this and that. Flash goes up to the d.j. booth and takes over the turntables. Mel goes to the stage and takes the mic from one of the m.c.s of Fearless and tells the crowd of m.c.s and d.j.s in the audience we come to battle all or one by one. He showed money to the crowd and says we will battle any one. Do you remember this?
Yeah. But another night in Skate Fever I almost shot Kevie Kev. Kev was down with the Furious and they were doing a show and the crowd wasnít feeling them. All of us was standing there except Chase. We were watching them, so they stopped the music and they start talking s---. Saying we will battle any one. Then Kev looked right at usÖ..
(Troy starts laughing)
Ö..and says donít act like yíall donít know we talking to yíall, stupid!
I reached and pulled my s--- out and pointed it at him, and Caz and them grabbed me and rushed me up out of there. Then the Furious came down, off the stage. Came to office and talking s---, and I was arguing with them and this and that. I got on the phone and called Charlie and said get over here right now.
So yíall was ready to battle right there.
Yeah, we was ready to go right there. Charlie was home with his girl. Talking about ďyo calm downĒ. Iím like come right now. Ness was like you know Chase canít f--- with Flash. I was like alright we will see. Then one of the Casanovaís pulled me to the side and said ďTone, calm down you know we people, we donít want to do nothing to you. We donít want to have to do nothing to youĒ.
(Troy starts laughing)
I said alright yíall giving me warning. Alright. So I went inside and gave my gun to one of the guys that was running the place. I said I am going to calm down because I want to do this battle. But Flash and them ended up leaving. But I was like yo it is going to happen sooner or later.
So what ever happen with that with Kev when yíall seen each other again?
Me and Kev cool now, I am getting ready to do his birthday party, January 22nd at the Kennedy center on 135th st. in Harlem. Kev used to get under my skin, but lyrically he couldnít even mess with A.D.
He didnít really have stories, but Kev had a lot of showmanship.
Dota- Rock was really the better m.c. of them.
It was like, Theodore is Theodore. Dot always been my man. Whip always been my man. As far as Rhyming I never looked at Kev as a hard hitting rhymer.
Matter fact Master Rob might have been better then him?
Yeah, Rob was supposed to be a little better to carry and get a rhyme quicker than Dot. But I always felt when Dot got onÖ.
Dot was my man. When I was growing up it was always J.D.L., Caz and Dot- Rock. Something about the style of rhyming and the way they held the audience, they showed no fear.
I thought they was Gangsters with sunglasses, weighing like two hundred and fifty pound diesel n------. Until I later met and seen pictures of them. just the way they sounded through the tapes, they sounded likeÖÖMuhammad Ali like, ďIím taking no shorts n-----, everybody back up, listen to me.Ē
Yeah. See thatís what Mel and them didnít realize when they came off that bus, that s--- donít faze us. We ainít got nothing and we ainít looking for nothing but to tear n----- ass up. Yeah lets go at it, this is what we do.
Alright what were the three best d.j. battles you seen.
The hottest s--- was the Audubon. This was like 1978 or 1979. They had the six crew battle. All the crews that came had to bring their own sets. M.c.s had to come correct. It wasnít just the d.j. Even your system had to be right.
So who won?
Breakout and the Funky Four did.
Who did they beat?
It was Herc, A.J., Caz was on it. The L. Brothers. And Breakout. Caz for what reason I donít know couldnít get his system on.
Who was Caz d.j.ing for that night?
It was Caz and the Mighty Force. Casanova Fly and the Mighty Force. He couldnít get his system on and so he ended up using A.J.s system. He should have gotten disqualified, because you had to do your own thing on your own system. But they let him play on A.J.s set. But there was nothing he could have done that night, because Funky Four was on that night. The sound system was hot that night. That was when they had just started doing the Seven Up routine.
What a routine off of the Seven up commercial?
Damn, I wish I could find and hear that routine!
Yeah, We got to the battle late. We had to carry all the equipment over peoples heads. But when I started to put that equipment together they was like how long? I said give me twenty minutes and something will be on. So I am ready now, they all walk up on the stage with thier mic cases, open up thier mic cases, and put thier mics on the stand and plugged them in and tore it.
So Busy Bee was there also with A.J.?
Nah this time Starski.
Starski was trying to strictly m.c.?
No, he was doing his Starski show. Along with A.J., Sometimes Starski would be with A.J. or sometimes Busy Bee would be with him.
So L- Brothers be doing their regular thing, Kool Herc and his boys doing their thing? Well no disrespect intended, but Herc didnít really have any quality m.c.s like the other groups.
You right. Herc will tell you that also, but Herc was the man. Like I said it was Breakoutís night that night. When we started stacking that s--- up and plugging s--- in, n------ could not believe it.
So the Sashquash system, is what yíall had by this time?
Yeah. The Sashquash had grown on them. Abel and Bear where there also.
Abel and Bear?
Yeah they fell to the way side. If I could recreate that night I would.
So what was the L- Brothers performance like, were they just passing the mic around?
They didnít come correct that night.
So the Funky Four was the best and nobody came close to them?
How did you feel going to a Disco party, opposed to a hip hop party, say, D.J. Hollywood at 371 club?
Well I remember some one was break dancing at his party, he stopped the music and got on the mic and said get out of here with that on the floor bulls--- go down the block to Flashís party with that. Hollywood was o.k., but, I felt out of place at those parties, at that type of party. First of all I had to get dressed up to go. Second of all they wasnít playing the type of music that Herc or any of us were playing. I just felt like this ainít it, this ainít me.
You and Hollywood are about the same age? Maybe 2, 3 years apart?
Yeah, probably so. See I never want people to think I am trying to bash Hollywood, Eddie Cheba or Reggie Wells etc. but they really didnít respect or want to be apart of our hip hop during that time. They didnít want to be looked at as hip hop. Now they want to be included, because of the status. They see that the strong point of music is hip hop. They was wearing silk shirts and gators at their parties. Even today, they play hip hop at there parties but they still consider them selves above, what the basis of hip hop is.
So who would be a part of that crew? Eddie Cheeba, Reggie Wells, Hollywood, Pete D.J. Jones and Grand Master Flowers. Would Disco King Mario be a part of that?
No. Even though his name was Disco Mario, he was hip hop. When people talk about hip hop and soon as they bring up names like Flowers or Pete d.j Jones, they donít know what they are talking about. You ainít going to see no flyer with our name up there and one of theirs. Back in the days Pete tried to get a little crew out to hang and to battle us. After 2 or 3 partyís they was out of it.
So what about Lovebug Starski is he border line?
Well Starski is the only one who was able to ride the line and handle both situations. He would be in a hip hop party with A.J. he did his thing as a hip hop d.j. I guess when he was in a Disco scene he handled his self accordingly. He is the only one we consider as one of us. Everybody else we cool with and love them and all that but they were not really a part of us.
Alright I am going to name some D.J.s you just give me from 1 to 10 what you would rate them and just a little comment about them.
Thatís my brother. He has always been a stickler for being on time, with the music and he has always pulled it out. I would give him an 8.
When I first saw Theodore he was standing on a crate d.j.ing. He has always been the same Theodore, quiet and very professional about what he does. Theodore is a technician. I give Theodore a 10+.
Oh manÖ.thatís good..
Even today Theodore is doing his thing.
He is good, but very seldom really gets into it. I give him a 7.
You go to a Flash party and you watch him and he is going through his thing. We used to say thatís the n----- to get, because he was displaying some s---. His arrogance is what made you want to get at him even more. Today, even though he always wants to turn the music up too loud and it distorts his music, I would give him a 10. But I think if Theodore could get his hands on Flash, to get Flash in a situation of battling him, I think Flash would have problems.
To this day they have not battled, huh?
Not yet. For awhile it was thought that Flash respected Theodore and Theodore respected Flash, so they wouldnít go there. But lately we hearing there may be a little riff between the two. So I think Theodore wants to catch Flash and get him.
Bam is like family. Bam found out my mother was in the hospital and called way up from where he was at, to find out how she was doing. Like I said I been knowing Bam since 1974. I havenít heard Bam d.j. in awhile, and back in the days he really wouldnít d.j. he would have Red Alert or Jazzy or somebody else d.j. and just show them were the breaks were at. A lot of his records only he knew. As far as his D.J. skills it would have to be incomplete. But a lot of people would say that about me. I tell them listen maybe you werenít paying attention or maybe it was a lot of nights I wasnít d.j.ing. A lot of nights we was just coming in, doing shows, and leaving. For a long time, it wasnít like we was doing whole parties.
Well yíall really only did whole parties in the early days.
Once your names really got out there for doing shows, yíall was doing maybe four parties a night.
Yeah. Now I practice more than I did back in the days.
Islam is a maniac. For awhile, when we were traveling, Islam would get on and cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut. I would be like, damn Islam, slow the f--- down.
You mean he is a very fast cutter?
Yeah, and thatís all he wants to do is cut.
He changed records a lot?
Yeah. I give him a 7.
A 7? So he wasnít really giving a good show when he was cutting like that.
Thatís why I say, some people play for them selves and others play for the crowd.
Thatís my man, and Breakout still donít cut on beat. He still donít worry about cutting off beat. Breakout wonít even get on. A couple of years ago I was doing a party, and I told him I had $500 dollars for him, all he had to do was get on for five minutes. Then, all he had to do was talk to the crowd. He got on, but he just let the record play out. He didnít do his usual.
So he just left the whole game alone?
So what would you give him for during his hey day?
During his hey day? I give him a 6.
Yeah some nights he would be on and some nights he would be off.
I didnít see him. See when you just play in your area a lot of people donít see you. Breakout, us, we done went to other peopleís boroughs and bust thier ass.
Who were some of the people yíall went to see to bust their ass?
We went to Staten island and seen the Force M.C.s before they blew up, and told them to come across the river and come uptown if you want to be known. You canít stay out here and get know there. We went up to Poughkeepsie to battle some dudes calling them selves Cold Crush. Saying they was the original Cold Crush.
Yeah. We went up there, Armstrong put the battle together. Caz, Armstrong and I went to one of the dudes house to finalize the agreement. But first, before we went in there Armstrong said Tone, control your self.
(Troy starts laughing)
I said donít worry about it. I got it, Iím all right. Soon as the kid opens the door, Armstrong introduces us, I black out on the kid. The next thing I know, they trying to pull me off the kid. I am choking him.
So from that, yíall didnít even battle?
No, we kind of battled. We were in Poughkeepsie the night of the battle, in the party, but they werenít there. Since the party ended at a certain time, a hour before it was supposed to end we just decided to go on.
To let the crowd get a taste of the real Cold Crush?
Yeah. So as we were doing our show, these kids we were supposed to battle ran through the crowd and jumped on the stage. Man I lost it. We started fighting them right on the stage.
So they never got on the mic?
Never. I was screaming ďYíall crazy running up here on my stage?Ē I looked at my God brother and said go get my s---, now. He said ďyo police in here.Ē I said go get my s--- I donít care about that, because I had two 38ís, and Armstrong made me leave them in the office. Just because police was there! Since he wouldnít get them I got on the mic and told them I will kill everybody in here I donít care about nobody. Then they ended the party right there.
Disco King Mario.
I give Mario a 5. Mario used to be d.j.ing and dancing at the same time, and miss a cut. (Troy is laughing)
Did he try and talk or rhyme, over his music.
Yeah, Mario wasnít really serious about his d.j.ing.
So he was more of a Pete d.j. Jones type, who didnít say that much?
No he didnít say that much. But it was like he wasnít focused on what he was doing, because he would be dancing and let the break go. He just be dancing. I think he was just doing it to get some recognition so he can get some p----.
(Troy starts laughing)
Yo I am going to tell you the truth, I ainít never seen d.j. Smokey.
Well J.D.L. gives him a lot of props.
But I told J.D.L. about that. I told J.D.L. stop giving n------ props just because you knew them. I never seen Smokey. I asked Herc about him. Herc said who the f--- is Smokey? (Troy is laughing) Who the f--- is Smokey, Smokey ainít nobody.
I even heard Dota Rock speak about him. He came out of those projects by 169th st.
Off Webster ave.
Yeah off Webster.
Yeah off Webster ave. because I was up in those projects. Thatís where the first record shop was, right around there.
The first record shop?
The first record shop I worked for. Claremont and 3rd. ave.
O.k. I understand.
That n----- name ainít on no flyers. At least Able and Bear name was on a flyer. You donít see no Smokey or Smoke A Trons on no flyer. Im telling them why yíall giving ni****s like that any type of light when the names ainít on no flyer. You canít research nothing on them. So how much could they had been doing. See this is were n------ get it f--- up. Its one thing to do block parties. But if you that good you going to go inside in the winter time to make some money. So you got to put some flyers out.
This is definitely a turn of events on this guy Smokey.
Let me ask you this. Who ever is giving him props J.D.L., or Dot, or any one, if he so nice why he only playing Webster houses?
Here go another one. (Troy is laughing) Early in the days I ran into D when I was with Breakout. I said whatís up? Blazay Blazay. I said, yo, you still d.j.ing he said no I quit. I asked him why he quit, he didnít really have an answer. I said alright, why donít you come and hang with us. He said nah I donít feel right hanging out with yíall because me and Breakout and them donít get along. I said donít worry about that you with me. They not going to f--- with you. So he was going up to Spring Valley with us, break dancing. He never spun a record, just dancing with us. Then one day he came to me and said yo I am going to get back into D.J.ing. But you let them tell it, they chose to stay up in Mount Vernon and Yonkers, instead of doing the circuit. Like battling us or who ever. Again I say where your flyers at. Where is your flyers that say D.ST. and Infinity Four on it. I knew one person that said, yeah, he used to go to there parties and they used to rock, but thatís one person. I knew m.c. Kimba twenty years ago, I havenít heard her rock the mic yet. I was talking to her last year and I still ainít heard her rock the mic. I got one c.d. with them on it. I guess Kimba wasnít there that night because she is not on the c.d. They really didnít do nothing.
To be honest I didnít know he was down with them, I have a tape with Infinity but he is not on it. I also have them at a Zulu party, but I had no idea he was down with them, I thought he was just hanging out with them for a minute.
I have a tape with him not d.j.ing but playing the synthesizer.
Thatís the one I got, but to be honest it was a painful listen for me. I wasnít feeling that synthesizer at all.
Thatís the only c.d. I have of them, in fact I was the d.j. while D.ST was on the synthesizer.
O.k. I didnít know that, in fact that was the Black History month tape. A lot of different crews were on that tape. In fact before the Cold Crush started the set, Caz says this is dedicated to the most soupped up n------ that charge eight dollars for a party and donít even put on a show. Who was he referring to Furious Five?
O.K., because I wasnít sure if Caz wasnít talking about Fantastic. Alright so you never really seen D.ST. d.j.?
No I never really seen him go through it.
From Fearless 4? I never seen him!
Iím telling you man these guys never traveled around.
Well Ed told me he did travel around, in fact before he played with Fearless 4, he was runnin with Moe Dee and L.A. and D.J. Reggie Reg and they were called the Fantastic Four! They were supposed to battle the Fantastic 4 of the Bronx who we all know were Kevie Kev, Master Rob, Rubie Dee and Theodore. Which never came off. But he said he was up there in the Bronx d.j.ing with Bam and others from time to time but he was mostly in Manhattan. He originally lived in 126th st and Morningside and Amsterdam ave. but later moved to my Projects. In fact the building he lives in or his mother lived in Kool Moe Deeís mother later moved into. Like I said he mostly partied at places like Randyís Place. In fact he was a part owner of Randyís place, on 125th st. in Harlem.
See I never knew that, you telling me something. The only way I knew Moe and them was when they came up to the P.A.L., here and the Bronx and it was the Treacherous Three and Spoonie was there with them also. I didnít know anything about Moe and Fantastic situation.
A long pause by ToneÖÖ..Yeah, you pulled a name out.
(we start laughing) A D.J. from the Force M.C.sÖÖ
You pulled another name out. These d.j.s might be known from thier areas but I havenít really seen them.
Starski always did his thing. I give Starski an 8. Did you ever go to Starskiís Burger King parties?
No, Pow Wow was telling me about that. They actually used to close Burger King down and open it back up to do parties. I asked how did they do that with all those chairs and he said they used to take the chairs and tables out. I was in shock when he told me. In fact I thought it was just Flash doing it.
Starski too, I think it was every Wednesday. It was a rap. It was one of the wildest things that could be happening back I those days. N------ was trying to get there. He is a partying mother f-----. He is arrogant and think everything he does is good, but he do put on a good show.
I respect Herc. I wouldnít say anything bad about him. A lot of mother f------- will say he canít d.j.. He canít do this, but when he started there wasnít no cutting s---. You know what I am saying?
Yes, I do understand. He is the pioneer. (In the dictionary the word pioneer means one who ventures into unknown or unclaimed territory to settle. An innovator, esp. in research and development.)
When he started there was no cutting s---. That didnít come until later with Flash and them really had to get into it.
Somebody had to do it first!!
Yeah, but when Herc came out he was just playing joints that nobody ever knew or ever thought about playing. Clark Kent was the n----- that was cutting s--- up. After Clark Kent came J.C., Whiz kid, Toney Dee. These were all Herculoid D.J.s. When cats started cutting Good Times all fast. Good Times Good Times Good TimesÖ over and over. That was J.C., he still want to get at Flash today. Whiz Kid and Toney Dee were really good at cutting. But how much of that s--- can you do in a party.
I see that had to come with the whole pie, and thatís what Flash had.
Yeah. Flash had the whole package.
So what would you give The Imperial J.C.?
He was incredible, he also was a nerd, but he was fast and blended well. I give him between an 8 and a 9.
When he first started I didnít see him as a good D.J. but as time went on he developed to be a good d.j. and now he is representing well I give him a 7
I give Baron a 7 because of staying on the beat and blending records. He also has always been aware of the M.C.s rhyming, by staying on time so the m.c.s can stay on time. Even right now, although he doesnít practice as much as he used to, he wants try anything he doesnít know how to do. Right now he is playing a lot of house music and he is good at that.
A.J. thatís my man, he has always been a street person, not really a thug, but a street person. He wasnít the best promoter. You had to track him down from time to time to get your money. Sometimes he might even tell his boys to start a fight.
So why would you say he is your man?
When you from streets and that person is from the streets you let him be him. And vice versa.
I understand that but what makes his relationship with you and him be Kool and the gang. I got street thug friends as well, killers, dudes that been going back in forth to jail for numerous reasonís forever, and they will cut n----- throat in a second, but will say Troy I love you, you my man. I love them too, but there was something that happened between us, that we built that bond. Thatís why I care about them, but somebody else may say that n----- ainít s---!
Just the fact that he is in hip hop and in the same capacity as me. I got to love him. All of us who are still in hip hop today that rocked way back, we still look at each other as he is just like me. A lot of people have had beefs with Cold Crush or what ever but it is now past tense. I look at it now as that was just us growing up. With some people we were rivals. Now I canít hold that. Any thing I get now if I can pull one of these brothers in or something, I got to do that. Thatís why I am doing Water bed Kevís birthday. Kev came to me and said yo Tone whatís up? I said yo I help you do it dude. Back to A.J.. A.J. used to have his crowds. But a couple of us were just d.j.s., then there was the d.j.s that wanted to do the tricks. Then there was a couple who felt as long as they could just catch the break and keep it going they was good . I ainít trying to be faster than Flash. I ainít trying to needle drop like Theodore. Thatís their s---. A.J. was never a flamboyant d.j., but he had enough confidence to do his thing. I put him up there with a 7 or 8.
I give my self a 7+
My man! (we start laughing) why do you give yourself a 7+.
Back in the days I was alright, but now I know I am better. But still a lot of mother f------ will say I didnít see you. One time I took Caz and L.A. Sunshine to Cleveland with me because I had a party to do out there. This was last year. I took them with me to be m.c.s. The club was hot, they had a nice sound system and I was ready that night. We was going through it. Caz looked at me like he was surprised. The last couple of shows we did, when we were finished K.G. came up to me with a surprised look like yo you did your thing,
Iím glad to hear that.
My response to him is yo it ainít nothing new dude. I mostly was trying to make sure Charlie was o.k.. I really didnít have time to get on and really do my thing. It wasnít my fault if we got into that position that we were running all over town running in and out of places to doing shows. When I go overseas I got to d.j. I might be on an hour, 2 hours by myself. I have to do that. In fact I am a lot faster now then when I was younger. But like I said being fast is only half of it. Timing is also a big part of it. I hate to hear a sloppy d.j.
So what were your first turntables?
The Gerard. And then the Thorn. When I got down with the older cats they had the Technics 1100a. That was when I was in a crew called the Unity Committee. Herc also used the 1100aís. They were popular but not something that everybody could get. They were top of the line but they cost a lot back then. I just ran into a kid that said he had 3 of them, and he sold 2 of them for a thousand dollars each. He wanted $800 for the last one.
Were these for year 2005 or back then.
The originals from back then, they are like collectors items, and they are used.
So by the time you got to Cold Crush what were you using?
With the Cold Crush we were using the B1ís. The belt driven joints. The ones before that were direct drive. Breakout used to use the 1800 techniques. One day my brother and a girl I was with got me a pair of 1200ís.
What were the most dependable ones at that time.
Well the direct drive techniques were always the more dependable ones. With the belt driven, the belt use to stretch as well as pop.
How do you feel about the C.D. turntables as far as the essence of cutting and mixing. Has technology taken away from the actual turntables that you used in the beginning.
No, but I still rather use the wax and the turntables.
But what is your feelings about the C.D. turntables?
I donít mind but them. But I would rather have the wax. I do have the final scratch s---. That computerized s---. I got but it is still in the box. In fact its been sitting in the box for the last 6 months.
So when do you plan on busting that out.
(Tone starts laughing) no rush. I got them because you can travel with that and a lap top and 2 plates. With that you ainít got to carry no crates of records and turntables. But I am still not comfortable with it. See itís alright if you doing a party. But if you trying to scratch back and forth and all that sometimes it shuts down or either it hesitates or is a 3 second delay.
I ainít know all that .
Donít get me wrong itís good if you just playing but if you trying to do some fast s---Ö.
Jazzy J uses it. D.ST. uses it. Chase just started. It also takes time adjusting to it. The sound is clearer and cleaner. What is real good about it is, if you only got one record because you canít find the second one, with that system you can make two of them through one system.
There is a magazine out called Scratch. On the back page there is a picture of a turntable, with a record on top of it. But on the side of the turntable, a C.D. is able to slide inside of the turntable. Itís a Numark CDX.
I havenít worked with it but I seen Biz working with the Technics with the silver record on top. I seen him use them in Atlanta. But not with the C.D. but a memory card. He said the memory card hold a lot of records. From what I can see he was going back and forth. It sounded very crisp. He swears by them, says thatís all he use. I havenít ventured that way though.
What is the difference between a D.J. and a turntablist? If there is.
Most turntablists can only do the tricks. A lot of them you never see doing whole parties. Theyíre more into the tricks. They are more competition than anything.
So how do you feel about the new d.j. not having to dig in the crates like back in the days because there are so many super Disco breaks and other convenient ways of getting wax as opposed to back in the days?
Like I tell everybody big companies are going to get in and make money any way they can. They will kill off the foundation of everything just to make money, because they really donít care. So they going to make it easier and they are going to make bootlegs, and dudes are going to go and get it because it is there.
I understand, its almost impossible for the new d.j. not to. Especially when he is trying to make his music sound real good like the next man.
What was the most embarrassing moment for you, back in the days while you were d.j.ing?
We was battling Bambaataa and them. This is with Cold Crush and we had just got together. I just bought I think 4 to 6 speakers like that week and it was the first time using them. They were speakers my man built. We was up in Bronx River. Caz got on and he was d.j.ing. He did something and the needle slid across the record, and he blew out all the speakers. Mind you this was early into the battle. They went on first and then us. They was supposed to come back on. But when that happened, and this was supposed to be a battle. They said yaíll got to pack up and get the f--- up out of here with that bulls---. (we both start laughing) They wa slike what happened (mocking) we canít hear yaíll? Everything blew except the tweeters.
So who were yaíll going against Soul Sonic or Cosmic?
It was Bam and everybody down with him. They was on a stage and we was on the floor. We couldnít even say we going to play on yíall s--- or nothing. It was a battle.
In hind sight there is no way that the Zulu m.c.s could touch yíall.
We was confident when we went in there, system was sounding real good. It was like Murphyís law, what could go wrong will go wrong. I have one thing to speak about for you to have knowledge of. We have a group we are forming called The Federation. The Universal Federation for the Preservation of Hip Hop.
Let me hear this.
We started an organization to police all the wrong and bad reputations that people try to put on hip hop like the Ron Artest thing that happened. They tried to blame it on hip hop. We are waiting for our non profit status to come through.
So who is the founder?
Bam and Yoda of the Crash Crew are the Chairmen. As well as Ty Freak of Zulu. They pulled us in. Our advisory board has one of Minister Calvin Butts Ministers on it. As well as Kurtis Blow, Caz, Mel. There is a couple of us on there.
What do you hope to accomplish?
We hope to bring some of the finer things in hip hop culture to peopleís knowledge. Instead of the negative drama that media wants to promote, by saying this is hip hop. The carrying of alcohol bottles, the unnecessary bling, having the children think to strive for things of no value, instead of positive things.
So any name of today are on that list? Such as Jay Z or 50 cent etc. participating?
Well no, we just started putting the foundation down. Letters have been sent out to put certain people on the advisory board, but nothing has come back yet. We trying now to put together a hip hop concert for the Tsunami victims, to raise money.
Thank you Tone.
Thank you Jayquan
Peace and blessings Troy L. Smith from HARLEM, One