Friday, April 28, 2006


Now for the real reason we're here true believers: Next months Wax Poetics Journal will feature a story by yours truly, it is a feature about the 1977 battle between super jocks Pete D.J. Jones and Kool D.J. Herc.

I first heard about this battle in the book "Yes Yes Y'all an Oral History" by Charlie Ahearn and Jim Fricke. In one of the chapters Kool DJ AJ Scratch talked about a battle at the Executive Playhouse between Kool DJ Herc and Pete DJ Jones. AJ described it as being the turning point in both Flash's career as well Kool Herc's.

Two years ago I wrote this piece about the nomination of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame As you can see I talked to damn near every hip hop pioneer out there. It was while I was getting a quote from Pete Jones for the story that he happened to have mentioned the battle in '77.

For those that don't know Pete Jones was one of the first black mobile disc jockey's in New York City in the 1960's and '70's. He and a guy named Cameron 'Grandmaster' Flowers (R.I.P.) were the first black mobile jocks to play around New York back then. Flowers, it is said, was probably the first cat out there with a complete system and awesome mixing techniques. As a matter of fact Pete Jones told me that, "Grandmaster Flowers was the smoothest blender I have ever seen in my life."

They played rhythm and blues for Black and Latino audiences all over the city. Pete Jones had a bigger rep back then because he spun at the biggest clubs and for the biggest black station: WBLS. Legend has it that Flowers opened for James Brown at Yankee Stadium sometime in the late '60's.

Back in the day Pete DJ Jones was the man. That's him today at somewhere near 65 years of age. It has been previously reported that he was from Brooklyn, that is inaccurate - he is from Durham, North Carolina. The part of New York that he lives in is the Bronx.

Anyway I don't want to give my story away, but while doing my research for this piece it intrigued me to hear about a time when the name Grandmaster Flash wasn't a legend. The first person I interviewed for this story was Kool Herc The little bit that Herc told me intrigued me so much that I reached out to Pete Jones again for this article. He put me in contact with two gentlemen: JT Hollywood and KC the Prince of Soul. They gave me a wealth of information that, unfortunately, I was unable to use for this piece. I had to narrow the focus of the story down and I didn't want to go too far out in left field. Anyway, through my home girl Christie Z Pabon I got contact in touch with AJ Scratch, the original source of the story. I had him dig a little bit deeper for me for this article. I wanted to take the reader inside of the club.

Ever since I wrote about Flash and the Furious I wanted to talk to two guys who were with Flash the whole time but who have never been heard from before: EZ Mike and Disco Bee. AJ gave me EZ Mike's info who then put me onto Disco Bee. I drove 3 hours to Greensboro, NC to go interview Bee on New Years Eve (gotta bring in the New Year right yo). Both Mike and Bee gave me a wealth of information that, someday, God willing, I will put to use. The early story of Flash and the Furious 5 is incredible.

I tried to get in touch with Flash through his manager Kool Lady Blue, but Flash said that he wasn't a part of the battle. But AJ and EZ Mike confirmed for me that he was.

I wanted to do something I have rarely ever seen done before in hip hop journalism, especially about that particular time, I wanted to tell a story - a compelling story. Which meant that I had to put things in context and use imagery in order to really tell the story right. I am quite sure that you will like what I have done.

My editors Andre Torres and Brian DiGenti got Phase II to do some work as well and Elemental Magazine gave us some pics and flyers of Pete Jones from back in the day. And oh yeah, while I'm at it strong shout to Charlie Ahearn for hooking us up with the pic of EZ Mike and Mele Mel. I reached out to Disco Bee for some pics but never heard back. And like we said back in the day: This is a revolution sureshot!

It's Been a Long Time...

Ok already I know I know it's been a minute since I've updated this thing, you know how it goes, life gets h-e-c-t-i-c.

Sometimes I simply don't know what to say to you - forgive me.

If your a fan of the Sopranos here's my prediction: You know the two Arab fellas Christopher keeps dealing guns to? Well, I'm thinking that they will be the source of his downfall. Here's why: In the first or second episode of the new season two FBI agents were in Satriales eating sandwiches when in walks Christopher. After a couple of seconds of minor chit-chat the subject of terrorism comes up. I think I recall the agent asking Chris if he knew anything about Al-Qaeda or terrorists in general. To which Chris said, "Oh fuggeabout it, I'm against that shit as much as you are - and Tony, fuggabout it, he hates that shit."

During this season though they keep showing the same two Arab guys buying weapons from Chris. In one episode Tony asks Christopher, "Hey, do you think those guys could be Al-Qaedas?'

The writers are setting something big up with this story line. What a better way to get to Tony than through Chris, but could Chris be a rat? Hell, most mob guys are now.

And speaking of rats.

The worse plague to hit our communities since crack is the whole "Stop Snitchin'" mess. Look, here's the deal: If you are a member of a violent and or illegal organization the "Stop Snitchin' thing should apply to you. By the code of the street you shouldn't be out there talking to the cops about what other people are doing. That ain't cool. Because you're doing it too.

Now if you are an honest, hard-working citizen who is just out to make a living, 'Stop Snitchin' should not apply to us.

If you are in a gang or some other nonsense and someone robs, shoots or rapes you - you have folks to back you up, you can exact justice as you see fit.

But if you are an ordinary person who is out there minding their business and someone shoots, stabs, beats or rapes you or a person you love, what are you supposed to do? Just let it go? Hell no, we can't we have to stand up to these thugs. Maybe it's time for us honest, law abiding folks to take up arms against those that threaten us.

In the city of Baltimore where this whole "Stop Snitchin' movement was started they now have a new slogan "Silence Informers". Witnesses are being intimidated with threats of violence, in quite a few cases they have been killed.

No wonder the Black community is looked down upon, it's because we glorify thugs. I have an idea for a new slogan how's: "Harm a witness - Hang from a stop light."

Monday, April 17, 2006


Dracula and Darth Vader

Once upon a time a very long time ago, a little boy tried to fall asleep in a basement. No matter how many times he'd shut his eyes tight, he was forced to open them. You see, his father had hung one of the creepiest paintings ever known to a seven year old, over his bed. To make matters worse, when the lights were out and it was completely dark, he'd swear to God he was seeing Darth Vader.

"Oh my God, Dad, Darth Vader is coming to get me!" The little boy would say.
"Mark, go to sleep", the irritated father would say.
"But Dad, really, he is", the little boy would say.

In a huff the little boy's irritated West Indian immigrant dad would decend the stairs and go into one of his tirades:

"Mark, how many times do I have to tell you that Darth Vader isn't real, now cut it out and go to sleep."

Looking for anything to open his fathers eyes to the fact that there could possibly be "something" down there he said, "Weren't you ever scared of anything when you were my age?"

"Never", he said, 'I was too busy working to be afraid of anything, and if I was afraid of anything, I wasn't anywhere near as scared as you."

The little boy glanced up at the creepy-looking painting hanging over his bed. "Dad, what kind of painting is that? It scares me."

"It's called the vision of death."


"It looks like a ghost or somekind of monster..."

'It isn't, now go back to sleep."

It wouldn't be until many years later over lunch that the little boy grown and in his mid-20's would ask his father about that god awful painting.

"Oh that", he said laughing before he goes into his story.

"When I was a college student I had this really weird roommate who was an artist. One day I came home and he was going on and on about life and death, and the meaning of death and God and all this other stuff. Now, he was saying all of this while he was painting this portrait. He was talking really fast and painting just as fast at the same time. Anyway, I got tired of sitting there listening to him, so I left and went to the store. When I came back the cops were all over the place. It turns out my roommate blew his head off while I was gone. I remember walking around looking at the blood everywhere and things and noticing that there was no blood on the painting, so I took it with me when I left and I kept it as a memento of him."

"And you hung it over my bed, knowing the creepy ass history behind that thing?"

The father shrugged his shoulders and said, "Well, y'know."

In disbelief the now grown man made a vow that he would never do that to his kids.

So fast forward to the present the little boy is now a full grown man rapidly approaching 40 with kids of his own. One night after reading "Pinnochio and the Whale" for the third time in a row, the father puts his foot down and says, "That's it, no more Pinnochio it's time to go to sleep."

His four year old to whom he gave his name to looks up at him and says, "Daddy".

"Yes, TJ."

"Can you turn the Nemo night light on?"

"Of course son."

"Daddy", the little boy says, "Is Dracula gonna get me?"

"No son, Dracula won't get you."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm positive son."

"How do you know?" the four year old says.

"Cause I know", the father said in his Queens, New York accent meets Oakland, California attitude.

Sensing the fear in the little boy, the father lays down besides him.

"You know son, when I was your age I was scared of things too."

"You were?"

"Yeah, I was scared of Darth Vader."

"Is Darth Vader gonna come get me?"

"Nope, he's too busy flying around in outer space somewhere to come get you."

"But what if Dracula and Darth Vader come and get me?" The four year old asks.

"If either one of them guys comes through that window all you gotta do is call me, and I guarantee you that both of those idiots will go out that window faster than they came in."

"Well, what if a lion or a tiger or a bear comes?" the little boy asks.

"Hey, if a lion comes in here", the father says, "we'll beat that lion. If a bear comes in here: we'll beat that bear. If a tiger comes in: we'll beat that tiger. You and me, ok?"

The four year old frowns his face up really hard and says "Yeah, if a lion comes in here: we'll beat that lion", the little boy says as he balled his fist up and punched at the air. 'If a bear comes in here: we'll beat that bear!"

A warm smile envelops the fathers face. It's the same kind of smile a parent gets the first time they see their child walk. He laughs loudly on the inside before his son says:

"Hey, what's your problem? Are you scared or something? I'll protect you."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

What Did You Name That Child?

Wu Tang Clan founder and member RZA knows how to keep it all too real.

"...and the children of RZA and Mills have equally interesting names: Shaquasia, Melchizedek, Understanding and Eternity Diggs."

Recently the RZA filed for divorce from his wife of six years. Turns out my man had two kids outside of his marriage, God knows what those kids names are but Shaquasia? Melchizedek? Come on man.

When I was coming up in the 70's and 80's I remember girls being given extra long names like: Sheila Tawanda Porshe Mercedes Jackson. Uh, yes you read it right, that is all one name. And they would say all of that while chewing gum and twirling their necks.

Then sometime in the 80's that shit got too far off the hook, girls just started making names up that were supposedly a mixture of French and African sounding names. Like Monique. Ok, that's a regular name but they would do things like add all kinds of other shit to it like Moniquay (yes, for real) or Moniqasia (yes, you read it right). After a while it became a game of one upmanship, if this one named her daughter Moniqasia, that one would have to name her daughter something like Nicole Janasia Usha Special ( yes, it is all one name and yes, you read it right).

Boys weren't spared either: Donavian, Xavian and all kinds of other shit started popping up in the late 80's and 90's. Now here is my question: How are these people supposed to find jobs with names like those? A white employer will get those resumes and automatically put them in the 'special pile', you know the pile don't ya? The pile of the folks that will not be working there.

I used to feel really sorry for my brother and sister when we were coming up. My brothers name is Malik. Poor guy, white folks called him everything but his name: Milk, Ma-lick and Mike, were what he was mistakenly called.

My sister Tadao (that is a Japanese name by the way) really caught hell: Ta-Da-O, Toledo, Tornado and all kinds of other mispronounced names were par for the course.

The times I really felt sorry for them were with the grandparents. "Ta-who?" "Ma-what?" They would say. "What happened to names I kind relate to?" They'd complain "Like Horace or or or Ulysses or Homer or what about that boy name, what's his name Andrew. What about names like those?" They'd complain.

"Well, we wanted to give them names that were different, that meant something", my parents would say.

"That mean somethin?" They would say jumping out of their chairs. "Hey, my cousins name is Ulysses. Ever read whaddya call that dere 'Greek Mythology', huh, Homer and Ulysses are in that. What about that?"

Alot of people take pride in their names - and they should. We should strive to give our children names that we and they can be proud of, but also won't handicap them when it's time for them to enter the real world.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Big Vito Was Gettin' His Boogie On

And you thought black hip-hop cats were the only tough guys on the D.L....Ha! Wait until you see "The Sopranos".

Before "Brokeback Mountain" shattered any and all illusions of the cowboy lifestyle being off-limits to sissies, queers and any other non-masculine type role models, along came last seasons episode of "The Sopranos".

Meadow Soprano's ( for those of you who don't know, she's the bosses daughter) boyfriend arrived at work a little earlier than usual. He parked next to the only other car on the lot, leaned back in his seat to catch a snooze, but before doing so he looked at the occupant in the car next to him: It was the security guard, looking like he too was catching a snooze, but, he had his head back and his mouth open...hmmmm, maybe the guard met a hooker before work and decided to get a "little action" before his day got started.

But wait, the guard opened his eyes and looked to his left to see a car parked next to his.

Uh-oh, he's been busted getting his nob polished while on the job. Shame on him.

But just when you think the little young site secretaries head was gonna pop up: Surprise, it's big, fat, tough mob guy Vito! All 400 pounds of him.

Oh no. Vito is that you?

Last night during Johnny Sack's daughters wedding Vito was feeling "conflicted" during the ceremony. He was the most visibly disturbed person during the wedding. He kept looking at his ring, twisting and turning it around on his finger.

Two mob guys show up at a batty man club, they were there to pick up money. Neither one of those guys liked being there, "I hate this place", they said "Let's get the fuck outta here..."

Well, just as they're leaving who does the camera pan to? Big Vito, gettin' his boogie on in black leather with the hat and whip to match! Big Vito pulled him a man and was about to take him home too, that was until the two wiseguys saw him.

"Vito, you're a fag?" one of them said in shock and disgust.

"Hey guys", Vito said, as nervous as a deer in a headlight. "It's just a joke".

"Yeah right, Vito, you're a fag".

"It's just a joke guys...don't say nuttin."

The next scene Vito is at home pulling a .45 out of the drawer. It lokks like he's gonna kill both of em.


The next scene he checks into a motel looking extremely worried, he takes the .45 out of his pocket and puts it on the nightstand next to the bed. Vito can't take the pressure of his "secret life" being exposed.

There has been alot of stuff in the last few years about men on the "DL". Lemme tell you something, I remember when the "DL" was a phrase used to describe cats (straight guys like myself) that were quiet, not tryin to mess with nobody and get in their business and shit like that.

Then around the same time some gay dudes wrote books about their lives on the "DL". What those dudes are are guys that mess with men and women, but don't want anyone to know that they are really gay. I don't care what they say: If you're messing around with a man, in a "no clothes on" kinda scenario: YOU ARE GAY. Don't give me that bi-sexual gabbage, your gay. It's alright, it's your business, it's your lifestyle, it's your choice. But you have the obligation to tell the women that you are seeing about your "Alternative choice".

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Can You Say Impeach the President?

Breaking news: "I. Scooter Libby, former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney revealed to prosecutors that President Bush authorized the leaking of sensitive information about Iraq to members of the press.

At the time when the scandal first surfaced, Mr Bush said, "Whoever is responsible for leaking such information in my cabinet will be fired."

Will Mr. Bush be following the noble example of former President Richard Nixon and resign from office?

This isn't a blow job in the Oval office my friends or allegations of lying under oath during a deposition in a sexual harassment case; this is treason.


Democrat Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is someone I usually admire, her stances on the war, Affirmative Action and a whole bunch of other issues over the years have made her someone I respect. However, the current situation she's in right now is bullshit.

Recently she got into an altercation with an officer on Capitol Hill. He asked her "Ma'am, may I see your ID?" And she kept walking.

He asked her again, this time he was trying to catch up with her "Ma'am, your ID please." He must've grabbed her by the shoulder or something because her next move was to turn around and sock him.

Uh-oh what did she do that for? Just cause your ass is an elected official does not mean you are above the rules.

She's crying racism.

Racism? Huh?

Did he stop her and say "Nigger woman, show me yo gotddamn ID?"

Or did he stop her and say "Hey Lil Kim, where's your ID?"

Or did he say, "I hate Tupac, nigger, show me your badge?"

If it wasn't one of those situations or some variation thereof, it is not a case of racism. Rather, it is a case of a Congress woman who doesn't feel like she should have to follow the rules. Every member of congress has a pin that identifies them as being a member. It's a simple thing, you put it on, show it to the guard when you come to the door and that's it. Turns out she never wears hers.

If I never had the experience back in the day of being a security officer I wouldn't know. I can't tell you how many times I'd have to argue with people over showing their badge and signing in and out. Some people have a problem with following rules. The first thing that comes out of their mouths is: "Why do I have to show you my badge?" Or "Why do I have to sign in?"

Cause it's the rules you retard.

Now look who's come to back Mrs. McKinney up

Don't these two dudes have better things to do? What about Lethal Weapon 5? What about an Uptown Saturday Night reunion, Geechie Dan Beuford back in e-f-f-e-c-t. I know they know the difference between racism and bullshit. Danny Glover is backing away from her like she's taking a swipe at his nuts or something. Mr. Belafonte needs to tell her in that cool voice of his "Sista, I know you're embarrassed by all of this, but, show the damn pin next time."