“The collective known as Massive Staff was formed by a group of MC’s and producers that started recording out of “The Safehouse.” The Safehouse was a home studio owned by Kyle Knordle, aka Knowledge, based in East Orange, NJ. In the early 90’s, The Safehouse was a creative center for numerous underground New Jersey artists. Known for its clear sound and hard, gritty beats, produced by Knowledge and his partner “Gee the Madman,” The Safehouse attracted a number of up and coming artists that were well known to the Jersey music scene.
Artists like Rah Digga (Flipmode, Outsidaz), Josh Milan (Blaze), Fatal Hussain (Tupac’s Outlaws), Omega (N.A.C./Refugee Camp), Tame One (Artifacts), Pace Won (Outsidaz) , Feerce (Crazy Cat), and even the legendary Grand Master Flash are just a few of the artists that passed through and honed their skills at the Safehouse.
It is from this hotbed of activity that the artists of Massive Staff initially came together. Since teenagers, Knowledge was partnered with his friend Rich Fresh, aka Troublemaker. This friendship was formed in East Orange High School where they battled against future rap stars Treach & Vinnie from Naughty by Nature and Chino XL. The two rappers along with engineer/producer Gee the Madman decided to start an independent label known as Safehouse records.
They added 2 artists based out of Newark, NJ. The witty and complex MC known as Malai Majid, and the smooth criminal, Killa Nug. Each artist brought a different style and personality to the group. Knowledge, a metaphor genius; Malai, unpredictable flavor; Troublemaker, a freestyle master and Killa Nug; no-nonsense hardcore street flow. The 4 artists would come together as Safehouse Records’ vanguard.
The group intention was to show the strength of the group but also to showcase their individual skills. Engineered by Gee and joined by a small cast of crew members, “Nasty Newark Air” hit the street in 1994. A six song opus with two group songs along with solo cuts from each member of the group gave fans of all hip-hop genres something they could listen to from beginning to end. After holding a launch party and show at the legendary Newark Club Zanzibar, the group would go on to perform all over the New York/New Jersey area, and down the east coast. Cuts from the album would get airplay on legendary under-ground radio platforms like the Stretch & Bobbito show and the Awesome 2 (Teddy Ted/Special K) show. The quality and buzz attracted the attention of local labels such as Queen Latifah’s FLava Unit imprint, and with the proper backing and push the sky was the limit.
Within one year, the group would disband due to internal conflicts and some artists not adhering to the group chemistry. Troublemaker would go on to record and release 3 solo albums under his own label and the other members of the group continued to record as solo artists. In 2004, the Safehouse would shut its doors after 10 years of being a major factor of the New Jersey music scene.”
A1 Nasty Newark Air
A3 Stick Up
B3 Your Last Breath (Ya Smel’At?)
All songs written, produced, and mixed by Massive Staff for Safehouse Productions.
Recorded at Fly Guy Studio & Ironbound Studios
Following on from the Ghettolandz release last month we have the Izniz produced “The Madness” project. We have 5 never released/never heard joints plus one from “that” 12″ that most people “didn’t get”. NUFF SAID…
Here is how Izniz remembers The Madness and how it fit into the crew’s history:
“We all are basically from the same area of New Jersey. I’m from Tinton Falls NJ, I God, I Right, Shyheed and Original Blackman are from Red Bank NJ and Naji is from Fair Haven NJ. All three towns are next to each other and I knew the others from round the way. Before “The Madness” project I did a few tracks with a group I God was in called “New Born Sons”. I used to hang out with Original Blackman here and there through mutual friends. Before we even did tracks I always heard he could rhyme but I never asked him to spit and he never asked me for beats. First time I ever heard or seen Original Blackman rhyme was when we recorded “Imagine This”. I gave out the track to Naji, I God, I Right and Shyheed and I can’t remember who said it to me, but I heard Original Blackman got a verse for this beat. I was with it because this would be my first time hearing him spit- so that was fresh. We also did a solo album after “The Madness” went their separate ways. The first time I ever worked with I Right was on “So Many Sucka’s” and first time with Shyheed was “Strictly Madness”. Naji I was already doing work with before we became the Ghettlandz, we was in a group named “No Alternative”, I was his DJ before I was the producer”. Peep it….
A1 Intergalactic Tactics
A2 Rain Storms
B1 Imagine This
B2 95 Was Live
B3 Won’t Be Around This Year
A1 written by I God, Original Blackman & I Righteous. A2 written by Original Blackman & Mic Diesel.
A3 written by Naji, I God & I Righteous. B1 & B2 written by Naji, I God, Original Blackman, Shyheed &
I Righteous.B3 written by I God, Shyheed & I Righteous.
All tracks produced by Izniz.
All tracks recorded at Lorenzo Conte House Of Hits and engineered by Lorenzo Conte.
Ghettolandz – Ghetto Conspiracy Vol 1
OHHH YES – Here it is – One of the most in-demand mid 90’s random indie Grails by New Jersey crew Ghettolandz. Included are three previously unheard and unreleased bangers as well as one track from each of the three 12’s and remember, this is just Volume 1!!!
Here is a short interview with Ghettolandz producer and founder Izniz:
Where did you grow up Iz?
I grew up in TinTon Falls NJ.
So, when did you start spinnin?
5th grade when I got my first turntables.
Where dya first hear Hip Hop music?
Sugar Hill Gang was the first time I heard Hip Hop music but “Beat Street”, “Krush Groove” and Boogie Down Productions sold the culture to me. I begged my parents for turntables for Christmas. I got a pair of straight arm turntables and my sister got me Run DMC’s first album, the Dr. Jeckell and Mr Hyde record and AM PM, that’s how I started Dj’ing, I wanted to be Jam Master Jay.
So who is Ghettolandz?
Ghettolandz is Naji, Huggy Bear and me, Izniz.
How did you meet each other?
I knew Huggy Bear cause he lived up the street from me and later on, the house producer Romanthony hooked me and Naji up.
So did u know Romanthony from your neighbourhood?
He lived up the street from me too and had a studio in his basement. Dude was 5 years older than me.
Was it there that you used studio gear for the first time?
In Roman’s studio he use to teach me how to work the equipment and to keep the session going while he was on the phone!
At that time I was 17 and was just kicked out of high school. We had a Casio sampler there, an 8-track Tascam reel to reel, a Korg M1. Alesis compressor 3630, Alesis equalizer m-eq 230 and Roland R* to name a few.
When did you start producing/makin hip hop beats?
One day I had the urge to go to a studio and sample some sounds and breaks I had in my record collection. I looked in the phone book for studios in my area and there were none that worked with Hip Hop, but there was this one rock studio and the dude there told me he had a friend who might be able to help me he had a studio in his basement with samplers and other gear and that dude was Lorenzo. I made the call and went that week, laid some samples down and brought the beat back, dropped it for Naji and he said “I think we got something here, when can we hit the studio?” We went the next week and laid the first track down, which was “Getcha Open”. I financed everything. I was taught some stuff about the record biz by Romanthony. I use to run his records to NYC radio stations and do all his consignment to all the top stores in NYC, so when we parted I took what it was I did for him and did it for myself. When I pressed “Getcha Open” I never sold any copies, I gave them all to record pools. I never made a dime off that record, I made money selling my drum and beat records. By giving the “Getcha Open” record out for free to record pools and underground radio shows we sparked peoples interest.
Who spun it on radio?
Half Pint from the Hank Love and Half Pint Show was the only one I was aware of, the rest was overseas! The second record “Mic Hot/Ginuwine Thoughts” got played on Hot 97 and was spun by DJ Premier. He got the record from Fat Beats. I use to leave them records to give out to dj’s and he happen to get the record.
So after the 3rd 12″ what happened?
There was one offer from a label that never went through. With the group, as time went by they all went their own separate ways. I continued to make breaks and beats records like the “Drum Taps” LPs I dropped with Fat Beats. I had distribution through Landspeed, Buds, Unique as well as Fat Beats who were still reppin. I was doing a record every 3 months and I attracted an indie label off Universal to manufacture. That company eventually went under and that’s when Universal gave me my own manufacturing deal. I made the records and they distributed them.
Props to Izniz for gettin down with Herring and now peep the goodness:
A1 Lets get it On
A2 Mic Hot
A3 Getcha Open
B1 Change The Name
B2 Real Gz
All tracks produced By Izniz and written By Naji except “Real Gz” written by Naji and Huggy Bear.
All tracks recorded at Lorenzo Conte House Of Hits and engineered by Lorenzo conte.
Madd Phlayva, who had to change their name to Da Phlayva for legal reasons, were a 3 piece out of Charleston, South Carolina. Soon after meeting at a local club in the summer of 1992, the MC’s [Shrimp Boogie Down, Chawle Dawk Da Supastar and Maximillion] put down a small number of demos with local radio DJ and producer Jahmes Wizard at the Carolina DJ’s home studio. Shortly after recording the demo, they dropped a single “Niteliphe/Hookas” on local Charleston based indie label, Rollin Records. If you were looking for a major deal back then in the South, you got your asses up to the Jack The Ripper music conference in Atlanta, GA.The group were booked to play the small stage at the conference, but after some dope feedback were asked to perform on the main stage. It was at the conference that the group ran into S.O.L.A.R Records label execs, who would sponsor the group and let them use their studios to record their debut album. S.O.L.A.R was Dick Griffey’s label which was born out of the Soul Train show, co-owned by Soul Train host Don Cornelius. After the success of the earlier Disco Soul years, they were in decline, but recently they had just put out the huge 1992 Deep Cover Soundtrack with a post-NWA Dr Dre. Their main focus had been on R&B acts but with this recent Hip Hop/Rap success they were interested in widening their view.
The three Mc’s were all in their 20’s in 1993 and were just regular cats, making beats, chasin dime pieces and puffin izm. They had no experience of the music business and just wanted to keep doin their thing on the downlow. When they had to change their name cause of its [obvious] similarity to the Texas group Mad Flava, the group wanted to replace it with the name “The Phlayva Continues” but the label convinced them otherwise. It would be another disagreement that lead to local and then nationwide headlines. Maximillion was the group’s design guy, but the label had other ideas for the album cover. Vertical was owned by Angel Quintero, the original owner of Rollin Recs and his partner Sherman Evans who owned a clothing store in Charleston called Utopia. The two businessmen fused their businesses and set up NuSouth Apparel. The two came up with a way to promote the group, grow their music/fashion business and make a political statement in the process. For the Da Phlayva album cover they decided to subvert the Confederate flag by switching the colours to red, black and green, representing African-American liberation and T-Shirts were made to promote the project. At a gig at Stratford High School in South Carolina a bunch of free T-Shirts were given out to the students. Finding the T-Shirts offensive to some [racist? ha] students [parents?] the school banned anyone from wearing them or face suspension. One girl Shellmira Green, 16, chose suspension. The story reached local newspapers and then major outlets picked it up and it went on to raise the subject of racism, nationalism and regionalism on a national level. Seeing an opportunity, Quintero and Evans made a load more of the T’s which they sold in their store and then all over the country.
The group’s relationship with Vertical began to deteriorate. Their fight was not the fight of the label. They avoided questions about the flag when journalists asked and they didn’t cooperate with the label’s methods of promotion. Following them showing up late for a show where notable major label A&R men were in attendance, Vertical lost interest in the group. The whole flag/cover controversy occurred before the album had dropped and when it did it seemed the group were overshadowed by the politics. The label didn’t press any vinyl for dj’s and music customers and focused their efforts on the clothing line. So here we are 20 years later droppin 6 tracks from the previously CD/cassette-only release from 1994. Peep Madd Phlayva:
A1 World Premier
A2 To Each His Own
A3 Hookas feat Spec Da Spectacular and I-God Eron aka Choc da Middleweight
B1 All Things Is Madd
B2 Geechie Squaw
B3 Phlayva 4 Dem All
MC’s are Shrimp Boogie Down, Chawle Dawk Da Supastar and Maximillion.
A1, A2, A3 & B1 produced by Jahmes Wizard. B2 produced by Robert Dyches.
B3 produced by Hermyes! Aka Chawle Dawk Da Supastar.
For this our 100th release we went with, not a blockbusting, marquee release, but with a true Herring release. We started off the label in 2001 on a comedic and satirical tip with the Daydream 7.5″ and the Jay Glaze & Rod Hotley UK Hip Hop anthem “Out To Lunch” and our relationship to this 100th project encapsulates all that feeling. So PROPS for all the support Herring Heads – Let’s make it to another 100!!!!
MC Class has pedigree. The godson of “Penetentiary”  director Jamaa Fanaka and blacksploitation actress Carol Speed, Class was born and grew up in the Baychester area of the North Bronx. From his bedroom window in the 1970’s he would experience the initial wave of Hip Hop culture first hand in the form of local DJ’s setting up their turntables in the park over the way and blasting pre-Hip Hop flava to the local community, free of charge!! Back then Hip Hop was a free culture and Class would lament it’s progression into a commercial product and it’s bastardisation on route. His early exposure to the music came through Jerry Bloodrock‘s radio show on college radio, which he would tape and play in the schoolyard on his boombox. At that time everyone round the way rhymed and Class was no different. In fact all his communication was supplied in the form of rhyme – he spoke to everyone that way – he was truly a product of his environment. But experiencing first hand the growing violence in the streets of the Bronx in the 70’s and early 80’s and abhorring it, he vowed to get out of NY. It was the Navy which came to his immediate rescue…
He got out of the Navy in 1989 and not wanting to move back to New York he set himself up in Seattle, about as far away as he could get! There he formed the group Brothers Of The Same Mind. Off the back of many successful live shows they were written up in the Unsigned Hype section of The Source in 1990 which lead to more touring, then finding representation. Following another feature in The Source as well as many other Hip Hop mags of the day, they were signed to Conspiracy Records. They dropped one single, but before an album could be picked up for a major deal the band split up.
Following the demise of the group, Class was hit with a bout of depression, but realising his knowledge, commitment and passion for his art he went back to college to study sound engineering and film. A direct motivator for his newly chosen path was the result of a show he performed at as a solo artist after the split up. The sound was mad nasty at the venue and the main act came on stage, threw the sound engineer off the boards and brought in his own dude. Class realised then the importance of sound control and focused for the next few years on obtaining a bachelors degree. Oh, the main act was Dj Quick! Class self financed his first solo 12″, the now in-demand “Hope You’re Listening” and gave all copies away as promos. Red Alert got one and used it on a mix tape and a few artists sampled the opening line of “Fishin'”. He contued to work with artists in a production and video producing capacity through the 90s and to this day can be found writing and producing in the North West.
When the Brothers split and Class was feelin like his life wasn’t making sense, one of his boys, in reference to him using his skills to make something happen with his career, offered him some advice and it’s this analogy that 20 years later lead to Class and Herring’s collab for the 100th release on the label. He said “Yo Class, you need to go fishin'”…the rest is history….
So what we have for you are the 2 tracks off the 1993 12″, “Hope You’re Listening” and “Fishin'” as well as 2 tracks from the cassette only release from the same year “Brother from the Projects”. Also included is the previously unreleased track “See Level” and acapella and 2 unreleased joints by “Brothers of the Same Mind” from 1991. ENJOY!!!!!
A1 See Level
A2 Hope You’re Listening
A4 See Level (Acapella)
B2 Brother From The Projects
B3 Brothers Of The Same Mind – Soul 2 The Rhythm
B4 Brothers Of The Same Mind – Step Up To The Mic
All tracks written by Robert D Bassett Jr (MC Class) except B3 by Robert D Bassett Jr and Harrold A Gomez
and B4 written by Robert D Bassett Jr, Harrold A Gomez, Dwayne P Tasker & Tracy V Armour. A1,B1 & B2
produced by Michael Wiebe & Nolan Philip for “Full Time Funk Productions”. A2 prod. by Born Supreme for
“Point Blank Productions”. A3 prod. by Robert D Bassett Jr & Michael Wiebe for “Full Time Funk Productions”.
All tracks publishing by Brothers Of The Same Mind Publishing (BMI).
All tracks recorded between 1991-1993.
Illustration by Piet Pado.
Doz Funky Baztardz – What’s Goin On In A Baztard’z Mind 1993-1995 EP
Tracing the roots of this obscure, yet extraordinarily talented Floridian trio, you end up somewhere between Haiti, Trinidad and Miami – so like this bangin’ EP of 1993-1995 material, it’s scorching hot yo!.
Doz Funky Baztard’z was made up of three members, DJ Taz, Melo and Class. Taz was born in Haiti but was raised in East New York. After his mother broke her leg at work in 1987, the family moved down to the warmer climate of Miami on the advice of her doctor who suggested that her leg would heal quicker if they got out of the North East. Taz started DJ’ing in Miami from the early 90’s and made a living selling beats to round-the-way artists. He met Melo one night at a party thrown by a girl he was dating, who happened to be a cousin of Melo’s. Melo was spinning in the bedroom, where the decks were set up. The speaker was placed outside the door in the hallway so no one could see who was DJ’ing. Melo dropped some Kwame instrumental [he recalls] and started to freestyle over the beat. Taz immediately recognised the MC’s talent and made his way up to the bedroom to see who it was. The next day they were writing tracks together.
Melo too had arrived in the States in 1987, he coming direct from Trinidad to Miami. His first memory of the music was “The Message”, but before getting into music he was a B-Boy. Named after his favourite artist, Grandmaster, he formed a B-Boying crew called Clan, along with two cats Crazy D and Slick D. Before the music was Graf and dancing. On arriving in America he would show off his DJ skills on Saturday nights by hanging his speaker out the apartment window. His first experience of the “biz” was selling rhymes to local Hip Hop artists. He wrote poetry at school way before he heard “The Message”, so he had a natural skill for scanning and word play. But it wasn’t until he connected with Taz that the music really began to flow.
Taz’s first paid work came from selling beats for $50-$100 to local acts. He graduated from his Casio RZ1 with its 4 seconds of sampling time to a secondhand SP1200 which he bought from Space Music in Miami with money saved from selling beats and his part time job in a movie theater. The two started to lay down their first recordings around 1991 funded by Taz selling beats. They recorded in a studio called “Who Brought The Dog” owned by a cat called Harvey in Miami. They pressed up 300 copies of a white label called “Journey To The Weedhole” around 1992/1993 and distributed it themselves to local Mom & Pop stores on consignment. Around this time, through their DJ’ing and promoter contacts they started getting booked to support Hip Hop acts when they came to Miami. They supported Cypress Hill, Nice & Smooth, Busta Rhymes, Fugees, Jeru and Redman among other notable NYC acts. With momentum building they self financed another single, “What’s Goin On” in 1994, again pressing only 300 copies. They followed that record up a year later with “Straight Outta”, again pressing 300 copies.
Doz Funky Baztard’z suffered from a Hip Hop disease prone to all East Coast-influenced acts hailing from Florida – known as Bass-osis! If you didn’t “do” Bass music, you didn’t get supported. Miami had its own sound and “copying” the NYC Hip Hop sound was frowned upon. The labels down there didn’t invest in anything other than Miami Bass. So this huge talent was left by the wayside. Criminal! So to make up for it in some way we have obtained the masters and have remastered and repressed 3 tracks from the “Weedhole” white label, the title track from the “What’s goin On” 12″ and we’ve included the HUGE, never before heard remix of “Straight Outta” and an unrelased track “Master Plan” which would’ve been the title track off their 4th release, which never materialised. BELIEVE, THERE ARE MORE BOMBS IN THE VAULTS!!!!!!
A1 What’s Goin On In A Baztard’z Mind
A2 Straight Outta (Remix)
A3 Story Book Lover
B2 Get Down To My Dungeon
B3 Master Plan
All tracks produced by Ernst Dimanche.
A1, A2, B1 & B3 written by Keith Smith, Ernst Dimanche and Carlos Henfield.
A3 written by Keith Smith. B2 written by Keith Smith & Ernst Dimanche.
The 5PLIT EP SERIES VOL 1
This is the first in a new series on Chopped Herring Records of Double A-Side releases. On this first part we have three tracks by Litta Buggz, a precursor group to Drama Klub which included the 3 youngest members of the crew and was formed several years before “The Heist” dropped. We also have, on the AA side, three dope tracks by DJ Stitches feat. Eternal Intellect from their 1992 demo tape. DJ Stitches was one of the founding members of De La Soul as well as the producer behind Uptown [Tommy Boy] and Class A Felony. OK, let’s dig a little deeper…..
DJ Stitches feat. Eternal Intellect
DJ Stitches was born in 1969 at the Manhattan Hospital and lived until the age of 3 in the Bronx. From the Bronx his parents moved to South Jamaica where they stayed until around 1984. His first experiences of the culture was on Sundays after church at his cousin’s, one Mixmaster TC. TC in the mid 70’s would spin a variety of Disco, Funk, Jazz and Soul doubling-up on the breaks and extending them – obviously there were no Hip Hop records yet. Stitches and another cousin Blinky from Queens, inspired by TC, would search for two copies of break records and each stealing their dad’s single turntables, and with a mixer, enjoyed their first experiences of DJ’ing on two turntables. Another insight into the culture was through his elder brother who would record block parties on tapes given to him by Stitches. He would try to identify the music any way he could and would usually take them to school after the weekend to share with friends. At the age of 15 the family moved to Amityville in LI and the scenery changed yet again.
At school, being a musical kid, he played 2nd trumpet in the Wyandanch Marching band, a band famous for another soon-to-be Hip Hop artist. Rakim, then known as William Griffin, played alto sax in the band. The band leader, originally from Tennessee was a hip dude and instead of the typical “Pomp and Circumstance” renditions, he would put together arrangements of current 80’s hits like “Sucker MC’s” and “Planet Rock” [yep, we’re trying to find the audio!!!]. On moving to Long island, he knew a few local kids but not too many. He hooked up with a at who lived round the corner who spun, called Vincent Mason [Maseo]. The two formed a DJ crew called “Mase & Charles” and played house parties round the way. Back then Stitches was known as Charlie or Charlie Rock.
Following on from the Class A Felony deal with Mercury and the untimely death of Dumar Israel in 1991, Stitches hooked up with another MC called Eternal Intellect. Eternal, who lived in Farmingdale, LI, was MC’ing with a group at the time. Noticing a talent he poached the MC from the group and recorded a demo around 1992. It is three tracks from that demo we present to you as the AA side of The 5PLIT SERIES EP Vol 1…..
Litta Buggz was made up of three MC’s from Brownsville/East New York, Brooklyn: Mello, Pak and Ill Villain. Mello and Pack were brothers and all three were the youngest members of a much lager click called Drama Klub [which cats will know from our March release]. Ill Villain had been throw out of school for a year on a Superintendent’s Suspension and was sent to an alternative high school. It was there that he met the Saleem brothers. All three kids rhymed, so they found themselves in cyphers together in the school yard at break times and they began to hang out outside school They would battle other kids on trains, in stations, on the streets, wherever there were skills being displayed. They began to get a name from battling and on one train journey back home to the hood they formed the group.
A local cat called Milky, a white kid with dreads, had some management connections up in Canada and the group signed a short management deal to record a demo. They were given funds to make their way up to Ontario and only just got in to the country, by the skin of their teeth! They recorded a bunch of tracks but only three survive and all three are DOPE!! The group fell victim to the usual pitfalls of the streets. Music didn’t pay their bills and they put music on the back burner for a few years. The group reformed as Drama Klub two years later …
A1 1,2 feat. Milky
A2 For My Peoples
A3 Trials and Tribulations
A1 written by E.Saleem and R.Saleem. A2 & A3 written by E.Saleem, R.Saleem & C.Witters
All tracks produced by One Love Productions and recorded at One Love Studios in Ontario, Canada.
DJ Stitches feat. Eternal Intellect
A1 Never Have Da Skillz
A2 Funky 4 You
A3 Under Siege
All tracks produced by DJ Stitches.
Da Halrazzers were born in the 1980’s when a young cat, later knows as PM, moved with his family from the Crown Heights neighbourhood of Brooklyn, NY to Liberty City, Miami, Florida. He moved next door to another young cat, later known as Rockmaster. Their first experiences were of playing basketball on the local courts but they built a friendship through their mutual passion for Hip Hop culture. After a failed attempt to get into college on a football scholarship, Rock began to get heavy into beats and rhymes. In the family’s garage the two knocked up a 7 track demo and began to push it. Through a good friend who was tight with a label owner in Miami they got signed on a multiple single deal to Showcase Records They were now exposed to real studio gear and techniques for the first time. Previously, Rock had constructed beats by looping breaks on his Gemini mixer and overlaying beats and samples. Through Showcase he was introduced to their in-house producer Ephraim Enriquez who would produce their first 2 singles. The first “Here We Come” dropped in 1992 and the second “Stylez Of Uh Razzer” in 1994. Following the second release, they began to get more exposure and found themselves opening for the big acts of the day when they came to Miami. If you were anyone at that time you would play at The Carver Club at 61st and 7th Ave in Miami – that was the Hip Hop Mecca in those days. The Halrazzers opened for acts like Black Moon, Method Man and many more during the early – mid 90’s….
The group parted ways with the label soon after the second release, on friendly terms. The fellas didn’t want to compromise their sound to achieve radio play which they found was the direction they were increasingly being led in. They continued to write hardcore Hip Hop tunes and furthered their craft independently while looking for new avenues. Through contacts they got themselves a show at the Lyricists Lounge club night in NYC, being the first Florida based group to do so. After that successful show in early 1995 they were introduced to Black Pride Management who would soon after sign them to their management company. At this point a new MC was added to the fold, called Sin. The group moved up to NYC and made Crown Heights their new base. The third single “Death Rattle” was released while they were up their trying to secure a deal. But as usually happens when real life gets in the way, the group slowly grew apart. Again, the split was amicable; families, jobs and different musical experiences made it hard to focus on the Halrazzers mission and the third single was unfortunately their last. Chopped Herring Records is proud to have collected all the single tracks together for this vinyl release, as well as an unheard remix of “Death Rattle”. We also managed to convince Rock to have the reels of “Stylez” baked so that the unheard acapella could be extracted from it for the first time. Peep it yo:
A1 Stylez Of Uh Razzer
A2 Death Rattle (Rockmaster Remix)
A3 Here We Come
A4 Death Rattle
B1 Verbal Warfare
B2 Death Rattle (Remix)
B3 Peace Talks
B4 Stylez Of Uh Razzer (Instrumental)
B5 Stylez Of Uh Razzer (Acapella)
All tracks written by Tori Newkirk & Oslyn Sullivan except A2, A4 & B2 written by Tori Newkirk,
Oslyn Sullivan and Victor Julian.
All tracks produced by Rockmaster Productions Inc. except A1, A3, B4 & B5 which are produced
by Efrain Enriquez a.k.a “E2” and co-produced by Da’Halrazzers.
DJ Jazz, Jazzy Joe, Jazzy J, Big Jazz, Joey Papers and J Papers all go
a ways back on the Philly Hip Hop scene….
Jazz’s first memories of the culture were from the late 1970’s. One of his aunts lived up in North Philly and he remembers going to block parties in a local school playground. Old school cats like Sex Machine and Disco Rat were the original sound system DJ’s who rocked block parties with a set of belt- driven decks rigged up from the back of a U-Haul truck. After seeing this spectacle at a few jams he had to cop a pair of decks. He saved up for a while and eventually scored an early pair of Technics tables. After seeing “Wildstyle” in 1983 he, like most cats, was heavily influenced by DST’s cuts and copying those fly techniques was his earliest memories of developing his own style.
Jazz would often hang out at scratch pioneer Grandmaster Nell’s crib in South Philly watching him scratch and at another pioneer’s spot, Grand Slam DJ Jam’s crib, to get “breaks info”. Jazz remembers that Slam had the 45 of “Last Night Saved It All” without the phone ringing and he would watch him double-up the drum break using 45’s stuck to busted 12″ records. Slam was in a crew called Super Bad Disco along with yet another pioneer Grand Wizard Rasheen. According to Jazz, Rasheen was an unorthodox kind of dude. Technology-wise he was crazy creative. Jazz saw all kinds of hybrid gear round at his yard. Rasheen was (reputedly) the first cat to spin round when doubling up/juggling records and do the “under the leg” move. DJ Cash Money got that from Rasheen. He also reputedly taught Cash to scratch. Back then Cash was a dancer and into breakin (like Rasheen was before he got into turntablism). Cash came up under Rasheen and went on to be one of the greatest to ever do it. Why am i telling you cats this? Because Philly was/is of vital importance in the evolution of turntablism and the art of DJ’ing and Jazz was at the heart of the scene and was surrounded by all the main players throughout it’s most important phase.
A key moment for all the up and coming DJ’s was a show at Houston Hall in West Philly in the early 80’s. Masterdon Commitee had come to town after their early releases on Enjoy Recs and EVERYONE into Hip Hop was at this show but, at this stage, didn’t know each other – the scene was localised and if you were from West Philly you might not know someone from South Philly. The DJ was breakin down “Spoonin Rap” on one turntable and this flipped the crowd out, especially all the wanna-be DJ’s. At the time kids were gettin tapes through from NYC by Flash and recordings from nights at the Fever, but to see it in person was a different kind of buzz. In 1985, after several years of practising on the decks and playing parties, Jazz got up and won a DJ battle at the Wynne Ballroom which was put on by promoter Bobby Dance.
He started gettin into the production side of things as a DJ, scratching on other artists’ tracks. He did cuts for an MC called Kid Fresh and in 1985 with Robbie B, under the name Street Kings dropped a single called “Gettin Fresher” on Hi-Wen records, a label put together by unsung Philly music industry legend, manager and entrepreneur Hiriam Hicks (one time manager of Babyface, Bell Biv Devoe, Dru Hill and the Isley Brothers) and Lady B aka Wendy Clark. Jazz and Robbie B worked on more material together and after dropping a tape of a new track at the notorious Philly night club “After Midnight” got themselves a Philly anthem with their next single “Rock The Go-Go” in 1996 – this time appearing as Jazzy J. They were in talks to be signed by Luke Records, which formed a year earlier, but eventually dropped it with Schoolly D (who, incidentally, Jazz says he taught to use a drum machine) on his own Schoolly-D Records in 1987 after it was originally released the year before locally on R.B.A. Recs.
Jazz was spinnin a lot at this point and was doin a lot of block parties. He started to go down to Studio 4, a studio set up by Joe the Butcher and his brother, who set up Ruffhouse Records. Jazz and Robbie dropped one of the first releases on the label, “Heart of South Philly” in 1989 before Columbia bought the label. It was back then that he met Muggs who was in the group 783, pre-Cypress Hill. He produced a few tracks for the band and when Muggs came to town Jazz took him around and showed him (like with Schoolly-D) some drum machine technics and beats.In 89 he produced the Too Brown material on Vibe. In 93, through his connections with Jeff he produced the Remix of “Boom! Shake the Room” and “Code Red” off the album which earned him a Platinum Disc. He toured with different groups all over the world during the early to mid 90’s including Bahamadia as her tour DJ.
In the mid to late 90s he produced a lot more beats for cats on the “Underground Hip Hop” scene, including Rahsheed (aka Maylay Sparks), Ill Advised, Posse-O, High and Mighty and another Philly MC Pauly Yams. Jazz had heard about Pauly from a friend who thought the two might work well together. The friend brought Pauly round to Jazz’s studio one day and the two had an instant musical rapport. Pauly was studying at the GAMP music college in Philly so Jazz didnt have to teach him about counting bars and timing, like he had to with most MC’s. They recorded a few mixtapes together which were distributed locally and off the back of some positive feedback they decided to work on some tracks. When Jazz heard that a friend Terrance Glasgow was looking to invest some money in an independent Hip Hop label he suggested the Yams project. Terrance’s uncle owned a gym in Philly so he built onto the side of that building, copped some recording gear and that became Rare Form Entertainment HQ. The “When I Blow Up EP” was recorded in 1994 and following that Jazz went on to record a bunch of other independent projects. So what we have for you is 5 tracks from that EP re-mastered from the original ADAT recordings plus one snippet of track that never made it to the EP, which we copped off a cassette found in a box of tapes from that studio!!! Peep it:
A1 When I Blow Up
A2 Kick It
A3 Snitches Pt 1
B1 Lean Left, Lean Right
B2 Get Paid
B3 Money (Snippet)
All tracks produced by DJ Jazz & Pauly Yams