M.C. DOTA ROCK INTERVIEW WITH TROY L. SMITH
Dota Rock with Troy L. Smith 9/24/02
Troy L.- Where did your name Dota- Rock come from?
Dota- Rock- The name came from a candy called Mason Dots. They were like Ju Ju fruits .My last name is Mason so I took the name Dot. I originally started out as Dottie Dot, I wanted to get more raw so I went Dota Rock!
Troy L.- Who inspired you to want to M.C.?
Dota- Rock- M.C. Geronimo of the crew called Chaos from up in Edenwald projects here in the Bronx. That was 1974.
Troy L.- Who was the first D.J. you heard?
Dota Rock- Breakout, He was known back then for having a lot of plates. Then came Flash.
Troy L.- How did you and Whip, Caz and J.D.L. meet?
Dota Rock- Whip and Caz was coming through my projects the Twin Parks.
They had with them their school brief cases with their names written on the side and a Radio that we called a Box back in the days, one of them joints with 2 mics on the sides. they started rocking the crowd by just playing one of their tapes. That’s how we got cool. We ended up all going to Roosevelt H.S.. I met J.D.L. going for try outs to be with the Mighty Force. So I was on my way to D.J. A1 Mighty Mike’s house for the try outs. The way me and the L. met was he too was looking for the same house. So we walked past each other twice until he walked up and asked me were the building was at that he was looking for. When he told me the address I started laughing he did also when he realized that it was the same address. So we went up the same time and made the crew the same time.
Troy L.- Who were the players in the Mighty Force?
Dota Rock- Me, Whip, Caz, R.C. and J.D.L. and the D.J.s were Caz, Mike Swat and A1 Mighty Mike. Big Bank Hank (before Sugar hill gang) was our manager. Back in those days there really wasn’t any routines just rocking on the mic saying your lyrics. One night we were supposed to battle the L-Brothers at the Audubon but our system broke down on us. Me and Whip stayed there about 2 years and broke out.
Troy L.- Where did you and Whip go to next?
Dota Rock- We went to the Cold Crush next. It was Chase, A.D. and Mr. Tee. We went to the Crush cause they had a better system and did better party’s which meant better money. We also had contracts that said we did not have to carry equipment any more. We left them after 2 years. While with the Crush we would do parties with the L. Brothers, and me and Whip were on top of our game so we use to kill parties that the L. Brothers were at. So they approached us and asked if we would like to be down. Man they were doing better shows so you know that meant better money. We went from 2 dollars a man with the Mighty Force, that's because parties were costing a buck back then, to $20 a man with the Cold Crush. Then $100 a man with the L-Brothers and Fantastic. First we ran with the L-Brothers that consist of Mean Jean, Claudio and D.J.A1 Mighty Mike and me and Whip. Theodore by now was doing his own thing with him, Kevie Kev, Master Rob and Busy Bee. Now Ruby Dee lived in the same building with Busy Bee so that’s how he got the juice to be down with Fantastic later. Which was soon because Busy and Kev use to argue a lot and that started back from them growing up together from little boys. So Busy Bee chose to step out on his own and that’s how Ruby got on. Even when Busy went solo he would still come back to rock with us. Then it didn’t take long before we combined with them and became the Fantastic Romantic 5 M.C.s
Troy L.- How would you describe each M.C. of the crew?
Dota Rock- Kevie Kev was the captain and lady’s man. Master Rob, Kev’s brother was the baritone smooth talker. Me I was the story teller, with fast rhymes. Whip was off the top of his head going with the flow as well as a story teller. Ruby Dee was just the most skilled Puerto Rican M.C. as well as the most well known. Kev also collected the money and had a pretty good knuckle game so we never had a manager but we kept our guns right up on the stage with us.
Troy L.- What about the back up to Theodore, Kevie Kev Rockwell?
Dota Rock- Kevie Kev was the backup but very important to us! He would set up all the records for Theodore while he was D.J.ing. Also he warmed up the crowd as well as the equipment before the actually show. Being as Theodore was serious about this, it was hard for Rockwell to get light because Theodore would be at every show just about.
Troy L.- Was there a time when the Fantastic 5 was supposed to battle the Crash Crew?
Dota-Rock- Yes. We did some shows with them and at the time their record High Powered Rap was out and they played it at every show we did with them. Being as the record was good, doing good they thought they were hotter then us. One night we had a few words with Darrell C and I think G- Man. So we set a date to battle them but they did not show. I guess they knew we were ready to tear ass! We did battle some kids from Yonkers, The Devastating 4 and we tore ass!
Troy L.- What started the battle between the Fantastic and Cold Crush?
Dota-Rock- J.D.L. one night was saying they were the best and Busy was like Fantastic could take yall out. So they were riffin’ about that. One day we passed by Caz’s house while they were practicing and they seen us out the window so they came out side and started arguing which turned into a bigger argument. I couldn’t believe it myself because we were all friends.
Troy L.- Where did Theodore get the idea to use the handcuffs in the battle?
Dota-Rock- Theodore use to always be playing with them in practice. So one day he says "Yo man I’m going to do this at the show". I said " you that nice you might as well, go ahead and do it’.
Troy L.- Did the Hip hop world want to see another battle between y'all?
Dota-Rock- With out a doubt, many people wanted to see it again. There was people still believing we won and there were many others that felt the Crush won. But it didn’t take long before Kev went on to the Furious 5 and Whip later went in to the Navy.
Troy L.- What made Kev leave for the Furious 5
Dota-Rock- We were loading up our bus to do a show in Poughkeepsie and out of nowhere Kev says he is not going. We start buggin'. It became a very touching moment for us. Me being the writer of the crew, I always had him included in all the routines so we were like "what are we going to do now". From that day on we were never the same. Later on he did come back because his brother Rob was still in the crew so that left a door open for him. Nobody could take his place anyway. What happened was Kev took the Kid Creole spot. Creole was going through some personal problems so being as Kev was light skin about Creoles complexion he took Creoles spot. That is exactly what he did. Kev’s name to the public was the Kid Creole Kev could not get burn as him self. Man there was a time were we use to go on tour with some of the Sugar Hill acts and the Funky 4 had a date in South Carolina and they couldn’t show for what ever reason Sylvia Robinson wanted us to act like we were the Funky 4. We didn’t do it but that goes to show you how game tight she was.
So back to Kev. The Sugar Hill was blessing him with thousands of dollars but now Creole is ready to come back. They might not have planned for this or what ever but they had to let Kev go. So their way of thanking him was a one cut deal. There you have the "All night long" single for Kev and no more. We were approached by Sylvia to get on her label but we heard too many horror stories. There would be times we be rockin' in the T- Connection or the P.A.L. and the Funky 4 or Treacherous 3 would be there and they couldn’t perform live because they were under contract to Sylvia Robinson.
Troy L.- What was the difference between the Bronx crowd and the Manhattan Crowd.
Dota-Rock- The Bronx crowd was hearing hip hop many years before Manhattan so they pretty much was use to it so they were into partying, dancing. The Manhattan crowd would sit there and listen closely to your shit and give you the love that you were looking for and react to your rhyme they way you made it to be reacted to. I loved Manhattan. The clubs that I really dug was the Celebrity Club and Harlem World there was a funky flavor crowd plus they had some beautiful women.
Troy L.- Where was the roughest club?
Dota-Rock- The Armory in Do or Die Bed Sty Brooklyn. We come one night in a limo and it’s very crowded in front of the entrance so we can’t get in. The promoter comes out side and says "Oh no I have to get y'all in" So he says hold on and pulls out two guns and starts bustin off into the air. The crowd turns around and looks at him like what the hell is wrong with this fool and continues on doing what they were doing. So he finally gets us in there and the Armory is jammed packed to the walls. So they lead us up to the dressing room tell us don’t worry about nothing they got our back. So we chill because Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde are on stage. So after awhile me and Whip is like lets go out and peep the crowd see how they get down. Kev screams out the dressing room door you better stay here were it’s safe. I told him we ain’t scared of anybody. In the back of the Armory brothers are shooting dice and this kid pulls out two guns talking about "Nobody move that’s my money". Niggers is getting robbed in the corner you go in the bathroom mother fuckers is getting robbed there. Just heathens even the chicks looked like dudes. All this was right inside the Armory.
Troy L.- So it was similar to the parties in the Bronx?
Dota-Rock- No it was Rougher.
Troy L.- What about the thugs in the Bronx? Did they try to push up on yall?
Dota-Rock- When it came to thugs in the party’s we kept it up front with them soon as we seen them we would say their name on the mics so they didn’t have to ask (or tell us). The Ching A Ling Gang told us (when we were with the Cold Crush) if you don’t say our name every 5 minutes we are going to take all your equipment out of here and keep it. See you had to look at that as that was how they were, and we were the music. So they would not go too far because if we were gone then there would not be any music. And they were not having that. They may act funky with us but nobody else would bother us because the Ching A Lings would go to war for us. Mele Mel and Flash had the Casanova’s back then and when we were the L-Brothers we had the 9 Crew backing us. The 9 Crew and The Casanova’s were rivals like the Bloods and Crips. As we all got older that intimidating played out, we knew everybody. They still had marks but they knew who to do it to and not to.
Troy L.- What about the promoter’s of the shows?
Dota-Rock- Jerry Blood Rock was a good promoter, Man Dip Lite was also good. He use to pay us up front before we performed. There were other good ones then there were guys like Ray Chandler who you had to be on your P’s and Q’s because he was straight gangster he was an ex-cop and Casanova had his back.
Troy L.- Why did the Fantastic 5 change your name to Fantastic Freaks?
Dota-Rock- We wanted to start doing something different. The girls always loved us. In our routines we at times humped the floor. This is also during the time when Kevie Kev came back. Since he did that record called "All night long" it labeled us just right.
Troy L.- How did the Fantastic 5 go about doing your record "Fresh out the Pack"?
Dota-Rock- A gentleman by the name of Johnny Soul talked to us about doing a record on his independent label. He was a decent man and he gave us some good ideas. So we did the record. It sold pretty good here in N.Y. Mr. Soul also had a tour bus for us with our name on the side of it. Mr. Soul died before we could do a second record.
Troy L.- Where did "My mic sound right check one" come from and how did the Fantastic feel about the girls "Salt and Pepper" using it?
Dota-Rock- Kevie Kev made that up. He got tired of saying "one two, one two
checking the mics. We never really got a chance to meet Salt and Pepper but we met Herbie Luv Bug their manager and producer. He came to one of our shows one day with a bunch of body guards and told us he really admired our music and he was a big Dota- Rock fan. We just looked at him and said thanks and walked away. We really didn’t appreciate him using "my mic sounds right check one" with out permission. That was not the only thing he stole, there were other routines that we wrote he used for the girls.
Troy L.- How did Fantastic get on with the Wild style movie? And what was the pay like?
Dota-Rock- Well we were the hottest group. So Charlie Ahearn and Fab 5 Freddy came to one of our shows and asked us if we would like to be in the movie, we said sure. They paid us $1000 a man each set we did for the movie. That set we did in the basketball courts was at 7:00 in the morning. Us and the Cold Crush did shows that night before the game so we never went to sleep, everyone looks tired. If you look close enough I still have on a collar shirt under my sweat shirt from the night before at the party.
Troy L.- How do you feel about Hip Hop today?
Dota-Rock- Hip Hop is Hip Hop but it’s not Hip Hop from before its more practiced, more gangster, its more record. It’s not enough imagination. I think the gangster took a lot out of Hip Hop. I enjoy some of the records now but that’s all it is records. It’s not an art any more. I hear brothers freestyle and say the same thing like the next man talking about he goin’ to pull out his glock. Blazy blah what he goin’ to do on the block. Any body can do that. But he’s just promoting violence. I don’t see anything party about that. There’s no skill there. If you don’t have a dope beat behind what your saying it don’t mean shit because no one’s going to buy it. The majority of it is gangster and I am getting tired of it I think it is killing Hip Hop. I never talked about killing in my rhymes in fact no one did in those days.
Troy L. Who do you dig today as an M.C.?
Dota-Rock- L.L.Cool J. I like the way he gets on that Gangster but gets right off of it. He’s able to be versatile and has longevity. Even though he breaks out for movies or his show he still comes back and lays down his rhymes good. I checked him from day one I even went to his Raising Hell tours. That’s who I think is a great m.c.
Troy L. Are you finished with Hip Hop? Do you still write?
Dota-Rock- I have always wrote but I took a couple years off to be closer with my family and just chill and collect my thoughts. Now its back on. I am always Dota-Rock but I am Darrell Mason first.
Troy L.- ONE. TROY L. from HARLEM
2002 Troy L. Smith No part may be reproduced without authors permission.