Troy L. Smith Fall 2023
Troy- The brothers Kool D.J. Dee and Tyrone aka The Mixologist it’s an honor to meet you two and to talk with you both. I want to get right to the interview and start with D.J. Grand Master Flowers. So when did you first see Flowers?
Kool D.J. Dee- I never met Flowers, meaning we were never formally introduced but before I got my own equipment, while up in the Bronx, me and my brother use to go out to different parties and hangout, watching and I seen Flowers for the first time on the east said of Manhattan at Hunter College on 68th street.
Troy- So I got top information that back in the days you battled Grand Master Flowers in the Bronx at the Star Dust Ballroom, as well as the Super Star 33, how did you get to battle him at all?
Kool D.J. Dee- The Star Dust Ballroom was probably the last time I played with Grand Master Flowers. A friend of mine name Kevin, his father owned The Star Dust Ballroom so he hooked that up for us. It was me, Flowers and Pete D.J. Jones. Flowers and I had a little rival going on. We never talked to each other because we were both introverts, but we still had this little rival going on. At the Superstar 33 either Winston or Morton Hall set that up. Flowers would be upstairs and I would be downstairs. How I considered who won the battle was
by how many people you had on the floor at that time. I always had more people then flowers had and that was because Flowers, who was a great mixer, I could never come close to him, he was one of my idols don't get me wrong. I had ultimate respect for him but he had the tendency to go outside the realm of music that people were familiar with. He was always playing new stuff that people didn't hear before. But the people dancing wanted to hear the stuff they were familiar with on the radio and I was playing all the stuff you heard on the radio at that time. So that was the reason I believe I won those two battles.
Troy- What was the age difference between you and Grand Master Flowers?
Kool D.J. Dee- I can't say, I really don’t know but I would round it off to him being older than I by about four or five years. I was the youngest of all the D.J.s at that time.
Troy- So before you got to the Star Dust Ballroom and Superstar 33 to see Grand Master Flowers how did you build your name to see Grand Master Flowers at all?
Kool D.J. Dee- (Kool Dee D.J. Dee chuckles at the question.) Okay, playing out in the park really helped me a lot to build my name, as well as giving parties and my association with Pete D.J. Jones. I use to play on Pete D.J. Jones system and that helped me a lot. Pete D.J. Jones use to get me gigs and Pete would say, "Hey I can't do this party on this night because I am playing somewhere else, you do it."
Troy- So how many years did Pete D.J. Jones have on you?
Kool D.J. Dee- Pete was about the same age as my mother. In fact Pete was older than my mother. Pete was twenty plus years older than me.
Troy- So if Pete D.J. Jones had 20 plus years over you shouldn't Grand Master Flowers be at least 20 years older that you also? I always thought Flowers and Pete were in the same age group.
Kool D.J. Dee- No, Flowers was a young guy and he wasn't in the same age bracket as Pete.
Troy- Okay. So how did you and Pete meet and was he on the same level as the Brooklyn D.J.s or was he in a class of his own?
Kool D.J. Dee- Pete was Mr. Personality, he was in a class by himself. (We both started laughing with respect to Pete D.J. Jones.) He was the one that inspired me to name myself Kool D.J. Dee and when he heard it Pete said, "If Pete's going to be Kool you are going to be Kool." Ah man Pete was in a class by himself. He helped me a hell of a lot. He knew my mother and he was like family. My mother was a big part of me being a D.J., she helped with my equipment. I didn't have all the money, she gave me the rest.
Troy- So Pete was the one that gave you your name?
Kool D.J. Dee- No, I named myself after him. I use to smoke Kool cigarettes and I wanted to be like Pete so I called myself Kool D.J. Dee and that Kool D.J. went far because you later had Kool D.J. Red Alert and Kool D.J. A.J. a lot of people started putting D.J. in their name but I was the first.
Troy- So let’s switch back to Flowers and the age gap. See I have read more than once that Flowers one night opened up in Yankee Stadium for James Brown in the sixties.
Kool Dee- That’s possible.
Troy- That was one of the main reasons why I thought Flowers might have been closer in age to Pete D.J. Jones. As well I figured you might have been older too being as you were going against Flowers.
Kool D.J. Dee- When I started playing I was like 15 years old.
Troy- So let me try and get this right you started in 1974 but you were watching and touching the turntables in 1971?
Kool D.J. Dee- Right. I graduated from 9th grade in 1971.
Troy- So you was about 15 or 16 years old going at Flowers?
Kool D.J. Dee- Well I didn’t go at Flowers at that time because I didn't have any equipment of my own. At that time I was with a crew called Fantasia in Brooklyn before I moved to the Bronx. (At 19 Kool Dee went at Flowers.)
Troy- So when you went at Flowers were you with your crew from Brooklyn?
Kool D.J. Dee- I was by myself.
Troy- When you left your crew Fantasia and started doing your own thing in the Bronx did you still go back to Brooklyn from time to time and play with Fantasia and other groups from Brooklyn?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes I did I was still well known in Brooklyn and my name was being said on the radio and I would do a couple things for them. One time they put my name on a flyer to play in this club in Brooklyn and the place was so packed I couldn't even get into play, plus the police shut it down before I could get on.
Troy- Was there any m.c.s in Brooklyn that were just as good on the mic as the guys in the Bronx?
Kool D.J. Dee- At that time Brooklyn wasn't rapping like that, they were still into the straight up talk. There was no rhyming at that time, I didn’t hear any m.c. from Brooklyn rhyming like that. So I can't tell you they were. When I got to the Bronx my next crew was known as The KD Crew and the members were Al Gee, Cee B, Willie Will, Fever Dee, Lee and Norman as well as D.J. Omar X. These guys didn't MC or D.J. in the beginning, some just carried the equipment and crates of records for me. Fever Dee and Al Gee gradually turned into my M.C.s later on. They did their thing for me in places like the Hotel Diplomat and etc, where we would have two emcees, Fever Dee and Al Gee doing their thing. Al Gee later moved on to Philadelphia. Cee B and Willie Will eventually became D.J.s and promoters doing their own parties. Willie Will and his brother Lee passed on. By 1975 my emcees were harmonizing and I felt we were first before Creole, Mel and Cowboy. But we didn’t stay together long enough to make an impact.
Kool D.J. Dee- And Omar is D.J.ing in Jersey, playing House Music. All my crew learned and went on and did their own thing.
Troy- So take me to the beginning, how did your team the KD Crew start?
Kool D.J. Dee- Well like I said earlier these guys were carrying the equipment for me because they wanted to get in the gigs for free. I didn't pay them but they knew if they carried the equipment they would get in free.
Troy- So during the early 70's D.J.s were mostly playing by themselves and they didn't really have M.C.s at that time or were you thinking about that?
Kool D.J. Dee- They did have M.C.s but not crews of M.C.s like say the Furious 5 or Fantastic 5 etc.
Troy- Okay it just didn't get to that era yet, you were still in the early 70's. Your crew got together in 1975?
Kool D.J. Dee- Correct.
Troy- Okay with you and your crew KD did you ever have to battle anyone?
Kool D.J. Dee- No, at that time there wasn’t anyone to battle, if anything it was a D.J. battling a D.J.!
Tyrone aka The Mixologist- Back in those early days a lot of D.J.s didn't have any equipment to battle anyone and if they did have equipment it wasn't on the level of what we had, we had a top quality system. The sound was fantastic, it was said by many Kool D.J. Dee had the best sound around. So in terms of that era there weren't enough D.J.s with their own equipment.
Troy- So you’re saying Tyrone just on the strength of you and your brothers system no one wanted to battle because they didn't have as much power? I notice over the years that the early hip hop crews weren't really in a battle atmosphere, but mostly playing music and hanging out together?
Kool D.J. Dee- Right.
Troy- How long did the KD Crew stay together?
Kool D.J. Dee- Up until 1986
Troy- So let’s go further back before the KD Crew got together, take me to Noble Park when you first rocked a park as a solo D.J..
Kool D.J. Dee- Well in those early days after I did a block party on Wheeler Avenue I met Mario, also known as Disco King Mario.
Troy- So what was your relationship with Mario because I heard he was your manager for a time, what type of person was he?
Kool D.J. Dee- To some people he was a terror.
Tryo- He was also a Black Spade?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes he was.
Troy- Did you and Mario handle beefs together, were you in the same division or chapter?
Kool D.J. Dee- When Mario and I got together we didn't have any beefs with anybody because we were into the music by this time. But in the early days I have seen Mario on occasions have beef with other people. He would come up to my school and punch somebody right in the face, right in front of the door of the school. I knew of him before I met him. But once we got together we never had any trouble, because you had to be a fool to want to go up against him.
Troy- So Mario wasn't in the First Division, First Chapter?
Kool D.J. Dee- No Mario was in the First Division but not the First Chapter. The First Chapter is the break off from the First Division.
Troy- So you was in the First Chapter?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes. See when I first got with the Spades I was in the First Division, when I became President they gave me First Division, First Chapter. I am a break off of the First Division.
Troy- So First Division has no Chapter. First Division, First Chapter is the second team? You were on the second team, Mario was on the first team.
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes, the headquarters was Bronxdale, that was the First Division. You have the Supreme Commander and the Vice President, you got Bam Bam the War Counselor, these guys are what you would call the Corporate Office.
Troy- Thank you, that was what I was looking for and that was where Mario was at. Is Mario older than you?
Kool D.J. Dee- About the same age.
Troy- So how did he become your manager?
Kool D.J. Dee- Like I said we knew of each other through being Black Spades but in different divisions and chapters but once Mario seen that I played music he use to come and hangout with me around my way. He heard me on Wheeler Avenue when I gave my first block party and he liked how I rocked it. So he started hanging out with me and he said he could get me gigs. Mario has a hell of a mouth piece, he can convince you to do anything.
Another time Mario said to me why don't we play out in the park so I said alright, let's go do it. So we went over to the park and started setting up and before you know it there were hundreds to thousands of people coming into the park. We had families there, regular neighborhood people, as well as your drug dealers, any element and everyone was showing each other love, it was a great thing.
Tyrone aka The Mixologist- People came from all over, west side, uptown, but it was an event that didn't have a permit. So the cops came over and said you guys can't be out here with no permit. But the police let us continue to play as they seen people were really enjoying themselves. The police looked as though they too were enjoying themselves. It was packed that day, people not only on the inside of the park but also outside and around the park out into the street.
Troy- On this day no flyers were given out before this day, it was strictly word of mouth and the public hearing the music from the speakers?
Kool D.J. Dee- Once we played the music you could hear it miles away! From far away you could hear that bass, boom, boom, boom! People were like what is that? So they listened and they would follow the music until they found it. People were like, "Yo I heard the music all the way up on Watson Avenue!"
Troy- Was anybody doing outside jams before you?
Kool D.J. Dee- Nobody played outside jams before me in my area of the Bronx during this time and I never seen Disco King Mario playing at that time either. But Mario did get on the mic at that time but he was just talking on the mic. Mario slowly picked up the mic and started saying little things, like saying what’s up to different people in the crowd.
Mario made people feel good by shouting their name and to be honest Mario was a character who was very convincing and people really liked him. He also had enemies because he would punch people in the face on GP. Mario really loved the music but he had his business and he used the outside jams to sell his weed and make a name for himself. But like I said Mario was real character, Mario would punch somebody in the face if they were trying to sell weed at the jam. They had to at least wait until he ran out of weed before they were allowed to sell at the jam. As you know Mario was famous for that Snake dance he use to do but he got it from this girl I use to date. She was a beautiful dark skin Puerto Rican woman, extremely attractive and she was a dancer at Smalls Paradise in Harlem and she did that Snake dance with like tassels or bells around her waist so when Mario seen how she did it he took it and ran with it as he would do the Snake with change in his pocket. Also Mario got the Disco King name from JJ the Disco King who use to rock with Pete D.J. Jones.
Troy- Earlier it sounded like you said Mario had that gift for gab without trying to intimidate you?
Tyrone The Mixologist- Oh no intimidation, Mario just had the gift where he could sell ice to an Eskimo.
Kool D.J. Dee- Mario was very good with his mouth and he would tell me he got some places for me to play at. I said okay cool. He was a man of his word, he actually got me some places to play. To be honest he didn’t start as a D.J. because he would grab the microphone and started slowly saying, “Yes yes ya'll.” Gradually he started saying more and more. Not before long he grabbed the mic and started talking to the people. People thought because he had the mic it was his system, but it was actually my system and he was using my mic to talk to the people. I was a quiet guy then, just mixing the records. I didn't even realize it was happening until I heard the stories today where people was saying that was Mario's system and I was like no that was my system.
Troy- So are you saying Mario never had a system?
Kool D.J. Dee- No I'm not saying that, Mario bought his system around 1977.
Troy- Okay a couple years after running with you Mario got his own system. Busy Bee told me he was down with Mario's crew and this wasn't during the time you and Mario were together?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes this was during the time Mario was with me. He brought Busy Bee over to play on my system and put him on my microphone. That was the day Love Bug Star Ski was there, and Mario brought this guy over there and Mario said his name is Star Ski too and Love Bug didn't like that s---. It looked like it was going to be a problem, that’s why I remember that day. Mario let Busy get on and do his thing but every since then Busy Bee and Love Bug never got along.
Troy- I got a tape with them two rocking together in Harlem world. I always wondered how did they co- existed having that issue with the same name. So as far as Mario there was never a misunderstanding between you and him, the terror that he was and the terror that you were, you and him never really bumped heads? He never like tried to like be bigger than you or intimate you?
Kool D.J. Dee- Nah never, it was mutual between us. We did a lot of s--- together that wasn't about music.
Troy- Now who was the first m.c. you heard?
Kool D.J. Dee- The first m.c I heard was KC the Prince of Soul. He was playing with Pete D.J. Jones. That was before I had my equipment so it had to be 1972.
Troy- What about JJ?
Kool D.J. Dee- He was Pete D.J. Jones m.c. and later mines, but he came after the Prince of Soul.
Troy- When did you first hear D.J. Hollywood?
Kool D.J. Dee- Not until 1977 or 1978. I didn't see him until the 371 Club.
Troy- So these guys we are talking about at the moment are looked at as Disco, Hip Hop M.C.s. Then there's the Break Beat Hip Hop, M.C.s such as Cowboy Mel and Creole. Who was the first of that style of Hip Hop that you heard?
Kool D.J. Dee- I played against Flash 3 times. The Audubon, Savoy Manor and Monroe High school. When I played Flash there was no Furious 5.
Troy- Right, just the 3 m.c.’s Cowboy, Mel and Creole.
Kool D.J. Dee- No, at that time he had no m.c.s at all. One day I had a talk with Mel and he said he did not remember me. I told Mel it was because I played against Flash before Mel got there. So the first m.c.s I heard on the break beat Hip Hop was Love Bug Star Ski. Him and Busy Bee Star Ski played on my system and they were the first I heard rhyming on the mic. At first people were just plain talking on the mic with the deep voice. Then Love Bug Star Ski came with the Hip to the Hop and they starter rhyming and stuff like that.
The first time I went to a Kool Herc party was in 1975 at the Executive Playhouse and this was truly the first time I saw Herc or even heard of Herc because I was mostly playing downtown Manhattan, so when I seen him on this night I didn’t see Coke La Rock and like I said this was around 1975. I was playing Saturday night and Herc was playing Friday night. So I came on a Friday night as I stayed a while to see what the club was like and how I was going to plug up that night. I wasn’t impressed with Herc that first night, it was like he had one turntable. It was very dark in the club so I couldn’t see if he had one or two turntables. Herc played the record straight through at that time.
Troy- And you said when you first bumped into Herc he was playing with a guitar amp and guitar speakers?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes, and I think it was those column speakers, 12 inches by 4.
Troy- And you said Herc stepped it up the next time you seen him? I ask because I was always under the impression Herc started out the box with a high powered system.
Kool D.J. Dee- No that was later after he seen what I had. He got the same thing I got. Like how I got the same thing Plummer got, Herc got the same thing I got. Same GLI, he got the same Amplifier I got, as well as the same mixer and speakers I got, just a different model.
Troy- So when you first met Herc he was no threat to you due to his substandard system at that time?
Kool D.J. Dee- Not only that but when he played the beats he let them fade out, then he would play another record. He wasn't connecting it together, he wasn't catching the beat. I say I was different because I was catching the beat. That was how Flash started stepping his self up, by catching the beat instead of letting it fade out.
Troy- Well were you and Herc playing the same type of music as well or was Herc records more about breaks?
Kool D.J. Dee- Herc played the same music I played but during that time I leaned more towards the Disco sound, I was more Brooklyn at that time.
Troy- So I am going to take it back to the beginning with you and your brother. Where were you guys born and raised?
Kool D.J. Dee- We were born in Wilson, North Carolina. By the time I was seven years old we came to New York. My brother says we then moved to Chauncey Street but I don't remember that, I remember my mother taking us to Harlem on 127th street to live with my cousins and then we went to Brooklyn. When we moved to the Bronx I was in the 9th grade of J.H.S. 123 about to graduate in a couple of months.
Troy- While in Brooklyn how did you get with the group Fantasia
Kool D.J. Dee- While living on Hopkinson Avenue in Brooklyn we met a guy name Larry Barber who was like an older brother from another mother, we have been friends ever since. He would come to my house and I would come to his house. This was around 1968 when we first meet while in elementary school. He taught me how to fight, talk to girls and take from freight trains in Brooklyn. He introduced me to this brother name Chip and that’s how I got into the crew Fantasia.
Tyrone Mixologist- Our mother pretty much raised Larry Barber.
Troy- So Kool Dee you were a young teenager when you first met Larry B and started playing with the mobile crew called Fantasia that Larry Barber use to emcee with?
Kool D.J. Dee- Well I looked older than my actual age. We were hanging out with a lot of people older than us.
Tyrone The Mixologist- I would be 15, 16 going to major functions in Manhattan like Pippins etc.
Troy- See so you guys were hanging out at as teenagers dressed in slacks, shoes and a silk shirts going to Manhattan clubs or wherever doing your thing?
Kool Dee- We would have on double knit slacks and brims, with long jackets like pimps, around 15 or 16 years old.
Troy- So how long did you stay with Fantasia?
Kool D.J. Dee- For about a year and a half. While with Fantasia we played in Manhattan at a club called Jimmy’s a couple of times, D.J. Chips sister knew the promoter. So she asked could we play at Jimmy’s and on this night D.J. Riis Beach Plummer was there and we were actually unprepared for him, we actually had no idea what we were facing. Plummer blew us away because he had a dynamic system and we had house speakers, I think we had Jensen house speakers and I think we had a Fisher receiver.
Plummer had the GLI cross fader mixer and he was using both hands. Everybody had up and down mixers and Plummer was left and right and it was unbelievable. Plummer inspired me to get that mixer, I fell in love with this dude’s system. All I kept saying was Plummer is busting our ass and I got to get that mixer. I learned a lot from that experience. He inspired me and I inspired everybody in the Bronx because I got that mixer. Soon as I found that mixer I started rocking the Bronx.
Troy- Where you actually going in there to battle Plummer or were you going in there to play with him?
Kool D.J. Dee- No it wasn’t a battle, we were playing alongside him, but we wanted to do the best we could do. With any two D.J.s in a room it’s always there, that rivalry thing. If I'm playing I am going to try and do better than him. It wasn't really a battle per say that night.
Troy- Did you know Plummer before the party?
Kool D.J. Dee- No I didn’t know him before that night.
Troy- Were you impressed with Plummer’s skills after that night where you followed him to future parties that he was playing at?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes I eventually started going to his parties. I had to find out exactly what he had. I would come to the front and ask him questions like what speakers do you have in your cabinet and he would tell me and we would talk a little bit and then I would go back into the crowd. I felt he was a cool person and he wouldn't deny me any information. So yes he was a good guy. But once I got that mixer other D.J.s just watched in amazement and Bambaataa right away started asking questions.
Love Bug Star Ski rocked on my mic one afternoon in Bronxdale projects by the basketball courts and when Love Bug seen the mixer he was in love with it and he too right away started asking me about the mixer and how to hook it up. The next time I seen him was either a week or month later in Nell Gwen’s and he brought Grand Master Flash with him. Flash seen me playing on the mixer and Star ski asked if Flash could get on my system. I let Flash get on and when I came back with a drink Flash started putting nickel’s on the cartridges and I didn’t care because he was using his own records, and to be honest the crowd wasn’t feeling him so I got back on. But to be honest I didn’t know Flash just yet on that night. But I guess Love Bug Star Ski told Flash about the mixer. I played with Flash a couple of times after that. I always talk about how I played with both Grand Masters. (Flowers and Flash.) But when I seen Flash at Monroe high school I was very impressed how he was catching the beats, his spin backs were great. He was putting on a show.
Troy- So during this time were you guys more or less attracted to the equipment or the music to make you go to these parties before you got your own equipment?
Kool D.J. Dee- (Kool D.J. Dee and Tyrone both laugh.) No man we were attracted to the girls.
Troy- Without a doubt, but what came second, the music or the equipment?
Tyrone The Mixologist- Both the equipment and the music, because at the time that was all we talked about was the music. Then again my mother gave a lot of parties and we use to ask to play this or that, even that Joe Tex Skinny leg song.
Troy- Skinny Leg?
Tyrone The Mixologist- Yeah Joe Tex use to say, "I like the girls with the skinny legs," s--- like that.
Troy- I got you. Okay so you guys stayed with Fantasia for about 2 years. How is it that a D.J. is judged as a good D.J. if he is not scratching or cutting maybe not even mixing and maybe playing a record straight out and putting on another record from the beginning and playing that straight out as well.
Kool D.J. Dee- Nah nah I was mixing at that time. I was busting my ass learning how to mix.
Tyrone The Mixologist- Let me explain something to you about my brother. My brother use to go to this club down in Manhattan called the Duke, down in the Village on west 3rd street. There was a D.J. in their name John and all he did was mix the music, it was like unbelievable the way he did it. My brother use to stand by the booth and just watch him. John is no longer living, but he was the one that taught my brother mixing and blending. John was on a level of D.J. Larry Levan.
Troy- What was John doing that was special about his D.J.ing?
Kool Dee- He was a white boy playing Soul music with speakers that were big as refrigerators. John use to mix all the Black music perfect. I heard John before Flowers. The turntables John had, had strobe lights but I can’t remember the make of the turntables. He didn’t have a mixer but he had a level on each turn table, turning up the volume on one and turning down the volume on the other, but it was perfect mixing with the sound.
Troy- Alright Kool D.J. Dee you told me one day Brooklyn had nothing to do with Hip Hop in the early days, Brooklyn was playing a different type of music! What does that mean Dee, why did Brooklyn's music have nothing to do with the Bronx music?
Kool D.J. Dee- Okay Troy think about this, when you use to go to parties you use to dance right? I am going to tell you a Brooklyn style first. Imagine you are dancing to a record that you know and it's got a good beat on it. So you know by the time you get to that good beat you're going to try to dance even better and show this girl up or impress this girl. Now that part might be less than 90 seconds. So you’re dancing real hard and now that part goes away, now you still got more dance in you right? But now you have to wait for the D.J. to play another record that has a nice break too, but you have to wait until the middle of that record to do you your thing again to get off. Now Hip Hop music isn't like that, Hip Hop gets right to that beat that you are waiting for and the D.J. keeps that beat going so you could really do what you want to do. While you're doing it you have other people watching you, wanting to make up different moves to beat you, you understand?
Troy- Yeah I got you. So while you were in Brooklyn you seen this going down, you were a part of that Disco type of style as well. It took for you to move to the Bronx to change that style that you were doing, into that Bronx Hip Hop style, that you thought was much better then the Brooklyn style?
Kool D.J. Dee- No I didn't think it was much better than the Brooklyn style, no, no. But it took me awhile to adjust, but I saw when I played the music in the Bronx and how these guys were doing it, I got it. I was like "Oh wow," as a light bulb went off in my head. I moved to the Bronx, but I was still with Fantasia and I tried to incorporate that Hip Hop style with Fantasia as I would go back and forth to Brooklyn. But they didn't get it or I should say Chip didn't get it. I had Scorpio, The Mexican and Sex Machine in my crate and that was the music I wanted to incorporate with Fantasia. But they didn't want to play that. They wanted to play the music they were playing, like that Hustling dance music, and this and that. So that was the reason why I had to break it off and focus on my own stuff.
Troy- So now with the Bronx music, were the D.J.s continuously playing those break beats for the B Boys and was Pete D.J. Jones the first person you heard playing the breaks like that? What I am trying to say is, was Pete playing the break in his records more now, than before, where he would just let the record play out and go to the next?
Kool D.J. Dee- Pete extended the beat.
Troy- But Brooklyn didn't, at least not yet, during that time?
Kool D.J. Dee- No. But Brooklyn did extend records like Love is the Message, and to me that is not a break beat. Guys like Flowers really didn't extend beats.
Tyrone the Mixologist- Certain D.J.s in the Bronx would extend the beats more than that one period of time and then go on to the next record. As far as Brooklyn they would extend it just that one time, from that to that, and that’s it, and then it's on to the next record. So it was never like Harlem and the Bronx where they extending the beat and they had the crowd going. With Brooklyn they would extend it once and boom take it to the next record.
Troy- So who were the major players other than Maboya and Flower's? In fact have you ever gotten a chance to see Maboya play?
Tyrone the Mixologist- I saw Maboya play, there were a lot of people. I also saw the Soul Brothers who were considered the top D.J.s out there with a large system. Most Brooklyn D.J.s were known for having large systems. You have to also understand with Brooklyn D.J.s there was more than just one guy. Not like Flowers and Plummer who were individuals. When you would hear a name like the Soul Brothers they had a bunch of guys and the equipment was enormous.
Troy- During that time, other than Pete D.J. Jones, who was also representing Harlem and the Bronx?
Kool D.J. Dee- At that time Pete, but we didn't know he was even from the Bronx. All the mobile jocks were basically from Brooklyn.
Troy- Nothing from Harlem or the Bronx?
Kool D.J. Dee- Nothing
Tyrone the Mixologist- Nothing.
Troy- What about Divine and the Infinity Machine as well as the Cypress crew.
Kool D.J. Dee- The Infinity Machine was later. From Queens it was Nu Sounds.
Tyrone the Mixologist- It was Nu Sounds, Infinity and the Disco Twins. I went to a park jam where the Twins had those Berthas rocking. I use to go out to Riis Beach to see Plummer also.
Troy- Now Mayboya use to play Riis Beach too but he too was by himself.
Tyrone the Mixologist- Correct, you can always tell a D.J. is running by himself by the style of equipment he has and the amount of the amount of people with him. Because like I said when your with a group of guys you are going to have a hell of a lot more equipment because everybody wants to see you out do the other D.J.. I can honestly say Brooklyn and Queens D.J.s had the most equipment at one given time. But now you have Bronx D.J.s doing the same thing, they are loading up on speakers and amps and stuff to have that system to blow everybody away.
Troy- It seemed as though the crews with the large D.J. equipment came from middle class parts of Queens and Brooklyn oppose to the Bronx and Harlem where they were less than middle class, to broke or poor. So that was why I always felt they had more equipment in Brooklyn and Queens because their parents had more money, better paying jobs.
Kool D.J. Dee- Well I wouldn't put it that way. These guys were a little bit older then we were back then and they all had jobs and that drug dealing situation out there was hellafied. As well a lot of Brooklyn D.J.s made their equipment. Most of them were from Jamaica or their parents were from Jamaica and they knew about making big speakers over there and bought that same tradition over here. Action Jackson made speakers and he made some for me also. A lot of D.J.s had homemade bass bottoms and tops. For tweeters they use to steal them from street lights that had an instrument on it called ring radiators that made a tick tick sound and D.J.s from Brooklyn and Queens use to steal them.
Troy- The Disco Twins and Rat and Monkey told me that amazing story about the ring radiators. At the same token Queens and Brooklyn residents were into being members of live bands. So like you guys were into your D.J. equipment, Queens and Brooklyn were also into Funk, R&B and Disco bands and a couple of them made a name for themselves.
Tyrone Mixologist- Absolutely right.
Troy- So while still living in Brooklyn did you have to display your knuckle game or were you able to concentrate on D.J.ing?
Kool D.J. Dee- Well I lost a couple of fights in Brooklyn, so they taught me how to fight. My knuckle game didn't come together until I moved to the Bronx. When I got to the Bronx I was determined that no one was going to kick my ass.
Troy- So what was it like in Brooklyn you playing music and the street life is going on around you?
Kool D.J. Dee- Well once you are in the music all that stops. The thugging didn't come like that anymore because those type of people want to know you. They want to be a part of, they don't want to hurt or rob you anymore, they want to be with you. Now before that Brooklyn fame I had to put my hands up all the time. Brooklyn is like this, you go in some ones neighborhood and they don't know you, you are done, they are going to give it to you, you're going to fight. You go into that neighborhood you are going to have to know somebody that has respect in that neighborhood, so you can get your ass up out of there.
Tyrone the Mixologist- You go to Brooklyn and you got beef with one guy on the block you got beef with the whole block. You not going to catch a fair one, the whole block are going to beat that ass. That’s how it was.
Troy- So when you left Brooklyn and walked into the Bronx did you walk right into gang activity before playing the music?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes, it came immediately. I was in the class room one day and one of these gang members said something to me and I knocked him out and I had to go to the principal's office. By the time I came out somebody said, "Yo you better join us because this guy is in a gang and they are going to get you unless you got people backing you up. So I said cool and I joined the Young Spades at first. Then I met David, Spank and Fat Mike and the rest of them. They said, Yo you kind of big to be a Young Spade so they said fight Fat Mike and I fought him. We weren't trying to hurt each other but we were wrestling trying to get the other person down. So I got him down and became a Black Spade from there.
I was a part of the first chapter and the first chapter is anything out of Bronxdale. I had the First Division, First Chapter. Once you step out of Bronxdale you are on Watson Avenue. Watson Avenue goes all the way to where I use to live on Elder Avenue. They wanted me to recruit more Spades in Watson Avenue. They needed somebody in that area to do that and I was the man. I knew everybody there, so I got people to join in the gang.
Troy- So the guys you recruited were they already with another gang and you turned them or were they regular civilians?
Kool D.J. Dee- Well some of the guys were a part of the Ghetto Brothers, another was a part of the Savage Skulls, so yes some were from other gangs.
Troy- So those guys were able to leave there respected gangs and come to the Black Spades without any trouble?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes.
Tyrone Mixologist- Black Spades was growing at that time.
Kool D.J. Dee- If they had any beef with that they had to come and see me. So if they a Spade now, they a Spade, and nobody wanted any problem with that because we were growing and we were wild, doing some wild s---.
Troy- Tyrone were you apart of the Spades as well?
Tyrone Mixologist- Yes.
Troy- Now looking at the videos of you two on YouTube talking about your history and talking to you here you seem to be good dudes, good spirited people. Where you like night and day in the earlier part of your life, did you feel a certain way about yourself like you were dangerous to even your own self? Did you feel the spirit of deep negativity? What is it about you today Kool Dee that is different then what you were back then?
Kool D.J. Dee- Nothing man, I got that devil inside of me.
Troy- (Troy starts laughing.) That mother f----- might come out right now, huh Dee!? (We all start laughing.)
Kool D.J. Dee- It's still there, sometimes I be fighting real hard to keep that mother f------ down there, but yes it is still there. I am glad to share and tell you who I am today. I need that.
Troy- So how are you able to be who you are today, did you find the Lord Jesus Christ, Allah, Buddah, what is it that you did to yourself to bring you to the point you are at today, as a good representation of man?
Kool D.J. Dee- Well I am not really a Christian that goes to church. The job that I have been doing for over 35 years is a store detective, meaning I stop people from stealing. Once in a while in this job capacity I have to fight. My son and daughter finished college and I think that had a lot to do with who I am today.
Troy- So tell me about that dark person in 1974. A little about myself I have 30 plus years clean from the streets, but before that I was monster in a movie, my mother worried about me because I did bad. I seen jail, I fought, I took blood and I gave blood, I was not myself. Today I am married with four children and I claim the Lord Jesus Christ. You were once a leader of a notorious gang that is world renown then and now. What type of person were you? We know you are a D.J. but little knew that you were also not only a member of the Black Spades but a leader of the Black Spades!
Kool D.J. Dee- I did a few things, only thing I didn't do was put a needle in my arm but I drank like you drank, I robbed like you robbed. I use to rob dudes on the subway that was my thing. I don't know what people tell you about Dee, but Dee is always by himself, anything I did I did alone. If I say I'm going to get you, I was going to get you. I got you.
I'm tell you something I rarely talk about. I got jumped by a known gang in Monroe high school one day going to pick up my girl, we were going out that day to the movies or something. When I came to pick her up I had shoes and slacks on. The day before, I along with one of my boys were hanging out in Monroe High school hallway by the boys and girls bathrooms even though I didn't go to that school. So my boy feels one of the girls butt in that school. The girl just so happened to go with one of the guys from that gang. So when I came to pick up my girl the next day, that girl that got violated found out and told those fellas and they jumped me. They didn't really do too much harm to me, I blocked this and that and I then laid on the car. I got up and I walked away from the whole thing but I was still going to get them no matter what!
Me and my boys got together and the plan was to go back to the Monroe high school, where ever they were, punch one of them in the face and then I would run around the corner of the school. Now around the corner on 172nd street there was a private house with bushes and my boy Tex was suppose to be standing there with the double barrel shot gun. So soon as they were supposed to chase me around the corner Tex was going to hop out and let them have it. But then I thought about it, I'm going to kill somebody! But being as I had the music I said how can I do this if I am going to be in the public playing music, it would be difficult because I would not be able to relax and concentrate on the music. So I talked to one of my boys about it and he didn't understand. One of my boys, Greg, he said why are you punking out for? I said look I can't do it, I said let it go. That was the day I became a man! That was the day I decided not to do any more violence. I always felt the music saved my life.
Troy- You saw the movie Warriors right?
Kool D.J. Dee- That movie had nothing to do with us. That wasn’t how our gang life was at all.
Troy- I understand that, and I will come back to that later, but you remember when you seen Cyrus talking to all the different gang members, was their ever a moment in time when you talked to the Black Spades like that?
Kool D.J. Dee- Well we had gang meetings, we had meetings in the Soundview community center or on the benches in Bronx River Projects. When I was in charge I spoke in front of hundreds of members. If we had beef we would have a meeting and talk about it. Sometimes I would have personnel talks with some of the members, one on one.
Troy- So what was the initiation to be a Black Spade at that time and were you in charge of the initiation?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes, but we weren't beating your ass up, but you had to know how to fight and we had to think that you were a down person, somebody that could be counted on. We would give you a test to make sure.
Troy- Okay before you get into the test I talked to some Spades from the south Bronx and they had a different way of doing their initiations, such as the line you would see in the movie the Education of Sonny Carson. In that line they weren't using sticks or any type of weapons like the movie, just punching. Another way they would point to the street light and say when the light goes green we are going to swing on you until it turns red! So that was why I asked you how did you guys do it in your part of the Bronx?
Kool D.J. Dee- Well I had to wrestle Fat Mike to get in. But once I became President of my Division I made initiation be that you had to jump from my building rooftop, 16 to 20 feet to the building rooftop next to it. If you missed you're going to fall and you are going to bust your ass and we ain't going to know what happened.
Troy- How many floors on the drop?
Kool D.J. Dee- Six floors.
Troy- So that might be death!
Kool D.J. Dee- Yeah that was death.
Troy- Death, broken legs or something like that. Did everyone pass the test or did one or two people fail?
Kool D.J. Dee- Nobody failed. If they didn't jump then they didn't get in.
Troy- (Troy laughs.) So some dudes said they will pass on jumping from building to building?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes, a lot of dudes said that! Once you started to run and got the momentum and you got over, it was easy because you had more than enough space to make it.
Tyrone the Mixologiest- It was to test your fear.
Troy- So how did you become the President Kool Dee, I'm sure you had to go through a couple of guys to become the President.
Kool D.J. Dee- Yeah I had a little reputation already for fighting and n----- didn't know how to come at me, you understand, because I was a quiet dude. Now picture me, I'm always lifting weights, I'm quiet and you didn't have to say too much to me because I was always in the frame of mind of, "What this mother f---- want!" Soon as you said something to me, I'm hit you. That’s how I was. I didn't play around with you, and I didn't want to talk to you but if somebody said you said something about me I'm breaking you, I'm not saying nothing to you. That’s the way I was, I was wild. I was doing things that were crazy and I got that from Brooklyn, because in Brooklyn we dared each other to out ride each other on the sides of buses and in the back of the buses. The bus drivers use to drive close to park cars to try and knock us off the sides of the buses but we knew how to move out of the way at the right time.
We climbed up the sides of the train stations, so we didn't have to pay. It was crazy and ridiculous in Brooklyn. We took adventures going to people's back yards taking fruit off their trees and grape vines as kids but also being careful because the homeowners threw rocks at us hoping to hit us so we could fall down to the guard dogs on their property. We hung in burnt out buildings with big holes in the floor and I'm on the top floor and we looking down and I'm a kid at this time. I'm a kid playing in burnt out buildings or houses where anything could have happened but that’s what we did, that was how we spent our time. So when I left Brooklyn I felt the Bronx s--- was easy.
Troy- So what about Bam Bam, wasn't he the top Warlord?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes he was the top Warlord for the whole Spades and we were both cool with each other. I had a lot of prestige as a Spade.
Troy- So what was your actual title as a Spade?
Kool D.J. Dee- I was President of the First Division and First Chapter. Black Moses was my Vice President and Franklin was my lieutenant.
Troy- These guys were like your good friends, as well you guys were like brothers?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes.
Tyrone The Mixologist- They were do or die!
Kool D.J. Dee- If they're going to do something they will do it, don't care what it was.
Troy- So is this how you met Bambaataa, was he your War counselor?
Kool D.J. Dee- Bambaataa had to work his way up to that first. He was in the Baby Spades and the Young Spades. We bought him in and made him a Black Spade and he became a War Counselor for us because he was good with the other gangs and he knew a lot of people from different gangs.
Troy- So he wasn't into the war of it, he was more of a peace maker?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes, well I would never send him to do anything that would be dangerous.
Troy- So at the same token Bam is younger than you?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yeah, about two or three years younger than me.
Troy- So while all the gangs were at a full scale war in the Bronx did you attend the peace meeting on Hoe avenue?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yeah I was there
Tyrone the Mixologist- A lot of people was there and they were ready to fight that day.
Kool D.J. Dee- We felt if s--- goes down its going to go down, we don't give a f---! We had problems with the Savage Skulls, we had problems with the Savage Nomads, we had problems. So we felt if it goes down, it goes down. We had our s--- on us already. I had mines in my boot!
Troy- They didn't search you before you guys came in there?
Kool D.J. Dee- (Both brothers started laughing.) Hell no, nobody searching us!
Tyrone Mixologist- We wasn't going to let nobody search us.
Troy- The reason why I asked is because there were neutral people in there, adults trying to help bring the peace in that area of the Bronx, am I right?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yeah and the cops were there too.
Troy- Yes cops were there as well with their weapons, as well as you guys holding your weapons?
Tyrone the Mixologist- We were prepared to scrape if necessary but you have to understand there were so many Spades that nobody really wanted to f--- with us. There was the 17th division on down to the 1st division, prepared. Everybody was there. That day we met on Elder Avenue and Watson Avenue and we all walked over to that meeting. The amount of people that was on Watson Avenue all the way passed Bronxdale was filled with Spades, we were walking in the middle of the street.
Kool D.J. Dee- With the cops walking on the side of us.
Tyrone the Mixologist- With the cops walking on the side of us like it was a f------ parade.
Troy- So your crew was there what about the other gangs, meaning the whole area of the Bronx was surrounded with many gangs members from different factions?
Tyrone The Mixologist- Mostly Spades….
Troy- Spades outnumbered everybody?
Kool D.J. Dee- We had so many Spades in the meeting that everybody couldn’t get inside the meeting. So we had the President of each Spade Division go in.
Troy- So was there anything profound that was said that made you bring the peace?
Kool D.J. Dee- Well for example someone said the Black Pearls did this to so and so and they said they didn't do that and they never did that. Then it was said the Savage Skulls did something over here, they said they didn't do nothing. Then they said we did something, The Black Spades, and we didn't do it. Then we realized something is going on here. Somebody was putting this out there to make us fight. That was when clarity set in and there was a truce all the way down the line. We were like let's see what happens if we don't go to war. So we said everybody can go in each other's neighborhood with no problem and see what happens. So after we did that there were no more rumors going around or anybody getting shot and nobody getting hurt over some bulls--- that never happened.
Troy- So you’re saying that these accusations were completely false or someone was doing something but putting the blame on other gangs?
Kool D.J. Dee- Somebody was doing something and we believe it was the cops, those Fort Apache cops, they were a mother f-----!
Troy- So what was the actual proof? Are you going by hearsay or did you have actual proof? Even if the Fort Apache precinct had a bad reputation was there any certain proof were you said, “I seen the police do this?” How can a person that’s getting beat up think that a white man is a gang member and his gang did it? Oppose to, "No this white police officer did it!" even if he is not dressed in his uniform he is undercover he still looks like a cop, he's bigger than you guys in as far as weight, height and the way he looks in his face as far as maturity. How could you blame it on N.Y.P.D.? This is a question, I am not saying you are wrong or right.
Tyrone The Mixologist- You have police officers that look normal like you and I and you can't tell if their a cop or not but they are actually police officers.
Troy- Wasn't Fort Apache majority white? Are you saying Black and Spanish cops were involved with trying to hurt you guys also?
Tyrone The Mixologist- Yes there were Black and Hispanic police officers at that time.
Kool D.J. Dee- Listen there was a guy in our group called Soul Ski, he was going home and cops stopped him. Soul Ski was like me, he didn't give a f--- who you are, he is going to rebel. So he rebelled and the cops killed him. People saw the cops kill him and did nothing….
Troy- So in that meeting at Hoe avenue you guys also stepped to the police about what they did right, what was there response?
Tyrone The Mixologist- They denied it.
Kool D.J. Dee- They acted like they knew nothing about it. We walked out the meeting when they started talking that bull s---.
Troy- So you guys made peace amongst your selves and the situation with the police it was what it was and you guys just kept on trying to live.
Kool D.J. Dee- Right.
Troy- Kool D.J. Dee you once wrote that House music in all actuality is Disco music, just a different name. Why do you believe that?
Kool D.J. Dee- I played Disco music as well as House music and they both have that one steady beat boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. It’s a form of music to mix perfectly because they both have a steady beat. Not like R&B where the beat switches up on you, as well as Hip Hop where the beat switches up on you too. But it's one steady beat for House music, so that’s why I say its Disco with a different name.
Troy- So tell me the numeric order with your contemporaries. It was Pete you heard first, Kool D.J. Dee came next and then Kool Herc?
Kool D.J. Dee- It was Flowers I heard first at Hunter College and then I heard Pete.
Troy- Did Mario come before or after Herc?
Kool D.J. Dee- Mario came after Herc.
Troy- After Herc was it Bam or Mean Gene?
Kool D.J. Dee- It was Bam first.
Troy- so Gene came after Bam, what about Breakout?
Kool D.J. Dee- I didn't hear about Breakout until 78. He was from uptown Bronx.
Troy- So you heard Flash after Bam and Gene?
Kool D.J. Dee- No I heard him before both.
Troy- So tell me the story about Bam giving you power from his house for you to plug up in Bronx River for the first time to play your system?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes it was the first time in Bronx River for me and what it was, was I wanted to play in all the Housing Projects at that time. But in Bronx River there was no pole at that time to get electricity, so Bam gave me the electricity from his apartment. So while I was playing Bam would pass me some of his records and ask me questions about my system and things like that. While this is going on the records he was passing me were hot! I don't remember the names right now but what he was passing me I was just as excited as him to play them.
Troy- So now by this time the Spades were still in formation or had the time passed on were The Zulu Nation and other crews were now the main focus?
Kool D.J. Dee- The Spades were still making moves, but I myself was not active.
Troy- I read that you also once wrote graffiti, what was your tag and was this while being a Black Spade?
Kool D.J. Dee- I tagged Kool Dee with a crown over the K. I got caught by the cops writing graffiti on the trains over by 149th street and taken down to Central Booking for it because they found the pilot markers on me. After court I was on probation and had to clean the f------ graffiti on the subway. I hated that s---. This was like 1972.
Troy- Did you ever have to use that 38 pistol you had hidden in the crates?
Kool D.J. Dee- I used it, but not for music reasons. (Kool D.J. Dee starts chuckling.)
Tyrone The Mixologest- We had the Sawed off shotgun too….
Kool D.J. Dee- Lets not go there. Go ahead to your next question.
Troy- How was the transformation from Black Spades to Zulu Nation, was the violence cut in half or was there still nightly drama, but a plea of peace from Bambaataa?
Kool D.J. Dee- That I would not know because I was no longer…. listen when I say I stopped gang banging, I went to my crew and said, "Yo, I'm into my music now, so I'm not going to be banging any longer and I did my last meeting with them. They had to make a choice of who was going to take my place.
Troy- So when you said you wanted to leave you didn't get any beef from any one saying you couldn't leave, you were able to leave with no problem?
Kool D.J. Dee- Nobody was going to beef with me.
Troy- I asked that question because it seemed like history portrayed that you had to fight your way out of a gang.
Kool D.J. Dee- Maybe the new guys today, but they didn't do that back in our time.
Troy- Okay I got you on that but when you walked away from the Spades Bambaataa stepped up and now was the President of that First Division and First Chapter before he turned them into the Zulu Nation?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yeah, he ran the Spades, he ran them.
Troy- The 1st Division 1st Chapter he ran?
Kool D.J. Dee- Right.
Troy- And by the time he switched it to Zulu you weren't paying attention to the scene like you once did?
Kool D.J. Dee- Exactly, I was too busy. I was playing music everywhere.
Troy- So now you’re active in the early Hip Hop community, did you see the promise in Grand Master Flash and his Furious m.c.s before their first record came out or did they catch you by surprise?
Kool D.J. Dee- They caught me by surprise. But Pete D.J. Jones said it was a fad and it wasn't going to last. I told him I don't know Pete, I don't know, people like it.
Troy- So when the Cold Crush and the Fantastic 5 were doing what they were doing with Hip Hop were you attracted to that sound? Did you feel like you needed a stronger team of m.c.s to play Harlem World, the T- Connection, Ecstasy Garage and other places that Arthur Armstrong and other promoters were promoting?
Kool D.J. Dee- No our team was already in place. I didn't feel like I had to change anything because I was doing what they were doing. I played Harlem World, in fact I was the first to play Harlem World, I opened up Harlem World in 1978. Newspaper reporters were there that night and they took a picture of me playing. M Morton Hall and a Winston Sanders promoted the party.
Troy- So how many times did you guys play Harlem World?
Tyrone The Mixologiest- Only that once, see you have to understand one thing Troy we ran with the biggest promoters in the city like M. Morton Hall and a few others that were in Manhattan. We played all the top clubs like Superstar 33, Superstar 45 and the Down Beat. We played all the clubs down at Manhattan and a lot of those clubs had three levels. They always put us on the main level and that was because we drew the largest crowds.
Kool D.J. Dee- That’s why I said I helped legitimize Hip Hop because I was already an established D.J. and my name was always on the radio stations, WBLS, KTU, Kiss etc. or I would be announcing where I going to be on these different radio stations. So I was an established D.J. playing Hip Hop and I played Brooklyn, Queens as well as Manhattan so I was taking the music everywhere.
Troy- Alright so let's look at it like this, when you are playing with M. Morton Hall and guys of that nature you guys are mostly playing Disco Music or Disco Hip Hop. When Furious 5 and Cold Crush Brothers are playing at Harlem World playing their Hip Hop did you and your crew of m.c.s have routines such as those crews I just mentioned, playing that type of Hip Hop music?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes we did.
Troy- So you and your guys had routines and harmonizing on the mic?
Kool D.J. Dee- Yes, we would turn off the music and they would go on the stage and do their thing and we would come back in with the music.
Troy- So you guys were definitely doing the hardcore Hip Hop as well, not just the Disco Hip Hop, but m.c.ing with routines.
Kool D.J. Dee- Right.
Troy- Are there any tapes out there that I can hear of you guys?
Tyrone the Mixologist- A lot of people have recorded us over the years but we don't have anything at this time.
Kool D.J. Dee- We got somebody that has some tapes of us we just haven't got our hands on them yet. It's strange because if I knew that it was going to be this big I would have been recording this myself. But I had no idea.
Troy- Okay your crew of m.c.s with the routines played Harlem World but what about the T- Connection and other known spots going against other crews?
Kool D.J. Dee- We never played T Connection.
Troy- So what are the other spots you guys played other than downtown Manhattan. Meaning where did you guys play at in Harlem and the Bronx?
Kool D.J. Dee- We did Celebrity Club, Savoy Lounge, we did the Audubon with Flash. You name the place we did it.
Troy- So how did you guys and the players around you feel when Rappers Delight came out? Was there a negative vibe or was it half and half in the community about how artist felt about this out of nowhere crew comes and makes the first Hip Hop record that goes platinum!
Kool D.J. Dee- Most of the D.J.s were angry. "Where did these guys come from?" They came from Jersey and we were like how did that happen! It felt like they were stealing from us.
Troy- So that wasn't one of your records in your arsenal when you did parties?
Kool D.J. Dee- Good Times, hell yeah!
Troy- No I'm talking about Rappers Delight?
Kool D.J. Dee- (Kool Dee says it very mildly.) Yeah we played that, it was popular man. I'm a D.J. I play what's popular.
Troy- I understand. So what is actually the difference between a Hip Hop D.J. and a Disco D.J.? Which one are you and did you plan it that way?
Kool D.J. Dee- Well a Disco D.J. plays Disco music and he mixes it in and he plays the record straight through until he mixes another record in. A Hip Hop D.J. will go to the beat part and play that and keep on playing it, extending the beat and then come in with another beat. He wouldn't mix it in he would cut it in. He wouldn't blend it he would cut it in, you know what I mean?
Troy- Yes, I got you.
Kool D.J. Dee- Also rapping is different in Hip Hop. The things you would say in Hip Hop you wouldn’t say in the Disco era because people were bourgeois during that time.
Troy- So with the Disco and Hip Hop D.J. which one was you and did you plan it that way?
Kool D.J. Dee- I am both really. I started out bourgeois but I started to get what was going on and I imported that into my future, soon it became more Hip Hop then the bourgeois style.
Troy- So what year would you say you got more Hip Hop or I should I say transferred over to Hip Hop?
D.J. Tyrone the Mixologiest- We were versatility D.J.s, we could play for any crowd.
Troy- So why would m.c.s and D.J.s say you guys were more Disco D.J.s?
Kool D.J. Dee- Because I played Disco music and the other D.J.s never played Disco music at all and if they did play it, all they played was the beat part.
Troy- Okay, I got you.
Tyrone the Mixologist- We played Disco music and Hip Hop music at the same time.
Kool D.J. Dee- I'll play Apache and then throw on Love is the Message, I played that music too. I had people out in the park that were dancing. I had people in the crowd that was break dancing, as well as doing the Hustle.
Tyrone the Mixologist- We had a very mixed crowd in the parks so you had to cater to a lot people. Just like now you have to cater to the crowd that you have, you know what I mean?
Troy- Tyrone it was said that you were arguably the first D.J. to scratch at Prince George Hotel in 1976. I like to hear your qualification about this moment in history for you.
Tyrone the Mixologist- My m.c.s Al G and Fever Fev were m.c.ing on the mic at the time at Prince George Hotel. I stopped the music and forgot to slide the cross fader all the way over so while they were talking the record was like rubbing already and I rubbed it again before I let go. When I let it go it was on beat on time and the people responded to me, "Yo that was bad what you did just now!" So I kept on doing it. It was a mistake but it happened when I did it. I continued to do it after that night at Prince George Hotel. I started doing it out in the park too, rubbing the records, rubbing the records, while they were rapping. The next thing you know I hear Theodore and everybody else doing it but they are taking it to the next level the scratch. Now I have to give it to them that they took it to the next level doing it the way they are doing it. I even told Theodore to his face I was the first to scratch.
Troy- What was Theodore's response when you told him you were the first to scratch?
Tyrone the Mixologist- He said I hear you, I understand that. That was all he said. I don't have any beef or heartache for them.
Troy- I hear you. What do you mean they took it to the next level? Aren’t you guys both scratching the same way, how do you take that to the next level
Tyrone the Mixologist- Their scratching and putting it in a different form, their scratching it and dropping the needle and continuing on beat dropping it again on one record. Their creating a different sound, I didn't do all that.
Troy- Thank you my brothers Kool D.J. Dee and Tyrone the Mixologist, thank you for taking us there.