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Te Message! Apache! White Lines! Rapper’s Delight! Tese bangers heralded the very start of the genre we now call hip hop back in the 70’s. Te Bronx and New York were where it was all happening, and Te Furious Five and the Sugarhill Gang were at the forefront of bringing rapping to the masses. Tis month the Waterfront sees members of both crews reppin their mics to the max, so I caught up with legends Master Gee and Scorpio to see what gives.

Master Gee Te Sugarhill Gang

When was the very first time you heard the start of hip hop yourself? I heard it through the grapevine if you will. I heard a classmate in Hackensack, New Jersey rapping at a party. I asked him what he was doing, he said “Tis is rapping, man, this is what they’re doing over in New York”. I was DJing, spinning records at that time but I realised this was a way to get more work at more parties as it seemed like this was what was going on. You spun the record, you found beats that had no words on them so you could put your own words on them, you wrote your raps, you rocked the mic. Can you tell us about the making of your most famous track, Rapper’s Delight? How come it ended up so long? Rapper’s Delight is one of the most natural musical masterpieces ever written. Te reason why that record was so long was because we were such novices in the studio we

14 / June 2016/

had no idea what we were doing. We had recorded the music prior to us going in to record the vocals and they said “GO” and pressed record. We’d already decided which order we’d do our verses in, and the music kept playing so we just kept rapping! Apache (Jump On It) is another huge classic tune from you guys. It had an unusual theme for a hip hop track... Right. Te thing about it was it was a breakbeat originally called Apache. Mike and I grew up in the era of watching Te Lone Ranger on TV in the afternoons and it just all came out when we heard that Apache breakbeat. It’s become one of our biggest records, although when we first released it wasn’t that massive. When Will and Clarkson did the skit on Te Fresh Prince to Apache that’s when it really took off, as well as the dance! So we always thank them for that. Te kids today know it as Jump On It because that’s the bit of the song they used to dance to. Do you have a day job these days? I call it moonlighting. I’m a personal trainer, I have a company called Jump On It Fitness! What I do is mental fitness as well as physical, we get you fit from the inside so you’ll be cool on the outside.

INFORMATION Te Sugarhill Gang play with Te Furious Five at the Waterfront on 1st June. Tickets available from Read the full interviews online at

Scorpio Furious Five

You grew up in the projects of South Bronx back in the 70’s. Can you set the scene for us? Trough an untrained eye it probably looked a third world country. A lot of the buildings were burnt down, but for us it was home, a beautiful place even with the destitution. Looking back I’m so glad I had that Bronx experience; it was the best place to grow up and learn everything we know about life. Te Message is one of the most important hip hop tracks of all time. Can you talk us through how it happened? Nobody in the group wanted to do that record! It was actually supposed to be for Te Sugarhill Gang, but they didn’t want anything to do with it.We thought that song would really hurt our career because at that time it was all about making music, partying, bragging about yourself, and this was the first time a hip hop track was dealing with real subject

matters. It’s quite a dark sounding record. It’s a real crossover track isn’t it…it introduced a lot of people to their first taste of hip hop. Tat definitely happened; even now people who don’t even like hip hop like Te Message. Hip hop before this was all about bragging but this was for people who were trying to pay bills and maintain, so it clicked for them. Everybody’s always on the borderline of being pushed, whether in a job, a relationship, friendship. You guys were the first hip hop group to be inducted into the rock n roll hall of fame. How did that feel, to be recognised in that way by the world? It was a great feeling although I don’t think Gene Simmons liked it! How did you come to meet Grandmaster Flash back in the day? Me and my partner Melle Mel used to be in a breakdance group together before hip hop started, we were the original B Boys from the Bronx! One time Flash and his crew came to our school to challenge us and we beat ‘em! We became friends and he started bringing his music equipment to our neighbourhood...

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