By: Serge Fleury
Boston Massachusetts; one of the most historical cities in all of America. If you ever visit, make sure you take a walk through Boston Common. After the nice long stroll, make sure you hit the Bull & Finch Pub (Cheers) on Beacon Street for a couple of drinks; and something to eat. Being the major sports town that it is; there should be plenty of people to talk to, when discussing the Boston Celtics and their 16 championships. But if you’re not a basketball fan, then the Patriots, and their winning ways are your next choice. And if none of that interests you, then the on-going saga of the Boston Red Sox has to catch your fancy a little bit. Get a Bostonian to say; "pahk the cah in Hahvad Yahd", and your journey to "The City On The Hill" is complete.
If you wonder off into the music realm of Boston, most likely you’ll come across more pop music/R&B acts of yester-year; (circa New Edition, Aerosmith, and New Kids on the Block) rather than [true] Hip-Hop contributors. With a city that has a population of over 590,763 people, finding a credible list of talented MC’s is few and far in between. In retrospect, a list might not even be needed. Because you would probably be able to [literally] count the front runners on one hand. But in doing that, make sure you save a couple of fingers for Edo G, Jaysaun (formerly of the Kreators), and newcomer; Slain.
After Edo G released "Life Of A Kid Ghetto" back in 1991, it solidified him as one of the most lyrical MC’s the game has to offer. The album, which sparked the timeless classic "I Gotta Have It", helped catapult the project to over 600,000 copies sold. As for the Kreators’ former front man; Jaysaun has worked with the likes of Gangstarr’s Guru, Cappadonna, Pete Rock, and Krumbsnatcha. While garnering enough attention for MTV to display his talents.
While still making a name for himself, Slain managed to move 7,000 units of his mixtape; "The White Man Is The Devil" with no distribution back in 2005. He then quickly bulked up his resume by collaborating with Royce Da 5’9", Cypress Hill, and DJ Lethal.
After all joining forces, and recruiting the help of turntable specialist; DJ Jayceeoh, they caught the eyes of Duck Down. Now it’s only a matter of time before the Special Teamz take it to the house, when others seem to keep on turning the ball over.
CrackSpace.com: What’s good y’all? So how’s Boston these days? I’m originally from there also.
Edo G: Boston is everywhere! Are you still a fan of The Patriots, Red Sox, and Celtics?
CrackSpace.com: Of course! I couldn’t imagine being anything else.
Special Teamz: [laughing collectively]
Edo G: That’s good, that’s all I need to know.
CrackSpace.com: So how did you guys first get hooked up with Duck Down?
Jaysaun: Well we did this mixtape together, that ended up doing really good. It was like the number one selling mixtape, and it ended selling like 8,000 copies. Before we did that, Duck Down had expressed a little bit of interest; but we wasn’t able to solidify anything. So then we ended up going on tour to Canada with Sean Price, and then Sean P came back and said; "these n***as are official, you need to f**k with them." And that kind of renewed the channels that had already been opened before; and this time we was just able to get it done.
CrackSpace.com: How was your reception up in Canada?
Jaysaun: It was good. It’s always going to be a little better outside of the states. But the reception was good man.
Slain: Somebody actually got stabbed at one of our shows.
Jaysaun: Yeah, some kid got stabbed at one of the shows; and the police actually came to our room. Because [they] couldn’t believe that a bunch of US rappers, that were up there doing a show, didn’t have anything to do with it. But other than that, everything was good. We did about like five shows, and we was rocking with Sean P every night. So the vibe was definitely going on.
CrackSpace.com: Why don’t you think a lot of MC’s from Boston haven’t been
able to successfully hit the mainstream?
Jaysaun: Boston is a hard city. Don’t nothing come to anybody from Boston easy; know what I’m saying. It’s not place where [you] can just get on. That might happen in other people’s fairy-tale world. But in Boston, you got to put in time and work. You have to suffer, and go through the trials and tribulations. That’s what happens when you’re from up there, and it’s a difficult process. A lot of people don’t have the grind in them. There’s a lot of MC’s I know personally, that don’t even rap no more. And back in the day they were the sh*t! But they just didn’t have the grind. Boston can beat the spirit out of you, if you’re not willing to travel and make it happen.
Slain: I think as far as New York and L.A., there are so many labels; and you might be able to fall into Hip-Hop. Because there’s also a lot of venues. So if you’re doing your thing, you can easily latch onto something. Like management, promoters, or whatever. Because there’s much more resources in other cities, than there is in Boston. And that’s where some of the hate comes in. Like if you’re from [there] and you get sh*t cracking; that’s when people want to bring you down. Because [their] not getting [their] own sh*t cracking. So you really have to stick to your grind; and you really have to shake off a lot of the hate.
CrackSpace.com: What can we expect to hear from your album;
Slain: There’s a lot of "boom-bap" Hip-Hop on there, conscious sh*t, and a lot of lyrics. We got some classic producers on there. From Pete Rock to DJ Premier, and some up and coming dudes. Like Marco Polo [pronouncing it Mah-Co Polo], Jake One, and Ill Bill. We have a wide variety of subject matter, and we stick to that hard "boom-bap" production sound.
CrackSpace.com: That Boston accent is thick! [Laughs]
Slain: Yeah man, that’s part of my style too. Man, it’s like that with the rhymes too. And it’s only from [our] area, you ain’t gonna find that nowhere else.
CrackSpace.com: How did you all first come together as a group?
Slain: Well Edo and Jay known each other for years. Like they recorded a couple albums before, with other dudes. And those situations didn’t work out the way they wanted them to. And I actually had Jay come in, and record something with me. I’d been working with DJ G-Squared from the Kreators, and we all came into the studio. Basically we had a good time man; and we made a banger. I mean the sh*t came out dope! Then we went through a trial period; where we was feeling each other out for a little bit. And after switching labels, and not knowing where to put [our] record out; we finally found Duck Down to call home.
CrackSpace.com: How would you describe the Hip-Hop scene in Boston?
Edo G: I thinks it’s flourishing right now, there’s a lot of young groups up there. From what I’m hearing and seeing; there’s a lot of people getting it in. And they’re making a lot of good products. The only thing is; they got to get out of the "mixtape world", and into the "album world." Then I think it’ll make more of an impact, internationally.
CrackSpace.com: So what’s your opinion on the mixtape route?
Edo G: It’s like you’re giving too much away. If you have an album coming out; then a mixtape before or after the album is good. But not like ten mixtapes before you put an album out.
CrackSpace.com: Does it bother you when some people may automatically label you all as underground MC’s?
Edo G: Nah, that doesn’t bother us at all. Because it is what it is, and we make Hip-Hop music. It’s about lyrics and good beats for us. We’re not competing with the majors, know what I’m saying. We’re just doing what we do.
CrackSpace.com: How was the creative process during the making of this
album? Was everyone pretty much on the same page?
Edo G: Nah, everyone is never really on the same page. Because we all got different ideas, and different musical styles. But once you get a lot of hot beats, it makes the process that much easier. So we made sure we didn’t listen to a lot of whack stuff, and we really chose the producers well. They’d send us a batch of beats, and we would normally pick out out of those.
CrackSpace.com: Even though Boston is only three hours from New York, a lot
of people think Boston is behind from a Hip-Hop standpoint. Do you find that
to be true?
Edo G: That’s false man. With this internet, everybody is on an even playing field. So we’re right there with what’s going on in the Hip-Hop world. So yeah, I would definitely disagree with that.
CrackSpace.com: Do you feel any pressure to perform well, since you’re on such a recognizable label as Duck Down?
Edo G: We do what we been doing, know what I’m saying. It’s not like this is new to any of us, so it’s just a continuation of what we’ve been doing. But now we’re just elevating it onto another level. I feel some pressure just for the city of Boston. But we’re definitely going to put them on our back, and have everybody ride with us. So they can also support what we’re doing.
CrackSpace.com: So how do you plan on standing out in an over saturated
Edo G: I think just the combination of the group. Like me being a black dude from Roxbury, Jay being the mulatto cat from Dorchester, and Slain being a white Irish cat from Southie. Also DJ Jayceeoh; he’s a Jewish cat. So you just put us in a mixing pot all together. And if we had an Asian cat, then we would probably complete the world, know what I’m saying. [laughing]
Special Teamz: [Laughing collectively]
Edo G: So basically it’s just different styles, and different experiences. Also what we talk about, is not really being talked about in Hip-Hop right now.