Band of Brothers

13 years ago view-show 765,369

 By: Serge Fleury    


        When you’re associated with something for a long period of time, (a musical group for instance) its only human nature for members of the band to grow tired and weary of each other. We see it happen all the time. Regardless what they might say in front of the cameras, ultimately a few of them usually have  different agendas. It doesn’t matter if its Rock & Roll, Country Music, or even Hip-Hop; after a while, tensions flare. And before you know it, your favorite group is headlined on every front cover magazine as going "splits-ville." Especially in Hip-Hop, we’ve all seen it before. The legendary group EPMD has gone through their own trials and tribulations; so has The Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, and most recently the North Carolina trio of Little Brother. Even Atlanta‘s own Outkast has been rumored to be headed toward a divorce. Lets face it folks, break-ups are just a way of life……..Or are they?


      From 1995-to the present day, there’s actually one group that’s just as tight as when they first started. No bickering over the lime light, no complaining they their bars got cut from 16 to 8, and attitudes because they were reassigned to do a hook instead of having a solo. When attendance is called, the names of Buckshot, Top Dog, Louieville (Sluggah), Tek-N-Steele, Starang Wondah, Sean Price (Ruck), and Rock are always front and center. If you’ve been living in outer space for the last twelve years, and are unfamiliar with these people from Hip-Hop standpoint;  you may simply refer to them as The Boot Camp Clik.


      The group that gave us such classics as "Who Got Da Props", "Bucktown", and "Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka" are back to let the Hip-Hop community know that "ain’t a damn thing changed." In fact, their only getting stronger as the years go by. With the signing of Boston‘s own ED O.G. and his collective known as The Special Teamz, along with KRS-One, and Amanda Diva; Duck Down is more likely to be looking up these days. Buckshot had a chance so sit down with and talk about the future holds for the whole entire platoon, and what projects we can expect from all of the soldiers.              So did "The Last Stand" album perform like you guys wanted it to?


Buckshot: Well at the end of the day, it did what it did. But we can look at it like this; if we didn’t have that album out, then right now we wouldn’t be having this conversation. So that in itself, so should count way more than how many units it sold. You have to look at it like this; we are a self contained fully operated unit. Meaning everybody plays their part, in a little something. We’re not a company that’s ran by 20,000 people, or 20,000 representatives everyday. We’re still grinding, and the street team is always working. So that’s why we’re still seeing something, as opposed to seeing nothing. Because a lot of rappers at a lot of labels, don’t have anything cracking. How have you all managed to maintain your chemistry throughout the years?


Buckshot: I can only contribute that to the creator. We don’t sit around and have meetings about staying together. [laughing] I think the essence of it is; the fact that we’re more than just a record label. Because we’re really cool, and we’re really tight with each other. We do share a bond with each other physically. If ever they needed help, I would never be like; "oh that’s just a record company dude, and I can’t help him out right now." That’s what other people do, and that’s what separates Boot Camp/Duck Down from a lot of other operations. But being that we’re talking about [our] operation; that’s how we run it. Because we’re a family. We got Jewish people, black people, Haitians, Chinese, and Filipinos. Everybody is running with Duck Down. So what made you decide to come out with "Casualties Of War", as an album filled with unreleased material?


Buckshot: Well you can’t put all songs on every album. There were songs that were casualties, and that we had sacrifice. Just because it couldn’t make on a certain album; we still had a place for it to come out. What’s crazy is that we treaded in one direction, and headed in another. So its another Boot Camp album, its not a compilation. You may think of it as a compilation, because you haven’t heard of it; and "The Last Stand" came out a minute ago. So this is just a continuation of "The Last Stand." So how did The Boot Camp Clik and The Justus League come together?


Buckshot: It was all through DJ Evil Dee. First, Evil Dee put me and Dru Ha onto 9th Wonder; and then Dru was communicating with 9th. Then Dru put me on, and he was like; "yo, you got to hook up with 9th." Then we all took a trip out to North Carolina one day, and that’s how it all happened. It was the whole entire Duck Down family; and we went down there to hook up with 9th and The Justus League. Boot Camp and The Justus actually ended up doing a lot of stuff that week, because we was all there. After the success you had with "Chemistry" between you and 9th Wonder; what can we expect from "The Formula"?


Buckshot: Well I am the "The Formula", that’s why I called it that. Because we’re working on something great. So being that the first album was called "Chemistry", we’re just going to show [them] that we still work great together. I didn’t just go in and start rapping and freestyling on "The Formula." I went in there and made good songs, that talk about sh*t. Do you have any  when another Heltah Skeltah album is coming out?


Buckshot: Their album is called "D.I.R.T. (Da Incredible Rap Team)", and that will be out as soon as they finish that sh*t. They’re not even finished with it yet. Oh, so its in the works, but just not completed?  


Buckshot: Nah, but when its done, it’ll be out. They have fun doing what they do. Even though Sean Price is rocking on the solo side, but that’s how they started. They formed together through me, a lot of people don’t know that. Steele is coming out with a mixtape. Does that mean he also has solo project in the works too?


Buckshot: Well yeah he’s, coming out with some work too. A lot of people don’t know this; but Steele started this whole movement, truthfully, before any of us. Steele was the first person out of all of us with a record deal. Oh really? He was?


Buckshot: Yes sir. I used to follow Steele. He was the one who came up with the name Boot Camp, and all of us played our parts. Then we created Duck Down and Bucktown. Me and Dru sat in his Subaru on Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn, and came up with the names. For over ten years, everyone has become familiar with the faces of The Boot Camp Clik. So what made you decide to sign new talent now?  


Buckshot: We had plenty of opportunities to sign people. We were going to sign Eminem years ago. We had plenty opportunities, but the timing just wasn’t right. We could have picked up soldiers along the way, but it just wasn’t time. But now Duck Down is a real solidified label. So now I go hard at being the producer over at Duck Down, and Dru can go hard at being the executive producer. Back then, we couldn’t do it the way we can do it now. Like now, I got full focus on producing. I’m a Quincy Jones-type of producer; meaning I just don’t only make beats. Like if I hear a song, and it got good lyrics but not the beat, I’m going to go in and say; "lets change the beat." I have a different style when it comes to producing. Producing just ain’t beat making. How do you think the whole Duck Down brand has maintained its relevance throughout the years?


Buckshot: Well at this point in [our] careers, we done been there, and we done that. But the bottom line is; we’re MC’s that’s solidified in the game. Whether the young generation knows us; because we got to keep putting out music, or not. But that’s not easy for any rapper, actor, actress, product, or company. That’s not easy for Coca-Cola, that’s why they keep changing their bottle every f**ckin’ month. But the bottom line is that we’re in; and there’s a lot of people that aren’t even in. And people have to remember that. What was the problem with your previous distributor? What made you all strike a deal with Koch Records?


Buckshot: Well Koch bought out Navarre Corporation, and we was with them. Its like; if I’m living in a crib, and somebody buys it out, I still have a contract with the crib. So they have to keep me too, and that’s what happened. Koch ain’t a bad place, know what I’m saying. It ain’t a bad place, but it ain’t a great place. There’s no distribution that’s great. What makes you think that?


Buckshot: Because everybody can do a better job, that’s why. We all can do better jobs. Everybody can go harder at whatever they do. But then there are some people that don’t have an opportunity to be on Koch. But we’re not on Koch, we’re through Koch. We have a distribution deal with them. We’re on the 8th floor, and they’re on the 6th floor. Was there ever a time when members of The Boot Camp Clik wanted to pursue other endeavors? Like try the major label circuit?


Buckshot: Rock went over to Interscope, and Tek-N-Steele was on Rawkus. People forget those things, because they never made an impact over there. They only made an impact when they came back to Duck Down. Because we know how to work our soldiers; we know how to make it do what it do. And that’s why we signed KRS-One, Amanda Diva, and whole lot of other artists, because we’re ready to step our game up. If you open up a XXL Magazine, you’re going to see us in there. There’s a lot of groups that ain’t never going to get into XXL; period. And if you’re not in XXL, or anyone of the top magazines, then you’re hustling backwards. Do you worry about capturing younger audiences?


Buckshot: I’m not targeting them, but if I obtain them; then that’s great. I wasn’t around for the James Brown era, but when I hear him, I know its good sh*t; so I’m turned onto him in this era. The same with the Chi-Lites. We got the two markets; the seen and the unseen. The unseen markets are the ones that come to your shows, and they’re active. The seen market is active too, they’re just on a visual level. Do you know when we’ll hear another O.G.C. album?


Buckshot: I don’t know, but you’ll hear all of them on Boot Camp. Like Top Dog, he went in on the Casualty album! I love him on that album! Starang did his thing too, and so did Louieville. But as a group, I don’t know. I really can’t call it.         



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