MC Serch: White Rapper Veteran

14 years ago view-show 839,817


By Quibian Salazar-Moreno


      MC Serch made his mark as part of the legendary group 3rd Bass with Pete Nice and DJ Richie Rich. In 1989 they dropped The Cactus Album that featured the hits songs, “Steppin’ to the A.M.” and the classic “Gas Face”. In 1991, they dropped Derelicts of Dialect with their hit single, “Pop Goes the Weasel”, which was the last 3rd Bass album. That same year, MC Serch dropped his debut solo album, Return of the Product, and got rave reviews especially for the song "Back to The Grill" which featured a much younger and hungrier Nas.

      During that time, Serch was busy developing Nas and launching his company Serchlite, but he still had time to record another album. But the album was never released. Serch moved away from recording and focused on radio (he hosts a morning show in Detroit) and is now worldwide as host of VH1’s White Rapper Show. Now that Serch is garnering a little bit of worldwide notoriety, he thought it would be the perfect time to drop that 1994 album, M.any Y.oung L.ives A.go: The 1994 Sessions.

       We caught up with Serch to talk about the album, what he did during the 90’s, and of course the White Rapper Show and the white rappers who are mad.


So what’s the situation with the 1994 sessions? Why did it get shelved and why did you decide to drop it now?


      The reason the album got shelved originally is when I played for Russell [Simmons], I had done the album myself, paid for it myself and did the demos with DJ Eclipse and Riz and we were just in the studio recording while everything else was kind of going on around us and I just kind of wanted to make these songs and let Russell hear it and get Russell’s thoughts and Russell was not receptive. He thought the record sounded too much like an underground New York record, but with all due respect to Russell, he also didn’t get Nas, he didn’t understand the kind of artist that Nas was going to be. So I was like, “You know what, I’m not going to focus on making music right now”, I was focusing on O.C. from 1993 to 1995, I got offered a really cool job working for Wild Pitch Records, so I became the VP of Wild Pitch and my whole attitude changed. My attitude towards making the record changed and the masters just kind of disappeared.

      So when I moved to Detroit to do the morning show in 2002, I moved a lot of stuff out of my house and those boxes got locked in a storage facility. When I emptied out the storage facility, I found those masters and said “This might be cool, let’s put these masters back on and see what they sound like” They were in really good condition, but some of them had to be brought back to good condition but most of them sounded amazing. It was just good to hear what I sounded like and I thought “this was before [The White Rapper Show] came out, this would be cool to put out, we should just put this record out on Serchlite.” So we started the process of re-mastering and taking it from the analog world to the digital world. DJ Mark Allen and myself spent seven months re-mastering it.



So what about that gap from O.C.’s album up until Detroit, you didn’t have any desire to record another album?


      I moved to Detroit in 2002 and I was working with Non-Phixion in 1996 and I started helping them put their machine together. I was helping Ill Bill, Necro, Shabach and Gortex put their machine together, helping them build their studio, and help them record their music.


There are also some 3rd Bass reunion cuts on there from 2000, were you guys thinking about getting back together?


      Yeah, in 2000 we recorded those songs. I had a deal through Sony and I was looking to put out the third album from 3rd Bass called Ichabod’s Cranium. It was a great time being in the studio with Pete [Nice] but it just wound up where we were in two different places in terms of our schedule and we really just couldn’t find the time to put the album out.


So why was there no album after Derelicts of Dialect?


      After Derelict and after I put out my solo album and Pete put out his solo album, I just didn’t want to do a 3rd Bass record. I was not in a place of wanting to work with Pete on going back in the studio and going back and forth with him. I mean being in a group, one of the things about being in a group, especially when you have two A-Type personalities like Pete and I, you bump heads a lot. And I wasn’t in the mood, I didn’t want to bump heads with Pete about musical stuff and creative and I just wasn’t in the mood, I wanted to make my record. I wanted to make my album, my record and do it my way. Plus I was working with Nas and had a bunch of other stuff going on, I really didn’t want to do a 3rd Bass record.


Did Pete want to or was he in the same place you were?


      Pete had his own deal, he had a distribution deal with Sony and was putting out Kurios George and I think he felt like he was at another place as well.


X-Clan came out with a new album this year and you guys had words on record towards each other back in the day, are you guys cool now?


      I don’t know if I’m cool, I mean I had Brother J up at my show in Detroit and interviewed him for the show. But I never understood why X-Clan had bad words to say about us. I was always disappointed by that because I knew Paradise and I knew Lumumba and we all had come from the same place. And then Brother J and those guys making diss records about us, it just never made sense to us. P and I knew so much about these guys internally and it was really foolish of them to come out and try to diss us. Because the things we knew about them would have been really detrimental to them. It would have looked really ugly. But the best way that we dealt with it was the way we dealt with a lot of stuff and that was just to let them rock, let them do them and we’re going to do us and not deal with it. That’s how I chose to go about it and that’s how I kind of continue to deal with anything real negative in my life. Whether it’s about the show, or whatever, I really don’t respond to that stuff. I really don’t get into it, I really don’t have the need or the necessity or the desire.


The album is dropping on Serchlite on March 6, what else is going on with your company?


      In terms of Serchlite Music and we do a lot of consulting and a lot of brand development with ESPN on all of their platforms, specifically and, doing music licensing and creating content opportunities for ESPN. We deal very closely with the NFL and the Player’s Association, we supervise and produce events for a list of clients that we have, we continue to work records at radio. We’re working two records right now one by an artists named Greg Jarvis and another by a group called Dead Celebrity Status. So we’re working those records. We’re launching a section of our site called Serchlite Certified Hip-Hop, which we’ll dedicate to what we believe are the next wave of talented artists with the difference being, we don’t own their masters, we don’t own their publishing, we’re just giving them a vehicle to be heard and be seen. And with our partners at Orchard, we’re going to do digital distribution for these artists. And we just try to create more avenues for young artists.


Are there any plans to record an album of new MC Serch music?


      Yeah, I’m recording all the time, I host mixtapes on a regular basis for local artists and I’ll spit a 16 here and there and I’m always in the studio in one shape or form. I’m currently working on a project called Peace in the Middle East with DJ Wyl E. Coyote from WJHM in Greensboro, North Carolina, which is  a record of Jewish and Palestinian artists coming together to promote peace. With all the proceeds going to orphanages in Palestine and Israel that take care of children that have lost their parents in the war. I’m doing that and whenever the urge strikes me and I feel like I have something I want to say, I’m going to say and I’ll release it.


Have you heard of any plans for season 2 of the White Rapper Show yet?


      I have no idea. I have no idea at this time. I should hope so based on the popularity but this is a whole new area for me so I’m not sure.


When Lord Jamar came on the show, he didn’t seem too excited to be there. What was going on behind the scenes?


      We told Jamar, I said “listen, the best thing you can do, Jamar, is educate.” The thing that is great about Brand Nubian and the thing about him being a Five Percenter, he’s here to give lessons and teach lessons. And we told him, “Just go in there and be unimpressed.” And he was like, “Yo, that’s not gonna be too hard.” And it was great. He went in with a great attitude, him and Sadat, they had a great attitude about spending time with these dudes. Then seeing how shook they were when Jamar started breaking them down, it was just classic, you couldn’t buy that kind of entertainment. I mean, you can if you got cable, but it was just a great moment.


On the show, you said that you and Prince Paul handpicked the contestants, was that really the best of the emcees who came to try out?


      Paul and I were not the only ones involved in that process; there was a group of other people that you didn’t see and we sat at a giant table. But based on the different criteria that we thought would be entertaining to watch, those were the best contestants to pick.


So the selection wasn’t solely based on skills, but entertainment as well?


      Well, the music business isn’t based solely on skills. If that was the case then Non-Phixion would have sold 10 million records, Cage would have sold 10 million records, Company Flow would have sold 10 million records. The music business isn’t based solely on skills, you have to be a character, you have to be a personality. There’s several different levels that make someone successful.


I’ve noticed that the only hip-hop heads that are offended are the white rappers, have you noticed that?


      Yeah, it’s funny to me. I’m actually very intrigued by the pro-White, anti-Black white rapper movement. That is particularly very interesting to me that there is a core of white rappers who don’t care about Black people, who don’t care for the fact that this is a Black music culture. This is Black music and they’re talking about eff the Black man, he never showed me any love so eff him. That movement is amazing to me. I would have never imagined meeting or talking to those people if it wasn’t for the show. But hopefully, if there’s a season 2, these disgruntled rappers will try out for season 2.


What kind of experiences did you go through as a white rapper in the late 80’s and early 90’s?


      The thing that makes the Ego Trip guys and myself laugh so much, they’re going through an 8-week crash course of what I had to go through for 10 years. There was no way, in 1986, that if I didn’t know all the words to “F-R-E-S-H” by the Fresh 3 MCs and who were the Fresh 3 MCs, I’d get respect. And I got tested on a regular basis. I got tested as an emcee, “you got skills? Spit.” I got tested like “You ain’t really real to this, you’re just in it for the bread. Spit.” A lot of guys that want to get this kind of jumpstart, to get this kind of visibility, to get this opportunity, to be seen in the way that they’re being seen, they need to spit. Lyor Cohen (former Def Jam prez) does this to a lot of people, I don’t know if he still does it, but I know Jay-Z does it to a lot of people, “You’re a rapper? Rap.” There’s no chit-chat, you’re an emcee? Great, let me hear. That’s what you’re saying that you are.


Any last words?


      I just hope everyone enjoys the download on March 6, I hope people really get to enjoy the music and it takes them back to 1994. I’m really proud of it, Mark Allen did a great job remixing it and re-mastering it.


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