The Bronx is the birthplace of Hip Hop and native DJ Ready Cee is one of the last real Hip Hop DJs who hasn’t abandoned the original ways of getting’ down. As the culture has evolved, so has the art of its 4 elements, including DJ’ing. Though it hasn’t died out completely, the DJ and the art of turntablism has been on the decline for years. Ready Cee, on the other hand, has used this time to evolve. For over 8 years, he has been the host of the infamous “Ready Cee Show” in the Bronx, bringing true-school Hip Hop and preaching its meaning whilst doubling as 1/3 of the newly formed group, Kamala.
For over 20 years, two turntables have been the center point of DJ Ready Cee’s life. He was raised on Hip Hop during a time when skills outlined a DJs acceptance rather than his ability to follow another’s formula. Ready Cee started DJ’ing in Texas during the early 80′s, but the early 90′s began his transition from a serious hobby to certain profession. DropTheR was fortunate enough to catch him for an interview, and dayum was it awesome. P.S., if you’re a true Hip Hop head who has never had the pleasure of speaking to Ready, you will LOVE this interview and his outspoken personality.
Q: The DJ is the backbone of Hip Hop. Fans of 2013 love to criticize the rappers out now, but rarely discuss the so-called “bastardization” of DJ’ing. How do you feel about the role of DJs in today’s rap game?
A: Today’s DJs are playing a role alright…that role is ACTING like a DJ. These corny, fraud-ball, fake ass overnight, no turntable havin’, rhythm-less, no needle droppin’, can’t blend for shit-ass PHONIES can all go to hell with that wack shit. People have no idea what a DJ is today. That’s evident in these fake-ass DJ shows on TV, all the way down to these fake-ass sissies droppin’ mixtapes with no mixing. Fuck outta here.
Q: What’s the first vinyl you ever purchased and how did you obtain it?
A: The first record I ever purchased was the “Rock The House” LP, by Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince. Before that, it was all records clipped from my dad’s collection. My brother would buy Soul Sonic Force and Planet Patrol wax so I used to cut those up, too. Ahead of that, we started out mixing non-rap records and never bought anything until down the line. I jacked a whole lot of records before I ever purchased one.
Q: Why is there so much feuding in the world of Hip Hop? Do you think anything can be done to slow it down, or even stop it?
A: The ones feuding are just frustrated because they’re wack at what they do. Wack rappers and wack DJs are like children who haven’t learned how to talk properly yet and can’t get the words out right so instead they cry and yell at everyone. But feuding in the vein of competition, I’m all for. Dissin’ another DJ or emcee before meant skills were about to come out flying like Chinese stars in every direction. But now that no one has real skills anymore, dissing just brings out the whiny little 14 year-old girl in most of these dudes.
Q: You’ve worked with EVERYONE from the legendary Kool Herc to the street’s own Shabaam Sahdeeq, and others alike. Do you have any crazy memories/stories from inside the lab with an emcee/fellow DJ?
A: I remember one time I had a couple members of a very well-known Bronx crew live on the show and we had a complication with the authorities during the broadcast. The station we were on was the biggest pirate radio station in the tri-state area and, of course, we had the Feds on our backs constantly for years, lol. We got used to it but one night we had some FCC nerds sniffin’ around the building where we broadcast from and we had to abruptly shut down the power… and the lights …and the noise, and lay low for a few minutes. But as soon as we went into lockdown mode, these dudes got rattled and ran up outta the studio like Michael Myers was comin’ through as a guest or some shit! It was just hilarious to see them so frightened all of a sudden, especially after hearing such tough talk on the air only moments before.
Q: I’ve been inside your crib and nearly shed a tear at the massive record collection you get to call your own. From your perspective as a DJ, what is the vinyl industry like today compared to when you were just coming up?
A: The vinyl industry is pretty much back in the audiophiles lap nowadays. It’s not the practical medium of spinning for an active DJ anymore. I grew up using my vinyl like Chinese stars and flying guillotines, putting them to real use regularly. Some of my wax has battle scars from the years of REAL DJ’ing. I didn’t go back in the crates and find a bunch of old rap records years later, I acquired them at the time they came out. I packed them into rolling suitcases and dragged them all over the country for years & years until Serato finally came around and all that slaving became a thing of the past. Record stores are finished, let’s be real here, no one’s trying to wait around for a song to get pressed up on vinyl when it’s already making the rounds online. You’ll be mixin’ songs weeks after everybody else has already broken them in. I can’t even remember the last time I held a new record in my hand. I miss the whole culture that came with vinyl but that’s something that will never be felt by DJs of today. You don’t have to physically be around another person in order to acquire music now. You just sit in ya drawers in your bedroom and download. Back in the day we had to wake up early, scrape up cash and old trade-ins, hit the store early and hope to beat the other crate diggers to the punch. DJs used to gather at the record store and trade secrets, compare tastes and generally just get each other hype. There was no better time for creating than those first few hours in the lab right after getting’ back from diggin’! I know my dude Top-Cat knows what I’m talkin’ about right there, we used to get FADED early and raid every store in a 5-mile radius on Saturday mornings, then go back to the lab and fire up the EPS-16+ all day.
A: Parakhan was staying in NYC for an extended period of time last year and we did some recordings with El Gant at P’s lab since they ended up living so close. Parakhan pulled out a beat he’d been working on one night and El Gant just jumped on and tore it down. Parakhan hopped on it with a fire verse a few days later and I dropped some cuts at the end. El Gant had a part in his verse that went, “…comin at ya like Kamala in the Congo” so we said “Hey, let’s do a whole shit and name it Kamala.” So we’re doin’ it. We’re trying to wipe all wack emcees and DJs off the face of the Earth with every song we do. That pretty much sums up what we’re about. But, one thing I want to point out about Kamala in advance of any future song we drop is that every well-known artist you EVER hear us collaborate with was done on the strength of making dope music. We don’t pay for verses or team-ups from anyone. All the artists you hear us rock with are our people and we’re coming together to bang out well made music. A lot of these acts out here today dig way deeper into their pockets than they do any crate. They save up all this cash and go out and BUY verses from well-known emcees. Then they put out a project and think that certifies them as a respected artist? …Fuck outta here. That’s why you rarely see the support from that paid artist in any video or performances, because they don’t want to have anything to do with that person after getting’ paid. The funny thing to me is seeing these cats drop songs with these well-known artists and they won’t even as much as retweet the song once it comes out, lmao! You see the posts ALL the time, Producer So-And-So or DJ Whoever featuring legendary WHOEVER and they won’t publicly support the song whatsoever; FAKE ASS COLLABO WITH AN EMCEE WHO DOESN’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT YOU OR YOUR MUSIC. Kill yourself.
Q: What is one of your favorite lines in Hip Hop history, one that never gets old…?
A: “I never ever ran from the Ku Klux Klan and I shouldn’t have to run from a black man.” – Kool Moe Dee
Q: As you may know, Boston is a city thriving with independent artists trying to make it. Who, if any, has caught your attention from here?
A: Boston’s always been a huge and unique source of Hip Hop. A big part of my close Hip Hop family is from Boston and I’ve worked with everyone from the budding new artists in the Amalgam Digital camp all the way to the legendary Edo G and Jaysaun, back up to new homies like Phil The Pain or Notoriety. My brother-in-arms, Top-Cat, is a Boston native who I’ve worked closely with for decades on everything from murdering live parties in Houston to banging out raw beats in Brockton and beyond. I always look forward to making my way out there whenever the opportunity arises.
Q: What advice would you give to an indie Hip Hop artist in 2013?
A: Stop recording music TODAY because you probably SUCK. Sell all your computers, go buy a few gallons of gasoline, head out to the back yard, pour that shit all over yourself and FLAME ON! I crossed the line of optimism with respects to new artists years ago. I have no reason to believe any new artist in 2013 has what it takes to impress me. It’s been way too long and I don’t depend on anyone but me to make shit I like now. I’m old. These kids sound stupid to me. It’s just weak. Being a young man was different when I was that age. I don’t wear colorful skin tight jeggings, I don’t shop in the girl’s section for belt buckles, I don’t chill with my homies shirtless with my boxers on. I am BLIND to all that shit and don’t want any association with it. I don’t have anyone to impress or convince so I don’t care what anyone thinks about it. Nobody really cares anyway. I’m just thankful that I was around for the real shit back in the day instead of just having to watch some half-assed documentary about it on Netflix.
Q: Describe www.DropTheR.net in one sentence.
A: DropTheR.net is a website you need to bookmark and check up on daily because they don’t waste time posting up nonsense and bullshit.