It’s time for another of our menacing and prying interviews, where WYDU sends harassing emails and pester other fellow bloggers until they agree to talk to us just so we’ll leave them alone. This month we have a special guest. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve built rapports with several other fellow bloggers in the game.
WYDU: Thanks for this opportunity, how ya feelin’?
W: Do you mind introducing yourself and your blog for those out of the loop?
J: My name is Jaz, I’m from Wellington, New Zealand and I used to run an underground hip hop radio show for over 15 years and spent most of my 20′s as a club/bar and radio DJ,I also used to rhyme and recorded a few demos,and used to freestlye on stage with local groups and on radio and I was in a couple of groups but we never had any music released, I have also dabbled in beatmaking, some good, but mostly bad, when I get better equipment I will take it seriously one day. I write articles and music reviews for a local magazine down here (Back 2 Basics) and have written for other magazines and websites in the past. I proudly run the coldrockdaspot.blogspot.com and due to the success and the amount of ill kids I have met through it, I wonder why I didn’t start it up sooner
W: You are from New Zealand right? When did Hip-Hop start becoming part of the land scape down there?
J: Yeah, I am from the Capital of New Zealand, Hip Hop trickled down here in 1982 and it was mostly breakers (or boppers as we called them…haha) and bombing, breaking was everywhere and I was in competitions in Primary School and well I was never good at bombing, so I did pieces on paper.
W: You ever been to the US?
J: No, I haven’t but I do plan to one day and we will be on the brewskis, believe that
W: What are your earliest memories of hip hop? How did you wind up dedicating a major portion of your life to it?
J: The first would be, hearing Rappers Delight in 1980 on a Solid Gold Hits compilation my Father owned, I had always loved music and knew all of the pop songs and a lot of rock n roll, but this was different and loved the flow and the rhythm, so I took the stylus off and on the record to get all of the lyrics down, my Dad wasn’t pleased but I was happy that after a few more spins I knew all of the words (I didn’t know they were lyrics then). Later in 1983…there was a cat I met through a neighbour’s daughter named Kidd Rocc and I was going past the neighbours home and heard this music and it grabbed me like “Rappers Delight” did so I knocked on the door and asked what was playing, Kidd invited me in and told me it was ‘breakdance music’ or music for bopping and the 45 that was playing was Patrick Gammon “T.O.P”, Kidd and I became friends and he ended up giving me the first Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five tape and the Rock Steady Crew tape, he would often come upstairs to the flat I lived in and would say come downstairs I have something for you, and it was a dub of Hip Hop radio show from the States and I was just amazed, it had (from memory) “Rock It”, “Mirda Rock” and some other artists, it was all mixed up and I was just amazed, what was better was when he did me a dub and Kidd said he would get more.
I then started going to the record stores and looking for stuff I heard and got compilations and funk like Prince Charles and The Royal Funk Band (I think) and in 1983 The Uncut Funk Show started on Radio Active 89 FM and every Friday Night I got my fix and taped so many shows (I sadly lost them all in a garage flood once)
W: You have a long history inside the culture, trace back through your past and how you’ve been involved.
J: This will probably sound dumb, but I feel like I was chosen to love and do what I do, to make this short, I always loved DJ’s and radio and music and just followed on from listening and learning to becoming a part of the show I grew up on, see the Uncut Funk Show was what the Wednesday Nite Jam eventually became and the show I was lucky enough to have get passed on to me.(mad love to Big Daddy Cam, Mikey and Vicious)
W: You have to be one of the most knowledgeable people I’ve ever met when it comes to hip-hop, how did that come about?
J: I don’t know T, I think it probably originates from when I was in High School and being the second kid in all of my High School with the most rap tapes (the first was a good friend of mine from Washington DC, and he got tapes from the US every few weeks so he was always going to be first), I have a ton of old Rap Pages, The Source,’s, Rap Sheet’s, URBS, Elemental’s and other magazines from years back and I guess I just took it all in. I was always one of those geeks that would sit and read a tape or CD cover from back to back and knowing more than just the artist and the title was important to me, working in Record Stores expanded my horizons as well and of course the Wednesday Nite Jam show, where I always wanted my shows to be fresh, have the freshest music and be as informative as I could as well as making my shows as soundtracks to a dope party.
W: How was/is working for a radio station?
J: It was dope man, especially the feedback the shows would get after and working with so many different cats and guests over the years, having groups and MC’s freestlye live, kids ringing up and saying what the fuck was that last track?, kids ringing up and asking for requests. The fact that I was getting the authentic Hip Hop shit out there made me proud.
W: Got any tasty stories you can share?
J: Gentlemen don’t tell Travis…
W: Haha, alrighty then. You’ve been involved in a lot of shows down there as well. How was that for you?
J: Incredible, aside from being the support DJ for De La Soul in 2006, the other gig I was really proud of was (well what do you know?) a De La Soul, Stakes is High release party I put on, I got over 500 people that night and I had special Native Tongue shakers and I printed out little spiels about the Native Tongues Collective and also what was in the shakers, I had something like 10 different DJ’s on that night and the bar raked it in, so the manager let me have a Tribe Called Quest party at the same venue, it was good but not as good as the De La show, I’ve played at all kinds of shows, some were great, some I don’t even remember.
W: Biggest assholes?
W: Coolest people to deal with?
J: De La Soul, Flavor Flav, Mr Lif, Aesop Rock Fakts One, most of the local DJ’s,my old crew Ebony Beats & The Jam Squad,Mishk, Silent One, DJ Vee, Steve-O, Mu, Mikki-D The Dancehall Dons..the list goes on and on and on and on…
W: What are your thoughts on the current state of hip-hop?
J: I feel that most of the mainstream shit just has no soul and not what Kool Herc and Afrika Bam cried, sweat and bled for. Money brainwashes people and a lot of is just like a poison, there is more to life than money, I think the flashy videos and “lifestyle” shown just creates envy and hatred and look at how many rappers and MC’s have died over gangster rap…it’s just sickening and it just seems to create clones of clones and clones, in all honest truth I couldn’t give a shit about how many 22′s you have on you car, or how many diamonds you have in your ear, it’s all materialistic bullshit and there is no skill in it, what do you want to be remembered for in Hip Hop?, skills or a fad?
W: Anything you are feeling the last few years?
J: Oh yeah, I’m still and always will be a massive fan of DJ Premier,Marley Marl, EPMD,Pete Rock, Madlib,DJ Mark The 45 King,Blueprint, PUTS,Godather Don, Oh No, J Dilla (R.I.P.),Large Pro,DJ Przm (R.I.P.), Prince Paul,ED O.G, Hobo Junction, RZA, Da Beatminerz,Freestyle Professors, Dooley-O, Screwball, Grap Luva, Kev Brown, Beatnuts, DITC,Edan,Def Jux, Soulsides…oh the list goes on and on
W: You and I first met on the Cocaine Blunts forums, where I think both of us, or least I have, acquired a large amount of material that we both have shared on our blogs. How do you think the internet has played a role in the evolution of hip hop….both as far the history and legacy and the current state?
W: What’s your thoughts on the quality of Hip-Hop coming out of New Zealand and Australia? How does it differ from the music coming out of US or even Europe?
J: It’s just different because we grow up in different surroundings and environments,Hip Hop is seen differently by others and really it’s the same as the US and the UK, there is some really dope material, but there is also some bullshit.
W: What made you want to start a blog?
J: Yours and the fact that I was putting up so many compilations at other forums and getting private messages to re up them a lot, but also the fact that us lucky kids can get pretty much anything online and all of the music sitting in my CD folders and on my hard drive (I will get my vinyl back soon) that was just sitting there and needed to be shared for those that might not have heard it before, or for us old heads to take trips down memory lane to.
W: You have a different format than most blogs in that you don’t offer full albums, you go with compilations. I always thought that is more challenging since kids are so “completist” when it comes to albums, yet you make it work, why do you think so?
W: Whats the most rewarding experiences from doing your blog?
J: Pretty much what I mentioned before, the people I meet and the kids that leave great comments and especially when the artists or producers e-mail me personally to thank me, being linked to great websites and blogs and getting mentioned, people appreciating what I upload and the effort I put into my blog, sorry if that comes off as arrogant.
W: Enough about the music, lets talk about you, any wifey, kids?
J: Nope, I have met some great Women in the past, but let’s just say I am looking for something special, No kids yet.
W: What do you do when you are not eating, sleeping or shitting hip-hop? Any other hobbies?
J: Haha… I like some TV, I would say The Soup and The Extras and Curb Your Enthusiasm are my favourite shows,I can’t stomach brain dead sitcoms or shows like Sunset Tan, Laguna Beach etc… movies, I like movies, going to live shows,helping my Dad re-build a house, going for walks, catching up friends, shooting hoops (in the summer), drinking, travelling…
W: What dreams and goals do you have? Do you want to continue on in the music field?
J: Of course Travis, I want to work and live in New York or maybe even Canada someday, for a magazine or as an A & R (with no electric guitar…lol) or in promotions or something.
I love writing about Hip Hop, I love doing my blog and as far as I can see, I am still breathing and my heart still beats so I will keep on keeping on.
W: Man, it was a great pleasure talking to you. I have the upmost respect for you, it’s people like you that have made me strive as much as I have.
J: Travis, the honour was all mine good sir, it’s funny how this blog thing can kid of take over your life right?, you get great fans and and you feel like that the next post has to be better than the next one and you just want to keep your fans happy and get more…or something
haha One Love kid