Volume 10: HEY, MARTIAL ARTS FAN!|
ARE YOU READY TO GET YOUR GUTS KICKED OUT?
THE KUNG FU SPECIAL FEATURING DJ PAUL NICE & DJ CHAN
August 2, 2000
I don't know what it is, but for some reason it seems like hip hop and kung fu movies just go together. The dudes who like to reminisce about spinning on a piece of linoleum out on the ave back in the days will nine times out of ten be the same dudes who can remember sitting in front of the tube on Saturdays eating dry cereal out of the box while buggin' out watching "Super Ninjas" on Channel 5.Me personally, I've always been into the flicks but not really INTO the flicks, ya know? Not on that deep, deep level. So since I've been wanting to do a piece on kung fu, I figured I'd get some experts, DJ Paul Nice and, later in the Who's Who section, DJ Chan, to let us know the deal on this subject.Paul Nice, as you probably know, is not only an avid k.f. flick fanatic, but also the beatmaster behind such classic break records as Fist Of The White Lotus, 5 Fingers Of Death and 14 Cold Blooded Breaks, as well as producing some dope ass hip hop records featuring folks like AG, Master Ace and others. So get ready... The Soulman has just given you a dare! Dare you face the biggest kung fu / beat diggin' blockbuster of them all...
SOULMAN: Rumour has it that you once sold Kung Fu flicks on Times Square! Tell us about that.
PAUL NICE : For a good couple of years in the early 90's I was in fact making myliving selling bootleg kung fu videos. At one point I was selling 'emthrough The Source and that's when shit started to really get out ofhand. One week I had orders for over a hundred fucking tapes and here Iam with two broke ass Montgomery Wards VCRs. It was pretty pathetic. Inever actually owned a store in Times Square or anything like that butoccasionaly I'd sell my copies to stores or be out there on the deucewith my boys Tommy or Tron hawking the flicks street vendor-style. Lookingback, I think I was on some junkie shit with these flicks. I supported myhabit by selling copies of the shit I already had.Heads would come to me 'cause I had rare joints like the English versionof "Shaolin Intruders" (aka "Battle For Shaolin"). I take credit for"bringing that out" sort of the same way Charlie Chase "brought out"(Billy Joel's) "Stilleto"...or was that Flash? I also met a lot of hip hop cats in that scene. Biz, Jeru, Rza and them. Over the years of digging for flicks I had heard of this mysterious cat they called the "Whiz" who apparently hadthe illest collection in New York. One day I finaly meet this guy "Whiz" in alittle video store down in Chinatown. He turns out to be Whiz Kid... oneof my idols coming up as a DJ.We ended up keeping in touch and became pretty good friends. I rememberone time he took me over to Flushing,Queens to go diggin' for flicks... wecame up that day! Whiz passed away a few years back- R.I.P.
SM: I'm surprised that you mentioned "Disco Whiz"- I met him at a show I did with my crew The Devastating Two back in 1985. He was mad cool. I still have the picture with him posing with us. One of the original great deejays that doesn't get mentioned enough when they talk about the all time greats.
PN: Yeah, Whiz was a very cool guy indeed. I regret not staying in touchwith him those last couple of years. I didn't even know he was sick. Ionly found out he died after reading about it in the Source.
SM: So how did you go from selling flicks to deejaying?
PN: I became interested in music and kung fu flicks at around the same time.In 1980, I was in the sixth grade at Poughkeepsie Middle School whichwas predominantly black - and certainly had a lot to do with my musicalinfluence at that time.The shit everybody was listening to was the earlySugarhill stuff, Flash, etc. I remember my sister buying the Rapper'sDelight single with the blue Sugarhill jacket. It's funny 'cause for likea year or so after that record came out, anytime I saw that blue jacketanywhere I would just assume it was Rapper's Delight and pass it overwithout taking a better look at the label. So in other words, all theseother records like "Freedom" and "8th Wonder" were coming out and I'djust ignore em! I first started fucking around on the one and two's acouple years later and would spin parties at our local communitycenters...usually with my partners Disco Tee, Sean Dew or Eddie On Time.Further down the road, after I made a little change selling the flicks, Ibought an AKAI MPC60II drum machine and started making beats. Strictlyon some hobby shit at first.
SM: What gave you the idea to take a stab at making the battle break records?
PN: In '95 my DJ mentor Joey T heard what I was doing with the beats andapproached me about putting out a record. None of us really had any ideahow to go about properly manufacturing and distributing a record of anykind, let alone a break record. Basically we just went ahead and pickedsix beats we both liked, pressed it up and called it "Beats AnonymousVol.1". Looking back, I think the beats on there were better suited foran emcee to flow over than a DJ to get their skratch on, but what thefuck did we know. What happened was there was this one beat on there Idid called "Fists of the White Lotus" that people were feeling. Stretchand Flex would play it on their shows during freestyle sessions and soforth. When I came out to San Francisco soon after, I noticed that the"White Lotus" beat had taken on a life of it's own. Q Bert and them wereusing it constantly in their routines and in their videos so that inturn started a chain reaction with all the turntablist kids activelysearching out the "White Lotus". At this point it had been a couple ofyears since Beats Anonymous Vol.1 and seeing that "White Lotus" was theonly beat on there that wasn't dated and that mad heads were stilllooking for it, I decided to "re-issue" "White Lotus" alongside some newones on "5 Fingers of Death Battle Breaks".
SM: Is there an exact science to how you put together one of these records to make it deejay friendly?
PN: Not really. I did some research before I put out the first "5 Fingers"record by picking up every other battle break record on the market tosee what I was up against. I just try and put out stuff that I'd want tohave myself and just hope that enough people share my tastes.
SM: Your records are "break" records, not "comps"- meaning that you loop and program breakbeats sampled from other records and add sounds for deejays to use as battle tools, rather than just jacking whole songs ala the Ultimate Breaks or Dusty Fingers comps. Is there a big difference between those types of records to you, and would you ever put out a Dusty Fingers-type record?
PN: From a business standpoint there's a huge difference between the two.The kid who likes to cut Bionic Booger Breaks in his bedroom all daymight not give a fuck about a Dusty Fingers record and vise versa. Shit,some of these kids that are skratching these break records don't evenknow it's Peter Piper they're cutting up let alone Bob James! That'stragic. If their hearts are really in it, though, they will search forknowledge. I came up learning about hip hop as a result of UltimateBreaks and Beats and the Octopus joints. Those records laid thefoundation for hip hop music in the mid-late 80's and played a majorrole in revitalizing the sound during a time when shit was starting tosound stale. From those records I'd go searching for the originals andtake it from there. I've never really thought about doing a DustyFingers style comp though it sounds interesting. I read once that LennyRoberts had about 20 more volumes worth of records ready to go! I wonderwhat they were...
SM: The first thing about your joints that stands out would be the ill covers, which are reason enough to purchase the records! Do you design them yourself?
PN: Yes I dooooooooooo!!!!!!
SM: Is that you droppin' the beats on the Five Fingers Of Death Vol. One cover?
PN: Yes it is! And that is a bandana around my neck...not a cape as somehave mistakenly pointed out. In those days, bandanas worn around theneck in such a fashion indicates that you are a swinger. I bet you didntknow that. It's true. Just look at Fred from Scooby Doo.You know he wassticking both of those chicks.
SM: Is Super Breaks Records (love that Shaw Brothers-jacked logo, by the way) going to continue doing strictly battle break records or do you plan on doing other things as well on the label (such as the "Redefinition Of Nice" record)?
PN: Super Breaks will continue to release a new battle/break album every2-3 months. I am in the process of starting another label called StupidFresh which will be my launching pad for singles and other side projectsthat I might be working on. The first single should be out before theend of the summer and will feature a couple of surprise guest emcees overmy beats.
SM: Speaking of "Redefinition Of Nice", how did that whole thing come about? And who are the cats on the cover with you?
PN: I did that single for Bomb Records. I had been on the phone with AG andBig L off and on trying to arrange a project. Well, we all know whathappened with L (R.I.P.), so all of the sudden everything changed. I endedup recording AG with my boy Gennesse who ended up ripping it and thenhad Babu on the cuts. It was a good learning experience for me in that Ilearned what it means to "produce" a record as opposed to just makingbeats. The logistics of that single were pretty crazy actually. I mean, Iflew to New York to get AG's vocals, then came back and recorded Gennesseehere in San Francisco, then I flew the tapes down to LA to have Babu do the cuts,afterwhich I began the process of putting it all together. Probably abit too ambitious for me at the time, but I'm still happy with how itcame out. The sorry looking bastards on the cover are (clockwise fromthe left) myself, Mark G (who's so black they used to call him Dark G),Skid Row the barber, Wendell, Aron and DJ Don. Wendall and Don werefellow DJ's in the Poughkeepsie area. Keep in mind that the picture wastaken in July of 1987, so as you might imagine we've all grown a bit oldand fat since then. Mark G especially.
SM: I noticed a lot of "old school" beats on your records. Is that mainly what you focus on collecting or do you dig for other stuff as well?
PN: I can't front. As far as hip hop goes...I'm stuck in the 80's. Give meone Shante for a dozen Eve's. People think I'm crazy but hey...I like diggin for all kinds of shit. Jazz, Rock, Bossa, Soundtrackswhatever. When it comes to just throwing something on to listen tothough, I LOVE 70's and early 80's Soul. That is my shit. SomeStevie-Curtis-Chaka-Earth Wind and Fire-shit.
SM: Has your collection been swelling now that the break record loot has been rolling in?
PN: Now that "the break record loot is rolling in" I've been gettingre-aquainted with my creditors!
SM: Rumour has it that you're one of the few people who've actually seen Bizmarkie's legendary Bob James "Mardi Gras" 12" without the bells. Can you confirm that this shit actually exists???
PN: While I was staying at Biz's crib down in Maryland to make a record, hedid in fact show me a Bob James yellow label CTI 12' single of MardiGras AND Nautilus. He did NOT, however, play either one. So I supposewhether or not a version of Mardi Gras existing without the bells isstill up for debate. I promise to have him play it for me next time! Iwas a bit overwhelmed with his constant bombardment of rare record afterrare record that it was hard to think clearly. Some 12's he did play forme: "Champ" by the Mohawks, "Misdemeanor"by the Sylvers and "Stiletto" (!) byBilly Joel.
SM: Suppossedly those Bob James 12"s came in a suitcase full of records that CTI gave out as a promotional item back in the 70's...
PN: Biz seems to confirm the whole CTI suitcase storyand even goes so far as to say he has the suitcase! He says it lookslike a Louis Vutton bag and he mentioned the name of the guy from whosecollection he got it from, but his name slips my mind at the moment.
SM: What are some more of Biz's incredible stories that you've heard (and which ones can you confirm are true)?
PN: That's a whole other interview altogether!He recently told me he supplied all the records EPMD used on their firstalbum but didn't want credit cause Marley thought that beats should"stay in the family" (read: Juice Crew).
SM: Who are your main inspirations in what you do?
PN: My family and friends inspire me in everyday life. As far as my musicgoes...there are way too many influences to even begin naming here.
SM: What other Battle Break records are you feelin'?
PN: I like the Dirtstyle stuff. They're always inventive. Of course I gottashout out my man Babs for the Super Duck Breaks. That record helped setit off for battle breaks. I like Dibbs' shit too. Plus Gamblin' Pete's.
SM: You last thunderkicked us with the "14 Cold Blooded Breaks" joint. What's coming next from Paul that's gonna be Nice?
PN: Look out for 5 Fingers of Death Vol.3 out in late August / early September withVol. 4 to hit stores sometime before X-mas. I just finished the titletrack for the Cali Agents' lp "How the West Was Won", as well as a singlecalled "Conflict" featuring Guru and Masta Ace which is off of my boysJoey T and Jay F's upcoming compilation on Empire Recordings. Alsocoming soon is my single with Biz: "La Da Da" on the next Supperrappin'comp and a remix of the Beastie Boy's "Hey Ladies" for their AnthologyDVD which you can peep on their website at www.beastieboys.com.
SM: Businesswise, what's better- selling Kung Fu flicks or selling Battle Breaks?
PN: Battle Breaks, baby...no comparison.
|Paul Nice's Current Top 10:
|1. My Talking Master P Doll |
|2. My English Copy Of "2 FISTS AGAINST THE LAW" |
|3. My Shogun Assassin Soundtrack Album |
|4. My Lupin III Pachinko Machine With Built In Video Slot Screen |
|5. My AKAI MPC60II (Always In My Top 10) |
|6. My Panasonic Portable DVD Player (Anyone Who Travels Even A Little Bit Needs One Of These) |
|7. My Roland VS880ex |
|8. My Brand New Honda Elite80 Scooter (Fuck A Car) |
|9. New Episodes Of OZ (And They're Good For Once!) |
|10. This Grilled Chicken Burrito Which I'm About To Fuck Up... |
SOULMAN: SHIT I'M FEELIN'
BUMPY KNUCKLES: Industry Shakedown LP
Well, it looks like right now either Bumpy or Ghostface is gonna get the Soulman Record Of The Year award, 'cuz somebody's gonna really have to come with it to top this one. Actually, we might as well give it to Bumpy Knux now, cause after hearing this "Industry Shakedown" lp I'm scared to death to give the title to anybody else!!! All jokes aside, when all is said and done, this may go down as one of the better hip hop albums in history... yeah, I know there are a few weak cuts, but Eric B. & Rakim's "Paid In Full" had it's filler as well and it's still recognized as a classic. The point is, the strong songs are mad strong. Every track done by Premier, Pete Rock and Alchemist are certified blazers, and Freddie himself comes just as nicely production-wise on joints like "Inside Your Head" and "The Masters" (featuring MOP, who I always love to hear for the sheer rowdiness). Lyrically Bumpy isn't a tongue twisting, simile spitting, punchline patriarch- he just punches you in the face with lyrics and makes you like it. Unafraid to name names, everybody's fair game to the Foxxx- Nore, Memphis Bleek, Steve Stout, Sylvia Rhome, Lyor Cohen and there are also thinly veiled references to Beanie Siegel, Jay-Z and every other rapper who's claiming thuggism. Despite what may be called by some a serious case of hating, Bumpy Knuckles takes on the industry and beats it black and blue, then shoots it in the head for good measure. As Bumpy himself says it so eloquently, "if you don't like it then f**k you!"
42: Business Deals
The latest ABB future classic, this one with Madlib on the beat- another reworking of the Hair sample that Kutfather and Willie Stubz already flipped in the last few years, but guess what? It's still fresh (another example that you CAN use a beat that's already been used if you know how to put your own spin on it). The rhymes are dope and meld with the track perfectly- a nice example of how hip hop should be done. I'm also feelin' the other 2 cuts on this 3 track single. Unfortunately, so far people have been severely snoozin' on this record... what's wrong with y'all???
WHO'S WHO IN THE WORLD OF...KUNG FU FLICKS?
DJ Chan, Big Chan, Chan Dog
How Did You Get Started Collecting Kung-Fu Flicks?
Back in the early 1980's, my brother and I would watch kung-fu movies and pro-wrestling on TV. USA Network would show joints on Kung-Fu Theater and local stations had the Black Belt Theater packages. We would watch 4 or 5 kung-fu movies every weekend. We did not have a VCR back then, so we could not tape all the kung-fu flicks. In the late 1980's after I had a car and a VCR, I started going to Seattle's Chinatown every weekend and diggin' through all the Chinese video stores. I would rent like 8 or 10 movies a week. These were all new school Hong Kong movies, I could not find many of the old school kung-fu movies that I watched when I was younger. I later discovered that most of the old school kung-fu flicks were never released on video, or if they were it was in very limited numbers and the tapes were very expensive. I continued going to Chinatown and renting all the new school Hong Kong action movies that I could find. Around 1990 I found an ad in an issue of M.A.M.A., a news letter about martial arts movies, for a mail order place in New York called Rough And Rugged. The ad claimed that they sold many of the old school movies that I was looking for. I sent them money for a catalog and was excited to see what they had, but I never got a catalog. So now I'm mad as hell at these Rough And Rugged muthafuckas, but don't know how to contact them. A couple months later, I saw a picture of some old school kung-fu videos in The Source magazine and it listed Rough And Rugged under the picture. There was even a phone number. Word! I'm gonna call these shady cats and get my damn catalog. So I call the number, some guy answers and I start yelling at him about never getting my catalog. The guy says he's sorry and promises to send me a catalog. About two weeks later the catalog finally shows up. It's ill. Mad joints that I've been looking for. I call the guy up and start talking about the flicks. I find out that like me, he also DJ's and makes beats. He seems pretty cool and I'm not so mad at this cat anymore. Turns out this guy is Paul Nice. Paul and I started trading lots of videos and we would talk all the time on the phone, for hours. We would get the crazy long distance phone bills! We'd talk about the flicks, beat diggin', making tracks, all kinds of shit. After that, every time I went to New York, Paul and I would hook up and go down to New York's Chinatown and just bug out! We went through crazy video stores down there and he even showed me the shops where Ultramagnetic MC's and Eric B. and Rakim bought their gold ropes. New York was the Mecca for kung-fu flicks. Cats even had stands set up on the streets outside the subway stations just sellin' old school kung-fu flicks. That shit was wild! 'Cause where I lived it was impossible to find these movies. Around the same time I got to know guys all over the country who had big kung-fu movie collections. We all would trade videos and talk all the time. It was like an underground group of guys that were fanatical about the flicks. Cats like John Grace, Alan Martin, June from Philly, and Golden Harvest Greg from Jersey. All of our collections started to get pretty big. Paul and I are like best friends and still talk about the flicks and music for hours.
Is Digging For Rare Kung-Fu Joints Similar To The Way That People Dig For Beats?
Yes, there are a lot of similarities. Certain old video labels had dope titles. Stuff like Ocean Shores, Inter-Continental, Vista, South Gate, TWE. So you would look for tapes on these labels just like some record labels usually had dope tracks. The way you always keep an eye out for shit on Black Jazz, Groove Merchant, Eastbound, etc. Lots of guys would know of some hot video stores with ill tapes and not tell anyone. Just like you would not tell another DJ if you knew of a spot with lots of ill records. I've spent many hours diggin' through old video stores, getting dusty fingers the same way as when I'm out diggin' for records. Another thing that is similar is where you look for videos. After I had found everything I could in the U.S., I started looking for tapes in other countries. I got a PAL VCR so I could watch tapes from other countries. LOTS of ill titles came out on video, but not in the U.S. I started getting pre-record original tapes of UNCUT SHAW BROTHERS JOINTS! I started going crazy looking for tapes all over the world. I was buying tapes from places like England, Germany, The Netherlands, South Africa, etc. I was also trading tapes with a lot of guys in those countries. Big shout out to my man Flash Legs Pete in London. I also started diggin' through Korean and Japanese video stores. The crazy shit is that I was in Hong Kong in 1992 and I thought I was gonna come up on all kinds of rare tapes, but it was WACK! They had NO rare joints. All the people in Hong Kong consider the classic kung-fu movies as old and boring, a phase that their film industry went through. They were all busy watching new Hong Kong movies and dumb ass Hollywood American movies. The video stores in Hong Kong were a HUGE disappointment. I've probably got more classic kung-fu movies than anyone in China. Another similar element, and a negative one, is bootlegs and re-issues. There are currently a lot of kung-fu movies being released on video under titles like the Wu-Tang Collection, The Brooklyn Zoo Collection, etc. These are all wack bootlegs that are re-titled and are cut. These tapes are bad quality and should be avoided. On the other hand, it is very difficult to obtain the original videos of these films. Buy at your own risk.
Who Are Rour Favorite Studios, Producers, Directors, etc.?
Shaw Brothers Studios filmed the greatest kung-fu movies ever. The Shaw films featured lavish costumes, intricate indoor and outdoor sets and complex plots. I am a fanatic when it comes to Shaw Brothers films. Many of the Shaw films were based on classic Chinese literature and contained historically important characters of Chinese history. I love these films because of the historical and political content. I have a degree in Asian Studies and covered much of the subject matter of these films while in school. The Shaw films also include the best fight choreography. My favorite director, Liu Chia-Liang, introduced real kung-fu techniques in the way of animal forms in fighting in Shaw films of the mid 1970's. Liu Chia-Liang was a legitimate kung-fu master and brought his knowledge into the films. Prior to his films, kung-fu movies featured straight kicks and punches. The earlier films lacked the intricate nature of Liu's authentic kung-fu fight sequences. Golden Harvest studios also made great movies starring guys like Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Frankie Chan, etc. Golden Harvest made the best non-Shaw films. The other independent studios produced films with good fighting, but lacked complex plots, costumes and sets. Good independent films were stuff like 7 Grandmasters produced by Joseph Kuo and anything done by the Yuen brothers like The Buddhist Fist and Dance of the Drunk Mantis.
Who Are Your Favorite Actors/Performers (And What Are Some Of The Flicks They Can Be Seen In)?
Favorite actors are the Venoms, Gordon Liu, Wang Lung-wei, Fu Sheng, The Yuen Brothers, John Liu, Tan Tao Liang, Ti Lung, Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, Liang Jai-Ren, Casanova Wong, Angela Mao, Lilly Li, Wei Ying-Hung, Chen Kuan-Tai, Jet Li. There are lots of others I like, but these are my favorites. Good Venoms movies to see are Invincible Shaolin or Kid With The Golden Arm. Treasure Hunters stars Gordon Liu, Fu Sheng and Wang Lung-Wei. Dragons Forever is dope and has Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung. Avenging Eagle is ill, it stars Ti Lung and Fu Sheng. My Young Auntie starring Wei Ying-Hung is real cool. She is my favorite female star of kung-fu movies. She posed for playboy in the early 1990's and I got a couple of nice big books from Hong Kong that have all her nude photos in them, they are REAL DOPE! I sent one of the books to Paul Nice and he went fuckin' bananas! He hid the book in his room so his room mates would not find it.
Any Strange Stories About Deals You've Made Or Lengths You've Had To Go To Get A Rare Movie?
About six years ago, I found out that some rare Shaw Brothers movies had been released on video in Korea. Of course I had to have all the originals and luckily there is a large Korean community where I live. I went and dug through every Korean video store in town and finally found a spot that had older tapes. The only problem was that the Shaw films were in boxes that had Korean titles and often had pictures from other films on the cover. I found a tape that had Gordon Liu on the cover and rented it. They gave me a copy of the video and the original stayed on the shelf. Korean video stores always rent you copies and will never sell their originals. I went home and put the tape in and found out that it was the super rare Master Killer Part 3 - Disciples of the 36th Chamber! I bugged out! I went back to that store for weeks and rented almost every tape on that video label that looked like it could be a kung-fu movie. I found ten more super rare Shaw films. Since I had been going to the store for weeks I had built up a little trust with the owners. I always said hello and thank you in Korean and always took the tapes back on time. I had written down the titles of the Shaw joints in Korean so I could find them again. When I first started going there I asked them if I could buy the originals and they said no. I asked them a couple of months later and to my surprise, they sold me all the Shaw Brothers originals for $10.00 each! I got crazy joints like Opium and the Kung-Fu Master, Return of Bastard Swordsman, Lover's Blades, Secret Service of the Imperial Court, etc. I went back there a few months later and saw that new people were running the place. I asked this young guy there what happened to the people that used to run the store. He looked at me funny and said "Do you know where they are?" I said "No, man, what's the deal?" He said that if they ever came back here they might get killed! You see, in Korean communities the businesses often pool money together to loan to themselves and new Korean immigrants. The money is used to set up new businesses or improve existing ones. It is kind of like their own credit unions because banks won't loan money to people who are new in the country with no credit history. The people who used to run the video store borrowed mad cash, thousand and thousands of dollars, from Korean businesses in the area and just left. I told the kid they sold me a bunch of Shaw Brothers originals and he started trippin.' He said they must have sold me the originals because they knew that they were gonna bounce. Then this kid wants to buy the originals back from me!
What's Better: Getting An Ill-Ass Kung-Fu Flick Or Hittin' A Nice Piece Of Ass?
That's a tough one, but it's getting an ill-ass kung-fu flick. I know it ain't cool to say this in the Y2K big pimpin', playa, bling-bling era, but I'm very happily married and have been with my wife for nine years. So I'm all about the ill-ass kung-fu flick. Even if I was not married, I'd be about the ill-ass kung-fu flick. You can have sex anytime, but you rarely find an ill-ass flick.
How Do The New School Cats Compare To The Old School Ass-Kickers In Kung-Fu?
No comparison, the old school cats win this one. The old school guys like Ti Lung, Gordon Liu, The Venoms, etc. have much more charisma and screen presence than the new guys. The stories of the movies and the way they were filmed had a lot to do with it. The characters in the old school films were much more heroic and loyal. They were down for their boys no matter what. On some straight to the death shit. Watch any Cheng Cheh-directed Shaw film and you can see real examples of this. Another reason old school cats are better is the fact that you can see what they were doing in a fight scene. The old school fight scenes were shot with wide angles and minimal editing allowing the viewer to see all of the movements involved in the fight choreography. The new school fight scenes have rapid camera zooms in and out of the fight area and fast editing that just focuses on hands and feet. The way these new fight scenes are filmed make it difficult to see what is really going on between the two people involved in a fight. There is also too much wire work involved in the new films. I don't care how long you have studied kung-fu, you are not going to be able to jump twenty feet in the air. A little wire work is ok here and there, but the newer films overdo it.
Is Bruce Lee Really Dead, Or Is He Somewhere On An Island Sippin' Henny With Elvis And Tupac?
Sadly, Bruce Lee really is dead. I had dinner with Linda Lee and all of Bruce's original students here in Seattle two years ago. The dinner was to commemorate the 25th year anniversary of Bruce Lee's death. They were all very nice people. I hold a great deal respect for Bruce Lee and what he was able to accomplish in his life. Bruce and Brandon are buried here in Seattle. I visit Bruce's grave every year on his birthday. I wish Bruce was still around so he could take out all these suckas like Chuck Norris, Van Damme and Segal.
Did You Like The Jet Li Flick "Romeo Must Die"?
I did not even see this movie. I can't fuck with these new films. These are just sorry exploitation movies that are trying to cash in on America finally accepting Asians as legitimate action movie stars. For years Jackie Chan was one of the biggest movie stars in the world, but xenophobic America was not showing his films in the theaters. When I first met my wife, after she had moved here from Japan, she could not believe that Jackie Chan was not a big movie star here. Now that hip-hop and Asian action stars are mainstream they are combining the two and creating ridiculous movies. Jet Li and Aliyah with a DMX Ruff Ryders soundtrack. I was laughin' when I saw the previews. There is an interesting time correlation between hip-hop and kung-fu movies, 1993 was the last year that was good for both. Kung-fu films became wack and so did hip-hop.
Have You Met Any Notable Hip-Hop People Through Trading Kung-Fu Movies?
I have met all kinds of cool people through trading kung-fu movies and some of them are hip-hop cats. I trade with DJ Cash Money, Biz Markie, Lord Finesse, Rob Swift, Big Daddy Kane. I even got a bunch of tapes from Phil the Soulman! It's cool cause whenever these guys come through town on tour we hook up and go record shoppin', go get dinner, just bug out. Biz just came through on the Spit Kicker tour and was playin' crazy old school hip-hop cuts I'd never heard. My man Mr. Supreme and I were sittin' in Biz's hotel room listenin' to these Slick Rick joints that never got released. We were trippin'. Rob Swift sent me MAD DJ battle videos, all the old seminar battles and shit. Finesse sent me all this crazy shit he did that only came out in Japan. Finesse is mad cool. I've gotten all kinds of ill stuff through trading tapes.
What's The Best Place You Know (That You Don't Mind Mentioning) For Buying?
Sad to say, but there are no spots left. The Chinese community has embraced the VCD and DVD format and forgotten about tapes. Video rental shops are pretty much gone in all. So if you did not dig through em' a few years back, forget it. A few old school are coming out on VCD subtitled and on DVD in English, but not a lot. Best bet is find someone with a big collection and get copies from them. These days any rare flicks I get are all from Europe or Africa, ex-rental tapes and shit. You can find stuff on eBay, I know there are a couple spots up in Harlem still sellin' flicks. You can try your luck with the bootlegs comin' out. I still sell tapes and have a pretty good selection. Anyone who is interested can email me their postal mailing address and I'll send them a catalog.
What Would You Consider The Ultimate Kung-Fu Joint In Your Collection?
That is a tough question. It would be something like the widescreen uncut English version of Fists Of The White Lotus and the uncut version of Legendary Weapons Of Kung-Fu. Those are two of my favorite movies.
What's The Most You've Ever Spent On A Movie?
I spent $65.00 each for pre-record originals of 8 Diagram Pole Fighter(uncut) and Return to the 36th Chamber. These were the rare Dutch originals.
Can You Yourself Kick Ass Like Gordon Liu?
Usually no, I'm a very peaceful person. But if someone were to get in my way of catchin' a dope record or an ill kung-fu flick, I might have to break out the Drunk Mantis style and fuck em' up.
What's The Number One Flick On Your Want List Right Now?
The Flying Guillotine Part 2 starring Ti Lung and any Shaw film in English that I don't have.
How Many Movies Do You Have, And Can I Have Any Of Them?
I have around 500 kung-fu joints and lots of other Hong Kong and Japanese movies. I also collect Italian Westerns and now I'm looking for footage of R&B/Soul groups from the 70's, blaxploitation flicks and old school hip-hop footage. Since you are the Soulman and we're cool, I'll send you copies of whatever you need. Just don't get funny and ask for any of my originals.
Anyone who wants a catalog of kung-fu movies or is interested in trading can email DJ Chan at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A-ight, we're running over our allotted space here, so let's wrap it up. The E-mail Must Go Through and Soul Notes will return next time. Don't forget to check for my column in Big Daddy magazine, and also don't sleep on the beatdigging article my man Joe Allen did for To The Quick, it's essential reading (for more info, contact Joe at jxabx@sprintmail. And Soulman World Of Beats tape Vol.4 (better known as "Neva Stop Diggin'") is coming! I know I've been saying it for awhile now, but it's almost done and it's bizarre. Stay tuned for more info.
Soulman World Of Beats
Philadelphia, PA 19119
e-mail the Soulman