Volume 13: Buckwild Style
April, 1995

Previously Unavailable!
It's Just A White Bar

        On a recent record expedition down in Baltimore, Maryland, I had the pleasure of meeting real Hip-Hop's hottest producer/remixer of the moment, the Boogie Down Bronx's one and only Buckwild. Starting out as a street deejay and building his reputation with type butta tapes, the next level was fat production on projects by O.C., Brand Nubian, Funkdoobiest, Organized Konfusion, The Artifacts, and many others. Upcoming flavor includes tracks for Mic Geronimo, Kool G Rap , Black Sheep, Mad Skills, and Big L, so be on the lookout.

        Chillin' with Buckwild in Baltimore and then talking to him on the phone a few days later, it was clear to me that the brother embodies what Hip-Hop really should be but very rarely is in 1995. Check the conversation:

Soulman: Yo, how'd you like that show down in Baltimore?
Buckwild: Ehh, it was ah-ight. It wasn't the Roosevelt.

S: Naw, naw. I wasn't expectin' it to be all that much anyway.
B: I expected it to be a lot different, man.

S: What, you thought it was gonna' be mostly soul?
B: Yeah, soul and a lot of obscure rock. It was just a lot of regular shit.

S: True. How was y'all's trip back?
B: These brothers got lost!

S: Oh, get outta' here! Word?
B: Yeah, man! We left y'all at 4:30, and I got home at 11.

S: Damn! Y'all was on 95, right?
B: I think they got on 295.

S: Oh no. That's why.
B: I woke up, and I was like, "Yo, man, you're goin' the wrong way!"

S: Damn. All right, well let's get into the basics. Tell me how you got started with deejaying, the mix tapes and all that.
B: Well, that just came from regular shit. A brother always used to deejay, knowum sayin'? I used to deejay when I was a little kid, then I stopped. I got back into it when my peoples pumped me up to do it. You know, like, "Yo, you can do that." This is before it became real big.

S: Do you still make tapes?
B: I'm trying to get back into it. I took off for almost a year.

S: I guess there isn't much time now, what with doing all the producing?
B: Oh yeah, no doubt.

S: How did you make the transition from making tapes to getting into actual production?
B: It's kind of similar. Only thing is, now you're constructing music yourself instead of taking a record and mixing it with something else. But I always liked music: I knew beats when I was a little kid. So it wasn't like I had no knowledge. I knew things, and my friends helped me out. Showbiz showed me how to get right back into the swing.

S: You were a member of the D.I.T.C. (Diggin' In The Crates) Crew and then you started your own thing, Still diggin'?
B: Oh no, we're all still members. Even though Lord Finesse got Funkyman Productions, Diamond got his, Showbiz got Showbiz Productions, that's just a company to do business under. The Crates is still an actual crew.

S: Do any other producers out there give you your inspiration?
B: I listen to Primo's stuff, Show, Diamond, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Large Professor, and Monche from Organized Konfusion. He got some fat shit.

S: I read somewhere that Monche did the beat for O.C.'s "Time's Up," but I thought that was your production.
B: Monche and them were gonna use the beat on their album, but they didn't. So we hooked it up and we used it.

S: When we were down in Baltimore I think I heard you talkin' about how a little while ago labels weren't giving you any work, and now your phone is ringing off the hook.
B: It's hard when you first start out. You gotta' prove yourself, they wanna' hear what you can do. Once people hear it and they're likin' it, they'll say, "All right, let's see what else he can do." As time goes by, if you haven't gone gold or platinum they'll give you the benefit of the doubt. They'll be like, "Well, if we would've had that, we could've made that record into something."

S: It's gonna' be hard because I know most of these A&R's don't Really know nothing about street music.
B: Oh, no doubt, B. You hit that on the nose. I was talking to one guy, and he said he didn't want any East Coast producers to do anything on this album, and that he has no respect for them. In the long run he's only dissin' himself because you never know what the future holds or what people are gonna' be liking in the next six months. He knows who he is. He's putting his foot in his mouth by saying that. That's just like slappin' your moms in the face. How can you dis the person who gives birth? You gotta' give credit where credit is due.

S: Are you ever tempted to just sample P-Funk type shit and try to go quadruple platinum?
B: I don't think I'd ever sample anything that's P-Funk. But sometimes you might hear something you like that wasn't a big hit -- but a down-low ghetto hit like when we used "Risin' To The Top" (on O.C.'s "Born To Live")... I was like, "Yo, if I chop this part up real different..." 'cuz it's not a loop. You got to take the pieces and put it together.

S: Yeah, I did that too. I took it, and I saw that it was three different parts...
B: Nah, it's more than three.

S: Huh? [I did it with three!]
B: I took like six 'cuz I kept catchin' it from the snare.

S: Oh, word? Okay.
B: Sometimes things like that [that aren't so easy] might give you a little challenge. But nowadays it seems like if you don't get that hit, you might just have to [use something familiar] just so people will look at you. Then you can give them what they want. Definitely, respect goes to brothers like Primo 'cuz he's been the same way for years. I tell him all the time that it's a shame that people are just waking up and realizing that he got the ill shit now. So I guess if you keep your originality, your time will come.

S: What do you think the future looks like for producers who sample?
B: It's gonna' continue because ever since back in the days in Hip-Hop, one of the fascinations has been the beats the brothers can come up with, and true Hip-Hop people know that. Back in the days people wasn't bringing instruments out to the park to rhyme with. I was talkin' to Fab [Five Freddy] this morning, he was talkin' about back when brothers used to cut up records and get on the mic and show their real skills. It used to be like "Mardi Gras," "Substitution," "Impreach The President," Spoonie Gee, brothers rockin' off of that. You know how that shit go.

S: That's what I want to see more of. Yo, so let's get into the records a little bit. How big is your collection?
B: Oh, lemmee see...about 40 crates. And those are only beats, not deejay records, 'cuz I collect them as well.

S: Is there any type of music you collect more than others?
B: Nah, it don't matter as long as it's funky. No discrimination: Spanish, African, Japanese... if it's funky I want to get it.

S: Who are your favorite artists from back in the days?
B: Damn, that's a hard question, B! There's so many dope artists that were out, there's really not a favorite. A brother just appreciates the music as whole.

S: When you're looking through the records that you might not be familiar with, do you look for certain songs like "Get Out My Life Woman?"
B: Sometimes. But most of the time when I'm diggin', it's just something about a record. You might look at a cover and there might be a certain energy about it that makes it look interesting. You'll be like, "Yo, let me check this out 'cuz there might be some shit on it." Sometimes when you got that feel, you might be right. Sometimes you might be cold and you might be wrong. It's all a matter of taking a chance. We all know shit and say, "I'm looking for Skull Snaps 'cuz such and such used it" or whatever. But we all want to find our original shit that we'll be known for. That's what Hip-Hop lacks now, the originality.

S: A lot of people I know don't even look for drum loops no more.
B: Yeah, they just take 'em off the next brother's record! They be like, "Paul used the Wynder K. Frog on 'Halftime' and he left it open, so I'm a take it." Skull Snaps, we can take that right off of Organized Konfusion. Now brothers look at it like they're just in it for the loot. You can be in it to get the money and still have fun and put your heart into it.

S: Getting back to that "Get Out Of My My Life..." you got a lot of versions of that?
B: Yeah, I got a few. Funny you say that. I'm looking at The Mad Lads shit right now.

S: Yeah. You got The Fireballs? George Semper?
B: Yeah. Jimi Hendrix, Stainless Soul, Solomon Burke... people don't even look for the original album.

S: Yeah, they just get it off the breakbeat record...

This Month's Beats-To-Catch:
1."8:15" - The Guess Who
2."Come In Out Of The Rain" - Parliament
3."If You Want Me To Stay" - Johnny Houston
4."Good News" - The 5th Dimenstion
5."I Turned You On" - Baby Cortez
6."Tulsa Turnaround" - Kenny Rogers
7."September 13th" - Deodato
8."Honey Bee" - The New Birth
9."New Dance Craze" - The 5 Stairsteps & Cubie
10."I'm Funky" - Grootna

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