In My Write Mind
Excuse me as I get misty for a moment. It happens every time I hear the song. You know the one...by the Native Tongues, i.e., De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and the Jungle Brothers. The one where Monie Love and Queen Latifah make cameos that set the party off. The one that sounds like one of the greatest studio sessions ever.
Yup. That's the song. The "Buddy" remix. In my opinion, one of the greatest hip-hop songs ever made. And also one of the most important, if only because it solidified the Native Tongues as a unit well before Tribe's Scenario remix propelled them into the stratosphere.
"Buddy" was, and still is, da shit.
And to think, back then, in 1989, when they were getting things in order to record the remix, back when I was a naive young rapper just out of high school trying to make my mark in the industry, serving as a backup dancer for Dr. Dre and Ed Lover road shows at Green Acres and Roosevelt Field Malls, you'd never believe that I had a chance to be a part of one of the greatest collabo records ever made. Yup. Me. A kid from Queens who was struggling to follow in the footsteps of legends like Run DMC and LL Cool J. After giving my demo to any and everybody I came across, I finally got it in the hands of Trugoy of De La. And he liked my flow so much that they decided to give me a shot on a little remix they were doing called "Buddy." I was a fresh voice. I was different. I was a potential NATIVE TONGUE!!!
I was lingual, yo.
When I got the call, I was hyped. Ok, actually, hyperventilating is a better description. LOL They told me I had 16 bars and told me to listen to the original version to get a taste on how the song would flow. Told me to bring the fire, and that there was no real structure. And I was ready to bring the pain. 3 Feet High and Rising was my favorite album. The cut "Potholes in My Lawn" was the soundtrack to many a basketball game as my crew wrecked shop. The cut "Me, Myself and I" was my absolute favorite joint. These guys were my idols. A different type of group--a laid back collective from the suburbs that kept it real. It was a perfect fit!
My only regret is, before I headed to the studio, I let some of my friends listen to the verse I was gonna drop. And they critiqued it. Harshly. Told me to add a word here or there, to drop this phrase and replace it with that, and to change my original inflection to sound more "relatable." I was like, this is rap. I'm not auditioning for voice over work. LOL So I stuck to my guns. Was gonna do it my way. Besides, that's the style that made them notice me in the beginning. Why should I change?
Finally, the day comes. I get to the studio and look around. There were no craft service tables. No sodas. Just a water cooler and some Dixie cups, the smell of weed and a big ass booth where all the artists would record their parts. After gandering at the booth, I turned around. Oh shit, it's the Jungle Brothers. Oh sniddap, it's Phife and Tip! Yoooooooo...that's fuckin' Queen Latifah, headdress and all. LOL I was in hip-hop heaven. And there was a straight up party going on in the studio that night. Jokes, jokes and more jokes. I just got in where I fit in...which was in the corner of the room.
I was even more hyped (read: hyperventilating) now. Ready to let loose a barrage of verbs and adjectives that would place my tongue with the Natives. I went over my verse in my head over and over again (couldn't bring no paper...didn't want the rest to think I was a rookie...lol), ready to step into the booth and make some history. So after going to the bathroom (several times...nerves) and getting introduced to everybody (one more bathroom trip after THAT), it was my turn to step into the booth.
My verse was to follow the verse that ended with "without Buddy I'd be on a roll..." And I was flowing, rocking back and forth, getting in tune with the beat, just one with the music. And I missed my cue. Just.plain.missed.it. The studio engineer yelled CUT.
Asked me if I was OK.
I was busy clapping, listening to the track and bobbing my head.
"Huh? Yeah, I'm fine."
"That was your cue to do your verse."
"Oohhhhh...my bad. OK, I'm ready now. Roll that back."
So they roll back the track, play the last verse over again, and it comes up again...
"without Buddy, I'd be on a roll..."
My time to shine. And I start my rap. Off beat. Wayyyyyyy off beat. You know why? Because I start doing the "Uhhh...yeah...Come on..." I was Puffy before his time. The director yells, CUT!
"What was that?"
"I'm sorry. I was just feeling the beat, warming myself up. Getting myself hyped."
"Nigga, you do that on your own time. Just spit your verse and get out da booth!"
"OK, OK. I got dis. One more time. I'm ready now."
"...without Buddy, I'd be on a roll..."
"It's the Biscuit, don't risk it, just see what I'm about/Come and
I DID IT! I LAID DOWN MY VERSE! I was DONE! AND IT WAS HOT!!! Afterwards, everybody was giving me dap and, in between their pulls on the blunts, told me that my future was bright. They didn't hate, they congratulated. I was on Cloud Nine! I got respect from the people that I admired. Got validation and was on my way to a hot career.
Or a hot breakfast...because that's all I can remember from that dream. Seems I woke up after that part and had to go to the bathroom. Sigh.
I mean, sure it was all a dream, but dammit...the verse was still hot. LOL
And at least I know now that, if I were ever given a chance to get up in the booth, I'd be no joke. Hell, I'd be good!
Yup, in my dreams...my tongue would be Native.
"I'd be on a roll..." Sigh. Somebody pass me a tissue.
scribbled by Will at 5/18/2005 08:19:00 AM
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I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)
The Write One
Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971. Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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