Gangster Boogie, a street hit.
Hip Hop Connection 1994
In 1984, a young West Philly rapper and painter named Schoolly D decided to enter the hip hop expressive world of recording with his encoded message tale, ‘Gangster Boogie.’
Schoolly: "The first 12" I ever did was in 1984. It was called ‘Gangster Boogie.’ It got played here in Philly, Jersey en New York. Eddie B recorded before me in 1983 or 1984. I think Lady B was the first rapper from Philly to record. That was on the Sugarhill label. I went to lady B with my ‘Gangster Boogie’ and she said nobody wanted to hear it. ‘Gangster boogie’ was about getting over, smoking jays and pulling out 8’s and all that.
I sat in her office at WHAT (radio station) and we listened to it. She was kind enough to me. I went to her to see if she would play it, get the exposure. On the flipside is the song called, ‘Maniac.’ It’s more instrumental all the way through. It was like ‘Rockit,’ it got airplay. There was a rap at the end about me and this girl going to bed.... That piece was a hit in the streets even before I released it on wax. We used to make tapes."
Those were the days when you bought tapes on the corner, at the park, at King James, out the back of the car, on the 52 bus or the trolley that ran along Grand avenue. Street entrepreneurs making that money with Parkside Kuts (PSK) Into the brain. Messages aimed to detonate the membrane, schizoid lines edges by the mighty Cheebah. Stress straight (SS) lines encircling the westside station like a VeVe. Up to the park. Running some ball. Performing that urban black ritual in reel time. It had to be real. This is Philly! All we ever kicked was the straight-up filmic scenes with the quickness and blessed assurance. I’m talking about the era of Schoolly D, The Parkside Killers and the ranking, reigning 5-2 Crew. We are Philly!
Schoolly D brought the private mythology, secret dreams, fantasies and rituals of Philly niggas to a largely unsuspecting world. The notion of a Philly blunt in hip hop discourse, has it’s origins in the bold, audacious, street conscious world inhabited and controlled by the pimps, hustlers, K-Mack dudes who, themselves, glimpsed a world so fast, deep and flexible that only they could exist within’ it’s boundlessness. West Philly was the spawning ground for a whole new direction in rap music, in hip hop stylings. That’s why Schoolly D has crazy phat sonic respect in the global hip hop community.
Schoolly’s Gangsta legatees: From Ice T to Geto Boys.
Schoolly: "You get out there, you got money, girls, dope, cars and everything. People put artists in a position not to think. Before I knew it I had broke down everything I learned my whole life." Changes. Overseas. On land. Up the streets and back. Yo! Schoolly has been in that magic space , living and imagining the Gangsta face.
"Ice T. He called me up at my mother’s house over and over again. This is when he heard PSK. He decided to do a West Coast PSK called ‘Six in the morning’... His manager Georgg got my number from the club. I did some clubs in San Francisco and Berkeley. They’re all hooked up out there... I Used to make bookings from my house... So he called me up and started telling me about those movies Ice T played in. He said, I’m going to have him call you.’ Ice called me up and we talked. He called me back about a couple of weeks later and he said he’d recorded the ‘West Coast PSK.’ He played it for me on the phone. I liked it and it came out. I seen him a year ago in Atlanta (1993). He was down there filming Trespass. I was talking there to some young rappers and shit, man.... Ice T came in. To the youngstas all he said was funny. At the end he said if it wasn’t for Schoolly, I would never be here."
"N.W.A. Before they released their first album, they called me up and said they were going to send me some shit. Not ‘Straight outta Compton.’ It was the album before that...I didn’t listen to it. I just put it up. Code, he listened to it. He said, ‘this is getting kind of hype, man.’ Then the Geto Boys. I used to go to Texas all the time. Austin and Dallas were real big. They sent me their stuff. When Eazy E put out his first album, he sent me a copy.’ Nuff Respect!
The 5-2 Crew with Disco Len and DJ Flash.
Back in the hood, brothers know. Memories. Disco Len (Linn Stevens) and DJ Flash (Terry Simmons) go way back: "5-2 Crew: Royal Ron, Disco Dave, Al. Schoolly was the main one to come out of the crew. He made a career out of it. The only thing he changed about Schoolly is that he took his box off (haircut). That was his trademark. His art work is still in the poolroom. We grew up together. He didn’t really join our crew until he came back from Georgia, (Schoolly spent two years of high school in Atlanta).
I remember the first time. He froze on the Mic. We were there on the porch jamming. Everybody knew us from kicking it. We had this brother, Curt, that rapped in Chinese. Rhyming and all. We did something, we partied hard. No messing up. If they knew we were going to be somewhere the crowd was there-We went to block parties. They say, ‘there go the 5-2 crew (52nd street, 52nd and Parkside, Parkside killers). We just call ourselves the 5-2 crew, letting everybody know we’re from 52nd street..." Disco Len: "I stared as the original DJ. I was the one who taught DJ Flash (Schoolly’s original DJ) and Code Money how to spin."
Spinning in that same forever. Going deep inside the Parkside community one immediately appreciated the strong sense of oneness, their own space. Connecting. Remembering. Solidifying. Bonding. But always keeping the slightly Philly style. The way of hanging is ontologically fixed. This is Philly!
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