Schoolly D: The Reservoir Dog
Sitting on the phone from his Philadelphia home Schoolly D is rolling. "Iím starting to feel like George Clinton", he laughs at the irony of the situation heís found himself in, with everyone from the Chemical Brothers to Notorious B.I.G. paying homage, not forgetting Schoollyís own appearance on Mekonís Skoolís out. At this point in time heís more concerned with making final preparations for the video to his last single, to be directed by his long-standing friend Abel Ferrara.
The dream team association which began with Schoollyís theme tune to 1990ís King of New York, through Bad Lieutenant and the closing theme to Ferraraís noir vampire movie, The Addiction has moved to another level with Schoolly D scoring the soundtrack to the auteurís latest The Blackout.
But apparently Ferraraís use of Signifying rapper, a scorching monologue set over the star-strangled banner of Led Zeppelinís Kashmir, went just too far. After withering guitar hero Jimmy Page heard the riff behind the rape scene in Bad Lieutenant he decided to sue. "Iím still paying for that muthafucka" says Schoolly, screwing that the record company didnít clear the mechanicals on the sample in the first place. The settlement may have contributed to the sound of his last album Reservoir Dog (on his own PSK Records) which featured barely a sample in sight and saw Schoolly orchestrating the whole black stew of Gothic keyboards and ĎP-Funky assí beats.
"I play bass, keyboards, program beats," confirms Schoolly whoís also resurrecting his Djing career in and around his Philadelphia hometown. "Iíll play anything. Iíll play fuckiní guitar, Iíd play a violin if I had to. Thatís what the producer does, heíll do everything that heís supposed to do."
While working on his forthcoming album, Schoolly has been rehearsing his preparation for an album and possible live gigs. "we played 3 or 4 gigs last summer," says Schoolly. "People were surprised when I pick up the bass. They were like, ífor a rapper, you play the bass good.í But I donít want it to be like that, so Iíve been practicing for a year. People are going to give me props for making that transition from one thing to the next. If youíre going to say youíre a musician youíve got to play something!"
But then Schoollyís been doing whatever the fuck he wants to ever since he jumped into the party known as hip hop, even if he doesnít know exactly what attracted him to it in the first place. "Fuck I couldnít say. I donít know, man, who wouldnít want to do that? I got caught up in the whole wave. There was just this big fuckiní everlasting party going on. All the fuckiní time. Whoís not gonna get caught up in that?"
"I was doing any fuckiní thing! I was silk-screening T-shirts, hats. Doing walls doors pool-halls. Making mix-tapes, rapping. Doing block parties, basement parties. I was doing everything."
With keenly honed entrepreneurial spirit, Schoolly D started his own record label Schoolly-D Records, sketched the label artwork and sleeves himself and released his best known opus Saturday night. A collision of industrial SP-12 breakbeats, a lick of guitar and Schoollyís laissez-faire flow all contributed to making this celebration of anything and everything a young hood could get up to on a weekend a classic that sill sounds as fresh ten years on.
"These kids theyíre making hits for today, man," Schoolly expounds on the state of hip hop. "They ainít making memories aní shit. I come back to put some memories in the funk, man. When I think about whatís coming out now, ten years later, you ainít gonna give a fuck. Ten years later after PSK, Gucci Time and Saturday night, you put that shit on at any muthafucking party and muthafuckas is grooving to it. Thatís what weíre talking about right now."
Widely perceived as the ĎOriginal Gangsterí Schoollyís inner city rhymes and black power polemics were inflated by his larger-than-life persona and tempered by a self-deprecating humor which was still intact come 1994ís Welcome to America wherein Schoolly railed that "I know President Clinton donít like me cos I wanna hang him like a nigger, FBI canít wait to pull the trigga" on the paranoaic I know you want to kill me.
Above all else Schoolly D, the Reservoir Dog, is a survivor: "The Reservoir Dog is that dog that you see on the corner. He looks cold and hungry and shit. You give him a hot dog and after he eats the hot dog he bites you in the ass," he laughs. "Thatís exactly who the fuck I am! It ainít bullshit, donít bite the hand that feeds you. Stick it out aní youíre gonna get bit around this muthafucka."
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