Always Funky Fresh

Sixty took it back today so I’ll follow suit.
The year was 1984.

The place Brooklyn, NYC. Flatbush.

It was about 8:30 or 9pm EST. I just finished watching Diff’rent St.rokes and raced to my room. Walked past the Dave W.infield poster, past the poster of Salt-N-Pepa that I got from Word Up Magazine.

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Jumped over the shell top Adidas with the fat laces to get to one thing….

The radio a.k.a MY BOX.

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Walked over to my leather bomber with the faux fur around the hood, reached in the pocket and pulled out a fresh new TDK tape. Not 60 minutes. No no. This joint was 90 minutes and it was the clear joint.

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Took the cover off and put it in my box.

Turned it on. Flipped to the station. 107.5 WBLS. Time for Mr. Magic to have a Rap-Attack. That’s side one of my tape.

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Side 2. That was reserved for the man that goes berserk. His name — DJ Red Alert on 98.7 Kiss FM.

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I’m ready to roll. I got my finger on the buttons. You know which buttons I’m talking about. On some radios, you had to push the Red “RECORD” button. Others, you had to push the RECORD and PLAY buttons at the same time. But you were nice with it. You knew when to hit pause because the DJ was about to start speaking. Or if you didn’t catch it and the voice recorded, as soon as they went to commercials, you hit rewind to the point in the tape right before they spoke. Then you hit PAUSE. That’s where the new recording would begin.

On that night though, I heard a song that was unlike anything I had ever heard before. Ever. Sure I was a fan of rap music. Sugar Hill and Grandmaster Flash or Furious Five. In those days, you had to have a name that indicated how many were in your crew. Like Funky Four +1.

So I hear this song and I can’t quite place why it’s giving me the chills but it did. See it didn’t have the typical break beat that the other songs had. It didn’t incorporate the “electric digital like” sound that others had. The beat was like hip hop and rock fused into one but the bass line was pure hip hop. It was crazy.

After I recorded it, I called my best friend. Asked him if he heard it. He did. He even recorded it and by the next day, we knew the lyrics. Word for Word. We were outside, no laces in the Adidas, leather bombers, under Hector’s window, gathered in a circle reciting the rhymes. Acting like we were them. I wonder if they realize how much they influenced a generation. Probably not. You typically don’t know until it’s over. Weeks later, we stayed up late and saw the video on Hot Tracks with Carlos DeJesus.

But that’s the essence of it. That was the beauty of music in that era, before it became corporate cause don’t front, hip hop is as corporate as white shirts, red ties and racism. This was a part of the foundation for music and for me.

When LL couldn’t live with out his radio – Neither could I.

When LL needed love – so did I.

This group, these guys became my favorite group (until Tribe came out). But they are still at the top in my opinion.

By the way, if you listen closely – 2nd verse to be exact, you’ll hear how I came up with my name.

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~ by alwaysfunkyfresh on February 12, 2008.

8 Responses to “Always Funky Fresh”

  1. brooklyyyyyyyyyn
    man im lovin the visuals and thanx for takin it back

  2. Always Funky Fresh could never be stale…………Flashback day!!! Love it.

    Do you know that DMC works out at my gym once in a while? YUP!

  3. And you named Hot Tracks, Mr. Magic, Red Alert, WBLS, Kiss FM and Carlos DeJesus in one post? LMAO! You have a gift Fresh.

  4. SON!!!!!! you too me BACK! gotta love it!!! and I knew where you got your name from.. I’m from BK what! LOL

  5. Oh Dayum! There was nothing like a fresh TDK tape. I still got pause tapes I made from the Saturday night mix shows back in the day.

  6. Great post Fresh! I just found some of my old TDK tapes while cleaning out a closet at my mom’s… Talk about MEMORIES. BTW- love the new pic up there. Fired up!

  7. whoooooooose houuuuuuuuuuuuse?? ruuuuuuns houuuuuuuuuuse! why has pep chopped her nose up like that? it really looks horrid now.

  8. Word!

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