Armed with a crew of ill MCs, an arsenal of hot beats from legendary producers (Pete Rock, Large Professor, 9th Wonder, and Da Beatminerz), and a faithful following of fans, Brooklyn-based crew Boot Camp Clik has declared war on the establishment of hip-hop. Unlike that other war you may be familiar with, nobody is questioning the abilities of Boot Camp's leadership. The group, led by Black Moon MC and Duck Down Records co-founder Buckshot (the voice behind "Buck Em Down" and "How Many MCs"), has deployed its troops for a 35-city tour to promote a new album, The Last Stand, which hit stores in July. Despite a busy schedule, Buckshot found enough time to get out of the trenches for a talk with Outtakes:
Outtakes: When you and Dru-Ha decided to start the BCC, what were your expectations for the future?
Buckshot: We're just looking to have a successful run. We knew going in we had our backs against the wall. We were trying to compete with the major labels with all of their resources.
Buckshot and the rest of the Boot Camp Clik
How did the two of you meet?
Dru was doing promotions at my old label, Nervous, and he was the only one over there who seemed to have a passion for this hip-hop like me. When I left Nervous, the two of us connected and started the management team and then, from there, the label.
What's the secret to keeping a crew this big together for so long?
I don't even know. I have no idea how we have been able to do this. There really is no secret to this; it's just kind of stayed together. We have a real family atmosphere here, and I know everyone says that, but it's true. We really don't have a label vibe to us at all.
Does a Boot Camp show involve every member? Are all of you out on the road together right now?
We brought everyone because we know this is crunch time for us, so we had to bring out the ball players who we could count on in the clutch to perform. This rap game is like the NBA; we've got a successful franchise. We've been to the finals a few times, but we never got that championship ring. I feel like we are one or two good plays away from bringing home a championship, though. We just need the right coach major label distribution.
You've have never had major label distribution?
We've been at this for 13-plus years without any major label distribution. I'm an independent artist, but not by choice. We've been successful without shipping hundreds of thousands of records and have still remained relevant. Imagine what we could do with a major behind us. Tim Hammill
Buckshot and the rest of the Boot Camp Clik perform Wednesday, August 9, at Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $12. Doors open at 9 p.m. with opening act the Fresh Air Fund. Call 954-727-0950, or visit www.jointherevolution.net.
Bring the Noise (Back)
If they ever again shoot a capsule into space containing artifacts designed to explain life on Earth to other worlds, they'll have to make room on board for all 12 volumes of Hip-Hop Essentials. It's hard to imagine a better explanation of hip-hop for an alien culture. Covering the years between 1979, when "Rapper's Delight" introduced the new sound to much of the nation, until 1991, the year before the music went mainstream and never looked back, these 144 songs offer an unparalleled crash course in hip-hop history. Think of an important hip-hop track from this era and chances are it's on one of these CDs.
"Anyone who doesn't have this in their collection, their collection isn't complete. And I don't mean hip-hop collection; I mean music collection," says Tom Silverman, founder of pioneering hip-hop label Tommy Boy and the force behind this compilation, which began appearing late last year. (The final volumes are now in stores.)
Forget explaining hip-hop to aliens. Silverman is faced with a tougher job: trying to explain it to today's young fans, who think "old school" means Nas, Jay-Z, and Snoop. Silverman says he undertook the project after becoming concerned that the media aren't doing much to keep the record straight about hip-hop's origins. "I'd been really worried, because I'd been going to these VH1 Hip-Hop Presents events," Silverman says. "And it seems to me that they're rewriting hip-hop history in a different way than how it happened."
Each album features a cross section of releases, so you'll find, for example, a number-one smash like Tone-Loc's "Wild Thing" alongside an obscure old-school classic such as Masterdon Committee's 1982 single "Funk Box Party."
The series features rare photos from hip-hop's past, and the liner notes are penned by music's top chroniclers: authors Nelson George, Jeff Chang, Greg Tate, and Brian Coleman, whose introduction to Volume Five disdains clichés about the kinder, gentler hip-hop of the old days, which, he goes on to say, made songs like Public Enemy's "Bring the Noise" the perfect antidote.
"It's overdue," legendary DJ Red Alert says of the compilation. "If people would take time to listen to the hip-hop of the past, they'd see where hip-hop today comes from." Dan Leroy
Dear Mariah Carey,
I've thought long and hard about writing this letter, and to be honest, I'm still not convinced it's the best idea. After all, you're not exactly the most "stable" person in music, and, well, I've had enough crazy in my life to know when I shouldn't be messing with crazy. Nevertheless, crazy chicks are freaky chicks, and God knows, I love me a freaky chick. You know, just as long as they don't go all nutty like a candy bar on me like you did on Eminem. I mean, really, were you surprised when he played your voice-mails live? If anything's going to happen between us, do I have to worry about you writing "Clown II"?
Then again, it's that nuttiness that draws me to you. Not that I want to find a dead rabbit boiling on my stove, but the fact that you'd do such a thing is... it's kind of hot not as hot as your body, mind you, but hot. By the way, where did you get that body? Back in the day, you used to be this cute, virginal thing completely asexual outside of my fantasies. Now, you ooze sex. I bet you sweat sex it's like some kind of pheromone to you. The Emancipation of Mimi? That sounds like code for "I want to get freaky." And sometimes, I swear you're singing directly to me.
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But I'm confused. I mean, I like you and I want to get to "know" you better. But do we really belong together? I can't say for sure yet. That's a decision that requires a lot more alone time. So how about if we vacation together just you, me, and your wardrobe? I doubt you need more than a carry-on since everything you own couldn't collectively clothe a family of dwarfs. If our boat sank and we were stranded on an island together with nothing but your wardrobe to protect us from the elements, we'd have maybe half a tent. But that's all right. I know you might be battier than the Batcave, but maybe, just maybe, you're the right kind of crazy for me. So let's give this a shot, Mariah.
P.S.: I forgive you for Glitter. Really. Mariah Carey performs with special guest Busta Rhymes at 8 p.m. Saturday, August 5, at American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Tickets cost $17.50 to $127.50. Visit www.ticketmaster.com.