An Interview with DJ’s Breakout and Baron and their Funky MC’s

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Troy- Soon as you bought it you dressed it up?

Breakout- Yeah I put a system in there with some 6×9’s in there along with an ADS Amp along with a tape deck.

Troy- I have to tell you that Dune Buggy was a part of your mystic and I said to myself Breakouts legend is getting deeper and deeper. (Troy and Breakout start laughing.)

(To the reader: in Harlem on the west side of 125th street there was a saying for a little while back in the early1980’s when someone was about to leave they would say to the other person or persons “I’m bout to “Breakout like Baron!” and that person would leave. The term is still used today where someone will say “I am Breaking out” or “He Broke out” or “Breakout n—–!”)

Troy- Who did the design on the Dune Buggy

Breakout- Buddy Esquire.

Troy- So there were times you would ride your Dune Buggy to the jams?

Breakout- Only the outside ones if I remember correctly. A couple of years ago I took it to see Public Enemy on 125th street and they towed it, and that was the last I ever saw it.

Troy- WHAT!

Breakout- I triple parked it. I had fake plates, I was riding around with fake plates for years. One time I had the glass top down and the police said I love your car but your sticker is not right so you be careful okay and I drove off. One day I went to see Public Enemy at the State Office Building on 125th street and that was all she wrote? My friend’s mother worker at the precinct on 123rd street, over there at the 28th precinct but they still wouldn’t let me get it back. They auctioned it off to the gas station on 233rd street at that Amoco station before you get on the Major Deegan. Somebody came to me and said “Yo Breakout I seen your Dune Buggy at this gas station.” I went to the station owner and told him that’s my car he said no its not. I said that’s my name on the side of the car. He said give me $5000 for it. I said you can keep it. (Breakout starts laughing.) I wanted to keep it and take it to Georgia and just let it stay down there for my kids when they get older.
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Photo from Yes yes y’all book

Troy- So why didn’t you try and get it from the Police at the precinct?

Breakout- They were not going to give it up. They told me I had 5 minutes to get my system and everything else out the car.

Troy- So you had the Dune Buggy for almost 30 years?

Breakout- Yes I had it for a while. I painted it a couple times white, red etc. I had the Dune Buggy for a while with no insurance. You know you had those plates from Massachusetts that have the sticker on the outside and when it would expire I would go and get another plate.

Troy- Well to be honest that buggy was suppose to go into the Hip Hop hall of Fame.

Breakout- You are right when I got on facebook everybody asked me did I still have it.

Troy- Alright so bust it how did you guys meet KK Rockwell?

Breakout- KK use to live on my block on Jefferson Avenue. I use to do karate with KK and one day I asked him, I said “KK you want to m.c., you know talk on the mic?” The thing about KK he always wrote rhymes. He had a book. I said what you doing man. He said writing rhymes Breakout. I said why are you doing that, don’t worry about it. He said I got this and he just kept on writing. You know I think he got the most rhymes I have ever heard in my life.

Troy- So would KK be around the same time as Cowboy? I ask you that because Coke La Rock is first and then Cowboy and Star Ski.

Breakout- I can’t tell you who was the first. I don’t have the answer for that because you will start a big war with that.

Troy- Who was the second member of the Funky 4 m.c.s?

Baron- Keith

Breakout- Keith Keith

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Troy- Keith what bought you in second as an mc with the crew? Were you a solo mc before you got down?

Keith Keith-  No, I wasn’t doing anything on the mic before I got down as far as rhyming. I was on Clinton avenue and KK was on Jefferson with Breakout. Breakout was from the Edenwald area but his father was from Jefferson. So me and KK hung together and we started doing gymnastics, karate and etc. From there we got into some b boying and me and KK use to go around to different parks b boying with Breakout. Being as Breakout had the equipment we started rapping on the microphone. When Breakout wasn’t at his father’s house KK would go uptown to see him. One day when I was hanging out with KK we went up to Breakouts house uptown. KK was on the mic before me but I was not that far behind him.

Troy- Did you and KK do routines?

Keith Keith- No, even when Sha – Rock came we were just rhyming.

Troy- So Rahiem is the one that bought the routines over?

Keith Keith- Yes because he had the voice and plus we use to listen to the Temptations, The Jackson 5 and stuff like that and that is what made us write the rhythm of the songs for the routines. Our first routine was from one of the Jackson 5 songs.

Troy- I have a tape of ya’ll from 1978 were you guys do a routine off of the Jackson 5 as well as Crazy Eddie.

Keith Keith- Yes Crazy Eddie as well as Gilligan Island, Happy Days etc. We did a lot of routines.

Troy- Who was 3rd?

Baron- Sha
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Photo from Timothy Brown

Troy- And then Raheim.

Baron- Yeah Rahiem was my personnel m.c. because they use to rhyme off of Breakouts B Boy stuff. They would never get down on my records. But one day we played at these projects called Boston Secor right between Edenwald and Coop City. Right next to Boston Road. I had a secret weapon for them named Rahiem! Rahiem was original down with Shaheem and D.st and them.

Breakout- Yeah Baron’s right.

Baron- So Shaheem bought Rahiem to my house and Rahiem started rhyming and he had a long story. I told him you down, automatically. I said I got something for those m.c.s! So when we got to Boston Secor mouths dropped. So that’s when the group started to rhyme over all my music.

Troy- So where did the name Funky 4 come from?

Baron- I don’t know where the group name came from you have to ask them

Breakout- (Breakout looks to be in deep thought as he talks low.) I don’t know where that came from.

Baron- I never asked about that. The Funky 4, I don’t know. (We all start laughing.)

Breakout- Now he got me thinking about that.

Baron- You better ask KK

Breakout- I’m like where the f— did it come from!

Troy- But your saying the Brothers Disco came after The Funky 4 name?

Baron- After, later.

Troy- Why?

Baron- That’s me. (Baron points to his shirt which has a Brothers Disco flyer on it.) See how slick I got. Breakout, Baron, Brothers Disco.

Troy- So what does that mean, what are you saying sublimely?

Baron- He is not going to admit it to you Troy but long ago there was a flyer.

Breakout- Can you read the shirt again Troy please. (Troy and Breakout laugh.)

Baron- You can ask KK…long long time…

Breakout- …Hold up what does the shirt say. I want you to read it Troy…What does it say.

Troy- Brothers Disco Breakout…

Breakout- Stop!

(All of us laugh. Breakout has a hell of a sense of humor.)

Breakout- All the oldschool flyers have Breakout and Baron.

Troy- Ya’ll some funny dudes.

Baron- Ask KK, a long time ago there was a flyer that had D.J. Baron and D.J. Breakout. Not many.

Breakout- Yeah probably the ones you wrote and made up. (We all laugh.)

Baron- Yeah my brother Monie was making the flyers before Buddy Esquire was.
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Breakout- So I look at the flyer and I say no one is going to come to this party. Why because your name is first! (Breakout laughs.)

Baron- Before there was a Buddy my brother was doing flyers.

Troy- So was there ever a time the Brothers Disco would do a party separate from the Funky 4 m.cs?

Breakout and Baron- Never.

Breakout- There was a time when it was all about the d.j.s. and then the m.c.s came and it was all about the m.c.s. First we were paying them.

Baron- And it wasn’t about the m.c.s until the rap records came out.

Breakout- Right. I remember one time me and Flash were on tour and The Furious 5 told Flash, “Were paying you!” So Funky follows suit and say, “Yo Breakout we’re paying you!” Me and Flash start talking and we say “you see this s—, we said we started this s— (Breakout slams his fist down on the table as he says it.) now they saying they want to pay us.” I said f— them. That was when the Furious and Funky almost had a fight on the tour bus and I sat back and didn’t say anything.

Troy- Why did they almost have a fight?

Breakout- Well it was about who could rock who and stuff like that and who was going on first and this one is going on second. Petty stuff you know we use to get mad at each other because one time we were on tour and some dude after the show ran off with the money and we chased him through the parking lot. And that happens when you are on the tour for so many days with the same people around you. So with a whole bunch of guys around you you are going to get into an argument. Now when you finally get to the place we are suppose to perform they use to treat us like Michael Jackson screaming, “Their goes one, there goes another.” They use to treat you like you were really famous. Then when you get back to the Bronx and they treat you like s—. (Breakout and Troy start laughing.) But you know hip hop started in the Bronx so everybody got used to us. But when we first started playing with the Sugar Hill Gang that s— was real big. Every concert sold out and we would get up there and perform for three minutes.

Troy- You guys would travel from one city to the next and just do 3 minutes and be out to the next city?

Breakout- Yes that’s it, everything was timed. Whom ever was on first people would be on the side talking about, “That’s it that’s it” when you finish your set. Everything had to be timed perfect. I was making like $600 every 3 minutes.

Troy- So you were able to save your money by the time you got back to the Bronx or you would burn it before you got home? (Breakout laughs.)

Breakout- Sometimes I burned it. (He keeps laughing.) Sometimes you burned it because you be out there partying. Sometimes you go shopping on the road, so you leave with a little bag and come back with a big bag buying everything. They had free food for us too.

Troy- So what was the best city or state for you?

Breakout- They were all good but Philadelphia was wild because they use to fight, they were very similar to New York with their screaming and fighting right in the audience while we or others were performing. They would never bring the drama to us but damn they use to be wild over there in Philadelphia. It use to make me think about the Audubon. One night we were playing at the Audubon as well as Flash and they had a big fight in there, someone screamed and a big fight started and people ran and all you seen were a whole bunch of shoes like at least 500 pairs of shoes In the middle of the floor.

Troy- People ran out of their shoes!

Breakout- Ran out of their damn shoes.

Troy- Do you remember who was getting ready to fight between Funky and Furious on that bus?

Breakout- It was Rodney…it was Rodney because he has the biggest mouth. (Breakout laughs.) Rodney and Mel because they always use to talk a lot. Cowboy would be in and out of it. But the Furious stuck together better then the Funky. Even though they didn’t like each other at certain times they still stuck together.

Baron- They also asked me to go with them on tour but I was fed up with the whole thing.

Breakout- The Brothers Disco thing came because it was me and Baron and then Donnell aka Jazzy D wanted to be the manager and we also had the Sister Disco. So it was so big that we had to change the name because it couldn’t just be a Breakout party any more we called it Brothers Disco. Basically it was too many people.

Troy- Alright once you, Baron and The Funky 4 m.cs were established I know the system was called the Mighty Sasquatch but what was in that unit of the Sasquatch?

Baron- We had a GLI, 38 mixer. Everything was top of the line.
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Original Sasquatch GLI 3880 Mixer

Breakout- What was the turntables…S…

Baron- …SL 1500’s. We had Altec speakers. And some double 15’s

Breakout- And some gauss speakers.

Baron- BGW power amps, all BGW systems.

Troy- How did ya’ll know to buy this beautiful type of equipment? Check it out you know cats were taking pieces here and there all over the Bronx but then you had guys like D.J. Plummer who actually worked at an audio store, so he knew a lot about equipment. So how did you guys know about it.

Baron- I was a system head then and I am a system head now. I went to parties downtown like Nell Gwen, Superstar Cafeteria. I went to all those clubs downtown and that’s how I knew. I use to go to Harvey Sounds downtown in Times Square on 45th street.

Breakout- But do you remember Altec’s, we went there and got the garbage cans.

Baron- Nah the garbage cans came from me getting the Discotheque magazines. From there we went to see this white boy on 15th street and 6th avenue. They were selling the BGW’s, that’s where we got the 750’s. Donnell was getting the money from Breakouts father. So we went downtown and this white boy had these garbage cans with some Gauss speakers in them. Sorry to say we never took a picture of that. The museum would have paid a ton of money.
Breakout- I know the first time we got them we went to Boston Secor projects and we played against these guys known as Aaron and Leo. They played on one side and we played on the other. So we go, “Testing one two and they go one two.” So we said, “Are you ready” and we played We will Rock you by Queen. We tore that s— up. Then I played Paradise is very nice. The speakers were going crazy, we tore that place up.
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Troy- So Aaron and Leo couldn’t touch you guys?

Breakout- Couldn’t touch us. They couldn’t turn their system back on any more. We shut them right down. When Aaron see’s me today he always talks about that.

Troy- Who named the equipment The Might Sasquatch?

Breakout- I don’t know who named it but it came a time where we had to name it something. It happened once we got those garbage can speakers.

Baron- We were the only crew in the city with the unique garbage can speakers. Nobody ever had that uptown that I knew of.

Breakout- See Troy when Baron played he had his mellow music and whenever I played they use to be so mad at me that they would have tape on the volume so I couldn’t turn it up. Baron would turn his head and I would turn the music up crazy loud. (We all laugh.) I would say ready and then I start playing the b boy records. “BAMMM!”… and after every party somebody would say Breakout done blew the speakers!

Troy- Every time you use to blow out those speakers who fixed those woofers, you or did you have to take them to the store to be fixed.

Breakout- We had to take them back to the store. You do the cones by taking the speaker out, take it downtown and do the cone all over.

Troy- So how much would the cone cost to be fixed?

Breakout- About $90. What happens is the cone freezes, it doesn’t move any more. Hard as a rock so they take the cone out and change it.

Troy- So why would the cone be hard as I rock I thought it would break or get a hole in it.

Breakout- You burned it out, you played it so loud that when it jumps out it won’t come back. If you ever watch a speaker it goes in and out when the music is coming through it, when the bass is too loud it shorts out and it freezes right there.

Troy- So how many woofers you blew out?

Breakout- (Breakout laughs) They use to hate me because every time they would turn their back I would turn it up. I liked it real loud; you blow a speaker, a tweeter, a horn. Something was always blowing. It was very rare you do a party and nothing goes wrong.

Troy- So how many do you think you blew?

Breakout- (Breakout responds very sheepishly.) 20!

Troy- Damn 20, and that’s all you?

Breakout- (Breakout laughs.) About 20, yeah.

Troy- That’s almost $2000 on speaker repair alone?

Breakout- Easy. We use to blow the speakers just about every party.

Troy- You keep saying we, it was you. (We both laugh.)

Breakout- Nah it was me. It was really me.

Troy- So to you Baron who were the guys you would see downtown and you would say, “I like his system?”

Baron- Flowers. He was the original Grand Master.

Troy- That is what some people say. Did you see Plummer or Maboya.

Baron- I problem seen them, but I remember one guy would d.j. with just reel to reels.

Troy- Right. I believe his name is QJ.

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Baron- Well he came up to the Star Dust Ball room one night and djed with reels. I don’t remember his name but he was from Brooklyn.

Troy- Exactly.

Breakout- Reel to reel?

Troy- Yes.

Baron- Yes and he was nice mixing and he was on time. You don’t remember that Breakout, he came to the Star Dust Ball room one night.

Troy- So basically Breakout’s father was funding this equipment for you guys?

Baron- Yeah as far as the up to date stuff.

Breakout- We really took off once we got with Bambaataa

Baron- We had some double bass bens. We had four of them.

Breakout- We would play with Bambaataa after the party and we would be right here in my kitchen all night counting dollar bills. Because it was two dollars for girls and three for guys and we all got paid a little bit of money, so I ask my brother what should we do and my brother said buy more equipment.

Baron- See what happen was we did a party at Evander High school and we were still messing with guitar amps or bass amps, even Bambaataa. The place was packed and the police came…

Breakout- …and then the fire department.

Baron- Disco Mario had a power amp and Bam went to him for it. We weren’t even finished our set Bam plays the power amp and BOOOOM, Bam drowned the s— out of us.

Troy- So you guys went back to the drawing board?

Baron- That night Jazzy D said we are going to get some equipment. We went to the Discotech magazine and the next day we were down on 15th street and 6th avenue.

Breakout- Are they still there?

Baron- Nah.

Troy- So now with this big system were you two ready to go against Herc?

Baron- Yes.

Troy- Did you ever go against him?

Baron- We did but we played with him.

Troy- Was it basically even or one took out the other?

Breakout- Herc said to us one day, “Ya’ll getting up there, ya’ll sounding good!” See Herc was real strict.  I was like alright.
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Baron- Well he really didn’t want to admit it but we were already there!

Troy- Well what does that mean he was strict?

Breakout- Herc only had two people behind his rope. Everything taped down. You can’t do this, you can’t go over there. “Who are you, get behind the ropes.” Herc was strict. Bam had a hundred people behind his ropes; we had a hundred people behind our ropes. Herc was strict; you could not do that with Herc. Nobody was getting on the mic with Herc. We let anybody get on the mic. Herc, “No no no!”

Troy- Herc was his own enforcer?

Breakout- Yes man.

Troy- Did any of you guys ever see Herc put in any work as far as beating up some one that violated?

Breakout- Nah

Baron- No…Herc was a giant back in those days.

Breakout- He’s still cut up.

Troy- Alright your system is ready as well as your m.cs what bought on the battle with Furious 4? Was the battle over supremacy of the two crews or to take Rahiem? In fact did you guys know Rahiem wanted to leave?

Baron- We didn’t know. I do have to say that he was probably contemplating on what to do because the money wasn’t right.

Troy- The money wasn’t right coming from you and Breakout? Why is that? You guys were getting money. Were you dropping all the money into the system?

Breakout- Yes.

Troy- So how much did you guys need to keep pouring it into the system?

Breakout- The m.c.’s were getting mad because they said they weren’t getting enough money, but we kept telling them we need this and we need that. One day we bought them their own mics with their own carrying case. Which were white little boxes.

Baron- And when they were bad we took the mics to f— with them.

Troy- What bought on this disciplinary action?

Breakout- A lot of times it was because they didn’t show up for rehearsal or they came late.

Troy- And rehearsal was always here in your house Breakout?

Breakout- Yeah in the basement. Baron’s house too but I use to hate going over to Baron’s house though.

Baron- Well most of the equipment was mine so some of the time I would bring it over to his house and he use to want to keep it! I would go home to nothing.
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Breakout- That use to be a big fight after the party. First question would be where is the equipment going! I would say it’s going to my house and all I was going to do is break dance. If it goes to his house and it’s time to practice I would have to go all the way over to his house on the 4 train. Then I had to walk down these long stair cases of stairs.

Baron- But to go to Breakout’s house was like going to Westchester County!

Troy- Westchester County, damn! (Me and Breakout laughed.)

Baron- Well to be honest this use to be Westchester County back in the days.

Troy So you guys never worked it out so the both of you would always have pieces of equipment to always be able to entertain yourselves?

Baron- No because he’s lazy.

Breakout- Well he can take everything but you need two turntables.

Baron- Well I think he had two turntables but he didn’t have a mixer…

Breakout- And I wanted my s— to be loud and my mother use to go bananas. My mother would be at the top of the stairs saying, “don’t you hear me calling you.” And the record would be scratching. (Breakout mimics the sound of a break record and laughs.) My mother would come down in the basement and pull every plug out of the wall.
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Baron- My family was more understanding so when I had the equipment we use to bang the hell out of it.

Breakout- And Baron lived upstairs while his parents lived under him. I was the direct opposite with my sound coming out of the basement of our house. My mother use to say I had the glass and plates in the living room shaking. See I use to be down there drinking some 40’s with my crew and we use to practice break dancing.

Baron- Yeah Breakout use to run with a crew called the 40 Crew out of Boston Road.

Troy- 40’s? That was quarts of beer at that time.

Baron- Nah 40’s

Troy- 40’s didn’t come around until about 1984 I think.

Baron- Nah before that, where you been at?

Troy- Harlem. 125th. We had quarts of beer. (Breakout is laughing.)

Breakout- Yeah well they all had 40’s of Olde E!

Troy- Well I don’t recall seeing 40’s until about 84 maybe. And I drank Olde E too but Private Stock later was my favorite. So let me get to this question about you guys and the Furious 4. Wasn’t Edenwald and The Boston Road Crew there that night of the battle, weren’t they ready to go against the Casanova’s that night.

Breakout- No

Baron- No, they weren’t there. We were there by ourselves.

Troy- Why?

Breakout- Well at that time Boston Road Crew and Edenwald weren’t getting along. We did a lot of parties at Edenwald so when I would be there they would be my crew. When I would do other parties I would take The Boston Road Crew with me.

Troy- And you guys didn’t take any one when you went against the Furious Four?

Breakout- No.

Troy- Why not if you knew The Casanova’s were going to be there?

Breakout- Casanova’s never bothered us.

Baron- Rahiem was already contemplating on leaving us. One time we did a little block party on Jefferson Place and The Furious showed up and started scoping Rahiem.

Troy- So would you say this is a couple of months before the actual battle?

Baron- Yes I would say a couple of months.

Breakout- I think Rahiem wanted to go any way. But when he left it was no problem.

Baron- Rahiem was the leader of the group.

Troy- The boy was nasty on the mic. He was the one that put all those routines together?

Breakout- Yes and he use to sing a lot.

Troy- So still what bought on that battle?

Baron- I think it was Ray Chandler. They wanted to get us together.
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Ray Chandler

Breakout- Everybody wanted to see it.

Troy- Why?

Breakout- The top groups.

Baron- They wanted to distinguish who was better then who.

Troy- Weren’t Flash and The Furious a little bit older then you guys?

Baron- No.

Troy- Well you and Breakout were close in age to them.

Baron- I am older then all of them except Flash who probably has me by two years. I got Breakout by two years.

Troy- All those years I always thought it was the other way around where Breakout was older then Baron. See Baron always gave me the impression of a more quite laid back younger person.

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Breakout- Because Baron got that age on him that’s why he looks laid back.

Troy- Nah (We all start laughing.) So Ray Chandler came to you guys and said lets do this?

Baron- I think he approached Breakout’s brother.

Breakout- I am not sure I think it was my brother Jazzy. You need to interview Jazzy too.

Troy- Alright, so the battle starts and the Funky 4 mc.s freeze up. What happened?

Baron- Rahiem froze up.

Troy- Well I was under the impression the other mc’s froze up. So what did happen that night?

Baron- You have to ask the mc’s what happen that night, see I was very frustrated that night.

Author: Troy Smith

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9 Comments

  1. I’m an Old School D.J. from Ventura County, Ca. I was trying to figure out on the Double Dee & Steinski mix “Lesson 1” the song sampled towards the end, it goes “Everybody’s dancin’ & we’re having a real good time” Also M.C. Twist uses it on “The House Jumps” Does anybody have a listing of samples used in that mix? I know most of them, except that one & the Bernard Fowler acapella “It’s looking real good to ya bay bee..so good,so good that i can do it right” Does the actual 12″ have the listings?

  2. Perhaps you should post the question on the OSHH Message Board.

  3. Dj Breakout was the best, Don’t forget about The Jazzy 4 , Petey, Mushy , Judy aka Jazzy J. and Yvette aka Twiggy. we travel with the Brother Disco, B-Herion, Iron mike, and Smiley, Edo,

  4. Yall Need to interview the H.Q. Brothers -Rockmaster Formalo-Skip laRock-Wally G-Charlie Rock and of course the Prince Rapper Acey Ace Barday

  5. Get at me Yvette I have some questions for you and thanks for posting.

  6. I remember dj breakout and baron the funky four plus one i grew up in edenwal pj whats up with DST AND

  7. When Double Trouble were here in the U.K in 1990, I and a few other London emcees recorded a track with them and we showcased it at Hammersmith Palais.
    I remember Rodney moaning at me cos I turned up late for the sound check.
    I was called Blacksheep then but I had to change my name for obvious reasons. The name better suited me cos I’m white.
    I also remember meeting up in Brixton, all listening to the finished track from a car stereo. I was with my girlfriend who was pregnant with our son, he’s now 23! Damn

  8. Blondie released the album Auto America and released the first single which was The Tide Is High it become a mega number one all over the world. Rapture was the second single released a few months later it also went to the top of the charts. But Rapture wasn’t there first mega hit off that album as someone stated in the interview.

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