Troy- Well give me an idea of that?
Will- Well when we would come to his house he would have on WHBI,… he got some rap on, …he got some track he wanted you to hear… he got some beat he thinks will be hot to use. This is all he would discuss. You know how you get with your boys and you talk about this, or you might talk about cars, or I am going to see ‘so and so’ tonight.
Doug’s conversation was strictly music 24 hours a day! That’s all he talked about. If it wasn’t music on a radio station, it was “Did you hear this,” or “I am trying to get over to Harlem World …We got to find equipment …We need to make a tape.” This was all the conversation we had. We would go into, “Yo, I like this new girl that just came into the school.” That might take about 20 minutes, then we were off of that and back into the music. So his determination was a little crazy with it, but it was cool. I was like, “Lets go!” –And he was the one that got Ted to buy the equipment.
So me and Doug talked back and forth and we decided we would do this thing together… So now we running together and we met Doug’s friend named Pop. Pop tells us, “Yo, I got this other cat you guys might want to meet because you can go to his house to rehearse because he has a group of his own.” The brother he was talking about was Barry Bee.
Troy- So why would you and Doug put Barry down if you are handling the DJ part?
Will- Nah, he is not putting Barry down. Pop was just saying there are these other guys you can make tapes with as well as go over to his house and do things that you needed. See, we didn’t have the records to do what we wanted to do. Barry had a plethora of records, he had equipment, and he had the tape deck. He had everything we needed to do everything we wanted done. We ended up going to Barry’s house in the middle of the day instead of going to school. So now we going to Barry’s house and he got his MCs there, The Devastating 3: Magic Dee, Kid West and Von Jeter and of course Barry Bee. They were already there, so we would make tapes with them.
So that kind of allowed it for Doug to kind of have someone to bounce off of so he could put his skills up against somebody else, as opposed to him working by himself on the mic. But Barry still wasn’t down with us. We would come up there and just rock together making tapes.
From time to time other people would come up there and want to put something on the tape also. Now the tapes are getting a little fame in the streets. So now everybody wants to be down every time we do a tape. Cats were like “Let us know when you are going to do something.” And that was mostly cats that never blew up from the house tapes, but cats like Tito and them from the Fearless Four would come through and rock with us also, just house tapes though.
Troy- Listen, I don’t want to go too far… Was Doug the very first person you heard do the human beat box in the lunch room that day?
Will- The lunch room was the first time I heard it, but it was still in the early stages. He didn’t have all the stuff he has now.
Troy- Do you 100% agree that Doug was before Biz Mark and Buffy from the Fat Boys?
Will- Doug was before all of them.
Troy- What is so concrete about you believing Doug was first?
Will- I can only put it this way; when me and Doug met I had never heard of a human beat box, you dig what I am saying? Doug was the very first person I heard doing it and by then I had been with Doug maybe three years before I heard anybody else do it.
Troy- I’ve got a Harlem World 1982 tape and Disco Dave is getting on Doug about spitting on the mic. So Doug does go way back with the human beat box. I have it recorded, but there are people still trying to say Doug wasn’t the first.
Will- I never heard the Fat Boys before their record. I don’t know anyone that could say I know the Fat Boys before they were on a record. The first time I heard of the Fat Boys, I heard “Fat Boysssssss.” (Will makes the echo sound effect from the Fat Boys first record which was titled “Fat Boys”) That was the first time I ever heard them: I never heard of them in the streets, I never saw them at any parties, I never saw them do anything other than that very first record.
Now Doug already had a reputation in the streets. People already knew that Doug was this and that. So if you ask most people, they will say the first person they ever heard was Doug.
The Fat Boys got a better reputation off it because they brought it out on a broader scale. When they did it, they actually moved around the country. We worked New York, New Jersey and Connecticut pretty much. It’s the same way with Michael Jackson and the Moon Walk!
Troy- Right. People that don’t know think Michael Jackson did it first.
Will- Right, but we’ve been seen the Moon Walk, like five years before he did it.
Troy- (Laughing) Good point.
Will- Exactly. So it’s Michael Jackson now and he has taken it on a scale that none of the break dancers could take it on because it’s Michael Jackson! And those B-Boys can’t claim it because people in Germany, London, etc, don’t care. They know that Michael Jackson did it, and that’s all they care about.
We met Biz at a show in Long Island, but it was the same situation, we never heard of Biz before that! We went to Shirley, Long Island and that was the first time we seen Biz. Biz came out and did what he did. And Doug never had any animosity about anybody doing it, we just never heard of any of these people before.
Troy- How did the people in Harlem respond to this when Doug first did it? I ask because I remember a brother telling me one day that Doug was at an outside jam and cats were booing him. He went so far as to say that somebody threw a garbage can in Doug’s direction. You know in Harlem it was just like the Sand Man at the Apollo: If cats are not feeling you, you will know about it.
Will- Sometimes when people do stuff and they don’t understand what’s going on, they are not as accepting of it because they, Doug in this situation, are like the first to do it. A lot of people accepted it because others accepted it, but if nobody co-signed this with you, then it’s like what the hell are you doing!
And Barry is the one that actually coined the phrase “Human Beat Box.” Barry was the one that actually told Doug that is what you should call it, and that’s where the name came from. Barry made that up as far as we know, because we never heard anybody else say that before.
Troy- And in my mind I was thinking the first day he did that, he said, “I am the Human Beat Box.” But of course he had to work it out first.
Will- Of course he had to work it out first. He was just doing a little beat box thing, and he wasn’t even doing it for anything other than if somebody else wanted to rhyme, he was just doing it for them.
Will- He wasn’t making it like, “Yeah I am going to be the human beat box out the gate.” That wasn’t his plan. His plan was to do it so that when it was his turn to rhyme someone else would do it. But no one else would do it… It was crazy because we had a whole lot of places we went to where people didn’t understand it.
Troy- So what was the response of the people that didn’t understand?
Will- Well I don’t remember any boos, but I remember a lot of stares. And a lot of silence, you dig what I am saying? (Both laugh) And Doug actually did it for Kurtis Blow. I think that was the time Doug got the most notoriety at that moment. We were at a street jam and Kurtis Blow was waiting for the music to come back up. While Kurtis was waiting, Doug started to do the human beat box for Kurtis Blow. I think after that Doug started getting a little reputation for that, and then it became something and people wanted to see.
Troy- Ain’t that something, because a couple of years before “The Show”, Kurtis Blow and Love Bug Star Ski were on stage at the Harlem State Office Building during Harlem Week and Kurtis Blow started doing the human beat box. I knew Doug was doing it and it was on the rise, but when I saw Kurtis Blow doing it, I was like this thing is really starting to pick up speed.
Will- Ain’t that something, because he later brought the Fat Boys out.
Troy- Right, off of that rap contest they won. (Makes you wonder if after Kurtis Blow saw Doug do it, maybe he later introduced it to the Fat Boys and told them that they should incorporate it into their act!)
Troy- Alright, so how did Barry Bee get on with you guys?
Will- Me and Doug had already made a record with Bobby Robinson of Enjoy Records called “Just Having Fun.” Then we did another record with Vincent Davis of Vintertainment. At this time we thought Barry was good because Barry used to go up against Master Don and a lot of other really good DJs, and I have to say Barry was a lot better than me.
Barry had been doing it just as long as I was, but he was very creative, even doing tricks with the turntables. So he had a lot going on in that department, but I wasn’t really that cat. That wasn’t me. Really, I am just trying to get my feet wet in front of people, because the people thing kind of made me nervous! But Barry was already seasoned.
So Barry and The Devastating 3 would perform along with us and we would all do a lot of Mike and Dave events, as well as other jams. So I am just really getting in and getting my feet wet in front of people, but I am starting to get my skills up… and Barry is still on top of his game …and The Devastating 3 is on …we on …everybody is trying to make something happen. We’re thinking we are all going to blow. But while all this is going on, we are all still in high school – and after high school, the Devastating 3 does what most people do, they went to college. So that left Barry by himself.
Troy- OK, I see why he switched over to you guys.
Will- Right. See we thinking we all going to blow up, make money, travel, and do this and that. So we had big plans for us all. But the Devastating 3 decided to go to college and further their education, and do all this other stuff. So they went to college away, they didn’t stay here in New York. So since they went away to college, Barry was kind of left here by himself. Doug said, “I don’t want to leave Barry out there like that, plus his skills are too crazy to just let him do nothing.” So we agree to let him do his thing with us. Plus Doug was like, “Yo, this will be crazy having two DJs because nobody has that.” After a while it became a plan.
Troy- So once you and Barry became one, how did you two complete each other?
Will- Well what happens is we do a lot of stuff that if one person does it, you would have to stop and use tracks like in a studio. There is no way you could do the stuff we do at one time. So it kept us going as opposed to having one person. If I was doing it by myself, there would be certain times where I would say yo, I can’t do that because it is physically impossible. But with somebody else there, such as Barry or myself, they fill that void and Doug would just continue to go. See, some of the stuff Doug likes to do and create, it takes more than just the regular way to do it. So that is how we kind of complete each other. We make a complete circle with that. See, those things me and Doug couldn’t do before, we can now do with Barry added into the mix. Like if I play this record, and all I have to play is 5 seconds of that record, then I have to throw this one on, – there is no way I can get the other record on.