An Interview with Chill Will of the Get Fresh Crew

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Troy- So how did your family, as well as the pioneers of hip hop, respond to it?

Will- Well my family was excited and my mother was excited hearing it on the radio, but she was hell bent on me going to college. She was like, “You enjoying this now, but you are going to have to go to college in time. Maybe take a year or so to enjoy it, but let’s get back in the books!” But it never really stopped.

Chill WillAs far as the pioneers, it felt good because these were the cats I looked up to coming up, and now we are on that level. People are looking at me now the way we used to look at them. And not for nothing, there were times when cats were unapproachable, or you couldn’t talk to certain people, or whatever – and now we are in the mix, and in the same room, and everybody is introducing themselves to me. Cats be like “How you doing, I am so and so,” and I be like “Oh yeah, I know who you are.” –  Guys like The Treacherous 3, Furious 5, we became friends… Cold Crush,  Busy Bee, we all becoming cool. What really took me over the edge was New Edition was out and we became cool with them.

Chill WillTroy- Yeah, B Fats told me they used to always be up in Broadway International.

Will- Yes, and we lived up there also. After awhile, I started bringing acts and producing shows at Broadway International.

Troy- So you guys toured for two years strictly off of “The Show”?

Will- Yeah, about a year and a half off of The Show and La Di Da Di. We toured so much we didn’t even have a chance to do the album. You know usually when you have a single you want to have an album to follow it up in case the single blows, so cats can buy your album. And like I said, it didn’t come out for like almost two years after the hit single, which was a big mistake on our part. And I guess that was like that because no one expected the record to go that far.

We would be on tour on the regular. We would be on the last leg of a tour, and they putting together another tour. So sometimes we would have a week to go home and then we would be right back on the road for another tour. Some of these tours would last five and six months.

Troy- How far did you go across America?

Will- We went all the way across the country, back and forth. We criss crossed the country like five times, then we went to London for the first time. Doug and Barry went, but not me, because I could not get my passport together because my birth certificate was late. So I actually flew out of the country to London for the first time by myself. And when I finally got there, we played at a club – but I can’t remember the name. But we did a TV show called “Top of the Pops” while we were there.

Chill WillTroy- Alright, so now you guys are growing by leaps and bounds, but on the low you got other groups making unfavorable records about you guys. Salt -N- Pepa made “The Show Stoppers”. How did you guys respond to that?

Will- Well at first we thought it was crazy, and we didn’t know how to react to it at first, but after awhile people would say “If people talk about you like that, then you know you made it! Just leave it alone, it’s not worth it.” Plus none of us thought Salt -N- Pepa were going to go anywhere at first. (Will chuckles) We were like nobody will be talking about them in a week. Who knew?

Troy- I got you. Ok, what about Mikey Dee and his girls, The Symbolic 3, who made “No Show”?

Will- We really didn’t think the record was strong enough to make any noise, and we didn’t feel it was going to go anywhere, and it didn’t.

Troy- You’re right, because I never heard of it until this year and someone had to point it out to me.

Will- Right, and you never heard of them any more ever.

Troy- Right, but I did an interview with Mikey Dee who was a pretty danm good MC. Now what about The Bad Boys with K Love and their “Inspector Gadget”?

Will – That was all a coincidence. And what’s crazy… we did a lot of shows with them, so it was no bad blood with them, it was all good.

Troy- Alright, now before you guys can put the second record together with Slick Rick, he breaks out. What was that all about?

Chill WillWill- Well the thing that a lot of people didn’t know was we weren’t a group, you dig what I am saying? We weren’t like Salt -N- Pepa. People thought because the first time they seen us, Rick was with us, so we were all together. Rick wasn’t actually in the group, he was a solo artist.

Troy- So even while you guys were on the road nobody wasn’t thinking, “Yo, you guys should stay as one.” Or did Rick always act ambitious to do his own thing?

Will- Well I think Rick was always ambitious to do his own thing. I think that was what he always wanted to do. It just so happened that this was a platform to get it started, and once he got it started, he did what he wanted to do. Plus maybe he felt he could do it the way he wanted to do it.

Chill WillWhen you got four people with four personalities, everybody is pulling different ways. But when it’s just you, it’s yours. Like when he did “Children’s Story”, it came out just like he wanted it to be.

Troy- So it is easier to say that Rick was just ambitious to do his own thing, as opposed to, Rick and Doug had some type of serious beef which lead to their separation that no one likes to talk about?

Will- Well they really didn’t have any beef, but what I was trying to say….

Troy- No, I understand what you said, and it makes perfect sense. I never heard it that way, but always through the years cats would say “Yo, something bad went down, but nobody wants to talk about it.”

Will- Well like I said before: I think the way I said it went down is what actually happened, but it sounds better if they said Doug and Rick had beef, which they didn’t.

Chill WillTroy- Well I am glad you said it the way you did. You explained that they were just two solo artists that just happened to come across something legendary.

Will- Right. We just happened to say “Let’s make a record together,” and we made a record together. And the thing is if Rick was with us as a group he could not have went anywhere, because he would have been signed and stuck into this deal that we were all stuck into. But Rick had his own separate situation going on, and we never had a problem with it. I think we would have stayed together as a group if we had done that album, because after we did those two cuts that was it.

Troy- So while you guys were on the road were you trying to make that third cut to go towards the album?

Will- Man… Rick was actually on the record “All the Way to Heaven” in the very beginning stages of making it!

Troy- Damn, ain’t that something. Why was he taken off?

Will- Well the record was never finished at the time. It was like if you were doing your rhymes and you weren’t feeling it, you would be like “Hold up, hold up. I messed up on that, run that back!” That was what was going on through that whole record with Rick. So when we were actually ready to lay everything down Rick was already gone.

Troy- So Rick actually laid down the rhymes, but he wasn’t happy with his part. Damn, so he could have been on “All the Way to Heaven.” That would have been beautiful. The song was tremendous with Doug by himself, but you could only imagine greatness with Rick also included.
So how did you feel about Rick’s work even though Rick wasn’t feeling his own part?

Will- No, it wasn’t like he didn’t like it. When we were doing it, we just didn’t know where the record was going, because at the time when Rick was with us it wasn’t called “All The Way To Heaven.”

Troy- But the same melody and beat was there right?

Will- It was the same beat. Everything was the same musically, but lyrically it wasn’t called “All The Way to Heaven.” In fact, we didn’t even have a name at the time. We were sitting there making up stuff. We were trying to fall into something. But all in all, what I heard with both of them was good. Certain things we were moving around with and everything started falling into place. We started adding stuff, but what happen was the road came back up again and we had to put that project on hold until we got back!

Troy- Damn.  Good stuff Will, real good stuff.

Will- When we came back off the road we were trying to get back into that song, but I think by that time Rick decided he wanted to do his own thing.

Troy- So did the three of you guys sit in that room and say, “Listen Rick, is there any way we can negotiate for you to stay here with us instead of going solo.” Did anybody try and keep Slick Rick with you guys?

Will- No. Rick had gone somewhere, I think he went away.

Troy- Back to England?

Will- I am not sure, but it was somewhere with his family and it could have been England. But while he was gone, we were like we are going to have to start doing stuff. But after that, we found out Rick was going to do a deal with Def Jam. So we were like alright we got to move forward.

I don’t think anybody wanted to go back and forth with it because we were really so far behind on the album. And see our manager was trying to get us to do an album while we were doing “The Show”! He was like, “Yo, let’s just continue on and do a whole album before we let this single out.” But we didn’t want to hear that, we were like “We coming out now! ”

Troy- So what was your feeling when you heard Slick Rick’s first album?

Will- I was happy for him because the first cut I heard was “The Rulers Back” and I thought that was hot.

Troy- You’re right, it was hot.

Will- Exactly. So I was like Rick is out and he is doing his thing. So I was hoping that he could come out and then we could come back together. Kind of like what we do now: Rick do his songs, and we do our songs, and then we come together on “The Show” and “La Di Da Di.” And we will just keep it moving like that. Chill Will

Troy- What was the story with “The Show” having something to do with not believing in God?

Will- Yeah, people can really go places in their mind. Man we got stories like that all the time. When “The Show” first came out they had stories about “The Show” saying “six minutes” three times, which is “666”.  And they were going “Oh my God, is it real!”…and they would say that we were asking “is God real? ”

Troy- Man, I would not have even imagined that one.

Will- Because when we said – “Six minutes… six minutes… six minutes, Doug E. Fresh you’re on”  – that just fit into the realm of the beats. If he had said it one more time, he would have been off beat. Or if he had said it one less time, it also would have been off beat. So it just didn’t work. We were not thinking 6-6-6!

And when we said. “Oh my God, is it real?” –  Doug is doing the beat box and we are like, “Oh my God, is Doug really doing it?”

Troy- Right. I got you.

Will- But they said we are saying, “Oh My God…Is God real!”

Troy- Damn, who said that? I never got that impression, nor heard anyone say that. Ain’t that something?

Will- We read it in a magazine on the road in, I think, LA. Then they said in order for us to repent from all of this we came out with “All the Way to Heaven”. (Laughter)– They said it was a message to God because we did this devil worshipping record.

Troy- Damn, ain’t that something.

Will – So you get all types of stories and you never know. Some of these stories we read and it’s so outrageous because we be the people living them. And I am sure some of the readers look at the stories and are like, “Oh my Lord!”  (Will laughs)

Chill Will


17. “The Show”– Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew
(Reality, 1985)

The subtext of this biggest of party anthems is a classic
Good vs. evil struggle. MC Ricky D’s (b/k/a Slick Rick)
incessant “six minutes, six minutes, six minutes” chant is
intended to represent 666, the mark of the beast.
Countering it are the frequent interjections of the phrases
“Oh my God” (sampled, incidentally, off of the intro to the
Cold Crush Brothers’ “Punk Rock Rap”) and “Is it real?”
(Which, if said in rapid repetition, becomes “Israel”). After
Ricks departure from the group, Doug E. Fresh would indulge his
religious message even more explicitly on the subsequent
Oh My God! LP and its hit single, All The Way To Heaven.

Go to Part 5

Author: Troy Smith

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1 Comment

  1. These guys came to my elementary school and performed for us kids in the auditorium . It was right when all the way to heaven came out and they were large . They rocked the spot on the school PA that they would use for assemblies, it was unbelievable for us. P.S 95 on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx. Doug was doing all his beat boxing tricks on this hurtin mic but it was pandemonium . These guys were stars and they’re doin this for free for kids that are graduating .

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