An Interview With Easy AD of the Legendary Cold Crush Brothers
Far too often we think about the originators of hip hop as they were 25 years ago.
But many of those pioneers are still working today. They may not be rocking shows every weekend anymore, but they are still around and involved in modern aspects of hip hop.
One of those is Adrian Harris, better known to many hip hop fans as Easy AD of the Cold Crush Brothers. This interview took place as he was about to launch a new online venture called HipHopCollectibles.Com.
I was able to talk to AD for a while and get the latest on his new project as well as catch up on some other Old School and Cold Crush info.
JohnG: Tell me a little bit about HipHopCollectibles.Com.. When did it get started, who was involved from the beginning?
Easy AD: It’s a collection of artifacts from the old school that people will be able to purchase and get their hands on hip hop history. Each month we’ll have another collectible from a hip hop artist. It started back in around 1996 when I finished working for a credit card company and started working for the YMCA. It came together with a lot of other people, but never really, you know how that goes, it never really worked out. Finally I met up with the right people and things worked out. It took a while to get everything going with the internet. I didn’t know a lot about it and so it’s taken a little while to work it all out. I’m very hands on with this all my projects. I’m the type of guy that likes to work hand in hand with everyone. I don’t like to talk on the phone. I’m more into sitting down across from them and talking things out.
JohnG: Is the original launch date of September 10th still holding?
Easy AD: Yes, that’s next Monday.
JohnG: The original press release I got mentioned Hip Hop Head Inc. What exactly is that?
Easy AD: Hip Hop Head Inc is the umbrella company for HipHopCollectibles.Com.
JohnG: Is HipHopCollectibles.Com its only current project? What else is coming?
Easy AD: No, we’ve got several other projects right now. We’re working on a clothing line. We’ve got items in a couple stores now and just got some items in North Carolina this past weekend. I guess we’re into the urban fashion thing. And hopefully someday there will be a Hip Hip Head sponsored tour.
JohnG: I’d definitely be up for that one. Who is Charles Taylor, Jr? What is his role with the company?
Easy AD: He’s the media consultant. A friend of mine and partner. He writes a lot of the press releases and handles that stuff.
JohnG: What’s the latest on the Launch Party for HipHopCollectibles.Com?
Easy AD: In November. We’ll have at the Harlem YMCA where I work. I’m the Assistant Youth Family Director, so I work with kids. We’ll be donating a portion of the money we make to different charities. The YMCA will be the first one.
JohnG: Give us details about the first collectible.
Easy AD: The first collectible is coming from Grandmaster Caz. You know he wrote Hanks lyrics for the “Rapper’s Delight” and didn’t get the credit. He put out the song “MC Delight” I guess it was couple years back. I got him to sign copies of it and we put it in one of the frames that you would get for a Gold or Platinum Record. Also on the site you’ll be able to hear Caz talk about how the whole thing went down.
JohnG: Can you give us any info on what other collectibles will be available through the site?
Easy AD: Doug E Fresh’s “The Show” will available. He’s going to sign a few of those. Also he’ll talk about how it all got together. We’ll also have something from Chuck D.
JohnG: Will there be an unlimited number of each?
Easy AD: No, right now we’re working with 50 of each item.
JohnG: Will there be different price ranges?
Easy AD: Definitely. We’ll start off with everything from $100 to around $500. The Cold Crush will be signing a photo and including a flyer and CD of a live show later on.
JohnG: Other than Grandmaster Caz’s contribution of the first collectible, are any other Cold Crush Brothers involved or donating items?
Easy AD: They are all involved. Everything we do is a team effort. In addition to working together musically, we all have a business history together as well.
JohnG: Let’s talk about a couple other things. First off, how about a Cold Crush Brother update? What are the other guys doing these days?
Easy AD: Actually I’m getting ready to meet with Tony Tone. He rents systems and he’s looking to get into arenas. We’re going to be working on a web site so people can get these systems online. Caz is always working on collaborations with someone. Charlie Chase, let’s see, he’s working with Xtreme Games. You’ve heard of that? He deejay’s for their shows. KG recently produced something on The Spooks last album. We’re still working on ColdCrushBrothers.Com. It’ll have pictures and other history on it. We’re also going to be selling Cold Crush CD’s on it. The live shows from back then.
JohnG: So you’re all still working on something musically?
Easy AD: Definitely.
JohnG: Are you guys planning on getting together and doing something as a group?
Easy AD: Well, actually we meet every Sunday. We try to do a single a month together. That doesn’t always happen, but we are always working on new things. We’ll be looking to promote more in Europe. We’ve secured a deal there.
JohnG: Will these be available online on the CCB.Com web site?
Easy AD: Oh yes.
JohnG: Who did you like to do shows with back in the day?
Easy AD: Mostly, Grandmaster Flash, Treacherous 3. Kurtis Blow. Also New Edition. When they first were coming out, during “Candy Girl”. They really didn’t have any stage presence. And of course, our arch nemesis, The Fantastic 5.
JohnG: Did you have a favorite group or someone that really blew your mind?
Easy AD: From the deejay side, it would have to be Grandmaster Flash. And on the lyrical and emcee side would be Caz. He has gift even outside of just the rhymes.
JohnG: Do you have a big tape collection of shows from the early days?
Easy AD: Yes, I’d say I have about 80% of the shows we did on tape.
JohnG: We all know that too many old school pioneers are overlooked by today’s hip hop listeners, who is the most overlooked or under appreciated old school artist or group?
Easy AD: Spoonie Gee. He was very prolific and recorded for a long time on Tuff City.
JohnG: I get this question all the time, so I thought I’d get your opinion. When did the old school stop? Is there a defining moment/record/group?
Easy AD: It never really ended. Every era has its groups. So you’ve got like 78 until 84 or 85. Then Run DMC. Then Rakim, KRS-One, Public Enemy came.
JohnG: Do you have a favorite old school moment? Something that stands out in your mind.
Easy AD: Probably the Fantastic 5 battle. It’s when we realized that it was big and we would have to work very hard.
JohnG: What groups or what type of music are you listening to these days?
Easy AD: We always listened to and got influences from everything. Now I’d say, Lenny Kravitz, Moby, Red Hot Chili Peppers. I listen to all of today’s hip hop. Jay Z is hot, not just because he mentioned us in the song. Eminem. We did that show in Seattle at the Experience Music Project. We met Kid Rock. He knows his history. Macy Gray. Sting, that song he did with the guy from India was hot. And Michael Jackson. He’s got such a stage presence.
JohnG: Do you think his new album will be big?
Easy AD: I’m sure the music will be good. But audiences are fickle. Sometimes they buy stuff because it’s popular not whether or not it’s good.
JohnG: What about Jurassic 5?
Easy AD: There’s always comparisons being drawn so I listen to them.