Posts Tagged ‘Grandmaster Caz’
Who’d have thought you’d fine Old School on TMZ?
Born in the Bronx, Caz is one of Hip Hop’s most versatile pioneers.
Caz’s start began when, in 1974, he witnessed one of Kool Herc’s legendary block parties. He was so inspired that he got DJ equipment the very next day! ‘I wanted to be the one to make people dance.’ He titled himself “Cassanova Fly” and eventually teamed up with Disco Wiz.
Caz teamed up with crew member, JDL, became “The Notorious 2″. During this time period, Caz took his DJ skills to another level and incorporated rhyme skills. Caz is the first DJ to rhyme and cut simultaneously.
In 1979, DJ Charlie Chase of the Cold Crush Crew had asked Caz to help him audition MCs for his group, the Cold Crush Brothers. ‘Charlie was tricking me into joining the crew…I didn’t realize it at the time.’ Thus the Cold Crush Brothers, as they are known today, were formed with members: AD, GrandMaster Caz, JDL, Kay Gee, and founders Tony Tone and Charlie Chase.
With their appearance in the Hip Hop cult classic, “Wild Style” their popularity soared.
As captain of the Cold Crush Bros., Caz led the crew to new heights. Together the crew fostered a style and sound that has inspired many of today most famous MCs, including KRS-1, Will Smith, Big Daddy Kane and Slick Rick.
Caz also enjoyed a solo career. He released several songs on the Tuff City label. His writing abilities made him a much sought after lyricist. He has collaborated with many artists, including: Biz Markie, Doug E. Fresh, and KRS-1 among others.
In 1998, Caz was listed #11 out of Blaze Magazine’s Top 50 MCs of all Time. In an interview for NY’s Video Explosion, Caz explained, ‘I MC with the mind of a DJ and I DJ with the mind of an MC and B-Boy. I feel the essence of Hip Hop. It is what I do. It is who I am.’
Caz was inducted into the Technics DJ Hall of Fame in 1999. He was also invited to serve as an panelist and perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Hip Hop Conference in 1999. In the following year, when the exhibit traveled to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, he taught the MC Master Class as well as represented on one of the the panels.
Caz continues to rock parties both on the mic as well as the turntables as well as host events worldwide.
Official Site – ColdCrushBrothers.com & on MySpace
Watch Caz do “MC Delight”
Additional in by TOOLS OF WAR
DJ Tony Tone (Angelo King)
Easy AD (Adrian Harris)
DJ Charlie Chase (Carlos Mandes)
Grandmaster Caz (Curtis Fisher)
Almighty KG (Kenneth Pounder)
JDL (Jerry Dee Lewis)
Money Ray (Eric Hoskins) d. 10/3/02
This was one of the biggest crews of the early hip hop landscape.
The roster to the right is misleading in regards to the original members of the Cold Crush Brothers. Original members included Chase, Tone, A.D. Whipper Whip, Mr. T, and Dotarock but they never recorded together. Whipper-Whip and Dotarock ended up in The Fantastic Five where they would go on to battle the Cold Crushers on many occasions.
The Cold Crush line up most recognized is DJ Charlie Chase and DJ Tony Tone, and four MC’s Grandmaster Caz, Almighty KG, JDL, and Easy (Girltaker) AD. Money Ray was added in the early 1980′s.
Grandmaster Caz and JDL will once known as The Notorious Two.
KG was introduced to rap at a young age at a DJ Smoky party where he first saw b-boys, graf writers and DJing. He couldn’t afford equipment to be a DJ, and his parents would kill him if they caught him writing graffiti, his only option at that point was to break.
After seeing Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel he turned to emceeing. He became a member of the Cheeba Crew where he was known to emcee and DJ simultaneously. He met DJ Charlie Chase, in 1978, at an MC convention and by 1979, he became a member of the Cold Crush Brothers.
One of the most infamous moments in hip hop occurred involving this group. The head of Sugar Hill Records, Sylvia Robinson, heard a bootleg of Cold Crush and decided to make a rap record. She overheard a club bouncer named Hank rapping along to a performance by Grandmaster Caz. She asked Hank to be the third member in this group she was putting together called the Sugarhill Gang. Rather than fess up to who the real rhymer was, Hank went to Caz and asked if he could use some rhymes. Caz agreed because he figured that Hank would help him get hooked up later on. He never did.
“Rapper’s Delight” was released in July of 1979 by the Sugarhill Gang and went on to sell two million copies. Caz never received any royalties or credit for his rhymes.
Caz did find success with Cold Crush. They had flashy costumes and synchronized routines and basically set the standard for live shows of the time.
They began to attract so much attention that various crews stepped up to battle them. Caz once said, “It’s like I don’t care if God, Moses, Abraham, and Jesus, come down here to battle us, we bustin’ they ass.”
One of the most featured pairings was when they would meet up with Grand Wizard Theodore and The Fantastic Five. These two crews battled in Wild Style and both appeared on the soundtrack. They also battle on the recently released battle tape “Live at Harlem World 1981.”
Other highlights include going to Japan, in 1982, on the Wild Style tour, the first in Japan. They were also the first crew signed to CBS records, through the Tuff City label.
They went on to release the following singles: “The Weekend,” “Punk Rock Rap,” “Fresh , Wild, Fly, and Bold,” and “Heartbreakers.”
They never released a full length album, but check out “Live in 82″ to hear what a hip hop show was like before you could find in all over tv and radio. Check out the quote from that album. “Ya’ll gotta excuse us, we can’t bounce as much as we want to cause if we bounce too much the record’ll jump.”
Now that’s old school…..
Solo efforts by Caz included “Mister Bill”, “Count Basie”, “Casanova’s Rap”, “Get Down Grandmaster”, and “I’m Caz” in the late 80′s all on Tuff City Records. They were mostly ignored.
In 1988, Kay Gee and Tony released an album called “Troopers.” Kay Gee also had some success as a solo artist on B-Boy with an EP in 1987 called “She’s a Dog”/”When No One Cares”/”Big Beat”/”My Record Is Hot”.
They released a 12″ back in ’95 on Jazz Child with the full line-up called “Ya Can’t do Me nada” which was fresh, but sounded like a cross between g-funk and the Wu Tang.
Most recently they appeared on with Terminator X on his solo album.
Various members of the group have made live appearances across the country.
At one point Easy AD was working on a web site dedicated to the group.
Almighty KG’s career included collaborations with such artists as C&C Music Factory, KRS-1, FunkMaster Flex, and Doug E Fresh. Recently, he produced the song, “Flesh not Bone”, on The Spooks new album. He also contributed to the soundtrack and wrote the score for the HBO movie, “Disappearing Acts”. He is involved in a project titled “Voices of Hip Hop” focused on reaching the youth and donating proceeds to charitable causes. The project educates the youth on issues including: Aids, police brutality, teen pregnancy and young men and women in jail, among others. Currently the President of Killer Groove Productions.
Grandmaster Caz released a record in 1999 on Jazz Child Records. In 2000, he released “MC Delight” as a comeback to him not receiving credit for “Rapper’s Delight”.
The group performed at the grand opening of the new Experience Music Project in Seattle. With LL Cool J, they brought down the house during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s “Hip-Hop Nation: Roots, Rhyme and Rage” exhibit when it opened at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in September of 2001.
Sadly Money Ray, passed away suddenly in October 2002 of cancer.
Official Sites – coldcrushbrothers.com & tonycrush.com
Check out the Cold Crush Brothers Live in Harlem World in 1981
Additional information provided by Da Original Easy Tee, Ed Roberts and ToolsofWar
Everybody knows this song. Thanks to the revitalization of disco in the late 1990′s and several remakes (include one by a grandmother), the words “Now what you hear is not a test, I’m rappin’ to the beat/ And me, the groove, and my friends are gonna try and move your feet/” are recognizable. But how did this happen? Who were these guys? That’s this month’s topic.
First of all, “Rapper’s Delight” was not the first rap record. Earlier in 1979, a funk group called The Fatback Band, or simply Fatback, released a single on Spring Records called “You’re My Candy Sweet.” That song held little significance, but the B side entitled “King Tim III (Personality Jock)”, was picked up by radio stations and surprised everyone.
Returning to “Rapper’s Delight”, the group that recorded it, The Sugarhill Gang\, was not exactly a well known crew before the song. In fact, they weren’t a crew at all. Sylvia Robinson, co-founder of newly created Sugar Hill records, heard this new sound from her kids and decided she could take advantage of it.
Wonder Mike was a buddy of Sylvia’s oldest son. Master G heard through the grapevine that Sylvia was making a record and arranged an audition for himself. Both of these guys were in previous groups. The final piece of the group, Big Bank Hank, is the real mystery. Hank picked up rapping as a bouncer at an NY club. Sylvia heard him rhyming in the kitchen and signed him up. While that may be an unusual break, the rhymes he was using were the real problem- they weren’t his. They belonged to Grandmaster Caz of The Cold Crush Brothers. Hank helped manage Cold Crush and asked Caz if he could use his rhymes on the record. Caz agreed under the assumption that Hank would help him if anything good happened. Hank even went so far as to spell out Caz’s original name, Casanova Fly, in the verse, proving that he didn’t write it.
The song used the backing of Chic’s popular disco track “Good Times” a deejay favorite when it was released in 1979. Originally the song’s composer Nile Rodgers was not credited on “Rapper’s Delight” but that was later changed.
Once the record was finished Joe Robinson, partner/wife of Sylvia, was quoted as saying she brought him a 15 minute record and he had no clue how to get it played on the radio. Once he heard the song, however, he knew it would only take one play on any station and that would be enough to start the momentum. One of the big breaks came in St. Louis, MO when station WESL played it once and jammed the phone lines for the next 12 hours. Chuck D of Public Enemy said, “It wasn’t how long the 15 minutes were, but how short the 15 minutes were.”
Once the song started playing heavily on the radio, other New York MC’s and DJ’s were stunned and amazed. And not so much because rap was on the radio, but because of who the group was that was being played. Grandmaster Flash recalled thinking, “The Sugarhill who”. It was inevitable that a rap record would hit, but most people thought it would be The Cold Crush Brothers, The Fantastic 5, Grandmaster Flash, or Kurtis Blow (who was in the studio at the same time recording “Christmas Rappin’).
The song sold over two million copies (the biggest 12″ single ever) and hit #4 on the R&B Chart. At one point, the record was selling over 50000 copies a day.
The Sugarhill Gang was never able to recapture the same success although they did have other hits included “8th Wonder” and “Apache”.
They have been able to continue to tour even today on the success of “Rapper’s Delight”.