You know what time it is?
Today’s episode of Questlove Supreme is strictly for those who give the gas face to haters, while simultaneously popping weasels like pimples. MC Serch, a hip-hop historian and a legend in the game, sits down with Questlove to talk about his romps through the Latin Quarter, KRS-One versus Melle Mel and not-so-fond memories of Public Enemy’s Yo! Bum Rush the Show album listening party.
We have some early highlights + quotes for you to check out while streaming the show below.
On Best Latin Quarter Moments:
“Number one for me of all time was [seeing] Scott La Rock. May he rest in peace. KRS-One, Melle Mel and the push-up story. Have you heard this? BDP was going to perform “South Bronx” at the LQ, when Mel comes up and turns up everything. He looks at KRS and goes, “Yo! I’ll battle you for $400 right now.” KRS returns with a $1000 and then goes right into “South Bronx” and it was over. Mel’s doing push-ups on stage and KRS and Scott were literally walking around him. It [was] an embarrassment.
On The Risk + Reward of The LQ:
“Michael Berg, who is still alive and still lives in the city, always knew that there was this vibe around this music. His only concern was to keep people safe and to make money. That’s all he cared about and every night somebody got hurt. Every night, it was ridiculous. The energy [at Latin Quarter] was incredible. So many great records, so many great artists. Fresh Force, they had a great record, ‘She’s A Skeezer,’ and then all of a sudden they become Kid ‘n Play.
I remember this group that did a crazy ass, corny record called ‘I Like Cherries, Because Cherries Taste Better,’ and then a year later, they’re Audio Two and are doing ‘Top Billing’. Supernatural MCs latter become Salt-N-Pepa. It was all of this [in Latin Quarter]… I saw Public Enemy perform, do their first show and get booed the fuck off the stage.”
On Hip-Hop at Union Square, NYC:
“Union Square had a really cool vibe. Clark Kent was the DJ. The first time I ever saw Jazzy Jeff do the bluebird scratch was at Union Square. There were underground pockets [there]. The World [was there] and Ice-T and Rhyme Syndicate was where they got their start at in New York, with ‘Six in the Morning’. Russell [Simmons] would be at The World, then you’d go at four in the morning to Save the Robot across the street.
Deep, dark rap records like JVC Force, Strong Island, you would hear it there. That was the rotation for years. 10:00 to 1:00 at the LQ, 1:00 to 2:00 at Union Square, 2:00 to 3:30 at The Rooftop, 3:30 to 8:30 in the morning at SNS. You’d go get breakfast and then you would head home.
On Public Enemy’s Failed Album Release Party:
“Def Jam booked an album release party for Public Enemy for Yo! Bum Rush the Show. The [spot] was kind of half empty. A lot of industry types, whatever. Magazine people checking them out. The typical crowd — the Decepticons, Violators and the Five Borough Kids — come in and ’98 Oldsmobile’ plays and all you hear is boo. [Flavor] Flav‘s dancing around and they’re all like boo. I mean, it was horrific. They did one song and that was it.
Literally, Russell was pulling them off stage.”
On Dance Battling MC Hammer:
“I was basically Whodini‘s valet. I used to iron their clothes and I used to have a list of girls. There’s this new rapper in Oakland named [MC] Hammer, who is doing his thing. [Everyone is saying], ‘Yo, you should battle him. He thinks he can dance. You should battle him.’ He pulls up in this white Cadillac and I’m like, ‘Yo, man. Let’s battle.’
I’m just a ballsy New Yorker, y’know. ‘Yo, I heard you can dance, let’s battle.’ He’s like, ‘Fuck you,’ and then takes off. I’m like, ‘Aw, that kid’s a pussy.’ Later on he performs at the New Music Seminar when it was in New York and gets dissed by New York.”
On Questioning An MC’s Credibility:
“I loved hip-hop so much, I felt I had to protect it at all costs. I felt [like] I was the one that had to protect hip-hop at all cost. I really thought it was my job. I felt like I was the knight at the Round Table who was the defender of the culture because it had given me so much. The streets gave me so much, the Quarter had gave me so much.
There were so many times that 50 [Cent] was like, ‘Yo, Serch, back out. We’re about to stick this whole place up. Get out.’ These dudes were looking out for me. [So, when it came to MC Hammer] it is like, ‘This motherfucker from Oakland. What the fuck you doin’? You’re wack. Your shit is wack. Period.’ It wasn’t eff-you as a human being, but it was like, ‘You’re a wack MC. You’re wack.'”