...THAFORMULA.COM - Now let's talk about Sugar Shaft. What was his contribution to X-Clan and what exactly happened to Shaft?
Brother J – Well if it hadn’t been for him none of this would have happened because he was basically the bridge. He was basically the one that would come and take me out and see the clubs and take me to see Cash Money to DJ and DJ Scratch when they were first coming in the game. He’d take me to Union Square and all these other clubs and stuff like that just to open my eyes to the other side. See I’m from Brooklyn man, I’m a block party MC. I wasn’t worried about clubs in Manhattan and the Bronx and so on. That wasn’t my cup of tea. Shaft introduced me to that side and Architect did too, so Shaft was basically the reason why the group got to the next level. Us battling in different little community centers and basements and stuff like that on the mic, you know how block parties are, everybody gathers around the turntables and you get down and you hold your own and you get your name out. He helped me step from that level to a place where I can go to present myself in front of a manager and take myself to get a demo. I did my demo at Ultramagnetic’s house up in the Bronx when they were first coming out with their music and shit. I look at how history is now, it’s so deep. Everybody is now like a pioneer in the game and everybody was just at a regular stage grinding and trying to make it at the time. Shaft was my best of people and I miss him to this day and especially when I’m recording like now. His sense of production and spirit added on so much. But uh, he had complications with the AIDS virus so he passed from that and that was like 1996 and it’s been a while. It’s a heavy thing man. It touches all of us in one way or another. I mean this is genocide man. None of us are safe...
...THAFORMULA.COM - You know I look at a group like Dead Prez and think “man they must get a lot of activist groups or whatever hitting them up for shows even though they don’t have the money?” Did you guys face a lot of that?
Brother J - All the time bro, and it’s a thing where we had to offer people solutions, at least to say “we’ll take care of our hotel rooms and take care of our air fare, and we’ll take a small amount of money, we will make sure we pack your gymnasium, we will make sure we will go to the park and speak at your demonstration rally and stuff, but give us something.” I tell that to community centers all the time. Don’t always play people because you know you got this cause and everybody is supposed to care and all these other things man. But still, my art is something that cost me time and money. I have to feed my family from my artwork. If I meet 20 people like you in a month, I’m not gonna be around to continue my music. So when I die out who wins? The gangster music wins, the thuggery wins. Everybody else wins but the conscious artists because we are caring about certain problems that they don’t. You walk up to Snoop Dogg and talk about “give me a free show,” man please! These cats are getting paid ridiculous amounts of money. I mean they will come out every once in a while because they have enough chips now, but when they first achieved that number one status man, you talk about calling them talkin’ about "uh Snoop, could you come by and say what's up to the kids? Just do it for free?" Man you wouldn’t do that with them.
THAFORMULA.COM - No doubt ‘cause they will laugh in your face.
Brother J - But as soon as you hear somebody that says, “you know we care about the community, we care about the kids.” They say “rush them,” you know, “check them on that and if they don’t give us no love then were gonna blast them.” Don’t blast us, blast the people that got your kids wearing Mini-skirts and shaking their ass all funky like they are strippers. Don’t blast us...
Posted by jsmooth995 at December 11, 2003 11:47 AM