Tuesday, August 13, 2019

J-Crush - I'm Vex - 1993

12" - 1993 - Rotten Records

In 1993 came out on Rotten Records this 12" released by J-Crush hailing from Montclair, New Jersey. The wax which is his first and his last record is composed of two tracks "I'm Vex" and "Snafu" (Situation Normal All Fucked Up), both produced by J-Crush.
"I'm Vex" which is the lead single of the record uses samples of the songs "Sing a Simple Song" performed by Sly & the Family Stone and "Papa Was Too" performed by Joe Tex.   

Recently, I had a talk with J-Crush and all I can say is that you can feel the passion for this culture when he's talking... a real hip-hop head !
He told me his own story, how he fell into the Hip-Hop movement, how everything started for him as a Break Dancer, Graffiti artist and Emcee, or his connection with Fatal Hussein (RIP) as well... Here is a slice of New Jersey Hip-Hop History ! 

J-Crush : "4, and 5 Years old I can say I participated in the Hip Hop Culture only I didn't know what Hip Hop was. I watched Soul Train and the TV Show What's Happening, from there I would emulate what I saw certain Dancers do. Like the Robot, Pantomime, and Pop Locking I would copy Rerun from What's Happening, also Shabba Doo who played Ozone in the Movie Breakin, he and Fred Berry (Rerun) were a part of a Crew called the Lockers. So I would say that was a portion of the Dance Element of Hip Hop. Around that same time I had a fascination with the Writing on the Walls for some reason I just thought  it was cool. My Mom told me it was called Graffiti. So I would write on stuff in School. And of course I got in trouble. I basically kept Dancing, I stopped writing on stuff ! 

A couple of Years later I happened to be at the supermarket with my Mom, and on the way home I heard this song that was different from any song I had heard before. They weren't singing, but like talking in a rhythmic way to a Beat, I said "a Hip a Hop a Hippy a Hip to the Hip Hip Hop and you don't stop"... whatever it was it was awesome not knowing my older Brother was listening to it at the same time at home, and I was in the car. I couldn't wait to get Home to tell him about it, and he couldn't wait until I got home to tell me about it.

That song was "Rappers Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang. My Mom brought us the record immediately. A few month's after that we started hearing the same type of song, but by different people one being The Furious 5 with Grandmaster Flash another was Kurtis Blow, and as time went on more and more different groups came out.

Then after that came "Planet Rock" that is the song that officially made me Hip Hop that Summer that's all you heard, that and "the Message" by Grand master Flash and the Furious 5 that is when I started to see a lot of people doing this incredible form of dancing in which the media calls Break Dancing, and the original Hip Hop Heads called Rocking. I had already been doing the Robot, Pop Locking...etc... so I decided to start getting into what was called Popping and also trying to emulate the Floor Work that the Rockers was doing, but it didn't workout for me so I just stuck to Popping my body agreed with that a little better.

This period of time was interesting cause though the Hip Hop Culture was starting to blossom all of the songs seemed to be Taylor made for Rocker's. Other than the Message, and a couple of other's it seemed to be way more Dance friendly song's like Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa, and the Soul Sonic Force in which I forgot to mention their Name in my first Reference to Planet Rock, and also another couple of my favorites like Numbers by Kraft Work, and Planet Patrol's Play at your own Risk.

At that time Rocking (Break Dancing) was at all time high, and the Music that was out was more geared towards the B Boys, and B Girls, and I forgot to mention Graffiti was everywhere as well, and me I was always Popping, and Waving, Moonwalking etc. Not too long after that you had more Rap songs starting to come out from groups like Divine Sounds, Run Dmc, the Fearless 4, Cold Crush Brother's, Funky 4 plus 1, Treacherous 3, etc... just to name a few. At that point where ever you went, if you turned on the TV you saw, and or heard Hip Hop.

It was all over TV Shows, Commercials, Cartoons, Psa Announcements, and Movies. Like Wild Style, Style Wars, Breakin 1, and 2, Beat Street, and one not too many People remember. Body Rock was the name. After the movies started being made that's when Hip Hop really started to take off, to me at least it's debatable, but I honestly believe so. Not only that the Movie's were based mostly if not all on the Graffiti, and Rocking (Break Dancing) Element of Hip Hop, don't get me wrong the Dj, and Mc Elements were present, but it seems as though the Visual Art, and Dance Side of the Culture stood out more as far as the Hip Hop Movies are concerned. Maybe not Krush Groove, I forgot about that Movie, another dope one, that one was geared more towards the Mc, and Dj Elements of Hip Hop, But if you ask me I think the Graffiti, and Rocking (Break Dancing) Element launched the Culture, I don't understand why they are the two over looked Elements, the lost Elements if you will. Well I can say in this Present Day there's more light being shed on the Graffiti, and Rocking (Break Dancing) Elements. Beat Street was my Favorite not only Hip Hop Movie, but Movie period, of all time I know I wasn't the only one who thought he was Lee, not only that everywhere you went wether NY, NJ, wherever you would see Crews forming, and find them on a Street Corner with a Boom Box, and or Ghetto Blaster, and a big piece of Cardboard, or Tile showing off their Moves for the Passerby's, in some cases you'll see two different Crews battling each other just like the Roxy Battle Scene in Beat Street. Me and my Friends on Elm Street in Montclair NJ. had a Crew that was inspired by the NYC Breakers called the Elm Street Breakers, and just like the NYC Breakers had the one Guy out of the Crew that Popped, we had one and that was me."

"So I considered myself the Mr. Wave of my crew still to this day, I was actually blessed to interview Mr. Wave a couple of years ago but we'll get into that a little later. Yeah we walked around the Area with the Ghetto Blaster aka Box and or Boom Box looking for Cardboard or Tile, and Battles, or just to dance for practice or just to entertain. Not only did we try to emulate our Breakin Og's but we tried to create our own moves and even incorporated they're Moves with ours.

After the b-boy stage of my life came the graffiti during the transition I would pop in school and at the school dances it got to a point they would even get me to battle people I found out that Hussein fatal one of Tupac's Outlaws rapped he didn't pop so he would get me to battle people and popping and I would get him to battle people in rapping. I then got very serious with graffiti to the point my mom was going to get me an airbrush and air compressor I got myself to the point I was making money in school, I would charge $2 for typing paper $4 for oak tag also known as poster board I would do people's name in graffiti. At that time I had the book Subway art, that book was definitely a blueprint for me. Seen  and Lee who played Zorro in the movie Wild Style was a couple of my favorites along with Scheme, Zephyr, Futura 2000, Phase 2, Kase 2, and Quik to name a few. There were some Artists from around my way that were very inspirational 2 Nasty Nas, Porn, Tame from the Legendary Artifacts, Prince, Hak, and Rev, my Homeboy Michael Bailey, my BNS Brother's Cire, Soul One, and Ezra, and many more. My crew consisted of Me, my friend Hank, Armondo, my cousin Gary, my homeboy Gary, and my friend Tim and I used to have a friendly Rivalry. He was Dope."

MC Bruce a.k.a Fatal Hussein (RIP) & J-Crush - Photo courtesy of Goff J-Crush Phillips

"While doing graffiti I got into rapping. I was hanging with Fatal Hussein one of Tupac's Outlaws this was years before Tupac we weren't even 15 years old yet, it was funny for a long time, I was hanging with him and didn't know he rapped until one day in the lunchroom he battled this cat name James and ate him. After that he would get me to take people out in popping and I would get him to take people out and rapping. Eventually I got him doing graffiti and because of him I started rapping. I was always around him hearing him rap so one day I just said it's my turn, I want some of the action. He's also the reason I know how to Freestyle, after while I formed a crew we were like the Junior Juice Crew, we were big fans of the juice crew. We were also down with Cool V from the Juice Crew, I invited Cool V to a talent show we did at our high school, me and Fatal used to go to his home studio and record. Biz Markie used to be there as well. I named the crew DBL Klan, I got DBL from MC Shan, DBL stood for Down By Law which was the name of his album. "

DBL Klan - Photo courtesy of Goff J-Crush Phillips

"From rapping I ended up becoming a street promoter for the major record companies also became a hip-hop journalist. I did Street promotions for Rap Pages magazine in the B-Boy Kingdom Column and also a Writer.
In 93, I made a record titled "I'm Vexed" and "snafu" (Situation Normal All Fucked Up) and I did the Production. What happened was my Brother had some extra Money so he came to me and said I'm going to pay for you to make a record. So "I'm Vex" and "Snafu" was born."

Mad Props to Goff J-Crush Phillips, thanks for your time bro !

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