DJ Daddy Rich one third of hip hop group 3rd Bass did this interview with William Hernandez back in 2010. He talks about his beginnings in hip hop from DJing, to producing, to his work with 3rd Bass and his album with Pete Nice, to other projects he’s been involved with.
What are you working now as far as music?
DJ Daddy Rich: Doing spot dates all over Arizona. Supposed to get a contract with Mondrian to do Saturday nights over there; I have hip hop domino, pool, & spades tournament coming up. I’m going to have a DJ site just dedicated to DJing without the gossip. It’s the essence and history of it. I think DJ Scratch has his site Scratchvision but that’s more of his thing. I’m trying to design a site to pay homage to forgotten cats in DJing like [Grandmixer] DST those cats. Basically they knew Q Bert, Mix Master Mike some might know Scratch, and Craze. But they don’t know about DST and them cats from back in the days… Grandmaster Theodore and them types of dudes.
Let’s talk about the beginning. How did you get into DJing?
DJ Daddy Rich: Like everybody else I was the local DJ doing school and basement parties and what not. I met DJ Clark Kent at this block party in Brooklyn. I started vibing with him and it got to the point that he said why didn’t I get into the [New Music] seminar. I just went in there and cut. It just popped off from there.
How did you hook up with MC Serch and Pete Nice?
Daddy Rich: Pete Nice and I were a group before 3rd Bass. Pete was going to Columbia University. I was going to Farmingdale College in Long Island. We were doing demos over that summer before I went to school. Brooklyn-Queens and a couple of other records that were on The Cactus album were records that we were working on before. I went off to school and he kept doing it. I couldn’t keep up with the commitment of going back and forth to the city… doing records and shit like that. I was in college and 3rd Bass came out. They had DJ Knight with them. I knew Serch from the battling circuit, because I knew him from before; from the New Music Seminar. I think the battle I was in he was the host. Plus Serch was all over New York at the time. I was in the circuit so we’d run into each other. So we knew each other. They were having a problem with DJ Knight or whatever. I think he had a problem going on the road or something. I couldn’t tell you what the deal was. They called me up. The first show I did with them was the Apollo and left that night to go on the LL [Cool J] Nitro tour. It just happened all of the sudden kind of.
How was that experience of the LL Cool J Nitro tour?
DJ Daddy Rich: That was dope man. I was 19 years old. Show up to the venue. They had boxes upon boxes of free clothes. All the food you can eat. Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul, EPMD was on the bill and we opened up. These were all the cats that I was playing their records a couple of months before and here I am side by side with them. It was like a dream come true.
Did you get a chance to hang out with the other DJs on the tour?
DJ Daddy Rich: Yeah! Mister Cee and I used to hang out a lot with Skoob and Scrap. Also with DJ Fuze of Digital Underground. I knew DJ Scratch from before the tour. I had a good relationship with them cats.
How about with Public Enemy?
Daddy Rich: I was cool with Public Enemy. I never spoke to Terminator X in my life. That was wild. Terminator X is a real quiet dude. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say a word in my life. We’d be waiting in for the tour bus in the lobby of the hotel. He’d be off in a corner sitting like he’s meditating. Glasses on with the records on his lap; just sitting there.
Who are some of your influences as a DJ?
DJ Daddy Rich: A bunch of them. DST the stuff he did on Herbie Hancock’s “Rock It”. That was a big influence on me. Plus the stuff he did at the end of Wild Style. Not a lot of people realize it that he was cutting “Good Times” and doing the transformer scratch. Just like when DJ Jazzy Jeff came out with the transformer. DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Cash Money, DJ Scratch were big influences also. Biggest influence has to be Clark Kent. I’ve always been a fan of DJs. Those are just East Coast DJs. I was always into the scratching that the West Coast cats did like M Walk, Bobcat, Joe Cooley those cats. DJ Aladdin can’t forget him he was incredible. I feel like I’ve taken a piece from everybody and kind of incorporated into what I do.
How was the production process on The Cactus album?
DJ Daddy Rich: I wasn’t around for The Cactus album. They had DJ White Knight. The Cactus revisited with Product of the Environment remix that’s me. Also Three Strikes to 5000 & the remix of Portrait of an Artist. All the remix records I did the scratches on. But the original 3rd Bass Cactus album is White Knight.
What do you remember about doing the scratches on Product of the Environment remix?
DJ Daddy Rich: I was hanging out with my man DJ Clash all day long. We were there. The beat that ended up being on there wasn’t the remix. Marley Marl had a beat for the remix… it was cool, but we were like… ‘Why do this? It’s not much better than the original.’ He went into his disks and pulled that beat out. It matched the horns that were on Product of the Environment. It all fell together. I had a Gemini 2200 mixer that day. That track was so hype it was just easy to do scratches on there. It was a dope experience.
How did you go about working in the studio; did you have to bring your DJ equipment to the studio to lay down cuts?
DJ Daddy Rich: You probably had to bring your mixer, slipmats, records, and needles. Because most studios had the [technic turntable] 1200s there or at least one 1200.
How did the remix of Portrait of an Artist using The Theme of SWAT come about?
DJ Daddy Rich: That was just hip hop man. The last of the breakbeats. Cats just wanted to put that out as single. Swing it a different way. I forget who decided to use the beat from SWAT.
How was the production process behind The Derelicts of Dialect album?
DJ Daddy Rich: Ah man! Prince Paul, Sam Sever once again. It was dope. This was way before digital and all that stuff. Everything was pretty much Reel to Reel. We did some of that stuff at Calliope [studios]. We did some of that at Chung King [studios]. Everybody who was hot in Hip Hop at the time; their record was made at Chung King. It took about eight months to make the album. It was every night you do one song. I’d play the song in my car driving home. Next day come back and see what we can change on it. What we can tweak on it.
How did Merchants of Groove come about?
DJ Daddy Rich: Me and Pete [Nice] were record diggers man. At that time in New York if you walked around west 4th street in the Village, you’d have bunch of record stores. Like real underground record stores were you could find a lot of rare shit. Also you’d have vendors outside. Sitting out on the street selling crates of records. Sometime Pete and I would drive around in my truck and ask how much they wanted for the whole crate. We’d sit there and listen to certain songs. That’s all we did. We just go out and hunt for records. It was one of those records that we found and we said yeah we can rock that.
How did you go about laying down scratches on songs?
DJ Daddy Rich: Usually off the top of the head. Because the process was like making a pizza. One dude made the crust. Somebody else put some tomato sauce. Somebody else threw some cheese on there. What do you feel like? You want some anchovies, pepperoni. It was that type of process. It wasn’t like we went in there the hook is going to go like this. Pete and Serch would be writing while the beat was playing in the studio over and over. It’d be like two or three hours of that. Then they’d drop a verse and I’d listen to what they said in the verse and trying something to fit. Instead of cutting Ah or Fresh or some shit.
How did “Daddy Rich In The Land Of 1210” come about?
DJ Daddy Rich: That was the first record they let me produce. That was my first DJ record. I actually found the original record that I sampled from this girl I was dating. Her grandmother had a record collection. I used the record brought it to the studio. Hooked it up real quick.
How was the recording process of Dust to Dust?
DJ Daddy Rich: It was cool, but wow! (sighs) It felt like something was missing. It felt like the beats were better than what we had with 3rd Bass. It just something missing; to me you just expected to hear Serch come in at some point in one of the verses. I definitely enjoyed making that album because I had more creative input into it. Russell [Simmons] always wanted 3rd Bass to be kind of like a second Beastie Boys. Matter of fact the first show I did with 3rd Bass on the Nitro tour. Russell Simmons was there. We were in the cafeteria area. He was straight up “I don’t want no black DJ. I want you to get yourself a white DJ”. Pete and Serch were like go out there and start the show and rip shit. I killed shit. I came backstage and he said (Russell Simmons) that’s how you’re going to start the show every night? It was on after that. He did not want no black DJ for 3rd Bass.
How did the Beatnuts get involved producing songs on Dust to Dust?
DJ Daddy Rich: Kurious Jorge. He was Pete’s artist and he knew those guys. They started doing some work for him. He started listening to their beats and their beats were dope. Put some of that shit on our album.
How did “Rat Bastard” come about and the video shoot?
DJ Daddy Rich: That was Brett Ratner’s first project. He was a film student and he was Russell’s man. Russell said let him do the video for you. You can see where the movie shit came from. Because that’s what he wanted to do; he basically turned the video into a movie. It was a crazy time.
How did the song “The Lumberjack” come about?
DJ Daddy Rich: It was a bugged out time. I don’t remember what the hell spawned “The Lumberjack”. I guess the chopping I guess. One of my favorite scratches was the chops. New school cats call it something different. The Mix Master Ice cuts (makes chopping noise with his mouth). If I remember correctly that was the whole concept behind it.
My favorite song on the album was “Rhapsody in J minor”
DJ Daddy Rich: Ah man! I wanted that to be the single. The thing about it; they didn’t think the hook was strong enough to be single. That was a dope song.
Do you have any unreleased songs from that era?
DJ Daddy Rich: Back in those days. Everything that got done got used. I don’t think there was anything that got dropped off. Because back in those days the expense of making an album. The time is money concept. You couldn’t really afford to leave anything on the cutting room floor. The only thing that’s unreleased is the reunion album. Where we tried to do the reunion album; three or four songs or whatever; I don’t know if Serch released them on his label or what happened with them. Those would probably be the only ones.
Talk to me about the remix you did for “I’m Kurious” by Kurious Jorge?
DJ Daddy Rich: That was Pete Nice and I. That was when I first got my MPC 60 and we had a bunch of records. It was just one of those records. That we just one of these records that we put together. He wanted me to help with the project.
How did you get your DJ name?
DJ Daddy Rich: Pete Nice gave me my name. My name was Richie Rich. Clark Kent named me Richie Rich. Pete Nice named me Daddy Rich. By the middle of the second tour I think and the name just stuck.
How did you end up being a part of the movie “Juice” for the DJ battle scene?
DJ Daddy Rich: Through DJ Plastic Man. He DJed for LL Cool J and Monie Love for a minute and was a DMC champ. They gave him the job to coordinate the DJ scenes. He came to me and asked for my help. He’s like my little brother. Helped him coordinate it and helped him out making Omar Epps look like he was DJing. Then I did the battle. The thing about it was. The records that we cut that day; the records you hear in the movie. That’s not what we did. That was a sampler. Because they didn’t want to pay for the sampling clearance of the records that we used. Like Rock the Bells, Steady B’s Let the Hustler’s Play that type of shit. What they did they got the Bomb Squad. To overdub the DJing parts. Keep the money in house. They already paid for the soundtrack; sample parts of it and overdub it. When I first saw the shit in the movies I was pissed. I was getting ready to walk out. I was mad as hell.
What were the origins of the Supermen DJ crew?
DJ Daddy Rich: We were a crew. Because we all grew up together in just about the same neighborhood. We all were Brooklyn but we all lived in different parts of Brooklyn. We’d get together at Clark’s [Kent] house, my house. [DJ] Scratch was in the projects we never went over there. It was the first of its kind. At that time it was uncharted ground. To have a DJ crew and three cats scratching at the same time. The [Invisible] Scratch Piklz and the rest of the crews made that kind of like the norm. I don’t think the doors were open for that type of thing back in those days. We were like the first.
What did you do as far as musically after 1994?
DJ Daddy Rich: I had my own production company. I had a group called the Dredknotz that was signed to Elektra records. The lead rapper had mental issues. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia. We finished the album and he started having some mental problems and bugging out. It was one of those underground records that caught love. A lot of underground cats still know and remember. We never had the ability to go out and tour for it. I kept producing. I had a couple of other groups. I ended up going on tour with Def Comedy Jam for a while. I did that for about a year. Before I went to Georgia I had my first son. That made me stay home a lot and not be out in the streets. You have kids you start weighing the importance. My kids need me here. That type of thing. After Def Comedy Jam we moved out to Atlanta. I started DJing for Da Brat. Toured with her a couple of months. After that was over, I went out on tour with Lil Kim for a couple of months… matter of fact I had stopped DJing for her right before that Hot 97 shooting. In between that time I was doing parties wherever – sometimes out of town; sometimes in Atlanta. I won two or three DJ contests in Atlanta – one was a Numark championship, another one was to DJ at the radio station. I did that for a while, then moved to Columbus, Georgia and was on the radio out there for a year. Moved back to New York and now I’m out in Arizona.
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