Doc Ice from U.T.F.O Talks Old School Hip Hop and Roxanne With Bubba Black

 

 

Show Script

[Music]

Electro Funk, R ‘n B, in the beginning of dance music, this show digs in to where it all started, the root of hip hop, Breakdance, Electric music, Rhythm Radio, The rolling 808, Freestyle dance. You’re listening to the Old School Rewind with Randy Bubba Black on the Podcaster Online Network

Bubba Black: On today’s show, Doc Ice from UTFO.

How do you do everybody? Bubba Black here on the Old School Rewind Podcaster. If this is your first time listening then thanks for coming. Podcast produced every week and I’m doing it specifically for my enjoyment. Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed or iTunes. That is most important here at oldschoolrewind.com. You can also follow me on Facebook at old-school rewind, all the links are in the show notes let’s get into the show.

[Music – Roxanne Roxanne]

Alright, alright, alright alright!

[Applause] [Laughter]

Through this podcast I have to be a little bit less intense and theatrical. I was a pretty outrageous guy on the radio so now I just got to let everything breathe out

[Breathe Deeply]

and let it marinate a little bit.

Doctor Ice: A little take back

Bubba Black: Doc Ice, one of the founding members of the UTFO – the Untouchable Force Organization, actually part of Whodini too, welcome to the old school rewind

[Applause]

Yeah. So back then in the day, did you think you’d be talking to old grown-ups that were 16 year old white kids from the coast that were into your tunes or what?

Doctor Ice: Amazingly I did. It’s like I always knew the music would cross because of where it came from. You got to think about ‘Roxanne Roxanne’

[Music]

You know that big beat, that’s Billy Squier

[Music]

So we would listen to groups like the Sarong 4 [02:20]

[Music]

We would listen to grooves like the Thompson Twins, Phil Collins when he was at Genesis. We were true kids who really stuck by that understanding of D.I.T.C. Diggin’ in the Crates. We went shopping for different records, it didn’t matter what the genre because we wanted to find that breakbeat. We knew in music every group – we felt, every group always had a breakdown even if it was one bar and because we had DJ’s backing us we would say if we get that one drop and that drop is dope enough keep cutting it back and forth so I can rhyme over it. So that became part of Digging in the Crate and that became part of music history for us that we started learning all type of genres and recognizing that you can find a beautiful breakdown anywhere.

Bubba Black: So who would you rather be known as Doc? Doc Ice from UTFO or that cat from Whodini?

Doctor Ice: Well I’d rather be known as Doc Ice and let the people do their own research and check my history and see how many groups I’ve been able to have a blessing, do a song with or travel and tour with so that people can know that Doc Ice is a chameleon. It doesn’t matter as long as I’m part of entertainment, that’s a blessing to me.

Bubba Black: Hey you’re the first guy to ever hump a drumbeat. Air hump the drum hump, you are the first I think to do it. Where does all that come from? That’s a legacy right there. The drum hump and the air hump, you’re the King.

[Laughter]

Doctor Ice: Young crazy wild boys and you’re coming from doing what you do in block parties at the Neighborhood Association block parties and then the girls started recognizing you and we became young boys who we was like “What can we do to catch their attention?”

Bubba Black: I got it, we can hump the air. “Come on, I got a good idea [Inaudible 04:32]

Doctor Ice: We said…

Bubba Black: Hump the air

Doctor Ice: … that’s right we were before the Humpty Hump [04:37]. We said “We were going to show you how what that is and then next thing you know it New Edition, Bobby Brown, everybody started doing it, now the whole nation of hip hop is doing it.

Bubba Black: So you’re a little bit more responding to doing interviews with people that label the music old school but there was a time that you didn’t like that term old school. Tell me about that Doc.

Doctor Ice: Well for me coming through the whole understanding of what old school is, I recognized that it wasn’t a thing of homage when people were saying it when it first came out. It was a thing of disrespect. Case in point, my wife and I, we were at a comedy Club back in the days up in Harlem and we just was in there just chilling because we wanted to see the comedian my boy Talent, a couple of other brothers that were performing that night. So when we got in, the comics they was like “Oh man we got a legend in the house Doc Ice is in the house.” So I was like “What’s up?” and as I said it these young upcoming artists they said “Oh, he old school.”

[Laughter]

So, they said to the comedians they is like “What! Yo Doc, yo Doc. They say you old school” I said “For real?” they say “Yo you want to come down here?” and I was like I said “but no you guys you’re doing the comedy” they was like “No we take some time for this Doc.” because they knew back then I think was battling whoever was trying to come at you and they was hoping that that artist would have some lyrics and for me I always stayed on my pen and pad. So when I come down it was two young men and one female and they was again “Yeah yeah, you old school.” I was like “All right” I said “So what could we do?” and they was like “Doc whatever you want to do.” I said “I bet [06:19] this is three y’all? I said “Let’s get a verse from each one of you and you get three verses from me but we’ll go one at a time and we don’t want no music so we can see if you’re saying something” So the whole crowd was like “Wooooooo”. So when we finished, to make a long story short, we’re talking about the shredded paper. I ripped each and every one of them up lyrically and focused on making sure they recognized and respected what we are as artists in the music business 1, and 2, don’t open this for you because here you are, young black artists and you see an older black artist and as opposed to giveing him respect, you want to down him. Why do I say that? I don’t think ever the Rolling Stones encountered some young white artists coming up to them saying “They old school.” No, they respected them, they paid homage to them and they can… that’s why to this date they can still drop an album and tour and sell millions of records because the history of the culture respects them and it should be the same with us. We fought to get this here. They don’t recognize how much hard work we had to do when even not just hip hop is, we talking about bands, black bands. They didn’t respect us as hip hoppers they didn’t like that they had to bring all this equipment and we brought a DJ. So we had a hard fight coming from the back bringing it to the front when they were saying that this hip hop thing is gonna be a fad, it’s going to fade away and I remember being on BET and they asked all of us and they said “Doc, what do you think hip hop is going to be 15 years from now?” I said “I think it’s gonna be on top of the world.” I said, “It’s the new thing,” I said, “young kids are getting involved” I said, “There’s no way that this is a fad.” I said “This is a new music.” and from that point on that’s when we started doing so well. We started selling more to computer chips, I mean hip hop just… whatever it touched it turned it into hip hop and that’s why they had to create a hip hop category because we were rising up and we was rising up commanding respect.

Bubba Black: So your Jalil’s brother from Whodini

Doctor Ice: Yeah

[Music]

Bubba Black: All right. So Ja’ almost got beat up and Flowers was around and Flash was around, both of them Grandmasters. Tell me about exactly what was up there where Jalil almost got beat down.

Doctor Ice: Well let’s be clear. I don’t know if he saved him from a behind whooping or he saved them from a behind whooping because my brother is nothing to play with when it comes to his hands. So the key was, it just was a beef. What was the beef? The beef was that we from Brooklyn.

Bubba Black: Okay

Doctor Ice: and we knew, I’m young so I didn’t know Zebra [09:22] ‘s my brother ‘cause he’s my older. I didn’t know about Grandmaster Flowers who was older than Grandmaster Flash, not knowing that he used to check out Grandmaster Flowers and the next thing you know he became Grandmaster Flash so the story is told.

[Music]

Remember I’m the young box [10:26] so when Jalil was expressing this, he was expressing what he learned from all of these other DJs from Brooklyn who said that he got that name from Grandmaster Flowers, so they didn’t want to accept that. So they wanted to beef about that and when they wanted to beef about that, it became like a confrontal [10:47] because this is something that they never heard of. So, to make a long story short he had to bring them to the side and express and introduced them to who Grandmaster Flowers was and whatever they did and however they ended in that, that was on them but Grand Master flowers is a DJ who was way before Grandmaster Flash and Grandmaster Flash used to check this DJ out and he was dope if you do your history on.

Bubba Black: Everybody had a Grandmaster back then, so Flowers is the first then Flash and even in your time in Whodini there was a Grand… oh no maybe Grandmaster Dee was after you?

Doctor Ice: Oh yeah, I mean we had so many… I mean coming up back in the days like we talked about before Wax [11:27]. You had so many DJs, you had Master Don and the Deaf Committee [11:30].

[Music]

You had so many different DJs because everybody wanted to have an extravagant name but the first thing you had to do was have a following. Once you had a following then you could have a name that hopefully you build the name while you were building the following and then that name became strong so without a question Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five was definitely a force to be reckoned with and we recognize that being from Brooklyn and them being from the Bronx. We recognize that untill this date [12:42]. Myself, grandmaster Melle Mel.

[Music]

You had so many brothers who created that master man ‘cause it just had an effect to it but today we became great friends after the long understanding that we all was on the same page trying to make a music well known internationally. So whatever negative started out, the positive began to pick up in the long run because we recognized that we was on the same side

[Music]

Bubba Black: Tell me about that song right there.

Doctor Ice: Oh man [Inaudible 14:29] rhymes. For UCFO and myself, it was the introduction into the music business, getting our feet wet so to speak and it just became that thing that we said “This is going to be…” like if you’re talking about boxing, Beats and Rhymes was our jab. We thought it was going to be our right cross but just in case we did a B-Side to Beats and Rhymes and that B-Side was Roxanne Roxanne becau… my bad, my bad, my bad. Beats and Rhymes was the first single which was the jab. Then came another song and you might call this I’m not gonna say nothing until you bring that up but Beats and Rhymes was in that dance mode, Kangol and I we had one …

Bubba Black: Let me try to guess – can I guess?

Doctor Ice: Yes you can

[Laughter]

Bubba Black: Bite it

[Music]

Doctor Ice: No, nope

Bubba Black: Let’s see, Beats and Rhymes [Inaudible 15:49] actually sorry, I thought I had it with Bite It man

Doctor Ice: It’s called

[Singing] Hanging Out, cooling out without a doubt it’s all about hanging out, hanging out and cooling out and chilling out.

It’s called Hanging Out.

[Music – Hanging Out]

Bubba Black: Oh yeah it was actually titled Hanging Out, right?

Doctor Ice: That was the A-Side…

Bubba Black: Hanging Out, I remember that.

Doctor Ice: …and the B-Side to that was Roxanne Roxanne.

[Music]

Bubba Black: Sure.

Doctor Ice: So our jab out was Beats and Rhymes because we thought we needed a dance type vibe, we needed Full Force in there singing with us so we can have all the ingredients because we were on… I guess we were in that young genre where the beat, the breakdancing, popping, locking was still in effect heavy. So we wanted something that was close to that vibe to compete, to hang out with those songs. So it didn’t do as well as we would have liked it to do but then we said okay we got to come at another shot and that’s when we did Hanging Out which we thought was going to be the right cross but just in case we did the B-Side which was Roxanne Roxanne which was the smartest thing we could have ever thought to do and it became the master smash to where people don’t even know what Hanging Out is.

Bubba Black: Out in Flatbush [17:30], you guys had a pizza spot where you and Kangol used to hang out. Tell me about that place.

Doctor Ice: Oh man! That’s amazing that you’d bring that up because you’re the first person I think who’s ever asked me about that. That pizza shop was called Lorenzo’s Pizza Shop. We knew Lorenzo, he was the Italiano in the neighborhood and he made sure that we had the best pizza in the neighborhood but we would go there and we would meet because every Saturday especially after school was out – we’d go there early Saturday, we’re in there getting our pizza and him and I met there and we would be just doing dance moves and just kind of talking about music. It’s that ear [18:08] thing it was like that buzz in the street and for some reason him and I just connected and he would be doing dance moves, pop locking up top and I’ll be moonwalking and doing stuff with the bottom part of my leg trying to get it all together and that was the nucleus of us getting together and saying “Hey man, let’s meet.” We just started meeting and we always have our pizza and we did on the weekends but we just would meet, connect and from that point on him and I became like brothers. I mean he was at my house, I was at his house, he’s introducing me to Haitian food because his family’s Haitian so I’m like “Wow this is incredible.” My mom, she black so she giving him all the American black food. So we was just young kids growing up doing what the neighborhood was doing and we were doing it early because before that it was all about Skelly [18:57] or racing or football. Just the neighborhood things but we weren’t doing it in schools so we was doing it in the neighborhood doing it at the block parties and for him and I it was the best thing that could have happened to us.

Bubba Black: So you guys are out on 43rd Street having a great gig and somebody rolls up and pulls the plug. Explain to me what was going on that day.

Doctor Ice: We were becoming known in the neighborhood. We were the new [19:22] young incoming handsome rappers, we…

[Laughter]

And our goal was we want to find out who was the best rappers in the neighborhood? So we was writing, we was putting things together, we was writing. So we happened to meet up with Howie Tee who later became The Real Roxanne DJ.

Bubba Black: Surely Hitman.

[Music]

Doctor Ice: [Inaudible 20:06] we met up with him, he was with this group called – I think they was the Show Shop 4 MCS [20:12] and what we said was “We was like well, we want to bury y’all.” So when we said we wanted to battle them because of ego [20:20] everybody goes like “Yeah yeah yeah yeah”. So the next thing we tell them “All right, meet us on …” they said “Let’s set it on 43rd between Church and Linden. We said “All right you bet, we all gonna meet y’all in there.” So the day comes, we all just in these light powdered blue nylon shirts back in those days, everybody had on their Lee jeans and their Pomezoid didis [20:47] whatever they liked and all of us carrying crates through the party and as we’re carrying crates through the party it’s a packed block party. People screaming “Woooo UTFO is in the house” and back then we was called UFO. They was like “UFO is in the house.” So we come in, we get up there to the sound booth with Howie and his boys and Howie, let me tell you something about Howie Tee. 1, he was known for sound, his sound was like immaculate and 2, he had music out the wad [21:45], Howie had so many crates he would sleep on certain crates because he had so many records so we knew what we was up against when we was cup[21:25]-challenging Howie Tee and the Show Shop 4 MC’s [21:27]. So we get there, we got everything we need but we needed to connect to…

Bubba Black: Wait hold on there a second man, I got to get all stretched down like we’re about a egg house the way you’re telling this story. I’m not sure if I should be listening to it or not so [Inaudible 21:41] me hunched down real quick.

[Laughter]

Doctor Ice: They connected us to them and back then you had these different amps and if the amp got hot, it would shut everything down. So ok, we’re dealing with that, we had to plug up to their sound. We plugged up to their sound, got the power from them so battle starts happening. As the battle starts happening and we start going, crowd starts screaming, we getting them involved – they pull that plug. When they pull that plug, it knocked the amp so our amp wouldn’t start back up. Naturally they wasn’t going to give us no amp because we had that crowd. The crowd was in our favor…

Bubba Black: “Booo”

Doctor Ice: …so now everybody… so now you’re getting the “boo boo” we’re like “Yo they pulled the plug” we were saying and it was like “What’s up with that?” so we said “Alright this is what we gonna do since they want to throw tantrums [Inaudible 22:31] pull plugs and front [22:34], let’s have a second battle, meet us…” – We couldn’t even call it the first batter but we had to say that – “…meet us on 55th between Linden and Lenix” and they was like “Alright, bet we’re going to meet y’all on 55th between …”

[Laughter]

… and this is the block that Educated Rapper lived on, so we was like okay if anything we’ll have backup in case something happens. So we get prepared and we said, I think we said maybe a month or two later – maybe a month because it was the summer. So we get there, we get ready and we prepare for them now. Now we’ve upped our anxiety and ego was to the moon. So we get there, they don’t show up but they got flunkies in the crowd trying to represent them. So we… the block party was packed because everybody heard about the news, we apologized, we said “Yeah we don’t know why they didn’t show up but I guess they were scared to come see what we was gonna bring them” and for the crowd we said “but we’re gonna act like they’re here anyway so for all the flunkies that’s here, we’re taking the battle to them and we went into it and we tore them in half. When I say we tore them in half, they couldn’t take it, the flunkies couldn’t take it, the crowd went crazy, it became the new thing like it was known that we was the new kids on the block when it came to hip hop.

Bubba Black: That’s a great story. Tell me what it was like being on the Gene Rayburn Show and on Phil Donahue? I mean it was a different time, you guys were just I don’t even know Gene Rayburn had a show. I only remember him from Match Game so.

Doctor Ice: Well that was a special treat for us because like I was telling you earlier we had joined the Disco Fever Dance Contest where they had dancers and rappers that was battling in different cities around the states and the finalist ended up battling at Radio City Music Hall. So we; me and Kangol we was with another partner we called ourselves the Keystone Dancers at the time, so we battled and we did the rap as well. Fat Boys was a part of that at the Disco Fever that ended up at Radio City. It was a ten pin alley [24:47] extravaganza …

Bubba Black: And Steve Salem took you to this correct?

Doctor Ice: Oh Steve’s the first person to take us to the box, to the Disco Fever not even Full Force. Steve Salem took us up there and introduced us to what hip hop was going on up there because he was really interested in how he could move us so when we went up there it was just an amazing feel and when we ended up…

Bubba Black: Fat Boys, Tin Pan, the spectacle that is Radio City Music…

Doctor Ice: Oh man listen it was amazing and then when we won that dance contest, they said to us the winning prize was that they would give us a dance scholarship to go to a dance school. So me and Kangol’s like we just won a contest that beat out thousands of people and you want us to go to a dance school. We was like “We could teach dance.” We decided not to do that and that’s when my brother Jalil was like “Well we’re thinking about this tour that we about to go on because they’re just doing the Mr. Magic thing and the Magic’s Horn and he was like “Y’all want to roll what up?” We was like “Yeah!” So in the meantime in and between time, calls was coming in for us and one of those calls was Phil Donahue and he was like, he said “I want you guys come on my show.” So we did Phil Donahue show, we did the Gene Rayburn show, we did the Bill Boggs show and in between that being, I think being on Phil Donahue – what’s his name? my goodness – a big time actor called for us and he was like – oh man I’m so mad I can’t say his name, I’ll get his name but anyway he called us and said he wanted us to perform for his daughter’s 13th birthday and it was Jennifer.

Bubba Black: Oh you got her name down don’t you but you can’t remember the fool that hired you.

Doctor Ice: I got it, Dustin Huffman so…

Bubba Black: Oh!

[Laughter]

Hold on a second.

[Husky Voice] Some name dropping going on let me pick up that name you just dropped off.

Doctor Ice: There you go [26:41]. So he called us he said “Would you guys perform as a surprise because she saw us on the show and went crazy.” So we jumped on, we came to the performance they had in the city [26:53] for her at the party they had and we rocked the party. After the party he was like “You guys listen, anything you ever need I will… I got you guys, I will support you, you just call me” and we was excited and we had that number and we called him after and he never picked up on us.

[Laughter]

Bubba Black: I was going to say maybe he never picked up the phone did he? Damn it.

Doctor Ice: He never picked up the phone and we felt like… that’s when we started getting the taste of – oh man people do a lot of talking.

Bubba Black: That’s the music business for you.

Doctor Ice: Yeah man, so we enjoyed that but then the next thing you know Ja’ was like “Alright [Inaudible 27:29] go out to this ‘80… end of ‘83 I’m getting ready to go in ’84. So we went overseas, we did so well that they wanted us to stay we said “We can’t, we gotta go back home.” So then they asked us to come back, we came back and we did a straight three-month tour… three and a half month tour overseas from [27:49] London, Italy, France, Holland, Belgium, Sweden. I mean we were everywhere over there performing and I’m talking about if we had two or three days off a week that was a lot. We performed every single day, it was amazing they loved it, they didn’t they couldn’t get enough of it and in the meantime and between time Whodini was recording their first album because we was only doing the Haunted House of Roc, Magic’s Wand

[Music]

I think maybe friends [28:27] or one of them we were just fresh into the album.

[Music]

When that tour was over, it was like we came back home and it was like they put together the Fresh Fest and the next thing you know fresh off the overseas tour we in [28:50] Fresh Fest. Run-DMC, Whodini…

Bubba Black: LL

Doctor Ice: Oh my god,

[Music]

It was amazing

Bubba Black: Fat Boys

Doctor Ice: Yeah it was [Inaudible 29:59]

[Music]

Beastie Boys, everybody was in and out back and forth but that was… the guys who created that was the same guys who created the Soul – what is it? Um he UniverSoul Circus

Bubba Black: Okay, no I’m not familiar with it

Doctor Ice: Well that’s a black circus that they go around and…

Bubba Black: Hold on, I’ve seen a documentary on that. I take that back, I have seen it

Doctor Ice: Oh yeah and these are the same guys that created the Fresh Fest and it was sponsored by a Swatch watch and Sprite. I mean it was an amazing tour, we did really well. Till date people talk about that Fresh Fest. They tried to do a couple more but the original one – it was nothing like it.

Bubba Black: So your biggest hit to date Roxanne Roxanne, you guys have already been to Europe I got to know, did anybody hit it with Roxanne?

Doctor Ice: Oh Roxanne?

Bubba Black: Yeah

[Music]

Doctor Ice: What do you mean?

Bubba Black: Come on Doc, you know what I mean man

Doctor Ice: What are you talking about B?

Bubba Black: Come on man. Every time I talk about something like that, dudes are always thinking about it. Come on man.

[Laughter]

Doctor Ice: [Inaudible 30:25] for me

[Music]

[Singing together] Did you take it to the beat that’s what we planned but you stood me up Roxanne Roxanne

[Laughter]

Bubba Black: I got you man, I got you.

Doctor Ice: She was a sweetie pie man and we worked hard together and it was a blessing to have her be a part of our group with The Real Roxanne and Roxanna Shante because they both really fought well to keep the strength of hip hop for females going.

[Music]

Bubba Black: So how long actually was it because that fight seemed like it went on forever, what was it, a year or two? The Roxanne battles.

Doctor Ice: I’d say longer than that because every time we seen each other it was beef.

Bubba Black: Oh okay

Doctor Ice: We felt like they were stepping on our record.

Bubba Black: Sure

Doctor Ice: Means so for us you can actually make a master he’ll tell you we feel like that that infringed on ourselves because now we opened in the doors for others so what we doing is basically if you had a bowl with one spoon and you was eating, now you got five spoons in your one bowl so it definitely took away but at the same time it added because it became something that was unique.

Bubba Black: Tell me about Roxanne Roxanne the Rap

[Music]

Doctor Ice: What do you want to know?

Bubba Black: Where did it come from, who’s the main writer?

Doctor Ice: Well I’m one of the supreme writers. The title came from B-Fine from Full Force. He came to us one day and he was like “I what you guys should do a song about a girl named Roxanne” and we was like “Roxanne?” he was like “Yeah” he said and not like the police we’re going to call it Roxanne Roxanne. He… it was his brainstorm, his idea that to do this song about this girl named Roxanne. So we decided to get into it, we was like “All right cool.” We wrote the pieces and when I got into it I expressed my view on it, Kangol expressed his view and we all decided that none of us could get her because she was so fine and we knew females in the neighborhood like that. So Roxanne was a real character who was created. This was true that went on in the neighborhood, you had seen females that would not talk to you because you lived in the neighborhood and they was fun as all outdoors. So Roxanne was definitely something that we created from something that existed in the neighborhood.

Bubba Black: Doc Ice and Mix Master Ice, square this away for me. Too many Ice’s in one maybe you guys are too cold man.

Doctor Ice: Well Mix Master had his name Ice because they called him DJ Ice

Bubba Black: That’s back in the UFO days right?

Doctor Ice: And his real name is Maurice, so he took the last high i-c-e for his name and that’s where he got his name. For me, when I used to moonwalk, people would say “Man you look like you’re on ice Doc.” I was like “Yea say what” So I was thinking of a name, I wanted something big so I came up with debonair Doctor Ice. I always wanted to be a doctor but didn’t want to do the schooling because of how long I heard it would take to achieve the accomplishment, so I decided to bring it into the music and become a music hip hop doctor. For me it was a lot easier because I was already connected.

Bubba Black: I love that line. ‘I had to let her know I was the debonair Doc’ That’s one of my favorite lines of that song

[Laughter]

Doctor Ice: Thank you B

Bubba Black: Yeah man, serious. So you guys are one of the first groups that can sing rap dance in just one show.

Doctor Ice: Oh Yeah

Bubba Black: Right? Sing rap dance Kangol at least is good [34:30] in the song and you guys wanted to be known for longevity as to who UTFO was. A looky [34:40] here, you made it a career. Can you believe that?

Doctor Ice: That’s amazing because most people who go to college they usually don’t come out of college with a job that they went to college for. So for us to be able to go to a so-called hip hop college and to come out doing what we went to school for all these years, you have to say we’ve been on a slide for a very long time. So it’s been a blessing to be able to say we want to do all of these things and stay connected to the home of hip hop and I mean we got blessed to do so. So we have to humble ourselves and thank Jehovah the Almighty God for blessing us with the talent to do so and then the humbleness to thank people for them paying that attention to us because without them where would we be? So the connection was on both sides that they accepted us and we was given something that they could accept and appreciate when it came to music.

Bubba Black: What are you referring to now?

Doctor Ice: Well I mean for me it is just the neighborhood

Bubba Black: The School of Hard Knocks, I got you. Okay alright.

Doctor Ice: Yeah, us sitting together, paying attention to what was going on around the neighborhood and saying we’re gonna take the chance and stay on this. Not go to school and get all of these different degrees. It was a sacrifice but for us the sacrifice was worth it. Later on we got proclamations from the city [36:13] and citations from the Borough President Eric L Adams from Brooklyn, different accolades, different keys to the city, the growth was beautiful. What we would have really loved is that they would have given us a retirement something that we could live off to where we wouldn’t have to work so hard 40 years later still in the game because they don’t have no retirement fund for old school artists. So it becomes a tough place at the end of your career because after that you don’t have no resume that you could bring to a blue-collar job. You have to figure it out from that point on. So it makes it tough but there’s a joy in it as well.

Bubba Black: So you met Dustin Hoffman, that’s a perk of the gig.

Doctor Ice: Yeah

Bubba Black: Were there any other perks of the gig where you got to meet somebody or because of who you were you had special access or the like?

Doctor Ice: I got blessed to do a video with Michael Jordan called Michael Jordan’s Playground and it was with Full Force and my ‘cuz Gary Reeves [37:20]. They… what happened was in the split of me doing hip hop I recognized that at one point it was moving slow or I wasn’t keeping up with the Joneses so to speak. So I always connected with the acting field; entertainment field. So I was connected with a company that was giving me different commercials. So I was doing Hawaiian Punch commercials, I was doing Pizza Hut commercials, I was doing Miller Lite commercials. I was making money on the side and it was pretty good money. The project came up where me and my partner Wiz we had did a dance for Fiat. Fiat was doing a commercial for the new Uno Fiat car over in Italy. So we did the dance, the battle in – why we call it a battle is because other people are trying to get the commercial – me and my partner we got the commercial. At that same time, they was like “Doc they’re doing the Michael Jordan’s Playground video you want to be down?” I was like “Yeah I want to be down?” I was like “How much are they paying?” and it was like “Well you are going to get publicity because it’s Michael Jordan so you get some publicity and better than that I was like “I’m going to the Fiat commercial because they was paying well so I said I’m trying over there and I’m gonna do that commercial” it was like “You sure doctor?” I’m sure ‘cause I was about making money trying to bring something home. So me and my partner we go over to Italy, we stay two weeks. When I’m about to come home I get a call from Full Force and they was like “Doc if you want, instead of going straight home, fly to California and you still could be in the video. You’ll just be opposite the road” because I was going to have the main role of the guy who played Michael Jordan because Michael Jordan he got cut from his high school team. That was the thing they wanted to show that anything is possible if Michael could do it, you could do it. So I said “Alright I’m going to fly in.” So I flew back to California, ended up doing the video with him, meeting him. He was a pleasure to be around, man it was a pleasure to meet him and to just get to know his personality for that short period of time. So that was one thing I did. I also – who else I did things with? I mean me and Tommy Hearns we were tight. I got a chance to meet Muhammad Ali, him and I got real close as he got older before the Parkinson’s got heavy on him. that’s how I got to meet his daughter Mamie [40:00]. Her and I would talk on the phone because they were trying to get into hip hop at the time. Straight from the heart, I mean like when I say I’ve learned what platonic was, I learned it through them and then I got a chance to meet so many people myself in… Do you remember a artist, a pop artist named Dino?

[Music]

Bubba Black: Of course I played Dino, I Like It …

[Music]

24/7

Romeo you’re on Romeo

Doctor Ice: Exactly and I got a chance to chill with him,

[Music]

meet Arsenio…

Bubba Black: I’m a fan of the format a huge fan anybody that knows me knows that from the 23 the Bogarts [41:19] high school at age 16, way over on the west coast taking crap from everybody. They even called little white kids wiggets [41:26] back then.

Doctor Ice: Wow

Bubba Black: I’m an original, I’m an old Dogg [41:29]

Doctor Ice: Well I gotta tell you, I love you for standing firm for that because you were fighting for us when we didn’t even know it. Our goal was Steve Salem before he passed – this is why I loved him so much. He would say to us ”Don’t worry about those who you already got.” he was like “Worry about that lonely little young white girl that live way in the country somewhere where she can’t even get out to the store unless she own a car, somebody drives her into the city.” He made us think different.

Bubba Black: Steve Salem had that global thought, he was correct about it.

Doctor Ice: Oh yeah man, he was the reason for Snow that the Jamaican white artist that blew up, that was him, he saw things…

Bubba Black: Oh Informer

Doctor Ice: Yeah, he was the reason for Full Force stopping the push of being artists and becoming producers first and maybe that would open the door for them being artists. It was his thought process that to me if he was alive today, we would; UTFO would be in a different position because of his fight for us, he would fight for us, he would make sure that that no matter what happened we was a part of everything moving with hip hop because we was. He recognized it and he felt like we should have been respected for it. So I miss him for his brain set and I miss him for his strength.

Bubba Black: Rest in peace Steve Salem. You guys have just had so many great songs, like again I’m such a fan of songs like

[Music – Bite It]

Doctor Ice: Oh man, Bite It

[Music – Bite It continues]

Bite It was a song that we did because back in the days if you was a biter that was one thing we would disrespect you on heavily. Our goal was to be unique to be separate from every other artist to show and express how we could be different and still make a difference in the hip hop genre. So when it came to Bite It man, our goal was to tell them our rhymes are recited and we are delighted to give you permission to [Crunching sound] bite it!

And me and Kangol, we used to because like you said we wanted to do everything in hip hop, so we were doing the beatbox at shows and Kangol could master that yabumm [44:24] just sound like a gremlin so I was like “Alright I would do the bikang [44:27] and you do the gremlin.” He’s like…

[Miming together]

and the crowd would go crazy when we did that. So we got a whole… we had a good joy just entertaining that crowd. That was our goal. Whatever we could do to entertaining y’all that’s what we do. We cracked jokes, we would we would show them our different levels of talent and then we will show [Inaudible 45:02]

Bubba Black: What type of record deals did you guys get signed in, did you make money off of Roxanne, does somebody make money off Roxanne, how does it go about when Roxanne is played? Who is the recipient of the glory, who gets the goods?

Doctor Ice: I gotta say yes. What we expected – no. Did we sign – yeah. Did we know better? – No.

Bubba Black: That’s everybody’s story man you’re not alone.

Doctor Ice: Would we have like somebody to really teach us better – yeah. It’s like being young and you tell a young kid something and the person tells you that thing that you shouldn’t do or pay attention to and you yes ’em but then at the end of the day it didn’t work out like you would have wanted to work so I definitely take some blame in my position and where I stand but I also look at it like we should have been protected we was kids, we should have been protected and since it didn’t happen I can’t cry over that spilled milk my goal is to stay focused and to thank the Almighty Jehovah – I will say it to the day I die for allowing me to be able to eat every single day and rest in a home every single day and wear a smile on my face every single day because I’m happy with life. Not what happened to me in life, I’m happy with life. So when I get up in the morning and I can see another day and see my children and my wife and thank my God I’m blessed and I’m thankful for that.

Bubba Black: Tell me about the song Split Personality Doc Ice and what is it man, is it just trying to encompass everything that you are as a rapper or the many talents that you had at rapping considering the dialects and the different stuff you did and all of this was so new back then?

[Music – Split Personality]

Doctor Ice: Amazingly we used to do the block party back in the days when we were battling. This is something that Kangol came up with and we decided to make it a record. So when we decided to make it a record I was like “Man he got the two personalities” I got to figure how to touch that and I would always do accents and languages and joke. I said “I probably could do that in the rap act like…” – because we knew about Sibil [48:23] way back in the days and all these different people coming out of her and I was like – “I could do that.” So I just sat down I talked to some of my Asian friends, my Spanish friends,

Bubba Black: Some of your Cuban friends, your Spanish friends, yeah.

Doctor Ice: [Speaking with Spanish accent] [Inaudible] Papi I want to do this song called Split Personality, you’ve got to help me.

Bubba Black: Oh my goodness.

Doctor Ice: They would sit with me and make sure I was saying the right pronunciation even if it’s like

[Music] [Miming along]

So I had to figure out how to transact, how to come out like singing. If you go to hit a high note or you start on one note and you’re like [49:07] and you rise out, it was the same thing in the transaction of the personalities. So I just worked on it, worked on it and man it came out to be immaculate. We got to meet the OJs and LeVert in Ohio and we actually won an award for Split Personality being a top song out there.

Bubba Black: That might have been one of the dopest illness tracks in its time. I mean the production, just the thought of doing the multilingual delivery, what else how else can I praise you Split personality you did. Now we move up to Leader Of The Pack and that is a song that showcases Mix Master Ice. Did he say “Guys I need a song about myself the DJ”? or did you guys figure in a way to tribute Mix Master Ice in Leader Of The Pack.

[Singing] He’s all who we call the leader of the pack

Doctor Ice: Well we decided to do song that’s tribute to him because to us he was truly a Mix Master. He was truly nice when it came to cutting and scratching the records. So just watching him was amazing because he would practice, I mean he… it just was amazing to see him get into his practice and when we did the song that’s when we would sit together and we would say we need to figure out the best things we could say about him and that’s what we started doing. We started just creating just the dopest rhymes we could create.

[Music – Leader Of The Pack]

We put a little bit of Roxanne Roxanne in there.

[Singing] Explain to me really what doctors must do…

Because for me I’m one of the first rhythm rappers on [Inaudible 52:16] or wax because back in the days everybody was just straight rhyming [52:20] but I was one of those that; I wanted to play with my words with matically [52:24] saying things like

[Miming] I want a nice individualistic [Inaudible 52:30]

Bubba Black: You guys were way ahead of your time with all that stuff you know.

Doctor Ice: I really feel like that because I wanted to touch people I wanted them to see how much how much you could do with words before having to go to cursing

Bubba Black: And you never had to go there

Doctor Ice: Naa, I mean I did and…

Bubba Black: Did you daddle into it a little bit?

Doctor Ice: A lot of it like after leaving UTFO and going solo I’m fighting, trying to try to make it and the industry is changing, it’s going from…

Bubba Black: What year are you referring to?

Doctor Ice: ’95, ‘96

Bubba Black: So ‘94, That’s Dre [53:04] had already taking control and radio was going gangster.

Doctor Ice: Exactly, so what I did was me and my cousin, we sat down and we created a group called 1 and 1 [53:13] and I went to Markie Dee from the Fat Boys, he introduced me to a production crew named Swinger Things [53:22] and they gave me this beat. We titled it Phenomenon and if you look into that Bubba, if you check it out now on YouTube it’s up to 3.5 million views. You’ll see [Inaudible 53:31] a lot of the Jadakiss’ [53:33] and all of those different artists that come behind us. I’m just speaking for me. I believe it’s one of the most wittiest songs of the era. Today if you look at the responses of people responding two, three weeks ago saying it has to be the most realist song ever.

[Music – Phenomenon]

I changed my hair, made it blond, put it in puff [53:51], called myself Sunny Boy. I changed the name because I felt like the era I’m coming from; they’re trying to just shut us down all the way.

[Music – Phenomenon continues]

I was like reinvent yourself, you could do it. I felt I had the power in the biz [55:08] and we did it and to this date this song is continuing to climb. There’s no way we’re at 3.5 and it wasn’t a hit record. We were signed to Next Plateau Records with Eddie O’ Loughlin, he didn’t believe in the song, he didn’t believe in us though he signed us and we charted on Billboard. The record grew its own legs without him. They didn’t put no money in it and the next thing the label folded and we was on our own.

Bubba Black: So ‘86 that’s the same label that turned out Sweet Sensation in ’86?

Doctor Ice: Yeah

[Music]

Bubba Black: So then what’s it get to be nine years down the road and…

Doctor Ice: ‘96

Bubba Black: Ten years sorry, my maths’ a little…

Doctor Ice: Yep and you know who got me that deal? Steve Salem

Bubba Black: You owe a lot to Steve Salem.

Doctor Ice: I owe a lot to Steve Salem.

Bubba Black: Now I want to talk about the most different song that you guys ever performed, it was so far and away from what you did.

Doctor Ice: [Singing] Be my fairy tale lover

[Laughs]

Bubba Black: Tell me about Fairy Tale Lover. Who was the singer?

Doctor Ice: All of us. It was something that Kangol had pushed because he was into the singing thing and writing songs he…

Bubba Black: Let’s get some of it right now man it’s too good. Fairy Tale Lover UTFO

[Music – Fairy Tale Lover]

That’s the jam. I don’t care how old you are, if you were going to a slow dance back then if I was DJing the gig then I’d for sure play Fairy Tale Lover. It was so cool it was so far and away removed from what you guys did and the ballads were banging at that time and just what a great song.

Doctor Ice: Run from Run-DMC said it was the reason why he wrote Peter Piper.

Bubba Black: Really?

Doctor Ice: Yeah he said when he heard us singing

[Singing] Let’s be like Alice in Wonderland

He was like if they could write about the fairy tales like that singing I could write a rap about that and there’s where you get

[Singing]

Now Peter Piper picked peppers but Run rocked rhymes
Humpty Dumpty fell down that’s his hard time
Jack B. Nimble what nimble and he was quick

[Laughter]

So he said that’s what made him write that. So for me I thank Kangol for pushing me in that direction because it was never a direction I was in. I’m wholehearted hip hop I’m like [Rapping 59:032] rhyme that was my mental but doing that was a wise thing because we were on tour with New Edition that allowed us to balance out our show, perform it to the crowd that they will bring it and that we were being introduced to.

Bubba Black: Like you needed more ladies at the backstage door. Hold on, let’s get a ballad, we’re not hot enough, we need something for the girls. Not enough chicks.

[Laughter]

Come on Doc, come on man

Doctor Ice: Because remember we were singing in Beats and Rhymes

Bubba Black: Sure

Doctor Ice: So we just needed to bring it back and to go slow, that was something different.

Bubba Black: Every time I hear are Too Short or a Snoop Dogg and I hear the wizzai the kizzai the zizzai [59:40], the Kangol Kid is where I heard that that stuff first.

[Music]

I mean that’s been going on since 1984.

Doctor Ice: They can’t take no credit for that because it even goes to the point of the Double Dutch Bus. Remember that song?

[Singing] Willze illzare plizzayin’ dizzouble dizzutch!

Bubba Black: That’s right so it’s Frankie Smith Double Dutch Bus

Doctor Ice: Let me enlighten you. It’s even before him.

[Music – Double Dutch Bus]

It was a street code like when we were coming up. It was a street code for all the little thugs in the neighborhood who would try to… It came from the Swahilli [01:01:02]

Bubba Black: That’s ghetto pig latin is what it is.

Doctor Ice: Right so what they were doing was they used it to kind of make codes to each other to whether they were going to do a negative to somebody or positive to somebody…

Bubba Black: Really

Doctor Ice: …but they only knew the language. So for me, I picked it up because I was maybe I’m gonna say 13… 12, 13 when I picked up pig latin and I mastered it. It became one of the things that I picked up from learning about what was back in the day is called the Five-Percenters who believed in Islam and say they were searching for understanding. Whatever but that was on them. For me I was just listening to things that intrigued me so to hear them say

[Rapping in pig latin 01:01:44]

I was like “Whoo! I like that” because it was a language…

Bubba Black: You’re still pretty good at that man, I gotta give it to you.

Doctor Ice: My daughters, when I talk to them I talk to them in pig latin so now they have two languages and then they teach it to their friends and so on, so we sit back in the house and they laugh because they like “[Inaudible 01:02:08] where did they come from?” I’m like “Guys before y’all was born – I’m 51 and my girls they just turn 13 they get a kick out of it, they tell me Doc dad don’t talk English to us, talk pig latin so we talk pig latin around the house like almost 80% of the time. So that came from the street and then we automatically learn to put it on record and Kangol did it on our record but he didn’t invent it, that came from the streets.

Bubba Black: I just had to set the record straight man because every time I hear that song, someone’s taking credit whether it’s Snoop doing his stuff, Frankie Smith via Kangol Kid

Doctor Ice: Right

Bubba Black: Right? And then you’re taking credit for it. No go. I tell you in every crazy hygiene smoothie there involves bad guys [01:02:47] from ‘Who’s the man to the House Parties, I think that they were the bad guys [01:02:54]. You hooked up with Full Force, how does that go about? You get together with these guys. Are they a bunch of mushrooms?

Doctor Ice: Yeah

Bubba Black: Are they a bunch of fun guys?

Doctor Ice: No they are I mean, it’s like Bowlegged Lou used to do these videos in the back of his house that he would call me “Doc what are you doing?” and I was like “I’m chilling” “Come on to my house we’re doing… we’re creating a video.” So they were creating stuff like Scared Straight in the backyard with all the young kids and they would be the big bullies, they call each other Blue Black and Red and they‘re supposed to be the jail guys [Laughs] they’d be the of jail guys and then they have us like standing against the wall and then they’d be talking to us like they in jail trying to scare us straight but it’d be all funny. Me and B-Fine, Bowlegged Lou would create these different skits man and we would do them like The Dating Game. I mean he got all of this… he filmed me when I was 16. Just film me doing all of these different skits with him, his brothers, his cousins and we had a ball. So Full Force they became like our big brothers without a question, without a doubt and joyous big brothers, not corny big brothers that just want to beat you up. So my Big Brothers that wanted to play and have fun with you whether it be video games or whether it be creating something that kept the neighborhood busy, they were just like that.

Bubba Black: Fairy Tale Lover is one of those ballads that just shined along with say Turn Off The Lights from World Class Wreckin’ Cru. In the valley of hip hop we have some divots for ballads.

Doctor Ice: Oh yeah

Bubba Black: Where does Whistle and Right Next To Me come into play? It’s got some kind of play the UTFO if I’m not mistaken.

Doctor Ice: That’s Kangol when he went into production with a few other people and they created the whole Whistle vibe that just blew up and kind of tracked behind you UTFO so you would have to ask Kangol on that on another level because he really did a good job with them.

Bubba Black: Got you

[Music – Right Next To Me]

Tell me Doc, all these years later, who would you like to thank?

Doctor Ice: Well, I just want to first of all

Bubba Black: 1 and 1 [01:06:50] fans, thank them all/

Doctor Ice: [Laughs] Yeah, that too. What I want to say is I would love to say is that I never got a chance to thank y’all for blessing us with the platform to be able to bring you good music and I definitely want to say don’t let them take nothing from us. Age doesn’t matter when it comes to music if you just look across the whole scope of other artists, other groups they grow up out of the music. Frankie Beverly and Maze, same thing. Even though they’re singers it’s the same thing in hip-hop. If the artist is saying something, if he moving you, if you enjoy him, don’t let nobody else peer pressure you into disrespecting that person because at the end of the day remember the world goes round. If that person is feeding their family because of your joy or something that they’re giving to you, you’re giving something to them too. So don’t think that you’re not doing something for them. Continue to show your love, continue to look for us – Doc Ice we’re here. Continue to look for us – Whodini we’re here. UTFO we’re struggling but we’re still living life…

Bubba Black: [Laughs] We’re here

Doctor Ice: …but we here. We’re living life and we want to let you that when it comes to music, music is for everybody. Nobody can tell us because we 60, 70, we can’t listen no more, because we can’t make it no more, that’s foolish. Any man, any woman can make a living out of something that they believe in as long as they got people who believe in them. So keep believing in us. Thank you guys for your love for these years

Bubba Black: So wise words coming from Doc Ice of U T F O!

[Applause]

Doctor Ice: No doubt, no doubt

Bubba Black: I appreciate those words man and you got a wife and kids, what’s Doc Ice doing with his life?

Doctor Ice: Well right now I am a dedicated Jehovah’s Witness, that is my first and foremost journey is to let people know about Him, let them make their own decisions on the choices they’d like to make but I’d like to introduce them to Him if they haven’t heard about Him and learn about Him and let them be able to see how good He is, how he’s been good to me and so many millions of others and hopefully they can find that same joy, that same love and that same hope that we have. Aside from that, my wife and I are taking care of our twins who are 13, identical girls Paris and Italia, our son who’s 22 and he’s just focused on… he’s into to the music as well. I have children outside of my marriage, my daughter, my son he calls himself Son of Ice, my daughter Nequisha, my son Justin, they all are touching on the music. You can see that it’s in the blood and I just hope that they do well but that they recognize that it’s a tough game and so many people got different agendas so you got to make smart decisions so at the end of the day no matter what happens you’re not upset with yourself you recognize and either you learn from it ‘cause like we learned spiritually, trials and tribulations iron out endurance. So if you go through certain things you become either stronger or you get broke. We don’t get broke, we become stronger so that we can be able to help somebody else who might be following the same rope is passing that baton.

Bubba Black: Now do your kids think you’re cool or do they think you are wack and maybe now they’re starting to figure out as they get older what really happened? Tell me.

Doctor Ice: No they all think I’m cool but they laugh when they be doing a little Nae Nae and I do the dance and they be like “Stop dad, not like that.

[Music – Watch Me]

So we’d be in here battling and laughing and joking but we definitely have a good time because the respect level is high from each and every one of us. So my kids, they make me fit, they keep me young. I gotta say that.

Bubba Black: What’s your favorite lyrics to Spit [01:10:41] give me one of those familiar lyrics you love as we close out the show. Come on give me your fav…

Doctor Ice: [Singing] UTFO crew you know what you can do

[Laughter]

I’m going to say something that you’ve never heard okay, because the history is so far past I want to give them something new and then they can go and compare to what’s old.

Bubba Black: Let’s get that lyric Spit [01:11:01] it for me bring it.

Doctor Ice: Here we go

[Rapping]

We say you think that it only takes place at the top but even when you drop people want that little spot

Now fathers fighting sons and mothers fighting daughters but even in the ground the worms live by some orders

We the lowest of the low what they call bottom feeders new hate breeders

feeding that poison to [Inaudible 01:11:20] is facetious

It leaves the Doc speechless you can’t plant onions and expect to grow peaches got a reteach the teachers

cut loose the leeches but when you talk change that’s when you hear the screeches

tell your friends you went to college a God chill [01:11:33] degree

the look on their face you’ll see the envy but tell them you went to jail got locked up in the can you get man props like “yo you’re the man!”

it’s crazy out here it’s whoop in the hood ‘cause good means bad and bad means good.

Bubba Black: Oh snap. Just like that

[Applause] [Laughter]

The UTFO [01:11:53]. You sound like such a guy who’s at peace with where he is right now and you sound so thankful

Doctor Ice: One love B and I thank you so much for staying too long as I’m on the other side doing the same thing. I can’t let it go it’s what we do.

Bubba Black: Appreciate you man on my show I’ve been a huge fan since back in the day.

[Music]

Oh we need that baby’s head but give us a chance to go [Music] No [Music]

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