Continuing on where we left off from Part One...
I honestly think that the Church performance and then connecting with our Mentor, DJ Pill, around the same time, were the two largest factors in encouraging us to continue on as a group. There weren't many outlets for us to perform as MCs, most all shows at that time were Breakdancing, so we would Breakdance at shows and then just Rap afterwards for whoever would listen.
After "Shante", our next real song we wrote was called "Talents", it was made most "famous" as the main backbone to the performance we did to win 1st Place at the Junction City Roller Skating Rink battle in '85. Those battles at the Skating rink were really the biggest audience you could get for a Rap Performance in Junction City/Ft Riley, so it was a big deal for us to get in the battle. We had been to a few of them as spectators. Nearly everyone in the battle was older dudes in the Military. Before we entered, the youngest cat in the battle I remember was Jeff Snyder who would eventually become our DJ. He did a show where he was the DJ for T.T.T and they rocked a ill set. We knew if we got in the battle that we would stand out because we were the youngest, but at the same time we knew that meant we had to bring it strong so they would take us serious. DJ Pill was going to be visiting his hometown of North Carolina during the next battle so he couldn't spin for us, so we enlisted Jeff Synder and gave him the name Quiet Killer, based on his low-key personality, but rough skills on the scratch. We rehearsed for that set and were 100% ready on battle day. We got our matching red shirts with "3D Crew" written on the front and our MC names on the back, in Old English lettering of course. I believe the time limit was 6 minutes and our performance was mainly based on the "Talents" routine with a few additional freestyles thrown in. My Dad was on hand with the camera and I'm grateful to have those photos. My biggest memory about the performance was the ending. They always did a 10 second countdown for your final time and we had our routine mapped out perfectly to a science, so when they were counting down their "3, 2, 1", we were totally in snyc with our final line, "You know it's true or we wouldn't be called the 3D Crew". As soon as we said "Crew", they yelled "Time!" and the crowd went a bit crazy. It was perfect. I remember when they announced us as the winner some of the older dudes tried to front and shout stuff like "how they win, they're just kids". I was ready to battle them cats rhyme for rhyme...ha. They were wack MCs anyway. They called themselves the East Coast Crew and I believe they were from Miami, FL and their whole set all they did was have their DJ play popular songs while the so-called MCs did chants and call/response, but literally no lyrics. Yeah, you rocked the crowd, but you did NOT rock the mic...suckers! I still wanna battle...ha. Besides them though, most all the other crews showed us love and gave us props and told us we earned the win. I'm still mad that the Skating Rink never gave us our 1st Place Plaque though.
"Talents" Partial Acapella [Recorded By Coolie sometime in '85: This recording starts with my solo part on the song and then goes to the last parts of the crew verses, complete with pause mix punch-ins....ha]:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/3D-Crew-Talents-Acapella.mp3|titles=3D Crew-Talents Acapella]
Winning 1st Place At The Junction City Skating Rink in the Summer of '85:
Anyway, thru out that Summer and into the Fall we did a few other shows/battles, plus wrote nine songs together, enough for a album at that time. Probably about half-way thru that time, MC Capri and his family moved back to Germany. TNT and I continued the crew name and wrote another full album worth of material between '85-'86. However, in the Fall of '85 I moved away to North Chicago, IL. From there, we would write songs on our own and then send practice tapes back-n-forth. The goal was that we would write enough material for an album and then we would visit a studio somewhere and record it over the Summer or something like that...of course, that never came to be.
In fact, our recording sessions were rare in general*. We only had one practice session at Quiet Killer's house and that was just a few days before I moved away, but I don't think we recorded anything or if we did, I didn't get the tape. I do remember he lived next door to my Childhood Sweetheart, Talisha, so I got to visit her for a quick second. She wasn't allowed to date yet, so I was just able to stand outside her window and profess my puppy love and say good-bye and even a tippy toe kiss on the cheek...oh so sweet :)
The only time we recorded together was with all 3 MCs, with DJ Pill on the turntables and we filled one side of a tape with pretty much what would have been our first album, all done in one long take like a live show. We played that tape to death...literally...it broke and eventually got lost. MC Capri stayed in touch from Germany and he formed a new 3D Crew out there with two new guys. He sent me one tape and it was really fresh!! I played it a lot...so much that it also broke and eventually got lost. I'm still very very very sad about both of those tapes. T.N.T kept working with DJ Quiet Killer and also connected with a former Ft Riley Breaking Patrol partner, Eddie Love, to be his Human Beat Box. They flipped the name to Phase 3 and had at least one recording session. In that session they did routines for some of the key songs that TNT and I had been writing back n forth, "Just Let It Rock" and "Rhyme Time". I remained solo in North Chicago for awhile and just focused on writing 3D Crew material and started working on a solo project. I mostly would send TNT tapes with the verses Acapella, which I always referred to as my "Rhyming Rolodex"...ha. I sent him a few songs like that such as "Get Fresh", "I Thought We Had Love", "We're So Chill" and that's how I originally sent him "Just Let It Rock" and "Rhyme Time" when I started those. Then I started experimenting with the "Poor Mans 4-Track" Method, using my Sharp GF-575 Double Cassette Deck and over-dubbing myself. I learned that I could record the songs and then overdub my voice so I could play the part of both myself and MC TNT to give him the full effect. I recorded two tracks in this method, "MC Killers" and "Go Off". They are the closest thing that exists as 3D Crew songs being recorded.
Phase 3-"Just Let It Rock" & "Rhyme Time" Practice Session:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Phase-3-Practice-Session-Edit.mp3|titles=Phase 3-Practice Session Edit]
3D Crew-MC Killers [MC Coolie Practice Session: Peep how the beat skips and I still stay on point, skills son...]:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/3d-crew-mc-killers.mp3|titles=3d crew-mc killers]
3D Crew-Go Off [MC Coolie Practice Session]:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/3d-crew-go-off.mp3|titles=3d crew-go off]
As for me and Quiet Killer, we stayed in touch for a while after I moved away. He eventually moved away from Kansas also and went to college in Atlanta at the Music Business Institute. At the time, I was a Sophomore in High School and Quiet Killer tracked me down and sent me a package to consider going to school there. I had never even heard of a Music College before, the idea blew my mind! It was the first time I put any thought into planning to go to College. At that moment, I didn't even think about any other school, to me that was the only College option. I thought it was the only school of its kind then. I am eternally grateful to Quiet Killer for that motivation. I did end up going out to the school for a meeting and tour of the college and even moved to Atlanta to enroll there, but my finances never came together to make it a reality. Now years later I'm teaching at one at a very similar school with my Hip Hop Essentials Class at IPR. It's funny how it all comes together and/or full circle.
DJ Quiet Killer Quick Mix [Circa '85]:
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/DJ-Quiet-Killer-Quick-Mix.mp3|titles=DJ Quiet Killer Quick Mix]
TNT and myself remained close friends forever. Well into our late 20s we stayed in contact and visited each other fairly regularly (mostly him visiting me truthfully). He even lived with me for a brief stint circa '90. I could probably wrote a book on those days alone...ha. We lost touch for probably about a decade, but I tracked him down a few years ago and we've been communicating again. He's a Physical Trainer out in Austin, TX. He offers a video service that gives Health and Training advice set to a background of Hip Hop beats, he can't get it out his blood either! Peep his steez HERE.
I don't have many regrets in life, but, for the most part, the closest I get to that feeling involves stuff like this. I wish I would have kept those broken tapes because I could have fixed them. I wish we had actually recorded all these songs that we put so much time and effort into. I think for some 14-16 year old kids, they were pretty good tracks. I also can't believe we don't have any video footage. My dad had a video camera so it doesn't really make any sense that I didn't ask him to come film...that's the biggest surprise to me. However, what I do have, which is awesome, is a huge folder containing all the original lyrics to just about all of our songs**. Including music video ideas/treatments, album artwork concepts, and all sorts of crazy stuff…ah, the power of the young mind to dream for the stars…
*3D Crew "Beats": Apparently we would only rhyme to two beats; Debbie Deb-"Lookout Weekend" & Jamie Jupitor/Egyptian Lover-"Computer Power". Which is odd, because those are both Uptempo Electro joints and none of our songs were written to that tempo or in that cadence, so we were always bending the delivery to fit these two tracks...bonkers.
**3D Crew Lyrics: I actually looked for the "Church Rap" lyrics, because I know I've seen it sometime in the last year. I was going to record the acapella and post it up! Couldn't find them though. I actually have a "fantasy" of one day recording the 3D Crew albums as intended just for fun. Perhaps I can talk Capri and TNT in to doing their parts too...we'll see how that pans out...probably unlikely, but I like to think about stuff like this, forever a dreamer :)
BONUS SESSION: This should have been in part one, but I just found this. It's me and Capri in '84 messing around over "Planet Rock". I do my verse that was written by, my first MC Mentor, Romeo (from our first "Neighborhood Legends", I explain that verse THERE). Capri is doing some random verse of his, might be his first verse ever, definitely one of the first. Then we go into some complete off the the dome silliness... Peep my "racy" freestyle for the ladies...
[audio:http://www.fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/3D-Crew-Practice-Session.mp3|titles=3D Crew Practice Session]
TNT & Coolie Circa '86 in North Chicago, IL:
TNT circa '88?
Coolie circa '86. Notice the TNT Artwork on my bedroom door which hung there for years:
TNT, Coolie and The Guillotine circa '86:
TNT & Coolie circa '86:
TNT & Coolie Circa '90:
Coolie circa '86 w/the infamous Sharp GF-575 Box, 2 Belt Drive Turntables, etc...:
Coolie in African Beads, TNT, Black Man Zeke and lovely young lady circa '89:
Black Man Zeke, Coolie, & TNT (known as Choice then) circa '91. I think I'm supposed to note that Choice does not condone the use of photos with him holding a 40 OZ...ha:
TNT a.k.a Choice circa '90:
TNT a.k.a Choice Circa '90. Watch out Bell Biv Devoe!!:
Written and Compiled, while wondering how his friends would appreciate while simultaneously cringe at this, by Kevin Beacham