I haven’t done one of these in a while and I love writing these, so time for a new one.
I tell people all the time and I’m sure I’ve touched on it in a “Neighborhood Legends” in the past, but my Mid 80s Hip Hop experience in the small town of Junction City, KS was pretty amazing. Besides my own Hip Hop endeavors, there are two other major contributing factors to that.
#1: Ft Riley Army Base where I lived. Like most overseas Army Bases there was a regular influx of GIs or Families coming in from the East Coast, bringing with them the sounds of Hip Hop. It came in the form of radio show tapes, as well as, park jams and live show recordings.
#2: The Junction City Skating Rink. That is where a lot of things went down. There weren’t a whole lot of spots that were throwing Hip Hop Events at the time. Most of the things that my crew did, or went to, were on the Army Base. In fact, I don’t recall going to any other Hip Hop events off the base besides the skating rink. The skating rink was the spot for the big crew battles. They also had those candy and toy vending machines at the front and one of them had the “Graf-Lettered” stickers of the Alphabet. I brought a new one every week, until they ran out, and never replenished, and I used those to decorate my infamous Sharp Box.
I wasn’t really the skating type, but I did dabble. However, every weekend that was the undisputed spot to go to hear great music and talk to young ladies.
When it came to the music, one dude was in charge, Reggie Jackson. This man would throw down! I have so many scattered memories of moments that he was doing his thing and I heard a song for the first time. I think there was one specific time, maybe more, that he had went to the East Coast (probably New York) and got a bunch of new stuff and he came back and just blessed us all night! I still remember so many of the cuts that he dropped and I heard for the first time. Me and my guy, T.N.T (a.k.a Calvin Barber), would just look at each other like “Wow!” when he would hit us with another new cut for the first time. No question, he was an inspiration for us and helped keep us up on the new music. Here’s a quick list, off the top of the dome, of just some of the songs that I remember first hearing in his sets (all ‘84/’85 joints):
Hassan-Cold Rock Stuff ‘85
T Omar-I’m Only 9 ‘85
Marley Marl featuring MC Shan-Marley Scratch ‘85
Shy D-Rapp Will Never Die ‘85
Debbie Deb-When I Hear Music and Lookout Weekend ‘84/’85
World Class Wreckin Crew-World Class ‘85
Doctor Rocx and Co-Girlfriends/Boyfriends ‘85
Egyptian Lover-Egypt, Egypt ‘84
Trinere-All Night Remix ’85 (this was a Reg “Classic”!)
From the classics to the obscure, he covered the full range. It also just occurred to me that I moved to Illinois in the Fall of 1984, so all those 1985 cuts are most likely from one night that I came back to visit and it was a super classic night of him premiering new joints.
Beyond that, I’m not sure what else he did as far as DJing besides the Skating Rink. I wish I had pushed him to give me tapes of his sets or something because all I have now are these scattered, but precious memories of standing there with a big smile on my face, as I stared up into the DJ booth, sometimes lightly shouting props that were too low for him to actually hear or catching his attention with a hand sign of approval. All in all, I hope he knows how important and influential he was on all of us there. Some people may have forgotten, but T.N.T and myself still have talks about witnessing the man at work as he kept us down by law and up to date. Eternal praise to the man, Reggie Jackson, a Junction City, KS Skating Rink DJ Legend (circa ’84-’85)…
Featured Photo: I unfortunately don't have any photos of Reggie. The photo included is my group, The 3D Crew doing a battle at the Skating Rink where we one first place. In that action-shot you have Burning Hot T.N.T on the mic and me, The Amazing MC Coolie, on the back.
The "Box": Here's a of the infamous Sharp Box that I decorated with the Skating Rink stickers. This is a new photo from a Photo Shoot for a mix I did a year or so ago. You don't get the full impact of the decoration. I might have to do a blog just on that box. It's got "Hiss-Story"!!