The 101 Crew (L-R): Presyce, Sake, and Seize! (Video Still Courtesy of Konee Rok)
The mid 90s were one of many eras of surges in the DJ community. Specifically, the popularity of crews like Invisbl Skratch Piklz and The X-men (X-ecutioners) had intrigued many young music lovers to try their hand in learning turntable trickery. It seemed as if every other week a new crew was popping up. Sometimes it was known DJs forming new alliances, many which were generally short-lived. Other times it was brand new faces I never saw before. It was exciting to have this reignited enthusiasm in the artform that birthed the Culture. On the other hand, a vast majority of these new faces and hands didn’t respect or understand the roots. As a result, they were armed with no more than a handful of the latest 90s Underground “Hits” and a few scratch records and were ready to rock the party, live scratch practice style…a complaint I’ve voiced a 100 Xs over…
Alas, amiss all the lack of finesse, misunderstanding of true skill, and disregard for variety, a few true turntable warriors broke through. Among the finest I remember in Chicago is the 101 Crew, consisting of Presyce, Seize, & Sake. Some time in ’96 I got word about a new crew that wanted to spin live on my radio show, Time Travel on WNUR 89.3 FM Chicago. I invited them down so I could meet them and so they could give me a “demo” tape for me to check the skills. They came to the studio with my adopted family, The Molemen, who were also regular fixtures at WNUR during the Time Travel sessions. I was thoroughly impressed with the tape. It was clear they were each highly skilled and also well rounded. The tape showcased complex beat juggles, smooth blends, great song selection, and a nice mixture of 90s underground Hip Hop gems and 80s Hip Hop classics songs and/or groups.
I recently spoke to Presyce about their efforts to get on radio back then and he told me that their actual first time on the radio was on 106 Jams in Chicago, courtesy DJ Pharris. Next they hit WHPK and were given on-air access from the legendary JP Chill. It was on that very night that the 101 Crew met the Molemen and DJ 3rd Rail, which ultimately lead them to WNUR and that demo mix getting put in my hands. DJ Seize remembered that the night they came down to bring me this tape was the same evening I had actor Freddie Rodriguez live in the studio to talk about his career and promote his brand new movie, The Pest, which was on 1-2-97 and Percee P was also a guest that same night*!
In any event, after hearing that tape it didn’t take too long for me to invite them down to rock live on the air. They immediately further cemented the fact of their dedication to the craft. They quickly became some of my favorite DJs in the city. I just listened to this mix for the first time in probably about a decade and it still sounds great. It was originally given to me on plain 90 minute maxell high-bias tape. The only indication of what it is comes from my own handwriting, stating simply, “101 Crew Mixtape”. The only clue of who is doing what portions of the mixing is on the second track on side B. There is a beat juggle flipping the phrase, “I’m just too Precise”, so I’ll safely assume that is being done by the man of the same name, though different spelling, Presyce. Also, due to the Bush Babees “Love Song” track being on both sides (though it is the original and the remix) I’m also pretty sure this wasn’t intended to be an official release, but it was rather just a demo they were giving out to get some mixshow time and build their name. Besides the listed tracks, there are also a number of scratch freestyle sessions, nice usage of double copies, and things of the Turntablist sort.
I Didn’t Mean To Remix Instrumental (Beat Juggle) Casual
Ya Playin’ Yourself Jeru
The Bitch In Yoo! Common
Keep Risin’ To The Top Doug E Fresh
Plug Tunin De La Soul
The Love Song Remix featuring De La Soul Bush Babees
Respond/React The Roots
Blowin’ Up The Spot Definite Vacation 4 Suckas
Concubinez Hyenas In The Desert
Sound Of Da Police Remix KRS One
Who’s Booty EPMD
The Quickening Lateef The Truth Speaker
Ugly People Be Quiet Cash Money & Marvelous
Jeru-Come Clean/Blahzay Blahzay-Danger (Beat Juggle)
Jungle Brothers-How Ya Want It
De La Soul with Shortie No Mas-In The Woods
Beastie Boys-Paul Revere
Pharcyde-Passin Me By
The Love Song-Bush Babees
Push Up Ya Lighter-The Roots
The Rhyme-Keith Murray
Busta Rhymes featuring Rampage
Slow Down-Brand Nubian
Scratch Outro 101 Crew
Over the years I ended up working more closely with DJ Presyce on a couple projects, road trips and what not. His skills continued to elevate and I have witnessed him dazzle other popular DJs with his scratch patterns, annihilate competition in battles, and also, just as easily, rock a Hip Hop party with flawless mixing and flavor. He is currently based in Atlanta and is mega-nice on the turntables. Peep game…
Written By Kevin Beacham a.k.a AMC The Time Traveler...
*Chicago peeps from that era probably recognize Freddie Rodiguez for his Hip Hop career before the acting thing took off. He was an MC in the popular underground crew Children Of Reality. Also, on that same night on Time Travel it was a special spotlight show on The Molemen and Percee P so there were interviews, freestyles, and exclusive music/moments with them all night. It was a pretty classic show…