In honor of the upcoming TIME TRAVEL RADIO reunion show at Metro on APRIL 13th I'll be doing flashback posts of stories, freestyles, rare tracks, and things of the sort.
This took place in 1995 when J.U.I.C.E came down promoting for the Talent Fest Compilation that was getting ready to drop. Talent Fest is a solid CD that captured the diversity of the Underground Hip Hop scene in Chicago at the time. Of course, one CD couldn’t speak to everything that was happening in the city, but I can’t easily think of a compilation that did a better job at showcasing the different sounds and styles that Chicago had to offer and particularly wasn’t completely focused on any specific clique overall (though the Elements Of Nature was the most represented crew on there). Talent Fest put out one 12” to support the project and J.U.I.C.E, as the lead MC for his crew Get Off My Productions, had the A-Side. His track “Straight From The Go” was a solid choice for a lead song and as an option to put on wax for a few reasons. Vibe wise, though I am uncertain of how much played it received, it was the track most likely to work at a club and was among the most DJ friendly tracks on the compilation. The other reason it worked was because of the title, like the compilation itself, the song was focused on representing the talent that was “Straight From The Go”.
I had only witnessed J.U.I.C.E in action maybe once before this freestyle. It was at some show at the Smart Bar(?) and J.U.I.C.E rocked a set primarily based off freestyles and was killing it! He got so high on the moment that he challenged any MC in the crowd to test his off the head skills. One MC took his challenge and J.U.I.C.E immediately for the throat. The target was Stedy Serv and at the time he was probably my favorite MC in Chicago. Him losing to J.U.I.C.E didn’t change that, Stedy Serv is still one of my all-time favorite Chicago MCs, but I was made clearly aware that J.U.I.C.E was an undeniable beast of an MC.
That in mind, when Scott Kellog, the man behind the Talent Fest compilation, asked to come down to Time Travel Radio and promote the release and told me he was bringing J.U.I.C.E along with him, I was all about it. You can hear right from the beginning I wasn’t wasting any time to get into the rapping, I wasn’t trying to do no interviews. I wanted to hear him in action…immediately. With DJ Spank on the turntables, I turned over the mic and J.U.I.C.E didn’t disappoint, he rocked pretty much non-stop for 11 minutes straight. The first two minutes is technically just the warm-up over the DJ Premier “Real Hip Hop” Remix beat. When it switches over to “Loud Hangover” by Sadat X and Akinyele then he quickly gets into the zone and the results are
Here are some highlights from his lyrical marathon, complete with some explanations:
“Now I can freestyle and grab the mic, especially when I send you this/About 12 O’Clock and I’m going to rip it up continuous/I’m right on the thing man, pass me a joint B/Rock the 89, but then I had to add the point 3/Came to the microphone, MCs need Champus or insurance/Cause I’m the dopest rapper on the campus, endurance/I took a curving road and now I’m here’n/Rappers ain’t nothing and like Houdini they’re disappearing…”
Explanation: Of course, his “89…add the point 3” refers to the station dial number, WNUR 89.3. How he flips the scheme on the Champus/insurance and campus/endurance was so fresh. Also, if you ever drove to WNUR one thing you will remember is that it was super easy to get lost on the way. You had to follow the constantly winding road that was Sheridan Road, hence his “curving road” reference.
“The headphones are to low, I’m lost like Jacques Cousteau/They can’t hang, I lose a rapper like Crusoe/And if they may do so, never throw you hand up/Rappers are so joke-like they need to do a stand up/Or sit down, watch this skinny brother get down…”
Explanation: His comments about the low headphones and why he was lost is because we were having some problem with the headphone input, so they would cut out every once in a while, so there were times where the beat would drop and he couldn’t hear it. It’s hardly noticeable, but I assume that’s why there are some small parts where his flow is slightly less “perfect” than usual. He still pulls it off though and rocks impressively.
“Right with Scott Kellog, that’s my man S.K./Rappers wanna take me but they just don’t know the best way/I’ll leave you n***as butt-naked on the expressway/Get your pencils, scan-trons, if you think you can test J…”
Explanation: As already mentioned, Scott Kellog was the man who put out Talent Fest and brought him down to the station. The rhyme schemes here are excellent.
“I’m right up in the new studio at 89 Point/Rappers ain’t dope, I rock the lyrics with a fine point…”
Explanation: For a long while, at least since I started there, the broadcast room for WNUR had been in the basement. We had recently moved in the new studio upstairs, where it stayed until I left in ’02 (they eventually moved it to a different building where it is now).
“I diss any MC, any state, no matter where he from/Terry get dumb, every time, I’m finna tear the drum/…”
Explanation: Terry is his real name, helps that make a little more sense…
“…these ni**sa couldn’t serve me with a menu and smock on/For real…I rip the microphone with the skill/Rock the mic and break a n***as hand and then call you Shaquille/You better get some surgery, you’re laying in emergency/You need a hearing aid, you aint heard of me?/And Purposely, I snap your vertebrae cause it’s a murder when I jam with this/Smoke the cannabis because I’m worth my weight in amethyst…”
Explanation: Shaq had just got injured his thumb right around this time. Also, once again, the rhyme schemes are excellent.
“And if a brother wanna try to really get factual/I’ll show Madskillz I got the stuff that’s Supernatual…”
Explanation: He took a jab at Supernatural here. There was talk starting in some circles about who was the best freestyle MC and so he addressed it. They didn’t actually battle until years later. I think he was also referencing Supernatural a few bars later with the comment about “play with their vocals”, which is what Supernatural does with the impersonations and being heavily animated, ironically that was assumably a key factor in why Supernatural was picked for the win over J.U.I.C.E, something I never agreed with, but that’s a whole other post… I don’t think the Maddskillz reference was a diss. I think he was just being witty, but it could have also been an open challenge to whoever was supposed to be the great off the head MCs.
“For real, I’m hearing a lot of static in my headphones/That means MCs are shocked, electrified, they in the dead zone/I gotta hear em kind of clearly, I’ll damage you severely/I’m like the third rail, don’t come near me/It’s danger/(if) you’re crossing my tracks I’ll rearrange ya…”
Explanation: Those damn headphone were giving him hell, but made for some great lines, this is an excellent example of an MC taking a bad situation and turning it into a win, rather than letting hit hinder his performance. The truest of MCs always figure out how to make it work. For those who say J.U.I.C.E cheats and it’s all written, please explain great moments like this??? Oh yeah, he predicted the headphones wouldn’t work and wrote all this at home…I think NOT. Believe it or not, he’s the real deal, many MCs don’t even write that good…
“N****as ain’t nothing and all the thugs give me hugs/And I bugs off some n***as wearing t-shirts from Lugz/…I got my DJ showing his teeth-fus/Dissing MCs and like Beavis/I Bustheads or buffheads or buttheads/I grab the microphone, I’m baldheaded so I cut dreads/in half and leave em baldheaded that’s why I said it/Nabisco Mini-Wheat Ass Rappers need to be shredded…”
Explanation: At this time I was doing promotions for the Lugz boot company, so I was hooking up the crew with free boots and t shirts, so obviously we were rocking them hardcore that night…ha. As for the showing teeth comment, that is a reference to all of our jaws on the floor during this display of microphone dominance.
More Time Travel classic moments coming soon…
As for MC J.U.I.C.E, he is still active and making music. You can connect with him on FACEBOOK!
Written By Kevin Beacham aka AMC The Dimensional Doorman