The Dangerous Crew movement is back on DubCNN! After a bit of a hiatus, we connected with another member of this legendary west coast crew, as we sit down with Goldy.
As the only other crew member besides Too Short, Ant Banks, and Pooh-Man to release an album on Dangerous Music, Goldy took us on a trip with his 1994 debut album In The Land of Funk, which was a funk-filled, story-telling pimp odyssey, scored by the funkiest crew in hip-hop history: Pee-Wee, Shorty B, Sean G and Ant Banks. With stand-out features from the Dangerous Crew’s finest like Rappin’ Ron, Ant Diddley Dog, Ant Banks, Pee-Wee and of course Too Short, the album was one of the definite classics to come out of Oakland, CA in the mid-90’s.
In Part 1 of this exclusive interview with Goldy, we find out how he was influenced to get into music, discuss his early music career before Dangerous Music, what some of the differences between the industry today versus during his era, and we discover how he connected with Too Short.
“There’s no place like the Land of Funk”, as Goldy takes us on another ride!
Interview was done in October 2009
Questions Asked By: Chad Kiser
Dubcnn Exclusive – Goldy (Dangerous Crew)
By: Chad Kiser
Tell us about how you got into music and rapping.
My dad was a drummer for The Isley Brothers, his name is on the back of the album, but my dad was a musician/drummer for hire. When different groups would come into the bay or into Oakland, they would need a drummer that could read music to just basically get in where they fit in and just play on the fly. He was one of them cats that could read music and just get in. My dad got pictures with Michael Jackson, Marvin Gay, Isley Brothers, Dramatics; I mean the list goes on. I would sit in on practices and listen; just watch him play and watch these people come to the house and it was just a non-stop rehearsal. My life as a child was just being in band rehearsals.
I thought I was going to be a drummer. I picked up the sticks at an early age, and I beat on the drum pad man! But, after elementary, hip-hop was just emerging and the live band thing was cool, but drumming wasn’t the lick no more, it was rapping. It was the new phenomenon and I was like, ‘damn!’ So, that’s kind of how I went from transition man, it went from playing the drums and being around music; just wanting to be in music, to just trying. I just found my own way, but it came from pops.
Initiallly, you were more the conscious/political rapper. Talk to me a little bit about your early career rapping as far as that persona of Goldy.
You know, that’s a trip man, because when people hear that album they say just what you said. I had gone through a lot of different identities. I went through all these different rap names like Vicious M, Hizap, and Disco Sensation, was a rap group I was a part of. I was obviously from Oakland, but I was digging in major, major crates; I was rapping/DJing, and if you was in hip-hop back in the day you really was a consumer, or a connoisseur of whatever was out because at that time it wasn’t a whole lot of records that wasn’t from New York. I can’t hate. I mean everything that was coming out was Profile, of Sutra Records like Fat Boys Jive, Def Jam, with the burgandy label, wasn’t all cute like it is now. And I would just buy the records because I knew it was rap. I ain’t give a fuck who it was or what it was, I knew it was rap, it was hip-hop and I bought it.
Captain Roc, Disco 4, groups that people don’t know absolutely nothing’ about, groups that didn’t make it at all, but, they were reppin’. They was reppin’ their borough, reppin’ their New York swag or whatever they were doing’. But at the time, rap jus wasn’t mainstream. Even the radio stations out here wasn’t reflecting that. KMEL and all these big-ass commercial stations that are making all the money now and doing it big, they wasn’t playing no rap. I mean for me it was KPOO and CAL X; all these underground stations that you had to put a shoebox antenna, with foil and shoestrings and all kinds of shit just to get a reception. That’s where it really started for me, man, just really buying rap, and it created the ideas of what they were talking about, the subject matter at the time.
It was party, it was streets, and what was going on; it wasn’t necessarily fuck you, I’ma kill a nigga, I’ma sell drugs, I’ma fuck that bitch. It was just more sharp about how they put their game down or how they said it. They were saying the same shit, I mean it was some x-rated rap out, but that was Blow Fly and Cal Cool Loud and all that other type a shit; but the stuff that I was able to get my hands on, I’m sure it was some underground New York dirty shit, was the stuff that was in the record stores or was on the radio and it wasn’t hella x-rated at the time. That formulated my ideas of rap and how I wanted to come off, but of course I put my own thing on it.
What’s the difference between the music today versus when u came up, in you opinon?
When I initially started rapping I wanted to rock the crowd, that was my main intent because if you couldn’t hold the crowd, you wasn’t shit. A lot of these cats nowadays don’t know anything about that; they just going to the house and printing on their fucking CD-burner. They got the shrink rap and their little jewel case, and they’re making the CD’s at the house; they don’t know shit about what I come from. I come from a whole fucking world of crowds, talent shows, crews of gangs of fights and shootings.
This was my life, this is what I really wanted to do. It ain’t no over-night ass; I see it on TV, I see the money and the mansions, I see the videos, man, this was in the dark ages. It wasn’t shit to look forward to, it was just a dream! It was just pick up a record from New York, look at the label, look at the address and phone number, and call them; or send them a demo or bio and hope that somebody listens to you. That’s how fucking hard this shit was, it wasn’t no I can do this, I can do that it’s easy, man. It was fucking dark ages for me, but I was real about it.
I just said all that to say that East Coast rap was what I got my hands onto and they was rapping about real grind and shit that was going on where they was from; how it was bad and hard times, not having no money and I was listening, man. I was jus like damn, I was intrigued! And when I saw “Wild Style”, the first rap movie I ever saw on screen, I was fucking turned the fuck out! My mom took me to see that and it was on; it was just on from there man and it created the immediate ability because I was listening to like UTFO, Whodini, Fresh Prince; I could just think of so many different rappers and they were rapping about different things.
Hip-hop to me at the time wasn’t about picking an identity as they do now with “gangsta”, “comedy”, “club”; you could have an album full of different subject matter, and not be labeled, that’s how I liked it. I’m from the original era where one song could be you talking about hard times, not having no money and being poor; the second song could be you got into it with a nigga and you going to go get that nigga; next song be about you got this broad. Just you expressing yourself, where one person ain’t just one identity; you got different thoughts, you got different feelings. Within a day, you might go through hella different emotions, and on ““Call It Like I See It”” that’s how I was.
But for some odd reason when “Call It Like I See It” hit with the political song “Listen”, and I had Prostitute, Midnight Rendezvous and I had other songs on there that was about other things. But I guess the lead single “Listen”, and I don’t even know if that was the lead single now because I had my other single “You”, being about Oakland employed teenage hustlers. I had two singles on there, one was video, and one was just a record single. But one that everybody identified with was the video song which was “Listen”. And that was just, one side of me that I was putting across like, you’ll hearing what I’m saying, but you’ll ain’t really listening, you’ll ain’t really following how I’m getting at you I’m saying something, but you’ll ain’t really following how I’m getting at you so, that kind of led people to think that I was on that tip throughout my whole career.
But like I said I had dirty songs on the album that in the Bay I mean really Listen was big because it was a video song but in the Bay I mean Prostitute and certain songs I kind of carried over that carried a lot of weight, but like I said those songs that persona that image at that time you right, I did get categorized as being a conscious, political, but then again it was a big-ass wave going on it jus wasn’t me, it was rap in general. It was like, it started to categorize itself, I guess because white folks A&R record labels they got to do that for niggas they don’t jus, you can’t be a smart nigga and a gangsta nigga to white folks, you got to be either or.
So, the record labels just tried to find some place to put me media, magazine, Short’s was just emerging, but that’s how they did you they wanted to put you in a box, and I really wasn’t boxable. But, at that particular time yea uh political rap was coming and you know gangsta rap, you can’t be smart one day and gangsta the next, obviously I didn’t fit into the gangsta category because, I mean I can get mad on a record and talk and cuss but if you gangsta you gangsta at all times because if you ain’t gangsta 100% you was a sellout, so I didn’t fit into that box. So the best box to put me in, was, was political. You could be massive angry and speak to somebody, but you could do it all in the name of politics but you ain’t a gangsta you jus standing for what’s right so I guess I fit in that box a little better.
How did you connect with Too Short?
You mentioned the “Call It Like I See It” album, I had done a hell of a lot of underground work. I had been rapping by time I got with Short for already over 10 years. When I got with Short, that was ‘90-’91; yea probably even longer than that, so I had already been rapping way before I found or Short found me or however it happened. I had made my first album and Short had heard about it. We had a video channel, Soul Beat, that was black owned and a big network, to us at least; I was in rotation on that out here. I had worked my way to college right out of high school and I brought a dude in, Raman, and we kind of formed a label, Timbuktu Creations.
Raman, to this day is Short’s VP or President of the label, road manager/manager, everything. But, me and Raman was in Accounting class together and I’m like, ‘man I’m rapping and you seem like a straight and narrow cat’ and I liked that about him. So, we went into business together and Randy Austin, which was Short’s partner; it was a 3 headed monster: Short, Randy and Ted Bohanon. Randy was the brains of the crew or manager of the crew and he heard what I was doing because Raman and Randy was best friends, they grew up together, directly across the street from each other in West Oakland. Randy’s house where he grew up was the original music studio on Myrtle Street in West Oakland. That’s where we did “In The Land of Funk”. That’s where we did most of the albums.
When I dealt with Short, that’s where it happened at; then Banks, Bad N-Fluenz and everybody came around, and that’s where they came to meet at was the house in West Oakland on Myrtle Street. Raman handed my album to Randy and I’m like, ‘man that’s an opportunity for me to go national’ because Randy was plugged. They was on tour all the time. Short would stay gone here and there in the Midwest, south, wherever, just gone. It was a big thing when he would come to the ghetto and basically take a crew with him on the road, and cats would be like, ‘man, Short let me roll, let me fuck with you, let me carry your bags’ or whatever because you knew you were going to fuck some broads, you was going to be on stage, and you was going to be in the mix of it. This was back when rap was next to being an NBA or NFL star.
How did you get into the Goldy persona that we would all come to know so well?
Randy said, ‘Short got a spot for you on a record called “Something To Ride To”. I’ma give you the track and do your thing’. Now, at the time, Short was an accomplished platinum artist and I’m emerging like Drake is to Wayne; I’m just now getting my style that ain’t no nigga got because everybody jus rapping their ‘I’m the nigga, I’m the man, I can rap bitch’. They’re slow-styling, I’m like fucking like Twista-type shit in ‘88-‘87, way ahead of my time. He gives me the beat, and in my mind my only thought was, ‘I’m going to destroy this, and anybody that get on this fucking song. I don’t give a fuck what they’re talking about; wherever they want to take it, I’m going further’. I was just hungry, but I was confident, you know what I’m saying? I was confident in who I was and the person I was.
I don’t even think I heard every other verse; I don’t think I had a chance to hear it, I just knew it was me, Pooh-Man, Banks and Short. I came on right before Short, but I had the track I think for a few days, I wrote my 16, and man I went in that motherfucking mic room, and it was crew of cats; they were from east Oakland like me, but they were Short’s boys. Mind you, I came in through Randy, which is from west Oakland; now East Oakland and West Oakland is kind of cooled out and died down since then, but then it was like Crips and Bloods. It was different parts of town, different ways we dressed, different ways we got down, but I’m from east Oakland. I didn’t come in directly through Short, I had to come in through a whole other route. But anyway, they were in the studio, basically waiting to boo me the fuck out of there; waiting to hate on me because they got their rappers, and everybody wants to get their nigga and hooked up. They’re asking themselves, “Who is this other nigga coming in, that we don’t know nothing about? We heard about him, his shit is out, but how’d he get in here? I fuck with Short everyday, how’d he get his shit in”?
I went in that motherfucking mic room man, I spit 16 to 24, whatever the fuck I spit, straight through, not 1 take, fucking flipping-tongue, doing all kinds of stylish-ass shit, and that verse, is fucking classic to this day! In that verse, I say,”Mhisani, nickname Goldy, spitting shit you ride too. And I didn’t even intend to change my name, but ever since that verse, every time Short went on the road, they ask him where is that nigga Goldy at? And every time he comes off the road, he’d say, ‘Man, niggas is bugging me, about you. Go on tour with me’. Ever since that song, I went on tour.
People think I created it because I got with Short and that he suggested I become a pimp and change my style. It didn’t even happen like that. Short ain’t never influenced nothing I said on the mic, or nothing I ever did. I even have songs on my album like “Town Put Goldy On Top”, where I just talked about my situation’ I was always able to just do me, I never let nobody influence what I said or how I wrote. Banks and Short would be more surprised to hear what I said when I got on the mic, than the average consumer. They didn’t know what the fuck I was going to say. Goldy just came about on its own.
Tell me about working with Short throughout the Dangerous Crew years.
Short knows himself, he doesn’t try to be something that he ain’t. By then, his legend was already established; he didn’t have to do anything else to get him where he was already at. I’m not going to say it was intimidating, but it was like a new basketball player having to get on the court against Jordan, you know? He got rings, he’s established, and he ain’t ready to give up his throne. So I was new, rapping with Short, who was already accepted by the world as the man. So, it was like anything I do, consumers were like, ‘yea, you making some noise, but we know who the man is’. So I’m here running around doing my style, doing this, that and the other, but he was really the backbone, the show. I never lost focus of that. He never was arrogant; he always was, and still is, a down-to-earth type of dude. His technique of vibing with people and seeing how they felt of his album was he would just have a studio session, let the public in, have a huge studio party, smoking drinking, eating, broads, niggas, or whatever.
He’d play the record, kind of kick back and see if niggas is nodding they’re heads; just seeing how they would vibe on normal shit, not asking, ‘hey, do you like that? You feeling that?’ I would see how he would do that to get a natural reaction, and then he would give certain young niggas, just copies of the tapes and let them just ride to that. He knew niggas would go burn thousands of copies; Short’s albums would be out all over Oakland months before it was out nationally. The whole fucking ghetto is slinging his everywhere and it was like ideal marketing; it was fucking smart, man! He let these cats ride his shit and he was just smart in terms of getting himself on, and doing it like that.
I’ll never forget, we was flying from Atlanta once and we was talking and he was like, ‘man, a lot of cats around you when you’re on top and you’re taking care of them, but people relying on you and this and that. I never really wanted to be, on an album cover’. He said, ‘if it was up to me, I never would have even shot a video’. I’m like what the fuck is he talking about? Short’s mindset was “I’m self-made and I ain’t never been the most attractive nigga, and I ain’t never really want a big major record deal, I just wanted to be underground. I just really want people to take me in. I didn’t really adapt my style to the industry, I just wanted motherfuckers to start fucking with me, and it just kind of went bigger than I thought. I didn’t expect it to become what it was”. I don’t think he lacked self-esteem or didn’t view success in his future, but he just did not care about the glitz and the glamour.
If you notice the way he went about his career, video and radio ain’t never been his best friend. He never really pushed Jive to put money behind that. Outside looking in, it always looked like that’s a flop, that’s a failure, but you got to think about the money that it costs to shoot videos, to recoup; to have records played, to recoup; to go on tour. That shit costs a lot of money, and if you talk to A Tribe Called Quest or LL Cool J, everything you did there was a price associated with it. Short was like, ‘I don’t want any of that shit. Let the ghettos judge me, let the ghettos make or break me; my shit’s going to sell and that’s how it’s going to be’. Then the Puffy’s and the Hammer’s came along and made radio like a must do, or a have to, but before that whole genre it was like either you going to sink or swim; from the streets, that’s the standard I’m from and Short set that tone long ago.
It was selling out of the trunk, you know, give it to a thug, give it to a killer, give it to a hoe. These are the people that are going to represent your rap; these are the people that are going to spread your word. We didn’t really have a whole lot of direct contact with white folks. They got onto it, but that was after the ghetto’s had already blown that shit up, and we know how that goes: if the ghetto’s is on it, the suburbs get on it sooner or later. So, that’s how he did it, man. Fucking with him kind of showed me that.
When I came along, me, Father Dom, Ant Banks and all the groups that came along after Short, the game was starting to change. When I would go into the record store and would buy shit based on it was just rap, Short was in that era, too. He was from Oakland, CA, and at that time it wasn’t no nigga that was big from Oakland, LA and New York. I remember going on tour with Short, we couldn’t even get in our hotel, there would be that many people blocking our entrance to our room. We couldn’t even drive down the streets to get to the room, it was like Rock Star status shit, pandemonium. Going to the record stores autograph signing, thousands of motherfuckers would show up. And over the years fucking with him, we would meet Twista and all these other rappers; I remember being on tour with Scarface, 8-Ball & MJG, Outkast, with Too Short being the headliner. My partner, my protégé, Sir Captain from Jackson, MS, put together a 3-5 day tour. I think we were going to Jackson, MS, Memphis, TN; I forget all the cities, but Short was the headliner and people didn’t even know Outkast. He was like the fucking Godfather!
I saw Scarface at a fight not to long ago, and he still knows every word to my verse on “Something To Ride To”. He sees me like, ‘Goldy!’, and he starts spitting my verse. But on tour with all these cats, and Short was the nigga. I was with Short when we met Biggie and Puff at Da Brat video, and Biggie was like, ‘you’re a legend!’, major respect. I was with him when we first went to Snoop Dogg’s studio in LA. “Short, you the man, and you a legend; mad respect”. All Snoop talked about was the bay, and another rapper out here, Richie Rich. So, everybody gave him respect, but to see that, and to come up under that rapport or success, it was just cool to be around that man.
What are some of the things you took from that era of touring with Too Short?
…….stay tuned to Dubcnn for Part 2 with Goldy