A Day in the Bronx: Remembering the Black Spades & Their Connection to Hip Hop

Karate Charlie & Bam Bam

Karate Charlie & Bam Bam

The notorious Black Spades was once the largest and most feared gang in New York City. Hailing from the Bronx, the Spades had as their warlord, Hip Hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa. They were the precursors to Hip Hop.. We caught up with many of the members including original leader Bam Bam who gave Bambaataa his name. We spoke with Hip Hop legend Popmaster Fabel who is finishing up a documentary on early gang culture called ‘The Apache line’. We also hear from Karate Charlie who was the President of the Ghetto Brothers which was another large street organization highlighted in Jeff Chang’s book ‘Cant Stop Wont Stop’..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nwsdYU4yKM

We talk with Hip Hop legend Popmaster Fabel who talks to us about the important role early gang culture played in bringing Hip Hop to life. We also talk about how pop culture is exploiting gang life and leading people astray. Fabel explained that early Hip Hop got people out of the gangs.. Today’s rap music gets people into them..

We hear an impassioned Bam Bam, original leader of the Black Spades speaking to young gang bangers in New York, Crips, Bloods, Latin Kings etc and explaining the direction they should really be taking.. powerful words..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGYTeRUWK5k

Popmaster Fabel

Popmaster Fabel

At the 40th Anniversary of the Black Spades we see Bam Bam, original leader of the Black Spades re-uniting and talking with Karate Charlie of the Ghetto brothers. They talk about how the two gangs merged together to stop the Hells Angels from coming into the Bronx.

We chop it up with Popmaster Fabel about his new documentary The Apache Line from gangs to Hip Hop.. We also talk to him about the current move to try and pit Black against Brown.. Fabel gives a history of why that happens and talks about how the gangs came together.

We also speak with Karate Charlie who is featured in Fabel’s documentary about the legacy of the Ghetto Brothers. He talks about how the Black Spades the Ghetto Brothers united and became a family. He also talked about how they protected the community against the police… Charlie also explains how he taught martial arts throughout the community and had Ghetto Brothers patrol the subway years before the Guardian Angels under Curtis Sliwa came into being..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ufPt8g617I

Charlie Rock Original Zulu King

Charlie Rock Original Zulu King

We caught up with original B-Boy and Zulu Charlie Rock who hails from the 22cd division of the Black Spades up on Gun Hill road in the Bronx.. He talks about how the Black Spades evolved and became the Zulu Nation..He talks about Disco King Mario and the founding Spade chapters at Bronxdale Housing project which was known as Chuck City…

He also talks about how the early gangs were organized and became targets to corrupt police.. He talks about how three members, Wildman, Soulski and Meathead Ron were murdered by police. He noted that because the Black Spades were organized many of them were targeted by the police who tried to break them up and shrink their numbers…

Charlie Rock also talks about how New York was segregated and runs down all the racial unrest and white gangs the Black Spades and later Zulu Nation had to fight.. He talks about the Golden Guineas and the Ministers up in Parkchester.. He talks about the White Assassins and the White Angels..

Rock also explained how the police used to work in concert with some of these white gangs to try and defeat the Black Spades which was the largest gang in NY.. He talks about how the police hung him over a rooftop and threatened to kill him..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycREFrL6-RA

Blackalicious Set To Touch Down This Friday

Blackalicious Flyer

This Friday.. Blackalicious will grace the stage at New Parrish and bring some serious heat. It’s been a while since we got to see this Oakland based duo catch wreck in tha Town and everyone is looking forward to it backing Blackalicious will be ‘Jazz Mafia’. Also on the bill will be Kev Choice and Raw G and your truly (Davey D) on the turntables….In the meantime here’s a couple of interviews we did with group members Chief XL and Gift of Gab..

We caught up w/ Chief XL at Kevvy Kev’s Bang the Drum celebration at Golden Gate park.. We talked to him about his work, parenting, Hip Hop from overseas and being the Chief.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgDMVwxx4pk

We caught up w/ Gift of Gab at Kevvy Kev’s Bang the Drum celebration at Golden Gate Pk.. We asked if emceeing was gift or skill obtained through practice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7knci6Q4xUI

 

A Dope Emcee & Singer w/ a Revolutionary Spirit; Meet Maimouna ‘Mumu Fresh’ Yousseff

Baltimore native Maimouna Youssef is a breath of fresh air at a time when far too many are stale with their desire to be good marketers and packagers, reality TV stars or an over-the-top controversial figure vs being a damn good artist.

Because Maimouna who is best known via her nickname Mumu Fresh, stays focused on exploring and highlighting her art as opposed to marketing herself, there are many who are reading this who will note they never heard of her.. That’s ok, its time to get familiar because the sista is no joke.

First you should know she’s a songwriter and producer. Yes, she gets busy behind the boards. Also, she’s a dope singer with a soulful angelic voice.

If that’s not enough she’s nice on the mic as an emcee and will definitely take your lunch money if you step to her wrong in a cipher.. She’s been nominated for a Grammy, Best Rap song for her contribution on the song Don’t feel Right by the Roots.. That’s her you hear flipping the hook.. We thought you knew

Over the years Mumu Fresh has performed and worked with everyone from Nas to Talib Kweli to Big Daddy Kane, Jill Scott, Mos Def, Eryka Badu, Zap Mama, dead prez, and Cody Chestnut to name a few..On top of all that Maimouna ghostwrites for quite a few folks..She’s definitely well respected and sought out by her peers.

Those are just few highlights.. What really shines about this sista is the fact that she comes hard on the cultural and political tip. She doesn’t preach or get all up in your grill telling you how you need to act or what and who you should believe or follow, but her presence is strongly rooted in the tradition of revolution and freedom fighting. You hear that in songs like title track featuring Zap Mama of the Blooming album..or in tracks like Wake Up which takes on Monsanto.

The fact that Maimouna has remained independent by choice speaks volumes about where her head is at. In our interview featured below, she talks about the importance of positioning oneself to have true artistic freedom..With respect to her music, it goes beyond way beyond cheap sloganeering. Its nurturing for both the mind and soul and defies all industry labeling limitation. On her new album the Blooming, you have songs that are rap, songs that are bluesy and others that funk oriented.. Mumu says at the end of the day, its all Black music and as an artist she goes deep and takes us on an incredible journey through all types musical genres connected to the African diaspora.

Listen to our Breakdown FM/ All Day Play interview below w/ Maimouna Youssef

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw5s0Klmu84