Words and pics collected via Charles Dunne
Hip Hop “purists” have been blessed with an emergence of a modern group with the intention of preserving the art. The Queens representatives, Timeless Truth, had been actively making noise in the New York hip hop scene. With previous projects such as Scene of the Rhyme and the critically acclaimed EP Brugal & Presidentes the duo has stepped up to the plate to fill the void in the modern era for those patiently waiting to hear return of the boom bap.
Timeless Truth debut album, Rock-It Science (produced By RTNC), solidified their emergence in the game as one of Queens’ top tier groups. The brothers separately showcased their own skills in the music videos “What A Life” and “Alliance” proving that they are more than capable of independently holding down the reputation of a what it entails to be a Queens emcee. The visuals provide a modern day in the life of the New York natives, whether it be traveling down the boulevard or playing dominoes on the rooftop. However, the tracks contain a certain essence that is rarely evoked in recent times.
After setting off music videos to the Rock-It Science album the two emcees linked up with Hip-Hop ambassador Large Professor. Large Pro accompanies the duo in the debut single off the impending album Cold Wave. SuperBadSolace and Oprime39 scoop the Professor up after schooling the youth at John Bowne High and remind us that Queens is home to some of Hip Hop’s most monumental rhyme writers. This is not the first time the brothers have been in the work environment with hip hop legends. In the fairly short amount of time on the scene, they have gained the respect of some of hip hop’s most elite figures. From the gate, they managed to gain the attention of Mafioso Rap pioneer, Kool G Rap.
The track, “World Renown”, marked their emergence to the scene with a made man (a track which would subsequently be leaked by Dallas Penn in a manner that was just as monumental of a leak as that of Edward Snowden’s). Sean Price has also been noted as guest feature on each of their releases up to this point. The two have been a closely associated with other prominent up-and-coming New York emcees such as Roc Marciano, Meyhem Lauren, and Action Bronson. The unveiling of “Wavelength”, however is not the way OPrime39 and Solace decided to finish up their 2013 year.
The brothers recently were invited to perform on Sway Calloway’s MTVJAMS program RAPFIX. The two emcees came prepared and performed exclusive never before heard lyrics. Just a day after their performance on RapFixLive, the hip hop group announced the forthcoming project Dominican Diner EP, which is set to be released on 6/10. The announcement came at the wrapping up point of 2013 with a leaked track titled “Out of the Loop”(Prod. by FAFU). Just a few days ago, they released the second single off the approaching EP, titled “Trife”.
I always liked writing and shit, but I never considered this as a profession until SoundWave went to prison. In the over eleven years that he spent on lock down I never went to see my dude. I don’t like prisons, or hospitals for that matter. I always felt a kind of way about going to see people in jail because I didn’t want to end up behind bars with my homey. I imagined that the warden wiuld be like, “Thanks for doing the legwork for me and bringing yourself in.” Is that ridiculous of me and cowardly? Hells yeah.
I kept in touch with SoundWave by writing him often and talking shit with him in the same way we did when he was home. I gave him the updates on the ‘hood and the encouragement that we were still on our journey to being millionaires. The funny shit that happened when SW was in prison is that a million dollars lost it’s value. SW, ThunderCracker, PoloTron and I were the get rich clique. We had dozens of capers between us but we were still looking for that big score. We never got it as a crew, but the fun was in trying.
I remember this botched bank drop job that Polo set up with the old butcher shop where he used to work. This job was going down on Jamaica Avenue in broad daylight two blocks from the police precinct. SW convinced us that it was doable with the thinking that a crime near a police station was safe since all the police were somewhere else. This was SW’s super power. Dude had a steely confidence, he could sell the tone to the phone. SW was just one of those smart-dumb niggas who had book knowledge and street knowledge and could interchange the two fluidly.
And yes, he was a bit of a lunatic, but not in the sense that I was. His lunacy was tempered with logic. When we used to run around acting stupid and kicking up dust SW was the dude that always kept an eye out for the emergency exit just in case we couldn’t get out of something the way we came in. Fam was definitely a rider though. He had no business riding with me to Baltimore in a stolen car just to visit my girlfriend at Morgan State for her school’s homecoming celebration. I think that part of the reason he went with me was because he bailed out when I drove to D.C. a week earlier in the car he and I stole from Greenwich Village. SoundWave wasn’t gonna let me have all the fun two weeks in a row. He also trusted me that I had his back.
The drive to Baltimore was one of my favorite trips evar. We were jetting south on I-95 and passing state troopers all the while. We would speed and slow down, each time talking to each other about the reason for the move. We were fucking idiots. Smart dumb niggas supreme. And yes, we were lucky that we weren’t arrested and made it back to NYC. I think of all the dumb shit that we have gotten away with and I realize why SW thought he could pull off a bank job. You won’t ever encounter someone who calculates the contingencies as thoroughly as SW does. I hate planning. No wonder I sucked as an architect. Planning is what prevents you from failing. Or so I thought…
SW planned this job with some of his homeys from VA. These weren’t dudes he had grown up with but he knew them from the times he would retreat to Virginia Beach to get away from the hustle and bustle of NYC. Theses dudes heard SW’s stories of the fifty ways we used to get money in the city and they wanted to add a chapter to the book. “Do y’all realize how often these banks get heisted?” was the theme of SW’s pitch.
The scene inside the bank was on smash and SW would commandeer the getaway vehicle. The plan worked too and they got away. Unfortunately for them they were pulled over in New Jersey. A monthly quota speeding ticket became one state trooper’s retirement portfolio. SW fucked up by being a stand up guy. While everyone else dropped dimes on each other SW’s silence bought him the stiffest sentence. He sat inside the Federal system for over a decade. While I continued to party and bullshit SW took the weight for my teenage years. ThunderCracker’s mom, who loves me dearly, once told me that I was the reason that everyone were so cautious and scared for all of us, because I was the one leading the boys down the path. I am still the Black Peter Pan.
SW is home now and frankly looks better than he ever did. He has adjusted to his time away and has no bitter resentment towards life or even the bullshit that I still get into. He has a brand new son who looks tremendous and a beautiful wife in Virginia. SW still has that gleam in his eye though. That maybe if I tried hard enough I could convince him to go with me to Mexico next year. Yeah, the homey is still a rider.
The internets is truly a web that connects the entire world. I have made re-connections with friends from as far back as twenty years ago. None of them have touched my heart as deep as my brother ScatterBlast. I haven’t seen Scatt since 1992. It was friendly and warm, but it was only in passing. ScatterBlast and I were moving in two different directions, figuratively and literally. It went something like this…
I had just locked up at the architect’s office. The old Jew and his family trusted me enough to give me a set of keys and the security code to the office. I was finally staying out of trouble and going to college ever since ThunderCracker had died. The old Jew wasn’t more than just generous, but he was also a rebbe in the classic sense. He was a teacher in word and deed. The more college classes that I passed the more money the old Jew would add to my paycheck. Fuck what ever you heard about Jews. I learned that I was a Jew as well from the old Jew. More than anything else I learned to value education and the selflessness of teachers. More on this later this summer.
I was riding my track bike up Third Avenue that night and I heard my name shouted in a familiar gravely voice. I looked over on the sidewalk and there with a broom in his hand was my brother ScatterBlast. Scatt and I hadn’t spoken in about eight months ever since he came back home from prison upstate. ScatterBlast was working at a chain drugstore and cleaning the sidewalk in front of the store as I was riding by. Scatt looked solid gold like he was in the gym and running five miles a day. That was my dude right there.
Scatt was from the original Cybertron squad. Graphic Communications H.S. b/k/a ‘Printing’ is where we used to form up in the afternoon and decide what our mission for the day would be. It might be MACY’s, Bloomies or a shearling store in the Village. It could be another high school to settle an old score or start a new scorecard. Scatt was a bonafide rider. If he was part of your mission crew then you had a knockout artist running with you. Scatt was vicious and built like a pit bull. You weren’t going to be left standing after you came into acquaintance with the business end of a ScatterBlast fist. He reminded me of the raw fury of MIKE TYSON. I guess it was like that for most people born and bred in the toughest sections of Brooklyn.
ScatterBlast lived in the Eleanor Roosevelt public housing complex in the heart of the do or die. These buildings were erected in the early sixties with Federal housing authority money. They looked nice from the outside, but the inside construction was where the contractors did the Halliburton flim-flam with government money. Interior partitions were thin and uninsulated so that even a regular discussion in an adjacent apartment became common knowledge to the neighbors. Plumbing fixtures routinely were in disrepair and vermin and rodents became tenants almost as soon as the building was occupied.
Like many center city kids in the 1980′s Scatt was raised by his grandmother, along with three older male cousins and one younger girl cousin. His grandmother’s tiny apartment acted as a transient hotel and way station for all of the family that were traveling in and out of different situations in their lives. In a crazy and unfortunate way, ScatterBlast was able focus himself better when he was incarcerated upstate. The trees and the grass changed the air around him. Now he could actually breathe.
This is why Scatt was so ruthless on the streets. He almost had to stay moving just to breathe, just to get some fresh air in his lungs. When he went home he would feel trapped again. As he experienced his older cousins’ difficulties with prison and drug abuse, Scatt would bring that frustration and sense of helplessness out to the streets with him.
We were on a mission coming from Art & Design High School when we got into a ‘what’ on the Lexington Ave downtown express. Bodies were being scattered, from schoolkids to commuters to whomever was unlucky enough to be in our way. As the express train rumbled into the Union Square station I tried to alert everyone that we would be encountering the police since Union Square had a precinct substation in its bowels. When the train doors opened mayhem ensued as police entered and passengers fled. I transformed into stealth mode, looking out for ThunderCracker and SoundWave, making sure they both had exited safely as they were my first priority. The police however had captured Villain and Scatt. As the train was held in the station I watched the police place the cuffs on Scatt and then drag him off the platform. We made eye contact and ScatterBlast never batted an eyelid. He was stoic and undefeated. That was the last time I saw ScatterBlast, until this fateful evening as I was riding up Third Avenue.
Scatt was still the same excitable dude who spoke with determination and the volume turned up to 10. He was telling me how New York City was no longer the place for him. He was going to leave the city for somewhere, anywhere else. The one thing I will say about Scatter is that he was the type of cat that could relocate himself because he had that courage inside of him and that belief that he could make it on his own. We exchanged phone numbers, but our lives never intersected again. Not until I received an e-mail several weeks ago…
If this is you holla back at me! This is Scatta-Blast from the Stuy……Went to Printing in the 80s before getting locked down…..One of my boys sent me the link from FEDS mag about the CONS and I saw your name as the link! Cy told me about the article……….
Hit me up……………
I’m telling y’all that GOD is good because behind Scatt’s government name were three letters. P.H.D. In fifteen short years this man has reached the potential inside of him that we all had. I’m not even gonna front and act like I didn’t have a piece of dust in my eye when I called my brother up. Fifteen years is a long time, too long, not to speak to someone that you love and respect as a brother. Scatt told me the story of going to Baltimore with nothing to lose and graduating from Morgan State and then Maryland University and then continuing at U of M for a doctorate in criminology. All the while, he never lost focus of why he left New York City and he never stopped believing in himself. Now ScatterBlast is a guidance counselor for at-risk kids in and out of the prison system. He is married and raising his own family while he tries to save some of the kids from the beast that is the prison industrial complex and the demons within themselves.
ScatterBlast IS the transformation.
I was type frosty on the PoloRL Wimbledon collection this year simply because I haven’t really aced an outfit yet from the series.
The pieces are mmm-kay. Nothing too crazy which is prA’Li due to the games being played in England and British swag generaly being more bland than everything else. Still I saw a couple of I.T.’s I might would consider if the fLOurishments presented themselves…
The ballboy jacket and the crewneck sweatshirt are both clean and sharp at the same time. Now if only there were some kicks that would fux with these pieces.
Oh snap!!! adidas did the damn thing and dropped some tennis shoes to pay homage to the matches at Wimbledon. Well played adidas. Well played.
And by well played I mean the Rod Laver. Leather upper and suede toe cap? I know my man Dirty Jerz is copping two(2) pairs minimum. THIS is a championship Rod Laver.
By the way adidas, I’ma pretend you didn’t put this Forest Hills into the Wimbledon pack since this shoe clearly belongs in a U.S. Open pack.
Maybe next year adidas drops a ‘Grand Slam’ pack with the Rod Laver, Stan Smith, Forest Hills and Grand Prix styles? How about it adidas?