| I was contacted by a
British journalist who was trying to obtain information about Ice Cube
for a book that he was writing. He sent me the following e-mail:
From: "Joel McIver"
Subject: Interview request
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 19:46:48 -0000
I'm a British journalist writing a biography of Ice Cube, and came across this sentence on your site:
Dr. Dre introduced me when I was trying to be the new M.C. at a club called the Marshal's Ballroom on in LA on Manchester. I was gonna replace him. This was after The Wreckin' Crew days, but before NWA. Joe Cooley was D.J. that night.
Is this you who was the MC? If so, could I perhaps interview you for the book? This could be e-mail or phone, whichever suits you best. I would of course credit you and your current activities in the book, which is appearing on a major publisher later this year.
Many thanks in advance!
We exchanged quite a few e-mails, and eventually conducted a series of interviews over the phone. He ended up using two excerpts from the interview in the book. Given that this is an unauthorized biography, and I couldn't guarantee what would be published, I opted not to have him mention my name or web site. He refers to me by my old rap name of Kid Chill.
Here are the two excerpts of the interview that were used in the book:
Excerpt 1So much for LA. But O'Shea and his friends were growing up in the most
gang infested area of all - South Central. The successful rapper Ice-T, who
grew up in the area, once explained the situation in South Central with the
words: "You got a gang situation, you got a drug situation, all the Jamaican
posses and everybody else killing each other. It's like rats trying to get
out of a barrel, they're all drowning and pushing everybody else down. It's
real sad, but I made it out, and my objective is to say, yo! I was worse or
just as bad as any of y'all fuckers. so listen, this can be done. Ain't
really much else I can do."
Another rapper, Kid Chill, is very specific about life in South Central and
how it is governed by gangs and the police's attitude to them. He points
out: "I didn't know any different as a kid, so it seemed like normal life.
There were police helicopters that flew by all night. The police would pull
you over in your car, or stop you on the street for no reason and ask you
what gang you were in, what's your gang name etc. We were threatened and
kicked off of Venice beach for no reason, stopped a couple of times at
gunpoint for suspicion of something or another. We were made to stand
against the rail at the mall for a long period oftime because we fit the
description of some people that did something or other."
Chill observes that Blood-versus-Crip distinctions weren't always easy to
live with: "The gang activity wasn't quite like gang activity elsewhere. The
reason that it was so bad is because there wasn't a clear line between being
in a gang and not being in a gang. Some areas were divided by certain
streets. There were dozens of gangs. All of the black gangs were divided
into Bloods and Crips. All Blood gangs hated all Crip gangs, and some Crip
gangs hated each other."
And it wasn't much use relying on your home neighborhood to keep you safe.
"Hoods were defined by certain geographical areas. This is where
the difficulty came in. If you lived in that area you were, for the most
part, considered to be in that gang unless you were specifically in another
gang. If you live in a Crip neighborhood you would get beat up for wearing
red. If you were in a Blood neighborhood you would get beat up for wearing
blue. If a Blood asked you what hood you were from, and you happened to live
in a Crip neighborhood, you'd get beat up. You could try to say that you
weren't involved in gang activity by saying "I don't bang", but dependent on
who was asking they may or may not really care."
So if gang warfare was so prevalent, why join one at all? Chill explains:
"Regarding South Central, the fact that people would beat you up just
because you were from a certain neighborhood influenced you to hang around
others from your neighborhood who would protect you. This influenced you to
join a gang. I never heard of a case where some gang members forced someone
to join as the media implied. It was sort of cool to be in a gang, so people
who weren't really even in a gang would sometimes claim to be."
Excerpt 2Dre and Cube were firm friends by this stage: "I used to ditch school and
run around the corner. He'd pick me up." said Cube. "I'd roll with him the
whole day, hanging." But this didn't stop Cube from forming his own band
outside the influence of Dre: he was still a 16-year-old schoolkid despite
the rap kudos, and put together an outfit called the Stereo Crew at Taft. At
the time, a teenager named Kid Chill was a rapper at a neighboring school,
and remembers the activities of the Stereo Crew well: "They had a catchy
tune called 'Gettin' Sweated' that was pretty popular. Back then, 'popular'
meant that everyone at your school knew you, and quite a few people that
didn't go to your school had heard about you. The fact that they had a tape
that people from other schools was buying was popularity back then. They
probably sold over 50 copies."
Kid Chill was a well-known school 'battle rapper'; he recalls how
I got a copy of the book a few weeks ago. It will come out in September of 2002.