Concept, Lyrics, Attitude, Music, and Performance. These are the key ingredients DJ Lord Jazz cooks with, passed down from Busta Rhymes. Originally from ‘The Lords of the Underground’ (L.O.T.U), which created history in the early 90's by providing classic tracks such as ‘Chief Rocka, Psycho and Funky Child', Lord Jazz has graced us with a solo debut album called ‘The Plain Dealer.’ The album features artists’ such as Treach, Cella, Dwellaz, Sticky Fingaz, due to drop later this month. Jazz reveals how a dear friend’s murder stimulated him to complete the album, his relationship between the rest of the L.O.T.U crew, and the comparison between the Parisian and American music scene. Margaret Tra writes.
‘Chief Roka’ was one of the classics from The Lords of the Underground, what is your most memorable track?
My most memorable track from the Lords was ‘Lordjazz hit me 1 time’. I had a lot of favourites on that album, but that one was the most fun doing because of the all the scratches and arrangements. Plus I rapped on it. I’m not a rapper at all, I just did that because I was tired of the DJ always being in the back and never saying anything. I wanted to change that, even with the video ‘Here come the lords/Lordjazz’ hit me 1 time,’ we were one of the first to do two videos in one. We ‘ARE’ leaders not followers ya feel me? A lot of things we did first, but don’t get credit but it’s all good.
Tell us about your upcoming album ‘The Plain Dealer’?
The Plain Dealer is my first solo album. This is a project I’ve been wanting to do, but could never get the time to do it. I started a record company called "Premium Records" along with my brother Eric and good friend Darnel Chase (R.I.P) in 2006. Chase was murdered in Newark New Jersey 2008, and since then I’ve been working on this project because it’s not just for me I’m doing this for Chase and his family.
This album wasn’t easy to do, as it never is doing anything with rappers or singers that are far away from you. But with help from Skype and dropbox, things worked out fine. I worked with a lot of rappers that I respect, and like as MCs. I also have Joya the RnB soulful songstress from Detroit Michigan, she also sang on L.O.T.U) ‘Earth wind & Fire’ off the Resurrection album in 1999.
I also worked with Treach, Cella, Dwellaz, Sticky Fingaz, Tha Liks,Bars N Hooks,Doitall and Funke. These are some of my favourite MCs and I was fortunate enough to get them on my album. I also have new & dope MCs that need to be heard around the world like Aarophat,Senica Da Misfit,Ike Turnah and Respect Da God.
One thing that we always did as Lords we always went back to the hood and grabbed the dopest MCs on the block, and take them with us on tour so they can get another perspective on life, values and culture. So if you like hard hitting drums, nice loops and dope verses and scratches this album is for you. Oh and I had to get one of the most under rated producers on my album to do a remix for SAY YEA Mr K-Def. He is one of the pieces to my (L.O.T.U.G) success.
Have you carried on your experiences/influences from the group into your solo album coming up?
I definitely carried my experiences and influences from the group on my album. One thing that we always tried to do on our albums which Busta Rhymes said to us back in ‘93 to "C.L.A.M.P ya sh**", that means C is for concept, L is Lyrics, A is for Attitude, M is for Music, and P is for Performance. To this day we abide by that cause it makes so much sense.
Do you still keep in contact with the other group members?
Of course I keep in touch with the Lords. We’re doing a 20 year anniversary album with Marley Marl, we have 24 songs so far. We still tour, were on the road a lot and surprised that we’ve never been to Australia. Treach always tell me that it’s so dope down there we want to see it, so promoters get at me. As for lords Doitall dropped his solo project in 2010 called "American Du," his first single Surrender produced by Pete Rock is crazy. Mr Funke’s working on his solo album and it will be dropping in the fall, so were still alive and never broke up.
Who influences you and your music?
I have a lot of influences, I grew up in Cleveland Ohio and there was a show called "Clubstyle Show," and it catered to street DJs rocking every Saturday night, and I used to listen to this show every Saturday. So DJs like Cochise, DJ Johnny O,Pac Man were influential to me. Now on a national level Marley Marl, Grandmaster Flash,Kool Herc,Grandwizard Theodore, Red Alert, Jam master Jay, Mixmaster Ice, Grandmaster D. All these guys played a role for me, my musical taste is so universal I just love music. When I’m digging for samples I don’t go to the store with a closed mind, I’m looking at everything in the store, people don’t like to go with me to record shops cause they know what it’s an all- day thing.
You now reside in Paris, how does the music differ from Paris in comparison to the States?
The music really doesn’t differ because all the sounds or songs you hear from French rap artists’ sounds like American music, just with the French language. America sets the standards pretty much in music, so whatever is working there must work here in Paris, that’s just how it is. There are a lot of good French rap artists though, I’m upset because I wasn’t able to get any French representation on my album, not because I didn’t want, we just never could hook up times conflicting, but it’s all good I’ll definitely do a Plain Dealer 2.
What was your favourite & cheapest vinyl you've found whilst digging?
Wow, one of my favourite vinyls I would have to say the ‘In-La-Gadda-Da-Vida’ by Iron Butterfly, I got in Switzerland for like $2.00. I found numerous gems at garage sales in the States, people just throwing vinyl out or selling the dirt cheap to get rid of ‘em. That puts a smile on my face when I see people doing that.
*The Plain Dealer is set to drop 23 January 2012 on itunes and leading online music stores.