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@DJLayneLuv Chops It up with Buddy Wike of 90’s R&B Group Intro Pt 1.

The early 90’s still brought about a plethora of R&B singing groups. The funny thing about the R&B groups of the 90’s, is that they started to separate themselves from the Jheri curl & sequin suits era. Out of the blue, you started noticing singers wearing baseball hats and jerseys. When they would show up to perform at shows, you thought groups like Jodeci were going to sing not rap. This new style brought about a coined term from Sean “Puffy” Combs called Hip Hop Soul. All of the sudden, the radio was filled with songs that had “The Funky Drummer” sample with singers that had church harmonies in the background.

In the summer of 1993, I was in Virginia. Boyz II Men and Jodeci were still preparing for their sophomore releases, and besides SWV blowing up the airwaves, this blaring tenor was coming from the jeeps screaming “I Want To Be The One…Leeeet Me Be!” Now R&B songs sounding like church songs were nothing new, but this voice sounded like no other. It was the legendary Kenny Greene pleading with the Hip Hop soul gods to be the next voice. And for the next year, he was. Songs like Come Inside and Don’t Leave Me were on a number of slow jam mixtapes.

This story has a common thread among singing groups as with any story on UnSung. The rise to power where you are riding high, to the tragedies of that same star power waining because of the gravity theory, what goes up must come down. From the lack of enthusiasm of the labels marketing to group members going in different directions, it’s just the natural progression of singing groups. However, the unsettling thing is, that 90’s lead singers were passing away around the turn of the century at an alarming rate like an omen or curse. Tony Thompson of Hi-Five, Dino of H-Town, Left Eye of TLC, Orish Grinstead of 702 and unfortunately the group Intro was not spared that fate. Kenny Green passed away in 2001 from complications of the disease known as AIDS. Since then, the group has gone through some lead singers, that didn’t prove successful until they came up with the lightbulb conclusion that Kenny simply could not be replaced and so Intro decided to take the music in another direction while still keeping the core sound and audience.

Buddy Wike the original and founding member of the group tells Part 1 of this Amazing story as On The Table takes a closer look at what happened to the group Intro.

OTT: Thank you so much for taking out your time to speak with us. How did the group intro come about?

BW: Thank you so much for sharing your platform with me. Well, we have to go back to Fort Bragg North Carolina when I was in the military.  I met Kenny Thomas, and he told me about this kid named Kenny Greene that could sing real good. He knew I played piano and figured there might be something we could come up with. So we ended up linking on a Sunday writing a bunch of songs. We started out recording rap and house songs for a small indie label. Ned Pdub Brown was our lead rapper in the group. I was doing the tracks, Kenny was doing the background and lead vocals and Nelson was doing backgrounds and rap parts. Soon after that, next thing you know… Desert Storm/ Gulf War broke out and I ended up being deployed. Long story short, while I was in the desert, someone sent me a tape of Lalah Hathaway, and it was all I played. What struck me was, that Lalah reminded me of Kenny a great deal. While I was there, I kept saying, “If I ever get back in touch with dude, we’re going to make something happen.” Once I got back in town, it took about six months, but we linked back up and started working. Through another friend that used to dance with Kwame, I linked up with Jeff Sanders that could dance real good. I couldn’t dance that well but Jeff brought me along. Through that particular chemistry and hangin out, we became a group. We all had the same vision. TO BECOME STARS!

OTT: So tell us how super producer Eddie F of Heavy D & The Boyz found you guys…

BW: Hahaha. What people don’t know is, Heavy (RIP) found us first and then sent us to see Eddie. This was way before Heavy started managing groups like Soul IV Real.

One night Jeff took us to this club called The Red Zone in New York, and on our way, we had been singing Peaceful Journey, (RIP T-Roy) one of Heavy’s songs. It just so happens Heavy D was there that night, so when we saw him we were just like “This is our chance, what better time than to just sing for him right now!” He really dug it. He took our number and told us to call Eddie F because he had a production company called The Untouchables. So when the next week came around, we thought we were gonna meet with these corporate heads and listen to demo tapes all day. Nah, Eddie was real chill. He told us to wait in the studio while he ran to Sam Ash. Once he got back, we sang for him; we were in the studio with Jeff Redd the very next day doing the remix to You Called and Told Me.

So the day after that, we went over to Eddie’s house, and when we walk in, there’s this girl sitting on Eddie’s couch. I’d never seen her before, but she was mad cool. We said “Wassup” …she said “Hey guys what’s up” and from there, we ended up writing and collabing on a lot of songs. From that point, Eddie puts us in the studio with her, and we pen and record 3 to 4 songs with her. That started the birth of what is known today as Hip Hip soul, and what became of those sessions was the album we all know. What’s The 411? and the lady I’m talking about is none other than Mary J. Blige…….

This concludes Part 1….Please check in next week for Part 2 of this Amazing story!!!

@DJLAYNELUV

@StraightOfficialMag

@BuddyWike

 

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[INTERVIEW] I’m Just Different: DJ Layne Luv Chops It Up With Hafrican

 

Summer of 2014, I’m invited to DJ at an underground club in the short north of Columbus Ohio. The DJ I’m filling in for is a World renown DMC finalist. (DJ Bombay) Anybody that knows me, knows that I’m not a turntablist nor eclectic as Bombay, so I was a little skeptical about DJing the event. As I’m winning the crowd over throughout the night, being myself, this curly head kid walks over to me and asked “Where’s Bombeardo?” with this look of disappointment. Right away I could tell it wasn’t me he was disappointed in. You see, the one they call Hafrican was different…I mean like…one of these kids is doing their own thing different, and he really dug people that got him. And trust me, if you know DJ Bombay…he definitely knows “different”.

Hafrican appeared to be a regular college kid looking to party, but he was actually on the bill to perform that night. He then tells me that he won’t need my services for his set. I laughed. He walks over to asks where he can plug in his drum machine. What happened after that was pure supernatural. This kid from the suburbs of Newark, Ohio played beat after beat and matched it with compelling and comical rhymes that left the crowd in awe. For his next magical trick, he sampled an entire rhythm section by beat-boxing into his sampler and made the illest beat right there on the spot. I was speechless.

Over the next two years, his manager and I would talk, and I told him as soon as I got a platform, and when HAF had a project, I would cover his story. That time is now. S.O. On The Table caught up with Hafrican at a Gahanna pub this week.

OTT: How did you come up with the name Hafrican? I take it because you’re….

Hafrican: …..half black, half white. Yeah, but really when I was in high school some kid said it as an insult. Being an artist, I said to myself it sounded pretty cool so I just used it as a rap name.

OTT: So take us back to what made you want to rap.

Hafrican: Ok so, I’m originally a drummer and I was always in bands, so that’s where the love of music started, but if I had to pinpoint what rap artist made me want to rap, I would have to say Snoop Dogg. He had a real smooth delivery. *Hafrican recites Doggy Dogg World at the table:

“It’s like everywhere I look and everywhere I go, I’m seeing muthafuckas trynna steal my flow…..”

Funny thing is, I started out drumming for a punk band. I really didn’t care for the music, I just wanted to jam. So one day they approached me like “Dude we heard you smoke weed, and this is like a Christian band.”  I’m sitting there like “Christian Band?” but then it kinda made sense because in punk, it’s hard to make out the lyrics anyway. Needless to say that experience helped me to follow the journey to Hip Hop.

*Waitress interrupts to serve us our bourbon milkshakes

Hafrican: How Hip Hop is this?….freakin milkshakes nshit…LOL! At least it’s got liquor in it!

OTT: So describe your style of rap

Hafrican: My music is fun and full of randomness. Definitely for the college crowd or listeners with a sense of humor. With me, I’m just not afraid to be myself….I mean really, ask yourself “what’s the worse that can happen?” Nothin. hahahaha. You might see me in one setting with some preppy college kid clothes on and then you could see me in a video with a fuckin African…uhhh…I don’t know what you call it but like a fuckin diaper or some shit with war paint. I just go with it man. The name of my current project is called Weirdo, so that should tell you a little something about me. LOL.

OTT: So being half white and half back, what are some of the challenges you face being a bi-racial artist?

Hafrican: I’m sure I encounter what every labeled biracial artist encounters. For the white crowd I’m not white enough and for the black crowd I’m not black enough. But hey that’s the story of my life. I remember being little, in the grocery store and someone calling my mother a Nigger-Lover. At the time it confused me, but as I experience racism when I got older, that shit hurt. So if I do write something serious, it’s about the struggle of having to survive in both worlds full of separation. That’s why lately I’ve been on some like “fuck it” I just gotta be me. And the benefit is, one night I could have a young college crowd going crazy nshit, the next night could be a 55 year old bobbing his head to “Suck my half black nuts” Crazy.

OTT: I’ve seen you rock on stages with Columbus Legend’s like Blueprint, Illogic, and Copywrite. Do you have any songs with them?

Hafrican: The only one I’ll say is Copy. I tried with Blue and Illogic but the plans always fell through. Me & Copy started out strictly business, but now we’re friends so it’s nothing to get him to jump on a track and vice versa.

OTT: So where do you see yourself a couple years from now?

Hafrican: Forward progression. Business-wise, I’ve always done better year over year. My manger Grant is great about booking my gigs. I’m always getting calls to do shows. A few of my singles have gotten picked up by a few indie labels, one being in the UK.

We released the single “Lose My Mind” with Fallsteeze (Soundcloud & Youtube) and that shit is up to like 65K views and spins, so I’m really happy with the momentum of the music right now. I’ve also dabbed into the EDM world which has really placed me on a big stage in a few areas in the country so I’m looking forward to nothing but good things this year.

OTT: Any final thoughts…..

Hafrican: I’m not gonna do the cheesy thing and say go buy my single or project, but for those reading this blog, I’m just a think-outside-the-box type of artist. I don’t try to fit and pattern or style. As selfish as it sounds, I make music for me to tell my story. The goal is to create, so I hope that my music touches the ears of people that are open to that, and hopefully convert a few that aren’t in the process.

@DJLAYNELUV

@FleetDJs

@HafricanX

@TheBEATSGroup

@StraightOfficialMag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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