Daddy-O of Stetsasonic: Even After Almost 40 Years I’m as Good a Rapper Now as I’ve Ever Been

I’ll have talked about earlier than that I used to be a school DJ in the course of the time when hip-hop music got here of age.  And one among my favourite songs of the period was Sally, by the legendary hip-hop group Stetsasonic.  And years after my faculty DJ years (however I’m nonetheless a DJ…nearly at the very least) I had the chance to average a tech panel at Georgia Tech, and one of many panelists was Glenn Bolton, aka Daddy-O… co-founder of Stetsasonic.

It was nice listening to Daddy-O discuss know-how and his experiences in enterprise and the impression fashionable tech has had on the creation course of.  However on the time he hadn’t picked up the mic shortly.  However a number of years in the past I began seeing movies of Daddy-O rapping once more.  After which I used to be on LinkedIn one morning and noticed that he posted a sneak peek clip of Daddy-O and the entire Stetsasonic crew teasing a brand new tune.  The truth that they hadn’t made an album/DVD is about 30 years however nonetheless sounding nice actually stopped me in my tracks.  And the truth that I noticed this primary on LinkedIn – and never YouTube – actually stood out to me… that’s after I got here down from the joy of seeing all of them again collectively sounding and looking out nice in any case these years!

In it was good timing as I had been catching up by way of DMs with Daddy-O and simply had scheduled a time for a LinkedIn Dwell convo.  So beneath is an edited transcript of a portion of our conv the place we speak concerning the early days of the band, why they bought again within the studio collectively in any case these years, and the way he feels he’s higher now than he was again within the heyday.   This was an prolonged dialog which you’ll right here by clicking on the embedded SoundCloud participant.

LinkedIn for Hip-Hop?

Brent Leary:  I simply thought it was actually cool that you simply dropped the little sneak peek on LinkedIn. 

Daddy-O:  I did put it out on Instagram as effectively. What occurred with me in LinkedIn was I at all times used to make use of LinkedIn only for skilled stuff. I bought slightly tech firm on the aspect and we prepare medical doctors and stuff and know-how and I used to be simply doing that. However lots of people who like what we do are sitting there on LinkedIn and I don’t should really feel dangerous about it. I don’t should really feel dangerous about my bodily job resume being on LinkedIn. And my music remains to be me. So …

Higher than Ever

Brent Leary:  I heard you say you’re a greater rapper now than you’ve ever been.

Daddy-O:  I completely know I’m. In 2016 I began making these data once more, you recognize, bodily making data once more. After which after I did that, like I inform everyone,  the 2 those who I thought of was Miles Davis and and Jimmy Hendrix. And I simply thought if Miles was right here, would he inform someone, man, simply go, take heed to Bitches Brew. You’ll hear what I’m about. Or would he do one thing new? And the proof is the final producer that made Miles Davis labored with was Straightforward Moe B; a hip hop man who produced Tupac, Biggie, all of that. So, he already was pushing the envelope ahead and I really feel like Jimmy could be the identical approach if he had lived, he would simply do one thing. He wouldn’t say, Hey, go take heed to Purple Haze.  You recognize, he would do one thing new. 

So I thought of it lengthy and arduous between 2015 and 2016 and mentioned, what am I doing? Not, not what am I doing? I believe that is essential. Not what am I doing to maintain the lights on, however what am I doing with my expertise? And I thought of it. I mentioned, man, I don’t rap anymore. Proper? If I simply stopped rapping, all they gonna know me for is the previous stuff. And that was approach earlier than a few of the individuals which are huge now have been huge. It’s going to evolve and I’m going to be caught in slightly bubble of like, I don’t know, ‘86 to love ‘91. And, and that’s not dangerous. Nothing is dangerous about that. It’s good to have classics. It’s nice to, to be an artist and know that there’s at the very least one basic tune that individuals love. That’s an awesome, nice, nice feeling. However as a rapper, I’m like, I’m going to get pushed to the again of the bus, you recognize, to be just like the previous man and the geriatric bus. And I didn’t wish to be that. I simply didn’t wish to be that. I do know I can’t do what Younger Thug does. I do know I can’t do what Rick Ross does, the youthful guys they’re going to do what they do, however I assumed there’s gotta be some line for me. There’s gotta be some opening for me. And so I took  my time and I simply studied it and I trialed and errored. I figured it out. And I do know that there’s a lane for traditional hip hop.

Getting the group again collectively for the primary time in 30 years

Daddy-O:  Once I was prepared, I offered it to Stetsasonic and was similar to, look, man, it is a street that we might take, you recognize? And I’m glad I’m, I’m actual happy with the blokes. They picked up the mantle. They have been like, “all proper, we’ll see the place you’re going with it. Present us what you wish to do”. I confirmed them. And what they have been writing proper now’s loopy, man. I heard The Mild simply kicked one thing to me the opposite day. He desires to do an interpretation of the Gamble and Huff – OJays Message within the Music. It was loopy. Like that is nice. 

Brent Leary:  Let’s say you’re speaking to one of many old style people who do wish to get again into it. What’s the hardest half? Is it getting again into the manufacturing features of placing a tune collectively? Is it going by means of what you would possibly must, to construct an viewers and utilizing these social instruments to advertise the model?

Daddy-O:  Step one I actually really feel solidly is acceptance as a result of what I discovered with my friends sadly, however true, is that they don’t actually settle for the artwork type at the moment. There’s some validity to that, proper? One in all my greatest buddies at all times says they shouldn’t even name what they’re doing now, hip hop, they need to name it one thing else. 

Brent Leary:  That’s form of like the normal “get off my garden, It’s inferior to after I did it again in my yea”.  There’s some validity.  There appears to be a sure explicit sound that has taken over hip, proper? And there’s not as a lot creativity at the moment.

Daddy-O:  I believe you’ll be able to say there’s not as a lot creativity. You’ll be able to say that. I imply, that’s confirmed as a consequence of laptop computer producing. That’s confirmed. As a result of it’s evolution. Whether or not we wish to consider Younger Thug and everyone else that comes together with that group is evolution or not. It’s evolution. It did evolve into that. Some individuals would possibly say it’s all backwards; that’s one other argument, proper? However it’s evolution. 

I believe that step one is acceptance. And what I imply by that’s accepting that they’re who they’re they usually can do what they do. Proper. Then you determine who you might be. And that’s the arduous half. The place is Daddy-O know pertinent to the dialog? The place does Stetsasonic slot in?

Defining success at the moment

Brent Leary:  What does success appear to be to you now, in comparison with again within the day while you guys have been very profitable doing your individual music and producing others, however how do you measure success now in comparison with again within the day?

Daddy-O: One of many issues I’ll say, that’s form of bizarre. It’s only a freaky flip of occasions most. I don’t name myself old-school as a result of I, I got here after Grandmaster Flash and them, who I used to be with the opposite day, too.  Most aged-school cats make extra on stage now than we ever did. So, bizarre flip of occasions. It’s like, we make extra onstage now than we did in our heyday due to this uber demand for traditional hip hop and, and nostalgia and all of that. 

I’ve been attempting to persuade my friends to make data, however now issues are opening up once more, pre COVID and now publish COVID, plenty of them earn more money now than they made up to now.  Possibly not on gross sales and significantly there’s nonetheless royalties there, however they exit on the street they usually make an entire lot of cash. So, so success form of appears to be like slightly totally different to everyone as a result of for them, success is simply having tour and going out on a number of days, some guys are going out solely on the weekends, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Friday, Saturday, Sunday, making anyplace between 4 and 10 grand an evening that ain’t nothing to shake a stick at. That’s candy. And most of them are making $7,500 to $14,000 an evening.

Success for me proper now’s precisely what occurred to you this morning. I don’t care if it was two individuals, which is far more than two, however I don’t care if it’s two individuals once they both bought up or they noticed it late final night time after I posted it, they checked out it they usually mentioned, man, that’s my man. That’s my man. And these are guys that haven’t made a document in over 30 years. 

Focus of at the moment’s artist

Brent Leary:  Do you assume that due to the convenience of manufacturing that as a substitute of focusing their efforts on the craft of making music, they’re virtually targeted on the craft of branding and promotion?

Daddy-O:  That’s completely true. What you’re speaking about is what I described because the making of a masterpiece, proper? So, you recognize, you have a look at Dr. Dre’s Power, otherwise you have a look at Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Tens of millions to Maintain Us Again, otherwise you have a look at Stetsasonic In Full Gear. This was all a making of a masterpiece, proper? So it’s all trial-and-error, determining sounds getting in options, even for those who get in options the way you match these options in; we’re recording on two inch tape. In order that’s an entire different factor, proper? Recording on two inch tape versus this digital recording that we do now in DAW is a very totally different factor. In order that being virtually extinct, it does make individuals focus extra on model.

Finest yr in hip-hop

Brent Leary:  So I’ve to ask, why do you assume 1988 was one of the best yr in hip-hop?

Daddy-O:  I simply assume sonically, it culminated the whole lot. I believe ‘86 was nice. That’s the place we noticed the introduction to Salt-N-Pepa and some different individuals. After which ‘87 was virtually the yr, Eric B and Rakim. However by the point ‘88 got here, we had all come to the conclusion of realizing easy methods to make data. If you concentrate on it, Public Enemy had a primary album and Yo Bum Rush the Present, and I’ll simply use us too. Stetsasonic had a primary album On Fireplace, nice data. And for some purists, these are one of the best data on the planet. They nonetheless take these data over anything we made, however by the point ‘88 got here round, we understood extra issues concerning the studio. We had been on the street, at the very least for a trial run for us and Public Enemy was greater than a trial run trigger LL cool J took us out. 

So we went on the Def jam tour. We simply discovered and bought our footing within the music enterprise; what we have been going to be as recording artists. So by the point all of us got here round, most of us had made these sophomore data. These data have been good as a result of sonically, we knew the place it was at. And I don’t know if any yr might even compete with the Sonics of ‘88 as a result of, let’s face it Puffy with Unhealthy Boy makes good data. However for essentially the most half they’re loud, proper? So they may not be nearly as good as they’re loud as a result of by that point they discovered easy methods to flip quantity up within the mastering studio. However nearly as good as these Biggie data sound, for those who put it up towards a Public Enemy observe, it’s not going to truthful off sonically. The Public Enemy observe remains to be going to eat it as a result of we bought our groove then. 

Right here’s the opposite a part of by ’88; when one thing is – and software program engineers can determine with this – when one thing is deliberate and experimental, that’s what makes us tremendous dope.

That is a part of the One-on-One Interview sequence with thought leaders. The transcript has been edited for publication. If it is an audio or video interview, click on on the embedded participant above, or subscribe by way of iTunes or by way of Stitcher.

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