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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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A.O.T.W. – Track Lacer & Phat Daddy Bu
Monday, November 13, 2006

You don’t hear about a lot of rappers from Milwaukee. Most people would assume Hip-Hop doesn’t even exist there, but Track Lacer & Phat Daddy Bu are doing everything they can to try to put their city on Hip-Hop’s radar. About an hour and thirty minutes from Chicago, IL along the shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is probably most known for beer. Track Lacer says it’s not an easy place to perform, noting “it’s too violent a city to support much live, local Hip-Hop. Every time we've ever had a weekly venue booked, it got canceled due to idiots fighting or shooting.” This goes against everything the duo stands for as they point out “we are role models, by default. Hip Hop is raising kids across the U.S.A. If we don't accept responsibility for what we say negatively, then we in turn won't take responsibility for how kids act as a result of our negativity. Milwaukee has led the nation in teen pregnancy rate for 7 out of last 10 years, so...it's not parents raising our kids, it's basically Momma and Young Jeezy.” This week I sat down with Track Lacer and Phat Daddy Bu to discuss their role as role models, their music and some of the issues they’d like to open people’s eyes to.

Adam Bernard: The new album is called Ghettocentric II - The Chitlin Circuit. Do you feel Hip-Hop today is in some way comparable to the Chitlin Circuit of yesteryear? (Did I really just use yesteryear in a sentence?)
Phat Daddy Bu: Yes you did say "yesteryear!" But to answer your question, the culture and community dictated what was hot back then. Now, today, the corporate climate dictates what's hot. For instance, Milwaukee had a hood dance called "The Burger Bounce." You learned how to do it at block parties and house parties. Now you have "Shoulder Lean," and you only learn it because it is Young Dro's first single off his album. We used to set the trends, now they dictate them to us.

Adam Bernard: You seem to have something to say in your music. What messages are you looking to get across to the people?
Track Lacer: The message that I want to get across is that Ice Cube's 1990 song with Chuck D, "Tales From The Darkside (Endangered Species)," is not that far off. At the rate that Black & Latino men are dying or going to prison, and coming out of prison with the A.I.D.S. virus, the original Black and Latino men who birthed the culture that we all share together now could possibly fail to exist in 50 years. For my Blacks and Latinos engaging in self-destructive behavior I have a message: Stop It! For my Caucasian Hip-Hop family that love the music, realize that the people who represent the race of your favorite emcees are dying. Help us reverse this.

Adam Bernard: Are there things outside of Hip-Hop that you’re doing to try to spread these messages, as well?
Phat Daddy Bu: Yeah, working as an engineer for Milwaukee Public Schools for my "day job," always gives me an outlet to talk to kids besides my own. I always talk to them about doing the right thing every chance I get. With my own kids I take 'em to church, take 'em to African dance shows, take 'em to the library. I try to keep them busy. Chuck D once said "Each one, Teach one." Everybody plays a role as a teacher whether they know it or not. Music is just one medium of many.

Adam Bernard: Talk to me about where you’re from. What’s the Hip-Hop scene like there? What turned you on to the culture?
Track Lacer: Man, if I hear one more Midwest rapper say, "It's like a pot of Gumbo. We listen to a lil' of everything up here and then mix it up," I swear I'll scream. It's like a pot of Gumbo. We listen to a lil' of everything up here and then mix it up. Naw, the only reason you read that all the time in magazines is because it's true. We almost single-handedly started the career of Sacramento gangsta rapper C-Bo in Milwaukee. He almost went gold here alone off this album he had in 1993 called The Gas Chamber. So our early scene was very N.W.A./Too Short heavy. Now it's almost all T.I. and Young Jeezy, but we do have the "conscious side of town," too, and all they bump is Mos Def, Dead Prez and Immortal Technique. I got turned on to the culture because I skipped the first grade! I was so good with my pen from age three up until now that I got straight A's in English. I also liked making people laugh. Once I realized that good punch lines in raps made people laugh it was a done one, it was a wrap. I saw I could combine two things that I did well through Hip-Hop; write and make people laugh.

Adam Bernard: Finally, if you could change any one law in America what would it be?
Phat Daddy Bu: The Rockefeller Drug Law. People at the top are getting off scott free. People at the bottom are getting time. You get more time for possession of crack-cocaine, which is deadlier and less expensive, than you do for pure Columbian cocaine, which is worth ten to twelve times more than crack.

You can check out Ghettocentric II – The Chitlin Circuit at cdbaby.com/trackandbu and download a few songs for free at myspace.com/smoothsailingrecords.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 8:09 AM  
  • At 1:24 AM, Blogger Mik Nahoy said…

    It's good to see positive guys around. I've been dissolutioned with hip-hop lately, especially with all the plagiarism, formulaic mess, Jay, and the South being the only thing on the radio. All that comes back to the consumers though.

  • At 10:36 AM, Blogger unclechill32 said…

    Well first and foremost this is one of the best albums I heard in awhile. My main concern(?) with any album is the lyrics. The only other albums I bought this year was Ghostface and Juvy. Juvy was tight, but his lyrics ain't up to the level of Track Lacer. I did like some of Phat Daddy parts, but Track Lacer need to go solo. Overall I give it a 4 out of 5.

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