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Stacking The Deck with Joey Golden
Friday, May 03, 2019

Stacking The Deck is a feature exclusive to Adam’s World where I bring packs of 1991 Pro Set Superstars MusiCards to artists, and we discuss who they find in each pack.

Whether it’s been as a solo artist, 1/5 of O.I.S.D., or 1/2 of tha Joint, Joey Golden (aka J.ManifestO) has been an integral member of NYC’s indie hip-hop scene for the better part of the past 15 years.

He’s performed on many of the city’s most famous stages, moved crowds, and given listeners underground classics, but what’s most remarkable about the Queens-based emcee is that he continues to look to evolve as an artist. A perfect example of this is his latest project, Retrograde, which was produced by teedotEinsof, and was written almost entirely when Mercury was in, you guessed it – retrograde.

The concept EP also deals with another definition of retrograde – to move backwards – as in his music, Golden often looks back on what he’s lived through, and learned, in an effort to move forward.


I caught up with Joey Golden at the Think Coffee on the corner of Bleecker and Bowery to open up some packs of MusiCards, and the artists we found sparked conversations about everything from chopped cheese sandwiches, to cutting back on cursing, to the time Satan was almost summoned by someone at an O.I.S.D. show.



Al B. Sure

What is your connection with Al B. Sure?

#1, on Houston & 1st me and J.Monopoly would make fun of each other, and I called him an “Al B. Sure in the face lookin’ muthafucka.” It was like track 8. So that’s one connection.

Wow. So hopefully Al B. Sure doesn’t Google himself, and this comes up, and he’s like, “Thanks guys.”

It’s all good. I mean, I guess Al B. Sure should be offended because Monop is ugly as hell, so I guess if Al B. Sure Googles this, and he gets to see what Monop looks like, and then is like, “Aw shit, I got compared to this guy.”

J.Monopoly is not in the building to defend himself, but we’ll definitely know if he reads this or not.

It’s cool. He don’t got a phone, he’s not gonna know. {laughs}

I now have to cheat and look at my phone, because there’s one song (of Al B. Sure’s) that I particularly like that I have on my playlist that I listen to on the reg.

“Night and Day.”

Which playlist is “Night and Day” on for you?

It’s just my Tidal playlist. I don’t have any mood playlists, I just have one big ass playlist.

Actually, I have another playlist called “Love Me Like Chopped Cheese,” and that’s my R&B, get in the groove, playlist.

A general playlist, and the chopped cheese playlist.

You gotta say the whole name, “Love Me Like Chopped Cheese,” because who doesn’t love chopped cheese?

How long does that relationship go back?

The first time I had one had to be a good … I don’t know, more than 10 years ago.

So this is a long term relationship.

Yeah man, long term, very long term. At one point it was a long distance relationship because they didn’t make ‘em in Queens, you had to go Harlem.

I love that THAT’S a long distance relationship. You had to change trains.

You had to take the 7 to the B, or you had to go to the sandwich shop in Jamaica by Monop’s house. I think they made it by then.

Now you’re reunited.

Reunited and it feels so good.

Now they make ‘em at every corner store. At every bodega they make chopped cheese, but it used to be exclusive in Harlem.

Do you have a favorite spot to grab one?

You can’t really beat Harlem, it’s where they do it at, so if you go to Harlem, and you order it, it should go well, but for the most part everybody pretty much does it justice. If you know what you like, and you know what you want to put on it, it should go well.

But you probably shouldn’t order it in like midtown.

Nah. Anything lover than 100th Street I highly doubt that they’re gonna get it right.



KISS

Is there a KISS influence in your life?

As far as the group, O.I.S.D., there was a point where we kinda got full of ourselves, and the first thing I think of that rock star shit – girls showing us their titties, and shit like that.

We had thoughts of dressing up, maybe not to this extreme.

You weren’t gonna pain your faces like that.

I don’t know. I wouldn't put it past us. I think Khid and JohnNY would definitely paint their face. That was definitely on the menu for them. But me … actually, I would’ve definitely done the Gene Simmons face paint, and I would’ve jumped down to the stage like Sting in WCW.

The reason I actually picked this card is because we’re a five man group, but most of the time it was four of us who would be at the show, and we would have to rearrange the set according to who showed up. So it was like, are we gonna perform 3/4 of this song and then switch to the next one where two of us make an appearance, and then the third one does a verse from some whole other shit?

Maybe do a freestyle in place of a verse?

Nah, we would rarely freestyle. The only one we would allow to freestyle on stage like that was Monopoly because he just had the ability. Most of us, we would just arrange the set to make it fit.

That’s a challenge, to show up and be like “OK, this is who’s here.”

Oh no, we wouldn’t do that at the venue, we would know ahead of time. We’d get in the huddle, decide which songs we’re gonna do, and go knock it out.

During the time when it was happening it didn’t feel like such a challenge.

But looking back on it, you’re way more prepared now when you do a show.

Absolutely.

I don’t have a show anytime soon, but I know what set I would do. If somebody were to call me tomorrow, “Can you do 20 minutes?” I’d be like, “Alright, yeah, I know what I’m gonna do. Let’s go get it.”



Alexander O’Neal

“Criticize,” that song (of his) was in Grand Theft Auto IV.

Really?

Yeah, they take songs from all different eras and put ‘em on the radio stations, and they had an R&B station.

So when you’re stealing cars and punching hookers you can listen to Alexander O’Neal?

Yeah. I mean, that’s not all that you did in the game. You could shoot the hookers, too.

You don’t just walk around punching hookers. We’re more sophisticated than that!

I like his hat, too. The hat in the picture is smooth.



Kool Moe Dee

Kool Moe Dee is significant because, according to the Beef DVD, he was the first dude to actually battle rap somebody. (And) he came out actually rappin’ rappin’ in the cadence that’s normal now, but wasn’t back then.

It also reminds me of when I was first going solo, just like, I don’t know, the picture in itself reminds me of the mood. All black, shades, just like ready for it all.

Maybe a little less leather.

Yeah, way less leather. The only thing leather that would be on me would be my sneakers.

I would definitely wear this outfit, though, just one time, just walk down Astor Place one time with this outfit. On Astor Place you would fit right in.

I don’t know if I’d fit right in dressed like that.

You could walk down Astor Place butt naked with peacock feathers and nobody would look at you crazy.

That is true. I’m doing it later. We’re testing that theory.



Heavy D & The Boyz

Heavy D strongly reminds me of Monop for some reason.

Monop is getting killed in this interview!

{laughs} This other guy reminds me of Khid.

The main reason I picked this card is because it was (Heavy D), and Will Smith – when I was working on my first solo album I decided to take out cursing, like stop cursing, not totally, but let me see if I can do it for a few songs.

I would first write out the song normally, then comb through it and take the curses out and replace them with different words, or better words.

I was listening to an interview with Heavy D, and they were talking about how he never cursed, and he had all these hit records, and I was like damn, that’s kind of amazing, especially in the stage where hip-hop is now …

Now we even have pop artists cursing.

Yeah. Pop used to be the most squeaky cleanest thing in the word. Since hip-hop is pop now, now even Taylor Swift gotta show us a titty or she’s outta here. {laughs}

How has your conscious effort to remove curse words gone in the long run?

Actually, it’s kinda seeped into the process so much that sometimes I’m not trying to not curse, but I end writing a verse where I don’t curse.

I just released a project called Retrograde and there are a couple of songs on there where I didn’t even realize I didn’t curse. I just did the song, and then I listened to it back like oh, I didn’t say one curse on there.

That’s happened multiple times!

Do you feel like this has sparked something in your brain on a creative level?

I think of it like basketball – when you practice a new move you practice it to the point where it becomes second nature. Like if you’ve never done a hook shot before, and you practice a hook shot until you got it, during a game there’s going to be a situation where you’re gonna need to do a hook shot, and it’s not like you’re gonna be “I need to do the hook shot right now,” it just becomes a reaction.



Dread Zeppelin

Dread Zeppelin is a reggae Led Zeppelin cover band fronted by an Elvis impersonator.

Let me see this picture!

I want to know what’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen at a show, because I feel like that would rank pretty high.

The weirdest thing was we were at an open mic at … I can’t think of the name of the spot, but it was around the corner from here, and there was this random white dude, he had like a red dot on his head, it looked like he was bleeding, or something like that, and he looked like he was doing some possession thing, like he was summoning something.

And you stuck around?

We were performing!

You had to stick around. Had he summoned Satan you still would've been like, “Listen, we got a set.”

I hope he didn’t curse us, or something like that.

Knock on wood, you’re doing alright.

Yeah, we’re doing pretty alright.

I like to be nice to people in the crowd. I wasn’t gonna like push him out the way, or scold him. I like to let people express themselves.

You couldn’t miss him.

And he paid to get in.

Yeah. What am I gonna do?

So at least Satan has never been summoned at one of your shows, and we’re gonna keep it that way.

Somebody tried, though. Somebody tried.


For more Joey Golden check out JoeyGold24k.com, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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