An Interview With TOObizzy Mc
By Sounni de Fontenay [09-09-1998]
"I do Hip Hop, yes, it's Positive Hip Hop but I'd rather diversify the art than to create a new kind of Hip Hop within it." TOOBIZZY-MC is spearheading the Positive Hip Hop Movement into the next millennium. Socially active, his lyrics bring out a message of love and hope. Read what tOObizzy mc has to say about the Hip Hop scene and how he intends to influence it.
BE How did you get involved in Hip Hop? How long ago?
tOObizzy mc Back in the day (late seventies), when Chuck D was in high school, he used to DJ at Freeport High School (Freeport, Long Island, NY) for a group called Spectrum. He was tight with Flava Flav who back then we all knew as "Rico." This was the era in which I grew up (I moved to Freeport from Brooklyn to attend high school). Grandmaster Flash, Eddie Cheeba, and Lovebug Starsky had already made their names and Long Island was trying to get on the map.
My man Robbo Grace, formerly of the Play Hard Crew knew me from around the block and was known as a phenomenal emcee. He used to rock parks and parties on the regular. I used to study him, and from an intellectual point of view, found it interesting how he could make words and phrases rhyme. One day, I started writing rhymes and committing them to memory. I used to have brothas rolling on the ground when they heard my rhymes. They were NOT street at all, and you could tell that it was the result of an academic exercise, but at least the poetry was tight. Robbo, being a poet himself could see potential, and asked me if I would emcee with him and from then it was ON! The reason it took me so long to get serious is because like one of my rhymes says "I had to go to church, soul search, and go to school first!"
BE Who are you musical influences?
tOObizzy mc Bob Marley and Third World as real message artists, Chuck D, Guru (from Gangstarr) for the intellectual content, street message, and commitment to social activism, BIG and Method Man for the musical flow aspect, and Buster Rhymes reminded me to remember to have fun while I do it.
BE What style of Hip Hop do you consider yourself in?
tOObizzy mc Hip Hop, straight up. Calling it Christian Hip Hop or Gospel Rap or something waters it down and tends to make people think less of it, think it's not for them, or sweep it under the rug. I do Hip Hop, yes, it's Positive Hip Hop but I'd rather diversify the art than to create a new kind of Hip Hop within it.
BE What is your involvement/connection with the community, other artists, and organizations?
tOObizzy mc I am involved with the youth ministry at World Fellowship Christian Center, in Atlanta, Georgia. I click with other artists at "www.hip-hopzone.com." There is an online emcee fellowship there but because emcees who think this way are so far and few between, it's not like we can get together on the regular. I also team up with Ed DeJesus and the Team Youth organization (www.teamyouth.com).
BE Do you have a manager? Label?
tOObizzy mc As an artist, I pretty much manage myself as I go, but God equips me with experienced people (Barri Bass*/ S2K Records) that can advise me and help me carry the load. I am not exactly willing to give up 20% for things I can do myself or with a good team. In addition, as CEO of 2-BZ Media, I am Executive Producer of all tOObizzy mc products. Barri Bass* is my producer on all the muscial tracks. 2-BZ Media is the label under which I would like to emerge but we are shopping for a major record deal or distribution so this will change. For now I'll be under S2K Records.
BE How did you go about finding them?
tOObizzy mc I didn't, there is a higher authority at work. Many of my affiliates (including my man Barri Bass from S2K Records*, whom I thank for setting up this interview) were placed right within my path.
BE Are you in the process of recording an album? Tell me a little about the upcoming album?
tOObizzy mc Yes, almost done, Tragic Phenomena describes the negative drama that is experienced by those living in the inner cities (black on black crime, drug abuse, child abuse, police brutality, miseducation, etc.). It offers hope and inspiration to live positive in spite of difficult circumstances. We are in post-production right now and will be finished by the middle of September 1998.
BE What will be the theme/atmosphere of the album be?
tOObizzy mc That in spite of the Tragic Phenomena around us, we always need to stay on a strong Positive Vibration.
BE What is the message that comes out through your lyrics?
tOObizzy mc "Message of Love, Message of Hope", my objective is to find the common threads that peeps feel, regardless of their color. Once I can capture that feeling, I drop my perspective on it which will always be that of a Christian soldier, a mirror of Jesus Christ.
BE Has it been difficult getting to where you are currently? What have you had to contend with in the music business?
tOObizzy mc Not yet, Les Brown said "What you are seeking, is also seeking you." I have found this to be true. My web site really says it all. It gives an opportunity for one to determine if he is interested in supporting the Positive Hip Hop Movement or not. As I continue to network, my chances improve every day that someone with power and influence will invest in my new media production company, 2-BZ Media. People are thirsty for a good feeling. Most of all, I have had to contend with patience.
BE How do you see Hip Hop today? How do you see it evolving?
tOObizzy mc Hip Hop today is not what it could be. I think it needs to diversify more. Wyclef is a good example of where the art form has the potential to go. Also, I believe it needs to take on a more socially active purpose. I see it evolving musically while having a much greater capacity to uplift people. I will be one of those responsible for this evolution.
BE What affect do you see on today's youth from the current 'popular' forms of Hip Hop?
tOObizzy mc None, that's the point. What I see is that not enough positive vibration comes through, it's like a temporary high. The influence that Bob Marley had on my vision painted a much more socially potent Hip Hop. Although it is entertaining, as far as having the potential to uplift, strengthen, and free it's listeners from pain and distress, much of the 'popular' Hip Hop I see is impotent.
BE Music, like everything else, is a business. What are your strategies to succeed in it?
tOObizzy mc Global commerce. I have done my homework, that is one of the things I been tOObizzy doing!
BE Finally, what are you views with respect to Hip Hop in the international market and the Internet?
tOObizzy mc It's wide open, you can see a study I did on this on my web site. I have corresponded with teenagers all around the world on this subject. Hip Hop is worldwide and so is the 2BZ family. Just check out my website. 2bzmedia.com
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