Biz Markie has been in the game 20+ years, has had gold and platinum selling records and is now one of the most sought after DJ’s in the world. What more can he do you might ask? Enter Scion. Through his relation ship with Scion they are taking you back to where it all began with the Diabolical one. Back his old “Stomping Grounds”. A new web show developed by Scion, Biz Markie will take you on tours of where he went to Junior High and High School as well as barbershops and his journey to the top of the rap and DJ world. It was my great honor to chat with the Biz about the new “Stomping Grounds” web show and the current state of the culture we all know as hip-hop.
HipHopSite: It is a true honor to be talking to a legend in the game. How are things?
Biz Markie: Everything is beautiful I can’t ask for more.
Before we jump into “Stomping Grounds”, it’s been 4 years since your last album “Weekend Warrior”, what have you been up to?
I have been DJing and I have been rapping. I have just been doing everything, I can’t even explain. I have been doing little parts here and there but mostly I have been on the road DJing.
So the transition from being emcee to a sought after DJ has been fairly easy for you. Which do you like better, emceeing or DJing?
I can’t even say it was a different time. I was younger and I will always be an emcee and a beat boxer at heart.
Are we going to see another album from the Diabolical one or you ready to hang up the mic, so to speak?
I might do another album, it really depends. It depends, I go on feeling. I don’t go by what is out now, if I decide to do an album I’m going to do it on my own feeling. I’m not going to do it to be in competition with anybody.
Speaking of competition, what is your take on hip-hop right now?
My take with hip-hop right now is that there are a lot of followers. There are a couple of leaders but as far as I’m concerned I’m just happy that hip-hop is still alive and hasn’t died as music.
Let’s chat about “Stomping Grounds”, this is new project through Scion, tell us about it
I have been doing so many DJ gigs through Scion and they asked me to do a little biography type thing. I said I would do it and it is about how I grew up from a little kid to now. I tell them how I got started in the business and that’s what it’s about, Stomping Grounds. I brought them all to my old stomping grounds and where I first started. I took them to my Junior High and my High School and everything.
What would you say is your fondest memory to date?
Making my first record.
Since we are delving into a legends childhood, what made you want to be a part of hip-hop and its culture?
What made me want to be a part of the hip-hop culture was my man Derrick let me hear a tape of the L. Brothers, who were Grandwizard Theodore and his emcee. After I heard that tape I was addicted. It was also the cool thing to do around the way. All the cool people were rappers or DJ’s. No matter how they looked at it, they were the cool people.
Did you start emceeing or DJing first?
I learned how to DJ while I was an emcee and a beat boxer. I really started taking focus back in ’88-’89. I got tired of the record business and decided to make some changes. What I’m going to do is pull a Bo Jackson. I’m going to switch as a DJ and see if I could become one of the top DJs, just to see. I did it as a hobby at first because people would laugh at me because they thought I couldn’t do it. So I looked at it like “oh you say I can’t do it”. I put my mind to it and did it and that is how I became the person I am now.
Being a DJ I have to ask, what is the hottest record in the club for you right now?
It depends on which genre, I play everything. Right now three of the hottest records are “Walk It Out”, Rich Boy, Jim Jones and “This is Why I’m Hot”, but Jay-Z always hits. As far as R&B, you’ve got Robin Thicke and you’ve got Beyonce. If we are talking about old school there are so many damn records you can’t even talk about it.
So what is your favorite club jam of all-time?
I can’t even tell you that. Certain records go for certain places.
If there was something from your past that you could change, what would it be?
Only thing that I would change from the past is certain people being into hip-hop and certain people that were my friends and family that have died. That is the only thing I would change.
You are a legend in the game and have seen it go through so many changes, where do you see hip-hop in 10 years?
If I’m alive in 10 years I think hip-hop is going to be, honestly man I couldn’t even tell you. I couldn’t even tell you because there will be something new come about in hip-hop.
That’s a good thing, because right now we are at quite a down point.
Not really a down point, but right they are letting radio control hip-hop. They are letting radio, the media and videos control hip-hop.
Do you think that record labels have lost the vision of what hip-hop was set out to be, and contorted it into something it is not?
With a record label it’s not their job to be creative. It’s there job to get the record out there to sell. We can’t blame them; we have to blame the artists who are being brainwashed by what the labels are telling them. I have never been that person, I just do what I do and you can take it how you want to take it.
If you had a piece of advice for anybody trying to be a part of hip-hop, what would it be?
Don’t be scared to be different. If you wear you hat a certain way, don’t be scared because you can be different. That’s why dirty south is coming off right now. They are representing what they are and where they are from. If you want to be in hip-hop you need to be the same way.
It does seem like the south knows how to stick together and New York always has some kind of beef.
The thing is you have to understand New York. If people are from the Bronx, the Bronx and Brooklyn get a long. Queens and Manhattan get along. If you are from Brooklyn, Brooklyn and Queens didn’t ever get along. It’s genetics. Just because you are a rapper that doesn’t mean you are going to get a long with a certain borough. Me coming from Long Island, even though I was born in Harlem, it still is the same thing. When I came in, I was like a Pope, I was different. I had a different aura, so I was a different type of person. A lot of the guys that are coming in now are coming with vengeance or a chip on their shoulder when they really don’t have to.
So for us to get back to the essence of hip-hop as we know it, do you think New York is going to have to unite in some way?
Naw….look at Dipset they are all together. They are making records that they want to make. They aren’t listening to anybody else they are making the records they want to make.
So what’s next for the Biz? Are you going to do movies/TV, keep making albums, or maybe start a label? Break it down for us.
I’m going to probably get into to TV. I have done it already; I have made the gold and platinum records. Right now I’m just coasting and I don’t know what I’m going to do next. Whatever I might do, it’s going to be funky.
Anything more you want to say?
Be yourself or find yourself by yourself.
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