Interview with Dj Mercury
Nahila S – When and how did you start DJing?
Dj Mercury – I am from Albany Ny, the state capital of New York State which is located two hours north of New York City. I first started playing with the records around 1980 I used to use my parents TV and record player combo and I would have a plastic BSR turntable right next to it with its own separate speaker… That was around the age of 11.
Nahila S – Who or what were your early influences? and how did this all begin?
Dj Mercury – My influence back then was Grandmaster Flash. The first record I ever cut back-and-forth with was The Breaks by Kurtis Blow.
Pushing ahead had a few years, back in 1984 I entered a DJ contest for a radio slot at a local college FM radio station 91 FM WCDB at SUNYA Albany. I actually made a 60 minutes tape cassette with the worst equipment in the world and sent it to the address that was given over the radio station. To my surprise I won the contest and a slot for the Friday night mix show which was from midnight to 1 AM.
The name of the show was midnight madness and my radio mentor was Gordon Mills. Seeing that I was only 15 years old at the time he used to pick me up from my house and bring me to the station every Friday to do my show. I was the youngest DJ in the USA with a HipHop radio show back then. I guess you could say that was the start of my music career.
Nahila S – You were the youngest Dj in tri-state and used to have your own radio show (on 91FM WCBD/Albany), what do you keep from this part of your career?
Dj Mercury – I had this radio show for approximately three years from what I can recollect and I still have my old radio shows that I use to tape with my box radio while I was on the air. It was kind of cool being in 10th grade in high school and being on a college radio station.
Moving forward a few years ahead I went on to having kids and was raising a family at the age of 21 so I kind of put music on hold for a minute would do a party here there etc… moving forward to the late 90s I met a member of X Clan through a mutual friend who was in Blackwatch at the time.
I was doing tons of college parties even though I was only 15 years old, at the time I was so shy anytime a college girl came over to me I would shut right down LOL I didn’t know what to do I almost felt claustrophobic ha ha ha, but besides the college parties on the weekends I was doing Park jams and the boys club here in Albany New York. I was also doing parties and clubs outside my area code and even in different states like Massachusetts and Connecticut. This went on from the mid-80s all throughout the 90s.
I was also a member of Big Dawg Pitbull’s which was Funk Master Flex pool of DJs in the 90s. Shout outs to Mr. Excitement! I eventually got out of the record pool because I didn’t like the direction the music was going in and the records that I was getting so I pulled out, this was around 2001.
Nahila S – Tell us more about Professor X and X Clan..
Dj Mercury – To make a long story short myself and Professor X linked up together and started formulating music and did a couple of parties together downstate in New York City where he lived at the time. I then invited him to live with me and my family here in upstate New York so we could work on music and create together. We started selling pieces of both our record collections on eBay and then started selling some of his old X Clan memorabilia online as well. The name of our newly formulated group was called Anubusss. We were almost complete with a new album and during this time we created a weekly event in Manhattan which was going to feature known hip-hop artist every week for this event.
A few weeks after, Professor X died at his fathers organization (the late Sonny Carson) at restorations Plaza in Brooklyn (The committee to honor black heroes) he succumbed to meningitis. Besides him being my music partner he was one of my best friends and will never be forgotten. After Professor X passed away I took a break from anything to do with music for a few years I just needed time to get my thoughts together etc…
Many years before and up to this time when my partner in hip hop had passed away I was heavily involved in the drug trade, internationally and on the home front. I was probably the only hip-hop DJ in New York who is driving a Bentley at the age of 28!
Nahila S – How did you came back to life and music?
Dj Mercury – Years after that my partner Professor X had passed away I started doing a radio show for the Imperial Jay Cee from the Herculoids, The station was located in Mount Vernon New York. During that time a DJ in my home town by the name of Gin got a hold of me and wanted me to do his show with him on another college radio station. I then started doing a weekly show on the FM dial once again every Saturday night from 10 to 1 AM.
Nahila S – Among the notorious people you have been collaborating with (FunkMaster Flex, Professor X of X-Clan..) you are now the Official Dj for Mikey D (initally La Posse, Main Source), how did that collaboration start? What is Element of Hip Hop and how what it born?
Dj Mercury – I started doing a few parties in the Bronx and Harlem in other spots throwback events etc. I gotten touch with the granddaddy of all Philly hip-hop Grand Wizard Rasheen to do one of the New York parties with me, he came to New York but unfortunately through a crazy circumstance I won’t even mention that has nothing to do with either one of us, by the time he made it to the party in the Bronx the party was over and he had left his phone in Philadelphia so I was not able to correspond with him, long story! soon afterwards a promoter I knew in New York wanted somebody she was associated with to be interviewed at the radio station I was DJ Ing at.
His name was Mikey D (formally of LA Posse & Main Source and the winner of the 1988 new music seminar best MC on the planet) The rest is history …
I felt bad that somebody I trusted didn’t pick Rasheen up from Port Authority like I told him to, so I made it up to Rasheen and had him come up to Albany New York to do a radio guest appearance with me.
After having Mikey D come up to the radio station and having numerous conversations with him about music etc. we formed our own supergroup called Elements Of Hip Hop. Soon afterwards we also included Rasheen to make a 3 man group. You had Mikey D, Who is one of the most dangerous natural emcees on the planet … Myself, with an extensive knowledge of all different genres of music and a huge record collection, radio background, Dj for an Iconic emcee (PXO) etc. and one of the greatest DJs on the planet, Grand Wizard Rasheen – The granddaddy of all Phillies hip hop from day one.
For those who don’t know of Rasheen, he’s the teacher of DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Cash Money and had the first hip-hop Fm radio show in Philadelphia back in 1980. He also invented the battle style of Dj’ing which was putting both turntables to the side with the mixer in the middle.
At the time I was in possession of approximately 200,000 records in my record collection so I cleared my entire basement and house out and gave Rasheen the basement where we set up a studio and our music equipment as well, I took all my records to a few storage facility’s.
As time went on Rasheen was coming up to Albany with me more frequently. Another fact about Rasheen is he has been doing Fm pirate radio for 35 years, if you don’t know what pirate radio is Google it. He came up with a brainstorm and I partnered with him to set up a station in Albany Ny on the 99.9 Fm frequency part of the radio dial. You can only imagine the amount of buzz the station was getting because we were a 24 hour true school old-school disco and underground hip-hop FM radio station. We also had a listen live Internet link and phone app for people out of the immediate listening area to listen to the station. We also invited other DJs to mix and DJ on our show as well. I will leave those names out to protect their identities lol. Eventually the FCC shut down the radio station so we moved to a different dial spot 89.7 fm and did it all again but of course that was short-lived the FCC shut us down twice. The struggle continues.
Jumping ahead because there are just too many crazy stories behind the good times we had on the radio, my days of selling drugs came to an end back in 2014 when I was set up on a Cocaine sale … Having one of the best lawyers in the 518 and no prior convictions, I was given time served and 5 years felony probation. Lesson learned, stick with the music and what you were born to do. Thank you for your time Isabelle.
Nahila S – And for what are your upcoming projects?
Dj Mercury – Up-and-coming projects are that Mikey D will be releasing the Day of Destruction album sometime in 2016 and myself and Rasheen as a DJ crew have many plans off and on the FM airwaves …
2016 looks to be a promising year for the group as far as the music that is going to be released and the moves that we are going to be making, we have also for a new chapter of our movement called The Affiliation.
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