What’s goin on Grand Daddy I.U., good to see you back in the game. Your new album is tentatively called ‘Stick To The Script’. What can we expect from it?
Yeah, the album will be titled ‘Stick To Da Script’ and it's gonna be a variety of shit. You know I always got some shits with singing hooks and all that, but I do a lot of hooks myself. Some hard joints, no soft shit at all, a few concept joints and shit with a message. Basically a hot album.
Is ‘I Be Thuggin’ the first single of the album?
‘I Be Thuggin’ is not the first single off the album, it's just something to put out to let the people know I'm still here.
The B-side ‘Mack Of The Year’ is prod by Large Pro, how did you hook up?
I knew Paul (Large Pro) since the Cold Chillin days when he used to work with Kool G Rap, so it was nothing for us to hook up and do a joint. He said ‘I got a track that fits your style’, I heard it and we laid it down…simple!
What made you decide to make another album?
I decided to do another album cause I'm still nice and these new niggas ain’t hitting on shit so why not? Plus this is what I love to do.
What’s the difference between Grand Daddy I.U. now and ten years ago?
The difference between 10 years ago and now is that I got nicer in the booth and I have complete control now. I do what I want and get the proper credit this time.
Could you tell us some more about Steady Flow…
Steady Flow is the name of the team since before records, that was the crew around the way and I took it with me. Now it's just about music but it was some street shit. Now it's me, Bubba Rufus my brother DJ Kay Cee, Sincere, Big Snow, EZ Rick da Player, Pell Green and a bunch of goons.
Have you founded it?
Yeah, me and Kay Cee founded it
There’s a documentary on Mikey D in the works to which you contributed? When will that be released? And how did you contribute?
The Mikey D documentary is coming soon and I contributed by doing an interview.
You worked with Ice-T too…
Yeah, I did one track called ‘Gangster Rap’ for his new album.
Let’s talk history, how did you get signed to Cold Chillin?
I did a demo in 1989 and a cat around my way knew Biz Markie and told him about me. Biz came to my town looking for me and the rest is history. We hit the studio, made the album in 3 months and did what we do best.
How important has your brother Kay Cee been for your career?
If it wasn’t for my brother Kay Cee, I would have never made that demo, he was on my back to go to the studio cause he knew I was nice but I was running the streets robbing niggas and doing all kinds of dumb shit. But he kept on me.
You were one of the last artists on Cold Chillin alongside GZA, Diamond Shell and Big Daddy Kane, then the label went straight down, how do you recall those days?
I didn’t really vibe with them dudes. Me and G Rap was cool from the jump, that's my man. But me and Kane didn’t get cool until after the label folded, me and the GZA didn’t really fuck with each other cause he was mad cause the label was on my dick and gave me more attention. That's why he took a jab with that line in ‘Protect Your Neck’; ‘the Wu is too dope for these Cold Killing labels...when they don’t know the meaning of dope when they looking for a suit and tie rap that’s cleaner than a bar of soap’. I was the cat wearing the suit and tie. On some gangster shit though. Before Jay-Z, before Biggie, I did it.
Is Biz Markie gonna be on the new album?
Biz is not on the new album nor will he be on anything else.
Let’s talk about the ‘Smooth Assassin’ album. To begin with, that album was recorded entirely digitally, that must’ve been a premiere in hip-hop?
When we did the ‘Smooth Assasin’ LP, me and my brother did all the beats except for 'Soul Touch’ and Biz got the credit and the money. As far as being recorded digitally at that time, I didn’t know the difference.
Your first album is considered a classic, the second one was less popular and cheered at, less treasured, people claim(ed) you switched styles and it wasn’t Grand Daddy no more, agree?
When I did my first LP, cats kept comparing me to Rakim but that was just my style and my voice. It wasn’t made up or nothing. I got so tired of that shit, I went out of my way to change it and made a big mistake by not sticking to the script.
Cold Chillin switched from Warner to Epic so I guess the sales were bigger?
When Cold Chillin went to Epic it was an experiment and I was the first guinea pig. OJ Wedlaw was in charge of promotions and the whole label was a new project called Epic Street. Needless to say that shit no longer exists.
You appeared on Positive K’s ‘Minnie The Moocher’, how did that go down…?
Pos K is my man and he asked me to do it so I did. No pay, no nothing.
And how was it like to be on the incredible ‘posse’ cut, Big L’s ‘Da Graveyard’, why hasn’t there been anymore collabos with DITC members?
Same thing with Big L. L was my dude, him and Finesse. But I wasn’t as cool with the rest of the crew so I was never recruited to be on another track but I would’ve done it no problem.
You worked on ‘The Bitch Iz Back’ by Roxanne Shante'. There was a huge fuck-up with the crediting, ‘The Big Mama’ was credited for Marley Marl but it was actually you. How did that happen?
Yeah, I did ‘Big Mama’ for Shante. I don’t know how Marley got the credit for that, unless Land Speed fucked up. But me and Kay did the beat, which was ‘Licking Stick’ by James Brown but they didn’t want to clear the sample, so we did another joint and I wrote the lyrics. At first, Shante was scared to spit it but we gassed her up to do it. I also wrote and produced ‘Dance To This’ on that LP.
Were you a ghost producer (for Marley for example)?
I never ghost produced for Marley. I ghost produced ‘Hooker Got A Boyfriend’ on Biz's infamous ‘I Need A Haircut’ LP. They pulled it off the shelves cause he didn’t clear a Gilbert O' Sullivan sample ‘Alone Again....Naturally’ cost the label $850.000.
Anecdote from the past: word is out you once was a key eye-witness of Just-Ice choking Lenny Fitchelberg, we don’t want the details but what happened there?
Just-Ice slammed Lenny’s head into the wall and mad niggas used to fuck up Lenny, Mr Magic would flip on him too.
Some people may not know it, but you produced on Heltah Skeltah’s ‘Magnum Force’, that’s quite a collaboration not many people might’ve expected too, how did you connect?
I did 2 joints on Heltah Skeltah's ‘Magnum Force’ LP through this cat named Errol who is friends with them and a mutual friend named Early B. We was at the studio and they heard a couple of my tracks and we made it happen.
Eventually you were featured on the Molemen compilation, (‘Face Down’ f/ Vakill), them being from Chicago is not an obvious collab, how did that go?
Well, Vakill was staying at my crib for like a week and we did a joint at Early B's studio, then when he went back to Chicago, they changed the beat and fucked up my vocals by starting them in the wrong spot, then the whole verse was off. I hated that shit. But them is my peoples.
So that was your lyrical comeback?
Before that, I wasn’t featured on nothing in a minute.
You produced ‘Hot’ (on KRS’s ‘Sneak Attack’) together with DJ Jazzy Jeff, but that’s not really true right?
When I did ‘Hot’ for KRS, I left the beat at Jazzy Jeff's studio and he let KRS hear it, he liked it, they called me, paid me and that was that. Then the record comes out and I see ‘co-produced by jazzy Jeff’ and I'm like ‘What the fuck is that about?', but I guess it's politics.
Your bio states you grew up with music, who were the first artists that influenced you?
I definitely grew up with music around me from my moms and pops to my uncles and grandma. My favourite artist was James Brown, I saw him at the Apollo in like ‘73. I was 5. I remember slow jams like ‘The Bells’ and ‘Baby I'm For Real’ by the originals. My moms used to play Al Green and Linda Jones and all that shit. I made my aunt Wendy buy me a ‘45 of ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends’ by War and even ‘Can’t Smile Without You’ by Barry Manilow, Graham Central Station etc..
What was the first rap record you bought?
That was ‘King Tim the 3rd’ by the Fatback Band. I think in 1978. Then ‘Super Rapping’ by Flash and the Furious 5.
What rap artists are you listening to these days?
I don’t even listen to rap music really no more. It's mostly bullshit and they play the same crap all day long. I can’t take it. When Jay-Z comes out with some shit, I'll cop that. Maybe Nas' new one and Jadakiss. Other than that I don’t wanna hear it.
What’s you production equipment?
For production I use the sp1200, Roland Phantom, Proteus 2500, MPC2000xl, Technics turntable and a Behringer ddx3216 board.
Can you leave a comment/some additional info with the following:
Cutmaster Cool V
Is the coolest motherfucker in the industry as far as I'm concerned.
I ain’t seen or spoke to George DuBoise in years but I liked to work with him.
Mikey d is like family, me and my wife and him and his wife just went to Atlantic City last weekend and lost money.
Don’t really see Kid Capri no more!
Diamond Shell? Wtf?
Big Snow is steady flow for life
Nore doing what it is he do. He a down-to-earth dude and he big me up everytime. So if you ask me about him I'mma big him up every time. That’s my nigga!
Shout outs to my wife, my daughter, muffin, the whole Hempstead, especially Union Ave, my nigga Oxygen, everybody mentioned in this interview, DJ Stress, big Phife, Dray Money, Mike Floyd and these nutz!
THANKS A LOT!