STILL DIGGIN' IN THE CRATES: SHOWBIZ & LORD FINESSE

BRONX, NEW YORK | SHOWBIZ & LORD FINESSE

BRONX, NEW YORK | SHOWBIZ & LORD FINESSE

INTERVIEW: KIM “GOODLOOK” SEABROOK [@GOODLOOKSEABROOK]

PHOTOGRAPHY / VIDEOGRAPHY: BIG VEGG [@BIGVEGG]

VALIDATED: FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW, LET US KNOW WHO YOU ARE, WHO IS DITC AND HOW DID IT ALL START?

LORD FINESSE: I’M LORD FINESSE, ARTIST, PRODUCER, DJ AND A MEMBER OF DITC, OF COURSE.

SHOWBIZ: I’M SHOWBI... SHOWBIZ FROM THE GROUP SHOWBIZ & AZ, PRODUCER, CO-FOUNDER OF DITC.


VALIDATED: HOW DID DITC COME ABOUT?

SHOWBIZ: ORGANICALLY, IT JUST HAPPENED. BASICALLY, MOST MEMBERS ARE FROM AROUND THE SAME WAY. WE WERE RAISED ON 163RD, FOREST AREA IN THE BRONX. WE ALL WERE FROM THE SAME AREA AND ALL HAD MUSIC IN COMMON. WE FROM THE SAME NEIGHBORHOOD, USE TO DJ AND THINGS LIKE THAT. IT JUST STARTED, WE JUST STARTED ALL DOING MUSIC, PRODUCING TOGETHER, DJ’ING TOGETHER, YOU KNOW. A FEW PEOPLE RHYMED TOGETHER AND IT JUST FORMED LIKE THAT BASICALLY, YOU KNOW.

LORD FINESSE: RIGHT, IT WASN’T A PLAN, IT WAS JUST LIKE PEOPLE THAT GOT TOGETHER FOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC, YOU KNOW. WE ALL LOVED MUSIC, I MEAN, ME GROWING UP WE GO BACK TO JUNIOR HIGH, SHOWBIZ, PROBABLY EARLIER THAN THAT. YOU KNOW, I USE TO ALWAYS WATCH HIM AND DIAMOND DJ. I MEAN, THEY WERE THE TOP DUDES. YOU HAD OTHER PEOPLE IN THE HOOD, LET ME GET THAT STRAIGHT. LOL YOU HAD MY BROTHER MIKE SMOOTH THAT THREW JAMS IN THE HOOD BUT THESE DUDES WERE SPECIAL. SHOW AND DIAMOND WERE SPECIAL AND THEY WERE INTO MUSIC PRODUCTION. DIAMOND WAS THE FIRST TO COME OUT WITH A RECORD UNDER ULTIMATE FORCE (HIP-HOP DUO CONSISTING OF EMCEE MASTER ROB AND PRODUCER, DJ DIAMOND D), CALLED “I’M NOT PLAYING” UNDER STRONG CITY (RECORD LABEL). SO WHEN I HAD A CHANCE TO DO A RECORD WHEN I GOT SIGNED I HAD TO GET THEM ON MY PROJECT, THAT WAS JUST #1. I TOLD (DJ) MIKE SMOOTH, “YO, I WANNA GET SOME BEATS FROM SHOW, I WANNA GET SOME BEATS FROM DIAMOND.” BECAUSE THEY HAD THE EXPERIENCE. I DIDN’T NO PRODUCTION AT THE TIME. SO YOU KNOW IN THE COURSE OF THAT AG WHO I MET BATTLING IN HIGH SCHOOL, I WENT UP TO CLINTON AND THAT'S HOW I WAS INTRODUCED TO AG, DOING A CYPHER BATTLE IN THE SCHOOL YARD.

VALIDATED: YEAH, I HEARD YOU WERE A BULLY. LOL

LORD FINESSE: LOL I WASN’T A BULLY, I JUST WANTED TO BE THE BEST. SO DURING THAT TIME AG WAS DATING A GIRL ACROSS THE STREET FROM WHERE I LIVED AT. HE WAS IN A SITUATION BUT HE TOLD ME, “LOOK, I’M LOOKING FOR A DJ.” AND I WAS ASKING HIM DID HE STILL RHYME AND HE SAID, “YEAH.” SO DURING THE COURSE OF MAKING “FUNKY TECHNICIAN” YOU GOT SHOW THAT WAS INTRODUCED TO AG AND AG THAT WAS INTRODUCED TO SHOW AND THAT'S HOW SHOW AND AG WAS FORMED.   

VALIDATED: HOW MANY PEOPLE DOES DITC CONSIST OF? 

LORD FINESSE: ALL TOGETHER IT WAS EIGHT AND NOW ITS SEVEN, IF I’M RIGHT. ITS SHOW, IT’S AG, IT’S DIAMOND, IT’S FAT JOE, IT'S ME, IT’S O.C., IT’S BUCKWILD AND THEN GOD BLESS, THERE’S BIG L... REST IN PEACE. BUT I MEAN IT WAS ORGANIC, DIAMOND WORKING WITH JOE, ME MEETING BUCKWILD DURING MY MIXTAPE ERA AND MEETING BIG L IN THE SAME SPOT I MET BUCKWILD IN. THEN GOING ON THE TOUR WITH BUCKWILD ON THE SOURCE TOUR AND BUCK FORMING A RELATIONSHIP AND RAPPORT WITH O.C., SO STILL IT WASN’T LIKE, “HEY, WE’RE GOING TO FORM THIS GROUP.” IT’S JUST THAT EVERYBODY KEPT WORKING. THEY CLASSIC ALBUMS, “RUNAWAY SLAVE”, JOE HAD “REPRESENT”, DIAMOND HAD “STUNTS, BLUNTS AND HIP-HOP”, I HAD “FUNKY TECHNICIAN”, O.C. HAD “WORD LIFE”. SO YOU KNOW EVERYBODY WAS DOING THERE OWN THING AND THEN I THINK LATE 90’S WE WAS LIKE “LET’S FORM”. WELL REALLY IT WAS DURING THEIR EP, “SOUL CLAP”, WE HAD THE RECORD CALLED “DIGGIN IN THE CRATES”. THAT WAS THE WHOLE THING AND I REMEMBER DIAMOND CAME UP WITH THAT. 

SHOWBIZ: YEAH, ME AND DIAMOND CAME UP WITH THE NAME BUT HE PUT THE WHOLE CREW TOGETHER. THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED… ME AND DIAMOND HAD A PRODUCTION COMPANY AND WE WANTED TO PRODUCE ARTIST AND HE GOT ALL OF THE ARTISTS. HE JUST WENT AND PUT EVERYBODY TOGETHER AND WE DIDN’T EVEN SAY, “OKAY, WE’RE DOWN.”, WE JUST STARTED WORKING WITH EACH OTHER.   

VALIDATED: YOU MENTIONED IN ONE OF YOUR INTERVIEWS THAT SOME PEOPLE DEAL WITH EMOTIONS VERSUS LOGIC. HOW CAN THAT MAKE OR BREAK A RELATIONSHIP, WHETHER PERSONAL OR BUSINESS?

SHOWBIZ: BECAUSE WITH THIS MUSIC GAME OR ANY OTHER GAME WHERE IT’S MONEY AND POWER INVOLVED YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE A LOT OF YES MEN AND A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T BELONG IN THE IMMEDIATE CIRCLE. THAT’S WHERE THEY START PUNCHING AT PEOPLE POINTS BECAUSE YOU GOTTA UNDERSTAND IF IT’S SOMEBODY THAT’S TALENTED OR SUCCESSFUL AND HE’S THERE AND THEN HE’S GOT OTHER PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T FIND THEIR WAY IN LIFE, SOME OF THEM MIGHT WANT TO CLING ON TO HIM AND MAKE SURE THAT THEIR SPOT IS SECURED, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. A LOT OF TIMES THEY MAY GET PEOPLE TO LOOK AT THEIR POINT OF VIEW WHERE THEY ARE CATERING TO THEIR EMOTIONS AND EGO AND STUFF LIKE THAT. IT’S OVER LOGIC, YOU KNOW THE SAYING, “UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL”, SO IT BE PEOPLE IN OTHER PEOPLE EAR TELLING THEM, “YO MAN, YOU DON’T NEED THEM. YOU CAN DO YOUR OWN THING.” AND PEOPLE BE LIKE “YEAH, YEAH.” THAT'S MORE OF AND EMOTIONAL THING, NOT A LOGICAL THING. THAT’S WHAT WE RAN INTO TOO IN THIS INDUSTRY MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE. THAT’S WHAT YOU SEE ALL GROUPS AND ALL CLICKS ALL FALL FROM THAT. EITHER GREED WITH THE MONEY OR JUST DEALING WITH THE EMOTIONAL S***. ALL OF THAT IS TIED INTO THE SAME THING. IT’S JUST THE OPPOSITE OF DEALING WITH LOGIC.   

VALIDATED: I HEARD YOU WERE A BULLY, IF YOU HEARD SOMEBODY WAS GOOD YOU HAD TO GO PUT THEM TO THE TEST. GIVE ME ONE OF YOUR MOST HIGHLIGHTED RAP BATTLES. 

FINESSE: I THINK EVERYBODY KNOW THE MOST HIGHLIGHTED BATTLE WAS BETWEEN ME AND PERCY P. THAT’S LIKE THE HIGHLIGHTED BATTLE BECAUSE I WAS GOING AROUND BATTLING PEOPLE. I JUST WANTED TO BE GREAT AT WHAT I WAS DOING AND I DIDN’T WANT TO JUST BE GREAT IN MY HOOD, I WANTED MY NAME TO RING. I WOULD WANT TO CHALLENGE PEOPLE WHO I THOUGHT WAS THE DUDE IN THEIR HOOD. THE THING WITH ME AND PERCY P, IT’S BEEN TALKED ABOUT FOR THE LONGEST. LIKE “YO, PERCY’S NICE!”, “FINESSE IS NICE!” AND THAT'S HOW I THINK IT WAS RECORDED BECAUSE THEY EXPECTED THIS BATTLE TO HAPPEN. SO THEY HAD THE CAMCORDER READY AND THAT WAS A HIGHLIGHT BECAUSE THIS WAS BEFORE SMACK (DVD), BEFORE ALL THAT TYPE OF STUFF. SO TO HAVE SOMETHING CAUGHT ON CAMERA IN ‘89 AND YOU LOOK AT IT ON YOUTUBE, IT’S JUST AUTHENTIC. USUALLY PEOPLE SAY, “I HAD THIS BATTLE AND IT WENT THIS WAY AND I DID THIS.” AND YOU HAVE NO PROOF, IT'S JUST THE STORY. TO SEE FOOTAGE AND TO MAKE YOUR OWN ASSUMPTION AND OPINION WATCHING THE FOOTAGE IS JUST DIFFERENT. THAT BATTLE BETWEEN ME AND PERCY IS A HISTORIC BATTLE. IF I BATTLE YOU IT DOESN’T MEAN I LACK RESPECT FOR YOU, YOU KNOW, AND THAT’S HOW THE RELATIONSHIP WITH ME AND AG FORMED BECAUSE I APPRECIATED HIS SKILL. HIS SKILL SET WAS INCREDIBLE, IT’S EVEN CRAZIER NOW AND IT’S THE SAME THING WITH PERCEY. SO MUCH THAT WHEN I WORKED ON THE 2ND ALBUM I’M LIKE, “YO, PERC GET ON THE 2ND ALBUM.”

VALIDATED: WHERE IS AG NOW? 

SHOWBIZ: JAPAN, HIS FAMILY OUT THERE AND HE’S GOOD.

LORD FINESSE: SO THAT LED TO THE SEMINAR. PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THE BATTLE WITH PERCY AND THE SEMINAR, THE SEMINAR HAPPENED MAYBE A COUPLE OF DAYS OR THE DAY RIGHT AFTER THE BATTLE WITH ME AND PERCY. SO NOW I’M ENTERING THE INDUSTRY AND THAT’S WHAT IT WAS. TO ME I HEARD ABOUT THE SEMINAR AND ALL THESE GREAT EMCEES WAS THERE AND I FELT LIKE THAT WAS THE PERFECT PLATFORM. I FELT LIKE IF I GO THERE AND I DO WHAT I NORMALLY DO I’M GOING TO GET... BECAUSE THIS WAS BEFORE RECORDS, LIKE MOST OF THE GREATEST EMCEES WERE JUST GREAT OFF RECORD. WHEN YOU LOOK AT KOOL MOE DEE AND ARTISTS LIKE THAT WERE JUST GREAT... MELLE MEL, THEY WERE GREAT. THEY DID RECORDS BUT THEY WERE GREAT ABOVE RECORDS. LIKE THEIR REP RUNG THROUGHOUT THE CITY AND THAT'S WHAT IT WAS ABOUT, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR YOUR CRAFT. THE RECORDS CAME LATER LIKE RIGHT AFTER THE SEMINAR AND I WASN’T DOING IT TO MAKE RECORDS, I WAS DOING IT JUST TO BE GREAT AT IT. 

VALIDATED: HOW DID YOU TRANSITION FROM BEING A RAPPER TO DJ AND PRODUCER? WHAT WAS THAT LIKE? 

LORD FINESSE: WELL, I MEAN, TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS. ME, I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A DJ. HE (SHOWBIZ) CAN TELL YOU THAT. INDEED, I ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE THAT I LEARNED A LOT FROM SHOW. BECAUSE AFTER SCHOOL OR WHEN I HAD FREE TIME I WOULD GO TO HIS HOUSE AND DJ. EVEN IF HE WAS GOING OUT SOMEWHERE HE’D GO, “AIGHT NESS, YOU KNOW HOW TO CUT THE EQUIPMENT ON. GO CUT THE EQUIPMENT ON.” HIS MOMS WOULD OPEN THE DOOR FROM ME, SO THAT’S HOW FAR WE GO BACK. BUT I HAD THE GIFT TO BECOME AN EMCEE AND THAT’S WHAT I CHOSE TO REALLY CHASE. I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS GONNA BE THAT GOOD. I JUST THOUGHT, “THIS IS FUN, I CAN BE POPULAR.” SO THE DJ’ING THING I DID THAT, I WAS STILL DOING IT HAND AND HAND AND THE PRODUCTION THING ONCE AGAIN FROM LEARNING FOR HIM (SHOWBIZ) WITH THE SP1200 AND ALSO PICKING THINGS UP. SO I ALWAYS CREDIT HIM WITHOUT A DOUBT FOR ME BECOMING A PRODUCER BECAUSE I USE TO WATCH HIM JUST TAP AWAY. YOU KNOW, I REMEMBER DOING “RETURN OF THE FUNKY MAN” (LORDS OF THE UNDERGROUND) AND I REMEMBER COMING OFF THIS TOUR WITH ICE TEA FROM EUROPE. WE DID A MONTH AND A HALF TOUR IN ‘90, ‘91 AND I REMEMBER COMING BACK AND HE HAD PUT TOGETHER ”THE SOUL CLAP” EP. BUT THE WAY WE WERE LOOPING THEN, HE SHOWED THE CHOP THING. HE CHOPPED UP THE DRUMS, HE JUST HAD IT DOING SOMETHING THAT I WAS LIKE “WAIT!” HE HAD THIS CHOP THING AND SOME OF THE STUFF I USED, HE USED AND HE JUST CHOPPED IT UP AND I’M LIKE “DAMN, THAT SOUND BETTER THAN MY LOOP STUFF. I WANT TO LEARN THIS.” I WOULD JUST SIT AND WATCH, I’M A GREAT OBSERVER, LIKE I WILL JUST SIT THERE AND JUST WATCH. SO I BOUGHT EQUIPMENT AND I STARTED DOING SOME MUSIC AND I KNEW IT WAS SOMETHING BECAUSE NOBODY BELIEVED I DID THE BEATS. “YOU COULD’VE DONE THAT!” AND I’M LIKE “NO, I DID THAT.” ESPECIALLY THE 1ST SESSION I DID BY MYSELF WAS THE “YOU KNOW WHAT I’M ABOUT” SONG OFF THE TRESPASS SOUNDTRACK. SO WHEN I CAME IN THERE AND I CHOPPED UP THE SCOOBY DOO AND I DID A SONG PEOPLE WAS BUGGING LIKE, “YO, WHO DID THAT?” AND I’M LIKE, “YO, I DID THAT.” FROM THERE I REALLY HAD A PASSION BUT ONCE AGAIN THEY WERE AHEAD OF THE CURVE, HIM (SHOWBIZ) AND DIAMOND. I REMEMBER THEY USE TO TELL ME, “YO WE’RE GOING RECORD SHOPPING. YO NESSE, WHAT YOU GONNA DO?” I WAS CHASING FEMALES, I WAS TOTALLY DISTRACTED. YOU KNOW, THAT WORLD AND BEING POPULAR, THAT TOOK MY FOCUS. A PART OF ME REGRETS NOT GOING RECORD SHOPPING WHEN THEY WERE GOING RECORD SHOPPING. I JUST ALWAYS SAY IMAGE IF I HAD STAYED FOCUSED ON WHAT I SHOULD’VE BEEN DOING. 

VALIDATED: YOU HAVE THE ARTISTRY PART AND THEN THERE'S THE BUSINESS SIDE. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE AND HOW YOU CAN GROW BEYOND AN ARTIST IN THIS BUSINESS?

SHOWBIZ: THE ARTIST PART WAS JUST REALLY SHORT LIVED BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW, I WAS JUST GOING WITH WHATEVER FELT GOOD AT THE TIME AND WE WERE JUST RECORDING BUT I ONLY WAS AN ARTIST AS FAR AS “RUNAWAY SLAVE” AND THE FIRST EP’S. MEANING THAT I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A PRODUCER, YOU KNOW, I CAME OUT IN THE FRONT REAL QUICK BUT THE ENVIRONMENT IS NOT AN ENVIRONMENT THAT I’M REALLY COMFORTABLE WITH BECAUSE I’M MORE RESERVED THAN IT TAKES TO BE AN ARTIST. ON THE BUSINESS SIDE, THAT’S HOW I WAS RAISED, I MEAN, I WAS A YANKEE STADIUM VENDOR. I WAS ALWAYS THAT TYPE OF GUY WHERE AS I USE TO RENT NIGHT CENTERS AND CHARGE PEOPLE TO GET IN THEM. I WOULD DJ AND THROW PARTIES. I ALWAYS HAD THAT MINDSET BECAUSE YOU KNOW I ALWAYS WANTED SOMETHING, “OH THE NEW FILA’S, HOW CAN I GET THOSE?” SO I USE TO JUST FLIP MY MONEY, LIKE AIGHT I’M GOING TO WORK AT YANKEE STADIUM, I’M GOING TO TAKE THIS AMOUNT OF MONEY TO RENT OUT THE CENTER AND THEN WE GONNA THROW A PARTY AND THEN I CAN TAKE THAT MONEY AND BUY MY BUBBLE GOOSE. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, SO THAT’S JUST HOW I LIVED PRETTY MUCH ALL MY LIFE. WHEN IT CAME TO THIS IT’S PRETTY MUCH THE SAME THING BECAUSE IF YOU DON’T REALLY LEARN THAT IN THE INDUSTRY AND THEN YOU JUST LEAVE IT TO SOMEONE ELSE AND THEN THEY GOT THE UPPER HAND ON YOU AND YOU’LL NEED THEM. SO I HAD TO LEARN IT AND IT’S JUST TRIAL AND ERROR. I’M STILL LEARNING BECAUSE THE BUSINESS IS ALWAYS CHANGING. EVEN THE FORMATS, YOU SEE HOW IT WENT FROM CASSETTES AND VINYL ALL THE WAY TO NOW TO DIGITAL FROM ALL THAT. EVEN HOW TO SELL IT AND HOW TO MOVE IT AND HOW TO PROMOTE IT. ALL OF THAT IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING, IT HASN’T BEEN THE SAME SINCE WE GOT IN THE GAME. A FEW YEARS YOU DOING IT THIS WAY AND THEN A FEW YEARS YOU DOING IT THIS WAY. SO YOU GOTTA ALWAYS STAY ON POINT WHEN IT COMES TO THAT.        

VALIDATED: WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART IN YOUR CAREER? THIS BUSINESS OBVIOUSLY IS NOT EASY. WAS THERE A TIME THAT YOU WANTED TO QUIT? IF SO EXPLAIN IT AND WHAT MADE YOU KEEP PUSHING?

LORD FINESSE: I LEARNED A LOT OF THINGS TRIAL AND ERROR, STILL LEARNING, TRIAL AND ERROR. UM, I THINK THE TRANSITION BETWEEN BEING AND ARTIST AND GETTING INTO THE INDUSTRY, IT’S A TRANSITION BECAUSE YOU COME INTO IT WITH THE LOVE OF MUSIC. YOU’RE NOT COMING IN FROM A BUSINESS ASPECT AND THE PEOPLE YOU TALKING TO IN THE INDUSTRY THEY’RE COMING AT YOU FROM A BUSINESS ASPECT. I THINK SOMETIMES THEY CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOU BECAUSE YOU LOVE IT AND “SINCE HE LOVE IT AND HE WANTS TO LOVE IT, LET US MAKE THE MONEY.” SO YOU HAVE TO BECOME BUSINESS SAVVY BUT IT’S HARD TO BALANCE IT BECAUSE WHEN YOU BECOME BUSINESS SAVVY IT TAKES AWAY FROM YOU BEING AN ARTIST. SO IT’S A CONSTANT TUG OF WAR BECAUSE NOW I GOT TO THINK OF THINGS WHILE I’M DOING IT FROM A BUSINESS ANGLE AND A MUSIC ANGLE. IT’S DOUBLING YOUR WORK AND IF YOU’RE GOING TO GET A MANAGER YOU GOT TO FIND A MANAGER YOU TRULY TRUST. MY FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH A MANAGER TAUGHT ME I AIN’T WANT A MANAGER. NOT BECAUSE THERE’S NOT GREAT MANAGERS OUT THERE BUT BECAUSE THE ONE THAT I HAD WAS ABOUT TO EMBEZZLE ON ME AND I CAUGHT IT WITH A MISTAKE. I HAD A MANAGER IN PLACE AND WAS LIKE “OKAY, YOU CALL THIS MANAGER AND I’M GOING TO BE THE ARTIST.” SO NOW I’M WORKING ON “YOU KNOW WHAT I’M ABOUT” AND I DID THE FIRST VERSION THAT HAD BIG L. SO BOOM, I GO ON THE SOURCE TOUR AND I GET A CALL FROM ICE-T AND MICK AND THEM LIKE “YO, THAT FIRST SONG YOU DID, WE DON’T LIKE THAT. YOU HAVE TO CHANGE IT.” I’M LIKE, “WELL DAMN, MAN YA’LL GAVE ME A BUDGET OF $15,000.00 AND IF I GO BACK IN I AIN’T GONNA HAVE NO MONEY.” THEY WERE LIKE, “WHAT YOU MEAN $15,000.00, WE GAVE YOU $25,000.00!” AND I’M LIKE, “THE MANAGER TOLD ME $15,000.00.” “NO, WE GAVE YOU $25,000.00.” I GOT ON THE THREE WAY WITH MICK, ME AND THE MANAGER AT THE TIME AND THE MANAGER HAD TO COME CLEAN. AFTER THAT I DIDN’T WANT A MANAGER NO MORE. 

VALIDATED: SO DID YOU HAVE ANOTHER MANAGER AFTER THAT?

LORD FINESSE: I HAVE PARTNERS, I HAVE PEOPLE WHERE WE CAN WORK TOGETHER AND YOU GET PAID ACCORDINGLY TO WHAT YOU BRING IN. YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND AND I TELL ARTISTS ALL THE TIME WHEN YOU GET A MANAGER AND YOU GIVE THEM THAT TYPE OF AUTHORITY IT CAN BE STUFF GOING TO THEM THAT YOU'LL NEVER FIND OUT ABOUT. YOU WON’T KNOW, YOU WON’T KNOW! IT SHOULDN’T BE THAT IF A LABEL IS CUTTING YOU A CHECK FOR $50,000.00 AND YOU’RE MANAGER GET 10%, IT’S NO WAY IN HELL A MANAGER SHOULD BE HOLDING YOUR $50,000.00 SO HE CAN TAKE HIS 10%. NO, YOU GET YOUR $50.000.00 AND YOU CUT HIM HIS 10%. SEE, WHEN YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THESE THINGS IT’S LIKE YOU’RE WORKING FOR THE MANAGER AND YOU REALLY HIRED THEM. SO THAT WAS A MAJOR AND EXTREME LESSON I LEARNED. EVEN THE MANAGER THING, ARTISTS SAY, “I NEED A MANAGER.” AND I TELL UP AND COMING ARTISTS, NO YOU DON’T NEED A MANAGER. A MANAGER MANAGES S***.

SHOWBIZ: YOU NEED SOME S*** TO MANAGE. LOL

LORD FINESSE: MEANING IF YOU’RE AN ARTIST YOU NEED SOME S*** TO MANAGE. YOU’RE NEW, NOBODY'S CALLING FOR YOU. I SAY BUSINESS VISIONARY, THAT’S MY FAVORITE WORD BECAUSE IT’S A PERSON THAT HAS A VISION FOR YOUR SKILLSET BEYOND WHAT YOU’RE THINKING. PROBABLY THINKING 10 TIMES WAY BIGGER THAN WHAT YOU'RE THINKING OF ON HOW TO USE YOUR SKILL SET TO CREATE FINANCIAL OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU. I TELL ARTISTS, THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT, YOU WANT PEOPLE WITH VISION THAT CAN HELP YOU PROMOTE AND MARKET YOUR SKILLS. 

VALIDATED: THERE ARE PLENTY OF TALENTED PEOPLE WHO COME FROM THE SAME ENVIRONMENT WE COME FROM. HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO NOT GET CAUGHT UP AND STAY THE COURSE TO BECOME THE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY?

SHOWBIZ: IT COULD’VE WENT BAD SO MANY TIMES, SO I GUESS IT’S JUST A BLESSING, YOU KNOW. BUT I ALWAYS TRY TO BE SMART IN ANY ENVIRONMENT I’M IN, I PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT'S GOING ON. YOU KNOW HOW THEY SAY GO WITH YOUR GUT FEELING... YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO, WHAT NOT TO DO, WHO TO BE AROUND. I THINK IT WAS MORE OF THAT JUST COMING FROM A FAMILY THAT TAUGHT ME A LOT OF THINGS, HAVING A BUNCH OF OLDER COUSINS, A BUNCH OF OLDER GUYS THAT HELPED SHAPE ME AND PUSH ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. EVEN I WAS AROUND A LOT OF OLDER STREET GUYS AND THEY KNEW THAT I WAS TALENTED AS A DJ AND SINCE I WAS DJ’ING AT AGE 12, THEY USE TO PUT ME ON THE TURNTABLES BACK THEN. SO THEY ALWAYS LOOKED AT ME AS THE ONE THAT WOULD GO IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION. THEY DIDN’T WANT ME TO GET CAUGHT UP. I BASICALLY DID IT NOT JUST BECAUSE OF THEM, THAT WAS PART OF IT BUT ALSO BECAUSE I LOVED IT. YOU KNOW, YOU CAN TELL WHEN SOMEBODY LOVES IT AND THEY KNEW I LOVED IT. THAT'S WHAT BASICALLY HELPED ME AND THE FACT THAT THE MORE I GOT OUT OF THE STREETS THE MORE I WANTED TO STAY OUT OF THE STREETS. NOT BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE, I JUST GOT TIRED OF WAKING UP NOT KNOWING WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN THAT DAY. THAT WAS JUST THE WORST PART OF IT, WHEN YOU WAKE UP AND YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN. ESPECIALLY AT 6 IN THE MORNING, I WAS UP EVERYDAY AT 6 IN THE MORNING BECAUSE THE BOYS, THAT'S WHEN THEY KNOCKING. THAT WAS THAT BUT IT WAS JUST BASICALLY DUE TO PEOPLE WHO CARED ABOUT ME, IT WAS A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO REALLY CARED ABOUT ME. I GREW UP IN A TIME WHERE THE NEIGHBORHOOD LOOKED OUT FOR YOU AND THEY ALL KNEW I WOULD BE ABLE TO BE THE ONE THAT COULD DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN WHAT THEY WAS DOING. THEY ALL WAS PUSHING FOR THAT, YOU KNOW, THE MAJORITY OF THEM IS DEAD NOW BUT THEY ALL WAS PUSHING FOR THAT. 

VALIDATED: YOU TRAVEL ALL AROUND THE WORLD. HOW IS THE CULTURE DIFFERENT FROM OVERSEAS COMPARED TO THE US?

LORD FINESSE: WELL, IT'S WHAT YOU SAID, THE KEY WORD “CULTURE”. WHAT WE DO IS A CULTURE, IT’S A LIFESTYLE. IT’S NOT BASED ON SALES, IT’S NOT BASED ON A LOT OF COMMERCIAL THINGS. IT’S BASED ON AN ERA AND FOR THE MOST PART IT’S BASED ON THE MUSIC THAT CAME FROM THAT ERA. HOW THAT MUSIC MADE PEOPLE FEEL AND IT WAS THE WAY PEOPLE DRESSED, IT WAS ALSO THE LINGO. SO WHEN YOU GO TO PLACES LIKE JAPAN THEY STILL ENGULF THAT ERA, ESPECIALLY THE 90’S. THE 90’S IS ONE OF THE GREATEST ERAS IF NOT THE GREATEST. NOT TO DISRESPECT ANY OTHER ERA BUT IT WAS SO MUCH MAGIC THAT HAPPENED IN THE 90’S, SO MANY DIFFERENT GROUPS, WHETHER IT WAS FROM THE EAST COAST, WHETHER IT WAS FROM THE WEST COAST, THE MIDWEST. IT WASN’T NO REAL DOMINATE FACTOR, IT WAS JUST PEOPLE CREATING A LOT OF INCREDIBLE MUSIC AND IT WAS A LOT OF DIFFERENT MUSIC. SO WHEN YOU GOT OVERSEAS THEY STILL CHERISH THAT ERA AND THEY EDUCATE THE UP AND COMING KIDS, THEY’RE KIDS, ON THAT ERA. WHEN YOU COME TO EUROPE OR JAPAN OR AUSTRALIA THEIR KIDS ARE ALREADY PRONE TO SAY, “I GOTTA GO SEE THIS DUDE. MY POPS PUT ME UP ON ‘EM.” IT’S LIKE SHAKA KHAN OR STEVIE WONDER OR ARTISTS LIKE THAT, WHERE YOU GREW UP ON YOUR PARENTS PLAYING THAT MUSIC. SO IF YOU EVER IN YOUR LIFE TIME GET A CHANCE TO SEE THAT ARTIST THAT YOU GREW UP ON THAT'S WHAT IT’S ABOUT. THAT’S LIKE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND OVERSEAS. 

SHOWBIZ: OURS IS LIKE A GENERATED POP THING, WHERE IT’S WHOEVER’S POPULAR. IT’S NOT CULTURE, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? WE CREATED THE CULTURE THAT’S WORLDWIDE BUT IT’S RESPECTED AROUND THE WORLD BECAUSE MOST OF THE WORLD IS CULTURED.

LORD FINESSE: BUT IT’S CRAZY BECAUSE WHEN I DO DO THESE THINGS THEY ASK ABOUT SHOW, “YO, WHAT’S UP WITH SHOW?”, “YO I BROUGHT THE PROJECT THAT HE  RELEASED.”, “WHAT’S UP WITH JOE?” THEY KNOW THAT STUFF... WHAT I’VE LEARNED IS FANS APPRECIATE A MOVEMENT. THEY LIKE THE MUSIC BUT TO SEE A MOVEMENT… THEY GO INTO THE MOVEMENT. THAT’S WHY WU-TANG IS SUCH A RELIGIOUS CULT BECAUSE THEY CREATED A MOVEMENT. THAT’S THE MAIN THING THAT I GET OVERSEAS, IT’S THE MOVEMENT.

VALIDATED: THINGS HAVE CHANGED SO MUCH FROM OUR ERA, HOW DO YOU STAY RELEVANT? 

LORD FINESSE: JAZZY JEFF TAUGHT ME SOMETHING, NOT EVEN HIM TALKING TO ME, HE WAS TALKING TO ANOTHER ARTIST. HE TOLD THE ARTIST LIKE, “WHEN ARE YOU GONNA DO SOME NEW MUSIC?” AND THE ARTIST WAS LIKE, “MAN, THEY CALLING ME THE OL’ HEAD. I HAD BAD EXPERIENCES. YO, THIS HAPPENED TO ME… BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.” THIS ONE THING I’LL NEVER FORGET HE SAID, “WHAT DID THE MUSIC EVER DO BAD TO YOU? I HEAR EVERYTHING YOU TALKING ABOUT, WHAT THE INDUSTRY DID TO YOU BUT WHY ARE YOU TAKING IT OUT ON THE MUSIC?” AND IT CAUGHT ME LIKE WOW BECAUSE A PART OF ME FELT THE SAME WAY. I’M TAKING MY ANGER OUT ON THE MUSIC, I NEED TO FIND THE LOVE AND THE FUN BACK AND DON’T FOCUS ON THE INDUSTRY, DON’T FOCUS ON RADIO, DON’T FOCUS ON CLUB… FOCUS ON WHY YOU LOVED IT WHEN YOU GOT INTO IT. IT CHANGED MY WHOLE FEEL AND IT GAVE ME A 2ND BREATH FOR LIFE TO GO, “YEAH, I’M GONNA GET BACK INTO MY MUSIC AND I’M HAVING FUN AGAIN.” YOU KNOW, THAT’S WHERE THE TRAVELING COMING FROM, THE DJ’ING COMING FROM, IT’S BECAUSE I’M FOCUSING ON MY PASSION, WHAT I LOVE ABOUT MUSIC. 

VALIDATED: WHAT ABOUT YOU SHOW, WITH THE BEATS AND ALL THIS TRAP STUFF? 

SHOWBIZ: THE WAY WE WAS RAISED, WE ALREADY KNEW THERE WAS MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF KIDS OUR SAME AGE ENJOYING THIS TYPE OF MUSIC WITH US. SO I DON’T FOCUS ON WHAT THE CHILDREN ARE DOING. I JUST FOCUS ON THE SUPPORT SYSTEM THAT LOVES OUR TYPE OF HIP-HOP AND THAT’S WHO I CATER TO. I DON’T TRY TO BECAUSE THAT’S THEIR ERA. JUST LIKE OUR PARENTS WASN’T TRYING TO DO WHAT WE WERE DOING. LIKE “THAT’S YA’LL, WE DON’T KNOW NOTHING ABOUT IT.” THAT’S WHERE I’M AT WITH IT. I DO WHATEVER I’M ABLE TO DO TO KEEP IT ROCKING FOR THE PEOPLE THAT ENJOY IT AROUND THE WORLD AND THAT’S WHY I’M GRATEFUL FOR SOCIAL MEDIA AND INTERNET AND ALL THAT BECAUSE NOW YOU CAN DIRECTLY CONNECT TO THEM AROUND THE WORLD THAT ENJOY IT. YOU KNOW, THE SAME TYPE OF MUSIC THE SAME WAY YOU DO AND THAT GOT ME TO LOVE IT THE SAME WAY HE (FINESSE) DID. IT WAS A PERIOD WHERE I WAS LIKE, “NAH, THIS S*** IS WACK, EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS S*** IS WACK!” NOW I’M JUST LIKE HIM (FINESSE)... AROUND THE SAME TIME WE JUST STARTED APPRECIATING THE MUSIC. 

LORD FINESSE: BECAUSE NONE OF THAT OTHER STUFF EVER MATTERED! YOU KNOW, IT WAS A PLUS TO MAKE THE MONEY, IT WAS A PLUS TO BUY A LOT OF THESE THINGS BUT YOUR MAIN LOVE WAS FOR THE MUSIC AND THOSE OTHER THINGS FOLLOWED MAKING GREAT MUSIC. A PART OF ME DON’T UNDERSTAND, WELL I KNOW WHAT THEY DO. THEY FOCUS ON THE MATERIAL AND THE MONEY AND USE THE MUSIC TO GET THERE BUT I SEE A LOT OF ARTISTS ONCE THEY GET THERE AND MAKE THE MONEY, AND THEY MAKE A LOT OF MONEY NOW A DAYS… WHEN THEY KNOW THEIR NAMES NOT WRITTEN IN ANY BOOK, NOT GOING TO BE REMEMBERED THEN THEY START TEARING DOWN ARTISTS, “I’M JUST AS GREAT AS THIS ONE!” YOU KNOW, BUT NO, YOU FOCUSED ON THE MONEY. YOU GOT YOUR MONEY, YOU DIDN’T FOCUS ON THE SKILLSET PART, YOU AIN’T FOCUS ON DOING GREAT MUSIC OR CLASSICS AND NOW WHEN PEOPLE NOT GOING TO REMEMBER THEM THAT’S WHEN IT’S LIKE, “I’M JUST AS GREAT ‘CAUSE I MADE THIS MUCH MONEY.” LOOK WE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE MONEY, WE TALKING ABOUT THE SKILL SET.

VALIDATED: YOU GUYS HAVE A NEW ADDITION INTO THE FAMILY, DAVID BARS. TELL ME HOW HE BECAME APART OF DITC? 

SHOWBIZ: WELL I MET DAVID BARS THROUGH A GUY THAT’S IN MY HOOD THAT DJ’S AND HE KEPT ASKING ME, “YO, I WANT YOU TO HEAR THESE GUYS.” HE WAS IN THIS GROUP, I MEAN I LISTENED TO THEM AND I BASICALLY LIKED DAVID. LONG STORY SHORT, WE DIDN’T END UP WORKING TOGETHER BUT BARS JUST SHOWED UP AT THE STUDIO DOWNTOWN. WE HAD ANOTHER STUDIO DOWNTOWN AND ONE DAY HE JUST KNOCKS ON THE DOOR LIKE, “ YO, WHAT’S UP, I’M NOT WITH THE GROUP NO MORE?” WE STAYED IN TOUCH FROM THERE AND I JUST KNEW HE WAS GONNA BE TALENTED. I COULD TELL FROM THE GATE AT AGE 14, 15 I ALREADY COULD TELL FROM HOW HE PUT WORDS TOGETHER HE WAS GONNA BE NICE. I JUST KEPT WORKING WITH HIM AND HAVING HIM COME AROUND AND LISTENING TO HIM. HE WAS GETTING BETTER AND BETTER AND BETTER. EVENTUALLY I JUST SAID, “YO, LISTEN, LET’S WORK.” EVERYBODY STARTED SEEING, YOU KNOW, I’M PARADING HIM AROUND AND EVERYBODY STARTED GETTING IT, LIKE, “OKAY, YEAH, HE’S KIND OF NICE.” SO I’M GLAD THEY ALL EXCEPTED HIM MAN BECAUSE IF THEY DIDN’T I WOULD’VE BEEN HURT. LOL I WAS LIKE I LOVE THIS GUY, MAN. LOL BUT I’M GLAD THEY ALL FELT THE SAME WAY. HIM (FINESSE) AND BUCKWILD, IT’S MAINLY HIM (FINESSE) BECAUSE HE DON’T LIKE NOBODY. LOL

LORD FINESSE: I CAN HONESTLY SAY WHEN HE PLAYED BARS FOR ME I WAS LIKE, “NAH, I LIKE HIM.” EVEN BEFORE BARS IT WAS TY SHANE. YOU KNOW, I’M JUST STRAIGHT TO THE POINT. IF I LIKE IT, I LIKE IT, IF I DON’T, I DON’T BUT HE (SHOWBIZ) FOUND HIM. HE PLAYED SOME S*** LIKE, I REMEMBER HE PLAYED SOME TY SHANE S*** AND I WAS LIKE, “YO, WHO IS HE?” LIKE IF I FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT SOMETHING THEN HE (SHOWBIZ) KNOW’S I’M GOING TO POINT IT OUT. 

SHOWBIZ: ...AND IF HE DON’T SAY NOTHING, I ALREADY KNOW. LOL BUT THAT’S HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE, KNOW WHAT I MEAN. IT’S ALL LOVE BUT I’M GLAD HE WAS TO THE STANDARDS OF EVERYBODY IN THE CREW BECAUSE EVERYBODY IN THE CREW WORKED WITH HIM SO FAR. I JUST GOT TO GET AG ON  BUT EVERYBODY WORKED WITH HIM SO FAR. 

LORD FINESSE: BUT YOU GOTTA UNDERSTAND, I’M A CRITIC, WHEN IT COMES TO DITC… AND WHY I’M SAYING THIS BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY I’M SO HARD. IT’S LIKE LOOK AT AG, LOOK AT BIG L, LOOK AT O.C., LOOK AT WHAT I WAS BROUGHT UP AROUND.

SHOWBIZ: AND THEN THE SUPPORTING CAST LIKE (BIG) PUN AND EVERYBODY. 

LORD FINESSE: YOU KNOW, SO WHEN YOU SEE ALL THESE INCREDIBLE ARTISTS, I DON’T CARE HOW WATERED DOWN THE GAME IS, THAT’S WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR! SO PEOPLE GO, “NAH, FINESSE DON’T LIKE NOBODY.” I LIKE SUBSTANCE.

SHOWBIZ: BUT I SAY THAT WITH PRIDE THOUGH, GET PASS HIM (FINESSE) AND I’LL F*** WITH YOU. LOL HE’S JUST THE TEST, YOU KNOW.

LORD FINESSE: NAH, I JUST LOVE ARTISTS AND I’M TRYING TO KEEP A EAR OUT FOR NEW ARTISTS, YOU KNOW. I TELL ARTISTS JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING DIFFERENT MAN BECAUSE NOW I GOTTA LOOK AT IT FROM A BUSINESS AND MARKETING STANDPOINT AND IF YOU SOUND LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE IT’S HARD TO PROMOTE. I NEED A ANGLE, A EDGE TO SAY, “THIS DUDE IS INCREDIBLE BECAUSE HE’S THIS...!” BUT IF WE’VE GOT 10 OF THOSE ALREADY THEN IT’S LIKE “WELL…” BUT BARS IS EXCEPTIONAL, HE’S SPECIAL AND I PARADE HIM AROUND NOW. LOL I PLAY HIS STUFF AND THEY GO, “YO, WHO’S THAT?” OR IF I PUT HIM ON THE INSTAGRAM AND THEY SEE, THEY SAY, “WHO’S THAT?”  

VALIDATED: ANY WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THOSE WHO ARE LOOKING TO STEP INTO THIS GAME?

LORD FINESSE: IT’S ROUGH OUT THERE. 

SHOWBIZ: STAY INDEPENDENT IF YOU CAN BECAUSE IF IT’S ALL IN YOUR HANDS THAT WAY YOU CAN TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR CAREER. THE AMOUNT OF MONEY, WHERE YOU WANT TO BE, WHO YOU WANT TO DEAL WITH. IT’S ALWAYS BETTER TO HAVE CONTROL OF THE MAJORITY OF WHAT GOES ON IN YOUR CAREER. INDEPENDENT WOULD BE THE WAY AND IF YOU GET BIG ENOUGH AND SOMEONE OFFERS YOU SO CRAZY AMOUNT OF MONEY AND YOU WANT TO ACCEPT IT AS LONG AS THE TERMS ARE GOOD IT’S COOL. BUT FOR THE BEGINNING I THINK THE GRIND IS JUST AS IMPORTANT BECAUSE A LOT OF ARTIST ARE JUST FOCUSING ON DEALS AND THAT’S WHY I’M SAYING WHAT I’M SAYING BECAUSE THAT AIN’T THE ONLY ROAD. I DON’T EVEN THINK IT’S THE BEST ROAD IF YOU DON’T HAVE LEVERAGE. WHAT I MEAN BY LEVERAGE IS IF EVERYBODY SCREAMING YOUR NAME AND YOU IN DEMAND THEN YOU CAN GO THERE AND SAY I WANT THIS, I DON’T WANT THIS, THIS IS WHAT I WILL DO, THIS IS WHAT I WON’T DO... THAT’S LEVERAGE. SO GRIND INDEPENDENT UNTIL YOU GET TO THAT LEVEL IF YOU REALLY WANT TO GET SIGNED IF THAT’S THE GOAL. INDEPENDENCE IS ALWAYS THE BEST WAY, OWNING YOUR OWN MASTERS IS THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO. WHEN I WAS IN THE GAME EARLY I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT MASTERS AND HOW LONG THE LABELS WAS GOING TO OWN MY MASTERS. 

VALIDATED: WHERE CAN YOU BE FOUND ON SOCIAL MEDIA? 

LORDFINESSEDITC: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM.

SHOWBIZ: DITCSTUDIOS FOR FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, WEBSITE.